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StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Brand Identity: 5 Basic Steps You Need to Cover

McDonalds, Nike, Dominos Pizza, Chanel… What do these four have in common? Powerful brand identity. Because, chances are, you’ve heard of most of them, and there’s reason why. Just how powerful the brand?

Let’s just say, according to this article, children recognize the fast food chain’s iconic logo before their own name. And, in 1998, 97% of Americans recognized the Nike’s swoosh logo (chances are, this figure has increased both nationally and internationally).

How do startups and small and medium businesses (SMBs) create a strong brand identity that makes customers keep coming back? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

1. Know What is a Strong Brand

According to Forbes, strong brands have these four things in common: recognition, trust, financial value, and a boost in employee morale.

When business owners have a million things going on, it’s easy to get their brand identity muddled. To ensure you stay on track, always keep those four elements in mind, and regularly ask yourself and your marketing and design team these questions:

  • Recognition: What will customer think or remember when they see insert-logo or insert-image?
  • Trust: Does insert-item support our mission statement and build trust with our target audience?
  • Financial Value: How will insert-item impact my return on investment?
  • Boost in Employee Morale: How will insert-item impact my team?

2. Don’t Ignore Personal Branding

Personal branding can also help (or hinder) a company’ brand. Point taken, brand messages shared on social media between employees don’t just get 100 but 561% greater reach than the same brand message from the company’ main social media account.

Long story short, if your employees feel excited to work for your company, chances are, they’ll be posting about it.

At the same time, have a social media policy in place that specifically outlines what employees can and cannot say about your company to avoid negatively impacting brand messaging.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Re-Brand but Do So Cautiously

Consider Nike which transitioned from Blue Ribbon Sports to the Nike we now know. However, not all rebranding experiences turn out just like Nike. In fact, if companies become too reckless, they can end up making a bad business deal as Entrepreneur points out Netflix did in 2011.

The movie streaming provider teamed up with Qwickster, and announced that it would split into two companies.

Long-time Netflix customers didn’t like it: two companies, less convenience, and 60% more cost. With 800,000 subscribers down, Netflix quickly realized their branding mistake and ditched the rebranding move.

4. Keep Your Mission Statement and Vision

When rebranding, feel free to change the story but try to keep the mission statement and vision intact. The reason? Your mission statement and vision is the foundation of your business.

Think of it as a house: you can change the structure but, remove the foundation, you leave you’re a shaky structure.

5. It’s the Little Things That Counts

You see, the more you can get your logo in front of the eyes of your target audience, the more likely they’ll remember it. Which is why you shouldn’t forget publishing it on social channels but also make an impact with your table cover.

Final Thoughts: Branding Impacts

According to Forbes, branding pulls in sales versus marketing that pushes. Which sounds easier? Have any more tips to help businesses strengthen their brands? Leave a comment.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Every Strategy Is Different

Just like no two fingerprints are the same, no two businesses will be identical. There may only be minor differences, but these can make a big difference when it comes to planning a marketing strategy. What is right for one company can be totally the wrong thing for another, but sometimes you just have to try various things and monitor them to see which is working best for you.

Using An Agency Or Do It Yourself?

You may think that using an agency is outside of your budget although, to be honest, they are usually very good at putting strategies together. Doing it yourself might not be too bad if you have some knowledge about the different areas of marketing and know something about programming your website to do exactly what you want. You may find the website at Javabeat.Net very useful in this respect, as it has a lot of information and tutorials to help you.

There will be some aspects you will find easier than others in any marketing campaign, social media being one of the simplest for you to handle.

Let Social Media Help You

Social media is a brilliant marketing tool and should be part of any strategy to help your business. It can be time-consuming, which is why some people employ others to manage it for them, but nothing else will give you such a large reach or as much interaction with your customers. There are analytical tools to help you monitor which of the social media platforms are working for you as well, and that can be extremely useful information to have.

Emails Could Be The Answer

Sending regular emails is something else that you could do yourself. You need to make sure they are engaging and interesting for anyone to read, which is why many companies use a newsletter format. There are programs such as MailChimp, which enables you to send the same email to thousands of people at the push of a button.

Both emails and social media are strategies that could help your business and that you could do yourself if you wanted.

An Effective Website

Just as Javabeat.Net can help you with many aspects of your website, there are tools on the market that will help you to initially set up a website yourself in about an hour. It is not as difficult as some people think, and although it might not look quite so professional until you have made enough money to pay an agency, it can be a good way to start.

Your website can be the first impression a potential customer has of your brand, so keep it simple in its looks and precise in its content if you want them to stay for more than a few seconds.

The problem that many new businesses have is cash flow, and until the sales start to happen that does not improve. The strategy you use to market your business will not be the same as anyone else’s but should make your brand stand out from all your competitors.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Implementing An Effective eCommerce Strategy: A Guide

You’ve done your research and decided that going branching out onto the worldwide web is the best decision for your business. But how do you actually go about implementing that? Building an online store and an eCommerce website requires a sophisticated content management system and a strategy that combines many separate elements. Not sure where to begin? Here is a guide to help you transition to the wonderful world of eCommerce.

Finding your online voice

Firstly, you will need to think about how you want to present your company online. What sort of tone do you want to have? Formal and serious or open and friendly? You will need to consider your product or service descriptions, as your online voice will play a big role in this. If you’re not sure how to go about this, looking at your competitors is a good place to start. How are they presenting themselves? How do they describe their products? Your descriptions will require keywords that online users search for in search engines, as well as being compelling enough to convince your customers to buy.

You’ll also need to take professional quality photos to accompany your inventory, as eCommerce relies heavily on visually appealing interfaces and imagery.

Setting yourself up

The second thing you will need to do is set up your website. This can be done independently, through platforms such as WordPress, or through a professional website designer. You need to ensure that your website is easy to navigate, has a clean and sharp design, and holds all the information your customers might need.

For much large organizations, especially those running ERP, eCommerce will be part of a wider strategy. This is usually outsourced to companies who can implement comprehensive product suites, such as Omnia, which ensure you offer up real time data under the secure umbrella of the ERP infrastructure.

Create a marketing plan

Doing business online comes with many benefits, including the vast array of marketing techniques and tactics for you to utilize, many of which are either free of charge or inexpensive to use.

Take social media for example. Especially due to changing algorithms on media platforms, you should strongly consider paid promotion due to the accurate targeting options on offer. However, you can do a lot for your business by simply engaging with customers on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Regular posting shows consumers you are active and involved with your customer community, and can be a good way of showing your strengths and previous customer loyalty. Many people go straight to social media when checking out a business, as it is the perfect insight into who you are. It will certainly give your brand a stronger, more personable identity.

Focus on customers

In the face of fierce online competition, remember that your strongest strategy weapon is prioritizing your customers. Social media users respond well to brands that build and nurture meaningful relationships, while Google is constantly updating its algorithm to favor those who give greater precedence to the customer experience.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Reasons to Have a Newsletter

Although social media marketing is having its moment in the spotlight right now, email marketing is still very much a relevant and a powerful tool for your business to utilise. One way you can really take advantage of email marketing is via a newsletter, something which appears to be a dying trend.

When you consider just how many of us use email and have access to it around-the-clock through our smartphones, you start to see the raw potential of properly using email marketing to reach your customers and subscribers. Although you may be sitting on the fence, unsure whether or not to create a newsletter, we recommend that you just go ahead and do it – you have nothing to lose and it is really something that can pay off.

If you are unsure how to create a newsletter, there are plenty of guides available online which can help you from beginning to end, regardless of your skill level or experience. Creating a newsletter is very simple and you can have one ready to go in virtually no time. If you are still unsure, read on to learn just how beneficial a newsletter can be for your business or brand.

#1: Newsletters Drive Conversions & Sales

It’s very easy to understand just how email marketing and newsletters are effective when it comes to driving up sales. When a subscriber opens one of your emails, you have a golden opportunity to make the sale right there and then — you already have the recipient’s attention and you need to take advantage of this moment to describe the product or service, explain its benefits, and entice them to make a purchase.

As we all know too well, human beings are impulsive creatures and by including incentives such as a coupon, promotion or special offer in a newsletter, you can easily convince somebody to make a purchase. If statistics are anything to go by – where 7 in 10 adults make use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email or where over 40% of email recipients make at least one purchase per year based on an email – there is no doubt that newsletters can have a dramatic impact on your sales.

#2: Newsletters Create Connections

Although you may not believe so, consumers actually want to receive promotional emails from their favourite brands; many consumers go out of their way to sign up for promotional emails. By creating a newsletter which is interesting and engaging, you enable your subscribers to connect with your brand or business on a personal level.

Email marketing and newsletters are about more than just making sales, they are about providing value and utility beyond sales and profits by sending customers interesting, well-thought-out email newsletters with which they can resonate. By building bridges and connections with your customers, you establish brand loyalty, something which, in the long-term, can spur growth.

At the end of the day, your customers buy from you because they are loyal to your brand and can trust you, a trust which is established through building connections with customers.

#3: Newsletters Boost Website Traffic & Social Media Followings

In your email newsletter, you can add social sharing buttons for sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you are likely aware, these social media channels are vital to your overall marketing strategy yet growing them can be something of a challenge. Email newsletters are very effective at helping you build up your social media following. For the most part, merely having these social buttons there can be enticing enough to encourage people to follow your social media pages, however, drawing your newsletter to a close with a discussion involving your social media channels can be another way to entice your subscribers to like and follow your pages.

Not only this, but your email newsletter can play a major role in boosting overall traffic to your website or online store. If you want people to come and visit your website, peruse through your catalogue and, ultimately, make a purchase, you need to invite and encourage people to do just that. There are multiple ways you can go about this, including promotional incentives, calls to action and targeted emails.

Although email newsletters have become something of a dying trend with the onset of social media marketing, it is important to recognise the important role they still play for online businesses, especially small-to-medium sized ones which do not yet have much of a substantive following.

Newsletters are a simple way to engage the customers and subscribers you currently have and encourage them to share your business or brand and, ultimately, come back for more. It’s very easy to create an emotive and engaging newsletter which encourages a response from its recipient, and every business should be sending email newsletters often.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

3 Tips on Holding an Event to Promote Your Business

If you want your business to seriously compete with the other players in the field, you need to promote it in the right way. Remember the different forms that promotion can take. For example, your online marketing will constitute part of your promotion efforts, as will any events that you host.

There is no right or wrong way to go about promoting your business; the best moves for your business will depend on exactly what it is, as well as who you are marketing to and competing against. There are, however, a number of things that you can do that will maximise the chances of your promotional event being a success.

Throw the Event You Would Want to Attend

The easiest way of ensuring that you plan the very best event that you can is to make it the kind of event that you would want to attend. It doesn’t mean that everything should match your personal taste, it just means that you should put in as much effort as you would want someone else to put in to an event you were attending.

This thinking should extend beyond the event itself and also include things like invitations sent out beforehand. If you don’t invite people to your event in the right way, the number of respondents who show up at all will be lower.

Make sure that every aspect of your event reflects the care and attention you have put into it. The best way of achieving this is to ensure adequate planning beforehand. It’s no use getting to the day of the event and still not having everything in place. The more organised you are beforehand, the better chance you have of pulling it off without a hitch.

Staff it Properly

There are two components to ensuring that you have the right staff on hand. The first is simply numbers as if your event is understaffed, it will show. Guests at an understaffed event will have a harder time navigating. Even if your event only takes place in a single room, and everything is clearly signposted, you need enough staff members to ensure that food is circulated properly and that any issues can be addressed promptly.

While some businesses choose to staff these events using their own staff, if you want to really push the boat out, and if you want this event to be a roaring success, then you should hire some temp staff externally. Through companies such as Staff Heroes, you’ll be able to find a range of staff that are available to work during the specific date of your event, and then choose each staff member based on their profile.

Promote it Beforehand

Hosting a killer event isn’t going to do much good if no one turns up. And, of course no one is going to turn up to an event they don’t know about (not intentionally anyway). The best way of promoting your event will depend upon a number of factors, namely what the nature of your event is, and who you are hoping to attract to it.

For example, if you are a software company who is hosting an event in the hopes of meeting other programmers and coders, with a view to working with anyone whose skills and interests complement your business’s other work, it would make sense to promote your event in places where coders will see it. By contrast, if your business is one that sells custom clothing, it’s unlikely you’ll be looking to fill a room with programmers. Instead, you should advertise your event with flyers in clothes stores, and any outdoor market clothing stalls near you.

Holding a killer event is an excellent way of raising your business’s, and your own, profile. With the right event, you can achieve almost anything. It is worth investing the necessary time and money to get it right.