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Your business’ marketing strategy has the potential to boost sales and thrust you into the limelight. However, if your strategy is not properly planned, you may inadvertently stall revenue and limit your own success. We have to be intentional in order to create an effective marketing plan that will grow our business, especially in the world of startups. Furthermore, it is all too easy to get distracted by the shiny new trends in marketing that promise to bring more reach than ever before. But these trends often do not support the business in its entirety. The best marketing plan is created when we take a holistic approach that invests in each element of our business.
As I’ve built my business over the last few years, I’ve learned many marketing lessons the hard way. While there is no replacement for your own experience, if you want to develop a marketing plan that truly works, keep reading.
Related: How to Create a Marketing Plan
The importance of taking a holistic view of your business and your marketing cannot be overstated. Your marketing strategy needs to consider everything from the product itself to the ease of accessing your website. Also, from the cohesion of your social media to the seamlessness of your order fulfillment. If even one element of your business is out of sync, all of the money you are spending on marketing will not be as successful as possible. Every single part of the customer’s journey, from first meeting your brand to receiving their first product, is vital to your success. If we only invest in some elements and not others, we may miss out on potential customers and revenue streams.
For example, when we first began marketing our product, we almost exclusively ran online ads, ignoring all other types of communication. But once we started to add in SMS marketing, we saw an immediate lift in revenue. From there we were able to keep growing and build a consistent stream of income.
It is also, of course, crucial to create a strong social media presence with content that reflects the nature of your business and entices audiences. Use ambassadors and influencers across all social media platforms to provide social proof of your product’s efficacy. And, allocate resources to those that have the highest return. Finally, if customers come knocking on your door, you need to be ready to answer. Make sure you have the infrastructure in place to handle customers who may want to reach out. Build out an email and text system that can support your ad strategy and makes customers feel supported.
Do not get siloed into just one aspect of marketing. Invest in and include every element of your business in your marketing strategy. As a result, you will see how, in turn, every element of your business is able to work in tandem to help you grow.
How to create a holistic marketing approach
Now that you know the must-haves, it is time to start taking action. As I have honed my marketing approach over the years, I’ve discovered that there are four crucial steps in creating a holistic marketing strategy:
- Come up with a plan: We cannot take action before we know where we are going and how we are going to get there. It is not enough to simply throw anything and everything at the wall and see what sticks. Sit down with your team and chart out a course that does not rely on happy accidents.
- Reach out to people who have successfully done what you are trying to do: Every business is unique, but it would not be useful to ask advice from someone who has entirely different goals than your own. Find those with businesses you admire and would like to emulate. Talk to business owners who have already worked out many of the kinks in their strategies. You will be able to learn, grow and hopefully avoid some of their costly mistakes.
- Do not set it and forget it: Make sure your marketing dollars are well-spent by checking for return-on-investment. If something is working extremely well, it may be time to invest more heavily in that avenue. Conversely, if a particular approach appears to be falling flat, you will know it is time to put your time and effort elsewhere.
- Continuously evaluate your plan for gaps or areas of improvement: The only constant we have in business is that it will always change. We have to stay agile and be ready and willing to update our plans as needed.
Know your brand
If you follow all of the aforementioned steps but your product and marketing strategies do not align, your consumers will be left feeling more confused than interested. Your customer should have a positive and cohesive experience whenever they encounter your marketing or your product. To reach your intended audience, your marketing needs to be consistent with your values, culture and the product you have to offer.
Understanding your brand will not only help your consumers find you, but it will also help you find them. What kind of person is looking for your product? How and where do they spend their time? What do they need help with? Knowing who you are trying to target (and why) will help you focus your marketing strategy, heighten its emotional power and reach the people who truly need what you have to offer.
A strong marketing plan has the potential to increase revenue and reach more customers than previously thought possible. However, we should be careful not to get so hung up on formalizing the perfect marketing plan that we do not do much of anything at all. We cannot grow without action, and sometimes that action will bring a few bumps in the road. Take the time to create an intentional, holistic marketing plan. But, stay agile enough to adapt as you, your business and the world around you evolve.