Stop Whispering, START SHOUTING!
Stop whispering, START SHOUTING!
Starting a new business is one of the hardest challenges anyone could face. With 50% of companies failing within the first two years, you can see why. After going through the tragedy of September 11, the confusion of the Great Recession, and now COVID-19, there is one constant theme; business uncertainty is inevitable.
So what are businesses to do? Suggestion – Stop whispering and Start Shouting! Companies should take every opportunity to promote their brand, products, or services. Too many companies look at marketing and advertising as the first place to “trim or cut” when uncertainty is present, but this is when you should be expanding your marketing efforts. It’s important to remember that recognized brands like Amazon, Netflix, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple where once small companies facing uncertainty just like your business. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, spent the first couple of years shipping books from his garage. Steve Jobs and Steve Wazniak, although not starting from their garage, had humble beginnings.
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When you look at any successful company, one thing is evident – they are actively building their brand. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he slashed the R&D department and then reached out to Bill Gates of Microsoft to help finance the re-build the Apple brand.
“Innovation counts for a lot, but innovative products fail without proper marketing.”
What Steve learned early in his career from designer Paul Rand https://www.paulrand.design/, was that a brand was only as good as the product or service it represented. He also learned that brand awareness was not cheap, and it often involved years of marketing and lots of money. That said, if nobody knows that your product or service exists, are you any better off? With uncertainty, a given, whether by a global pandemic or encroaching competitors, marketing your company and building your brand is a must.
So, what does it mean to SHOUT?
Shouting your brand means exploiting every marketing channel available. Below I have listed the essential channels to market your product or service. Understanding that not all companies will have the budget for TV or Radio, we have left those out of the marketing mix.
Social Media (Paid & Organic)
(Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
Before you enter this space, first ask yourself, “where do my customers live”? As an example, if you’re a pet groomer, then Linkedin may not be your first choice, but you could blow up Instagram or Pinterest. The goal of social media is to provide posts and content that educates your potential customers and, at the same time, grows your brand awareness.
Search out local events that connect well with what your brand stands for and where your potential customers congregate. Events are a great way to interact with your potential customers and will build your understanding of who your customers are. Make sure to utilize your social media platforms to inform your followers that you are going to participate in the event and afterward share photos and offers with your group. As an example, if you’re a personal trainer, have a booth handing out water for the Susan G. Coleman race for a cure or other worthy cause that combines fitness and fundraising. Tapping into local resources and events can make a significant impact on your company’s exposure and is typically cost-effective.
You must be engaging your potential customers via email. Leverage a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management), which tracks your customer’s activity with your brand and allows you to send regular communications in the form of newsletters; that provide resources and learning opportunities to educate your customers continually. Recommended CRM systems, Hubspot, Outreach IO, and Pardot.
Exploit Youtube and Vimeo by offering information on how your product or service solves their needs. Make sure to build video content that educates your customers first and doesn’t sound “sales-ish”.
Your business’s new “front door” is your website. 92% of all customers visit your site before they ever decide to purchase. That is a staggering statistic since so many companies neglect their website entirely. Make sure the layout is easy to use and not designed by your nephew! An excellent resource for design inspiration and UX is Themeforest.
Digital Advertising & Retargeting
Although potentially cost-prohibitive to smaller companies, digital advertising via Google Display continually drives customers to your website and, combined with retargeting, makes a significant impact on driving in new leads. Suggestion: use digital ads to drive potential customers to a branded landing page on your website and provide meaningful content and plenty of “form-fill” opportunities.
Your company logo and branding should be consistent, impactful, and synonymous with your product or service. Utilized a skilled design professional to craft your companies brand identity as well as outline fonts, colors, photography, and examples that establish a cohesive brand presence. Note: your brand identity and logo should be easy to understand for consumers and synonymous with your product or service. Great place to start is https://www.paulrand.design/writing/books/a-designers-art.html
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