In 2020, global ad spending is expected to reach $605 billion (a 4.2 percent increase from last year). Clearly, business owners are willing to spend a lot to promote their companies and get their message out to their customers.
Are you having a hard time attracting paying clients? If so, your branding and marketing strategy could be part of the problem. Read on to learn how you can use these tools to grow your business and set yourself up for long-term success.
Branding vs Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Before we dive into specific branding and marketing practices you can utilize to grow your business, let’s touch briefly on the difference between these two terms. A lot of people use them interchangeably, and they do (or at least should) work in conjunction. There are some important distinctions you should know, though.
Put simply, branding refers to who you are. Your brand tells people what they can expect when they work with your company. It tells them your values and encapsulates everything that makes your business unique.
Marketing, on the other hand, refers to how you build awareness for your brand. You can use a variety of marketing tactics, from social media advertising to print campaigns, to help people learn about your brand values and develop an interest in what your company has to offer.
Why Branding and Marketing Matter
Branding and marketing both play pivotal roles in helping your business to stand out so you can attract serious clients.
If people don’t know what you value or what makes your company different because you haven’t put enough time or effort into brand building and marketing, they’re going to work with your competitors instead. This could be the case even if you actually have a superior product or service to offer them.
Remember, good branding and marketing practices help you to establish credibility and make it easier for people to have trust in you and your business. When you’re consistent and communicate values that align with theirs, they feel more inclined to work with you over another business.
The right approach to branding will make it easier for you to foster customer loyalty, too. If they connect with your branding and marketing efforts and have a positive experience with your product or service, there’s a greater chance that they’ll stick around and continue purchasing from you. They’ll also be more likely to recommend your business to their friends and family.
Branding and Marketing Tips for Business Owners
Okay, you know the difference between branding and marketing, and you also know why they matter to your business’s success. How do you start fine-tuning your approach, though?
How can you build a brand and use marketing to attract your ideal customers?
Here are some essential branding and marketing tips every business owner needs to keep in mind:
Have a Clear Message
When it comes to building a brand, one of the most important things you need to do is get clear about your message. What is your vision and mission? Why do you do what you do?
These questions might seem difficult at first. Think about it for a minute, though. You got into this business for a reason. What is it?
When you take the time to clarify your “why” and establish your vision and mission, it’s easier to come up with a message and figure out what you want to communicate to your target audience.
Remember, it’s easier for customers to gain trust in a strategic brand that has a clear message and a solid foundation. If they trust your brand, they’re going to be more captivated by your marketing materials and feel more inclined to take action.
Think about your favourite brand and the way they market their products or services. You can always recognize a Starbucks, for example, because of the brand’s familiar logo and distinct colors. They’ve done a great job of being consistent, and that has helped them to become a major global brand.
Consistency is essential for brand recognition and awareness. If all of your marketing materials look different, it’ll be harder for people to get to know your brand and develop a sense of trust in it. Consistent messaging and visuals across all of your brand’s touchpoints (website, signs, labels, online ads, etc.) will also show people that you are a serious business.
Create a Style Guide
It’s much easier to be consistent with your branding and marketing efforts if you’ve first taken the time to create a style guide. A style guide makes it easier for everyone on your team to get on the same page and ensure they’re designing marketing materials and delivering messages that align with your brand message and values.
When you’re putting together a style guide for your team, be sure to include the following details:
Company vision and mission
Tone of messages
Logo size and orientation
Remember to be as specific as possible when creating your style guide. Give examples of what to do and what not to do.
If you only have a small team now or are a one-person show, it might not seem necessary to include so many details. Your team is going to grow over time, though.
The new people you bring on won’t always know what decisions to make regarding things like font sizes or the position of your logo. To avoid mistakes and potential inconsistencies, it helps to answer future questions now, rather than waiting until later.
Design an Eye-Catching Logo
As you likely already know, a well-designed logo is an essential part of building your brand and helping people to recognize your business.
When you’re creating a logo for your company, make sure that it’s simple and easy to replicate. If it’s too complex or has too many tiny details, it’ll be harder for you to be consistent with your branding, especially when it comes to featuring your logo on different surfaces (clothing, business cards, etc.).
Avoid making your logo too trendy, too. Remember, the best logos are timeless. If you try too hard to be on-trend, you might find yourself having to go through an expensive and time-consuming rebrand in a couple of years when your logo no longer feels relevant and makes your brand look outdated.
Focus on Quality
With branding and marketing, as with pretty much everything else in life, you get back what you put into it. If you want to get qualified leads from your marketing and branding efforts, you need to invest and focus on quality right from the start. By putting out high-quality materials and working hard to clarify your message, it’ll be easier for you to attract qualified leads and convert them into paying customers.
Focus on quality in everything you do related to building your brand. If you’re writing a blog post, make sure it’s easy-to-read, error-free, and is written in a tone that aligns with the tone used in your other branding materials. If you’re designing an Instagram ad, use tools that help you get a high-quality image. Make sure you use colours and fonts that match your other advertisements and marketing tools, too.
Qualify Leads with a Marketing Sales Funnel
Speaking of qualified leads, a marketing sales funnel is a great way to ensure you’re spending the most time and resources on the people who are most likely to become paying customers.
A marketing sales funnel maps out the customer’s journey. It takes note of all the brand touchpoints they’ll encounter along the way and helps you to weed out those who aren’t really serious about working with your business.
Dedicate time now to creating a marketing sales funnel and establishing a clear understanding of your target customer’s journey. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to address potential pain points and objections along the way. You’ll also have an easier time tailoring your message to these people and ensuring that they connect with your brand and your business’s mission.
Analyze Your Competition
You can learn a lot about how you do and don’t want to handle branding and marketing based on what your competitors are doing. As you’re working on building your own brand, be sure to spend some time analyzing your competition. Check out their website and marketing materials to get an idea of their brand message and the strategy they’re using to communicate the message.
Remember, the goal here isn’t to copy other brands. The goal is to gain inspiration from them. You can also use competitor analysis to learn about what your brand can do better or differently. If you see elements of another business’s branding and marketing materials that don’t seem to be working well, you can take note of that and make sure you don’t make the same mistake with your business moving forward.
Start Working on Your Strategy Today
As you can see, a solid branding and marketing strategy is essential if you want your business to succeed long-term. Keep the tips outlined above in mind and you’ll have a much easier time building a brand and promoting your business to your target audience.