How much does your business stand out against your competitors? There’s a lot of noise on social media at the moment. Every business is fighting to stay visible, make sales and stay afloat through this pandemic. So, standing out is no easy task. READ ON to find out how to make YOUR business ‘stand out in the crowd’. If you simply don’t have enough hours in the day or are lacking the expertise, contact Little Biz Marketing for additional support and a free 30-minute consultation. Have you noticed how your social media feeds on Facebook and Instagram are crammed with advertising and repetitive sponsored posts all trying to sell? As a result, it’s very easy for your own business posts to get lost in the noise. Posting all the time can make your audience switch off because it feels very ‘spammy’ and nobody likes to be constantly sold to. So, what can you do to compete with this noise and ‘stand out in the crowd?’ What does your current audience see and hear? Ask yourself - how much do you stand out at the moment alongside your competitors? DID YOU KNOW: 7 SECONDS is the amount of time you have to grab your target audience’s attention, make a first impression and convince them to take action. Having a memorable brand is essential to making the most of those 7 seconds. Your Brand Identity When I talk about your brand I’m not just talking about your logo. I’m talking about your whole brand identity. It’s a bit like your shop window. What your customer sees (and feels) before they’ve even walked through the front door … that first impression. Your brand identity includes your: Business name Logo (including colours and font styles) Personality and values Imagery Messaging and tone of voice Story So, nailing your brand identity is crucial. To guarantee that when you post online, you STAND OUT and are recognised. Brand Kit A brand kit is the resource that contains all the details of your brand identity in one place. It contains the visual elements of your brand, such as your logo(s), font(s), colour palette, and imagery. Do you have a brand kit that you and your team use? It’s helpful that anyone who is the face of your business (whether on a reception desk, responsible for social media, answering the phone etc.) is speaking the same language. Do they: Use the visual elements correctly (logo, colours, fonts, images)? Understand your values and messages? Know your business history and story? Logo Checklist Is your current logo still relevant? Does it demonstrate what you do? Or has your business changed? Does it leave an unforgettable impression? Does it stand out from your competitors? Does your audience recognise it as soon as they see it? Is it consistent across all your social media? Does it look fantastic on your signage and grab your audience’s attention? Is it scalable so that it’s readable even when on a small mobile phone screen? Does it look tired and dated? The importance of consistency DID YOU KNOW: Your potential customers make decisions with their subconscious brains? They are always looking for a shortcut to making choices. But consistency helps their subconscious brain make a decision. You can demonstrate consistency through: Your tag names on social media (eg. @littlebizmarketinguk) Your visual style Your messaging style and tone of voice The time you post online (when your audience are online) Being Consistent Being IN-Consistent You are demonstrating you have attention to detail It comes across as unprofessional You look professional It confuses your audience You build trust with your customer It looks erratic and unpredictable You make the customer's journey smoother Your messaging on social media: What you are posting on social media at the moment is important and needs some planning and thought. No-one likes a spammy pammy (just firing out several ‘buy now’ posts during a random spare 10 mins). Social media has gone a bit crazy this year. Sadly, no-one can wave a magic wand and beat Facebook’s algorithms, achieve consistent record numbers of likes and sales because we simply posted a great picture. Before you start posting on every social media platform – ask yourself: Do you understand WHO and WHERE your Customer ‘hangs out’ The average age of those on Facebook is 30-49. The average age of those on Instagram is 18-29. Do you know WHAT your ideal client needs? WHAT information do they need or want to know? Rather than sell and talk to everyone, try talking directly to your ideal customer. Show your customer that you understand them. What’s their problem? How can you help them? You want them to read your post and immediately self-identify “Yes that’s me!” Sticky Messaging Your audience may not even need your product or services right now, but by having a clear plan and making sure your branding and message STICKS when they see it, will guarantee these potential customers will remember YOU and return as paying customers when they are ready. You now know WHO your audience is, WHERE your audience hangs out and WHAT your audience needs: Have a strategy / plan. What’s your goal? What do you want to achieve from your posts? Try to deliver your message in an engaging and unique way. Have a selection of great images to choose from. Be clear on what you want your reader to do next. What’s your CTA (call to action)? For example, ask a question that needs a response, make your reader react – buy here, follow this link for more information. Recommendation If you are currently unable to open / trade, do your best to stay visible and have an engaging online presence. Put a plan in place for when you reopen, so that you can hit the ground running. Facebook & Instagram: DID YOU KNOW: Customers only retain 20% of what they READ but recall 80% of what they SEE. When creating content to post online, try to: Use strong photography and images so that your audience will remember YOU. Choose images that showcase your brand personality. Include your logo on images. It protects your images and showcases your business. Make it personal by showing people’s faces. They receive higher engagement. How do you score? Everything you do on Facebook and Instagram is being scored. The more features you use, the more they will favour you as a valued user and share your content. The rules and goalposts are constantly moving! Amongst other things you are scored on: The quality of your posts and the value they bring. How you engage with others (commenting and liking their posts too). Your use of stories. Your use of videos. What to post Refer to my previous blog ‘Marketing Tips During Corona-virus Lockdown’ for post ideas on Facebook and Instagram. I would suggest balancing any promotion with a non-sales post. Behind the scenes, introduce the staff, interesting industry fact, offer or competition, share reviews etc. Paid Advertising Consider running some paid advertising. You don’t have to spend a lot. Dip your toe in and experiment. Do your research beforehand by looking at your insights to see which previous posts have worked well. Use strong images to encourage this potential new audience to stop scrolling when your advert appears. Recommendation Use the Instagram stories feature (you can also share these to your Facebook business page). Stories stay visible for 24 hours. Use lots of different stickers available on these stories for more Instagram points (tag your location, include a hashtag, add stickers). Recommendation Schedule your Facebook and Instagram posts to be published at a time when your audience is online (you can work that out from looking at previous post insights). You can now schedule your posts on both Facebook AND Instagram using Facebook’s new ‘Business Suite’. Your website Recommendation Give your website a social media audit: Is your content up to date? Does it explain exactly what it is you do and what you offer? Is your branding consistent? Does it include relevant keywords and phrases throughout to support SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and Google rankings? Does it include testimonials, case studies, award wins and evidence of great results? Look at your analytics (your web host can send you a report). Think of ways that you could enhance your website: Include a Gift Shop webpage (gift vouchers, experiences, branded merchandise). Include a News and Blog webpage. It’s a great way to (1) position yourself as a credible business (2) gain more visibility (3) gain exposure with a new audience and (4) boost your Google ranking. You can write the content yourself or involve employees to contribute. Be sure to concentrate on high quality content. Purely promotional text will drive readers away, while entertaining and educational content will attract them. Other ways to ‘stand out in the crowd' Build Relationships with Local Press It is possible to acquire free features in Magazines and Newspapers when you pay for advertising space. Alternatively, send a press release to relevant journalists. If it’s newsworthy they might contact you for free inclusion. Investigate affordable online paid features with magazines which will have a longer shelf life (a printed magazine may end up in the recycling after a week or so). DID YOU KNOW: Journalists hang out on Twitter. Familiarise yourself with them and the articles that they produce. Start relationship building. If you have a newsworthy feature suggestion, contact them in advance. Invite them to events. Search #JournoRequest to keep up to date with potential stories they are looking for. But make sure you only respond if relevant. Build Relationships with Bloggers There is a valuable network of relevant local digital bloggers for every topic. Engage with them and invite them to visit / send them a sample in return for a feature. Don’t know where they are? Check out who’s been blogging for your competitors. On-Air Opportunities Investigate if there may be local radio opportunities. Advertising may be worth considering (and not as expensive as you may think) or you may have something relevant or newsworthy for one of their shows. Videos Videos rank highly throughout social media. Consider virtual tours, video diaries, interviews with staff members, a look behind the scenes and demonstrations are some suggestions. Face to Face When you are able, consider invites to attend conferences or networking events. Finally: You are unique – there is no ‘one size fit all.’ Any marketing strategy can take 3-6 months to start seeing results. STAY VISIBLE, STAY IN PEOPLE’S MINDS, BE YOU. Jo OgleLittle Biz Marketinge: email@example.com: 0770 949 3042www.littlebizmarketing.co.uk
Are you just starting out with a new business? Does your existing business presence need a recharge? Well it’s your lucky day! In this blog, Little Biz Marketing will cover everything you need to consider to nail your business branding! If you simply don’t have enough hours in the day or are lacking the expertise, contact Little Biz Marketing for additional support and a free 30-minute consultation. 7 SECONDS … That is the amount of time you have to GRAB your target audience’s attention, make a strong FIRST IMPRESSION and convince them to TAKE ACTION. Having a clear, memorable brand is essential to making the most of those 7 seconds. What is ‘Brand Identity’ Branding (noun).The promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design. Think of your brand identity like your shop window. It’s what your customer sees before they’ve even walked through the front door and it’s your opportunity to make an excellent first impression. But it is so much more than just your logo… BUSINESS NAME | LOGO | TONE OF VOICE | VALUES | COLOURS | IMAGERY FONT STYLES | EXPECTATIONS |PERSONALITY | GOODS & SERVICES | MESSAGING | YOUR STORY Branding basics: A strong brand will elevate your business and help build recognition and loyalty with your target audience. If you are starting from scratch and creating a NEW brand for your business, you will firstly need to explore your answers to the following questions: Who are your target audience? • Understand what they need, what they are looking for and where they are. Who are your competitors? • What can you learn from them? What looks good / doesn’t look good? What works well / doesn’t work well?• How are you different?• Whilst some competitors might inspire, don’t be tempted to imitate another brand. What is your style and personality? • Are you likeable?• Are you authentic? • What tone of voice best reflects your brand (eg. friendly, conversational, formal)? What is your vision? • What do you want to achieve?• How do you want to be perceived? What are your values? Customers are attracted to brands that share similar values with them. When you showcase your values through your branding, potential customers will develop an emotional connection to you. • What are your business values - things that you strongly believe in such as honesty, providing value and integrity?• What words would you love your clients to use when describing your business? What is your message? It is important to identify THREE key messages that will in turn help communicate your brand’s values to your audience and help you to stand out in your market. Think about: • Why did you start your business?• Your ideal client and what you want them to take away / understand / remember.• What do you want to be known for?• What makes you stand out? • Why should people buy from you? What value will you provide?• A meaningful tagline or statement that captures your messaging in one sentence. A ‘Brand Kit’: A ‘brand kit’ includes all the detail of your brand identity. It contains the important visual elements of your brand, such as your logo, colour palette, text fonts and imagery. It should also include explanations on where and how to use your brand. To ensure consistency of your brand’s execution and messaging, your employees should also familiarise themselves with the kit to guarantee everyone is speaking the same language. Designing your logo: The foundation of your brand is your logo. Its purpose is to give a unique, visual representation of your company. Little Biz recommendations: • Keep it simple.• Be relevant.• Be innovative - leave an unforgettable impression.• Give high impact - stand out from your competitors – ensure your audience will recognise it as soon as they see it.• Make it scalable so that it looks great whatever the size – ensure it is readable when small (eg. mobile phone).• Make it timeless - so that it does not date quickly. Think about how it will evolve. Choosing your colour palette: Did you know that colours affect how we feel subconsciously? When designing your logo, choose a colour palette to appeal to your ideal audience and reflect your brand’s personality. Narrow down your logo to 2 or 3 colours and identify the hex codes so that you can replicate the colours accurately on different software. RED = Exciting, Energetic, Brave, Passionate BLUE = Responsible, Honest, Loyal, Trustworthy ORANGE = Confident, Enthusiastic, Creative, Friendly PURPLE = Imaginative, Compassionate, Sensitive, Mysterious GREEN = Safe, Reliable, Balanced, Healthy BROWN = Reliable, Honest, Friendly, Committed BLACK = Professional, Dramatic, Controlled, Elegant PINK = Playful, Compassionate, Approving, Loving YELLOW = Happy, Energetic, Creative, Optimistic Choosing text fonts: Little Biz recommendations: • Choose 2 or 3 different text fonts in your font family and stick with them - they can be contrasting.• Try not to use trendy fonts as they will date.• Try not to use handwriting style fonts for lengthy text. Using strong imagery: Little Biz Fact: Did you know potential customers will only retain 20% of what they READ but will recall 80% of what they SEE. Remember this when creating content and make sure you source and use great images so that your audience will remember YOU. If you have the budget to invest in a professional photographer, you can produce a catalogue of stock images that will reflect your brand and messaging. From profile images, action shots and flat-lays – make sure you provide your photographer with a brief before you go on a shoot. Little Biz recommendations: • Choose and use images that showcase your brand personality.• Important: When sourcing and using images, make sure you have the appropriate permissions.• Try to tell a story through your use of images, not just headshots.• Where appropriate, include your logo on images – it prevents others using your images and shows off your business.• Make sure your images are sized correctly for the different social media platforms.• When creating infographics (rather than photography) use your brand colours (ask your designer for the hex codes). What if you already have a logo and brand identity? If the following statements apply to you, the time may have come to think about refreshing your current brand or having a total rebrand: • Does your current logo look tired and dated? • Has your business changed (new products or services)?• Is your brand image no longer relevant (has your target market changed)? • Is your brand identity sending mixed messages (does your brand still align with your vision)?• Are you struggling to grow your business and audience reach?• Is your brand consistent across all platforms?• Do you stand out from your competitors? The Importance of Consistency: Little Biz Fact: Did you know potential customers make decisions with their subconscious brains? They are always looking for shortcuts to making choices. Consistency helps their subconscious brains make decisions. By keeping your brand journey consistent (ie. your logo, your social media, your website content, your printed material etc.) you are making things easier on their brains! If you are NOT consistent with your brand, it can look unprofessional, erratic, confusing and unpredictable. A customer will only buy into a brand that they recognise and trust. Consistency: • Looks professional.• Demonstrates your attention to detail.• Builds and develops trust with your customer.• Makes the customer journey smoother. Business profile tag names and handles: Ideally your social media platforms (eg. Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.) should carry similar tag names and handles. For example, www.littlebizmarketing.co.uk, @littlebizmarketing, @little_biz_marketing. It is important that your profile tag name reflects what you do and makes it easy for your audience to find you. Scheduling: Look at your Facebook and Instagram ‘insights’ to identify the best times to post (ie. when your audience are online). Schedule your posts in advance to demonstrate consistency. Basically - SHOW UP. Your brand strategy: Your brand strategy is HOW, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and to WHOM you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages: How • What is your budget?• How will you execute?• What obstacles might you encounter? What • What is your story / 3 key messages?• What do you need? Where • Think about appropriate places to promote / advertise / distribute / communicate (visually and verbally). When • What are your timescales? Whom • You don’t need to attract everyone, just the right people. Your audience may not even need your product or services right now, but by having a clear strategy and making sure your branding STICKS, it will guarantee these potential customers will remember YOU and return as paying customers when they are ready. Where can you showcase your brand? Physical Digital • Signage (shop front, banners etc.) • Social media • Posters • Website • Printed advertising • Online advertising • Merchandise • Blogs and features • Brochures and flyers • Email newsletters • Menus • Promotional photography / videography • Packaging • Presentations Whether its time or expertise you’re lacking, Little Biz Marketing offers you cost effective, hands-on support, giving you more time to focus on running your business. Get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation. Jo OgleLittle Biz Marketinge: firstname.lastname@example.org: 0770 949 3042www.littlebizmarketing.co.uk
So, you have a shiny new website, you have set up all your accounts on the different social media platforms BUT you don’t have those important FOLLOWERS! Audience reach is critical to growing your business. Take a look at these 10 TOP TIPS to help GROW YOUR AUDIENCE … (1) Understand WHO and WHERE your Customer is Identify WHO is your ideal client and WHERE they hang out. Understand WHAT information your ideal client needs/wants to know. Once you know WHO, WHERE and WHAT, stop talking to ‘everyone’ and start talking directly to your ideal client. Through the actions listed below, begin to attract a NEW audience. (2) Audit your Website Give your website a social media audit. Check content is up to date, branding is consistent, visuals are strong and that it has good SEO. Ask current/previous clients to provide testimonials for inclusion on your website. (3) Build Partnerships Build partnerships with businesses in a similar market. Be generous and proactive in recommending them to your clients. This makes it easy for them to reciprocate. Collaborate by cross promoting each other and increasing your audience reach. List your business on other websites (eg. tourism members, family/group sites, supplier sites). Offer a prize for a competition/raffle. (4) Facebook & Instagram TOP TIP – Master one social media platform at a time. Do your research and training. Implement a strategy as to how you are going to build your audience/following. TOP TIP - Everything you do is being scored. The more features you use on Facebook and Instagram, the more they favour you as a valued user and share your content. TOP TIP - Your content attracts your audience. It is your responsibility to show up in front of the clients and customers you want to attract. Make sure your ‘About Me’ information is up to date and explains exactly what it is you do, what you offer and where they can find you. Work out the best times to post. Discover your unique audience and see when your followers are online by looking at your page insights. Keep your branding consistent on your posts so that your customer recognises you straight away. Write a post to introduce your business. Ask your followers to tag/share to friends and family who they think will be interested. Many paying clients are often from a pool of people that already know and trust you. Always include your location (for SEO). Show your face for higher engagement. Tag/mention others. Chances are they will repost and share. If your followers post a comment, make sure you engage (like and reply). Include a ‘Call to Action’ (eg. ask a question that needs a response, make your reader react/click – buy here, more info, etc). Run some ‘paid ads.’ You don’t have to spend a lot. Dip your toe in and experiment. Do your research beforehand by looking at your insights to see what’s working. Activate the Facebook option allowing your followers to leave a review. Set up a Facebook Group (even the most popular groups started with just one member). If you set up a ‘group’ within your business page, these ‘GROUP’ posts will be shown to 50-60% of members. Providing a much higher engagement. Your Facebook business page is like your shop window – ‘groups’ are a unique angle that will resonate with your audience. For example, sharing top tips and knowledge. Use your 30 hashtags on Instagram (2 or 3 for Facebook). Create a list that you can copy and paste – BUT always change a few with each post (if you use the same ones all the time Instagram will think you are a robot and this will limit your reach). Use the Instagram Stories feature (you can’t currently post a story directly to your Facebook business page but you can share your Instagram stories to your BUSINESS Facebook page). The positive - stories stay visible for 24 hours. USE lots of different stickers available on these stories for more Instagram points. (5) Videos Record a video and post it on your social media platforms. It is one of the best ways to reach your audience directly and it’s free! People (as well as Facebook and Instagram) love video content. In fact, videos will be shown to even more of your followers (not just the usual 3-10%!) (6) Email Marketing Create/include a link on your Website and Facebook pages for customers to subscribe to you for updates. Grow your contact list by creating something useful for potential clients. They will happily subscribe in return for a free downloadable for example that they can benefit from. Alternatively create an irresistible offer/opt in incentive. Send out regular emails to your clients keeping them up to date, providing valuable content and special offers. Stay visible. (7) Write a Blog A Blog is a great way to (i) position yourself as a credible business (ii) build your brand visibility and (iii) gain exposure with a new audience. By directing readers to your blog (on your website) from your social media platforms and email marketing also helps your SEO ranking. Make sure your Blog includes back-links to your website pages. If you don’t like writing, try Vlogging instead! See (5) Videos. (8) Advertise Paid Ads and Boosting (on Facebook and Instagram) helps to put your posts in front of your target audience. It is possible to acquire free features in print (Magazines and Newspapers) when you pay for additional advertising. Alternatively, send a press release to relevant journalists and if it is newsworthy they may contact you for free inclusion. Local radio advertising may be worth considering (and not as expensive as you may think). (9) Network Attend a conference or networking event where your potential clients are hanging out. Don’t forget to take your business cards and any promotional material/collateral. Speak at an event – reach out to organisers highlighting the value you could bring. (10) Have Patience Growing your audience takes time (months!) and effort. Any marketing strategy can take 3-6 months before you start to see any significant results. This is just the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ So, if you simply don’t have enough hours in the day or are lacking the expertise, contact Little Biz Marketing for additional support and a free 30-minute consultation.