Strategies for marketing have become a dime a dozen.

Everyone is promising explosive growth, or some easy hack that will just have the money rolling in.

We all are searching for the easy way out.

It’s just part of our nature. Human beings have been trying to find the easy way out since the first caveman decided to invent the wheel instead of walking home.

So that’s not going to change.

But we can learn to channel this eternal laziness into productivity.

One way is cultivating great strategies for marketing growth.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, or fast, but as the saying goes ‘best things are often those you have waited for’.

Or something like that. You know what I mean. Lol.

But continue on to find out how to make a kick butt

Marketing strategy.

How To Create A Marketing Plan

Know Your Target Customer

The first step in building your marketing strategy is to know who it is you’re marketing to. Doing so ensures that your marketing efforts are focused, and as a result, you’ll be getting the return on investment that you’re after.

One common way to go about this is to create a buyer persona. By creating a buyer persona, you can be sure that you’re marketing to people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. Otherwise your marketing strategy is pretty much the equivalent of a man on a box yelling through a megaphone at random people on the street.

marketing Strategy Businessman Shouting Through a Megaphone at the Beach
This is the wrong application of a blue ocean strategy.

Think about what you’d like your ideal customer to look like. Start getting granular and create a list of demographics that your customer falls into. Responsive Inbound Marketing recommends these major questions you should ask yourself about your target customer when outlining a buyer persona:

Location: Where do they live?

Excluding Location: Where do they not live?

Age: What is the age range?

Gender: What is their gender?

Interests: What are their interests?

Education Level: What is their education level?

Job Title: What fields of work do your customers work in, and what types of job titles do they carry?

Income Level: What is their income range?

Relationship Status: What is their relationship status?

Language: What languages do they speak?

Favorite Websites: Why types of websites do they frequent?

Buying Motivation: What are their reasons for buying your product?

Buying Concerns: What are their concerns when buying your product?

Marketing Strategy Buying Profile
Source: Shopify

Building a buyer persona as part of your marketing plan is more than just broadly listing out demographics of your target customer though. You need to know your target customer as if they were a close, personal friend, like you might go out to see them for drinks this very weekend.

As we know from interactions with our own friends, they can be full of surprises. So one of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating a buyer persona is to constantly make assumptions. Actually put these personas to the test, hit the pavement, and start interviewing people and get some real data. After all, there’s that saying about assumptions making a donkey out of you and me.

The easiest place you can look to define your buyer persona is to whatever current customers you might have. Ask them for 10 minutes of their time for an interview, or send out a simple survey. Interview people who aren’t even your customers yet, but people who fit the profile of your target customer.

Find a way to incentivize people to do interviews with you, by potentially offering them a discount or a free product from your store. Whatever solution you work out, your goal should be to find out what people are really thinking about when they see your store.

Marketing Strategy Hand with pen
There will be a temptation to gloss over this part, thinking you’ve already got it down. But generally speaking, the more time you put into developing your buyer personas, the more effective your marketing strategy will be in the end.

Once you know what your target customer is all about, it’s time to move onto the next step of building your business marketing strategy.

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Research Your Competitors

No business exists in a vacuum, even if you are the only brand on the market in your own very specific niche. You can be guaranteed that sooner or later, you’re going to find yourself with some competition, and they’re going to have their own ideas about the best way to acquire customers.

This is why it’s important to spend some time doing marketing research on the competition.

Before you get the wrong idea, though, the point of running a competitor analysis is to help you figure out what you can be doing better or different than the rest of the crowd. It’s not so you can replicate their every move, but rather, so you can:

• Find out what’s working for them and do it better;

• Or, find untapped opportunities.

You’ll also want to go deep than scanning your competitor’s social media accounts every now and then.

Marketing Strategy competitor
Unless you happen to have a really good relationship with someone else in your niche and you can find the time to get them on the phone and talk about your market strategy, chances are, you’re going to have to dust off that deerstalker hat and do a little sleuthing.

One way to get a good initial grasp of what marketing channels your competitors are using is to go directly to their customers and find out what they’re saying.

Marketing Strategy competitor profile
You can easily do that with Mention, a social media monitoring tool that allows you to quickly scan the web and find mentions of your competitors online and on social media. You can analyze online conversations that are happening about your competition and, most importantly, what online communities are forming around them.

Tap into those conversations and see if you can find out what products people are purchasing and how they found out about them, and whether their experiences have been positive or negative. Learn what promotions and deals they’re offering through social media.

marketing strategy mention social media monitoring tool
Another great tool to use to monitor your competitor’s online marketing strategy would be Moz’s Open Site Explorer.

I like to use Open Site Explorer as a way to check out what my competitors are doing with their SEO. Moz allows you to find out what external links your competitors are getting. This can give you incredibly valuable insight as to what their content strategy is like, or if they even have one in the first place, and potentially where they’re advertising online.

You can find out what their top pages are and what their most popular content is, and use their successes to help find ideas and inspiration for what your link-building strategy might look like. For more on a successful link-building SEO strategy, check out this post.

marketing strategy moz open site explorer
The final method I’d recommend is to simply sign up to their email list and see what their email marketing strategy is like. Not only will this give you invaluable insight as to what their email advertising efforts look like, but it’ll also give you an up close and personal view of their overall plan.

For example, you can find out if they’re doing a product launch, and if so, how they go about it. Or if they’re hyping up interest for a similar product to yours. Get into the belly of the beast and find out what’s going on.

Of course, there are also dozens of others tools and methods you can use to do competitor research. But this should give you a good idea of where to start with your own.

Choose Your Channels

There is a wide variety of ways to get your marketing message in front of your prospects, more than ever, in fact. You can go the traditional advertising route and stick ads in newspapers and on billboards, or you can try more modern and ever-evolving tactics like SEO and content marketing. Whatever route you head down, you need to figure out what channels you’ll be using in order to turn your audience into prospects and then into customers.

While it might be tempting to try everything at once and go for a “scattergun” kind of approach, all you’ll be doing is wasting precious resources on channels that aren’t guaranteed to work.

marketing strategy frustrated man with laptop
In order to get the return on investment you want from your marketing strategy, it’s important to make deliberate, informed decisions about what channels provide the best ways to reach your target customers.

Remember, don’t invest effort into a particular channel just because you feel like you should be using it. It will take a little time and a bit of a feeling around in order to find the right marketing channel for you, so don’t stress if you don’t get it right from the get go.

The best approach to figuring out the right channels for your market strategy is to first break down all of your potential channels into three sections: owned, earned, and paid media.

marketing strategy digital marketing trifecta
Source: Titan-SEO

It’s best to think of these three different types of media as three legs of a stool, with each type playing an important role in your digital marketing strategy, and all three needing to work together in order to cover all your marketing bases.

A good general rule of thumb is to follow the ratio of 2:1:1 when you’re starting off with your marketing strategy:

– 2 owned media channels

– 1 earned media channel

– 1 paid media channel


marketing strategy foundr blog screenshot
Owned media are the channels you have full control over, meaning your email list, your website, or your blog for example. In basic terms, any branded content that you produce yourself can be considered owned media.

The reason you want at least two channels of owned media in your business marketing strategy is so you don’t ever need to rely on anyone else’s platform in order to promote your brand. Owned media should form the backbone of your digital marketing strategy.

This is why, at Foundr, we put a ton of effort into building our email list and growing our Instagram followers. These are channels we have complete control over, that reach our target audience, and generate us the majority of our leads and sales.

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Figure out what two owned media channels you want to focus on building when it comes to your own marketing strategy.


marketing strategy 12-month rapid growth plan
Put simply, earned media refers to the exposure your content receives organically through outside sources. Think of things like guest posts on other sites, your SEO efforts, or any coverage you receive from the press.

With earned media, what you’re doing is essentially tapping into word-of-mouth marketing. You’re promoting your content through other publications and using their influence to reach your target customer.

“Earned media is one of the most cost-effective ways to raise brand awareness and—if it’s done well—increase sales.” – Gini Dietrich

Whether it’s focusing on building partnerships with influencers, or looking to build your own level of influence with guest posts, identify at least one earned media channel you can use to reach your audience.


marketing strategy paid media
Unsurprisingly, paid media can be defined as any media that you pay for. Think of things like Google Adwords, Facebook ads, sponsored updates on Twitter or Instagram. Traditionally speaking, this would also include TV or radio commercials, or print advertising.
Paid media is how you generate more exposure for your owned media and win more earned media. While you have a certain amount of control with paid media, you want to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of continuously throwing money at it, if it’s not generating the results you want.

The best way to find the paid media channel that works for you is to set yourself a budget and try different platforms at once. After a couple weeks of testing, see what’s working best and double down on that particular channel.

Break Down Your Sales Funnel

A great way to help you flesh out the details of your marketing strategy and figure out what the right marketing tactics and channels are for you is to do a quick break down of your sales funnel.

At its most basic, every sales funnel follows the AIDA format of: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

marketing strategy aida model
Source: Smart Insights

At the top end you have your cold leads, people who are completely unaware of your brand’s existence, and you want to figure out how to grab their awareness and interest. Once you do, you’ll need to figure out a way to turn them into hot leads by generating a sense of desire. And finally, you’ll capitalize on that desire by asking them to perform a specific action, whether it’s subscribing to your email list or purchasing a product.

What you want to do is break down each channel you’ve chosen to focus on in your marketing strategy and map out your customer’s journey through your sales funnel.

marketing strategy customer journey
Source: Hubspot

By breaking down your customer’s journey, you can find out the weakest points of your sales funnel, and whether there is anything more you can be doing to ensure you’re moving enough leads through to the final action stage.

This exercise can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to figure out what marketing tactics you want to use and where to implement them.

Create SMART marketing goals

Now that you understand the bare bones of your marketing strategy, let’s figure out what success means to you.

It’s all well and good to say that you want more exposure, or that you want more customers, but you want to define your goals a little more narrowly than that. How can you tell that your marketing strategy is working if you don’t know, exactly, what success is in the first place?

Some examples of poorly defined goals :

– I want to rank number one in Google.

– I want a bigger email list.

– I want more awareness of my product launch.

These are no good. They have no workable timeline, they lack specificity and actionable steps, and worst of all, there’s no way to track or measure them.

To get over this pitfall, we always advocate creating SMART marketing goals. In other words, goals are that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely.

marketing strategy SMART marketing objectives
Source: Smart Insights

By having SMART goals in place you can make sure that your marketing goals align directly with your business goals. They’re easy to follow and something that your whole team can get behind and, most importantly, instead of relying on your gut you now have definitive metrics you can use to track the success of your marketing strategy.

This means creating marketing goals that look more like this:

– I want to grow my mailing list to 50,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

– I want to create rank number one for the keyword “entrepreneur” by 2018.

– I want to track and measure the number of downloads and sales I receive from a series of downloadable ebooks over a period of three months.

By creating goals like these, you’ll be able to work toward something and make sure that your marketing strategy is kept focused and on the right track at all times. It’ll also give you a clearer idea of whether or not your tactics are working and if you possibly need to change or adjust your strategy over time.

Marketing Strategies

Let your eternal laziness propel you to marketing success.

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