So, What the H-E-double hockey sticks is a marketing strategy?

It is defined in a few different ways in and around the internet but the basic jist of it is; an actionable plan comprised of goals and the details with which to achieve those goals and to increase:

  1. a competitive advantage in the marketplace
  2. a larger stronghold in revenue generation.

English: The overall plan for all of your marketing plans to advertise and grow your business and revenue generation

building an effective marketing strategy - Asheville entrepreneurs - wwbc

When you're first looking at your startup, or even Hell, the beginning of a new year so many of us are excited for the prospects on the horizon; the changes we'll make, how accountable we'll be, all of the great decisions we'll make, our new visions and "plans" to grow our businesses to new and exciting levels only to find ourselves in quarter 2, behind on blogging and networking events, coming in just under the gun for INSERT NEXT MAJOR HOLIDAY HERE and thinking to ourselves, "OK I'll totally get it together and we'll finish the year strong" only to just get excited again about the new year and all the changes you're going to make in your workflow and getting it "right" this time.

UGH! Make it STOP!

So what's the answer? Take a beat. Yup, slow down.

Let's take stock of how you're currently marketing your business? What are you actually DOING? Go ahead, checkity check check the things you are doing regularly to market your business. This list certainly isn't everything you COULD be doing, but its a good start overall. Also, jot down how often you're doing each of these things as well.

  1. daily social media (Facebook/Insta/Snapchat/Twitter/Pinterest)
    1. posts
    2. stories
    3. facilitating groups
    4. paid advertising
  2. website
  3. blogging
    1. on your website
    2. guest blogging for other websites
  4. submitting work to local publications (print and online)
  5. hosting &/or participating in events
  6. sponsoring events/teams/community anything
  7. attending networking events and parties
  8. business to business partnerships
  9. gift certificates
  10. Hallmark holiday promotions
  11. contests and giveaways

Now, look over that list.

  1. Which out of those 11 marketing topics are you accomplishing?
  2. Make a list of the ones you ARE spending time on. Divide them into two categories:
    1. ONLINE
    2. IN PERSON (AKA Out in the world)
  3. Analyze those results. Are you leaning more in one direction over the other?
    1. Example: Heck yeah! on social media posts and stories, blogging, website but you have been to maybe 2 networking meetings in 6 months, have ZERO business partnerships, and have never hosted an event. This would put you in the ONLINE category right? 
    2. Example: your calendar is overrun with networking meetings but the headshot on your website is from 4 years ago, in fact your website really is like 3 pages and really not that great, you keep up with the major Hallmark holidays but not everything, and you put cash value discounts on your business cards when you meet someone interesting hoping they might do business with you. Your Facebook is a ghost town, your last blog post is from Lord knows when, and you wouldn't even know where to begin on submitting work for guest blogs. This would put you in the IN PERSON category.
  4. OK, great! Now you know where your strengths lie, right? On occasion you might find someone that is fairly balanced all the way around on both hemispheres however, even then they will be stronger in one area over another. It's totally OK! There aren't any wrong answers here. It's just about identifying strengths and weaknesses. So is a fun question: WHERE ARE YOUR CURRENT CLIENTS COMING FROM?
    1. Legit analyze where your last ten customers came from.
      1. Say you're strong in the online world. You are on point with regular blog posts, daily social media engagement, submitting online articles but GASP! Out of your last ten clients, 8 of them came from relationships you have built in your community.
      2. Or maybe you are the QUEEN networker and looking at your client info you realize that 7 out of the last 10 came from a contest you ran on Facebook 3 months ago.
      3. Hmmmmm... Now isn't THAT interesting?
"Oh for crying out loud, Cat. What the hell? I thought you were supposed to tell me how my efforts ARE working! Craptastic! What do I do now? Does this ever get easier????"

The truth is, it doesn't necessarily get easier. What it does get, is more structured and as you grow your business, your marketing scales with you. Your marketing efforts are there to grow your business but, as your business grows your marketing evolves as well. The first step in identifying HOW to create the most effective marketing strategy for your business is to identify your strengths and weaknesses and how you can leverage them BOTH to grow. That in and of itself IS your first strategy.

We'll dive into this hard and fast on December 6th at Blue Ridge Community College from 9:00-11:00am. I am teaching "From Chaos to Clarity: Designing an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Business" sponsored by the Western Women's Business Center. We will discuss key elements to formulating and implementing a sustainable marketing strategy for your business. Additional topics covered include determining strengths and weaknesses, understanding and leveraging social media, and utilizing a marketing calendar for your business. Seating is limited so I HIGHLY RECOMMEND registering to attend ASAP. I can't wait to meet you!!!