Have you ever taken the time to Google yourself? What about your business?
Your potential customer or client is if they need your product or service. Your banker is if you are applying for a loan. Even your potential mother-in-law has done her research on you before you show up to meet her. I promise you, everyone else is Googling you.
When people stumble upon your business's website or your Facebook page, how will they perceive your brand? Whether you like it or not, people do their research online and have an impression of you way before they even meet you in person.
Every business has a brand. Wikipedia says, “A brand is the most valuable fixed asset of a Corporation.” So what's in your branding strategy? Whether you like it or not, you are the CEO of your brand. You are responsible for the message that is sent to your customers, potential customers and industry peers.
Here are five ways you can build a consistent, successful brand for your business.
1. Develop An Identity & Voice
First thing's first. You must develop a strong identity and voice for your business. But how do you do that? You create a code.
All of the most iconic, successful brands have a code. Think of Nike, Starbucks, Apple, Coca-Cola. What do they all have in common? A devout community of followers. They built a community by first building their code.
Best-selling author, advertising exec and founder of Thinktopia, Patrick Hanlon, created seven elements to help brands discover their code. Global brands like Kraft, Levi’s, and Johnson & Johnson have used this framework to develop a community of zealots. And you can, too.
2. Clarify Your Message
After you nail down your code, you need to work on your messaging. What makes the brands above so effective? It's not just their fancy logos or expensive web design. It's the fact that they have a strong understanding of who their customers are, and they write content that specifically connects with them.
One of the best ways to do this is with Donald Miller's StoryBrand Framework. The StoryBrand Framework allows you to position your business as a guide (rather than the hero), a novel idea that works because we customers are the heroes of our own stories. Using a BrandScript, you can create strategic content that tells your story, resonates with customers, and moves your bottom line.
Another thing to consider is the way your customers approach buying decisions. Customers have a certain mindstate when they shop. Maybe they're buying a product to feel more confident about themselves. Maybe they're wanting to achieve greater success. Will Leach breaks down the science behind these mindstates in his book, Marketing to Mindstates. It's a great read that I highly recommend for anyone wanting to get more from their marketing.
3. Forget About Your Website
I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Stop putting so much time and energy into redoing your website. Websites are important. We all know that. They're the first place your customers will find your brand. But they're only one piece of the puzzle. If you throw all your resources into a fancy schmancy website but don't have a solid marketing foundation in place, it's a waste of money.
So where should you be investing your brainpower? Don't focus so much on your website. Instead, look at what goes on behind the scenes. Brands that achieve the most success use what's known as the Business GrowthStack. It's a four-piece holistic marketing system that attracts, nurtures, and converts leads with minimal effort on your part.
Every business, small or large, should have the Business GrowthStack in place. This includes Clear Messaging (Hey, we've covered that one already!) as well as Marketing Automation, Sales Automation, and Campaigns. You won't get any lift from your marketing if you just have a pretty-looking website. But with the Business GrowthStack, you'll get better results even if your website looks like a turd.
4. Create Content Your Audience Wants
Remember those campaigns we mentioned? Well, those involve creating lead-generating content that customers will download in exchange for sharing their email address. Once you have their email address, you can automatically enter them into lead nurturing email series (a major component of Marketing Automation).
But your customers aren't going to share their email address for a boring 10-page ebook. You have to create something that they have to have. To do this, pay attention in your sales calls. Look for recurring problems that your customers have. Are they struggling with the same frustrations? Do they have the same questions or concerns about your products?
Now, create content to alleviate their worries and solve their problems. Don't worry about giving away all your secrets. Great content is a reward in and of itself. If you provide your customers with something that makes their life better, they're more likely to trust you for bigger things. It's a win win!
5. Aim For HEO, Not SEO
If you have any experience with marketing whatsoever, you've probably heard of SEO. Search engine optimization has been one of the biggest buzzwords in our industry since Google rolled out their latest animal-named algorithm in the 2000s.
SEO is all about tricking the system. By flooding your website content with long-tail keywords, you can improve your search engine ranking and get more website visitors. Or so they'd like you to think.
Here's the thing. Search engines aren't stupid. Google's algorithm changes and grows. Today, it's not ranking sites that get the most clicks highest. It's ranking sites with the longest page views.
Keyword stuffed sites aren't fun for consumers. They're confusing and messy and overwhelming. So customers are more likely to immediately click that back button when they go to your site, which actually hurts your ranking. Who knew?
So how can you leverage your website to get more customers? Stop thinking about keywords and start thinking about your customers. HEO involves creating a website tailored to humans, not search engines.
Human experience optimization is a better way to win over customers and keep them on your site longer. In the end, this has a bigger impact on your Google ranking than SEO ever could. Funny how that works.
Read The Golden Toilet To Learn More
Let's be honest. Marketing is hard. It's confusing and complicated and plain frustrating. As an entrepreneur, you've got a lot on your plate as is. How the heck are you supposed to manage your marketing on top of everything else?
You read my new book, The Golden Toilet.
In this book, I'll teach you everything you need to know about marketing in the digital world. I'll pull back the curtain on marketing tactics that don't move the needle and teach you how to use the Business GrowthStack to get a better ROI online.
So what are you waiting for? You can get my book from Amazon here.