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.
Just about everyone on the planet knows that Facebook has become the go-to media strategy for business promotion. Using Facebook provides businesses one of the best opportunities on the Internet for targeted advertising. This is key because Facebook users provide pertinent information such as their age, gender, location and interests, which allows you direct access to target your audience. These Facebook ads can be used for lead generation, traditional brand advertising, and more all to promote your business – FOR FREE! Here are just a few ways to leverage Facebook advertisements for your business.
1st – Know How It Works – When you run your ad or sponsored posts/stories you are charged for the number of impressions (CPM) or clicks it receives. The amount that you pay can be restricted by your daily or lifetime budget and there are no additional fees associated with running ads or sponsored stories on Facebook. Facebook suggests you name your campaign, select your budget and set the time schedule for running your ad. When multiple ads are running in a campaign, Facebook automatically allocates more of your daily budget to higher performing ads. You can use the Ads Manager feature to monitor your campaigns performance, to measure its success and ultimately determine if you are spending your Facebook advertising $’s in the best way possible.
2nd – Consider Psychographics vs. Demographics in the Setup – Psychographics study and measure attitudes, values, lifestyles, and opinions versus demographics, which provide quantitative data based on geography, age, gender and the like. Psychographics give a true, life-like portrait of the targeted audience and consumer base for your individualized marketing purposes. Facebook gathering this key information allows advertisers to target & pinpoint their audience in a very precise and henceforth successful way. 3rd – Always Use Effective, Eye-Catching Tools & Creative Options – We know that we “eat” with our eyes first. What catches our attention through imagery certainly opens the door leading us to the relevant information. So smart use of imagery in your Facebook ad will make a significant impact on the success of the advertising and marketing campaign. And there are various forms of these eye-catching options to consider.
Infographics are a great way to grab the reader’s attention especially when you add imbedded links to your page to promote key information about a product or service being provided.
Video Ads – For those who prefer to watch than read, video ads are a great way to convey pertinent healthcare information or solicitations to the masses. For example, there are sports companies like Nike that use ads like Nike’s Football: The Vapor Trail to create amazing & captivating video ads to entice their target audience and promote their products.
Job Opportunities – In need of more sales associates or another CPA for your growing accounting firm? With over 1 billions people on Facebook, it is no brainer to use ad space to market career opportunities within your business.
Free Services & Apps – Nothing attracts new customers like the words FREE and even more so when they can actually obtain something. What better way to entice a consumer than offering a limited service for free? What about creating engagement via a free app offer as you lead consumers to your own website. Use Facebook the way Facebook uses you – to get new subscribers i.e. new consumers.
Emotional Response Ads – Emotions are one of the most powerful influences we have. Emotional Response Marketing & Advertising works wonders in the various forums such as healthcare because there are emotional attachments to health concerns, issues and supportive causes such as Shriner’s Hospital Love to the Rescue.
Hosted Event Ads – Events promoted on Facebook have a greater chance of success than any traditional marketing method. Business exhibitions and conferences, trainings, and career events can have a much higher participatory turnout when advertised through Facebook.
So are Facebook advertisements worthwhile for your business and particular industry? Only you know who your general audience is comprised of. But if there are more than 50% that you believe are online and use Social Media – than the answer is YES. Especially if you look at the IMMENSE EXPOSURE opportunity versus the amount of money spent on the campaign. Using Facebook creates unlimited opportunities to attain new customers, host successful events and bring global awareness to your company’s product or service.
Is it really necessary for a small company to have website? Can I really make SEO work for me?
Can blogging really benefit my company? Is this all just a waste of time and is any of this profitable?
In a very Dr. Phil-ish candidness, you bet your butt they do! And here’s why:
1. I’ve said this to potential clients, current clients, on previous blogs and to my friends…YOU NEED A WEBSITE! Whether you live in a big city or small town, the truth is that most of the world doesn’t know you exist. Unless your business has a product or service that is exclusive to your geographical region, you need to expand not only your mind but also your client list and profit margin. How else can a small company in Nebraska acquire a client in Maine?
2. If you have sneakers, you need laces. Since you need a website, you need SEO. It’s the only way to get higher rankings in the major search engines for your company with limitless advertising. Yes, it can be a little time-consuming at first if doing so yourself (or you can just hire someone to do it…see www.jpdesigntheory.com) but it is worth the time and your dimes. 3. Do you see the visual example of a necessary principle? The more you or someone else writes about your company and services/products exposure expansion & growth.
4. It’s evident from all the market growth and promotion of social media, it is not only big now but it’s here to stay.Customers are savvy enough now to use it to their advantage and that directly benefits your company if you get on board. Especially since customers are utilizing all the tools the worldwide web offers to discuss product/service experiences and research them prior to purchase. In the end, I hope these answers to common questions help you to understand the importance and necessity of websites, SEO and blogging. Can’t wait to see YOU on the www!
As the end of the year gets closer most of us start thinking more about our family and what we plan to do for the holidays. Family trips, big dinners, presents right? Well a lot of you are pretty talented designers, so why not come up with some pretty cool ways to reach out to your clients to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving in a truly personal way that’s all your own. It’s a really great way to grab their attention from all the other pieces of mail, email, and rudimentary things they’ll be receiving that they plan to immediately shove aside.
Idea One: Give thanks with a custom infographic about their business and your role in it. Use 3-4 statistic examples or metrics that can be replicated easily from customer to customer so you can quickly replicate your efforts. This gives an eye pleasing approach to some facts but also promotes your service back to them.
Ideal Two: A handwritten letter sent via snail mail. Do we even write anything anymore outside of our name as a signature? Sure we’re used to emails and SMS but can you imagine how a client would feel opening a letter from you on a papyrus style paper or something with really good texture? It’s something I’m sure they’d share with others and the livelihood of it being read fully are much higher than a typed letter on regular print paper.
Idea Three: Offer an exclusive and personally direct special offer to some of your clients. Did you design a logo a few months ago? Why not offer a special deal on business cards or letterhead. But take it one step further and create a mockup already made and ready to print for them. With a watermark of course.
Idea Four: Customer Loyalty program. Track back in your previous or past conversations with your clients and see if you can find any hints on some products or services you offer that they may want. Specifically the things they want that they may have felt at the time was just out of their budget. Offer it to them at a sale or discount. They’ll appreciate the sale/discount because they will remember what the true value or price was prior to your new offer. Make it compelling by leaving a purchase window for 24-48 hours.
Any tactics you’ve used in the past that were beneficial that you’d like to add? Share with us in the comments below. If you’d like a copy of the Happy Thanksgiving graphic, request a layered (un-watermarked) PNG here.