Always start with marketing strategy, not tactics!

You know you should do this, right?

But let’s be honest, it can be so tempting to overlook the marketing strategy and jump right in with the fun stuff.

Without a strategy, though, how can you inform all the tactics that you are/want to use in your marketing?

You can’t, is the honest answer…

The sad reality is most freelancers and small businesses don’t have a marketing strategy, and that’s mainly because devising one is easier said than done.

After all, creating a marketing strategy takes time and effort. It’s a background activity that doesn’t get you any immediate results. And that’s one of the reasons why so many micro-businesses skip it and head straight for tactics.

Unfortunately, I also see too many social media managers jumping straight to delivery, without making sure that their clients have an integrated digital marketing strategy in place!

What is a ‘marketing strategy’ anyway?

Before we go any further, let’s clarify some of the terms that we’re using here.

A strategy is your overarching marketing plan. It’s your roadmap outlining where you are right now and where you want to ultimately be (and by when). It includes your goals, deadlines and all the specific steps you’ll need to undertake to successfully complete your mission.

Not having a marketing strategy is like going on a hike or a backpacking adventure without having any training or a plan.

Now you might buy the right equipment or clothes. You might even get a map and a compass. But if you don’t have the exact map of the right mountain range, it will be of no use to you. Likewise, if you don’t know how to use your compass, you’ll struggle. And if you’ve never worn your brand new hiking boots before, chances are you will not get far in them.

In the best case, you will safely reach somewhere you didn’t plan on going. In the worst case, you could get lost or even seriously injured!

And even though it might be a nice adventure in itself, in most cases, you don’t have an unlimited amount of time and resources to be roaming the mountains without a clear destination — and the same goes for your marketing endeavours. That’s why you need to have a plan!

Tactics without a strategy just create noise

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

-Sun Tzu

You might already know some tactics. You might also know some tools to use. Maybe you have some ideas about what content you want to put out. Perhaps you’ve got some great ideas for blog posts or videos. However, without a specific roadmap that leads towards the right goal(s), you are just throwing your darts blind into the darkness (and won’t achieve what you want).

So before you start posting on social media, please make a plan!

I often get people asking me very detailed, specific questions like “how many hashtags should I use on my Instagram stories?” and “which tools are the best to use to design your Instagram Stories?” or “What is the best time to post on LinkedIn and how many times a day/week?” and so on and so forth.

All these things are like a cherry on the top of your cake! But without the cake, you just have a bowl of cherries.

You need to start by building your cake. You need to pick your flavour and decide how big your cake should be; how many tiers you want to bake; and how you’ll make sure it all sticks together the way you want.

You need to go beyond understanding just how social media marketing works. You need to go further than learning about funnels, email marketing and/or building customer personas.

It’s crucial to actually know how marketing works. What drives people. How you will get people interested in your company’s product or service? How will you make potential customers aware of your offering, make them realise they need it and make them want it, and ultimately sell it to them?

Only then you can start considering how social media is connected to other marketing approaches, be it email marketing, content marketing, video marketing, whatever.

And you also need to know how you can bring this all together into one integrated strategy that will deliver the results that you need.

So, if you want to chat about how to get your marketing strategy sorted, and ultimately get better results out of your social media marketing, then hit me up.

I’d be more than happy to chat, and help you plan your roadmap towards success. Without one, you’ll just create noise.