Tag: branding.

1. Know Your Audience

– What time they check Facebook, what content they’re interested in.
– Target those specific people who ‘liked’ your page.

Knowing your audience will help your business tremendously down the road. It’s not enough to have a great product these days. You need to find those people who are your target audience and know what they want to see, their interests, likes and dislikes.

2. Engage with Your Audience
– Make posts specifically to your target group.

Once you’ve figured out their likes and dislikes, it’s time to put your knowledge to work.
Think about it – a follower is more likely to like or share a post if it is relevant to them or if they find it to be something they can stand behind.

3. Provide Great Customer Service

Once you have figured out your target market and how to get their attention, you need to keep it! Keep up on your social media; it shouldn’t be on autopilot for too long. Notice when someone comments on a post of yours or better yet, shares your post. Respond to your audience; people like to know that who they’re following is responsive and actually cares about them.

In short, nobody likes to be ignored. If people comment on your post or have questions, acknowledge them! It’s easy to become automated with managing your Facebook, but don’t forget that Customer Satisfaction still rules and will go further than any boosted post ever will.

4. Customization
You can schedule when your FB status is posted weeks and months in advance, specifically to better fit your customers’ schedules. When you go to make a status update there is a drop down box next to the “Post” button that gives you an option to schedule your posting. Use this free trick to optimize your social media!

5. Boost
You can also use the “Boost” button, which places your posts higher in the News Feed, so there’s a better chance your audience will see them. Although there is a charge to boost, but you can choose your own budget. The more you put towards your budget, the higher your boost.

Stay focused and use Facebook’s free platform to your advantage!

Power In Color

How do select color when you plan the design of your logo and marketing materials? Do you generally select just what you like? If so, you might consider putting more thought into your color choices.

Studies have shown that a product’s color influences 60-80% of a customer’s purchasing decision – meaning that color can make or break a product.  Color is the first thing a consumer will notice about your logo.

On both a conscious and subconscious level colors convey meaning. The use of color can bring your marketing materials multiple layers of meaning. You can use these meanings to underline and accent your branding messages.

Bright, bold colors are attention grabbing but can appear brash. Muted tones are more sophisticated, but can be overlooked.

Colors can be divided into two categories: warm – which are associated with energy; and cold – which are more about calmness and security.

We’ve created a cheat sheet for you to download with colors and their associated meanings. These are not rigid rules, but they’re worth keeping in mind. It’s also important to consider the global appeal of your color choices – especially if you’re a global brand. For instance, in China red is considered lucky, while in India white is the color of mourning and death.

In addition to the color cheat sheet, we’ve also included a color contrast guide displaying 18 color combinations that have been tested for visibility at various distances by the OAAA.

Think about your message and choose your colors carefully to portray your company’s image.

Download the Color Cheat Sheet.
Download the Color Contrast Guide.

Advertising just doesn’t work like it used to. It’s expensive and isn’t getting results. Worst of all it’s difficult to track. Businesses don’t know how to manage their marketing or advertising and don’t have time to do it right. Word of mouth works and can still be counted on. That’s why social media is growing fast.

Many small business owners would echo these sentiments. However, none of these statements have to be fact. While advertising can be expensive and time consuming, it has major benefits. On average, many small business owners cut marketing budgets first when they start having cash flow worries. However, it’s at those times that it’s even more important to keep your business brand front and center.

Social media is by far one of the most effective and affordable ways to reach your customers and build your brand, but it’s not the only way. Here’s our list of marketing tips and strategies to help you market your business the best you can, even when the budget is tight.

  1. The Elevator Speech
    An elevator speech is a 15 to 20 second description of what you do. The idea is that if you find yourself in an elevator with an ideal client, by the time you reach your destination, your prospect will have asked for your card. Start with your ideal client and determine the single most important thing you want them to know about your [product, service, brand, idea]. Then include what problems you can solve for them and what sets you apart from your competition along with a brief description of the results they can expect. Invest time in meticulously crafting your elevator speech. If you have a killer elevator speech, the return on investment will pay off big.
  2. Think Local
    You don’t have to market to the whole country, or even the state or region. Think local. You’re a small business; the majority of your customers and prospects live in your immediate area. Get involved in the community to get your name out there. Sponsor a little league team or a charity event. Hand out free paper fans at the 4th of July parade. Think about where and how your ideal customers spend their time and then find ways to get your marketing message in front of them.
  3. Collaborate and Network
    Round up a group of area business that are non-competitive and can easily work together and agree to cross promote. Collaborating can help you all reach an expanded customer base. Networking is one of the best ways to build your business. Get out there and meet people! Networking requires a time commitment, and it’s not always going to provide instant gratification, but it will easily become the strongest asset you can have. Just remember, its about building business relationships. Networking gives you the chance to help people know you, like you and trust you. When they do that, they will be ready to do business with you or refer someone to you. Which brings me to…
  4. Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
    The easiest new business comes from happy customers who send you referrals. Don’t be shy about asking for them either. Most people are willing to provide a referral, if asked, but very few will do it on their own. If your customers are truly content, they will be happy to help you and there is nothing more powerful than the recommendation of a happy customer. Don’t forget to offer up referrals for others when you can. Sometimes a successful referral from you for their business will result in a return referral from them.
  5. Keep Relationships
    This point ties right into numbers 3 & 4. It’s less expensive to keep a current customer than to get a new one. Establishing strong relationships with your current customers is vital. You can build these relationships by using social media, email campaigns and good old face-to-face conversations. Keep communicating!
  6. Speech, Teach!
    I know, I know, you hate public speaking. A lot of people do, but it’s a great marketing tool. Many organizations are constantly seeking qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups. As long as your information is helpful to the audience – and correct – people won’t care if you’re a public speaking pro. Plus, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Check with your local small business administrations, colleges, chamber of commerce, even the library. These opportunities to teach and speak to groups of individuals will establish you as a credible authority in your field. They will also open doors for collaborating, networking, referrals and relationships. (See the snowball effect?)
  7. Get More by Giving Some Away
    If you test or experience a product or service and like it, are you more likely to buy it? Probably so. Your customers are the same way! Chances are they will purchase more if you give them the opportunity to try it. Don’t be afraid of giving someone a free trial or sample. But, don’t give away too much, just enough to bring them back for more!
  8. It’s Not About You
    What? Yes I said this correctly. It’s kind of about you – but mostly it’s about your customer. Sometimes it’s easy to just tell your customer all about your company and how long you’ve been in business. But honestly, most of the time, they don’t care about that. They care about how your product or service benefits them. If you answer that first, then they will start to care more about your company and you. Focus on the benefit and/or solution you can give your customers.

These eight tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing. But they are enough to get you started and help you out if your budget isn’t that big. Just remember, engaging customers and building relationships are the heart of your business and will be vital in your business growth. You don’t have to spend outrageous amounts of money on your marketing for it to be successful as long as you put in the time and effort and focus on what’s important to your customers.

Infographic: Freepik.com; edited by Poole Communications.

Recently Hannibal LaGrange College changed their name to Hannibal LaGrange University. There was some consideration given to changing the name completely. I was delighted they chose to stay with the same basic name. The name recognition and brand HLG has developed over the years is invaluable. If you’ve been thinking about changing your company name or logo be very cautious. You may be tired of the same name or design, but your customers might still be trying to figure out who you are and what you do. Your business name and logo is most powerful when used with consistency – this is extremely important to building your own unique brand.

Logo

Make your marketing work harder by using or developing a company logo. A logo is a powerful tool when used correctly. Your logo design must be able to be used virtually everywhere – from business cards and websites to ball caps and billboards. A creative design can help brand your company for decades. Can’t afford a uniquely designed logo? Then begin by using the same type face consistently. That goes for color too. Stick with one color. Your building a brand that will become recognizable without even reading the words. Get more attention and make your marketing materials work harder by using a great logo.