Hi, and welcome to episode 26 of Startup Marketing. Today we’re going to be talking about how to create a SWOT analysis.
What is a SWOT analysis? SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis is simply a way to assess these four areas of your business. I thoroughly enjoy creating a SWOT analysis because it’s a really great tool to help identify goals or strategies that you can work into a marketing plan.
A SWOT analysis isn’t restricted just to marketing, but, because you’re assessing your business as a whole, and your marketing strategies should always be tied to your business goals, it can help give you a clear picture of what you need to accomplish in the next year. So, if you’re feeling stuck knowing where to start on your marketing plan, using the SWOT analysis is a great place to get some ideas flowing and identify where you want to spend your time and energy moving forward.
The actual process of creating a SWOT analysis is actually pretty easy. You simply draw an axis, then take each of the letters and assign a letter to each quadrant. Then, within each quadrant, you write ideas, concepts, or things that are relevant to that letter.
Once you’ve filled in each quadrant, you’ve pretty much created your SWOT analysis. But, it’s not enough to simply create a SWOT analysis. The power of this exercise comes from actually doing something with what you’ve written down.
To help you see how I apply this to creating a marketing strategy, I did my own SWOT analysis for Authentic.
In the Strengths quadrant I wrote:
- Having a marketing strategy
- Having my niche identified
- I’m professionally certified in marketing management
- Share the journey many of my clients are on
- Low overhead costs
- Flexible scheduling
- I’m ambitious
- I’m highly motivated to succeed
As you can see from the things I wrote down in this quadrant, some of these items are directly related to my marketing strategy (actually having a marketing strategy and having my ideal customer or niche identified), while others are simply differentiators that I can speak to when I talk to potential clients about why they should work with me.
In the weaknesses quadrant I wrote:
- Not having a social media strategy mapped out
- Creating social media content
- Not sharing my personal story aka my “why”
- Not reviewing my social, podcast and website analytics regularly
Now, from this quadrant, you can see that even experts are not perfect and we don’t always have everything pulled together. Social Media is a big weakness for me. I have an easy content process to use and I know how to be successful on social media, but, I haven’t had time to really dissect each channel and determine what my strategy within each channel should be, but, more importantly, social media has fallen victim to one of my biggest threats, which I’ll get to in a bit. Here, my weaknesses are both strategic and kinda of what I’d consider “admin” related. Or things that should really be baked into a process that I’ve already got. In addition to not having a real thorough social strategy documented, I’m really bad at actually sharing my story. I know; I talk about how this is so important and I really believe that sharing your story is a big contributor to your success because people buy from people, not brands. So for me, seeing this appear in my weakness quadrant is motivating to me to set aside some time and really think about how I’m going to get better at sharing my story. I already have the process in place, so I wouldn’t consider this a marketing strategy, but more of a one and done task that I need to put some thought into.
In the opportunities quadrant I wrote:
- Networking/utilizing my personal network
- Social media
- Pairing down my admin tools/subscriptions
- Speaking engagements
- Creating content pillars
This is where a lot of my marketing strategies came from. I have a strategy for networking, for creating and promoting my podcast, and looking for speaking engagements. A couple of the items here, pairing down my subscriptions and tools and creating content pillars are tasks that will get done quickly in an afternoon and give me some quick and immediate wins (saving money and getting my social media organized).
In the Threats quadrant I wrote:
- Having my family home all the time
- Not having enough quiet time to focus on work
- Not having a schedule
- Household distractions
- Unclear boundaries
- Not being on brand
- My personal hang ups about social media
Here is the quadrant that helped create a lot of the things that went into my “weakness” quadrant. Even though I have a seamless social media process, not having enough quiet time to focus and get work done with my family all home thanks to covid, has meant that my process has fallen by the wayside. That’s detrimental to my business and I know it’s costing me in terms of visibility and potential leads. The power of social media is real. The time and energy social media takes is also real. No time is a real threat to my success in that channel because of another threat I listed: my own personal hang ups about social media. I enjoy social media, sure, but, I really try to make an effort not to be on my phone constantly when my kids are around because I hate feeling like they believe they have to compete with a tiny computer screen for my attention. I want them to see me actively engaged with them and not constantly saying “mom, can you put your phone down?”. Also, I’m just really struggling to be in on brand in my social media channels because I’m actually a pretty private person. Which makes it hard for me to be vulnerable, which seems to be the trend especially on Instagram. I also don’t love the idea of constantly putting my kids out there for everyone to see. Even though other mompreneurs are a target audience of mine, I dislike splashing my kids all over social media. They’re little and I feel like it makes them vulnerable and I don’t know that I agree with sharing their personal lives with the whole world without their permission.
Now, we’re straying in to some ethical or personal convictions here, but, because they directly impact my business and my ability to show up authentically and make connections with my ideal audience, they made the list. It’s something I need to think through and really come up with a method for eliminating this threat that doesn’t compromise my personal values but also doesn’t hinder my brand.
Alright, so we’ve talked through each of the quadrants and you can see how I filled each one. As I said, I found that most of my marketing strategies came out of my “opportunities” quadrant, but some also came out of my “weaknesses” category. This is naturally how my analysis shook out and where strategies to market authentic naturally appeared. For you, it could be totally different.
For example, one of your strengths might be sharing your season of life and how it’s impacting you. That’s a huge part of your journey and what differentiates you that you could capitalize on by creating a blog, podcast, or youtube channel. It might mean you’re a perfect fit for Instagram. If you’re looking at the Threats quadrant and you see that there’s a feature that a competitor has released that you don’t have, for example, maybe you’re a boutique and your major competitor recently added an ecommerce portion to their website so customers can shop online, you might want to investigate if that impacts you and and potentially that creates a marketing strategy of adding ecommerce to your website as well. Or, perhaps you’re a fitness boutique and a competitor has added personal training sessions as an option. You might not have the staff to do this yet, so perhaps you create a marketing strategy that highlights one of your differentiators.
So you see, any of the quadrants can really influence a marketing strategy. It’s really going to come down to your own personal analysis and what you can accomplish. A SWOT analysis is a really effective way to make sure that you’re thinking through your business in a 360 view. It will not only help you create a marketing strategy, but it will also help you assess some of your business goals or places where you need to expend some energy.
To me, these are the fun parts of marketing and owning a business. They’re the processes and ideas that I like to put my energy behind because most of them aren’t just focused around admin type tasks. It’s like my own version of strategic planning that large businesses often go through.
The analysis is easy to get done and easy to digest. The hard part is actually putting some of the lessons you’ll learn into action. So, my recommendation is to block off a few days where you can put the time and energy into this exercise; whether it’s all at once or over the course of a few weeks, I promise it will help you clarify your business objectives and help you really get clarity on your marketing strategy.
To ehlp, I’ve created a PDF of my SWOT analysis so you can use it for reference as you complete yours. Download it today at: getauthenticbranding.com/resources.
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Until next time!