Over the past few weeks I’ve been working directly with some members of the #EthicalHour community to put together their marketing strategies for 2018.
It’s the perfect time to reflect on what’s worked for you and what you want to achieve as we move into the new year – and you can use those reflections to set yourself up for success.
Whether you’ve had a marketing strategy before or you’re starting from scratch, there are 3 basic elements that every brand should define.
These will give your marketing efforts focus, increase your return on investment (ROI) and improve your content, social media and brand presence. Everything you need to get your brand in front of the right people who want to buy your products or services!
Get clear on what you offer and who it’s for
Start by reviewing your brand values. As an ethical business, your values help you tell your story, stand out from the crowd and build a relationship with potential customers.
You should have 3 – 4 core values that define what your brand stand for. These should be summarised into a short word or phrase, but you might want to add a paragraph of explanation to accompany them.
Some brands display this on their website, others keep it to themselves.
Either way, revisiting and redefining your values will help keep you focused in the year ahead.
For example, here at #EthicalHour, some of our core values are:
We empower people with the knowledge, resources and connections they need to live and work more ethically and achieve their business and lifestyle goals.
We believe that ethical consumers and business owners are stronger together. We value collaboration over competition. We want to bring together an international community of ethically-focused people who support each other to create a positive impact.
Every piece of content, marketing material and business decision you make should align to your values. Keeping these at the front of your mind helps give you direction, avoid overwhelm and stay true to your brand.
Your target customer
It’s important to revisit your customer profile regularly.
You may have collected more information about your ideal customers throughout this year – either formally through surveys and research or informally through social media interactions.
Add any new details to your customer profile and review the information you have to make sure you’re still targeting the right people.
Staying focused on your target customer will help you write content that attracts them to your brand and grows your audience.
Know the benefits
Features define what a product does, benefits explain how it will improve the user’s life. When we’re writing marketing and sales messaging, we should always focus on the benefits.
For example, the feature of an iPod may be that it has 1G of storage space. The benefit of that is that you have access to 1,000 songs in your pocket.
As soon as you start talking about benefits, you use more emotive language and begin to build an emotional connection with the potential customer.
Your goal is to make them think how they would feel if they had those benefits for themselves. This creates desire and starts to move them into a buying state.
People buy emotionally, not rationally, and they only buy things they need. We make our buying decisions subconsciously and then rationalise them afterwards. By building an emotional connection and selling based on benefits, you are appealing to their subconscious and creating a need for your product.
Revisit your recent social media updates and website copy to see how benefits-focused it is. If you find yourself writing more about the features, list them all down and write the benefits next to them.
Before any updates, copy or content goes out, do a quick read-through to see how well it is communicating the benefits rather than features. This will naturally make your marketing more sales-focused without being pushy.
Define your customer promise
Once you’ve got clear on your benefits, you should be able to make your marketing efforts more streamlined.
The key is not to overwhelm the potential customer with ideas, solutions and benefits but to focus on one thing – what is their number one problem that you can solve?
All your marketing activity should educate and inform them on the problem, show them that you are the right person to solve that problem (build trust) and demonstrate how by selling the benefits of what you do.
To do this effectively, you need to use your values and benefits to define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
This is a short paragraph that explains what makes your brand unique and why customers should buy from you. What are you promising your customers about the impact you will have on their lives?
Set SMART goals
Once you’ve defined your brand more clearly and revisited your values, customer promise and target audience, you’re ready to plan your marketing for 2018.
To really make it happen, you need to set yourself goals and make them SMART.
Get specific about numbers, give yourself a deadline (because we all know nothing will happen without one!) and work out how you’ll measure success.
Ask yourself questions like:
- How many people do you want to reach (and on what platform)?
- What publications do you want to be featured in?
- Who do you want to connect with and work with?
- How many blog articles will you publish per month?
Each area of your strategy should have a goal attached to it so you know what you’re aiming for. You can even break these down into micro-goals throughout the year as a good excuse to celebrate the small wins!
For example, one of my goals for the year ahead is to work with 12 ethical brands (1 per month) next year to promote their products and services on Instagram.
I’ve attached an income goal to it (I know how much I need to make to make that happen) and I’ve even made a ‘wish list’ of brands I’d like to approach (but I’m still taking suggestions so feel free to shout out if you’re an ethical brand or you know a good one!)
I also know that I need to increase my audience and engagement on Instagram to make it attractive to brands – so I’ve set myself the micro-goal of getting to 10,000 followers before Christmas (help me out?) – it’s a great way to stay focused and make the big goal feel more achievable by breaking it down into smaller steps.
Now I’m working on setting goals for the rest of my marketing efforts – including the blog, podcast and sponsorship programme. I’ll write these all down and break them into micro-goals for each week or month. Once those are in my diary it’ll create my to-do list and keep me focused.
Are you ready to get really clear about your marketing in 2018?
I’m offering a limited number of bespoke, 1 hour strategy sessions after Christmas.
You’ll be able to pick my brain, get feedback on your current marketing, work with me to define your customer promise, USP or goals…whatever it takes to set you up for a successful year of growing your brand!
I’m a marketing consultant with almost 10 years experience of growing brands. I specialise in helping ethical businesses get strategic, grow their brand and maximise their impact. Plus I’m a qualified and experienced coach too.
I’m offering just 6 sessions for the special price of £60 so book now to secure yours.
When you book I’ll send you a short questionnaire to complete, I’ll review your website and social media and then we’ll spend a 1 hour online Zoom call together talking about the areas of marketing and branding you want to focus on. Book your call now or contact me for more information.