Hitting the Bullseye When Creating Your Brand Identity

Branding, in general, is only effective if it falls on receptive ears. That is, if you communicate a value proposition to your target audience and the message(s) falls flat, then you didn’t do an effective job of branding, to say the least. Effective branding is all about not only understanding who your target audience is but also knowing how to get through to them.

For example, let’s say you offer on-demand legal services. Your target buyer could be small businesses who do not have the budget to hire full-time counsel. So, how can you get through to these people? Well, you have to do a few things first to best understand their hot buttons, such as:

  1. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine walking through a typical day – what challenges do they face? What might irk them the most?
  2. Develop a buyer persona to bring these users to life.
  3. Make an educated guess as to what they read (industry publications, websites, blogs) they might read and visit those sites to see what topics are trending.

Once you have answered these questions, it is time to aggregate your list of challenges/hot buttons and industry topics and develop messages/value propositions to address them with solutions and value.

Crafting Targeted Key Messages

Here is an example (again, using the on-demand legal services firm):

  • Identified hot buttons: no free time, small budget, limited cash flow.
  • Identified challenges: compliance infractions, customer disputes.
  • Key message: XYZ offers small businesses enterprise-caliber legal services without incurring upfront capital expenses or having to retain full-time counsel.
  • Value proposition: Small businesses have immediate access to the legal support needed to comply with relevant regulations, settle otherwise costly disputes and more.

Every key message and associated value proposition should at the very least specify the target buyer and the value they receive, as shown above.

Dedicated, Buyer-Specific Web Pages

Another way to resonate with target buyers is to bifurcate your audience on your homepage by directing visitors to pages dedicated to their specific needs. For the legal firm, buyer pages might include “Small Business Owner”, “Venture Capitalist” and “Small Division of Big Enterprise”. On each of these pages, focus on the following:

  1. Intro – appeal to their needs, challenges and hot buttons to show you understand what they’re going through.
  2. Solution – present your solution (products/services) as the answer to their problems; use differentiation to make your wares stand out from your competitions’.
  3. Value – introduce the specific value your solutions afford this target buyer and try to fit the value into their particular business environment.
  4. ROI – if possible, cite a customer example and the associated ROI they received.

Branding isn’t easy…at all. This is why there are scores of branding professionals at the ready to help you perform the functions outlined in this article. As a small business yourself, it is absolutely imperative that you do more with less. I know this, as a small business owner myself. I’m always having to turn water into wine or a quarter into a dollar. It’s what we do.

Being as targeted as possible with your branding is yet another way of doing the same thing. You don’t have the resources to boil the ocean, so pick a small cove and just heat that up. The more targeted you can get with your target buyers, their needs and the value you afford them, the more you can do with less.

As an aside, you can extend your targeted branding practices to your sales scripts, your collateral materials, your blog posts, your event booths and so on.

From SEO to SXO: How to Enhance Your Website User Experience

The power of Search Engine Optimization cannot be disputed easily. It can help any business build credibility and take its brand to the market, attract the type of traffic that can lead to more sales, and give you an insight to the character of your customers. However, in order for a business to benefit fully from SEO, it needs to ensure that it has a website that promotes Search Experience Optimization (SXO). But wait, what is SXO?

Search Experience Optimization refers to a new trend where marketers are starting to realize the importance of a more holistic approach which recognizes that users need to be placed at the heart of the SEO process. SXO is a way of ensuring that the visitor to a website has a great experience resulting from a site that is user-friendly. There are a number of things that website designers can do to achieve this.

Provide Helpful Content

In order to move from just focussing of keywords, ensure that the content you provide is useful to the person who visits your website. You can achieve this by consciously writing for people and not machines. Write it not only to be understandable buy also in such a way that it addresses the unique needs of your target market.

Design the Site to Enhance User Experience

While it is important to ensure that your content, whether it is for social media marketing, blog series or drip email campaigns, is great, you will also need to ensure that the site on which the content is located does not disappoint visitors. The site needs to load fast, while also displaying properly across different  devices.

You will also need to ensure that the navigation is clear. What this means is that visitors are able to distinguish between different clickable buttons so that they are not subjected to the frustration of clicking the wrong ones.

The design of the site should also be simple. This doesn’t mean that you should not invest sufficient effort and costs. In actual fact, it takes more effort to ensure that the website contains no clutter that could easily leave visitors confused.

The website should employ good use of white space. This ensures that visitors do not feel that the information on the site is overwhelming them. When white space is used effectively, the website comes across as not being cluttered. It also ensures that the central message you are attempting to get to the visitors can clearly be located.

Follow Users to Mobile Devices  

According to Mike Templeman in this Forbes article, search experience optimized websites understand that most people are now using mobile devices to browse the web. This is a statistic supported by the Telegraph which indicates that by as late as 2015, the number of people browsing the web using mobile devices had already exceeded the number of people doing so using desktops. Hence, businesses should be investing more resources in ensuring that their sites are optimized for this increasing mobile traffic.  

The idea is no longer to worry about machines when creating content, but about the human beings  who will interact with it.

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