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?
A well-written article can:
Let's assume that you understand the basics of constructing and editing an article (it has a beginning, middle, and an end and you know how to check the grammar and spelling.) Most of us can manage that. But if you're not content with simply "getting something out there" - if you want to WIN readers - then you need to start thinking about what they want to know, rather than what you want to tell them.
Put your readers first - every time. Give them what they want, and they'll be queuing up to read anything you produce. Give them something bland (or worse, blatantly self-serving) and they'll blast by you so fast you'll be spinning in the back draft.
The following four steps will give you a blueprint for writing articles that captivate your readers - whatever the topic.
1. Find Out What Your Readers Really Want
Sometimes you'll know what they want because you're an expert in the field, and understand the problems. If you don't know the subject area well, you'll have to do more research. Look for forums on your topic and see what people are discussing. What are the problems that need solving? Can you provide an answer? ("If they have a headache, give them an aspirin.")
2. Start With An Attention-Grabber
Spend time working on your opening. Try to avoid trite questions like "Have you ever wondered why so many people find it difficult to lose weight?" Firstly, it's dull. Secondly, it's not targeting the person reading the article - what do they care about the difficulties "many people" have with losing weight? They only care about THEIR weight problem!
Try to come up with an opening paragraph that gives the reader that warm "Hey, this is about me!" feeling right away. Better still; try to generate a rush of excitement - "This could be the answer I've been looking for..."
Example: "The diet gurus make it all sound so easy: to lose weight, all you have to do is expend more energy than you take in. Huh! If it were that simple, the "Big People" stores would be out of business in a heartbeat. Luckily for those of us who are tired of diets, gyms and dull group meetings, there is a back-to-basics way to tackle this. A way that won't cost you a fortune or leave you feeling deprived."
3. Write As You Speak... Then Edit!
The sample opening above also illustrates the importance of the tone you use in your article. You need 'meat' in each article, of course, to make it worth reading - but make sure it's not indigestible!
You're better off writing your article in a natural, relaxed style that's akin to normal conversation. It doesn't matter if the first draft is a little too informal - you can fix that when you edit. Naturally you don't want to irritate your readers with a too-breezy style, but too-formal is worse. Readers may want facts, tips, and strategies, but they hope to be entertained, too! Let your personality shine through.
4. End On A High
What's one of the biggest problems with most articles? They fizzle out! Writers often don't know how to end on an upbeat note. They either just stop dead or they come up with a trite ending like: "So what are you waiting for? Get started today!"
The beginning and the end of your article are the two parts that make the biggest impression. Start by creating a feeling of anticipation... and leave them feeling satisfied (or excited) when you finish.
If you are offering advice to help them solve a problem (like obesity) gives your readers a reason to feel optimistic and good about them. Don't make rash promises... but do offer hope. If you are giving hints on marketing or business, sum up the benefits of acting on your tips. You can also experiment with using a pithy/humorous quote, or giving readers a specific action to get them started. Be creative - and don't rush it.
Here's a final tip: create an article-writing cheat-sheet for yourself. Divide it into beginnings/middles/ends and add more useful strategies as you think of them. (For example, using the tips in this article, you might write: ENDINGS - end on a high, offer hope, use funny quote, suggest action to get started.)
Do this, and you'll be steadily cranking out articles that everyone wants to publish!
Article by Terry Jackson.
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:
Internet marketing is a lot simpler than many small business owners make it. In fact, it's so simple that I'm about to give you a 3-part recipe that will almost ensure your success as long as you don't do anything superstar athlete level stupid.
What is the recipe? Here it is in all its simplicity:
This is a real simple recipe that anyone can follow. You don't have to be a genius to succeed online. You just have to follow the 3-part recipe.