You’re onto a winning business idea that saves time, solves problems and yes – even changes lives for your ideal customers.
You can’t expect to compete against the competition when nobody knows who you are and what you offer.
You need to bust out the big guns by developing a go to market strategy that hits your target market in all the right places, and accelerates customer acquisition.
The question is: where do you begin?
The last thing you want to do is waste precious time, money and resources on tactics that won’t deliver.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to creating short-term brand awareness in a way that quickly builds trust for the long term — all with proven marketing strategies.
First, what is a “go to market strategy”?
A go to market strategy (aka GTM Strategy) outlines the steps to succeed in a new market or with a new customer base.
It’s crucial for ensuring you’re solidifying the paths from product launches to profitable exposure.
Think of it as a marketing strategy — just hyper-targeted to one product and audience.
When do you use a go to market plan?
For anything that requires you to bring something to market – whether you’re launching a new product, taking a product into a new market or even re-launching your whole brand.
There’s no one size fits all solution and no way to snap your fingers to overnight success (we’d be pretty sceptical of anyone who promised this).
Every go-to-market strategy should be intertwined with your business plan, completely customised to your audience and industry.
Build your strategy around these three key pillars:
WHY you’re launching your product
WHO it’s for
HOW you’re going to get people to buy it
Let’s explore each pillar in turn as we create the Ultimate Go To Market Strategy:
Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why”, says in business, it doesn't matter what you do, it matters why you do it.
“People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.”
The WHY is your reason for being – why anyone should care about your product. Others might call it your competitive advantage; what makes you truly unique.
Take Apple, for example.
Apple doesn’t start with the WHAT. It doesn’t identify primarily as a computer company, music platform or phone company.
Apple starts with WHY:
And that’s what people are buying.
Take this approach as you plan to go to market,
Answer these two questions:
Why is your product or service important?
Why do you want to solve this pain point?
Using these answers, set a long-term goal.
What kind of brand do you want to build?
What does success look like to you in the next 3-5 years – revenue, brand awareness, market share, user growth?
What short-term goals will help you get there?
Now, lock in the elements that will set up your offering in the market:
A. Value Proposition
What is the value of the offering to the customer? Why would someone buy from you rather than a competitor?
Create a simple and direct statement that answers these questions. This is your value proposition.
How do you want people to view your offering among all the other options? For example, is it the cheapest, the most innovative, the best value, etc.
For this, you need to know your competitors. Describe how your offerings compare – who is stronger or weaker in different areas? Consider how your pricing strategy compares as well.
Lastly, consider your messaging. The easiest way to do this is to bring it back to the problems you are solving.
What are the top three problems or pain points you are solving?
With your goals, value proposition, positioning and messaging in place, you’re ready to move onto the next stage.
You can't market a product or service until you know WHO you are selling to.
The best way to do this is to create buyer personas.
Here’s how HubSpot defines buyer personas:
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals.”
The more detailed you are, the better you’ll be able to focus your marketing efforts on the most rewarding prospects.
In other words, those who will buy from you again and again.
How do you create buyer personas from scratch?
Bring your marketing and sales teams together to create a picture of your ideal customers:
What are their backgrounds?
Where do they live?
Who are their family?
What does a day in their life look like?
What are their interests?
What are their goals and challenges?
Bring it all together using HubSpot’s "Make My Persona Generator" and share it with the business:
Now you know who your buyers are, you need to identify their journey.
How do buyers get from the first stage (identifying that they have a need) to considering your product and making their final purchase decision?
In general, the buyer’s journey is made up of three stages:
But knowing these states is not enough for your go to market strategy.
What are their behaviours along the way? Which marketing channels do they use at each stage? What questions do they ask at each stage?
By knowing what’s going on at each stage and what buyers are thinking at each stage, you can work out exactly how to focus your marketing efforts (and budget!) for the best results.
The chart below is an example of what each stage of the journey looks like:
Image credit: Crazy Egg
Now you’re ready to dive into the tactics, crucial for developing a successful go to market strategy.
Let’s assume you already have a distribution strategy (like e-commerce) outlining how customers will purchase your product or service.
Now you need to fill your sales pipeline by grabbing the attention of your target audience.
This is where all your research on buyers and the buyer journey pays off!
There are two strategies you can use to go to market:
Inbound is where BUYERS discover your brand through your marketing efforts. Then they reach out to you.
Outbound is typically when YOU contact a lead. That could be sending emails, phoning or gathering leads at conferences.
Here’s what that might look like in reality:
Image credit: HubSpot
Most often, inbound and outbound work in sync within companies.
Today, we’re focusing largely on inbound tactics because its a longer term, higher ROI, and more scalable option.
What inbound tactics should you use?
1. Nail your SEO
When you’re ready to go to market, search engine optimisation needs to be at the top of your list.
Let’s put it this way:
85% of people use Google to research products when making shopping decisions.
The numbers also show:
61% of B2B buyers start their research with search engines.
If that doesn’t convince you, here’s the kicker:
Search can provide up to $20 of revenue for every $1 that you spend.
That’s a massive ROI!
How does it work?
By helping you build rankings and visibility.
Rankings are what most people focus on when they think about SEO.
This is where your website ranks in search engine results for the keywords you target.
Visibility goes a step further. It’s about how prominent you are in the search engine results pages (SERPS). It takes into account your rankings, as well as local search results, PPC ads, Google Shopping placement, and other things.
We know starting on SEO can be daunting. So head over to our Ultimate SEO Checklist to see what’s involved.
Here are a few bonus points to consider when adding SEO to your go to market strategy.
Hint: These are the nuggets that will put you ahead of the rest.
A. Optimise for Mobile Search
Over 57% of your search traffic comes from mobile devices.
So, if you're not optimising your site for mobile, you're missing out on tremendous opportunities.
Remember, Google also takes the quality of the mobile experience into account. Make sure users can easily navigate your mobile site, it's responsive, and it loads quickly.
(You can check your site speed on Google’s PageSpeed Insights)
B. Optimise for Social Search
We know what you're thinking – social media is entirely different from SEO.
But they’re more closely related than you think.
Not only do your social profiles now get ranked by Google, but social media platforms have also even shifted into the search domain.
Facebook, Instagram and the like have created tools to make it easier for users to search for content. Make it easy to find your content on social, and you can get streets ahead of the competition.
C. Optimise for Local
Did you know that 80% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase within 24 hours?
If you have a bricks and mortar location for customers to visit, you need to be found on local search.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that 4 in 5 people use Google Search and Maps to find local information.
After all, what’s the first thing you do when you want to find a local hairdresser/ plumber/ supermarket?
You go to Google and ask the question: “Where the nearest hairdresser/ plumber/ supermarket?”
There are lots of local search tactics you can do – but the single most important is to optimise your Google My Business account.
Don’t be one of the 56% of local retailers who haven’t even claimed their listing.
Claim it, then make it the most complete listing it can be. Choose the correct categories, add images, get positive reviews, respond to reviews and so on.
Then you can focus on other tactics, including on-page SEO and listings.
Ahrefs has put together a comprehensive local SEO guide – check it out.
2. Create killer content
A killer content marketing strategy is absolutely crucial to your go to market strategy
If there’s one thing you’ll find at the heart of every successful marketing campaign that rakes in leads, it's incredible content that resonates with the right people.
First, optimised content drives organic traffic to your website – every new post provides something extra for Google to index and rank in search engine results.
Content helps you get in front of your ideal customers. Especially when you focus your content around the keywords and topics that your potential customers are searching for.
Each content piece also provides an opportunity to drive leads further down your funnel towards being customers. If you can prove that you’re adding value to their lives, they’ll want to know more.
AND great quality content propels your brand’s credibility.
You earn backlinks, mentions, shares – all those trust signals that Google LOVES. Use these tools to bring your content strategy to life.
3. Invest in PPC ads
Paid social and search ads are a stellar way to get in front of your target audience, FAST.
Invest in the right ads, and you can even improve brand awareness by as much as 80%.
Two types of PPC ads should be in your go to market strategy:
Let’s start with search ads.
Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is the most popular search advertising platform and for a good reason.
After all, Google now commands 90% of the search market share.
But does it work?
Put it this way, 72% of AdWords marketers plan to increase their PPC budgets (Search Engine Watch).
Do you think they’d invest more in PPC if it didn’t work?
As well as Google search ads, you should seriously consider investing in Google's Display Network.
The platform lets you place ads in front of massive audiences when people are browsing websites, watching YouTube videos, checking Gmail, and more.
It’s all about visibility – just like we were talking about with SEO.
GDN generates a massive 180 billion impressions every month, and campaigns can reach up to 80% of all global internet users.
Some content creators have noted using Google’s Display Network has increased their traffic by up to 300%!
But just because Google is the biggest and most popular platform, doesn’t mean you should ignore everything else.
Look at Bing Ads.
This is like Microsoft’s version of Google AdWords. Bing Ads lets you run ads on the Bing search network and partner networks (Yahoo and AOL).
Here's the critical bit:
That means, across all industries, Bing reaches 60 million searchers that Google CANNOT reach.
There are some nifty reasons you should advertise on Bing.
Over on Bing, you’re up against some 50% fewer competitors than on Google Ads.
Less competition means better ad placements, more visibility for your brand, and a lower cost per click.
That means you can get a far higher return for your ad spend.
Now let’s talk about social ads.
Facebook Ads are a great place to start for any business because they are designed to help you achieve specific goals:
Awareness: Build brand awareness or increase reach.
Consideration: Send traffic to your website, increase engagement, encourage app installs or video views, lead generation, or encourage people to get in touch on Facebook Messenger.
Conversion: Create online conversions, make catalogue sales, or drive foot traffic to offline stores.
The one you’re most interested in for your go to market strategy is AWARENESS.
But don’t rule out the other goals for long-term success.
Aside from the vast number of people who use Facebook (2 billion monthly users!), the targeting capabilities of its advertising platform are out of this world.
Quite frankly, it doesn’t get much more targeted than Facebook Ads.
One of the other brilliant things about social advertising is that there is practically no limit to how much you can scale.
If you want to reach 100,000 people in one day, you can.
Not sure which social channels you should be investing in? Your persona research will reveal where your dream customers are spending their time. In the early days of your business, make sure to focus on one or two channels.
But wait, there's more!
Don’t even think about doing SEO, paid search or content without these digital marketing tools.
Over to you
There you have it – all of the most vital elements to craft the ultimate go to market strategy.
With all of the above, you're set to make a splash in no time.
To delve into more detail on the HOW section of your go to market plan, download your free Digital Marketing Game Plan.
Written by world-leading marketing experts, this eBook provides all the proven insights, templates, techniques and examples on how to accelerate revenue-shifting results with digital marketing.
Don’t go to market without it! Download your ebook now.