Tag - Building a Brand

Business Blog: Often Overlooked Marketing Tool

Five Reasons You Should Start A Business Blog

Business blogs have become a common and cost effective way to market your business online. But there are still many businesses – especially small businesses – that are haven’t made the jump and started a business blog.

There are can be several reasons why small business owners don’t blog:

  • Blogging requires a commitment of time and resources that many small businesses can’t spare.
  • Many small business owners don’t know how to get started from a technical perspective.
  • It can challenging to develop a loyal and engaged following.
  • It can be difficult to consistently come up with interesting topics.

But starting a business blog doesn’t have to be intimidating. And once you’re up and blogging, the benefits will make effort worthwhile.

Here are five big reasons that every small business should start a blog.

1.    Target potential clients.

Even though business blogs typically don’t involve direct promotion of products and services, they are a great way to market your business. The promotion on a blog just comes in a more passive way.

You discuss the industry you work in, the general services that you provide, and the individual challenges that your target audience faces. This keeps your name in front of potential clients that may need and consider buying the products and services that you provide.

2.    Boost traffic to your website.

As a general rule, most business blogs are separate from a business’ website – either created as a different section or as a different site entirely. Creating a secondary location helps you target new visitors and move the traffic to your products and services, online store or contact pages through in-content links and/or links in your navigation.

3.    Establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

Sharing high-quality and relevant information with your readers demonstrates your expertise in a particular subject area or industry.  Eventually, you’ll become known as the go-to guy/gal that provides consistent and useful information that helps readers learn about new resources, solve tough challenges and even advance their own businesses.

4.    Create a unique community.

One of the best parts of a successful business blog is the sharing that can take place in the comments. You can facilitate an active comments area on your blog by posting and responding to comments That will help you create a community with shared interests, and you’ll learn a great deal about your audience in the process.

5.    Gives you valuable person-to-person connections.

A business blog doesn’t have to be all business. Occasionally injecting some of your personality, going off topic occasionally and using humor can help you avoid having a boring business blog. Give your blog a little individuality and it can make you more relatable and approachable by your readers.

These are just a few of the benefits that come with a successful business blog. Granted, creating a successful business blog takes time, dedication and patience. But once you get started, you’ll be on your way to realizing the many marketing benefits of blogging.

media and content marketing

Owned Media: The Power of Owned Media Continues to Grow

Build brand presence with owned media content strategy

media and content marketing

The power of owned media as a marketing tool continues to grow. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Traditionally, there were two types of media.  

  1. Paid — where you paid for the placement of your message. This can be print ads, banner ads, television and radio ads, etc.
  2. Earned — you’re able to get your story placed in a news media outlet and have journalist talk about it.

Now, your company can produce your own content because of owned media. This is, in large part, thanks to the Internet. Owned media allows you to reach the same audience as those other media, but in a way that you completely control and that is more effective. Owned media involves content that you create, control and share. You write it, produce it, record it, publish it and market it to your audience.owned media and content

There are two types of owned media:

  1. Fully-owned media (like your website)
  2. Partially-owned media (like your Facebook or Twitter account)

Owned media is all about providing your own content on platforms that you own and control. Owned media helps you reach your audience when other media may not be doing the job. People are looking for answers to their problems. You can give them those answers. It is a great way to improve visibility and reach your target audience.

Owned media extends your brand’s presence beyond your web site so that it exists in many places across the web – social media sites, message boards and unique communities. The ability to communicate directly with your consumers (who want to engage with your brand) through long-term relationships is invaluable.

Content is what makes owned media work. When you create content that engages your audience, you build trust and, in turn, long-term relationships with your customers and prospects. Content creation can include blogs, white papers, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, video campaigns, and email marketing. In short, any medium that will effectively reach your audience.

With owned media, content that you create and own resides on something that you own and that you can then lend to outlying networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Owned media isn’t just about creating a brand. It’s also about:

* Building your database

* Generating leads

* Converting leads into sales

That is why every piece of owned media content you create should have:

* A call-to-action (i.e. “Like” us, leave a comment, a link to your blog, etc.)

* Registration (such as email address and/or phone number) in exchange for some piece of content

Creating an owned media network with your own original content establishes your company as the hub in the wheel of information. It should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.

Cause Marketing: Increasing Sales and Profits by Doing Good

Cause Marketing and SalesBusinesses love cause marketing. And what’s not to love? By supporting a good cause, your business gets to help an organization in the community and, in the process, experience stronger sales.

 

Cause marketing is defined as a special relationship between a business and a charity that benefits both. When done right, companies make their customers feel good, get the sale, and promote a worthy cause all at the same time.

 

Developing and executing an effective cause marketing program can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are six tips to make sure your cause marketing program is a success.

 

1. Choose the right cause for you and your customers.

Think of partnerships that are closely connected with your business and aligned to what your consumers and employees care about. What is a hot button issue for you? Does the cause strike a chord with your customers? If young people and their education is a passion for you and your clients feel strongly about it too, giving a corporate gift to support a non-profit’s youth mentoring program shows a commitment to that mission.

2. Do your homework.

The non-profit you support is a reflection of your brand’s reputation. Take a look at several non-profits and causes. Make sure the non-profit you choose has the infrastructure to partner with your business and can handle any increase in donations, inquiries, volunteers and Web traffic without crashing or losing track of funds.

Research their overhead percentages — how much of the money raised actually goes to the people they serve — and the credibility of executive and board members.

It’s also important to make sure their track record is above-board. Nothing can damage your brand more than launching a campaign that turns out to be a scam.

3. Start small and set reasonable, measurable goals.

Keep it simple. If you are a small business, stay away from the huge non-profits. Instead, find a local organization you can get excited about. Choose one or two measurable objectives in the first year. At year’s end, evaluate your progress.

4. Promote your partnership and campaign.

One of the most common mistakes is not spending enough time, money, and energy on promotion. Successful partnerships require a commitment to getting the word out. Cross-promote your campaign with reciprocal website links, blog posts and articles in each other’s newsletters. Your website and blog are great places to promote the partnership. But don’t indiscriminately ask for donations. Cause marketing campaigns are like every other kind of marketing: provide value and you’ll build credibility.

5. Involve your employees.

Your entire team needs to be on board with any cause marketing campaign. Find out the issues that are important to them. Then get them engaged and motivated once you’ve picked a cause. Consider giving employees paid “volunteer” time. For example, allow them an hour each week to volunteer at local charities or with your company’s non-profit partner. Remember, once you’ve made a partnership, the cause is part of your business strategy.

6. If it goes wrong.

Sometimes partnerships don’t work out. If a partnership falls apart, take responsibility and be honest and transparent with customers about what went wrong. If you find out your non-profit partner isn’t performing like they promised, tell your clients. Then vow to find a way to keep supporting the cause. Honesty and transparency is the best and only policy to follow.

 

Cause marketing can be susceptible to an ingrained preconceived notion that brands will use non-profits to get more cash and profits. But when done properly, your partnership can make a real difference.

Branding and Brand Integrity

Build Your Brand, It’s the One Thing You Truly Own

Take Control of Your Brand Identity and Brand Integrity

Branding and Brand Integrity

One of the facts of business life is that there is almost nothing about your business that a competitor can’t and won’t duplicate.  If you’ve created the proverbial “better mousetrap”, you can be certain that somebody will copy your model.  It’s just a matter time.  And eventually they may be able to do a better job or sell the product or service at a lower price.  So the question becomes, “What can I offer that can’t be copied by anyone else?”  The answer: your brand.

Creating a strong brand is one of the strongest competitive advantages your business can gain. When you do successfully build your brand, customers will think of you first when they need a certain product or service.  For example, when your child wants a hamburger, as often as not, she won’t ask for a hamburger but will ask if you’ll take her to McDonald’s. The reason: McDonald’s has built such a solid brand identity and maintained brand integrity.

A brand is the one thing about your business that nobody can completely duplicate. Everything else – including trade secrets, patents, physical plant and technology – will eventually expire, wear out or become obsolete.  But your brand can go on – even outliving your business.  Your brand creates lasting value above and beyond all other aspects of your business.

The importance and value of your brand becomes even more apparent if you want to sell the business or acquire investor capital.  It is often the brand that is your most valuable asset.  Your brand can be quantified.  For instance, potential investors often value your company by looking at the assets tied to your brand first. They then identify the value of your physical assets – office, patents, machinery and staff.  And often the physical assets are valued at a fraction of what you can sell your brand for.

So whether you hope to grow your company for yourself or eventually sell it, your brand is one of the most valuable assets your business can have.