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What is a Marketing Strategy? A Complete Guide

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Nowadays, it seems as if everyone in marketing says that having a “strategy” is the key to success. But what does that really mean? The term marketing strategy is used so frequently that its meaning has become ambiguous. If you are having trouble finding direction or don’t know where to begin or simply just don’t know what a marketing strategy is, then you’ve come to the right place.  

In order to unpack what a marketing strategy is, we first must understand what a strategy is. A strategy of any kind, not just a marketing one, involves three things: understanding your mission, setting regulations for going on that mission, and specific acts that meet and fit those regulations. Many people get confused or stuck when going about creating a marketing strategy. Mostly, they are confusing it for a tactic. A tactic, unlike a strategy, is a step within a plan. A strategy, however, is the whole entirety of said plan.

After understanding this, the following steps will help guide you along as you create your strategy. 

1. Establish Your Goals 

This doesn’t simply mean “I want my business to be marketed and seen by a lot of people” or “I want to be the most famous brand ever.” Making goals that are too obscure or too unrealistic is essentially equivalent to making no goals at all. If your goals are those aforementioned things, they’ll be impossible to track and impossible to achieve.

Instead, setting specific, clarified goals that are reasonable will help you set yourself in the right direction as you market yourself and/or your business to others. For instance, a goal such as, “I want my business’ Instagram account to have 500 followers by October” is a specific and reasonable goal. With goals like this, you can truly track your progress and see what is working and what might not be working. 

2. Lay Down the Basics 

This step is fairly straightforward. Before you do anything concrete, you need to establish a few things for your marketing strategy. First—set a budget. It can be easy to overspend and get excited about content creation when you first get started. Setting a strong budget will keep you in check along the way.

Second—delegate tasks. Unless you’re working completely solo, it is important to decide who is doing what on your team, such as content creation, PR, etc. Making sure everyone is on the same page about these basics before beginning anything else will allow you and your team to stay organized and on track. 

 3. Create a Schedule

Once you have your goals in mind, you can begin creating content and products you want to push out to the public. However, it is vital that, before posting or pushing anything out, you create a very specific and clear schedule of how you’re going to do that. This means you decide which days you are posting what and where you are posting it, for example. You may decide to conduct Lives on TikTok on the first Friday of every month, one blog post on your website each week, two Instagram stories each day, etc.

Scheduling out everything in advance will allow you to maintain consistency with your audiences. This is vital to creating a brand’s identity and awareness. With this step, the organization is really the key. Having a content calendar allows you to have everything clearly laid out before you. So nothing gets lost or confusing. 

4. Manage Your Analytics 

Having goals and a content calendar is wonderful, but it doesn’t really mean anything concrete for your success unless you know how to measure it. Technology today is so readily available that anyone can view any data and research their site’s traffic or readership, etc. But that information can be confusing, especially if you’re not someone who’s very strong in tech knowledge.

There are so many analytics tools to help that it almost makes it harder to know what’s what at times. That’s why it’s important to decide, as soon as you start following your calendar and posting content, which analytics tools you will use. Websites such as Cision or Hootsuite Analytics are just two examples of platforms you can use to organize your data.

These sites work by pulling information you select from anywhere and organizing it all into one space. They also diagnose and simplify the information and numbers. So you can see straightforward, clear data that shows you exactly what content is benefiting you and what is not. 

Final Thoughts

You may be thinking, “Just four steps? I thought this was The Complete Guide…” The truth is, unfortunately, that there is no one, complete guide to a marketing strategy. It simply depends on who you are and what you’re selling and what your goals are. However, by using these four steps to guide you, your marketing strategy will fall into place. 

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