Having a strong product that delivers on its promises is important. But unless your audience knows about it and trusts what you’re saying, it won’t even matter.
That’s why branding is an essential part of growing any business – whether you’re just starting out, or are already established but want to expand, getting your business in front of prospective customers and becoming known in your industry are a must if you’re going to stay competitive.
But why is branding so important?
Well, the main reason why multinational corporations such as Coca-Cola spend millions upon millions on branding is to ingrain their brand in the minds of their prospects so that whenever they’re ready to make a purchase, they think of Coca instead of Pepsi.
But you don’t have to spend millions to put together a successful branding campaign.
With the help of modern technology and some out-of-the-box thinking, even a small business can get their brand out there and form a loyal following of customers that help spread the word even further.
Want to learn how? Then read on below.
Have You Ever Heard of Micro-Influencer Marketing?
If you’ve read a marketing or business blog recently, you’ve probably stumbled upon the term “influencer marketing” more than once. It’s one of the hottest marketing strategies in 2018, and it can be a very powerful tool for any business, given you know how to use it effectively.
Basically, it’s the process of utilizing influencers, or influential bloggers and social media figures in your niche, to help promote your product and position your brand.
But while the potential for results may seem appealing, not many smaller businesses dare to try and put together their own influencer marketing campaign. Some fear that they won’t have the budget, others simply don’t believe they are big enough to compete with some of the more established brands.
However, just because you can’t afford the big celebrities in your niche for promoting your products, that doesn’t mean influencer marketing is off limits.
In fact, being small may actually work in your favor and provide you with a unique advantage over bigger competitors.
You see, while most big brands go after the prominent influencers with millions of followers, savvy small businesses seek out micro-influencers who have anywhere from a couple thousand to 50,000+ followers.
For every big influencer in the marketplace, there are dozens upon dozens of smaller ones who have a following that’s just as loyal, albeit smaller. It could be argued that smaller audiences are much more loyal, focused, and responsive to what the influencer recommends.
So, even though micro-influencers are harder to locate, if you do manage to seek out one that’s right for your branding campaign and write a professional-looking proposal, you will have a much better shot at striking a deal and getting in front of thousands of hyper-targeted prospects.
Now, imagine if you could find five, or even ten of these influencers – you could organize a spectacularly effective branding campaign at a fraction of the cost compared to getting promoted by even a single big-name influencer.
It’s Time to Start a Blog
When you’re struggling with getting your brand more recognition, blogging might seem like something that would take way too much time without any guarantee of it bringing results.
But in reality, blogging might be the most potent branding strategy that you could implement.
To compete with big companies, smaller brands need to be able to tell a compelling story and educate their audience. Since you can’t match the big marketing budgets of your larger competitors, you need to form a loyal following that won’t even care about what the others are doing.
With the help of blogging, you can not only increase your brand awareness but also convert leads into customers by providing content that educates and nurtures your audience.
Blogging allows you to address the most pressing questions that your audience has and, in the process, position you as the authority in your field. You can help your prospective customers overcome obstacles and guide them closer to the point of purchase.
But that’s not all that a blog can offer.
Over time, it can become a powerful lead generation tool – by regularly posting quality content, you’re likely to start ranking for various keywords around relevant search terms on Google. And if you take the time to research the best keywords to improve your SEO, there’s no limit to how many targeted leads you could attract each month.
Up Your Email Marketing Game
For most businesses, email marketing is just another way to make sales. But small companies can’t expect to succeed by simply mailing offers to their subscribers over and over again.
Email marketing presents a unique opportunity to build and nurture relationships with your customers – combined with blogging, it can form an incredibly powerful combination of tools for improving brand awareness on a tight budget.
But how can you use email marketing to improve brand awareness?
Well, email provides an excellent opportunity to showcase what your brand is all about.
By providing helpful content developing your own unique voice through your content, and delivering consistent quality that’s in line with your brand’s image, business values, and vision, you can start setting yourself apart from the competition and forming a more personal relationship with your readers.
People want businesses to be in line with what they believe in, so if you can resonate with your audience and their worldview, it can go a long way in helping you develop a strong brand presence and offer you unique positioning opportunities in the market.
Obviously, you need to make sure that the content you provide is actually helpful and is not just there to fill the pages. What’s more, you need to present the information in an engaging and conversational way that speaks to your readers and makes them eagerly await next week’s email.
Luckily, this doesn’t have to be very complicated – if you know your target audience, you should be able to identify the most pressing issues or concerns that they’re facing and then address them.
Once you do that, the technical part of email marketing will be easy – today’s best email marketing tools are not only affordable but very easy to use as well, allowing you to set everything up quickly and providing extensive support in the process.
Consider Setting Up an Affiliate Program
A brand’s influence is largely dependent on how many people are actively having conversations about it, both on the web and in person.
And one of the best ways to ensure that your products remain at the heart of discussions and reviews online is by setting up an affiliate program that offers incentives to members who contribute sales to your business.
While it does take some time to set up, once it gets rolling, affiliate marketing helps you get sales and spread the word about your brand on autopilot – since the members of your affiliate program are rewarded only when a sale is made, there’s no risk to you and you’re guaranteed profits from every purchase.
The important thing to remember is that even though you want to remain profitable, you need to offer your affiliate program members a fair share of the profits. Also, provide them with plenty of seller tools and clear guidelines on how to make sales to make their jobs easier and ensure that they operate as efficiently as possible.
Finally, remember to be accessible – provide an email address for affiliates to reach out to and create a simple contact form on your site as well.
Remember, at least some of your competitors likely have affiliate programs of their own, so you need to offer more value to your sellers if you want them to choose to work with you.
Do You Know What Your Customers Think of Your Brand?
If you don’t know where you currently stand, it will be impossible to move forward with any type of branding strategy. That’s why the first thing you must do is to gain an understanding of your brand’s current position in the marketplace.
You must find out how much is your target audience aware of your brand and your products and how it fares against your most prominent competitors.
Once you gain an understanding of what the strong and weak points are in your branding strategy, you can start making adjustments and achieve measurable results that increase your bottom line.
But how to measure your current brand awareness?
Well, the most straightforward and most accurate method is to survey your current and potential customers.
By collecting feedback and asking a few key questions, you can figure out the associations that are currently tied to your brand, whether consumers are available of what you have to offer, and whether your values line up with how you’re perceived in the marketplace.
Surveys can also help you better hear the voice of the customer and make the necessary adjustments to make your brand more appealing to prospects.
About the author:
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.