10 Things You Must Do Before Marketing Your Product
Launching a new marketing initiative is no easy task, and it’s easy to overlook important steps in the hustle of a big project. However, missing a step can be detrimental to your campaign. A little planning up front can mean the difference between losing money and making a great return.
For that very reason, we’ve put together a checklist of 10 things to have in line before any new marketing initiative. Bookmark this page to guide your planning or use as a final checklist when you think you’re ready to go!
1. Establish and define the brand
Good branding lays the groundwork for everything else. Remember, your brand is not a company, a name, or a logo. In reality, your brand is the story the company tells and the relationship (and emotion) it creates with customers. Therefore, from the get-go, make sure you know how to communicate who you are and why you do what you do. Remember, people don’t buy products, they buy stories. That may sound all fluffy and airy, but it’s true, and it’s the philosophy we apply to every brand we work with.
Tip: For more help with this, grab our award-winning comprehensive guide to brand development!
2. Identify your customer
Who is your target customer? Instead of thinking about a massive audience or demographic, imagine a real-life example of a person you’re trying to reach. We call this your ICP (ideal customer profile). Identify who they are, where they live, what their job role is, what their interests are, and who they are influenced by. Determine what drives their life decisions. You may even go as far as to decide on what personality type they are. All of these elements will be a massive help to dial in your targeting correctly.
Once you have them identified, these profiles should be documented and used to reference every area of your business.
3. Develop a clear message
Now that you know who you are and who your customer is, you have to develop clear messaging that communicates why your ideal customer needs you and your product or services. Be sure to focus on what value you’re providing for the customers. The world of advertising is noisy, and the way to stand out is to communicate how much value you provide.
Furthermore, there are 2 basic areas of messaging – features and emotion. Features communicate the practical value, and emotion communicates the story and “why” behind your company and product. Both are critical components and will be messaged throughout your headlines, ad copy, and/or descriptions. To dive deeper into messaging, check out this guide to writing ads that convert.
4. Define a budget
Although it’s fundamental, so many brands start marketing without this being defined. To get started with a budget, ask yourself what a customer is worth to you. That may not be just the initial sale. In fact, it should be the lifetime value of a customer. That’s where the success lies. Once you know this, you can then easily determine what you are willing to pay to acquire a customer. With a bit more basic math you can determine how much you need to spend.
Additionally, get realistic on how much it will cost to run an effective campaign and set aside a budget to pay for not only the ads but the creative work, technology development, and administration as well.
5. Build an effective website and/or landing pages
Next, it should go without saying that your website or landing page is where the conversions happen. It’s where your marketing efforts will convert into signups, leads, and sales. Unfortunately, many businesses will drive traffic right to their homepage… and that is a great way to lose a lot of potential customers.
In reality, each campaign you run should drive users to relevant landing pages. These don’t have to be overly complex, but they should reiterate the value offered in the ad and display a very clear call to action. Make it as simple as possible for visitors to convert and not be distracted!
6. Utilize CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)
You must also have an optimization strategy, or as we like to call it, “marketing insurance”. If you aren’t familiar, CRO is the data-driven process of testing a landing page or website’s effectiveness for acquiring conversions and fine-tuning it so you can see the best results possible. It sounds complicated, but it’s extremely important to make sure you’re setting up all of your marketing spend for success. As soon as you finish this article, grab our complete blueprint for Conversion Rate Optimization to learn more!
7. Identify Your Channels
In addition, you must determine which channels you will advertise on based on where your customer spends their time. If you will be running pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, are your customers most likely to see your ad on Facebook, Google, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc? Do you need to consider other search engines like Bing over just Google? Lots of brands just advertise everywhere, but this is not the most effective approach. Beyond that, certain channels may be used for cold acquisition or awareness while others may be strictly used for retargeting. Overall, thinking through your channel strategy will set you up for predictable success.
Also, outside of PPC, SEO optimization and content marketing are likely to be just as important. These are long-term plays to ensure that your website ranks visibly in Google’s search results and that you are establishing authority in your space.
Lastly, consider awareness or out-of-home advertising, such as billboards, mail, and radio. In most cases, that is not our first recommendation, but it ultimately depends on where your customers are most likely to be reached.
8. Establish tracking
When you’re spending money on advertising, it is critical to have proper tracking in place. If you don’t, you are literally wasting every cent of your marketing. When campaigns are successful, you won’t know why and you won’t be able to replicate that success. However, if they are not successful, you won’t know what went wrong and it will be impossible to fix.
First, define meaningful metrics for your business (conversion events) to measure the effectiveness and engagement of your ads. In short, what will make this campaign a win? This should not only be a purchase. A purchase is far down the line, so you should identify other smaller goals that are measurable on the way to a purchase. For example, these could be email addresses captured, comments, likes, shares, add-to-carts, or video plays. We won’t get into the technicalities of tagging and tracking in this post. But once you know what to track, install the proper tracking on your landing page and/or website and test it to make sure events are firing in your analytics.
As a note, some conversion events will be difficult to achieve the first time a visitor interacts with your brand. This is why it’s important to utilize marketing funnels, which will present cold traffic with brand awareness ads first and eventually retarget them to with an offer in an effort to make them a customer.
While you’re tracking ad performance, be sure you have easy access to clear reporting so you can make decisions and optimize based on what’s working. Facebook Ads Manager and Google Ads both have great interfaces that track almost any metric you could think of.
9. Have a follow-up plan
Furthermore, when a customer makes a purchase, what happens next? This is not the end; it’s only the beginning! The win for any ecommerce business is developing customers into raving fans and building customer lifetime value. Therefore, establish a clear plan on how you will communicate and move the customer through the sales process, continuing to develop the relationship with them after the conversion.
10. Execute consistently
Last but not least, stay patient and consistent as you watch and optimize your campaigns. If you’re advertising on Facebook and Google, these ads gain traction and build momentum as time goes on, so they shouldn’t be turned off and on sporadically. Definitely fine-tune as needed, but you must execute your campaigns for a considerable amount of time to get an accurate sample size for the metrics being tracked.
Ready to knock your next marketing initiative out of the park? Don’t forget to grab our info-packed books to help with your ecommerce business success, developing a brand that people want to buy. and constantly optimizing your website experience for conversion!
- The Ecommerce Cookbook (Vol 1) – How to create a highly successful ecommerce business
- Oh the Ways You Will Grow (…Using Conversion Rate Optimization)
- Brand vs. Wild: A Branding Survival Guide