So what are marketing strategy basics?
After writing the article on Monday about getting back to basics, it made me wonder how other people within the online marketing community defined “basics”
As I expected, when I posed this question to multiple communities, I got a wide array of how other marketers defined “the basics”
Define your target market.
The most common response was some variation of this. Using either this exact phrase or a variation of “Who is my ?” was the most common first step for marketing strategy.
I have a problem with this. Who am I that I can define anyone else, let alone a whole group of people?
Now I know that isn’t exactly how that’s intended, but some marketers take that advice to heart. They try to define people with stuff.
It is this thinking that makes a marketer’s job more difficult.
When people buy stuff because they think it’s going to make them better, the buzz of the new stuff eventually wears off and they grow tired.
Consumerism dictates they have to replace it, so the marketer is stuck in this continous loop screaming “Choose me! Choose me! I’ll make you feel better about yourself!”
For me, the first step to an online marketing strategy is to Listen.
Listen to the troubles people have within a market.
Listen to what everyone else is doing and listen between the lines for how it could be made better.
This is how Copyblogger media makes incredibly useful tools like Scribe (affiliate link) and Premise, and establish communities of like-minded people like Third Tribe (affiliate link) These products have no competitors.
Sure there are products that do similar things. To some they will be useful and to others they will not, but there are no competitors in the same way that Pepsi and Coca-Cola or McDonald’s and Burger King are competitors .
Know where they are online.
From a market research standpoint you obviously have to know where people congregate, but I feel like this as a starting point is becoming antiquated.
Why? We live in an age where 70% of Americans have a Facebook account.
Knowing where people congregate is becoming very obvious.
Now I’m not suggesting that you skip market research and just assume everyone is on Facebook.
What I’m saying is embrace that Facebook has done the hard work of bring people together.
Brian Clark of Copyblogger turned me on to this quote by copywriting teacher Roy Williams
“Show me what a person admires, and I’ll tell you everything about them that matters. And then you’ll know how to connect with them”
Marketing is about one thing — Persuasion. “Branding” “Engagement“, and “Conversation” are all by-products of persuasion. (Fabreze was able to make $1 billion dollars without ever once “engaging in the conversation”)
Knowing “where” they are hanging out is far less important than knowing how to connect with them.
Understanding how to connect with a target market gives you a much better chance of standing out – regardless of the platform they’re hanging out on.
Knowing a person is hanging out in front of their TV watching “Three and a Half Men” isn’t nearly as useful as knowing why in God’s name they find that show funny.
Once you understand why it makes them laugh, you can begin to understand how to get your message to resonate.
Same concept applies for online platforms.
Define your offer.
Can’t argue with this one.
How can you get them to know, trust, and like you?
Either they will, or they won’t. Focusing on it too much could end up killing your blog.
Blasting people with tons of information about how much you know is more likely to get you tuned out and turned off.
If you try too hard, they can smell it on you.
If you’ve been in a busy city, you may notice the person attempting to save your soul by handing out flyers telling you all the reasons you’re going to Hell.
He’ll scare you with the gruesome details of damnation, and give you the million reasons why you should turn to the Bible, and how your soul can be redeemed.
But I wonder, how many souls has the street corner evangelist aided in saving? Is it more than your friend who turned his life around by recommitting to his faith?
When you understand who they are, and what they need, getting them to know, trust, and like you is as simple as being yourself and having a product that brings transformational value to their lives.
Basic SEO, having a blog, building an email list, measuring results.
This deals more with execution than it does with strategy, but I agree that these are important, some more than others.
Basic Seo is a must. When you understand your target market, you can begin to guess what they are searching for. Knowing how search engines index information, gently spoon feeding content is the missing piece you need to start bringing people in.
While blogs are an easy way to keep buyers current, Blogging is not necessary for every company.
Amazon doesn’t need a blog to be one of the world’s largest online retailers. iTunes does not blog to sell more music. Zappos has a blog, but it’s articles get shared less than mine, and it receives little to no comments.
These sites have spent more time designing intuitive user interfaces, descriptive keyword rich product pages, and use outstanding relations to grow their business.
The point most people are trying to make in saying, “set up a blog” is really to set a “home base” to drive people back to. Blogs are much more useful as a platform for people who broker information to archive their expertise.
An email list is a must and a common thread shared by companies who are successful with their online marketing. Just remember with email to keep it personal.
Measuring results is also a must, but is also the most misunderstood.
If you’re using metrics strategically, you must realize different content, and different platforms, will have different key performance indicators and measurements for success.
Too often when I talk to people about enhancing their Facebook presence, they say “How do I get more Likes?” without realizing it’s the entirely wrong metric to be going after.
Facebook is a very personal network, people are on there to keep up with friends and family, “more likes” can easily be gamed, and really only satisfies your own ego by seeing impressive numbers.
However encouraging more interaction on status updates, more shares of a link, more thumbs up on photos…
This is the only true sign you understand your audience well enough to invoke a response time and time again.
Reading the metrics on interaction help you to get better.
Just like using metrics from click tracking software helps you write better landing page copy.
Just like using metrics from A/B split testing helps you improve your Ppc campaigns.
The rest will come naturally.
When you start by listening and letting a target market define you, you become irreplaceable.
The needs of your market live inside of you.
Knowing, trusting, and liking comes naturally and members of your target market are drawn to you regardless of where you establish your presence.
Understand that Marketing is persuasion. and that there are a handful of tools that will help you communicate with people.
Those tools can help you learn more, but in order to deepen your understanding of people, you must be willing to understand why they admire the things they do.
Because only then can you develop that a deep, life changing connection.