What is a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy is a lot of things, but in a nutshell, it’s a roadmap to a) planning how to get the word out about your core offer, b) establishing yourself as an authority on the issues that your target market faces, c) turning your target market into an audience, and d) turning your audience into paying customers. 

When I’m talking with clients about marketing their business, the conversation jumps to those logistical questions. It’s appealing to focus first on those questions for one simple reason: they’re easy to talk about concretely. There are varying sets of best practices for digital marketing, but when you jump into that conversation too early, you miss the opportunity to have your marketing do so much more for you. 

In developing your marketing strategy, there are four questions to ask yourself so that you can stay on track and set the stage for successful marketing initiatives:

How do I want to talk about my core offer, and how do I want to get the word out about it? 

This two-part question is crucial because it’ll get you thinking about how you want to present your business and your product or service to the world. The logistics of how you adapt your messaging between marketing channels is important, but what’s more important is that you have a foundational way of talking about your offer that remains the same no matter what channel you’re using.

The second part is that you want to be thinking about how you get the word out about your core offer. There are so many ways to go about getting that word out, and it’s important to plan what marketing channels are the best to use when it comes to letting the world know about the product or service you’re offering. There are three things to keep in mind when thinking about this: 

  1. The core way you talk about your offer

  2. What channels are the best for the way you talk about your product or service

  3. How to adapt how you talk about your offer for each channel (without losing focus)

How do I establish myself as an authority on the issues my target market faces?

If you’re operating a business, you know that every product or service is, in its broadest sense, a potential solution for an issue, concern, or fear that your target market faces. In order for you to sell a product or service that solves a problem, you need to establish yourself as an authority in that specific area (and chances are that if you developed a product or service around that issue, then you’re already an expert). 

You may be an expert, but becoming an expert isn’t the hard part––the hard part is becoming an authority. While an expert has the knowledge in a specific area, an authority the person who is known as having the expertise. For instance, there are a lot of doctors in the world who are experts in their own fields, but the most well-known ones (and not necessarily the best ones) are the authorities in their fields.

So when you’re thinking about a marketing strategy, be sure to spend some time on how you plan on becoming the authority for the issues that your target market faces.

How do I turn my target market into an audience? 

Identifying your target market might be one of the first steps, but you have to get their attention to actually make it worth your while––and the way to do that is to turn them into your audience. Turn your target market into an audience by providing meaningful and useful content with them, whether it’s through a blog, a free offer, videos, or podcasts. At its core, it’s relationship building: You start a relationship with your target market by offering content that solves their unique issues, and then they slowly become a part of your audience. Whether they’re a blog reader, a newsletter subscriber, a podcast listener, or a video watcher, they’ll become your audience. 

How do I turn my audience into paying customers?

If you’re taking a content-based approach to your marketing, the answer is simple: Strategize the amount and type of content you provide for free, such that some day they’re going to come to your website with a question or problem that you don’t provide the answer to (for free). Then, because you’ve planned out your marketing so well, you’ll be able to answer their question by pointing them to a product or service that will solve the issue

And because they’re already a part of your audience, that means that they already know and like what you’re offering, and will be that much more likely to buy. 

The answer may be simple, but it’s a lot more complicated in practice. Because you’re an expert in your niche, you know how to anticipate and plan for your target market’s wants, perceived needs, and actual needs. 

Developing a marketing strategy is no small project––it’s a significant investment (whether in time or dollars) in your business, and it serves as your roadmap for talking about and selling your core offer. Great marketing is creative and revolutionary, but it’s not accidental––it’s both creative and strategic!