Before we dive into how you can market your brand the right way, let’s first look at what marketing even means. Below is the definition of marketing.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “marketing” as the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service
But before you start marketing your brand, it’s important to have some foundational things in place, first. After you check these items off your list, you can begin your marketing efforts in confidence. If you start marketing before your foundation is set, you may find it difficult to see success. Structure should be your first point of focus. Then, you can stretch out and have some fun.
But First Things First…
Lay The Foundation
Marketing includes a variety of areas that all must be attended to at some point. Below are some areas of marketing.
- Research and Development
- Public Relations
This is a shortened list, but you get the point. You should be starting to understand why it’s not beneficial to jump right into the sales portion of your plan. It’s last on this list for a reason. There are many other things that you should take care of beforehand. If your customer has questions or objections, and you haven’t yet put thought into those things, you won’t be able to provide a solid answer to help them feel at ease and ready to purchase. Setting the other things in place first helps your customers to get through the know-like-trust process quicker. Not having those things in place makes it look like you have something to hide. And perception is everything, right?
So how do you lay the foundation?
The best way to build a sustainable company is to start with branding. Establish your personal brand or your company brand, and work to position it as the authority in your industry. Make your brand solid, recognizable by the public. One great way to do this is by developing a brand manual. A brand manual helps you to stay on track with the different elements that make up your overall brand.
- A well designed logo
- A distinctive and appealing color palette
- A sound overall message
- and more…
Make brand manual creation one of the first tasks you complete when building your brand. Doing this provides you and your team a set of guidelines to adhere to when designing promotional materials, preparing communications or developing publications. A brand manual sets the standard and makes sure everything that the public sees from your brand has the same look and feel, and tells the same story.
Need a brand manual?
After developing your brand manual, you can focus on the content you will publish, and the branded materials you will promote to generate brand awareness.
Generate Brand Awareness
Brand Awareness entails making the world around you aware that your brand exists. You can’t make money if you don’t have customers. And you can’t get customers if you never tell anyone that you’re here on the planet. Brand awareness is a crucial part of your marketing process. Lets discuss how to execute properly.
So how do you create awareness?
This is where things get tricky…well, not really. But this is where the gurus start to disagree and force people in one direction or another. The reason for this is there are no real rules for how to create awareness. Some people go for the shock factor, and some go the conventional route of PPC advertising. Other methods that cost low to zero dollars are listed below.
- Guerilla Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Cold Calling
- Cold Emailing
Most entrepreneurs are bootstrappers, and they look for the most cost-effective way to promote their businesses. This is why we’re starting with the low cost and free ways to market. If you have the cash to invest in your business up front, you can jump right into the more conventional marketing tactics that can generate results almost immediately. The low cost and free methods take a little more time to build momentum and generate your desired results.
There are several methods you could use to generate awareness for your brand. The important thing to keep in mind is whichever method(s) you choose, they should be in line with your brand message and image. For example, if you have a faith-based brand, you might not want to go for the shock factor. Doing so may put your brand at risk of receiving backlash from the public and even losing customers.
One of the most popular ways to create brand awareness is through content marketing. Content marketing is promoting your products and services through publishing helpful content related to your industry. Content marketing can set you apart from your competition and position your brand as the authority on a certain topic.
Types of Content You Could Produce
– Blog Content –
– Video Content –
– Social Media Content –
– Micro Content –
– Podcast Content –
Keep in mind that it’s easy to want to jump in and fire on all cylinders, but if you are a one-man-brand it won’t be beneficial to do so. Rolling everything out at once may cause your brand to appear scattered and unorganized. While your heart may be in the right place, your energy can die down, after a while, and some things can start to fall to the wayside. And for the sake of your brand, you don’t want to have things out there that haven’t been updated in weeks or even worse…months. It may not sound like a huge deal, but when visitors see that your blog hasn’t been updated since last year, they click away from your website faster than a gust of wind reveals a patch of baldness under a faulty toupee.
On the flip side, if you have a team in place, you may be able to effectively fire on all cylinders, with each person being assigned to a specific task or online platform. Otherwise, it is a good idea to start with one content project. Do that one thing well, before you move onto other things. The good news is that when you are ready to implement other types of content, you won’t have to spend time creating content from scratch.
How to Recycle Your Content
You’ve already created the content once. Now, you only need to tailor the same content to fit the next type of content you want to use in your marketing efforts.
For example, if you start with video content. Next, you can create a blog by using the information you published in your video in written form. And you can break that down into micro content and snag quotes from your blog to create a graphic for social media. See how that works?
Your marketing efforts should always point your brand in a forward and upward direction. It shouldn’t feel overwhelming and cumbersome. Marketing is the fun part of running your business. By the time you start marketing, you know that you’ve already set your business up to be successful on the backend.
Marketing focuses on the front end of your business. It’s like inviting people to your home, after you’ve cleaned, decorated, placed all the furniture in the perfect spots, prepared the food, and set up the entire experience for your guests. The hard work is done; you just have to remain in control of the environment, and enjoy watching people enjoy what you’ve created.
A Word of Advice…
Don’t Get Stuck In The Planning Phase
Sure, the planning phase is one of the fun, creative parts, but too many entrepreneurs get stuck in the process of coming up with ideas and fleshing them out. This happens, because the entrepreneur is either a perfectionist, or someone who is afraid of executing on the “wrong” idea.
Here’s another piece of advice: there is no perfect way to set things up, when it comes to marketing. Entrepreneurs all over the world have come across their business ideas in different ways. They have set up their businesses in different ways. And they have become successful from those different ways. Don’t be afraid to choose and run with your idea. You can always go back and tweak something to be better later. Functionality trumps perfection. Remember that.
You should save your energy for things that will propel your business. Spending months on your color palette isn’t the greatest allocation of your time.
Be sure to put your energy into things that will:
- Position your brand as a leader in your field
- Improve user experience
- Increase revenue
- Attract more customers
- Get past customers to return
These are guidelines that should get you off to a great start in building your brand and marketing it the right way. Take your time with these items, because together, they make up the foundation of your business. There are rules in setting up the structure, but the rest can be as creative as you see fit.
Need some structure? Click here. You bring your big ideas and we’ll develop a solid plan that you can execute with confidence.
If you need more help with your marketing efforts, you can schedule a consultation with a team member at Write Mind Media, by calling (312) 380-1474. You can also check out our DIY guides for more instructional information.