The way you present your marketing and branding to a target audience decides the success of your advertising and promotional campaigns. But what does it take for marketing strategies to succeed and grow your business?
Success at marketing and branding starts by knowing the difference between the two. Marketing is the method used to sell a product or service. While branding is a company’s visual identity, telling the audience who it is and what it stands for. They must work together to inspire, attract, and engage your target audience.
This article reveals five no-nonsense marketing and branding tips that work. And it all starts with brand strategies. Why? Because trying to drive sales through marketing campaigns alone is often futile without a cohesive brand message.
Successful Brand Marketing Strategy
We can learn plenty from the world’s leading brands. So, let’s use two prominent US companies to illustrate how successful marketing and branding works.
Coca-Cola, the award-winning soft drinks manufacturer, sells by putting its strong brand over products. So when people hear the name Coca-Cola, it conjures up feelings of sunshine, friendship, sharing, happiness, and song, as well as a cool, refreshing drink.
Apple is another classic example of successful brand marketing. When fans think of Apple, they automatically visualize products that enrich their lives. It’s such a strong, established brand that most of its marketing is free of feature lists and even pricing.
#1 Branding Tips 101
How honed is your brand, and what message does it send consumers? Of course, it can take a while to build trust, and it can take some tweaking to get right. But every brand needs a strategy on which to build its foundation.
Before you start, think carefully about your company’s values, mission, and vision. Use the table below for ideas (replace or tweak the examples as necessary).
|Core Values||Company Mission||Company Vision|
|Always put customers first|
Seek to aspire effective communication
|Provide outstanding products|
Cause no unnecessary environmental harm
|Build the best product/service and experience in the country|
Below are top branding tips for assessing and developing your new or existing image:
Name: Names matter a lot. To resonate with the target audience, it should be distinctive, authentic, and memorable. The best names are also easy to pronounce and spell, think Amazon, Apple, Chanel, Coca-Cola, Google, Nike, and Tesla.
Colors: Choose your color(s) with care. Color psychology plays a significant part in brand recognition, personality, and influence. Indeed, studies show that colors can enhance mood, affect appetite, convey loyalty and other feelings .
Visual Consistency: Logos are not brands; they represent them. Signs and symbols mean nothing without a consistent brand to attach to. It’s the same with other visual elements such as packaging and stationery. The secret is to be visually consistent in your marketing treatments. One way to ensure this is by creating and following a brand style guide.
Website: Like logos, business cards, etc., websites are not brands, either. But your site should clearly reflect your brand identity and add credibility to your business. It should be clean, on-message, and easy-to-navigate.
Be Brand Conscious: Consciousness is critical for successful branding. Taking a stance on global and societal matters important to your business and its people attracts consumers, says a 2018 MWW study . Your efforts can increase consumer loyalty and build positive perception in your local community.
Brand Advertising: Brand advertising campaigns aim to build brand awareness and recognition. It’s less about selling and more to do with introducing and developing lasting relationships between your audience and your brand. The idea is to capture the attention of your target audience through creative ads and positive messaging.
Grow Your Online Community: Community-driven content is an excellent way to help develop your brand. You can gather data to help innovate your brand by interacting with the company’s online friends and followers. Ask questions and engage in conversations on Facebook groups, pages, and other social media platforms. But remember, brand development is about building trust and recognition, not hard sales.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, expose your brand to the real world. That might include staff uniforms and employees trained to value and represent the brand through customer interactions. Vehicle branding is another excellent and cost-effective way to get noticed from the roadside. Now you know what branding looks like and how to build your own brand image. But expect to run, test, analyze, and tweak your message to perfect it.
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OK, let’s look at the SMB marketing tips for 2022 and beyond.
#2 Know Your Target Audience Inside Out
Ten paying customers are a better catch than ten thousand tire kickers. Yet many SMBs cast a wide net hoping to catch a few paying fish, but it’s a costly marketing strategy. That approach works well for global brands advertising offerings that most people could make use. But, B2B and most SMBs have much smaller, refined target audiences that need to be targeted.
Instead, it is much better to identify your target audience and know where to find them. Then you can fish in a much smaller, more lucrative pond.
Use these six marketing tips to help define your target audience:
- Learn who your target buyer is NOT to avoid targeting them
- Research competitors online to identify their customers
- Conduct market research to determine the position of your offerings
- Use website analytics to help specify your target audience
- Create target audience buyer personas
- Continually revise and update data
Creating and updating personas is critical, yet SMB marketers often overlook it. So let’s look at how you can create personas and why updated audiences are so necessary for your marketing campaign success.
How to Create Buyer Personas for Small Business Marketing
Learn to understand your target audience better by identifying the ideal customer. Then, you can zoom in and tailor your message, content, products, and services to the type of buyer who best matches your company. Thus, your marketing strategies focus on the needs, concerns, and behaviors of the buyers best-aligned to your brand.
Creating personas is about asking and answering the right questions. Of course, those questions will vary depending on your target audience. Still, the example below gives you an idea of how a general persona template could look.
|Education?||Age?||Social media platforms|
|Occupation?||Generation?||News/Industry info sources|
|Career Path?||Average income?||Contact preference|
Gathering data outside basic demographics helps you identify the potential goals and challenges your target persona faces. Your job is to tailor and time marketing campaigns through the right channels. Plus, your personalized marketing should offer solutions that help overcome challenges and meet the goals of your target audience.
|Skytap Study | Targeted Personas Boost Marketing Campaigns|
Buyer personas increase sales leads by 12%, organic search by 55%, online leads by 97%, and website traffic 210% from North America .
#3 Boost and Optimize Your Digital Presence
Most SMBs have a digital presence, but few invest the time to realize their full potential for marketing and branding online. This isn’t a data point you want to neglect. Not every small business has a website, and 31% rely solely on social media. And of those who do have a dedicated site, only 51% have an employee to update and maintain it .
Because online research is the start for most consumer journeys, companies with a weak online existence lose out to those with a higher profile. There are several ways to boost your digital presence, including:
- Have a website optimized around your brand, offerings, and target audience
- Ensure the site is user-friendly and optimized for mobile devices
- Create high-quality, valuable content for users
- Develop and maintain a consistent SEO strategy
- Stay active on social media
- Adopt a review strategy
All the above require regular updates and input to maintain your company’s authority. But building an online presence is crucial to help your business grow in the long-term. If you don’t have time, consider hiring someone or a digital marketing agency to do the work for you.
#4 Build on What’s Already Working
Identify marketing and branding strategies that show results, then double down and build on them. Your website and social media analytics are brilliant free tools to see what you’re doing right online and what’s not working. The secret is to scale up and leverage marketing efforts that already work or show promise. Likewise, revise any strategies that use time and resources yet fail to attract and retain your target audience.
Three marketing trends will continue to dominate over the coming years. They include outstanding customer experience, employee engagement, and content visualization.
#5 Use Free and Paid Marketing Tools
Marketing tools and software help businesses build brand awareness and generate sales. Companies use them to communicate information, stimulate interest and motivate users to act. What tools you use depends on your business and what you’re trying to achieve at the time.
SMBs tend to have a small marketing technology stack that includes tools like:
- Website analytic tools such as Google Analytics
- Email marketing automation software
- Online and traditional advertising media
- SEO tools to measure a website’s organic search visibility
- Automation tools to measure marketing activities/tasks across channels
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Social media management tools
- Communication tools such as email marketing platforms and chat messaging
Marketing tools make it much easier and faster to carry out vital tasks, making them an invaluable investment. As well as increase brand awareness, they will ensure lead generation and help you gather valuable data.
Closing Comments on Marketing and Branding Tips
The most successful SMBs know their target audience and the different elements of their marketing and branding strategies. They see how the two intertwine and how to execute successful campaigns that customers want to engage in repeatedly. Branding and marketing aren’t difficult, but they do take time and commitment to succeed.
Don’t Let Lack of Time Affect Your Marketing Campaigns
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