What Everyone Needs to Know About Small Business Branding

“I’m not sure what a brand is, but I don’t really need one.” I hear that sentence all the time. If you’ve ever said or thought that, you need to understand what a brand is and then decide if you need one. In this post, I’ll describe the concept of small business branding in a different way than you’ve seen in the past. I’ll explain why you need a brand, and then you can make your own decision.

How Can You Recognize a Brand?

Small Business BrandingRaise your hand if you recognize the car in the photo.

If you didn’t raise your hand, all you know is that it’s a sporty-looking car.   Just looking at the car, for all you know, it could be a hybrid with a top speed of 60 miles an hour. That could be your perception just from looking at the photo.

If you did raise your hand, you know that you’re looking at an Aston Martin. And, now that the rest of you know it’s an Aston Martin, you probably have quite a different perception of the vehicle.

What do you know about Aston Martins? If you’re a car buff at all, you know that James Bond was fond of Aston Martins. So, does that fact make you feel differently about the car now that you know it isn’t a hybrid?  Indeed. Why?

Because you now perceive the car to be a hot sports car, capable of making beautiful women swoon, achieving high rates of speed, completing very sharp turns, and in the hands of “Q”, launching rockets.

And, that perception is reinforced by other things you may know if you are a car buff. For example, here is a short list of famous folks who drive Aston Martins: David Beckham, Elle Macpherson, Ben Affleck, and Pierce Brosnan.

So, even if you’ve never driven an Aston Martin yourself, every perception you have of the car is consistent. It’s a hot car that anyone would love to own.

So, That’s It. That’s the Brand.

Now, look at the photo again, and point to the brand. You can’t, can you? Why? Because the brand is a perception that the company worked hard to implant in the public’s mind.

The brand is your perception of what the Aston Martin is all about. You developed that perception because everything you were exposed to concerning that car reinforced its brand.

When people ask me what the result of branding is, it can be difficult to explain. There isn’t something you can see, feel or taste. It’s not like a website or a marketing brochure. And, that is a big part of the reason why branding is often misunderstood.

When we do branding, the product is a market positioning statement and a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Just words on a page. But, the point is that you can take those words and use them to start implanting a perception in the minds of the people in your market area. You can use variations of those words everywhere: on your website, brochures, blog posts, and in an effective “elevator speech.”

The branding process gives you the opportunity to clearly identify:

  • your target market
  • your target market’s needs and pain points
  • how you satisfy those needs in a way that is different from your competitors

Without a Brand, You’re Just Another Face in the Crowd

Until you know what the Aston Martin’s brand is, it’s just a car.

Until you have a brand, you’re just one of many competitors trying to grab your prospects’ attention.

And, that’s why you need to do small business branding.

Supercharge your marketing and sales with an effective brand. Contact me for more information.

 

How Digital Marketing Works

Most small businesses need to use the internet well to promote their business and attract prospects. Here’s how digital (internet) marketing works.

Digital Marketing Blog

 

1. Capture Interest

After you define what you’re selling, the first step in digital marketing is to capture the interest of individuals who may be interested in what you have to offer. This step is critical today because prospects are much more active in controlling the buying process.

In fact, prospects do a lot of their research before they even talk to a sales person. Every expert seems to have a different statistic on that topic, as you’ll see in this CustomerThink article:

  • Forrester Research says that 74 percent of B2B buyers do at least half of their research online before buying.
  • SiriusDecisions reports that 70 percent of the buyer’s journey is over before a prospect contacts sales for more detailed information.
  • The Corporate Executive Board states that 57 percent of executives have already made a purchase decision before they contact sales.

Even though those statistics are different, the take away is that prospects aren’t dependent on you or your sales team to get close to making a purchase decision. You may not hear from a prospect until they have a short list of vendors to choose from based on internet research.

Therefore, you need to be aggressive in using digital marketing tools to make sure prospects find you when they’re surfing the ‘net searching for information about your type of solution. Those tools can include things such as SEO, Pay Per Click advertising, blog posts, being active on social media, and more.

Digital Marketing Blog2. Convert to Lead

Once you have a prospect’s attention, the real work begins. First, you need to convert that prospect to a lead. A lead is a person who is interested enough in what you offer to give you some type of contact information. It could be an email address, or if you’re lucky, an email and telephone number.

With contact information, you can communicate with the prospect to determine if they’re qualified to be a lead. If they are, you can continue the education process to answer the lead’s questions as they move through the buyer journey.

Tools to convert prospects to leads encompass things such as landing pages, online appointment setting, and calls to action on your website that include forms you motivate your prospects to complete.

3. Convert to Customer

Now that you have real leads, they’ll ask themselves more in-depth questions. You’ll need to respond with things such as eBooks, case studies, newsletters, webinars, and demonstrations.

4. Convert to Cheerleader

As you know, your job isn’t over when you generate a new customer. You’ll need to continue to provide exceptional products and services. Your customer service also needs to be outstanding. You’ll need to stay in touch with existing customers, just as you do with leads.

If you do all those things right, you’ll convert some of your customers to cheerleaders. A cheerleader is someone who leaves you powerful reviews and refers you to others. Word of mouth marketing is some of the most effective, so make sure you work hard to make it easy for people to recommend you to friends and associates.

Introducing the GIWI Small Business Marketing Blog

Hello, and Welcome
to the New Getting It Write Small Business Marketing Blog!

 

Small businesses need to have a good story to tell, and they need to know who to tell it to and how. This small business marketing blog will address all of those issues.

Before You Start Developing Your Marketing Strategy

You can’t sell something if you can’t describe it! So, whether you are marketing a product or service, you need to have a story to tell. And, you need to know who you’re telling it to. The minimum requirements for a marketing strategy include:

  • A clear definition of your brand. Figure out how to describe what you’re selling and why someone should buy from you as opposed to one of your competitors.
  • Buyer Personas. Sure, you know who you’re selling to, but you need to take the time to write down descriptions of the different types of buyers you want to attract. Once you have that in writing, determining how to communicate most effectively with your prospects will be easy.
  • Buyer Journey. There’s an easy way to define a buyer journey. This will create a roadmap you can follow to plan communications for each step in the process.

Once you have your marketing message and have identified your buyers, you’re ready to plan which marketing tools you’re going to use. This blog will address both of those issues!