By William Morrow On August 24, 2016
Marketing and branding are not always cheap for small businesses. While it is very essential given the very early stage of a business, branding and marketing a new business is an effort that has to compete with several other efforts in the startup. Nonetheless, there's no other way around running an effective marketing strategy for your business.
Whatever says a new business cannot take advantage of the exceptional possibilities that effective branding and marketing can attract to business? While you do not have to go overboard with your spending like an already established business would, there are strategies that you can implement with effective results.
Let's look at the top branding and marketing strategies you can use to stimulate the growth of your new business.
Design with Your Audience in Mind
Your first step in branding, and indeed marketing your business is to create a logo. This is where you have the first opportunity to captivate the minds of your audience and quickly win your way into their hearts. A good looking logo that is able to captivate your audience will earn the trust of your customers better.
While larger companies with bigger branding budgets can afford to create different reiterations of their logo and not worry about the cost, for a small business it's very important that you get it right on the very first attempt.
A good way to make this happen without having to break the bank is to partner with a designer who has great work portfolio. Another alternative is to use cheap freelance service like Fiverr to outsource your design tasks to highly talented graphic designers who are ready to work on the cheap.
To highlight the methods that will be most effective in helping you get a well-branded company logo that won't cost you a fortune, try the following:
• Partner with a designer: the idea is to offer them your services in exchange for theirs. And if the deal is huge such that it involves the total branding of your business, including your website design -- then offering them part of your business in exchange might be considered.
• Run a Contest: Running a contest is still one of the most effective ways to attract high-quality talents without having to spend so much.
Win on Social Media
The ultimate aim of branding and marketing your business is to attract customers. With social media expanding every day and users increasingly interacting with businesses and brands via various social media channels, there's never a better time to take advantage of this huge opportunity than now.
An effective social media strategy can help to optimize almost every other aspects of your marketing efforts. According to Jeff King, founder of a digital marketing company, having an effective social media strategy will bridge the successful customer acquisition barrier that many small businesses face. "Not only does the inclusiveness that social media cultivates encourage small business growth, it's also very cost effective to acquire customers," he says.
While social media may be cost effective, it may require some form of expertise which you can achieve through study and practice.
Own Your Online Presence
The power of using the internet to reach new customers cannot be overlooked.
Many business owners only consider an internet marketing strategy as an afterthought and do not put much consideration into developing their marketing skills. This is why so many small businesses begin and end their internet marketing strategy with owning a website.
The following strategies should be considered in owning your online presence:
• Get on Google places: Google places and local listings makes it easy for your business to be found on the internet through local listings. This is free advertisement for small business owners.
• Get a blog: Business blogging is now an effective customer retention and acquisition strategy. Does your new business have a blog? If not, you should reconsider your strategy.
• Search Engine Optimization: Ranking high on the top pages of Google for your best selling keywords can help you attract ready-to-buy customers for almost free. All that may be required is your effort. There are many ways to fail with a SEO campaign but with a consistent approach, your business can be wildly successful.
Keeping your marketing strategy fresh and up to date is vital, especially as new trends or technologies emerge. But making a big change to your current strategy requires some due diligence. The state of your business, your existing marketing strategies, your goals and the potential costs associated with an overhaul are all factors to consider.
Below, nine Forbes Agency Council members outline the No.1 question that business owners should ask themselves before planning a new marketing strategy.
Clockwise from left: Trevor Sumner, John Gumas, Robby Berthume, Stormie Andrews, Leila Lewis, Bernadette Coleman, Michael Mogill, Sarah Mannone, Karen Leland. All photos courtesy of individual members.
1. Is The Effort Better Served On An Existing Marketing Channel?
The most common mistake in marketing is businesses that spread too thinly and don’t get real value out of most of their channels; 80% of the results come from that last 20% of the effort. Setting up a Facebook FB +0.75% page without regular posting gets you nothing. Blogging three to four times per week delivers three and a half as much value as one post per week. Put your effort where it drives results, instead of just checking a box. - Trevor Sumner, LocalVox
2. What’s In It For Our Business Prospects?
Many times business owners believe prospects will listen to everything they have to say. Nothing can be further from the truth. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Prospects need to know what’s in it for them before they will purchase. We tell business owners to discover this critical information first, then build your marketing strategy around this promise. - John Gumas, Gumas Advertising
3. Am I Getting Ahead Of Myself?
Before working on a new marketing strategy, sometimes it’s wise to step back and take a close look at your product or service to determine if marketing is where you should be investing. A new marketing strategy can’t sustain a product that’s losing its innovative edge. Marketing starts with the product. Don’t get ahead of yourself. - Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard
4. What Does Our Ideal Client Look Like?
Businesses often launch new marketing campaigns with the intention of appealing to everyone. Unfortunately, this approach leads to unsuccessful campaigns because it appeals to no one. I recommend creating a fictional representation and empathy map of who you want to attract. Identify what struggles and pain points they would be experiencing as it pertains to your goods, services and solutions. - Stormie Andrews, Yokel Local
5. Is It Worth It?
Some marketing strategies can seem so creative and unique, but at the same time can be time-consuming and expensive to execute. Marketing trends go by quickly, so when you think of an idea, you need to get on it without hesitation. But if you’re limited by finances and time, it’s best to just ask if it’s worth it. If it’s not, move on. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
6. Where Do Our Customers Consume Their Content?
Many panicked business owners fear they are missing out on the latest and greatest social media platform, or “it” marketing strategy. The first question to answer is where do our customers hang out? How do they consume their content? These answers are what should drive strategy. Don’t be afraid to not participate in something. Popularity doesn’t mean it’s right for you. - Karen Leland, Sterling Marketing Group
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
7. What’s My Data Telling Me?
Listen to your data. What is it telling you? Are you generating leads but failing to convert? What channels and tactics of engagement are proving most valuable? Are you spending most of your efforts on these? Starting with data ensures that you properly identify the problem that needs solving in your new strategy and gives you benchmarks against which you can measure your future success. - Sarah Mannone, TREKK
8. What Is The End Goal?
What do you hope to achieve? You have to begin with the end in mind. Then, you can come up with the right strategy based on the goals you have. If you don’t have clearly defined goals, you will not have clarity over the result that you hope to achieve. - Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group
9. What Is The Sense Of Urgency?
That’s the No. 1 question in planning a new marketing strategy. Everyone wants leads now, but what is the true sense of urgency? How quickly do you need leads and sales? How long can you sustain a budgeted marketing plan? Truly understanding the sense of urgency lets us plan accordingly. We know how aggressively to push each area being measured. - Bernadette Coleman, Advice Local
By FELIX TARCOMNICU On AUGUST 22, 2016
Online marketing is an efficient way of promoting your business, but there are still channels that are not exploited to their full potential. There are many tools, techniques and social networks you can use to increase the scope and reach of your product or services online. Unlike traditional marketing, content for online marketing is sustainable. If you want to take your online campaign to another level, you should think outside of the box and integrate cross-promotion into your online marketing strategies.
Cross-promotion is a technique whereby you utilize another medium or channel to promote or distribute your services and products to new markets. It is a powerful and inexpensive approach to generate more sales and expand your marketing efforts. In simple words, you find a partner that sells a complementary product for your company, and you cross-promote each other.
By doing cross-promotion with a partner, you can tap into an already established community and potentially get more qualified leads. Done properly, it can build your brand by creating a strategic partnership or alliance with another business.
Popular businesses use cross-promotion all over the world. The most famous example of cross-promotion is the partnership between Google’s Android and KitKat. Over 50 million KitKat chocolate bars were created with Android’s branding, and the buyers had a chance to win a Nexus Tablet or Google Play gift cards.
Below you can find five ways to do cross-promotion for your business
1. Partner with a non-competing brand.Collaborating with a non-competing brand is a great way of expanding your business to new markets. Among the ideal partners to look for are:
Before crafting your posts, you and your partner should discuss the nature of the content -- its tone and description so that it would be relevant to the respective market. As a non-competing business, you should always establish relevance for the market to consider your product or service.
An example worth mentioning is the cross-promotional partnership arrangement between Macy’s and Special Books by Special Kids, a non-profit organization.
Macy’s mentioned Special Books by Special Kids on their Facebook page which was then cross shared on their partner’s Facebook page.
Instead of creating a new post, the non-profit organization merely shared Macy’s FB post to stay consistent with their online marketing campaign.
It introduced their group to Macy’s followers and created a strong brand affiliation.
2. Online businesses that want to cross-promote via newsletter.Cross-promotion is popular among mobile applications. Various tools can automate the promotion process, but if you work in a SaaS or own a general online business, you don’t have to give up on this technique. The opportunities are even greater if you are in the business to business market.
To find partners that are willing to cross-promote their services and products, you have two options:
Cross-promoting your social media can further enhance your online marketing efforts:
5. Pinterest cross-promotion.Pinterest is not as big as Facebook or Google Plus, but it is great as a cross-promotional tool for online marketing content.
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