I recently came up with a great marketing analogy for one of my clients who is an avid fisherman. He was overwhelmed with the amount of things he needed to accomplish in order to re-launch his business that had been stagnant for the last 7 years. He needed a way to organize the litany of to-do’s (set up a Facebook page, redesign my website, email campaigns, create marketing brochures, etc). Where to start? The following are the 5 simple steps to organizing your activities and ultimately building an effective marketing strategy:
- What Kind of Fisherman am I? – With everything from freshwater to saltwater, lakes to streams, fly fishing to deep sea fishing, you have to determine what type of fisherman you would like to be. In our analogy this translates to building your brand and overall corporate identity. What are our values, what does our brand stand for? Who is our target audience? What are their needs? What makes us different and better than our competitors? From here you can name your business/brand/product, obtain your website URL, design your logo and write your tagline.
- Build the Boat – Without a boat, how are you going to fish? Ok, we know that if you are a wade fisher you may not need a boat, but work with me here! The boat, in our analogy, is your website. You need a professional and reliable place to send people to gather information, get answers to their questions and ultimately communicate with you. So your number one priority is to develop a web strategy (fully optimized for search) and determine the information you need to provide to potential customers. We would also include basic corporate materials such as a corporate brochure, product slicks and business cards here as well.
- The Fish Tracker – Again, we know that not all fisherman will need a fish tracker to find and track their dinner. But in the world of online marketing, it is IMPERATIVE that you set up some simple tools to track your programs. As your business matures, your tracking tools and programs can mature as well. To get started, you should have a site metrics program such as Google Analytics impemented on your site, and you should have some type of a lead database you can use to manage your prospects. There are literally hundreds of free or low-cost tools available.
- Setting the Bait – Every good fisherman knows that on top of his skill with his equipment, he’s got to have something good to attract the fish. A business needs a solid set of content that proves your expertise. Everything from white papers, to case studies, to articles, webinars, blogs and customer testimonials. Start with a basic set and continuously add to your “customer knowledge library.”
- Get the Line in the Water – Ok the boat is ready, you’ve got your tackle box together and the sandwiches are made. Now it’s time to get your line in water and start reeling them in! Some effective online tactics to help drive traffic to your website include email campaigns and newsletters, paid search advertising, social media programs (Facebook, Twitter, link exchanges, etc.) and strategic partnerships (businesses who have a vested interest in your success, and you in theirs).
Now you’re pulling in fish and you’ll need to determine how you’ll identify your strongest prospects. There are specific strategies and tools you can implement to help determine how you separate the keepers from the junk.
Do I have to complete these in order? That would be optimal, but certainly not realistic…especially given these economic times. Companies need ways to generate some results while they are building their overall marketing machine. And that’s what it’s all about! Results…oh, and fish!