Communicating a brand message effectively can be hard work. Unless you have a clear idea as to what you are trying to achieve and why, marketing activity will almost certainly be unproductive. By following a specific and carefully thought out framework, however, you can quickly and easily reach out to your target audience, and get those conversations flowing.
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Firstly, before you can do anything else, you need an audience. The process of building your network can take some time. Start with people you know – they will also have networks of their own, which you will usually be able to tap into. Also think about the people you want to speak to and ask some questions about their behaviour. What platforms are these people using? Go there, interact with them to encourage awareness of your brand.
Think carefully about the message you are sending, and ensure you only include those for whom the communication is relevant. You will quickly begin to lose credibility and interest by sending out emails to just everyone. Narrow the focus of your target audience. Have lists of contacts that fit your different targets, and change your message to appeal to each.
Again, targeted campaigns are the most effective in attracting prospective clients. Try to create a focused network of contacts so that your messages are reaching the people who will be interested and benefit. Paid advertising across these platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also allows you to target specific followers that may not be your own, as well as selecting demographic criteria such as location and industry.
This is where you can gain access to a wider network of people and organisations. Make content interesting and different to attract more views and shares and greater exposure. A good way to create compelling content is to tap into the conversations that your targets are having. What interests them? What’s trending at the moment that your business can provide an opinion on? Also remember the trigger points when it comes to striking a note with people’s attention – content should evoke the emotions, whether that is humour, anger, or compassion. By telling stories that people can identify with, your content is more likely to be shared and discussed.
Make the content relevant and exciting and not just another blog. Share a mixture of your own and other people’s content, but ensure the majority of it is your own. By featuring other writers on your site you will naturally build your network and share word of your brand through their networks. Also ‘name dropping’ in your own content will provide ego bait for those mentioned to share and promote it.
Maximise search engine rankings using keywords. Ensure your content is original and useful to your readership, using relevant keywords naturally – they should never be ‘stuffed’ in the content as this can be considered spammy by Google, potentially leading to a penalty. Keeping content fresh and regular on your site will ensure that your website is indexed in the search engines. These efforts will contribute to your rank on the results page, meaning more people will discover your brand and what you have to offer.
Creating content for other, highly relevant and quality, websites will help to build a natural and beneficial backlink profile – again telling the search engines that you’re a leader in your field.
Engage & Influence
Without engagement, it is impossible to move beyond a certain point, so this stage is critical. If a prospective client shows an interest in your site or social media profiles, it is important to ensure they can easily find out more about you and your services. There are a number of relationship marketing methods which can be used to engage your audience, including hosting discussions, holding events, sharing relevant information and sending out promotional products. Be unique! Don’t forget, when connecting with potential clients or your target audience, that the message you convey must be intriguing to them and spark their interest. And when you have their interest, maintaining it is the crucial part. Give them the information they want and need, and keep that interaction strong so they don’t forget about you or lose interest.
Sharing relevant content will gain you a lot of respect and trust, which in turn can provide a great opportunity for securing new business. So share content which is remarkable, especially if it is your own, and always remember to consistently convey the same message and frequency of message.
Try to capture information about those who visit your website or engage with the organisation in some way. This may be as simple as gaining a ‘like’ on Facebook or encouraging people to fill out a form with basic contact information such as their email address. However, only ask for information which is relevant. Also, try to find engaging ways to gain these details – people will be more inclined to provide their information when given an incentive, such as entry to a competition. Use your data capture to stay in touch with your prospects, keeping them up-to-date on your news and offering.
Also remember to capture data that tells you about the performance of your campaigns. Use Google Analytics and analytics for social media to set goals, allowing you to understand the customer journey and conversion.
Once you have gained the trust and interest of prospective clients, you need to reinforce this and close the deal. Building relationships is an essential step in the business plan and necessary before you can reach the handshake stage. If you have received a favourable enquiry, respond appropriately according to the level of interest shown. In other words, don’t go to the hard sell straight away. Instead, work on building trust first. Make sure people have all the information they require to make a decision, with clear call to actions consistent throughout your marketing and website.
The main element to take from all these points is that building meaningful relationships with your target audience is key to nurturing a brand. Being honest and open about what you have to offer, as well as creating great stories that people will want to share will help to get your brand out there, and maintain this presence.
Post Credit: Digital agencies such as The Peloton emphasise the importance of getting your digital marketing right, to ensure that your website as a resource is at the heart of your marketing activity. There’s little value in having the right messages if they aren’t reaching the right people.