Whether you are just starting a business or you’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, and your business could use a boost, the murky waters of business promotion and marketing can be daunting. Ideas like sponsored content, advertorials or e-commerce get bandied around and can overwhelm and confuse.
There’s no need to be dismayed, however, by the task of promoting your brand. Learning some simple concepts and looking out for what mistakes to avoid can set you on a path to branding success and, eventually, massive engagement.
Consumers and followers are savvy. They know when they are being overtly sold to and are overwhelmingly adverse to sales pitches that come on too strong or do not seem genuine. When you grow your engagement organically and authentically, you create followers invested in your product or service and invested in you.
Efficient content and effective content
Efficient content involves posing a problem and then offering a quick solution, often within a few sentences. Think of this as your elevator pitch. Applying a call to action is a great way to engage your followers or potential followers as well. If they see you as a source for problem-solving in a quick, efficient manner, they’re going to come back.
Effective content is emotion-driven. It is about building relationships, sharing your knowledge, and telling your story. This evolves and generates rabid fans who cannot wait to hear what you have to share next.
Content cannot be efficient or effective if it is not directed to the proper stakeholders. Personalization should be a priority when trying to reach a niche group, such as IT managers only or restaurant owners. Many online marketing tools, like Facebook Ads, allow for marketing automation. This gives you the flexibility to focus your marketing on a specific group based on industry, age, location or a host of other variables.
Advertorials vs. editorials vs. sponsored content
It can be confusing when considering what marketing you should pay for and what marketing you should continue to grow organically. Advertorials are paid for articles done in the style of an editorial; you just purchase them! These can be a good idea if you’re new to business building and need to get your name out there and fast! Editorials are not paid and are a great, organic way of publicizing your story. Sponsored content is paid for by an advertiser, like advertorials.
Sorting out what mix of paid-for and non-paid-for content is right for your business is a part of any solid marketing plan.
Avoid costly mistakes & over-branding
When it comes to marketing, some people make the mistake of throwing everything they can at the proverbial wall and hoping something sticks. There are certain mistakes one should avoid when crafting a marketing plan for their business.
- Not marketing at all is problem No. 1. Suppose you intend on relying on people finding you by chance or recognizing your business without putting anything out there in terms of marketing. In that case, you’re likely going to be disappointed in the results.
- Every business has to have a solid marketing strategy and a written and well-researched plan to function successfully.
- Over-branding is a thing! This includes repeating a business name over and over in print or posts. Businesses may think this is great for SEO, but it can be overkill. If there are huge logos all over, no cohesiveness and you’re not keeping the reader in mind when you’re putting content out there, over-branding can come back to bite you.
- Overburdening followers with emails can cause fatigue and eventual unsubscribes. Weekly marketing emails should suffice for most businesses.
- Consistency is key! Keeping consistent with logos, graphics, color scheme and message will lead to better results every time.
Know your audience
Regularly put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Think like a consumer and tailor your branding and messaging to those who will be most likely to be interested in what you’re offering.
An e-commerce site, such as an online jewelry store, will stick to messaging that includes lifestyle images, people wearing their jewelry, and reviews from happy customers. However, a local “ma-and-pop” service provider, such as a tire shop, will want to have more informative, preventative and neighborly messaging. B2B branding is most effective when it sticks to tips, articles and information about local events.
Building an organic marketing strategy is rooted in sound, effective (and efficient!) content that reaches as many people as possible within your target market. When you’re just starting out, take advantage of as many free resources as possible. For example, a Google My Listing is free and integral for any business, in my opinion. If you are local, maximize your Facebook exposure. If your business is image-based, you can’t go wrong with regular Instagram posts.
No matter what your strategy may be, stay active and consistent, and you are bound to see fabulous results.