Build a Brand Strategy on a Budget

Your brand strategy is like the DNA of your company; it’s how you set yourself apart from the competition and show your ideal customers who you are and why they should work with you.

Without a strong brand, people might buy your products or services — but they’ll forget you as soon as the credit card charge clears.

With the right brand strategy, you could set yourself apart from the competition, develop a loyal customer base, and increase your profits.

First things first…

If you’ve got a limited budget to work with, you want to start with the most important design assets first — your logo. Your logo is the face of your company, so you don’t want to wait until you’re almost out of budget to get it designed.

So, how can you do this the most efficiently, financially? Use a platform like 99designs, where you can run a design contest. You put together a brief for what you need, and then multiple designers send over their ideas. You get to look through everything and only pay for the design you choose. It’s a great way to get exposure to multiple designers and ideas — without having to pay for samples from each one.

Do Your Homework

Strong brands are built on market research – you need to know who you’re selling to before trying to craft a brand strategy.

While large companies often pay consultants to do market research for them, you can easily cut out these costs by using tools from all over the web. Here are a few (free!) recommended tools to get you started:

  • Hootesuite– Manage up to 3 social profiles and schedule your posts in advance. The free plan also includes basic analytics for tracking followers and various growth and content statistics
  • Google Analytics – Shows you all sorts of demographic information about your current users, like their ages, genders, and country of residence.
  • SocialOomph– With the free plan, you can schedule tweets, track keywords, shorten URL’s, and manage up to five Twitter accounts, but some of the more sophisticated features require a paid plan. 
  • Followerwonk– Connect a profile, view authority rankings, see followers and their locations, see when followers are active, and access several other details to further analyze your social audience. Bam.

Find your buying audience, understand their needs, and see how you can help them solve problems. With your research done, you can tweak the design elements of your brand to fit your audience’s demands.

Build A Quality Website

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your website until your business is bringing in enough cash to have it professionally designed. With all of the DIY website builders out there, it’s totally within your power to set up our own creative website if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and apply a bit of sweat equity.

Make sure you choose the right tools that will allow you to scale, iterate and grow. Not all website templates are created (or coded) equally, so be careful of “free” options (there’s usually a tradeoff).

I recommend the Divi theme from WordPress. It’s the most popular WordPress theme for a reason! It’s easy to use and there’s a huge online community if you ever need support or have a question. The sky is really the limit on what you can do with it design-wise.

Create a Color Scheme

This is probably one of the fundamental, yet the most central element of your brand- the color scheme.

You’ll want to create a color palette for your website, social media profiles, logo, business cards–everything. Everything should stick to a consistent color palette. Color is what captures people’s attention at an emotional level, and can set you apart from your competitors.

You can absolutely create one for yourself, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You’ll want your color palette to reflect your brand’s personality and it should be appropriate for your audience and what you sell. (It’s not just about picking colors you like.)
  • You’ll want to make sure your color palette is functional. The biggest mistake I see people making with their color palettes is choosing way too many colors that don’t work together in practice.
  • Don’t go too crazy–the more hues you have in your palette, the harder it can be to work with them
  • Choose plenty of neutrals to round out your palette – The funny thing is if you use plenty of neutrals and then add “pops” of color sparingly, the color actually stands out more.
  • Make sure you have an “action color” that’s in contrast to your primary brand color(s). This is especially important for your calls to action on your website, you don’t want those blending in (people will miss them=no bueno.)

Take Advantage of Email Marketing

Probably the only thing used more than social media is email. All you have to do is hit the “Send” button, and you have direct communication with all of your loyal customers.

Whether you’re running a promotion, uploading a blog, or selling a new product, email marketing is an easy way to let your customers know what’s going on in your company – with minimal effort.  Don’t use email as an excuse to spam your customers – no one likes that. Ever.

There are many email marketing services for small businesses that cost next to nothing, such as:

Create Quality Content

Creating content is a sound long-term investment, and the only thing it costs you is time.

Articles, guest blog posts, educational videos, and other long-form texts can give you a broader brush with which to paint your brand – generating brand awareness in the process.

But more importantly, great content allows your target audience to respect you as an authority– you can answer customers’ questions and give them the advice that makes them trust your brand.

Also, creating content gives you an opportunity to collaborate with other companies in your industry, granting you more exposure through their viewers.

So, if you don’t have a blog – start one! It’s a key strategy for organic marketing; Your blog could give someone their first exposure to your brand.

Blogger or Hubpages is a great free platform for creating a blog.

Wrapping it up…

All of this focus on design should be working towards one goal: Creating a durable brand identity.

Your brand doesn’t need bells and whistles to be powerful – many of the best brands don’t rely on expensive gimmicks and stunts. Instead, they’re successful because they communicate their companies’ goals, values, and mission in a clear way.

 

 

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Marmalade May 6, 2019 0 Comments

Common Marketing Mistakes- How to Convert Traffic into Sales!

If your website is getting solid traffic, but your shopping carts are collecting dust, I’m here to show you some website mistakes to avoid if you want to convert traffic into sales.

Some of the points below touch on content, while others touch on copy. What’s the difference? Basically, all copy (words written to make sales) is content but not all content (words, images, video, etc.) is copy.

With that distinction made, let’s jump right into these five content-related reasons why I might visit your website but refuse to buy:

Your Website Copy is Too Generic

Copywriting is all about crafting words in a way that will convince someone to buy—and let’s face it, many business websites out there aren’t very convincing. A common problem is that their copy is just too generic. They’re trying to be all things to all people.

Here are a few guidelines to make sure your ideal customer knows you’re talking to them.

  • Define your ideal customer and the problem you help them solve.

Before you write a single word for your website, you need to know to whom you are writing and what problem you’re helping them solve.

  • Write a headline that directly addresses their problem and your solution.

When someone lands on your homepage for the first time, you want them to think, “Hey, that’s me!” They want to know they are in the right place. Usually, this can be achieved by simply stating a problem your ideal customer has and your solution. For example, let’s say you sell eco-friendly glass water bottles to the earth-conscious consumer. Your homepage might start with a headline that says, “Tired of throwing away harmful plastic water bottles?” or “Want a reusable water bottle that’s good for the earth?” That ideal customer is going to answer with a resounding “yes!”

Your Business Doesn’t look Legitimate

E-commerce faces a significant challenge. Potential clients can’t see you or your product in person. This can be a huge barrier to establishing a trust that you are who you say you are.

When someone walks into a clothing store, for example, they’re often greeted by a smiling employee, and they can get a feel for the atmosphere. That goes a long way toward building trust, and very quickly.

But when someone visits your website, they’re missing all those physical cues; you need to fill them in with great content that builds trust.

Here are some content pieces you can add to your website to build credibility:

  • Reviews- We as consumers love hearing about others’ experiences with a product! So if you have an e-commerce site, install a ratings/reviews plugin to increase conversions.
  • Testimonials-Reach out to your favorite clients or customers and ask them to tell you what they like best about your business. Then ask if you can display that on your website and marketing materials. Adding testimonials to a page boosted the conversion rate up to 25%.
  • Your physical location– This is the easiest little piece of content to add to the footer of your website and/or your contact page. It helps show that you’re a real business!
  • Guarantee– If you can, offer a guarantee. There’s no better way to vouch for your product than to say you’ll give someone their money back if they’re not satisfied. It could even be free shipping/returns.
  • Information about and photos of you and your team– People want to do business with people, not a website. Show your face to help them feel more at ease with the transaction. The perfect place for this is your About page, an often-overlooked page that can boost your conversions.
Money Back Guarantees are a simple way to build customer trust and loyalty.

Your Blog is weak

There are so many benefits to blogging for your business, and one of the big ones is that it can help convert traffic into sales. Here’s how your blog can work for you:

  • Attracting the right customers. Your blog content should be crafted in a way that attracts relevant visitors and helps move them through the sales funnel, from awareness of a problem, to considering different options, to acting and buying.
  • Generating leads. According to HubSpot, businesses that blog generate four times more leads than businesses that don’t. And more leads mean more sales!

Make sure you get their information so you can keep nurturing that relationship. Blogs are a fantastic way to do that because you are offering your expertise for free, and that will entice a visitor to hand over their email address in the hopes of getting more.

Level Up Your Website Content to Convert Traffic into Sales

Now that we’ve talked about some website mistakes to avoid regarding your content, did you spot any that you’re making? Maybe you’ve got a beautiful website. Maybe you’ve got lots of traffic. Good design and high traffic are great—but they’re meaningless to you as a business if they don’t convert buyers.

So, if you want to convert traffic into sales, try these solid tips for improving your content:

  • Show proof that you’re a credible business.
  • Write helpful blog posts that solve your ideal customer’s problem.
  • Craft copy that speaks to your ideal customer.

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Marmalade April 26, 2019 0 Comments

5 Ways to Practice Psychology in Marketing

Psychological insight is just as valuable as technological advance. Successful marketers regularly employ psychology in appealing to consumers. There are 5 ways marketers can utilize psychology in marketing.

 

1. Transparency Builds Trust

Ignorance is not Bliss: Consumers want to know everything. They have an interest in knowing not only about a product, but what’s in the product, where its component parts are sourced from, how it is made, and what business processes and values guide its creation.  When consumers see that you are being open with them about your business practices, brand standards, and products, they are more likely to give you their customer loyalty.

 

2. Emotional Branding

Now consider a business. If it were between two advertisements — one that simply talked about products, and one that made you laugh or cry — which would “wow” you? The second one, right? Story-telling especially works with ads that aim to increase brand awareness. An example is the Nike ad Dream Crazier for Women’s Day. By sharing the inspiring progress of women in sports, Nike not only delivered an ad that resonated with its audience but aligned with their brand image of strength and determination.

 

3. Promote Exclusivity

Cater to your customer’s ego by making them feel special if they were to purchase your product. By making your product somewhat unreachable (through limited editions or offers), you can increase the desire and urgency for it.

 

4. Take Advantage of FOMO

One of the trademarks of social media is that people want to be part of events as they unfold. FOMO refers to the Fear of Missing Out. FOMO marketing techniques use countdowns, promote experiences, and display social proof. Take Calvin Klein’s underwear campaign, #InMyCalvins, for example. They are encouraging women and men around the world to post pictures of them in their Calvins, with the hashtag. 

 

5. Color Psychology

Yep, I said it. Different colors actually make you feel different emotions. Color plays a major role in evoking emotion. Have you ever walked into a room and immediately (and inexplicably) felt some type of way? This is called color psychology, and a many of businesses and organizations use it. Sports teams choose jersey colors that excite their players and audiences. Therapists paint their offices to instill tranquillity their patients, and movie producers design the color scheme for posters and trailers that provoke feelings of fear or surprise.

The same goes for brands. Consider the Coca-Cola red or Starbucks green. Red evokes strong feelings such as love, excitement, and joy. In the case of Coca-Cola, red portrays positive, friendly energy. On the other hand, green is often associated with harmony, balance, nature, growth, and health — all components of the Starbucks brand and “green” movement.

 

In Conclusion…

Across all forms of media, marketers invest money, creative energy and time into targeted messages meant to improve sentiment towards their brand, convince new audiences to buy their product and encourage existing customers to complete repeat purchases. Their success, of course, is dependent on their ability to influence customer behaviors, which makes marketing a play on consumer psychology.

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Marmalade March 27, 2019 2 Comments