When it comes to expanding our businesses one of the important things we need to do as business owners and that is marketing. But a lot of us find ourselves hitting a brick wall. We Marketers have it really hard these days. We all seem to be targeting the same group of people, with the same basic product offerings and sometimes even at the same time. This is especially true when it comes to marketing your brand and business in the world of Online Marketing. Some may find our efforts informative or even amusing. Others are downright annoyed and seek out every possible way to silence the noisy atmosphere we have created as we compete with each other. To make matters worse, many of the promotions online are fictitious and have left our target market overly skeptical about everything they see online. Many of them have actually suffered serious financial loss as a result of the tactics of unscrupulous marketers. In fact, less than 25% of all consumers actually trust advertisements they see online. Just think about how negatively this will affect your sales!
But, do not despair, building a recognisable brand is within your reach if you are willing to learn all you’re needed to know, keep your head down and just work towards it. Marketing a business or brand online has become one of the most popular ways for Entrepreneurs, freelancers and business owners to reach their target audience. Gone are the days when a good billboard and a couple of well-designed posters would be enough to get you on the map. If you do not take the time to establish your brand’s online presence, it can easily become forgotten or overshadowed by its competitors. Keeping ahead of the game now means carefully integrating online marketing into your overall marketing strategy and thus building a brand that needs no introduction.
The truth is, marketing your brand online is not an overly complicated task. But like any other skill, you must take the time to learn as much as you can about the task at hand and the best way to achieve the desired results. Through my latest article my aim here is to take you through simple, powerful and effective steps that once taken will help you build a successful long lasting brand and presences online.
Lets take a look at the first step in achieving this:-
Step One: Carefully Define Your Brand And All That It Represents
Your brand represents a unique promise that you make to every single one of your customers and potential customers. It is the consistency of this promise and the overall quality of the delivery of this promise that will encourage your customers to be loyal to your brand. Getting your customers to become loyal to your brand is the only real way to make your brand successful. But in order for your promise to be effective, it must be distinct and clearly distinguishable from the many other promises your potential clients will encounter.
Ask yourself these quick questions:-
What kind of promise is your brand making?
Who is your brand making this promise to?
Why is your brand’s promise different from everyone else’s?
Why should anyone believe your promise?
At a glance, the task of defining your brand may appear quite simple but please do not be fooled. The golden arches of McDonald’s and the Nike swoosh did not become what they are in a day. These and other successful brands are the product of careful research, distinctly defined boundaries and a comprehensive Marketing strategy. The result of all this hard work is that each customer and potential customer knows exactly what these brands represent.
Have you ever walked into McDonald’s to order to purchase a Pepperoni pizza? Will anyone in their right minds drive to Nike to pick up a pair of ruby red stilettos? Of course not! That is as a result of these brands being so carefully defined that we know exactly what to expect and what these brands can deliver. Customers are far more likely to be loyal to a brand that sends a clear message or has a distinct voice.
The first step to defining your brand is thinking carefully about and documenting what your business is good at. You can make use of S.W.A.T analysis to outline the major strengths and weakness of your business. It goes without saying that your brand should represent the strengths or core functions of your business. This will require some amount of honest self-evaluation. Some Entrepreneurs fall into the trap of aiming to be good at everything or doing too many things at the same time. Even worse is trying to make a ‘universal’ product or service that has no specific target audience. The result of this kind of strategy would be a brand that is not well defined and will not encourage brand loyalty.
Trying to target everybody and doing everything will force you to spread your resources too thin. The easiest way to get nothing done is to try and do everything at the same time. Once you have a clearly defined message in mind, the next step is to choose the right tools. The Marketing tools that you choose to make use of should then emphasize the core focus of your business. In doing so, your Marketing strategy should also emphasize what your business is not and thus make your clients see that your focus is not on ripping them off. This is an easy way to highlight the difference between you and the competition. A memorable brand is not worth the effort if you are not earning any money and the easiest way to make money is to take out the competition.
After assessing the strength of your business, find three simple words that represent what your business does well. Think of it this way, which three words would you want your clients to use to describe your brand if your brand was a person? This will require that you and your executive team carefully define the mission and vision statement of your business as well. Your next move should be figuring out how to communicate these attributes to your target audience with the utmost simplicity. A complicated commercial or website is a major turn off to potential clients and will not be very effective at generating sales. Keep your message simple if your aim is to make your brand memorable and profitable.
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity.”― Leo Tolstoy
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Clare Boothe Luce
“To be simple is to be great.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Defining your brand and the identity of your brand will require much more than a fancy logo. It must instantly bring to mind what your business does and what your brand represents. One core principle that never fails is to focus on quality and convenience. The identity of your brand should be carefully tied to adding value. Make your clients think of your product or service as being of the best quality, the easiest to use, the most affordable or even the most durable. Selling hype will not get you very far.
Always remember that your aim is to give your brand a pleasant voice and a distinct identity. The ultimate aim is to get the voice of your brand off the printed page or website into the mind of your target audience. Your message should make such a deep impression on your target audience that purchasing your product or service should seem like the only sensible choice. You should not have to clutter your website or commercials to get potential clients to remember what your brand represents. This will prove to be a waste of time since your brand may become easily confused with another. The next chapter will provide further details on building a unique identity for your brand.
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- “How Do I Get Started Online If I Don’t Have My Own Products” (Part II)
- How Do I Get Started Online If I Don’t Have My Own Products” (Part I)