Would you like to learn how to increase leads and build your revenue by creating an effective organic marketing strategy? We will look at the basics of what makes a good organic marketing plan, and how to put that plan into action. I think you will find this information relevant and helpful to the growth of your business.
What is Organic Marketing?
Let’s first take a quick look at what organic marketing is and what it is not. Organic marketing is an array of marketing disciplines that create a cohesive and comprehensive approach to inbound marketing. It is using the online search and traffic habits of potential clients to reach them by creating high-quality and high-visibility content for them to consume.
Good organic marketing also utilizes the disciplines of user-experience (UX) design, and funnel optimization to convert organic traffic into purchases.
Now, organic marketing is not sitting and waiting for your business to grow. It is planned intentional growth.
It is also a lot of work! It is a lot easier to pay for advertising than to create and implement a good organic marketing strategy, but organic marketing is far more effective at long-term sustainable growth.
To learn more about what organic marketing is read What is Organic Marketing? on CairnTek.com.
Defining the Strategy Step-By-Step
Like any good marketing strategy, organic marketing has some important steps. I will go through them one by one and define each step to help you understand and build an effective organic marketing plan.
There are seven steps that I follow when creating an organic marketing plan. For simplicity, I have listed them here for you.
- Define the Situation
- Define Your Audience
- Define the Goals
- Define the Methods and Tactics
- Define the Platforms and Content
- Define Your Budget
- Evaluate and Improve
Step 1: Define the Situation
This first and crucial step involves taking a good hard look at your company, its products and services, your competition, and the market. Defining these things at the beginning is vital to the final success of your marketing plan.
Take a good hard look at your company.
- Is your company healthy?
- What are its strengths and weaknesses?
- What is your brand?
- Have you defined your brand? You will want to look at what you are known for.
Consider how your products or services are compared to your competitors.
- Are your products or services superior?
- What are your competitors doing differently? Just because it is different does not mean that it is better.
Finally, consider the market.
- Is the market saturated or open?
- What is your share of the market?
- Who are the market leaders?
Answering these questions will give you a good idea of the situation you will be launching your marketing plan into. When it comes to organic digital marketing it is easy to answer most of these questions. Searching Google and doing some research will get you a good handle on the situation.
Step 2: Define Your Audience
Understanding your target audience is a key aspect of creating a good organic marketing plan. Is your focus business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C)?
If you are a B2B company you should ask the following questions.
- What type of business are you trying to reach?
- What is the job title of the ideal contact?
- What is the size of the business?
- Where is the business located?
- What are they missing that you provide?
- How will you know if they are missing it?
If your company operates in the B2C world, you should ask these questions.
- What is the demographic of my ideal customer? For example, consider...
- marital status
- What are their interests, hobbies, and commonalities?
There are some questions that you should ask for both. B2B and B2C.
- Is my ideal customer traditional or unconventional?
- Conservative or aggressive?
- Leader or follower?
- Introverted or extroverted?
- Are they motivated by fear, greed, or vanity (we will talk about this more a little later)?
- How often do they buy?
- And how much do they buy?
If you can answer these questions, you will be able to create a sound foundation for your marketing strategy. If you cannot answer them, you will need to go back and reassess what you are selling and who would be interested in handing over their hard earned money for it.
Step 3: Define the Goals
The real question that needs to be answered is what do you want to achieve. Do you want to increase sales? Are you looking to drive traffic to your site? Make sure your goals are measurable. This is important, otherwise, how will you know if you reach your goals.
For instance, you may want to increase web-based sales by 10% over the next two-quarters. You may want to increase your website traffic on key product or services pages by 25% in the next year.
Whatever your goals are, make them precise, measurable, and schedulable (they need a completion date). Finally, be sure to write down your goals and make them prominent. I believe in posting them on the wall in your office in big bold print.
Step 4: Define the Methods and Tactics
This is probably the part that most people think of when they think of a marketing plan. It is important to know that this step only works if you have done the previous three.
You have defined the situation, the audience, and your goals. Now you need to determine how you will use those definitions to reach those goals.
We will look at the platforms and media that you should consider in the next section. Here we will focus primarily on your message, and how it will impact your methods and tactics.
You will want to make sure that your marketing is on message. In other words, you need to ensure that the materials and media you create adhere to your message. What is your message? It depends on the answers from the previous steps.
Your message will need to be tailored to your situation, audience, and goals.
Consider Airborn Wireless. They are seeking to create a new market solution to data connectivity. Because of that their message is educational and brand centric.
If you owned a company seeking to be a major player in a brand new market. And your audience is broad, and they are unfamiliar with your products. You are after all in an emerging market. Your goal is to educate your audience and sell your product or service.
In this case, your message will need to be focused on education and brand building. You will want to make your name synonymous with your field.
This is why you need to know your situation, audience, and goals to determine your message.
You should also consider how your customers are motivated. This can be determined by asking your current customers why they chose your product or service.
Are they motivated by fear? If so you will want to focus on how you provide safety and security. Describe how your product or service mitigates risk and the inherent danger of choosing something inferior to what you offer.
Now, if they are motivated by greed you will want a different message. Do they want to grow their business? If so this is the message to use. Focus on how you can increase profit, or how your product or service will bring them value.
Finally, are your clients motivated by vanity? A good sign of that is a territorial nature and a huge ego. If this is common in your clientele, focus on the exclusivity of what you offer. Your message should focus on how your product or service will make your customer look to others.
Once you have determined your core message you will want to drill down to the details. Consider what words and phrases seem to resonate with people. Where do people seem to drop out of the sales cycle? What types of media bring in your target audience?
These are important questions to answer when determining your methods and tactics in organic digital marketing.
Step 5: Define the Platforms and Content
This is probably the part where everything will begin coming together. To determine what platforms you will use you will need to know your situation, audience, goals, and methods.
If your audience is in the B2B sphere you will want to focus on publishing blog articles, podcasts, whitepapers, and other high-quality content. Your content should bring value and information to your audience.
To a large degree, the audience will determine the content and the content will determine the platform. Platforms include your website, social media channels (like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), email marketing, public relations marketing, etc.
You will want to be able to answer the questions: what do I want to say, and who do I want to say it to? Once you know that you can ask where do these people go for this type of information. The answers to these questions will be the foundation of your content and platform usage.
Step 6: Define Your Budget
When determining how much you are willing to spend you first need to ask a very important question. How much of my projected sales gain from the marketing plan should I spend on it?
This is probably where most marketing plans die. If your goal was a 10% increase in sales and you spent a tenth of that additional revenue on your marketing plan, would that still bring a profit?
Determining your organic marketing budget is not easy. But it is a vital part of making your plan profitable. After all, that is that goal.
Fortunately, organic marketing primarily takes time, not money. This can help if you need to run your marketing plan on a lean budget.
Step 7: Evaluate and Improve
The last thing you need to do is evaluate the results and simply do it all over again. You will need to be constantly reassessing your organic marketing plan. The situation, audience, and goals will be constantly changing. Your marketing plan will need to change to adapt to this flux. You should reevaluate your organic marketing strategy at least every quarter.
I recommend making this reassessment a regular part of your business calendar. It is also smart to make your goal completion schedule coincide with your revaluation. This may seem obvious, but I have seen it done otherwise, so I feel it should be said.
Lastly, organic marketing takes time. If you are not seeing a rise in revenue in the first couple weeks do not be alarmed. It may take a year or two to build. But when you are done, if you have planned, analyzed and been careful in how you build, you will be in possession of an organic marketing behemoth. Doesn't that sound wonderful!
Putting It All Together
There are a lot of questions to answer in order to put together a good organic marketing plan. I think it would help to go through an example to help create a good idea of what you will want to be considering and working toward.
The Situation: You are a local craft and hobby store trying to reach customers online. You are in a town of around 50,000. Your primary customers are local residents. You have a website, but you have not done much online marketing.
The Audience: Your audience is young, crafty, technology savvy, and middle class. You know that a large segment of your clients are young stay-at-home moms. You decide to market to this audience. You know they are looking for homemade children's room decoration ideas.
The Goal: Your goal is to increase traffic to your website by 50% in the next six months and to increase monthly sales by 15% over the same time period.
The Methods and Tactics: You know that a lot of your clients look for idea online. So you determine to reach people where they are. You will show them all the amazing and creative things they can make with what you sell. You also want to reach people in all steps of the project and buying cycle. This means that you will want to have content for the project conception, idea gathering, planning, purchasing, and creating.
The Platforms and Content: Because of all this information, your content should be step-by-step instructions with visual guides and images on how to create a wide variety of decorations for children’s rooms. This means that your platform would need to be both visual and instructional. Based on all this I would recommend creating social profiles on Pinterest, Instagram, a Youtube channel, and a blog. You will then want to create a wide variety of kid’s room decoration ideas. These should be posted widely and often on your social platforms.
You will also want to link each post to instructions on each idea. The instructions should include written instructions on your blog and how-to videos on Youtube. On each of these content pieces, you should include a link to your site and a short message about getting their craft supplies from your business.
The Budget: The average lifetime value of a customer is $450. You know that the average purchase is $35. The business makes 20% profit on all sales. Most returning customers buy once a month. Your current monthly sales are $16,000 with a slight increase when seasons change. A steady increase in sales over six months to a 15% increase by month six would mean a total sales increase of $8,400 over the six months and a total lifetime value of around $30,900. Spending $3,000 on the six-month organic marketing campaign would see a return on investment of 106%. The advantage of organic marketing is that it keeps working even after the campaign has ended. This means that the ROI would actually be higher.
There is a reason that I said that this is where most marketing plans die.
The Evaluation and Improvement: Each month you will want to check to make sure you are on track to meet your goals. You will want to look at your monthly sales increase. Consider what how-to videos and blog posts performed well. Tailor the continuing organic marketing efforts to keep seeing the best results.
Of course, there is a lot more that needs to be considered but this is a simple example of how all of these things work together. I would recommend having no less than one page for each step of the organic marketing plan if you are a small business. The larger your business the more planning that you should do. If you do not think through all the details you will miss something that will cost you.
Creating an effective organic marketing strategy takes time and effort. However, it produces better results than simply trying whatever seems right. In marketing shooting from the hip can get you in trouble.
By following the seven basic steps you can craft a marketing plan that will be effective. You begin by defining your situation, audience, goals, methods and tactics, platforms and content, and your budget. Once you begin seeing results from your marketing efforts you can implement the last step which is evaluate and improve.
Marketing may not be easy, but knowing what you are doing is the first step to doing it right. So create your organic marketing plan, and start growing your business.