This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.
Pamela Slim is a seasoned coach and writer who helps frustrated employees in corporate jobs break out and start their own business. Her blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation, is one of the top career and marketing blogs on the web. She is also an author of Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur.
What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 1
Ask a new business owner what his marketing strategy is, and he will most likely say “sell as many products as possible to as many people as possible.”
While optimism is a good quality in an entrepreneur, this definition is a recipe for disaster. When you are unclear whom you are trying to reach, you will stumble from one marketing tactic to another, diving into Facebook with zeal one week, Tweeting like a fool the next, and, in a final act of desperation, pitch your friends and neighbors as if you were a teenager begging for a last-minute date to the prom.
An effective marketing strategy defines:
• the detailed profile of the ideal person you are trying to reach (age, profession, gender, race, income level, hobbies, political views, attitude)
• their hopes, fears, needs, desires, challenges and problems
• the particular places where they hang out in person or online
• the books, blogs, newspapers, magazines and trade publications they read
• the people and companies they most admire
• the tools they use to connect with others (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, professional associations, forums)
• the specific outcomes you are trying to achieve (establish trust, build followers or online presence, get referrals, sell products, recruit evangelists, attract partners)
• the metrics you will use to track progress
Once these components of the strategy are defined, you can create a tactical plan that outlines the specific activities you will engage in each week in order to achieve your outcomes.
A good marketing strategy leads to specific to-do lists like:
1. Contact 5 board members of the Atlanta Association of Gluten-Free Libertarian Physicians
2. Write guest post for the Gluten Free and Proud blog
3. Attend the Living Gluten Free lecture at the Atlanta Whole Foods Market
If all of this sounds like too much work, you could always revert back to the standard marketing practice of optimistic business owners: stare at your phone and pray it will ring.