Some would argue that the easiest part in business is creating a product or service. The harder part is finding a marketing process that brings in leads and lands more sales. This is why many experts encourage solopreneurs and small businesses to start marketing before they even have a product available.
It takes time to build up a successful marketing process. In my first business, I spent 10 month building buzz and an online presence for my software. I am not suggesting that you need to commit the same amount of time, but I am saying that you should put effort into your marketing planning process.
For many solopreneurs, this can be a mystery. Where do you start with marketing your new product?
In this article, I will demystify the process so that you can take some concrete action-steps towards developing a marketing plan that brings in leads and turns them into customers.
The most critical part of any marketing sales strategy is to establish a brand identity.
What do you think about when you hear someone say “Apple”?
Some of you may think about the fruit, but most people think about the Apple brand. It is more than a logo and colors, it is the experience you feel when shopping for (and using) their products.
Now, I am not saying that to be successful you need to reach “Apple status” with your business. That would be great, but it is far from necessary.
The key takeaway is that Apple is very deliberate in what they do, and this is in large part because they have a well-thought-out brand positioning statement. This statement is the guidepost for everything in the business. For the website experience, the product design, and the sales process.
Prior to doing anything related to marketing, you should develop your own brand positioning statement and robust brand identity. By doing this, you will also define your unique value proposition, which is how you intend to differentiate from your competition. This is useful in getting you to think outward in your industry.
When you have a brand identity determined, it is time to research your market to choose your “angle of attack”.
Your approach to the market (or “angle of attack”) is the result of what you learn by analyzing the feedback that people leave your competitors. The easiest way to do this is by looking at online reviews.
I am a huge fan of the power of reviews. They are often unfiltered, emotionally driven, and full of golden takeaways about a market. They can directly influence your marketing sales strategy in terms of your messaging, sales page layout, and even your value proposition.
Some tips when you analyze reviews:
- Filter by 5-star and 1-star for emotion-driven feedback.
- Search the text for possible headlines for your sales page.
- Determine (if possible) what the customer used before or which product they elected to use as the result of a bad experience.
- Analyze reviews across multiple review sites.
- Filter by the past year, two years, then three years to better understand how the industry shifted, if at all.
Once you know your market, your brand, and your message, then it is time to get people to your website.
I am not a marketing guru, that’s for sure. Even still, I was able to get over 1 million visitors a year to the website of my previous software company.
I am a believer in creating meaningful content as part of a sales marketing strategy. It has been proven since the dawn of the internet, and as long as you don’t try to take any shortcuts, then it can pay off in a big way!
You don’t have to start a blog, but some form of content creation will be critical to your inbound marketing strategy. I have friends who have started podcasts and pitch their own products during the “commercials”. Others still have created extremely popular YouTube channels to build trust and then sell their product(s) to those who watch the videos.
The point is that you can’t exclusively rely upon paid advertising in your sales marketing strategy. Diversify the channels in which people can find you.
Focus on conversion rate optimization.
Once you have people visiting your website, you need to optimize it for conversions. A conversion is something that you define. It could be a sale or an email sign-up, for example.
The ultimate goal for any business is making sales, but don’t let that dissuade you from creating other conversion goals on your website. Depending on the price point for your product or service, you may need to have a longer sales cycle, so you can build trust with the prospective customer. In this case, a viable conversion goal is to book a sales call.
This is the part of your sales marketing strategy that requires measurement methods. You can’t just guess what works, you have to measure and look at the numbers. Configuring conversion goals in Google is one way to capture this kind of information.
Article: The 7-Step CRO Marketing Strategy
Continue to monitor your sales marketing strategy and make adjustments as needed.
In business, what works today might not work tomorrow. But you don’t know if that’s the case unless you are actively monitoring your marketing.
If some of your key metrics start to decrease, such as sales and overall website visitors, then you may need to make adjustments to your messaging so that it better resonates with prospective customers. You may also consider adding new marketing channels.
By way of example, in my first software company, I relied heavily upon blogging. This was doing well, but I found that our competition had a better presence on YouTube. So, I started a YouTube channel to reach a wider audience. This helped to increase brand awareness (visitors to the website) and translated to an increase in revenue.
If you have the measurements in place from your conversion rate optimization, then this is something you can easily track. You may find that at some point you need to make a messaging change, which is fine! In fact, changing your brand messaging can give you a much-needed boost to your bottom line.
The best companies are always adapting to the market to stay relevant. Watch your data closely so that you can both gain market share and keep it.
The best marketing sales strategy relies upon hard-facts and not “hunches”.
At the end of the day, the most effective marketing sales strategy is data-oriented, and not the result of guessing. You get this data by analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data in your market.
Not sure where to begin? At GapScout, we have created artificial intelligence-driven software to help you extract meaningful data about your market by looking at the opinions of your target market. Get started today!
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