5 essential tips for marketing success
Having spent the past few months refreshing our corporate identity, we thought you would benefit from what we’ve learned about developing an effective communication strategy. So without further ado, here are our tips on how to create a brand, build your audience and build your sales pipeline!
#1 Develop a brand identity
A brand refers to the meaning communicated by a product or service that sets it apart from its competitors. Having a strong brand ensures your organisation is easily recognisable and differentiated from your competition. A brand, together with your marketing, will shape consumer perception about your business.
While a logo is the most identifiable aspect of a brand, there are many other visual and non-visual components that come together to create a brand. These components include: a visual identity comprised of a logo, typography, and colour palette; a tone of voice; and, a set of guiding principles to ensure your marketing activity follows established objectives and uses consistent messaging.
These guiding principals will help to define your company’s mission and values. Brainstorming the operating principles and values of your company will help establish how you want your brand to be perceived, but also why your customer should choose your products over your competition. If you find it difficult to define what your brand is, begin by establishing what it is not.
Once you can clearly articulate your organisation’s values, you can begin to develop a visual identity that reflects them. Composing a mission statement can be helpful in establishing focus, and it will also help a designer develop a logo that communicates what you want your brand to represent.
#2 Build a simple website
Having a website will help your business appear professional and trustworthy. A website will also ensure potential customers can find you. If a potential customer can’t find you online, it’s very likely they will give their business to one of your competitors.
Building a website need not be an ordeal. Tools such as WordPress and SquareSpace make it possible for anyone to create an affordable site, without an understanding of how to code. In addition to the site itself, you’ll need a host for your site. While some platforms such as SquareSpace offer domain services with their web building tools, others will require you to purchase a domain name and hosting package separately. Hosting plans are relatively inexpensive and depending on how much space you require, usually run about US$10/month.
Your website should contain the information potential customers need to know: what you offer, where you offer it and how to find you. A 2,000 word essay on the history of your business is unnecessary and very likely uninteresting to your target audience.
Be very clear about what you want people to do once they arrive to your website. And, be patient: there’s usually a time lag between someone visiting and making the decision to become a paying customer.
How you design your site will have a major impact on visitor behaviour, so carefully consider what action you want them to take. Is the objective to get them to spend lots of time learning about your product? Do you want them to pick up the phone and call for more information? Sign up for a newsletter? Follow your organisation on social media? Make a purchase?
If you engage a web developer to build your site, make sure they understand what your priorities are for the website, but also for your business. A business that relies on online sales will have a much different website to a consultancy.
#3 Establish an email list
One of the most important steps you can take in building your brand is to create a newsletter and encourage site visitors to volunteer an email address. Free tools such as MailChimp offer a relatively quick and easy way to set up an email marketing plan. Email marketing allows you to build an audience, reach potential consumers directly and keep your client base informed about your products and services.
Email allows you to send different types of communications and formats, from newsletters and press releases to promotional video content. Sending out a monthly newsletter offers an inexpensive way to stay in touch with your audience, build your brand and convert subscribers into customers.
Once you have selected an email provider, add a newsletter opt-in to your website. Offer people the opportunity to sign up for your mailing list wherever you meet the public. Consistently building your list will help you increase your brand’s reach and awareness.
#4 Get Social
What social networks your customers are using should determine what platforms you use to promote your business.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most commonly used social networks to engage an audience and build a new following. Facebook has well over a billion users worldwide, so there’s plenty of opportunity to find your tribe. Begin by creating a Facebook business page and invite your friends, family and customers to Like and Follow you there. Instagram also provides interesting opportunities for brands that prefer to communicate visually. And because it’s part of the Facebook group, you can integrate Instagram with your Facebook business profile to ensure each post achieves maximum reach. Twitter and LinkedIn can also be easily configured for business and offer a variety of post formats and targeting options depending on your communications objectives.
Once you’ve decided what platforms to use, make a commitment to post at least one image with a short story about your company activity on a weekly basis. If you’ve opted to use a mix of platforms, you may wish to use a social media manager. Hootsuite is one such manager and offers both 30-day trials and a ‘FREEmium’ subscription that will allow you to schedule your posts, publish a single post across multiple platforms, and track your audience engagement.
While social networks can capture attention of a broad spectrum of people, Likes and Shares don’t necessarily translate into valuable leads with business intentions. Therefore, the objective of social media should be to drive visitors to your website, where you can invite them to opt in to your brand communications.
There are many free resources available online that can help you develop your brand and deploy your communications. We’ve listed a few of our favourites below.
Good luck and have fun!
WordPress – the world’s most popular, longest running website building platform; offers free design templates and is compatible with lots of third-party templates as well
SquareSpace – easy to use website builder that also offers web hosting and custom domains
Wix – another free website builder
Hootsuite – a social media management platform that allows you to publish posts to all your social channels from a single dashboard
MailChimp – an automated email marketing platform that offers a ‘FREEmium’ version
Google Trends – find out what’s trending near you. Trends may offer relevant opportunities to start conversations with your customers
Facebook Blueprint – Facebook’s school for its marketing tools offers free eLearning courses and accredited courses
Instagram for Business – Find out whether Instagram is right for your business, and how to use it to grow your brand