GETTING YOU STARTED
Building your brand is step one, and most crucial. A strong brand makes your business, product or service standout from the competition.
To build your brand you need to determine your brand’s target audience. It is important to know who exactly you are trying to reach so that you can tailor you mission and message to meet their exact needs.
Establish a brand mission statement.
The mission statement defines a purpose for business’ existence. It will inform every other aspect of your brand building strategies. Everything from your logo to your tagline, voice, message, and personality should reflect that mission.
Know the competition.
Become aware of what they do well and where they fail. The goal of understanding the competition is to identify what differentiates you from your competitors.
Identify your Unique Selling Points.
This is the things your company offers your customers that the competition can’t. Something that truly makes your brand stand out. Example great service and 24/7 customer support.
Create a brand logo & tagline.
This logo will appear on everything that relates to your business. A logo is the visual representation of the brand. Keep your tagline short and punchy e.g. McDonald’s “I’m Loving It”.
Create your brand voice.
This should match your company mission, your target audience and the industry you are in. A brand voice is the tone and language you use to communicate with your customers e.g. friendly, professional, confident, technical, conversational, etc.
Let your brand personality shine.
Make your personality stand out in every aspect of your brand building process. Be consistent with this brand personality across all points of contact.
Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business.
Your brand should be visible and reflected in everything that your customer can see, read, and hear e.g. business cards, advertisements, packaging and product – all with your logo visible.
Stay true to your brand.
Consistency is key. Don’t constantly change your branding. The inconsistency will confuse your customers, and make long-term brand building more difficult.
Be your brand’s biggest advocate.
No one knows your brand better than you, so it’s up to you to spread the word. When hiring employees, ensure that they fit the culture. Give your loyal customers a voice. Encourage them to post reviews, or share your content.
MARKETING HACKS #101
Marketing is crucial to every business’ survival. These tips will help you get it right, before your competitors.
Online and in person. Reaching out and letting people know that your business is open and what you can do for them is what is needed.
Online marketing courses.
There are numerous free, online business courses that can be taken at your own pace. This will help you understand different marketing concepts that you can use to promote your business.
Share your authentic story.
Creating content for your business is not only about promoting the value of your product or service to your customers. It is also an incredible way to help people get to know you and your business.
Listen to your customer.
The customer may at times defy logic, but they are always right. LISTEN to them.
Think outside the box.
There is a bevy of marketing channels that allow you to advertise from all angles. Advertising builds your identity in the market and customers start to accept your brand as a solid, dependable and known entity.
We look forward to seeing you again.
Customers are your sales department. Word-of-mouth testimonials and customers who are brand advocates are invaluable to your business.
Invest your time in creating systems and hiring people.
The way you multiply time is by spending time on things today that give you more time tomorrow.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There are many resources available for knowledge sharing and advice. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from those around you, online forums or Facebook groups. These channels are a source of support and fresh ideas.
Competition is a good thing.
It proves that there is a demand for what you offer.
MAKING THE WORLD OF DIGITAL WORK FOR YOU
Having a great digital presence can do wonders for your brand and give you great exposure.
Ensure positive user experience.
To successfully promote awareness, you need to reach your target audience online. The online identity of your business begins with having a website and a logo. Both will help engage your audience and get them to remember you.
Blogging has many benefits, such as building brand awareness, credibility, and authority. It can increase conversion rates and even search engine rankings. (Also, keep a spreadsheet of ideas handy so you never run dry on topics.)
Try guest blogging.
You can only reach so many people on your business blog, so expand that number by contributing guest posts to other more popular blogs that target your audience.
Build relationships with the media.
Public relations is an important tool in expanding your reach online. Follow journalists on Twitter that cover your industry, and start sharing their content and responding to their tweets. Comment on their articles and get on their radar.
Offer content your audience wants.
Connecting with potential customers is easier when you deliver tailored content that they can actually use. In fact, 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that delivers highly relevant content.
Pay attention to analytics.
Set up your analytics platform to send you a weekly or monthly report so you can stay on top of how well your marketing strategies are working. If, for example, guest blog posts are sending tons of traffic your way, write more of them.
Make sure your emails speak to the recipient.
Despite all the other marketing tools at our fingertips, email still remains a successful way to get in front of customers and get them to buy from you. Spend more time on your subject line – 64% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line.
Perfect your on-site SEO.
It’s vital to invest in SEO for your business website. SEO will help more people find your site, and thus boost the number of site visitors you get, which could mean more business.
Get your business on Google Maps.
Getting your business listed on Google Maps is one of the best things you can do to drive more traffic to your store front, website, and increase phone calls to your business. According to Google, 30% of mobile searches are related to location, so if you want your business to show up, get listed in Google Maps.
Video marketing is seeing an upward trend.
Videos are powerful tools to communicate extensively. Consider Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and SnapChat stories to engage your audience. You can hold webinars and live events for product launches, hold tutorials, and answer questions in real time.
Make sure the pieces & parts work together.
Before you do any marketing, establish what you want to accomplish. Do you want to increase traffic to your site? Grow your sales? Boost sales of a particular product? Every marketing task you complete should move you toward that goal.
MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS, PRODUCT OR BRAND IS FOUND
Get the right message to the right person at the right time = success.
Create a website.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or over the top. Often simpler is better. Just ensure that it is up-to-date, easy to navigate and mobile friendly.
Put yourself in your consumer’s shoes.
Think of what you would like to see on a website or a social page. Don’t forget the basics, like contact info & operating hours for example.
Let the locals find you.
Sign up on Google My Business & Bing Places for Business so that local customers can discover your business when searching online for nearby places.
Be present on social media channels and engage with your consumers here. Don’t only use it as an ‘advertising’ platform. Have conversations. Respond!
You’ve got mail.
Don’t forget about the trusty email! It has proven to be one of the most effective digital marketing channels. Send out any news, special offers and discounts…or perhaps just a newsletter.
Test…then test again.
Don’t get stuck in your ways and only try one thing. Experiment and test. Identify your customer’s needs & wants and test out different solutions.
Just ‘Google’ it.
We all do this! So, ensure that when people search online for something in your industry, you pop up on the first results page. Research SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and advertising on Google Ads (or find a guru in this field to help you out.)
Social proof is gold.
Encourage online reviews from happy customers as these carry a lot of clout for prospective customers doing research on your product. Some to consider are Hello Peter, Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews & Yelp. Remember to monitor all reviews and respond accordingly.
Get reach with ads.
Upskill yourself with digital advertising. The simplest place to start is Facebook Ads & Instagram Ads – these ads both run through Facebook’s Ad Manager. Look for quick courses & tutorials on Facebook Blueprint.
We’re all human. When speaking to your customers, be it face-to-face or online, be a human being and speak how you would want to be spoken to.
LET’S GET SOCIAL!
Social media platforms play a powerful role in growing your online presence. They allow you to reach a larger audience quickly and boost your brand presence.
Start with a plan.
Set measurable goals for your company and what you want to achieve on Social Media. Use the SMART Framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) to set your goals.
Know your target.
You need to understand your audience and knowing how they act and speak is important. Create a picture in your head of who you are selling your product or service to – this will make it easier to communicate with them.
Choose the right platform.
After you have decided who you are targeting, find out which social platforms they use and use those effectively. The top 3 social media Channels in South Africa are
Start with one of these then expand.
Build relationships with your target audience.
This helps build brand loyalty and a sense of community amongst your audience. Engage with them and their posts and even reshare some content that you think is cool and relevant.
Different platforms require different content.
The type of content you share on Twitter may not necessarily work on Instagram for example. Make the content you share relevant to the people on the specific platform.
Remember to KISS [Keep It Short & Sweet].
Get to the point. Keep your posts short and punchy to get your point across quickly.
Track your posts.
Know what type of content is working and what is not gaining traction. Keep doing what’s working and strive to make it better. Keep track of your posts on a week to week basis to gain a temperature of where your business lies with your audience.
Respond to feedback.
All feedback is good feedback. It helps you gain where you are going wrong and right and what you can do to better serve your customers.
Keep an eye on your competition.
Do some research on your competition online – this allows you to see where your business should focus on as well as what the industry standard is. See what is working well for them as well as areas where you can be better.
Timing is everything.
Make sure you know the right time and day to post content for maximum engagement with your customers.
Keep on trend.
Take advantage of what’s trending currently with your customers on the internet. Participate in on social challenges – therefore making your content relevant and relatable.
THE LOOK, FEEL & SOUND
Design and copy are two of the most vital components in the success of a business. How you communicate, and how you project that communication is vital to the success of your business.
Use small words.
Use simple words for all communication i.e. advertising, branding, websites, mailers etc. Never let your customer get confused, question your authenticity or wonder if there are hidden terms and conditions in your offering. Trim long sentences. Avoid redundancies. Remember, a potential customer will be detered if made to feel stupid.
Your business’ contact details should also be visible on each page. A website footer is a great place to display your primary contact information, social media links, and even a link to your contact page.
Keep it simple.
The goal of your website is simplicity in navigation. A visitor should be able to find what they are looking for within the first few seconds of landing on your site
Less is more.
You always want to keep colours and fonts to a minimum. Create a simple colour palette and choose 1-2 fonts that go together well.
Instil value in your design.
Great design generates great enthusiasm. It bridges our common identities, our relationships with friends and family, and our desire to discover something that has never been seen before.
Pssttt…THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL YOU
Your business is your dream. One that you will have to believe in and invest in in order for it to be everything you want it to be.
- Keep your monthly costs low. Avoid expensive rents and other monthly fixed expenses.
- Only hire when you have to.
- Hustle hard. Use Gumtree / OLX every day to post about your services.
- Be social-media savvy. Its free marketing!
- Get your own domain (.co.za) and create a business email address with it.
- Ask your friends to tell their friends about you. Buy them a coffee when they do.
- Attend local networking events.
- Get nice looking business cards and hand them out to everyone you meet.
- Find beautiful free pictures on unsplash.com
- Keep an eye on your competition, your clients do.
- Test your pricing until you find the sweet spot with your customers.