How to create a Marketing Strategy
by: tara gardiner
*editor’s note: before delilah and i met tara we didn’t even know we needed a marketing strategy. tara has shed so much light on a side of our business we had little knowledge of. we’re overjoyed to have tara’s help and love the tips she’s shared on dear handmade life.
Marketing may not be your forte, but taking the time to create a solid marketing strategy will help you establish a road map to follow as you try to juggle the many aspects of running a business. Before we talk about how to develop your marketing strategy, let’s make sure you have set some goals. Eleanor Whitney shared some fantastic advice with dear handmade life on smart goal setting and creative time management. Once you’ve established your overall company goals along withyour marketing goals, you can begin developing a marketing strategy. There are other factors to consider too. What is your budget for marketing (realistically)? How much time during your week you can dedicate to marketing functions? Be really honest with yourself and commit to making the time.
Let’s run down a list of what your can spend marketing dollars on: branding, marketing materials, grass roots activities (like community events), newsletters, website, videos, strategic partnerships, blogs, advertising, press releases, social media and so on. Obviously, some cost more to implement, so having an established budget will help you know what you start with and what you can plan for in the future. I recommend looking at the big picture or a business “dream list” then a plan can be put into place, even if it needs to be rolled out in phases.
Questions to ask yourself as you are formulating your marketing strategy:
-If money were not an obstacle, what would you do to market your business?
-Does this marketing function support my overall company goals?
-How will this help me reach my marketing goals?
-Does this properly represent my brand?
-Does this appeal to my target customer?
When you are a small business, your marketing budget may not have that many zeros in it, but thinking creativity will help your small budget go along way. For example, developing strategic partnerships or networks as well as an effective social media plan with consistency and quality content are relatively low cost marketing functions that can help you wisely utilize your budget. Keep in mind that yourinvestment in marketing may not have instant ROI (return on investment). Remember, There is value in building your brand recognition, especially as you are “assembling your empire” for longevity.
If you need assistance creating a marketing strategy, you have several resources from visiting a small business center to hiring a marketing professional. Remember, after writing it, any marketing function should be consistent with your brand message and be geared toward your target consumer. Evaluate the effectiveness of your different marketing functions and adjust them accordingly to how your market responds and changes.
Think out of the box when creating your marketing strategy and like I said, even if your budget is really really small, there are options that cost very little or even nothing! here’s great post nicole wrote on marketing on a budget and growing your business. So what’s stopping you? get out there and make a plan to tell the world about your great stuff!
do you have a marketing strategy? do you have any tips on marketing on a budget?
Gardiner Connections founder Tara Gardiner has worked in numerous industries in sales and marketing for the past 12 years. Her in-depth experience ranges from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, including those in the architectural and design community, natural products industry, pet industry, fashion industry, and with technical and specialty products. Gardiner earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Marketing from Michigan State University and has studied at the University of London in England, Scotland and Ireland. Currently based in Los Angeles, California, Gardiner Connections services clients throughout the United States.
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