If you’re building your business brand in today’s marketplace, you need to stand head and shoulders above the crowd of other businesses competing for your customers’ attention.
Furthermore, you need to track how effective your brand building is, by monitoring it closely and reacting accordingly.
Your brand could well be your most valuable business asset and can mean the difference between a lifetime of loyal and avid customers, or simply being lost in the crowd of other brand marketers on Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s look at five ways for you to measure and track your brand in today’s online world.
1. Are Your Fans Engaging With You?
Social media and the internet has changed the way we do business. Gone are the days when you marketed to your customers. These days marketing is a two way conversation, with social engagement taking place between the business and consumers. Relationships are built by being responsive to your customers needs.
A great example of fan engagement is the French telecommunications company, Orange, who used Twitter to engage their fans. Followers were asked to use the hashtag #thissummer to tweet about the plans they had for summer, which were then broadcast on Orange's blog, with a Voice Over. This had the twofold effect of both creating massive traffic, and enabling people to identify with Orange around an interesting and enjoyable topic.
2. How Much Real Value Are you Adding To The Conversation?
The content you offer needs to be the sort that people enjoy and encourages them to share with others, just like Healthy Choice did. They increased engagement with their followers, and gained an extra 10,000 fans by offering a low value Facebook coupon, which increased in value as their fan base grew. This not only reinforced their brand image with existing customers, but the majority of new fans also subscribed to their newsletter.
3. Are You Trying To Take More Than You're Giving?
Social media is about building a loyal and responsive following, by giving often, and taking infrequently. Think of it as a savings account. You must put in regular deposits, so you can reap the benefits when you need to make a withdrawal. Giving freely without asking for something in return will translate to massive positive response from your fans when you do decide to ask for something.
4. Are You Actually Listening To The Online Conversation?
Today’s customer is a powerful being, with the ability to impact your business in a matter of minutes. It’s therefore essential that you’re listening to the conversation that’s going on all around you, so you can respond to any negativity before it wreaks havoc with your business. Learn from U-Haul’s mistake, who suffered long term damage to their well established brand, as well as lost thousands of dollars, because of a negative conversation about them which they weren’t listening to. Even negative feedback can turn into a positive experience because it shows others that you’re concerned and responsive to their issues.
5. Is Your Website Active With Engagement, or Is It Silent And Stagnant?
Just having a website, no matter how flashy or attractive you think it is, simply isn’t enough anymore. Build it and they will come is an internet myth. Customers want to visit websites and blogs on which they can find interesting and engaging information, and which they want to bookmark and return to often because they look forward to your new content. A simple way to encourage your website visitors to engage with you is to end your articles and blog posts with a question that encourages the reader to respond.
What do you want most out of your marketing efforts?
The words “Buy Local”
are showing up in all kinds of marketing pitches. For food and farm commodities, the words guarantee fresher foods that have not traveled miles to get to the dinner table. For service work or contractors, the words guarantee that the provider lives in the same town or county. For the consumer, the words guarantee that the company is not only local, but available and accountable.
Many consumers have grown weary of dealing with impersonal, big box warehouse types of businesses. They still don’t want to pay a whole lot more for a product or service BUT they will if they think it will benefit them in the long run.
For instance, let’s say Jane Smith is looking for new carpet. She has an idea of what she wants and goes to Store A. The person in Store A can tell her about the products in stock, show her a catalog for special orders, and answer questions about delivery times.
Then she goes to Store B. The person in Store B can sell her the same products but also asks her questions. What room is she looking to carpet? Does she plan to live there for two years or 20 years? Does she have pets? Based on the answers to those questions, the person in Store B might recommend a carpet that is better suited to her personal situation. Jane Smith evaluates the information and decides to make her purchase at Store B
because the person there was genuinely interested in helping her figure out what was best for her.Running a business and marketing a business
is always about more than the bottom line. It is about your knowledge, your reputation, and individualized customer service. As Bill Maynard and Tom Champoux, of The Effectiveness Institute
say, “It does not need to be a choice between head decisions and heart decisions. An organization that balances head decisions and heart decisions has a far greater potential for achieving and sustaining success than an organization that doesn’t have heart.”
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in. Whether you are a small business, single person shop, a growing family business, a successful employer of dozens of people, your goal is the same. You want to get the word out about what you have to offer. Obviously, you know about the importance of having business cards
and a website
. You might also need to have printed materials
to give to customers to tell them about existing or new services. It might be to your advantage to have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or paid advertising. As you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of various forms, don’t forget that you might be able to get some ** FREE **
publicity from your local newspaper.
Here are some ideas:
- Business sections of the local paper often have listings of new hires. If you hire Suzie Q as your new bookkeeper or customer service representative, let the community know.
- Specialty certifications can give your company a leg up over the competition. Make sure you announce those accomplishments with a short (three sentences are enough) press release and photo.
- If your business is doing something to help a local family or a non-profit, share that information with the local media.
- Pitch a story idea to an editor for a holiday or a special occasion. It could be simple… a Christmas tree farm could invite a photographer to visit the first weekend of December and follow a family. Maybe Girl Scouts are coming to your bakery to learn about frosting cakes. All it takes is a phone call. You could find yourself on Page 1!
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you satisfied with your current website?
- Is your website user-friendly and easy to navigate?
- Do you have control over updating and editing your site?
- Are your visitors turning into customers?
- Does your website comply to current web standards?
If you answered No to ANY of these questions, Let us give you a FREE Quote
on getting your website
Over 85% of people contact businesses they find in local searches. That's why 100% of businesses need to be online! Your local business has many options, to remain current online such as a website, business facebook page, social networks, videos, blogs, online ads, etc. Even for businesses with a limited marketing budget, there are ways to promote your business online. Here are 10 free ways to promote your business online:
- Google Local: Create an account... Enter your company name, address, phone number and website. Verify the information with a postacard or telephone call. In a few weeks you get a map listing for your company name or industry and town.
- Google Coupons: Coupons are a great way to bring new customers into your business or remind old customers that you’re still around. Google has a free coupon tool that puts your coupon on relevant local searches.
- Yahoo Local: Yahoo local is a directory organized by category and geographic location. You can get a basic listing in Yahoo Local for free. People searching for your business or industry can find your listing.
- YellowPages.com: Yellow Pages have a strong brand name and recognition, and are still used by many people today. They offer a few levels of listings the most basic is free.
- Press Releases: Doing something newsworthy? You can always submit a press release to PRWeb or PRLeap.com. Be sure to check out their tips like 25 Action Words for Writing a Newsworthy Headline and Why Localizing a Press Release to a ZIP Code and City Matters.
- Free Blog Promotion Tools: Does your company have a website or are you thinking of adding one? Websites like Technorati.com and mybloglog.com can help you gain exposure, visitors, readers, and subscribers to your blog.
- Free Directory Advertising: It doesn’t get any easier than trying free advertising. Go to BOTW.org and sign up for a free 60 day advertising listing.
- LinkedIn: Join LinkedIn and get connected with people you know and make connections with people you don’t through introductions. Look at the new Questions and Answers section and try and be genuinely helpful. Follow the axiom of ‘Givers Gain’ and you may generate a few leads for yourself from your goodwill.
- Email Signatures: Be sure to add your URL to all of your outgoing email. Try adding your mission statement, network links, or a catchy phrase to help people understand what you do. Change it a several times a year so people notice it again.
- Syndicate Your Content and Ideas: Take advantage of article distribution Services like EZineArticles, ISnare, and IdeaMarketers to spread your message and approach. Use them to bring leads to your site by offering things like free ebooks or PDF’s that they can download after entering their contact information.
When it comes to print design, you have more than one option open to you. There are many ways to brand your company and do it on a small budget. Here are 10 print design products and how you can make them work for your business:
- Business Cards - The essential tool for any business.
- Brochure - Two-fold, tri-fold, or custom-fold, a brochure can be distributed from your countertop, through the mail, or by handing them out at the local mall.
- Calendar - Everyone needs a calendar. Give them away as marketing freebies and they'll think about you all year.
- Greeting Cards - Send them out to your customers on birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas. Custom designed just for your business.
- Invitations - Like greeting cards, send them on special occasions. Get them custom designed just for your business.
- Letterhead - No matter who you correspond with, you can do it in style with your own company letterhead.
- Magnets - When your prospects look at their refrigerator doors, they'll see you. Your phone number will be in a handy location.
- Mouse Pad - When your prospects and customers use their computer, they'll see you and your business right at their fingertips.
- Outdoor signs - Whether you need a business storefront sign or a billboard, signage communicates your brand, your values, your business.
- Poster - Hang it on your business walls or give to your customers to hang on theirs.