How to Create a Marketing Strategy that Aligns with Your Business Goals
- The most effective business goals follow the SMART criteria.
- Your objective and audience research will be crucial to creating a successful marketing campaign.
- There are countless marketing channels and materials to choose from, all of which offer something special to each business’s unique goals.
Whatever hurdle a business may need to overcome and whatever successes it may strive to achieve, marketing is a powerful and multi-faceted tool that can be relied upon.
Whether you want to increase your website’s organic search traffic, overcome reputational brand damage, or encourage customers to return, you can use marketing in some way.
You may choose to utilise the far-reaching discipline of digital marketing or take the route of traditional marketing to reach your audience. Regardless, your business’s goals can be reached with the help of a new strategy.
As long as you begin with concrete objectives and lay detailed foundations, your marketing efforts can succeed.
So, let’s dive into how you can create a marketing strategy that not only aligns with your business’s goals but achieves them:
Understanding your business goals
It’s essential that any new campaign or strategy begins with clearly outlined goals. So, before you begin planning your new marketing efforts, you’ll need to clarify your objectives. For example:
A business owner has the vague idea that they’d like to increase revenue.
They’ll need to confirm which parts of the business are underperforming:
- Are they getting lots of first-time customers, but none are returning?
- Or are they failing to attract new customers completely?
These are the sorts of questions and clarifications that need to be used to refine a business objective. In our example, the business owner settles on:
I want to boost revenue by attracting new customers.
Once this objective has been clarified, our example business owner can move on to the next stage:
Define your marketing objective
Next up, we get more specific. This is when you turn an overall end goal into an actionable and measurable marketing objective. We recommend using the SMART acronym to stay on task. These letters stand for the following:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – relevant
T – time-bound
It’s crucial that your objectives have these qualities. If they don’t, they may be too unrealistic, vague, untraceable, or unhelpful.
Examples that meet the SMART criteria include:
I want to increase organic website traffic by 15% within 6 months.
This can be measured by tracking the number of organic site visitors in Google Analytics. It’s achievable if the business has the budget to implement SEO best practices, create high-quality content, and engage in content promotion. And finally, this objective is relevant if the business needs better brand visibility or a higher conversion rate.
I want to grow my email subscriber list by 1,000 new subscribers in 3 months.
This can be monitored using an email marketing software and is achievable if the business is able to offer a valuable lead magnet. It’s relevant because a larger mailing list can lead to more opportunities for engagement, sales, and customer retention. However, the business must have reason to believe a larger mailing list will provide these results (i.e., if it’s already successfully converting its current subscribers).
I want to increase the average engagement rate on Instagram posts by 5% in 4 months.
This objective can be measured by tracking engagement rate with Instagram Insights. It’s likely to be achievable if the business can post more UGC, run interactive polls, and collaborate with influencers to boost engagement. It’s a relevant goal as higher engagement rates can improve brand loyalty and increase the organic reach of posts. However, the business’s target audience must be regular users of social media.
As you can see, marketing objectives should be kept simple. Our example business owner may come up with something like this:
I want to gain 200 new customers in 6 months. I can monitor this with my CRM and Google Analytics. This objective is relevant because my business is good at retaining existing customers but will benefit from 200 new ones. It’s an achievable goal because my business sells on-trend skincare products at middle-range prices, and I can afford to offer a first-purchase 20% discount and run a social media campaign.
Once you can fill out every letter of the SMART criteria, it’s time to move on to the next stage:
Who are your target audience?
Next, it’s crucial that you know and understand your target audience. Not only is it essential when defining your business goals, but you’ll also use this information when you use audience targeting tools and start crafting marketing messaging toward certain demographics.
You can understand your target audience in several ways:
- Use Google Analytics to better understand site visitors’ behaviours, preferences, and demographics.
- Study your competitors’ audiences to identify potential similarities, differences, and opportunities.
- Use built-in audience insights tools on the social media platforms you already use to gather information about engagement patterns and audience interests.
- Create a Buyer Persona to better understand your audience’s motivations, needs, and characteristics.
After doing the above research, our example business owner comes to the following conclusion:
My target audience is women between the ages of 18 and 35. They live all over the UK but especially in cities. They’re willing to pay middle-range prices for high-quality skincare, especially if the ingredients are trending on social media. They’re motivated by skincare influencers, dermatological content, and the desire to protect their skin from environmental factors. My audience will save skincare content online and find value in it, especially if it’s educational.
And now, they can move on to the next phase:
Choose the right marketing channel
There are countless channels you could choose for your marketing campaign. Here are just several ways you could launch your new strategy:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Blog posts
- Guest posts
- Paid advertising
- Affiliate marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Backlink outreach
- Radio advertising
- Outdoor advertising (e.g., billboards, transit ads)
- Sponsorships and partnerships
- Direct mail
- Television advertising
- Native advertising
- Trade shows and events
- Refer-a-friend schemes
- Press releases
Clearly, you’re spoiled for choice.
It’s crucial that you pick the right marketing channel for your business. This process shouldn’t be daunting, though. Once you’ve done the research into your target audience and refined your marketing objectives, the right channels should be obvious.
For instance, our example business owner is likely to pick the following:
I’m going to launch a social media campaign with videos and graphics to educate and entertain platform users. I’ll also collaborate with skincare influencers to promote my products to a larger audience.
Create your marketing materials
Once you know how you’re going to deliver your new marketing campaign, it’s time to create your message. Whether textual or visual, your marketing materials will need to be crafted with your target audience and marketing objectives in mind.
The following are some of the marketing materials you may need to create and top tips:
- When creating long-form content, you may need to hire a content writer or SEO specialist if you need extra help.
- Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs for comprehensive keyword research, as this will support your site’s SEO performance.
- Ensure content is well-researched, original, and provides value to the reader. These qualities are fundamental to SEO best practice.
- Incorporate internal and external links to reputable sources. You may like to do some backlink outreach, if you have the budget, to support your site’s authority.
Short form content
- Whether it’s social media captions, paid ads, email copy, or SMS, you might need to hire a copywriter or social media manager for extra help.
- Ensure your messaging is concise and clear.
- Don’t forget to use a consistent brand voice across all the different platforms you use to engage with customers.
- You may want to A/B test different copy variations to see what resonates best with your audience.
- If you’re new to creating video content, you may need to hire a videographer, video editor, or scriptwriter to ensure your work is completed to a high quality.
- Make sure the equipment you buy or rent (camera, microphone, lighting equipment, editing software) is of a high standard.
- Plan your video content thoroughly with a clear storyboard.
- Ensure your videos have good lighting and sound quality, as these can deter viewers instantly.
- Keep your videos engaging with visuals, music, trending sounds, animations, or B‑roll footage.
Photography and graphics
- If you need some help with this kind of content, you may want to hire a photographer or graphic designer.
- Make sure you use a high-resolution camera and reliable graphic design software (e.g., Adobe Creative Suite).
- It’s recommended that you use consistent branding across all your content, including a colour scheme.
- Optimise your images for web to ensure fast loading times.
- When possible, use original images over stock photos to foster authentic and trustworthy branding.
- When embarking on creating audio content for the first time, you may need to hire a sound engineer or experienced voice-over artist to ensure high standards.
- Likewise, having a high-quality microphone, a soundproof room, and audio editing software is essential to creating excellent audio content.
- Do your best to ensure sound quality is crisp and clear.
- You may like to edit out any unnecessary pauses or background noises.
- When writing and designing attractive deals and offers, you might benefit from the help of a marketing strategist or graphic designer.
- Offers should be time-sensitive to create a sense of urgency in leads.
- The value and benefits of the offer should be communicated clearly.
- Visuals can really make offers stand out. So, make these compelling.
- To get professional help with leaflets, you might need to hire a graphic designer or copywriter.
- Using a high-quality printing service is crucial if you want your leaflets to look professional.
- Similarly, you’ll need to use high-quality paper and printing techniques.
- Ensure your call to action is clear and that your lead magnet is attractive (if you’re using one).
- Keep the design of your leaflet clean and uncluttered, so your message can be understood instantly.
- To get help with creating a webinar for the first time, you may need to hire a content expert or video producer.
- Again, good equipment is crucial, e.g., webcam, microphone, and webinar software.
- Make sure you promote your webinar well in advance.
- If your webinar is live, engage the audience with a Q&A session.
Backlink or guest post proposals
- If you haven’t done backlink outreach before, you may need to hire an SEO specialist to help. Plus, an experienced content writer can ensure your guest post is of the highest standard.
- Your outreach proposal emails should be personalised, showcase the value you can provide, and target relevant websites in your industry.
General tips for creating marketing materials
- Consistency is really important. Make sure all your marketing materials maintain brand consistency in terms of colours, fonts, tone, and messaging.
- Before finalising any material, get feedback from peers, colleagues, or a focus group of customers.
- Look into colour theory when designing emails, leaflets, calls-to-action, or social media posts. Outside of your brand colours, colour can be crucial in swaying the feelings of potential customers.
Start implementing your marketing strategy!
With the planning and creating out of the way, it’s time to implement your new strategy. Here are our recommendations for this stage:
1. Set a timeline
Deadlines are important, so it’s crucial that you set clear start and end dates for campaigns.
You might want to break down the campaign into smaller tasks and set milestones to track progress. If you plan to create a campaign made up of several parts, make sure you create a calendar to keep things on time.
2. Allocate your budget and resources
Estimate the cost of your strategy. How much will you bid for pay-per-click ads? How much will it cost to design all the social media graphics for your campaign? How much will you pay for radio or television ads?
If you cannot reach a definite fixed cost for your strategy, you’ll need to monitor your spending over time. It’s crucial that you track and allocate expenses in a way that ensures you stay within budget.
You’ll also need to define the roles and responsibilities of each involved team member. That way, things can run smoothly from the beginning. Don’t forget to identify the tools and platforms that will be used (e.g., email marketing software or social media scheduling tools). These will also need to be factored into your cost forecast.
3. Integrate your strategy across different channels
Though you may intend to launch your marketing campaign on one single channel, e.g., Instagram, it often helps to promote your efforts with another channel, e.g., email marketing. So, make a plan for how you’ll use different channels to support and amplify your message, e.g., sending an email after publishing a social media post.
Remember, if you’re going to do this, your messaging should be consistent across all channels.
4. Conduct quality assurance tests
Before launching your campaign, you should send test emails, preview social media posts, or run pilot ads. That way, you can iron out any issues before your launch date.
5. Create a contingency plan
Every campaign runs into bumps in the road. That’s why it’s so important to do a risk assessment before you launch, discuss any potential challenges that may arise, and create backup plans for each eventuality.
6. Launch your campaign
You may opt for a soft launch rather than a full launch if you prefer to start with a smaller audience and gather their initial feedback. On the other hand, you might want to be as loud as possible from the start. If so, consider bolstering your campaign with a press release or local radio shout-out to get the ball rolling.
Make sure you monitor your campaign in real-time during its launch to address any issues immediately.
Monitor and maintain your strategy’s performance
If you want your new campaign to remain on track to achieve your marketing objectives, you’ll need to measure its performance. This is crucial because you may need to adjust your campaign or expand your objective to encompass an unprecedented hiccup.
Plus, how are you going to know when you’ve achieved your goal?
When it comes to measuring your strategy’s performance, you’ll need to keep an eye on a handful of key performance indicators (KPIs). The KPIs you monitor will depend on your objective, but they could be some of the following:
- Conversion rate
- Engagement rate
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Bounce rate
- Cost per acquisition (CPA)
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Average order value (AOV)
- Net promoter score (NPS)
- Website traffic (from different sources)
- Page views
- Time on page
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Open rate (for emails)
- Unsubscribe rate
- Social media followers/shares/likes
- Cart abandonment rate
- Customer satisfaction score
- Gross margin
To get a better understanding of marketing KPIs for e‑commerce, check out this article, which goes into more depth.
When looking at your dataset, try to go beyond those initial numbers. For example, segment it by audience and analyse how different groups interact with your campaigns. You might find that younger users engage more with video content, while older users prefer detailed articles.
By understanding these nuances, you can tailor your marketing materials to better cater to specific audience segments, leading to improved overall performance. Additionally, you may want to alter your original objectives in light of the information you discover.