There are a number of marketing tactics that can be helpful to business owners who are trying to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Whether you prefer to use tried and tested marketing solutions, or you decide to jump on board the latest trendy phenomenon, or even outsource your marketing to a marketing agency, you will probably not get the results you are looking for unless you plan your strategy first. Many businesses make the mistake of putting marketing tactics before strategy, but in reality if you have a solid strategy in place, the tactics you use are less important.

How do I develop a solid marketing strategy?

If you are working with a marketing agency, they can help you develop your strategy, but if you prefer to go it alone there are two things you will need to ask yourself about your business.

Who is my target audience?

The first thing you need to do is define your target audience. These are not necessarily going to be the clients who can pay the most, but those you can work with on a long-term basis, and whose needs you can most readily meet. Once you have defined who you would like to attract, you can base your marketing strategy on reaching them.

What is my point of difference?

As any marketing agency or professional will tell you, effective marketing depends on standing out from the crowd, but many businesses find it difficult to determine their point of difference, or what it is that makes them better than the competition, or unique. One way to figure out your point of difference is to interview current and previous clients, and find out why they hired you, or what they feel you do best. This can give you a clear indication of what your strengths are, and how you can present these to best effect in your marketing activities.

Great marketing strategy does not depend on quantity, but on quality of leads and conversion rates. A narrowly targeted marketing campaign is more likely to bring direct results and a higher return on investment (ROI) than a campaign that casts the net as widely as possible in the hope of bringing in a few customers. This is why it is essential to work out who you are going to target, and how you are going to market yourself to them, before you start developing your strategy, and your tactics.