Step 1 for Branding Done Right: Perfect Inbound Marketing
What, exactly, is branding and why is it so critical for 21st century organizations? One mistake that many new business owners make is in not realizing how important branding is; but even more troubling is that far more don’t even understand what branding is. It is a mistake that can derail even the most promising companies. On the other hand, getting branding right delivers a key strategic advantage that can put your business on track for success.
Branding is the process of creating an identity for your company. Consider this: what immediately comes to mind when you see a large yellow “M” on a billboard? How about the distinct “swoosh,” a red and white bullseye, an apple with a bite taken out of the right side, or a series of five interlinked multi-colored rings?
Easy: McDonald’s, Nike, Target, Apple, and the Olympics. This is branding at work: these organizations have done a remarkable job creating instantly recognizable logos with strongly associated connotations and emotions. When done well, branding differentiates your company.
While having a recognizable, captivating logo is important, it is just one aspect of branding. As essential is developing a sound inbound marketing strategy. As part of your overall branding process, inbound marketing strategies work to pull customers/visitors to your company, to create those brand connotations and emotions so they feel compelled to interact with you and complete a desired call to action.
Logos are important, but consumers don’t decide to go into McDonald’s to order french fries simply because of the logo. No. They go in because they know the product that they are going to get from the fast food chain. They know exactly what to expect, and they feel comfortable with the entire process.
This is exactly what we need to accomplish when it comes to building a brand: to show potential customers and clients exactly who you are and to help them to feel comfortable working with you. Rather than spending thousands of dollars hiring a graphic designer or digital marketing specialist redo your logo, it would benefit your company tremendously to focus on inbound marketing and content first and foremost.
Much More Than a Logo
Remember one fundamental tenet: everything you do is customer service. It doesn’t matter if your company creates gum or high-end computers, if you’re selling products or services, you’re dealing with customers. It is bad customer service that kills a brand.
In today’s high-tech world where everyone puts reviews up online in an instant - and especially “good” bad ones go viral - enough poor reviews can truly kill a business. That’s why it doesn’t matter how great your logo is if your customer service is bad. On the other hand, establishing a reputation for excellent service is a stellar inbound marketing technique; it draws people, especially today’s empowered consumers, to you as a trustworthy solution.
One aspect of customer service today is to create high quality content. High quality content is able to capture the attention of your potential customers and clients. This content is your customer service, or one aspect of it, anyway. It’s showing the potential clients that you care enough about them to provide them with interesting and relevant information.
The primary purpose of high-quality content is providing value to prospect and customers. Secondary to that, though, is that the information pulls them into your business. Again, this is what inbound marketing is all about. The content that prospects find highly entertaining or informative is also content that directs them straight to your website. With the right landing pages, and the right calls to action, you can leverage attention and interest into conversion opportunities.
Did you know that the average person only gives a website 10 seconds to engage them? Yes, you have just 10 seconds to capture the attention of the visitor and potential customer, or you risk losing business. It seems impossible - but “seems” is the keyword. With the right keywords, the right titles, and the right content you can easily ensure that someone engages meaningfully with your website.
Once you have effectively captured the customers’ attention and stoked interest in your company, you can’t forget to follow up. If a potential customer shoots your business an email asking a question, for example, you can’t take three days to respond. Your customer should never have to wait very long for a reply. By following up, you are once again showcasing exactly what type of company you are and at the same time, providing excellent customer service.
Ditch the Pitch
With today’s knowledgeable customers and media-saturated environment, you need to avoid the hard sell. Imagine, for example, that you are visiting a car dealership. The salesperson follows you around and seems to be constantly promoting this vehicle or that vehicle? “Best car on the lot.” “You can’t get a better deal anywhere.” Then, after a 20 minute test drive, the salesperson is all over you, asking if you’re ready to seal the deal - and what type of down payment you have. This is a hard sell, and it is never a tactic that potential customers appreciate.
Instead of pushing a hard sale guide your customers to the area or phase of the sales funnel in which you want them. You do this with content and by becoming a trusted advisor rather than a salesperson. Instead of trying to “force” them to complete a call to action with aggressive and heavy-handed sales techniques, you help them solve a problem or fill a need.
And, in guiding them, you’ll find that they’ll not only trust you, they’ll also be much more likely to recommend you to their friends and family, which creates exponential lead generation and business-building opportunities for you.
Inbound marketing and branding strategies draw prospects and customers into your world. When executed well, it makes them feel special and delivers what they need and want. By focusing on great service, compelling content, and becoming a trusted guide, you will soon find that your business is thriving.