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Defining your marketing strategy

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

​In our introductory article to getting your business idea online, we looked at some of the hurdles faced by Small Business owners when creating their website, from domain selection to copy and imagery, to launching a site that no one visits or buys from!

In 'part one' of getting your business idea online we're going to take an in-depth look at how to define your online marketing strategy so that your website meets your customers requirements. In 'part two' we will look at creating your site.

In this article we look at the following key areas:

So that you are ready to start creating your marketing plan!


Defining your strategy: The idea

Let's start with the idea. You first need to define your brand identity, your products and services and your proposition. Before you begin, ask yourself, if you could be known for just one thing, what would it be? This will help you to create a good domain name and will also be the message that permeates through your website and online marketing. ​

Your identity and brand

  • Who are you? What do you stand for? Tell the story of how you and your product or service came to being and why.

  • Why should I trust you? Show potential customers what credentials you have to be offering this service or product – accreditations, training, CPD, experience, time in the job, handed down knowledge etc.

  • Which single words would you use to describe your brand? This is about the personality of your ‘brand’, write down what you want people to think, feel and know when they engage with you.

How does your identity impact your website?

Consider your website as a virtual representation of a shop. When someone walks into a physical shop, they are looking for reasons to stay or to leave. They're making assumptions based on: how you greeted them; the colours of the décor; how clean and tidy the shop is; how clearly products are displayed and labelled, is the store cluttered? If it's a service rather than a product, they're looking for a menu of the services and the prices. They're looking for indicators to determine whether to stay in your shop. All of this is done so quickly – a matter of seconds - and the same behaviour is applied to your website. So, take time to consider the look and feel of your website; what information you provide about yourself and your products and the ‘tone’ of the voice you use online – determined by the words you use and how you use them. ​

What does the public know about the product or service you are offering?

Now we come to your proposition and how you define your products and services. Consider what the general public would know about your product / service, is it something your audience is familiar with or do they need to learn more about it?

  • If it's familiar, how are you different to the competition? Pull out your unique selling point(s). This doesn’t have to be price, it could be quality, experience, functionality etc.

  • If it's not something that people are familiar with, then you need to show them why they need your product. Usually this is either relieving a pain point or fulfilling a dream. You need to explain or demonstrate how using your product or service will be better than what they have done before.

Also think about what information you have that supports all the good things you are saying about your product / service and brand. This will be items such as case studies, reviews, images, or even a description of your processes that show how simple it is to use your product, service, website, your returns policy, etc. All of this helps to support your proposition and message to the site visitor.

Applying the proposition to the customer purchase journey

How much the person knows about your product or service will also determine how much background information you need to provide on your site prior to purchase. For example, if you are selling wellies with personalised graphics on, that is something people know about and you could lead with the products. But if your product is not familiar, you're going to need to provide more information to the customer before they purchase. Equally, keep in mind that if your product IS familiar but it has a higher quality and therefore higher cost, you are going to need to explain in the customer journey why your product is worth the additional price tag. Otherwise you will just get people “bouncing” out once they see the price. Finally, when creating your site be clear on the MAIN purpose of your site, e.g. drive more business, provide information etc, make bookings, attend an event. Keep your messaging, this goal AND the visitors INTENT as the priority! For example, if you want people to buy and they have landed with a purchase intent, DO NOT have a pop up two steps in to your journey that distracts from the sale! This is the online equivalent of someone approaching the till, just about to get their card out to pay for your product when someone else starts a conversation with them and they put the product down and wander off!


Defining your strategy: The market

Now let's consider the market, your competition and the business opportunities.

Where does your business come from?

Firstly, it’s good to establish where your business comes from at the current point in time and where you want it to come from in future.

Consider also if you get more loyal customers through a particular channel. For example, if most of your traffic is from Google paid search but this produces a lot of one-time small purchases, but word of mouth referrals create many repeat purchasers, you may want to run a recommend a friend campaign and also ask this loyal base for Google, Facebook and other social reviews to support your paid search. Knowing who you are targeting with your website and your pages will also determine the structure, the page layout and the messaging and words you use.

Who is your competition?

Make a list of your direct competitors and establish: what their proposition is; what their pricing is; how they are reaching their audience; is there a channel that you can exploit that they're not using? Or that they are using but you can do better? Again, consider these competitors as other shops on your street. How can you get people to your door and not their door? How are you differentiating your product so customers visit your shop not your competitors? What would you tell people? What would you offer? But also, don’t be caught out by indirection competition. Who or what else might your product / service be competing against?

For example, if you have a Go-Karting business and are targeting corporate off-site days, you will be competing for the spend against other Karting businesses as well as other off-site ideas such as ‘activity centres’. Or staying with the shop analogy, you might be selling high quality women’s blouses, so you compete against the high street clothing brands, but also potentially with the shoe shops - if the consumer has a budget to spend, it may go on shoes or accessories.


Defining your strategy: The target

Finally, be clear on who your idea will appeal to. Think about who you are trying to reach.

  • What do they look like? - is there a specific age, gender, income?

  • What are they typing into Google? What keywords and phrases might they use? Which of those do your current customers use when talking to you?

  • What media are they consuming? What do they read? How are they influenced? News, online articles, blog posts, tweets, reviews?

  • Is your location as a supplier important? Are your customers looking to buy locally?

  • What additional services can you offer? After they have bought your product or consumed your service, what else might they need or use?

Creating personas

The last thing you can do, which can be really helpful, is create personas for each different audience type that might be coming to your website. For example; This is Bill, 45, professional job, high income, health addict - he's done his research and knows exactly what he wants, so he’s going to type ‘blue Asics gel trainers’ into the search and wants to go straight to the shop page to buy. This is Elaine, 20, student, active on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, influenced by Social Media icons or celebrities, will try a product based on their endorsement, and she loves to shop. It's exciting and she wants to spend time looking for new shoes and the latest fashions. The two pages and journeys you create for Elaine and Bill will be very different.

Next steps

We’ve created a prep sheet so you can so you can begin to formalise your plan based on all of the above information.

Getting started online - the prep guide
Download PDF • 94KB

​Once you've crystallised your ideas, your brand and brand personality, your values, your proposition, the purpose of your site visit and you’ve identified your marketplace and defined your audience, you're ready for part two: making the dream a reality – creating your website, which is available again as a video or an article.

But if it’s all just too time consuming and you want to hand over your digital marketing or website build, we can help with that too! You can contact us via email or by calling 01458 860528


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