You probably already heard the phrase “beginnings are always the hardest”. Maybe you even believe it. Well, yes, beginnings can be tough but another thing about them is – they are extremely important. If you are building something, you want a solid foundation, right? It’s exactly the same when it comes to starting any marketing or communication actions for your company. You need a good, sustainable starting point. You need a strategy.
You might ask ‘why strategy?’. And I am glad to answer that question with another: How can you plan your budgets or execute any idea without set goals? In my opinion, having a strategy is simply put, necessary. It’s a tool that will not only help you in case of any emergencies but what’s more important- it will make your plan work.
Ok, so here’s a simple guide to all those who have very little or even zero experience with building strategies. We will use an example of a software house, let’s call it “SH20”.
### 1. Set goals
Goals are the most important thing and you should set them in a first place. Basically, in communication there are two main goals: boost or build sales; build brand awareness. Remember, that you can go deeper and: I want to boost sales to 20 units.
If your goal is to build brand awareness question yourself about what image exactly do you want to build? I will explain you best on our SH20 example. Here it goes!
1. Build brand awareness
What SH20 brand is? We are young and bold. We think outside the box. Our work is our passion. We deliver on time. We have the highest quality possible. We believe, that our own development means development of our clients as well. We educate on building sustainable code. Our clients love us and recommend us.
What SH20 brand is not? Typical software house: boring and bored developers with no passion nor energy.
2. Gain new clients
We want to generate at least 20 leads every month.
And that’s it! First step is behind you! You might be surprised I haven’t written about exact things like: to get featured on Business Insider. Well, I didn’t, we will do that later.
### 2. Who is your client?
I hate word “target”. Why? It often comes, that people who are building strategies forget about what stands behind that word: human. Think of your “target” as you’d think of your friends.
Now, try to define who is your best friend? Define your dream-come-true client. Not a group of clients. One client. Later on it will be easier for you to validate if your tools and ways of promotion are fitted.
One thing about clients, that all service companies should remember: you will work with or for them, and none of us wants to work for a person we dislike. So be selective, don’t take all that’ll come.
Oh, and remember – we all have aspirations and dreams. Those are often the factors driving our decisions. So do not forget to define: who my client wants to be (and if I can help him to get there anyhow)?
Who is the best friend of SH20?
My best friend has no age [age], it does not matter for me if it’s a woman or a man [gender]. What means to me is this: he is decisive in his company. Right! Company! He works for telekom or hotel [industry] with around 200 employees [size]. He likes his job, but he hates working with developers: his only experience are bugs and annoying developers speaking with complicated language [problem you solve]. He likes to develop himself. He seeks for solution that will cost him no time and stress [your added value]. He lives in Poland and speaks English, exact location does not matter for us.
He wants to get promoted within his company or get recruited to a better one. Not because of money, he want’s to gain respect [motivation]. He likes to think of himself as the best project manager ever [we will tell him he is the best], though he misses things sometimes [we will remember for him]. He cares about quality of products that surrounds him [what drives his buying choices]. He likes fast cars and good alcohol [a bit snobbish, but not too much].
That’s it. That will be enough for you to choose tools, tonality etc. – our next steps.
### 3. How do you want to reach them?
I guess you know or kind of feel where your best friends are spending their spare time, what do they read, what do they pay attention to. If don’t – you need to think, do some research, ask them directly. For some groups the best way to reach them is simply paid media (ad that you bought) like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads etc. For others it might be owned media, eg. content marketing (Prowly is doing it right!), your own Facebook Pages, websites etc.
And there’s also the third group which is my expertise: earned media. Shares, likes in social media and publicity in traditional media.
While choosing your ways to reach your client, do it with a two-layered strategy. First one is WHERE (tool) and the second one is HOW (how exactly will you use chosen tool?).
- Facebook profile
- #sh20life – sneak peaks from the office, short-cutting distance, with our team smiling and excited to work
- #sh20clients – about our clients and their successes
- #joinsh20 – promotional materials presenting our offer
- other stuff, like cross-promo of our blog or earned articles
- LinkedIn profile
- #sh20pro – links to articles from different sort of media – with comments of our employees
- #sh20newbiz – information about our deals etc.
- other stuff, like cross-promo of our blog or earned articles
Blog will be a place featuring professionals from our company, topics we want to use:
- UX/UI – how important is that
- sustainable code
- flow between agency and client – how to
- study case – to present results of our work
We will hit to people fitting our target group with short pitch on our company and how they can profit from collaboration with us.
Note that: with earned media remember about two layers: first you need to pitch and interest journalist but the final receiver is reader – think of them both. As an example: if you’re closing some huge deal with the biggest corporation in world it is smart to send press release to choosen the best journalists with some exclusive materials for them and then, when the deal is done send official press release to the rest. Our receivers are following categories of media and titles:
- technology: TechCrunch/Mashable
We want to establish strong connection with one of opinion-making title and have a regular column. Topics always fitted to situation.
- creatives: NowyMarketing/DigitalNews
We will appear in case of any special event like closed project or new client.
- business: Forbes/Bloomberg
We will write here about importance of good code for you company and also about relations between software houses and business.
So here it goes: you know your goal, you know who your client is and you know how to. Now – execute, evaluate and make amendments. Never forget about evaluating your execution. This is more than important.
Basing on my experience I’d also recommend you to think before even start working on what I’ve written above: who are you? What is your product? What are your values? What is the message you want people to get?
Good luck! And in case of any questions – let me know! 🙂 I’ll be happy to help 🙂