Archives for August 2014

What to Do When Your Branding No Longer Fits Your Business

Brand Words Sticky Notes Perception Identity LoyaltyAny business that has a long life also goes through many different branding identities.

If they don’t, the business may end up stuck in the past marketing to customers who no longer exist. For instance, a demographic such as women in their 20’s, looks completely different today than it did 20 years ago. Since a company’s brand is about the audience more than anything else, it’s important to consider how things change.

Look at a company like Johnson & Johnson.

They have been around for over 120 years. If they kept the same branding over the years, it would be difficult for them to keep marketing to the audience they want to attract. In fact, without appropriate branding they might even offend their audience.

The same can be said for your business.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, over time your branding may need to be updated or changed completely to reflect the direction your audience has moved. If you’ve paid attention to your audience, you are aware and open to how they’ve changed and in what direction they are leading you.

Let’s take a look at what branding does:

  • Branding Communicates Directly to Your Audience
  • Branding Engages Customers
  • Branding Connects Your Product to Your Customer Emotionally
  • Branding Motivates Buyers
  • Branding Confirms and Increases Your Credibility

If your current branding is not accomplishing those goals, it’s time to make a change.

The change might be as simple as a redesign of the logo to a more modern logo, it might mean a change of fonts, or even how your web design looks. Whatever you do, your re-branding should focus completely on your audience and the people who you want to be your customers. After all, it’s the audience that informs the brand, not the other way around. It’s how they see your business, not how you see it.

The choices you make when branding your small business will make a huge impact on every aspect of your business moving forward. The branding will inform the messaging you use going forward, how you connect with your customers, and even how you tell the story of your products to your audience.

The research you do about your audience in order to improve your branding may also impact the choices you make regarding product creation in the future. In short, branding is everything. But, it’s not static. It can and should change over time as your business and customers evolve. Branding, after all is all about your audience.

Spending time developing and building your brand is like building your relationship with your customers. It takes time; it evolves, and leads the way for all your marketing efforts. If the branding is not right, it’s okay, just work on it, and perfect it over time keeping your mind open to your audience and their needs, wants, and desires.

What To Do When Your Branding No Longer Fits Your Business-082014

Is Your Brand Living Someone Else’s Life?

A brand is essentially the reputation of any company. In the day-to-day operating of a company, it’s confronted by a plethora of challenges. It takes a particular sort of person to grow a company while hurtling these obstacles. Brands that I admire are typically ones that are leaders in their category. There are the obvious ones that catch the global eye. Companies like Apple, Google and Virgin. But locally there are also companies whose brand shines. They are on the front lines and manage to lead in their own ways. Their positioning differentiates them and that difference rewards them.

Is Your Brand Living Someone Else’s Life-081314

Then of curse there are the other companies. They’re the ones living some other brands life. These are the obvious brands that rely on analyze what the leaders are doing and mimic them. They believe that since Nike uses a swoosh, then dah, if they use one too they will become as successful as them. This of course is quite a stretch. But you see it every day.

How many hamburger joints follow the McDonald’s model? I’m surprised they don’t adopt a clown of their own. Notice how all auto dealers look exactly the same. Grocery stores also follow each other.

Where someone dares to break the mold and forge out with a brand that screams leader, the public usually rewards them. The norm is broken and they rise to the top. iTunes changed the way music was sold. Amazon revolutionized book distribution. Whole Foods showed traditional grocery a thing or two. Richard Branson and Virgin break boundaries all the time. He seems to take normalcy as a personal challenge. Steve Jobs as well.

In my own community, I see companies copying other companies all the time. I recognize that a major cause is a complete lack of confidence. The desire to BE an entrepreneur but not the where with all to actually behave like one. They all have this wait and see philosophy. Odd, the thing is they’re not waiting for themselves – they’re waiting for you. You take the risks on an idea, if you have some success they’re quick to swoop in and copy you.

I had a leading window and door manufacturer who did a fabulous job retailing his product. He was flustered by the fact that once his flyers went out, the leading competitor would mimic everything he did. As a credit to his sense of humour, he grew so tired of this that a week before his flyer ran he’d send the owner of that company a heads up as what he would be offering. It gave him the last laugh.

All laughing aside it spoke to the lack of confidence that manufacturer suffered from. It made his brand an also ran. His company name should have been called “Me Too!.” You can look exactly like any company you wish. You can behave like any company but your can never BE that company. The cultures are different and the leadership is different. A brand has to be authentic to be successful. If you’re copying then there’s nothing authentic about your brand and it’s not fooling anyone. It’s the reason Apple outsells anyone else even with a substantially more expensive product. The other-lifer’s – THEY’RE NOT APPLE. THEY’RE NOT AMAZON OR GOOGLE.

You are you. It’s that simple. To be great your brand has to lead not follow. If you follow someone else you are by definition already behind. Following doesn’t put you out front. Living someone else’s life pays homage to the original. Makes sense when you think about it.

How to Design an Effective Opt-in Page

Sometimes called a squeeze page, designing an effective opt-in page is an important part of converting all your traffic from leads to customers. If you don’t have a high converting squeeze page, you’ll miss out on a lot of new customers no matter how much traffic is sent your way.

Opt-in Form-070914

Target the Right Audience

If you’ve done your research then you’ve chosen a specific persona or target audience in which to direct your opt-in page. You cannot build an effective opt-in page if you’re trying to target more than one type of person with your content. Reducing the number of people you appeal to, rather than trying to attract a broader audience, may sound counterintuitive. But the truth is, the more laser targeted your opt-in page, the better. Don’t worry; you can create more than one.

Example: You guest blog for XYZ blog. In your bio box you include a link to a special squeeze page, instead of sending that unique audience to the same generic squeeze page as everyone else.

Craft Excellent Design

Designing a squeeze page requires an understanding of color palettes as well as how people read online. Online, people scan from top to bottom rather than reading from left to right when they first see the page. Keep that in mind and ensure that you have excellent navigation, with fewer choices than a typical website, and that the colors are easy on the eyes. A light background with darker lettering and a color palette of three to four colors is your best choice. It’s nice if your opt-in page matches the product that you’re selling.

Create a Strong Headline

When it comes to squeeze pages, headlines matter. If you use an overly clever headline, some people will be put off by it. If you choose a headline that is direct, to the point, and tells in a nutshell what this page is about, you’ll develop trust quickly from your readers. The headline must address the interests (or problem) of the target audience, be good news to them (you’re going to solve their problem), pique their curiosity (hook them in), and make it all simple, easy, and fast that also saves them something like time and money.

Add in an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Whether it’s a free offer, or a paid offering, make the deal so good that they can’t refuse. If you’ve targeted your audience in an appropriate way, the offer will resonate with them. Moving them from lead to subscriber will help you build your list so that you can provide value to them later, and over time. Make it clear about the value you will provide them, the problems you’ll solve, and the advantages of being a member of your list or buying your products.

Create Obvious CTA Buttons

Your sign up buttons, or buy buttons, need to be very obvious. You can create awesome sign up forms with Aweber, and Buy Now Buttons using Amember.com, Clickbank.com, and other services. Using the available software, the fewer fields you have in your form, the more likely you are to get someone to sign up. Your call to action (CTA) is very important and needs to be clear to your audience. Your buttons can say something aside from “submit,” “buy now,” or “subscribe”. You can make them say more such as “Give me my free video now”, or “Hell yea, I want my free eBook.” Whatever text or message your audience will respond to is what should be on your buttons.

Create Responsive Opt-in Pages

Today, people access the Internet via mobile devices more than they do personal computers. What a shame if your opt-in pages won’t work on mobile devices. By using responsive design and tools that allow for responsive design, you can avoid those issues. After all, you only have one chance, and only a few seconds, to get your audience’s attention and trust. Don’t lose them due to this issue.

Don’t Forget the Download / Thank You Page

The design you create for your download or thank you page should be as thought out as your opt-in page. Every aspect of the process should be very well thought out with your audience in mind.

Create a Pretty URL

Many times a squeeze page will have its own domain name, or you can create it as a new page on your website then use domain masking to save on hosting fees.

This works like this: Create a new page on one of your websites to house the opt-in page, so the URL might look like this:

Yourdomainname.com/offeryoucantrefuse. This isn’t that pretty.

Instead you can spend 10 bucks on a new domain name – one that represents the list or product you’re selling – then using the procedures right where you create your domain name, such as GoDaddy to mask the look of the domain without paying for additional hosting. Just go in and paste the link to your opt-in page by clicking manage domains > nameservers > manage >add forwarding. Then paste in the URL that leads to your opt-in page, then choose “forward with masking.”

Now when someone clicks the link to your opt-in page they will see what looks like a dedicated website, which often is perceived as more professional. You can also use a shortening service like bitly.com or Google URL Shortener.

Finally, practice makes perfect. Test out different opt-in pages, different forms, different buttons, and different headlines to find out what works best for your audience. Keep track of the metrics so that you can analyze what works.

Get The Complete Step-by-Step Process

To Cultivate A Responsive List eBook (FREE)

Subscribe to download this guide for FREE and work through the steps at your own pace.

Launch A Profitable Podcast

Discover how to start your own podcast business, leverage it to grow an existing business, grow your influence, and more.

There's No Better Time To Start Your Store

Have Your Own Store By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Launch Your Own Profitable Store Online.

The Time To Start Your Service Business Is Now

Launch Your Own Service Business By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Starting A Service Business Online.

Today Is The Day To Kickstart An Affiliate Business

Have Your Own Store By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Launch Your Own Profitable Store Online.