Brand Promotion
What Is Brand Promotion?
Just as important as marketing the products you sell or the services you provide is building your brand identity. Brand identity tells potential customers who your company is, what it does and how trustworthy and reliable you are. Building a strong brand identity doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, you’ll have to invest time and money into brand promotion, which is a long-term marketing strategy that keeps your company top of mind for those seeking the products or services you offer.

What Is Brand Promotion?

Every company must market itself, but what truly sets a product apart from its competitors is branding. Unlike marketing, which encourages someone to buy a product or use a service, branding seeks to build loyalty and a long-term customer base. When done correctly, your brand can become the go-to for a particular product or service.

Consider the Kleenex brand. When people need a tissue, they are more likely to say they need a Kleenex than a tissue. But Kleenex is just one of many brands that manufacture tissues, so how did Kleenex become the go-to word for an entire product line? Through brand promotion. People remember the brand name through its commercials, promotions and other marketing strategies that made Kleenex a household name. While most companies will not achieve that level of brand recognition, brand promotion is still vital to your business.

Brand promotion is done through marketing a logo, a mission statement, website and social media and even customer service. Building a strong brand requires you to be consistent in your message, in interactions with customers and in the products or services you provide. You want customers to feel as though they can rely on your company to provide exactly what they need.

Why Businesses Need Brand Promotion

Whether you are a small or a large business, just starting out or already established, you’ll need to promote your brand to grow and retain a customer base. Branding helps to distinguish you from competitors, highlights what makes your business the best option and lets people know what to expect from your company. Brand promotion also aligns you with your target audience and keeps them engaged with your company. Reasons why businesses need brand promotion:

  • Branding communicates what type of company you are. It lets people know if you are a relaxed, fun adventurous company or one that is a bit more serious and formal. All of the visual elements of your branding – your logo, social media messages, promotional materials and the way you talk to customers – tells people what they can expect.
    Branding creates familiarity. People are more likely to use products or services from a company they are familiar with. If they are used to seeing your brand on similar products or even on a new one, they may be more likely to try it.
    Branding presents a consistent message. You don’t just roll out brand promotions. Spend time analyzing your target audience and its preferences to see what works in your industry and among competitors. Once you have a strategy worked out, create a plan that is executed throughout the company so all products and services are consistent in their message. This also helps customers know what to expect when they purchase a product or service from your company.
    Branding generates referrals. Word-of-mouth is the best type of marketing. When people like and remember a particular brand, they are likely to refer it to their friends and family, are more likely to tag the brand in social media and mention it in blogs. This reaches customers you never even expected.
    Branding creates a connection. Some of the best branding evokes an emotion, creating a connection to customers. Whether your company wants people to feel comforted, excited, happy or serene, there is a way to use branding to emotionally connect with people and gain loyal customers.

When you have a clear branding strategy and promotion plan, it can also attract and retain the type of employees who mesh with your brand.

Brand Promotion Strategies

Brand promotion can be difficult, especially for small businesses that aren’t overly familiar to many people. It is challenging, but necessary, for a company to define its own brand identity before any brand promotion can happen. Brands in many sectors also face heavy competition in the marketplace, with many brands vying for consumers’ attention. You need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

The right brand promotion strategies can establish you as a leader in your industry. The trick is finding the right mix for your specific business and targeting your ideal customer. Brand promotion strategies include:

  • Print advertising, such as in magazines and newspapers.
    * Social media marketing on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.
    * Videos, both informational and viral.
    * Online advertising through Google ads, banner ads and backlinks.
    * Promotional products, including pens, mugs, T-shirts, reusable bags and other giveaways.
    * Customer-focused strategies like discounts and loyalty incentives.

Whatever brand promotion strategies you choose, present a consistent message throughout. Use the same logo, fonts and colors on all branding materials. Use visuals that convey the same tone and evoke the same emotion. Make sure that a customer seeing an ad in a magazine or on social media can make the connection to that same product in a store.

How much money you spend on brand promotion depends on where you focus your efforts. Print advertising and videos are likely to cost more than some other forms of brand promotion, so determine how much you want to spend on focusing branding efforts.

Brand Promotion Examples

There are endless ways to do brand promotion. You’ll need to determine what works best for your business, your company’s personality and your customers. If yours is a company that runs white-water rafting adventures, you’ll want to use more exciting images, language and colors than if you were a company selling office supplies. And your customer service department may be more casual and informal, which would be in line with your brand. Examples of brand promotions include:

Social media. Social media is a good way to showcase your brand and personality through visuals. If you have a furniture business, for example, you can create a video walkthrough of a home decorated with your furniture. You can also create online furnishing guides for a specific room or a style of home that send people back to your website for more information about featured products. The furniture showcases your style, any music you use can set the tone, and the narrator shows off your company’s personality.

Partnerships. One way to build brand identity and start generating interest in your company is to partner with other local companies and events. For example, if you run a soccer program for kids, partner with a community health fair to sponsor the event and run a soccer skill station. That way your company name and logo are publicized, and people can actually see what their kids will be doing in your program. It also creates a strong association between your business and healthy living, community and children, which are all likely on brand.

Promotional products. Promotional products can be great ways to get your logo associated with an item that represents your business and your brand. For example, put your logo and website on a nail file if you are a beauty salon. Or give out small candles in the same color as your branding if you are a yoga practitioner. One of the best parts of giving away promotional products is that they are likely to stay in someone’s home for long periods of time, meaning the person is constantly reminded of your brand or your product.

Contests. People like the chance to win free things. Whether it’s a membership, item or other free goodies, contests can help get your name out there and sign people up for future marketing opportunities. If you run a pet food store, you can run a social media promotion that requires people to post pictures of their pets with their favorite toys. The picture with the most likes can win a free toy in-store, with the stipulation that the winner has to post a picture of the animal with the new toy and a link to the store’s social media page. This helps associate your pet store brand with fun and animals, and can help grow your social media base while getting your name out there.

The type of brand promotion you opt to do depends on your resources, both financially and in manpower. If you have a social media person in-house, it may be easier to run brand promotions via social media than other outlets. If you only have someone on staff who is interested in putting together promotional products, that may be your best avenue. If it makes sense, you may have to hire an outside company to manage any or all of your brand promotion.

Whom to Hire for Brand Promotion

Depending on the size of your business and your internal resources, you may decide to outsource brand promotion rather than do it in-house. You may opt for a combination of both. If you have a strong marketing team with experience in brand promotions, consider doing everything in-house, but make sure your they are comfortable with strategic planning and execution, as well as marketing in your specific industry. If there are certain elements of brand promotion they are not familiar with, such as online advertising, that may be something you can specifically outsource.

Working with an outside marketing firm for brand promotion can make a lot of sense, especially if you run a small company. Outside marketing firms usually handle all elements of brand promotion from strategy to execution. They generally have experts in all aspects of brand promotion, including online advertising, print advertising and video. They may even have special expertise in your specific industry.

Outsourcing brand promotion can be more expensive, however, especially in the short-term when there are a lot of up-front costs related to planning and strategizing. But working with an outside marketing firm means having access to a whole team of experts you don’t have to hire or manage. And, if the firm is good at its job, you should see a nice return on investment that will more than make up for the cost of outsourcing.

If you decide to hire an outside marketing firm, make sure to hire a reputable one. Check references and see if they’ve worked with a company like yours before. Know both what services the company provides and what you want to accomplish by using them. You don’t have to know exactly the types of promotions you’ll use, but have some idea of what you want the end result to be. And, even though you aren’t hiring people to work on your staff, you still want to make sure you like them and can have a good working relationship. If they are representing your brand, the marketers you hire should be aligned with it.

Sms Marketing
Reasons why you should consider text message marketing as part of your customer communications

Sms Marketing

As more brands look to target customers on the move, SMS is becoming an increasingly essential part of effective multi-channel marketing. However, with few digital marketing agencies featuring SMS as a core offering, their clients are potentially missing out on communications with customers and increased ROI.

Organisations mistakenly believe that mobile marketing requires heavy investment in apps and does not allow for personalised, targeted communication and lacks strong analysis to support ROI. The reality is that access to mobile communications is far easier than perceived and gaining access to mobile consumers (smartphone and non-smartphone) can be as simple as sending a personalised, targeted text message. The means to instigate two-way SMS messaging between a company and their mobile users is essential to building a brand in households around the world provided consumer privacy is protected through legal requirements for opt-in.

In this post we will summarise the key findings from our latest whitepaper which we explain in our webinar on The benefits of using SMS in your marketing mix and discuss why SMS should be used in a communications mix as well as looking at how it can be used as part of a multi-channel strategy for engaging with customers across the customer lifecycle.

1. It’s a direct, immediate channel

SMS is one of the most immediate channels available; with a read rate of 97% within 15 minutes delivery, you can be reassured that your time critical messages will be read almost instantly. A significant 45% of SMS campaigns generate a successful ROI, reaching over 50% when combined with other popular channels such as email and social media.

2. You can use shortcodes to simplify response and build your database

Have your customers make the first move by adding a shortcode or keyword to print collateral, advertisements and advertising boards as well as social media. This strategy means that customers soon become familiar with a brand’s code and keyword and are therefore more likely to interact and respond.

3. It can support and integrate with other channels

It is important that all channels work well together within the marketing mix and SMS is no exception. SMS is a great standalone channel, however it also has the ability to enhance and support other marketing mediums, such as social media and email.

As well as being great on its own, SMS can also function to enhance and support other popular mediums among consumers, such as social media and email.

For example they can serve to remind customers to read an email sent by a brand hours or even days before. A simple follow up SMS asking “have you read our email?” can help increase email open rates by 20%–30%.

4. You can learn more about your customers

SMS is a great channel to get feedback from your customers via surveys. Research shows that on average 31% of consumers will respond to a survey via SMS with the average response time for users being just over 5 minutes. Meaning you can get great results in a short period of time.

5. You can increase customer engagement

Think of SMS as a way to enhance how your brand engages with your customers across the entire customer lifecycle. Businesses should remember to vary the type of content they send out – while customers may value updates and news on forthcoming developments within the brand, this information is best delivered via email where longer, more creative messaging is more appropriate.

Although marketers may feel that texting is invasive, many consumers are now familiar with text from when using local services like dentists, garages or hairdressers or public services like the NHS. This is a great example of how the NHS is engaging its audience in an admittedly high-engagement occasion!

SMS-example

Additionally, brands can use texting for more immediate, expected sales-related offers such as vouchers, discounts, promotions or even birthday messages.

6. Response data enables you to monitor, track and improve

Tracking meaningful ROI, identifying customers engaging via text message and monitoring delivery rates are all possible through SMS revealing the realities to the misconception of SMS being an untrackable channel and bringing it more in line with what has been possible with email for years.

By using these analytics, businesses can create further targeted campaigns and continually build a better understanding of their mobile database. Not only does it mean they save money and improve ROI but by profiling and segmenting out numbers that are least likely to respond, SMS allows a company to target those customers via email or another channel.

Email Marketing
Email Marketing

“More than 34% of the people worldwide use email. That’s about 2.5 billion people. It’s predicted to increase to 2.8 billion email users in the next 2 years. Yup, email’s popular. The Radicati Group, who came up with that info, also reckon that the world sends about 196 billion emails daily. Out of this 196 billion emails the majority, 109 billion, is business email.

Let’s put it simply. Email marketing is a vibrant and powerful way to connect with people. Bringing it home, think about your own experiences. Do you even know anyone who doesn’t have an email address? You probably receive a number of HTML emails each week (I sure do). You read them, get inspired by them and even look forward to the next one. Email is a big part of our lives. A very big part.

Email marketing is also a very personal way of reaching your target customers. Messages from your friends and family are sitting next to email updates from your company. That’s why email marketing works at it’s best when it is personalised. Email can be tailored to customer actions so that every communication is relevant to their interest. You can cover topics like changes in your company, victories, request feedback to your customer – this list is virtually endless. With 2.5 billion users, email isn’t going anywhere.

Still thinking Email Marketing is not something for your company? Let us give you 6 reasons why Email Marketing is a channel you should not be ignoring.

1. More effective than social media (for customer acquisition)

Don’t get us wrong, social media is an extremely important component in any business’ marketing strategy. Social Media is a great channel for interacting with your audience and strengthening your personal relationships with them. And because of that, it is an important first step towards reaching your ultimate goal – the conversion.

But when it comes to converting people into members, customers or supporters, email marketing is the way to go.

A study by Custora from 2013 found that customer acquisition via email marketing has quadrupled in the four years preceding 2013. Email marketing then already accounted for nearly 7% of all customer acquisitions that occurred online.

Digital Tactics that Drive Customer Acquisition vs. Retention According to US SMB Retail Professionals, March 2016 (% of respondents)

And that growth only kept on growing. In a study done by emarketer in March 2016:

81% and 80% of respondents, respectively, said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. Email’s usefulness was followed by that of other digital tactics like organic search at 62% for acquisition and social media at 44% for retention—both rated effective by far fewer respondents than chose email.

2. Economic and Cost Effective

It’s easy, effective, and inexpensive. Email marketing allows business owners to reach a large number of consumers at a rate of nearly nothing per message.

For small-business owners on a budget, this makes it a better choice than traditional marketing channels like TV, radio, or direct mail. You don’t have to take our word for it. A joint study from Shop.org and Forrester Researchfound that 85% of US retailers consider email marketing one of the most effective customer acquisition tactics.

Even with the explosion of all sorts of new technology and social networks, marketers keep coming back to email.

Average ROI per $1 in Ad spending

The reason is clear–for ten years in a row, email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers. According to research by VentureBeat as well as the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $40 in ROI

Compared to traditional marketing efforts where printing, postage etc. can take up a lot of cost for your direct mail campaigns. With emails, you are still able to create the same imagery with the added benefit of having follow-up information instantly available with one click to your website.

Perhaps just as importantly, with the correct maintenance of an email list, the cost benefits increase as does the ROI through the closer relationship established with the recipients. Together with the higher response rates that email marketing attracts, you, therefore, get more positive responses, more quickly and at a lower unit cost! Win-win situation!

#3 Personal and Customisable

In email marketing, what you’re really doing is segmenting your audience into lists, and sending each list a tailored email message that resonates with your reader and can provide them with something of value (segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue according to DMA, and marketers that use segmented campaigns, have noted a 760% increase in revenue, according to Campaign Monitor).

When you write a post for one of your social media channels, you address your audience as a whole (“To all of our fans, we would like to say..”). But by using your email marketing software correctly, it allows you to address people individually by name, split certain topics only for certain members of your list and eventually arrive privately in their personal inbox.

According to research from Campaign Monitor, emails with subject lines that include the recipient’s name are 26% more likely to be opened.

eConsultancy even goes as far as stating that 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.

Email does not have to be SPAM – and it should never be! It can be used thoughtfully to build loyalty and trust in your brand.

Email marketing is important for building relationships with prospects, leads, current customers, and even past customers because it gives you a chance to speak directly to them, in their inbox, at a time that is convenient for them. Be friendly and personable. You are not invading their space if you have chosen your message and your recipient wisely.

#4 Action Oriented

Whether you realise it or not, everybody is trained to do something with an email -reply, forward, click-through, sign-up, or even straight buying.

Think about this!

Email is transactional by nature and you can use it to direct traffic to your website and ultimately drive sales.

As you develop your small business or startup marketing strategy as a whole, using email will allow you to see results straight away.

This means not just sending out newsletters, but also using email automation based on triggers of your customers.

Transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email and can generate 6x more revenue according to Experian.

#5 Measurable

There’s no guesswork in email marketing. When you use any email marketing software, you can track who opened your email, which links were clicked, and how many people unsubscribed.

You can easily get a picture of how your email campaigns are performing, make adjustments and improve your effectiveness. Email marketing metrics are important to remember as you monitor and measure your internet marketing strategy as a whole.

If you want to know how successful your email campaigns are compared to other people in your industry, have a look at the below chart by Constant Contact:

Constant Contact Average Email open and clickthrough rates by industry

Almost all major Email Service Providers (ESP’s) are providing these kinds of statistics. Others include GetResponse, and the one we are using; MailChimp.

A lot of email marketing software allows for split testing of your emails. As A/B testing comes from direct mail, it should go without saying that A/B testing in your email marketing campaigns is essential. A/B testing can reveal a great wealth of data about your subscribers. Do they generally respond better to tempting subject lines such as “Free”, “20 percent off”, or “Now on Sale”? Or, are they more open to a softer intro, maybe informing them of what to expect in your email. All these things can be tested, measured, learned from and improved upon.

#6 Mobile devices allow people to check their email constantly

Because mobile devices have become so common, people are checking their emails all the time—in line at Starbucks, during their office commute, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, at the grocery store, everywhere.

Some people think that with the growing popularity of social media platforms, email should be forgotten and may be pushed to the side.

daily-activities-on-smartphones-and-tables (1)

A study in 2014 from Exacttarget reports that 91% of people use smartphones to access their email. This compared to 75% of the people who use their smartphones for social networking. Not using email as part of your internet marketing strategy means you are missing out on a channel that a majority of the world uses!

If we can do it, you can! Start with a few simple steps and find out why email marketing is important in your small business internet marketing strategy.

Get out your list of people who want to hear from you (keep in mind that you don’t want to be a spammer!), use an email service that works, write a crafty email message that is friendly and helpful, and hit SEND!

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