Your brand may never be a nationwide “household name.” But it certainly can be on the lips of your target audience, if you embrace these actionable tips.
The term “household name” is a carryover from much earlier days. It refers to those brands that became so popular, everyone knew them. GE, Coca-Cola, Kleenex, and Band-Aid are easy examples. In fact, some of them because so much a household name that the brand itself became the name used for similar products made by someone else. Kleenex is such a brand.
You may not be the next Kleenex; but if you have been into “branding” for a while now and not getting the results you want – a following, conversions, revenue from your efforts – then you are probably frustrated. Understand this first of all. Branding takes time – sometimes lots of it; and it takes steady work. The post that goes viral and puts a brand on the map instantly is truly the exception. Most of us are turtles, not hares.
Whether you’ve been at it for a while or just starting out, here are some tips that may help out. Ignore the ones that you know already, and maybe there will be a few that you can use. They’re not hard, and they are actionable right now.
Think About Spending a Bit of Money
No, this doesn’t mean buying advertising. It means sprucing up your content. Invest in AdWords. There are some cheaper alternatives, but Google really rules the roost. And get serious about content creation tools. There are free ones, of course, and if you believe your creativity and time allotment can do the job, go for it. But lots of enterprises are outsourcing at least some of their content with pretty good results.
Take Another Look at Your Target Audience
Hopefully, you have a buyer persona. If you are not getting “play,” then your persona may be not quite right or your content may not be reaching that persona for some reason. One smart move would be to carefully study the content that your successful competitors are producing. Their audience is the same; their topics must be resonating. You may have much to learn from this activity.
Know the difference Between Being Original and Being Authentic
Originality comes from creativity and uniqueness. It means your content was crafted by you or someone you paid to craft it, and hopefully, it has a creative bent – a compelling title, an engaging style, and readers respond. Being authentic is quite something else. It means that your content and your brand is trustworthy. Always be authentic.
One way to be authentic is to get brand ambassadors among your customers. They can participate in your content. You can highlight them using your product; you can ask them for photos and videos that you can then post. ModCloth does a great job of this, featuring actual customers wearing their purchases.
Make Sure Your Mobile Site or App Really Works
Mobile devices have surpassed PCs for accessing content. If you don’t have a mobile presence, get one now. If you do, test, test, test it to be certain that everything loads quickly and that navigation is super easy. No one will stay with your content if it is inconvenient or irritating to do so. They will just move on.
Grammar and Style
This cannot be said enough. When your content includes the text of any kind, you absolutely must do it right. If you have a problem with grammar, you can get academic help.
And if you have a strong academic background in writing, you have to be careful too. The average of textual content should be at about a 7th-grade reading level. Simplicity in sentence construction and vocabulary is absolutely critical, and lose the jargon.
Replace Textual Contact with Visuals Whenever Possible
Attention spans are short; people would rather be shown than told. The latest research shows that 94% of content viewers/readers engage more when there are visuals. And think about these stats about video reported by Digital Sherpa:
- 50% of Internet users have view YouTube videos related to products and service at least once a week. This may include “how to” instructions or hysterical explainer videos such as that of Dollar Shave Club. It went viral and has had well over 22 million views on the website, social media platforms, and YouTube. (the video, by the way, cost only $2,500 to make.)
- 80% of Internet users remember a video ad they watched in the last 30 days
- 64% of website visitors are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video of the product or service.
This is a compelling case for videos. But, beyond those, there are other visual options coming, so stay tuned – live streaming augmented and virtual reality are all moving into the content marketing sector.
And use a variety of visuals – photos, infographics, drawings, memes, animated Gifs, etc. The same type of visual over and over gets boring.
Ask Your Customers for Reviews (and Make It Easy)
Again, this is about lining up those brand ambassadors. And you don’t get what you don’t ask for. When you have a satisfied customer, send an email, ask for a review and provide the link to the review site for it to be posted. And ask them to share their great experience on their social platforms. Offer an incentive for them to do so. Good reviews from actual customers and posts that go out to a customer’s entire tribe “move” that brand. And, they build trust.
For some companies, re-marketing works very well. But there are also some audiences who see it a bit like stalking, and it disturbs them. Just because they visited your website and looked at a few items, they are now seeing those or similar items showing up while they travel around the web. Before you launch a full-blown campaign, test the waters with a small segment first.
E-mail Marketing – It’s Not Over
For a few years, marketers were “down” on email marketing. Their recipients were not responding, and analytics were telling them that the emails were not even being opened. That actually is no longer true if you do it correctly. Here’s how this work:
- Gate some really enticing content – the price is an email address or a subscription to your blog
- Place each conversion into the right segmented category. Yes, you have to segment your audience based upon where each individual is in the sales journey. They all need to get different emails and get them a bit regularly, so they don’t forget you.
- The key is to create amazing subject lines. Many companies, of course, put discounts and deals in their subject lines. These are fine, but every once in a while, send an email that is not a sales pitch. It can be funny; it can be a poignant story; it can be a news item that relates to your product or service in some way. It can be a cause you are supporting.
After the Flint Michigan water crisis made the news, AQUAhydrate, a water company owned by Mark Wahlberg and Sean Combs (“Puff Daddy”), pledged one million bottles of water to Flint. This was posted all over the web, on social media, by news outlets, etc. Think of the brand spreading that occurred because of this one act. You may not be a big a the celebrities, but you can use your email list to speak of your good works. It says you care, and it makes you genuine.
In 2016, 89% of marketers said they were using email as a lead source. And with great tools for segmentation, an automation of email, marketers’ jobs are a lot easier these days.
Don’t Ignore Your Website
In all of the flurry to get content out there, to respond to comments, questions and feedback on social media, the whole point of all of the brand recognition campaign is to get visitors to your site – that is where they might actually be enticed to make a purchase.
Keep that website (and your mobile app) entirely up to date. And every time you change anything, test!
If you start a blog, you are committed. You are committed to posting on a regular schedule. But here is what else you can do with that blog:
- Don’t just post your own stuff. If you come across an interesting or humorous news article, re-post it.
- Read other related blogs and ask if you can re-post cool stuff they have written
- Get out there and make friends with other bloggers. After a time, you can approach them about posting some of your better articles. This is called distribution, and when you have a link back to your site, you may get some new visitors
Respond to Comments and Feedback but Don’t Get Suckered In
You will have angry customers. The “big boys” do all the time. If they post publicly, respond but don’t “take the bait.” It’s easy to get defensive and snarky, but just don’t do it. Respond calmly and solve the issue – publicly.
And don’t ever automate your responses. American Airlines and Progressive Insurance tried it with some pretty bad results. If you respond, it has to be personal. And respond to the compliments too.
These are only 12 tips. There are much more, to be sure. You may even have some. Let us know in the comment below. One thing is for certain. Brand marketing is a tireless and endless journey. Stay focused, stay informed, and take every opportunity to get that brand out there.