YOU Are the Message: 4 Ways Branding Impacts Your Bottom Line

YOU Are the Message: 4 Ways Branding Impacts Your Bottom Line - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Media MogulsPR.com

Branding. You’re either one of the few businesses doing it right, or you revere it as some mythical marketing tactic that you’ve never quite been able to master. If you fall into the latter category, it’s time to stop procrastinating and hop on the branding bandwagon. The fact of the matter is, products and services have lifecycles, but brands have staying power.

Multiple studies have shown that brand recognition is a common denominator in consumers buying decisions, especially when it’s a product or service they’re unfamiliar with. Couple that with the fact that many modern businesses don’t have brick and mortar locations, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% to 90% of a company’s value is now attributed to non-tangible assets and you have a very strong case for building brand awareness. In case you’re still not convinced, here are four more ways branding impacts your bottom line.

1. Branding impacts your ability to attract and retain top-tier employees and talent.

It’s no secret that top talent can help cultivate growth in your business. Attracting the right team can mean the difference between complete success and utter failure.

Today’s employees have more knowledge, information, and power at their fingertips than ever before. With so many options, it’s important that your brand is able to cut through the noise and catch the attention of top tier talent before someone else does. Company culture has become a buzzword for a reason. Employees aren’t just looking for a paycheck anymore; employees want to work for brands that share similar values and visions.

An example of branding gone completely right in attracting world class talent is Google. Who hasn’t heard about how awesome Google is to work for? Google knows who their target audience is, is clear about what they stand for, and they’re big on company culture. At the end of the day, that means Google ends up with top tier employees and interns, a very low employee turnover rate, and an extremely high-profit margin. Win, win, win.

2. Branding increases customer loyalty.

Attracting new customers and clients by implementing solid branding guidelines is important. But equally as important, if not more important, is retaining existing customers who are loyal to your company. In fact, 70% of companies’ state that it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than attract a new one.

Branding done right not only helps you keep customers, but also turn customers into loyal, raving fans. The fact of the matter is, your existing customers can be your biggest untapped asset when it comes to increasing sales, and also reaching potential new customers. So, it stands to reason that you need to stay at the forefront of their minds to reap the benefits. Seth Godin’s book,‘Tribes’ does a fantastic deep dive into how your personal brand helps you assemble your tribe.

3. Branding leads to decreased price sensitivity.

Research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for nationally recognized brands. Despite having similar products and services to competitors offering a discount, a surprising number of consumers are willing to pay a premium for credible, recognizable brands.

Take the Apple/iPhone/iEverything phenomenon, for example. Consumers who nickel and dime every day of their lives will gladly wait in line AND pay a premium every time a new iPhone hits the market. It’s not because there aren’t similar products available at a cheaper price. Some of them may even be of an equal (or better) quality, but thanks to Apple’s phenomenal job in the branding department, their target market is no longer sensitive to price.

4. The right branding strategy leads to an increased market share.

If you’re one of the lucky businesses that are first to get your brand solidified in your customer’s minds, then you have a distinct advantage over your competition. Being at the forefront of brand recognition in your market increases the barrier to entry for competitors who come after you.

The good news is that even if you’re not first in your industry or niche, you can still capture an increased market share by focusing on branding. You’ll have to be more aggressive in your approach, but you can become a brand that your target market takes into consideration if you focus on brand recognition and help them remember your name.

Bottom Line: Branding = Increased Visibility and Profits

To state the obvious, you can’t build brand awareness without first creating a branding strategy that reflects your company values, missions, and vision. In order to create the brand recognition and credibility you need to improve your bottom line, you must first identify your target market and expose them to your company via multiple channels.

Evaluating the messages your logo, website, and branding guidelines send to your target audience is a good place to start. Once you’ve got those nailed down, it’s time to pinpoint the best channels for getting your brand in front of your target market. The good news is, with the accessibility provided by an always-on internet, it’s easier than ever to figure out where your target audience hangs out and how to get in front of them.

Blair NicoleBlair Nicole is the CEO & Founder of Media Moguls PR, host of the #KickassPR podcast, and Columnist at several well-known business outlets. Marketing and traveling are her passions, and she travels around the world full time with her 4-year-old son, working remotely, and speaking to business audiences of all shapes and sizes.  Blair’s motto is “Kick ass, don’t kiss it!”

6-Step Checklist for Revamping Your Small Business’ Online Presence

6-Step Checklist for Revamping Your Small Business’ Online Presence - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Pexels

It’s 2016. The days of prospective customers sauntering down Main Street or even flipping through the Yellow Pages in hopes of stumbling upon your business are long gone. We live in the Age of Information now, and the Internet is king of the castle. When someone needs a service or product, they go online to find the appropriate business and its contact information. According to Adweek, 81% of consumers conduct research online before making a purchase. You almost certainly already know this and pivoted your business online years ago, but unless you’ve stayed remarkably vigilant of the latest trends, your online presence could probably use a facelift.

As changes continuously sweep across social media, Google, and the content marketing world, your business’ online presence must evolve or you risk receding into obscurity, stagnating with an out-of-touch website or, god forbid, a MySpace page. For the most part, small businesses aren’t maximizing their online presence. Less than half of small businesses advertise online, pay attention to Search Engine Optimization, or have a social media presence, and a quarter of small businesses don’t have a website at all.

For those who wish to gain a competitive advantage, consider this 6-step checklist for revamping your online presence in 2016:

1. Reassess and Segment Your Target Market

Before you jump into any actual changes, it’s important to sit back and reconsider your target market. Get into the psychology of your consumer and begin to identify common characteristics of your target market. Now, segment your market into specific groups of people. It might be tempting to think that you want to sell to everyone under the sun, but without segments to focus your efforts on, you will never have a highly-focused campaign geared towards a specific group and will risk not reaching anyone effectively. Consider an online clothing store. They’ve segmented their market–men’s and women’s–to push customers down the sales funnel toward their desired destination. Customers are looking for something specific from you–they’re not just there to visit–so direct them to that segmented goal.

2. Listen to and Engage with Your Audience

Now that you know who you’re selling to, engage with them and test the waters. Find the best channels through which to interact with your past and potential clientele. Since social media platforms break down along demographic lines, it’s easy to focus your attention on one of your segmented groups at a time. Have a professional, career-oriented customer base? Try LinkedIn. Focused more on female creatives? Try Pinterest. Demographic-specific e-mail lists for newsletters are also effective in focused communication with specific segments. Once you’ve zeroed in, engage with your audience, track their online activity, and see what they are saying about you via Google Alerts to figure out how to best design your online presence to suit your audience’s tendencies.

3. Optimize Your Landing Page for Conversions

The central motivation of revamping your online presence is to maximize conversions, turning a visitor to your website into a customer. Your landing page is the most crucial part of this–most site visitors only spend up to 8 seconds before bailing on your landing page and moving on to your competitor. This means your page must utilize the most effective design tactics possible to keep your visitor’s attention and readily satisfy their needs. Videos can increase conversions by 86% and a clear Call-to-Action button (like, “Buy Now!”) is similarly important, so consider implementing these elements onto your own page.

4. Don’t Forget About Mobile

91% of small business websites aren’t optimized for mobile. This should be a major concern, considering mobile accounts for over half of web searches. Despite the countless how-tos that break down mobile optimization tactics concerning page speed and design, optimizing for mobile is a difficult and technical process that flies right over most heads. To make the most of your efforts on your landing page and mobile, put your DIY instincts on hold and hire a freelancer who works in responsive design, who can create a flexible web page for both desktop and mobile. It may be costly, but keep in mind a responsive redesign can increase conversions by up to 590%.

5. Revitalize Your Social Media Accounts

In order for your social media presence to translate to greater exposure and thus more customers, you must provide consistent, quality content and actively engage with comments. Create a selling strategy–how is your social media use going to get people in the store and ordering your product? With that in mind, be authentic and emphasize engagement, speaking with and caring for your customers, over hard selling. According to Magic Commerce, only 20% of your content should be promotional while the rest should get your audience involved in conversation on topics relevant to your business.

7. Take Advantage of Google

Google knows all, right? Maybe, but your business likely won’t show up on Google Maps unless you’ve claimed your Google My Business. Drop everything you’re doing and fix that right now. Google’s incredible market share of desktop search engines hovers around 90%, meaning that if you’re not maximizing your use of all that Google has to offer, you’re basically invisible to most potential customers. Beyond getting on Maps and My Business, be sure to use Google’s new 360-degree virtual tour, Business View, if you have a physical location. It will feature next to your business details on Google Search and give prospective walk-ins more reason to trust your business.

Whether you’ve run a small business for 10 years or 10 months, these 6 steps can help you embrace a fresh approach to your online presence and maximize your ability to retain and gain customers in this increasingly digital world. Have another piece of advice on getting a business up to snuff online? Share your comments below!

Ellie MartinEllie Martin is Co-founder of Startup Change group. As writer and author, her works have been featured on Yahoo! , Wisebread, AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel. You may connect with her on Twitter.