Small business or large corporate entities are defined by the vision of the organization, as well as its value system as it relates to society and where it ranks among its industry contemporaries. Defining that within your marketing & promotion strategy in a distinctive and definitive way can be challenging. So how do you create those strategies and consistently deliver on it when marketing & promoting your business? Here are a few tips to consider.
1. Know Your Brand Platforms The leading & most important company brand platforms are:
Company Long Term and Short Term Vision
Social Media Integration
Knowing these allows you to prioritize your branding goals as well as allocation of time and resources to what’s most important.
2. Keep Your Promises
Paralleling strategy with the promises of delivery can sometimes be a complex and delicate balance. Knowing what to promise and ensuring those deliverables can have great or detrimental affects. Failing to keep a promise can have detrimental affect for your consumer’s brand loyalty. Most consumers identify certain brands that become their “go-to’s” and have no problem showing commitment when their expectations are met. Bottom line: Be a reliable & keep your promises.
3. Promote Your Brand Identity Values
In a more socially conscious era, most consumers like to know what companies stand for aside from just what they are selling to them. The best way to tap into that is for companies to articulate and translate their brand identities via a values system. To expand the potential impact of your business it is critical for companies to know what their core values are and properly promote the values they subscribe to. But what if you aren’t sure what those are? Take the time to figure out what your organizational values are and align your marketing efforts to those values.
4. Be Social…Globally
Prioritizing Social Media efforts doesn’t always come easy or depending on your size, make it to the top of your brand strategy list. And that’s a shame for several reasons.
Hello People…it’s FREE!
Every company should know that they COULD BE a global brand if they think outside of their geographical region and box-like mentality.
Social networks allow brands to capture more public attention than traditional print collateral, driving social-media chatter which equates to digital “good press”.
So whether its via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google + or Stumbled Upon, people can gain worldwide access your content and ultimately your product or services. And in return, you get a global audience for your brand through some digital marketing powerhouses. This 2012 article highlights the impact and evolution of social media for businesses in 15 Social Media Statistics That Every Business Needs to Know.
Using these strategies will help you build strong, sustainable branding campaigns successfully by building your brand identity & core values, encouraging brand loyalty, delivering on your promises and increasing your company’s visibility in a broader, more global way.
When trying to market their products and/or services, most small businesses aren’t thinking about public relations. But they should. Regardless of size, profit margin, or number of employees, you must realize the image you portray is everything and is certainly what motivates consumers to select your business over your competition. Now that that is clear you might be asking…
What exactly is PR?
Why is it necessary for my business?
How do I start & maintain a good PR campaign cost effectively? Check out these free tips for a true, do-it-yourself road map to a successful PR campaign.
Let’s start by defining PR. Per Wikipedia PR is “managing the flow of information between an individual or an organization and the public…[and] the aim of public relations by a company often is to persuade the public, investors, partners, employees, & other stakeholders to maintain a certain point of view about it, its leadership, products…”
Now consider what the best platforms are for your target audience. You can accomplish this by finding out how your customers or clients consume your content. Is it in readable form (website, blogs or in print); audibly as an iTunes podcasts; or watching videos via a business YouTube channel? Take a little time to figure that out and then get ready to leverage it (or all of them) like a PR/marketing maven!
The Bang for Your Buck by Blog
A blog is a great tool for sharing information and expertise. Having a consistent voice is important to teach consumers about your company’s perspective and interests. According to the the Social Skinny,
Having your business name out in the media, whether print or social, is a critical element to your image and of public relations strategy. Some cost-effective options include distributing electronic newsletters via free or low-cost email service providers. Try partnering with other local businesses for limelight events and advertisements to boost your brand recognition. Thanks to Forbes, here are some tips for starting & maintaining your media presence.
Participating in networking groups in a big part of getting your business local recognition. Most SBA’s (Small Business Associations) don’t require much money to join and host networking functions regularly. You can also network electronically by joining groups with similar interests through select social media channels liked LinkedIn. This is a great way to increase visibility while sitting right at your desk. For those of you not shy with a microphone in your hand, consider being a key-note speaker for a business workshop.
Most people are on the go constantly and mobile devices have almost become an appendage. So consider getting your audience’s attention on the go with the communication tool of podcasts. Leveraging podcast technology allows you to get your business name and brand message out to potential customers. Make sure your Podcast is short – usually no more than 15 minutes and contains the most value-added content to keep your consumer engaged. To get you started, check out these tips to successfully create your own business podcast.
Viral Video Marketing
Video marketing gone viral is the latest low/no-cost strategy for business to let the internet work for them. So if you or someone at your business is good at presenting, consider creating a YouTube brand channel. This allows the ever-growing audience of YouTube and potential consumers to get to know you & your business on a more personal level. Check out these tips on how to get started, get subscribers and run a successful video marketing campaign.
The Resource Table
Take time at least 2-3 times per month to peruse these great resources to stay abreast of PR tips and tricks.
Good morning all – Jean and I had a great discussion during our video blog yesterday and we hope you enjoy it. However, if you don’t have time to watch it or take notes, we’d like to share some of the key points made. The next time you take on a new client, consider these questions or issues to raise, dialogue about and seek answers to in order to successfully manage your clients expectations.
1st Element: Understanding Who Your Client Really Is
A. Find out the type of personality they have & how they best communicate (email, text, telephone or in person).
B. Through discussions, try to extract the purpose of the website and their business goals even if they aren’t clear on them.
C. Stress the importance of branding & being clear about their business identity & its goals so that the website and/or branding efforts are successful.
A. What’s the vision of the company?
B. Who do they believe their customers & consumers are?
C. What do they think their consumers & audience want to see & expect from them?
D. Take the initiative through dialogue/research to get a firm understanding of their product or service and how they want to market it.
E. What are the goals they want their website and branding to achieve?
3rd Element: Setting Client Expectations for the Project
A. What is the projected costs & overall budget (with wiggle room)?
B. What are the time frames for benchmarks and completion?
C. Are you requesting and receiving all relevant content for each page of your website upfront? Consider how this affects time & workflow of project.
D. Are their images web-worthy (i.e. are clear, look professional), of high-resolution and large enough to scale down for editing if needed?
E. Have you established a good client relationship that can endure project delays and/or disappointments?
F. Can that rapport endure if there are issues with responsiveness from the client that affect workflow, benchmarks & completion dates?
4th Element: Clients Expectation for ROI
A. Make sure you set realistic expectations of the actual ROI and timeframe in which they might see the fruits of their investment.
B. What do you do with a client that has unrealistic expectations of ROI?
C. Explain why advertising their website is crucial once it is launched and the need for continued marketing efforts.
– They need figure out how they are going to notify current customers about their new website.
– Make announcements via Social Media platforms.
– Invest in marketing materials that reflect an online, worldwide presence.
D. Encourage them to think outside the box to market their website.
– If you’re a Mom & Pop, consider Small Business Association meetings, posting marketing materials in coffee houses & restaurant/business lobbies.
E. All businesses need to focus on and execute strategic customer outreach campaigns to see profitable ROI.
The Wrap Up It’s important to set the expectations from both parties from the beginning. Set your workflow & do your best to stick to it. Hold your clients accountable for their website’s success. Help them understand that the success of their website requires THEIR initiative, drive
& passion for THEIR business. Remember, good content does wonders for customer engagement and willingness to purchase the product or service. Understand it’s about client relationship & the longevity of that relationship.