Marketing. Sometimes the word itself can be intimidating enough to scare people away. But, marketing your brand doesn't have to be scary or complicated.
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When I started building my brand in 2012 I didn't know what I was doing. But, I invested the time, energy, and sometimes money, to learn about branding, business, and marketing.
Prior to starting my own company, I was in sales. I was told what to sell, how to sell it, and even when I had to stop selling certain things. After several years of success, I learned how much marketing and branding I was doing all along.
Before you dive into these six things you should know about marketing, I want you to keep a word in the back of your mind. That word is “mindshare” and it's similar to market share but better for people who want to build and market a brand.
Kleenex has mindshare. Whenever someone wants a tissue, they say, “I need a Kleenex.” Market share is what Puff's has when they say 2.5 people out of 10 purchase their products.
As a business owner, you want mindshare. If you have the mindshare of your customer and clients, you're the person they think of first when they have a problem and are in need of a solution. They don't know if you have a product to meet their needs, but they'll come to you for help.
The goal of this post is to show you six things you should know about marketing your small business or brand and to help you cultivate positive mindshare for your business. Let's go!
6 Things You Should Know about Marketing Your Brand
1: Word of mouth is cheaper and more effective than advertising
A positive recommendation from one friend to another is worth more than $1000 spent on marketing. Your brand advocates are the best assets your business could have, treat them well.
As Warren Buffett said,
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
Spending money on marketing your brand is good, but keeping your existing customers happy is even better. (TWEET THAT!)
2: The Pros are Pros for a reason
Think about a major brand or person you follow online. What do their social profiles look like? What colors do they use? How do they make you feel?
The pros are pros because they provide a consistent brand experience at every touch point. Every time you interact with the pros the experience is the same. From fonts to colors, to layouts and messaging, the pro's use consistency when marketing their brand.
To set yourself apart, use the same logo across every form of messaging, and put that logo everywhere. Use the same colors and fonts on your blog posts, landing pages, membership sites and everything else tied to your brand.
By doing what the pro's do you don't have to worry about which logo goes where. If you really want to take it to the next level, use the same professional head shot on Facebook and Twitter as you do on LinkedIn.
3: Brand recognition is a powerful thing
I was in Las Vegas, on a rooftop bar, at a party sponsored by Gumroad in 2014 when I was recognized in public the first time. It was an incredible experience. The only reason Sarah recognized me was because I am the face of my business and my face is everywhere. You can see a picture of me on the sidebar of my site, on the about page, and even on my podcast art.
If you're the face of your business, put your face everywhere. Your face is the logo!
Regardless of whether it's your face or a logo that's the most recognizable part of your brand, brand recognition is a powerful thing. When you put your brand on something you're telling the world that you support that something.
When my subscribers get an email from me they know everything in that email is something I support, recommend, or use myself. Your brand is your stamp of approval and it should be a sign of quality. If someone recognizes your brand on a widget, they should feel more comfortable using it.
Haven't started a blog for your business yet? CLICK HERE to see 3 Reasons Every Business Needs a Blog!
4: Your brand can help you live and thrive or cause you to die slowly
Your brand is your reputation. If it's good, your business will do well. If it's not good, well, your business has some repairing to do.
In the middle of 2015, Blue Bell discovered a quality issue with the ice cream they'd shipped around the southern States. Instead of dilly-dallying around with skus, shipping dates, or farms where they sourced their ingredients, Blue Bell had a 100% product recall.
Blue Bell took all of their ice cream off the shelves of every grocery and convenience store in the entire country. They wanted to be 100% sure their product was of the highest quality and as delicious as it was supposed to be. And, their delicious ice cream stayed off the shelves for months.
When Blue Bell finally announced its return to the stores, they were treated like rock stars. People were posting memes on Facebook about how much they wanted some ice cream. And, when Blue Bell did return, stores sold out of their product within hours. The grocery store near my house even rationed their inventory and limited consumers on how many half gallons they could buy.
Instead of risking having their brand associated with something that wasn't positive, they took drastic measures to preserve their brand.
Yes, their business was hurt in the short-term. But, how much good will did Blue Bell get for their business in the long run by doing the right thing today?
Your customers want one thing, see what it is and how you can deliver it HERE.
5: When you need a sale is not always when a customer needs to buy
Some people purchase on impulse, but most of us shop around before buying. You can't make a sale or build a relationship with your customers if you only market your brand when you need something.
That's something my managers at Dell could never quite understand. Every quarter they'd ask us to call in favors to close deals on the company's timeline. Instead of adjusting our schedule to complement that of our customers, we'd butt heads every three months.
However, as a business owner, I can see both sides of the story.
I remember hoping a coaching client would make a decision so I could buy something new, upgrade a service, or get new software. The longer they'd wait, the more frustrated I became.
But then I realized it wasn't about me.
The prospective client wasn't delaying their decision to spite me. They had a schedule and agenda of their own and I was there to help them.
As business owners, we must realize that the time when we need to make a sale is not always the time when our customers need to buy. We also need to provide value to our prospects starting long before they sign on the dotted line.
And, the larger the fee you charge for your products and services, the further ahead of time you need to start marketing your brand and building good will. The decision to spend $4000 on a trip to Costa Rica is much bigger than the one to spend $.99 for a candy bar in the checkout lane. One takes weeks or months, the other takes fractions of a second.
Always add value to your customers and prospects, build a sales pipeline, and this shouldn't be a problem for you.
6: You must be your own fan
There are two parts to being a fan of your own business.
- You have to market your brand yourself, and,
- You have to be a fan of your own products.
You must be your own fan and self-promote. If you're not willing to tell someone how great your products are, no one else will. If you've got the best pizza in town, you gotta tell people about it! Raving fans aren't built overnight and they don't come to you in the beginning.
You must be your own fan and use your own products. It won't matter how great you say your products are if you don't even use them yourself.
As the saying goes, don't trust a skinny chef. If a chef is dedicated to the quality of his food, he's going to constantly be checking in and making sure everything tastes exactly right.
If you're a teacher, you should practice what you preach. If you're designing new software, you better be your first user. Do you think Elon Musk drives a Tesla? He better!
Marketing your brand comes down to 4 key points:
- Helping your customers solve their problems
- Building relationships
- Exceeding expectations
- Taking your own medicine
Do each of these things and keep getting better at them all the time. Marketing your brand isn't about charts, graphs, sales figures or quotas, it's about changing the lives of your clients for the better.
Do for some what you wish you could do for all, and that includes doing things that don't scale. Turn your existing customers into raving fans and you'll have no problem marketing your brand and growing your business.
What is the best thing you've done to market your brand?