This month, the posts have been focused on building and crafting your business and brand. If you missed any of the previous entries, you’ll find them linked within this post. While this information can standalone, you may find it helpful to go back to the first entry of the series, Branding for Your Small Business: Elements of a Brand.
1. Create an Identity
The first stop on the train ride to a successful brand is the initial creation of a Brand Identity. If you’re just getting started, be sure to reference this post: Branding for Your Small Business: Elements of a Brand.
Once you have taken the time to establish your brand elements, such as your mission, vision, and values, you’re going to be really clear on what your brand stands for and how it’s going to make an impact on other people’s lives. You’ll know what problem you solve for your potential customers and how you want to be perceived by the masses.
You’ll have a clear picture of what you stand for as a business which will help you create a brand strategy for moving forward. Your brand strategy is found when you assess your goals and then decide, “how will we get there?” This is where the momentum starts to build.
2. Consistently Deliver the Message
After starting with creating a brand identity, we backtracked a little bit to make sure we didn’t solely create our brand around ourselves, but instead focused on our ideal customers and their needs. In Small Business Branding Tips: And Why It’s Not About You, we established that we need to craft a message that speaks to our target market and we need to do it consistently.
You’ll be visible on multiple platforms. You’ll reach customers through your website, in person, through various social media. You’ll connect with them in your emails and through any print or digital advertisements that you use. It’s vital that no matter where you reach them the hear the same message loud and clear. They’ll know what to expect when they buy your products or services.
Most importantly, they’ll know what your brand stands for and why they would want to support it. Tell them how you can solve their problems or make their lives a little better, and a little easier, and when you deliver on it…you’ve just established the pathway to the next step.
3. Build Trust
It’s one thing to tell people what your brand is going to do, but it’s another to actually do it. While your messaging in key, make sure it’s authentic and genuine. If you make a promise, you absolutely must follow through. Even then, you may face some unhappy customers. Establish ahead of time how you will handle this situation. Consumers are much more forgiving if you own up to mistakes, or work to ensure your customer leaves happy.
You also build trust with people by continuing to show up. If you start a podcast, but only add new episodes sporadically, people don’t subscribe. They same is true for YouTube videos. The second you stop posting consistently on your social media accounts, people jump ship. Want people to read your blog? Make sure you’re posting regularly.
That’s why you need to have a strategy. You need to create a plan that you can sustain, long-term. You don’t want to post consistently for awhile only to lose momentum when you can’t keep up. My best advice to create a content calendar and have content stock-piled. If you want to post a video each week for a month, film a minimum of four before you post one. Creating a once a month series? Still create three or more at a time. Life happens and things come up. Plus, you don’t want to have to perpetually be in catch-up mode. Prepare more content than you think you’ll need before beginning to share it the first time. This will allow you to build momentum, and trust based on the fact that you are consistently delivering valuable content for your customers.
They only way people will trust you, is if you give them a reason to. And never give them a reason not to. You could have 100 glowing reviews, but people will still place emphasis on the one negative one in their minds. On the other hand, happy customers become repeat customers. They also will be the first to sing your praises without asking for anything in return. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful forms of modern marketing.
4. Create an Optimal Customer Experience
That is Why We Talking Branding before Marketing. If we don’t have all the other elements in place, marketing is so. much. harder. It’s hard to create an optimal customer experience if you don’t have the ideal customer in mind. From the first day they “meet” your brand, think of the journey you want them to take.
Peak their interest; tell them how you can help them. Consistently deliver the same message and valuable content to position yourself as the brand for them. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine what it would be like to be them. Introduce the brand, deliver your message and what your brand stands for. Build their trust, and make sure once they’re ready to make a purchase of your product or service, it’s easy. Don’t make them work too hard or they’ll never complete the sale. Visit your own website and attempt to make the purchase or schedule the call. If you don’t find the experience user friendly, your customer certainly won’t either. Don’t make it easier for them to head over to the competition.
Please, don’t let the purchase be that last step of the journey. Whenever possible and applicable, make sure to follow-up with your customers. It’s one of the easiest ways to do market research with your target audience and it proves to them that you truly care about your customers and about your brand, because you’re always working to improve.
This week, shout out in the comments below: Where step are you on?