How do you know whether or not you created the right action plans that will help you achieve your business goals most effectively? That’s this week’s question submitted by Stacy from Atlanta, GA.
Reality is, if you’re pursuing a new goal that you’ve never achieved before, you just won’t know what you don’t know. You could certainly move forward on pure intuition while trying to piece together bits of tips from various free content you’ve found. However, I don’t recommend doing that.
Trial and error always ends up being way more time consuming. And for most people, it usually leads to making costly mistakes. It’s an age old truth.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12
The risk of prolonged lack of progress and costly mistakes, for many people leads them to give up which means the death of their dreams.
I don’t want to see “death of a dream” happen to you. So, let’s dive right into this week’s episode to help you:
Create Right Action Plans to Achieve Your Business Goals
What is your brand? … Do you know how you’d answer that question? Having a strong brand is an important part of your marketing plan, but as small business owners you can’t approach branding the same way as the “big” businesses can.
But, that doesn’t mean small businesses should skip branding.
Eight top branding experts share their small business branding tips to help you stand out from your competition.
Dan Antonelli gives emphasis on positive brand impression in his article Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos
First, make sure that your logo is clear and easy to interpret, because you don’t have the years of brand recognition behind you that ensure that people will associate your name with your product or service.
Second, unlike large companies, you don’t have the large advertising budget required to brand icons too generic to help consumers understand the nature of your business.
In short, then, your logo needs to convey what you do and who you are, and leave a positive brand impression. That’s why small business logo design is a different animal from corporate logo design. Corporations can throw enough money into marketing to ensure that people associate any symbol or graphic with their name.
Small businesses don’t have that luxury: Each impression is so important. You need to very quickly connect with your audience members and give them something to latch on to — at the same time that you give them something disruptive in your competitive space.
Business Branding Tips – #2. Assess how you’re positioning your primary product or service within the marketplace.
Daniel DeMeo shares from his article Four Tips for Enhancing Your Small Business Brand
This applies whether you’ve been in business a year or for over two decades. While conducting an exhaustive customer perception study of your firm may not be something you want to invest in at this time, there are less formal ways you can evaluate how the market perceives your brand and your offerings.
Develop a formal panel of your most loyal customers to understand why they choose your brand and what it is they believe your products and services represent in the marketplace. Is it your quality service? Commitment to the local community? Your low prices? Getting to the heart of why customers stick with your firm will help you understand better what you are doing correctly and what messages you may want to adapt, based on how your business has evolved over time.
Ross Kimbarovsky’s article on 10 Tips To Help You Build A Successful Small Business Brand says
What you say is important, but don’t overlook how you say it. Your company’s “voice” is the language and personality you and your employees will use to deliver your branding message and reach your customers. Successful brands speak with a unique voice. Think about the brands you admire – what makes them unique? How do they communicate with you and other customers? What do you like about their voice?
Business Branding Tips – #4. Don’t try to mimic the look of chains or big brands.
According to Ten Ways to Build a Brand for Your Small Business by Dan Einzig
Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how feel about themselves.
Business Branding Tips – #5. Make Your Employees Brand Ambassadors
Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how feel about themselves, says Lou Imbriano in his article According to Branding 101: Tips for Building a Killer Identity.
Business Branding Tips – #6. Be an Advocate for Your Business – Not Just a Salesman
Caron Beesley, author of 10 Tips to Help You Build and Grow a Stand-Out Small Business Brand says
You don’t have to be the greatest salesman to succeed in business. Selling takes many forms – and being a brand advocate gels them all together. For example, many small business owners strive to be the number one salesman, the number one cheerleader, and the number one fan of their own business (you’ve got to be excited about it if you want others to be excited too). If you are passionate about your business, be an advocate for it. Use many of the tips in this blog to make sure people understand what you do, the story behind your products, what your products have done for people, your methods and mission, and all that good stuff. Invite people in!
Dean McNamara of All Star Design and author of Top 5 Branding Tips for a Small Business, says the use of professional images matters a lot in creating your personal brand.
Use professional images – you will be amazed at how much better professionally produced images make your marketing and brand look. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending money on a photo shoot (although that helps if you have the budget!) but there are plenty of great free photos online which take a little bit of searching and you also have istock; don’t be afraid to use what’s available just make sure it fits your brand (and check its copyright terms).
Edwin Dearborn, author of 9 Small Business Branding Tips, advises to use Co-Branding.
Many people will come to know your brand if you are associated with a trusted brand that they are already fond of and doing business with. Your small business brand can accomplish your marketing and sales objectives much more effectively when you tap into the complementary strengths of another brand and their loyal customer base. Mortgage brokers co-branding with real estate agents is a natural fit. Wedding planners co-branding with a florist is another. Co-branding opportunities are only limited by your imagination and hustle. Co-branding is also known as:
Combined brand marketing
The bottomline is, branding is part of a marketing plan. You can either allow your business to stand out or be easily forgotten. Like any other plan, if it is well implemented, it will result in something positive, if not, it will not work effectively.
QUESTION: As a small business owner, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to building a strong brand for your business? Share your comments and questions below.
One of the biggest frustrations I hear all the time from small business owners is how can I generate more leads and sales from my website.
Having a website today is definitely a MUST HAVE. But, if your website isn’t generating steady leads and sales it can easily become a cost center rather than a profit center.
With so many new things going on with digital marketing as the business owner it can be hard to keep up with what’s working the best. So, this week I thought I’d share what is working now from some of the top bloggers today.
You don’t have to be a blogger to benefit from these strategies. These same tips will help your business generate more leads and sales from your website.
In Sherice Jacob’s article on The Ten Commandments of an Awesome Lead-Generating Website
Sherice shares … when it comes to lead generation, begin with the end in mind. What exactly does a “lead” mean to you? Defining this will make your testing and analytics goals even clearer, and help you determine exactly what actions you want the user to take as they progress through each stage of your sales funnel. Is a lead considered someone who fills out a form? Someone who signs up for a newsletter? Requests a callback? Clearly define your starting point and you’ll have a much easier time adjusting your conversion goals accordingly.
#2. Have a dedicated landing page for every marketing campaign.
Richard Santos shares this tip on How to Generate More Leads from Your Website
Landing pages are a must for lead-generation websites as they provide prospects the opportunity to convert into customers. Most times, they are website pages allowing you to get visitor information through a web form.
Just sending your email or advertising traffic to your homepage is a lot less effective, because you fail to convert traffic into leads. No matter how great your homepage is, it will be just a dead end if you don’t enable your visitors to take action.
Not sure if you should go through the trouble of designing a landing page for your website? Check the most important facts about landing pages and decide for yourself.
5 Simple Ways to Hubspot writer, Katherine Boyarsky shares her tip to Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation.
Dynamic content lets you cater the experience of visiting your website to each, unique web visitor. People who land on your site will see images, buttons, and product options that are specifically tailored to their interests, the pages they’ve viewed, or items they’ve purchased before. Better yet, personalized calls-to-action convert 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action. In other words, dynamic content and on-page personalization helps you generate more leads.
In 10 Hacks to Help Your Website Generate More Leads, Sales and Revenue, Jonathan Long shares the importance of analyzing your Google Analytics data.
When you know what traffic sources aren’t producing conversions and what your traffic is doing prior to converting it allows you to make significant changes. Imagine if you were able to identify that the majority of your social media traffic didn’t convert? You could then allocate your social media budget into the channels that were producing results.
Using LinkedIn. “Our customer research showed that traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor to lead conversion rate (2.74 percent), almost three times higher than Twitter (.69 percent) and Facebook (.77 percent),” says Mike Volpe, CMO of HubSpot, a provider of inbound marketing software. So what makes LinkedIn a good source of leads for IT companies and professional services organizations?
#7. Use LinkedIn to Drive More Targeted Traffic to Your Website.
Jennifer Lonoff Schiff explains the benefits of using LinkedIn to generate more leads and sales from your website.
“First and foremost, LinkedIn has a high percentage of professionals, so the likelihood, especially for B2B marketers, that you’re dealing with people in your target audience is higher than some other channels,” he says. “Moreover, LinkedIn Groups are organized around the concerns and challenges faced by many buyers and/or their geographic location and profession, so LinkedIn makes it easy to view and contextualize what your potential buyers are talking about and tailor content on your LinkedIn Company pages accordingly.”
#8. Use SlideShare to Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Website.
Josh Haynam points out with more than 60 million monthly visitors, you’ve likely heard of (and used) SlideShare. But did you know that with a pro plan you can collect leads right on the platform?
If you’re not willing to pay, SlideShare is still a great way to generate leads. As Ana Hoffman suggests in her epic SlideShare traffic case study, you can link to a landing page in the presentation, description and in your profile.
So, there you have it. You now have 8 favorite ways from top bloggers on how they generate more leads and sales from their websites and how you can to.
Use this is your checklist and start implementing one of these tips each week.
Track your growth over the next 8 weeks and watch how many more visitors and more leads you’re getting to your website.
QUESTION: Where do you get stuck in any of these 8 tips?Share your comments and questions below.