The Power of Marketing

Written by - 13/08/2015

Having a website helps to convert prospective customers into live customers for your business, however, having a website doesn’t mean that prospective customers will come flocking to your website. That’s where marketing comes into action.

Let’s say that you have just commissioned a fantastic new website created for your online shop. Previously, you had a dated website that was difficult to navigate and had a few technical bugs which meant that payments sometimes worked, but often didn’t. Your new website doesn’t have any of these problems and it’s been optimised to increase sales. Great news! Your existing customer base can now find and purchase your products really easily. But, how do you attract new customers and increase the footfall of your website?

Having a standard template for marketing isn’t going to work. What works for one business may not work for yours and this is because every business is different. Starting at the beginning by creating a marketing strategy means you’ll get the most out of your marketing budget. But what does a marketing strategy look like?

Marketing Strategy

Firstly, a Digital Marketer would want to know about your business. Our clients are in a great position, as very often, we have created their website and also carry out marketing for them, which means we already know a lot about their business. However, let’s say we didn’t know anything about you. What would we want to know? Below are some of the questions we’d ask, along with some example answers to give perspective.

Q: What does your business do?
A: We manufacture and sell shoes.

Q: What are your company strengths?
A: We stock a huge range of shoes in all sizes so our customers get choice that is always available. Additionally, because we manufacture the shoes we sell, we have extensive knowledge about fashions, trends, materials, as well as fitting.

Q: What are your company weaknesses?
A: We aren’t the cheapest shoe shop around because we only manufacture high-quality shoes.

Q: How do you think your company is viewed by your current customers?
A: We get a lot of great feedback from our customers. They tell us that our shoe range is very extensive, especially for children, and also our advice on fitting is very useful. We have had some negative feedback about our delivery process which is something we are looking into at the moment with the possibility of changing our delivery provider.

Q: What are your current marketing activities?
A: We aren’t doing anything at the moment.

Q: What marketing have you done in the past?
A: We have advertised in magazines but this hasn’t proved to be very beneficial and we haven’t seen a great return. Other than that, we haven’t really done anything before.

Q: What are your competitors doing with their marketing?
A: Lots of our competitors are now based online. The types of marketing that we see them doing is online advertising with banners on websites. We also see that a lot of our competitors send emails out to their customers to promote new lines and market at particular times of the year.

Q: What is your 12-month marketing budget?
A: We’re not really sure. We’re interested in getting a return and would prefer to start off small and increase the spend as we see the marketing working.

What next?

With this information, a Digital Marketer can begin to create a marketing strategy that is tailored to your needs outlined in your answers. For example, based on the answers above, there would be little point in presenting a marketing strategy that was spread out over a 5 year period with a spend of £200,000 a year. The answers that have been given would suggest a better approach of focusing on 12 months, with particular focus on the next 3 months. The first 3 months may suggest a spend of £500-£1000 a month to aid with initial setup, and then an ongoing spend of £300-£500 a month. The strategy may also go into more detail towards the end of the 12 months to suggest an increase in spend, based on an expected return.

A useful marketing strategy would include a plan for a set period of time with details of specific work to be carried out. What would this actually look like? Let’s look at a 3-month marketing strategy for our example online shoe shop.

Month 1 – Spend: £1,000 (+ ongoing PPC spend: £300)

  1. Setup PPC account with multiple campaigns focussed on men’s work shoes, women’s evening shoes, and children’s school shoes.
  2. Setup an email sign up incentive on the website. This would have an offer of 10% off a first order. This offer would be in exchange for a customer’s email address.
  3. Design and build 3 separate email templates.
    • The first would be for single product promotions (e.g. 30% off Clark’s Black School Shoes),
    • the second would be for event-driven promotions (e.g. Christmas, School Holidays, Summer),
    • and the third would be for non-offer emails (e.g. showcasing the wide range of products available but without any offer).
  4. Setup and install a trusted review plugin (e.g. Trustpilot) so that these reviews are visible on the website.
  5. Create and present a monthly report on spend, metrics, and return.

Month 2 – Spend: £800 (+ ongoing PPC spend: £300)

  1. Create an email campaign for a ‘start of the school term’ event driven promotion. This would include 9 x selected products with a set offer of 15% across all school shoe products. We recommend running this email campaign for 3 weeks with 5 x emails going out across this period of time. The final email will need to show a sense of urgency as the offer is ending shortly.
  2. Design website promotional material for the ‘start of the school term‘ event. This would include;
    • a banner for the home page slide show,
    • banners to be placed in promotional areas across the site,
    • as well as a landing page for a PPC campaign.
  3. During the 3-week event promotion, we recommend promoting individual products across Twitter. These tweets are to include an image of the product, a short description, the price, as well as the percentage offer. All these products are related to the overall event promotion.
  4. Create and present a monthly report on spend, metrics, and return.

Month 3 – Spend: £700 (+ ongoing PPC spend: £300)

  1. Create remarketing campaigns for men’s work shoes and women’s evening shoes. These are to be visual advertising campaigns (not solely text based) and are to attract customers who have visited the site previously.
  2. Create an email marketing campaign to educate customers about the shoe manufacturing process. This is to be communicated across 3 x emails where the manufacturing process is broken down as steps. This is an education and brand awareness campaign and may not result in instant direct sales like other campaigns.
  3. For future consideration: Create a video of the shoe manufacturing process which can be used on the website as well as in promotions.
  4. Create and present a monthly report on spend, metrics, and return.

Why is a marketing strategy so important?

Having a marketing strategy means you have a plan. This plan can then be implemented and most importantly, measured against. All marketing should be measured, as ROI (return on investment) must be demonstrated. Here, at WDL, we place a lot of emphasis on ROI. Why? Because we like professional business relationships, and these are grown and nurtured through ROI. If you spend £1 with us and we can demonstrate a return of £2 then you are going to spend another £1 with us. It would be business suicide not to.

The power of marketing should never be underestimated. You could have the most usable, functionally rich website, but if you aren’t attracting customers then your website isn’t a useful tool for your business. Marketing can take a lot of different formats, and the ones detailed above are only a select few, but having a marketing strategy should always be a first port of call because, without it, you don’t have any goals, you don’t have any activities to perform, and you don’t have any way of measuring the power of your own marketing.

If you would like assistance with your marketing strategy – or if you are looking to develop your existing digital marketing activities, contact the WDL team and find out how we can help.