If you own a business, there’s no one else more passionate about seeing it succeed than you.
That’s why you’re the ideal person to do the work of creating a stand out brand.
But it’s not easy, is it?
What can you do to position your brand so it’s unforgettable?
How can you make your business the first one that comes to mind when your ideal customer is looking for a solution like yours?
The route to a stand out brand is not paved with bland marketing efforts, that’s for sure.
Here’s how to craft a stand out brand for your small business.
Follow these five steps, and you’ll be on your way from bland to brand.
1. Target fearlessly
In order to craft memorable words and images that will resonate with the people you want to reach, you have to know who they are.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
The problem with this simple statement is that we don’t want to give up a single potential customer.
So we cast a wide net with our marketing materials. Instead of targeting a specific group of people, we try to target a broad range of ages, genders and geographic areas.
If you sell a consumer product with a massive potential market, that’s a great approach. But I’m willing to bet money that the marketing department of Coca Cola isn’t reading this blog. 😉
This blog is for people with small businesses who are creating products or offering services that will solve the problems of a specific group of people.
Think about who those people are, and focus your marketing on them to the exclusion of other potential customers.
Your copywriting, design and marketing strategies will become tightly focused, and — more importantly — your stand out brand will tell future customers your solution is perfect for them.
3. Listen to popular opinion
Once you know who you’re trying to reach, it’s time to listen to what they want.
Your marketing won’t work if you forge ahead with your vision, blind to what your ideal customer actually desires.
So ask good questions, and listen to the answers. How can you get inside their heads to find out what they want? Try these techniques:
- Take a few customers out to lunch and ask them about their challenges
- Create a survey, and offer a valuable giveaway (see “Sweeten the Deal” below) in exchange for information
- Schedule a virtual meeting with some of your customers. Ask them directly how you can help.
Don’t build the brand you want. Create a stand out brand that will resonate with your prospects and turn them into customers.
3. Tune in to WII-FM
Do you listen to WII-FM? I bet you do — it’s human nature!
WII-FM, is — of course — What’s In It For Me?
When you sit down to write a message or plan a marketing campaign, this question should be playing in the background at all times.
Your marketing will be meaningful and memorable if you’ve addressed the benefits your offer provides. The easiest way to do this is to consistently convert your offer’s features into benefits.
Read the article below for how to do this — it’s easier than you may think!
You’d better be able to answer the “What’s In It For Me?” question, because believe me — your target market is asking it.
4. Sweeten the deal
A stand out brand is built through repeated exposure.
No matter how amazing your brand is, people won’t remember it if they’ve only seen it once. They can’t: they’re processing all the other marketing messages being thrown at them!
The way to open a channel of communication where you can keep the conversation — and the brand exposure — going over time, is to get your prospects onto a mailing list.
Email software allows you to capture leads, continue to offer helpful information, and build a relationship with customers before they do business with you.
That sounds great, but there’s one important caveat: No one really wants more email in their inbox. In order to rent space in potential customers’ inboxes, you’ve got to sweeten the deal with a giveaway they won’t be able to resist.
What can you give away?
- Create a handy checklist or step-by-step guide your subscriber will keep on their desk as a reference.
- Create a free email course you send out every few days. Set it and forget it: once you’ve created those emails and set them up in your email software, your work is done.
- Offer a special report, white paper, or buyer’s guide. Solve a problem, or create a resource your ideal customer will find valuable.
- Offer an audio or video with valuable information. Give people access to a solution they’re looking for. Demonstrate it on video, or describe it with audio.
5. A stand out brand is built over time
The marketing strategy that’s rarely spoken about — and that must be present for all of the above to work — is the element of time. These techniques only work when you apply them consistently over time:
- Continually refine your information about your ideal customer
- Listen closely to what they want
- Make sure all your marketing materials answer the “what’s in it for me?” question
- Keep lines of communication open by inviting prospects to join your mailing list, and make joining irresistible with an offer they can’t refuse
Going from bland to stand out brand doesn’t happen overnight, but it can be done, even by you. Especially by you!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on April 20, 2011 and has been updated with the most-recent guidance.