A marketing plan on post-it notes
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Most web designers don’t have a marketing strategy. Instead, they’re hopping from social platform to social platform and wondering why they’re not getting clients.

Facebook. Instagram. Tiktok.

There’s always something new and shiny we’re told we HAVE to be a part of in order to successfully market our businesses.

But the truth is that joining a new social platform, sending emails, or even old-fashioned networking in person doesn’t work if we don’t have a solid marketing strategy in place.

We can put all our time and effort into being everywhere online (and offline) but without a clear message, we’re essentially throwing spaghetti at anyone that comes our way and hoping that the message sticks (and that they don’t get mad that they now have noodles stuck in their hair).

Which, as a small (micro!) web design business, we simply can’t afford to do.

It’s a waste of time that we should be spending on billable work, or a waste of money if we’re paying for advertising.

Instead, we need to put a smart marketing strategy into place, before worrying about the tactics. This will ensure that we have consistent messaging throughout any potential client interactions, as well as make our marketing much easier and more streamlined since we’ll always know what our strategy is.

Marketing strategy vs. tactics

In marketing, we often think that using whatever shiny new tool is out is our marketing strategy, but in reality, strategy isn’t dependent on a social platform.

Marketing strategy is the foundation of our marketing. It’s how we get inside the heads of our customers, and understand their problems as well as what makes them buy.

It doesn’t matter where we employ our strategy–Facebook, Snapchat, or at conferences. The strategy is always the same: get clients to know, like, trust, and buy from us.

Marketing tactics, on the other hand, can change.

Facebook? That’s a tactic to use in our marketing strategy.

Twitter? Another tactic.

The nuances of using these platforms (and any others) will of course differ, and from time to time our tactics may disappear or an algorithm change will throw them off. That’s okay though, because with a smart marketing strategy behind our tactics, we can adapt.

Benefits of a solid marketing strategy

You probably don’t need convincing, but you’d be amazed at how many web designers just skip the marketing strategy step, or skim over it, and go straight to worrying about getting followers and likes on whatever marketing platform is hot at the time.

Again, throwing spaghetti.

Instead, when you have a foundation of a solid marketing strategy behind the tactics you use, you’ll find there are a ton of benefits.

Marketing is easier

Because you always know what to say, and have a clear, core message, no matter what tactic you’re using.

Marketing takes less time/money

When you have a targeted strategy in place, you’re not trying to be everywhere or appeal to everyone. You’re aiming straight for your ideal clients and hitting them consistently.

Your marketing can be more consistent

Because you’re not trying to come up with something “new” to say just for the heck of it. You have a catalog of topics you can whip out to share with your audience.

You don’t have to chase shiny objects

Using a new platform can be fun, but with a clear strategy you know where your clients are, and meet them there. Instead of trying to find them every time a new app hits your phone.

You can rinse and repeat

One of the best things about having a solid marketing strategy is the ability to use and re-use your content This allows you to perfect it over time, instead of churning out new content constantly.

You can switch tactics

If your social platform of choice suddenly stops working for you, gets shut down, or makes you run ads to get any exposure, it’s much easier to change tactics when you already have a solid strategy in place.

Tl;dr:

When done properly, a marketing strategy WILL bring in more business. It will make selling easier. It will lead to success.

But like all things in business, if the foundation isn’t there, success isn’t either. Instead of focusing on marketing tactics that can change in the blink of an algorithm, focus on creating a strategy that can adapt and grow with your business.

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