If you’re planning to start a business, digital marketing should be included in your budget. It is the best way to promote your products and services to your target market. However, digital marketing costs money. If like most entrepreneurs, you have limited capital, don’t worry. In this article, we will show you how to launch a digital marketing campaign for $100!

According to reports compiled from Forrester and eMarketer by Web Strategies, in 2018 businesses will allocate around 11% of their budgets to marketing. 45% will be dedicated to online marketing strategies.

But what if all you can afford is $100? Can you still run a campaign and get 100% results?

The answer to the first part of the question is “Yes”.

One of the benefits of digital marketing is flexibility. As we will discuss later in this article, it has the advantage of having onsite analytics which you can use to track the performance of your campaign in real time.

Analytics allows you to see which strategies are generating good Return on Investment (ROI) and which ones are not.

As for the second part, even if your budget runs in the millions of dollars, there are no guarantees in marketing.

Success in digital marketing will depend on the effort you put in. With such a tight budget, your margins for error will be quite small. You will have to be more strategic and purposeful in your approach.

Always keep your budget in mind. Don’t get swayed by the latest email marketing software or pushed to purchase the most expensive keyword phrases. Digital marketing opens up a treasure chest of tools and techniques. Some of them won’t even cost you a cent.

Now let’s get started!

1. No Website? No Problem!

The website is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. It is basically your office address on the Internet; the place where potential customers click on to learn more about your products and services.

We discussed the advantages of having a website in our article, “What Type of Website Does Your Business Need?”. Building a website will certainly entail an investment.

But even if you don’t have enough capital to fund a website at this point, you should still buy a domain. A domain is simply the name of your website. The costs of registering a domain name can vary. You can acquire one for as little as $10 per year.

Once your domain name has been registered, you can use it as your professional email address and have it indicated on your calling card. The domain can also forward to your social media accounts until such time that you have the resources to set up your website.

2. Promote Your Business Via Social Media

With more than 3 billion users per day, social media has become a very powerful driver of business. Social media marketing can help you generate leads, improve sales conversions and enhance your credibility in the industry.

There are a number of social media networks to choose from. The most popular platforms and their community sizes are as follows:

  • Facebook – 2.061 Billion
  • YouTube – 1.5 Billion
  • Instagram – 800 Million
  • Twitter – 330 Million
  • Reddit – 250 Million
  • Pinterest – 200 Million

Looking at the list, it may seem that the wise move would be to set up accounts with the largest networks. But when it comes to social media marketing, size does not always matter.

You should select the social media networks that have the features to support your marketing objectives and that match the platform used by your target audience.

For example:

  • Facebook, Twitter – If your goal is to build brand awareness and distribute content.
  • YouTube, Instagram – If you plan to integrate video and picture content in your marketing campaign.
  • Instagram, Pinterest – If your business deals with visual-heavy merchandise such as fashion apparel, jewelry and health supplements.
  • Facebook, LinkedIn – If you want to connect with influencers in your industry.

It will not cost you a cent to open a social media account. But you need to invest time and effort managing the accounts especially when it comes to creating content and engaging with followers.

3. Register Your Business In An Online Directory

When an Internet user wants to look for a specific product or service, the search will begin with an online query.

By registering your business in an online directory, its name could come up in the search engine’s “map pack”.

What is a map pack? This is the list of establishments or businesses that are included in the results page provided by the search engine.

For example, if an Internet user does a search for personal fitness trainers in Cardiff, Google would produce a map pack that looks like this:

(Image courtesy of https://www.totalcoaching.com/blog/seo-guide-personal-trainers)

As Google is the largest search engine on the Internet. It makes perfect sense to sign your business up with Google’s online directory.

This is very easy to do and signing up is for free. All you need is to register your business at GoogleMyBusiness.

When registering your business, make sure you are providing accurate and updated contact information:

  • Business Name
  • Business Address
  • Business Phone Number
  • Website Link
  • Email Address
  • Categories
  • Business Description

Google will send you a validation code via postal mail to confirm your business address.  

4. Identify Your Target Market

Content creation is a very important component of an effective digital marketing strategy. There are many types of content. You can produce blogs, videos and even podcasts.

But the first thing you need to do is identify the target market for your content. You have to create a buyer’s profile. This is the segment of your market with the highest probability of being converted from followers to paying customers.

Assuming you don’t have a website, here are 4 ways to pinpoint the buying characteristics of your target market:

  • Review your current level of content in your social media accounts. Determine which posts have generated the highest levels of engagement, likes and shares.
  • Check out the social media accounts of your most active followers and observe the types of content they post. Instagram and Facebook are great sources for identifying customer online behavioral patterns.
  • Visit the social media pages of your closest competitors. Take note of the topics they frequently post or blog about. Find out the types of content that generate the highest amount of engagement, likes and shares from their followers.
  • Conduct a survey within your community. Ask them about the topics they would want you to cover in your blogs and articles.

These strategies will not cost you anything because you can conduct them through social media or email.

5. Sharpen Your Writing Skills

Blogging is widely regarded as the cornerstone in the content marketing process. A well-crafted blog that is informative, relevant and usable to the audience will surely help enhance your reputation as an expert in your industry. Blogs are proven drivers of inbound traffic.

But many entrepreneurs are hesitant to blog because they don’t believe they have the writing skills. The truth is everyone has the ability to write a great blog. All you need is practice!

Writing is a learned skill. Like shooting a basketball, hitting a golf ball or hitting a backhand return in tennis, you simply have to keep practicing in order to get better. The more you write, the better you will get:

  • Set a specific time in the day for writing; 60 to 90 minutes a day of uninterrupted writing should suffice.
  • Choose a topic that you are familiar with and related to your business. It should be relevant to your buyer’s profile.
  • Establish a structure for writing. For example, create an outline first. Then research for reference links.
  • Learn to write for your audience; this means avoid using technical jargon. Remember, you should assume that you are the expert and your readers want to learn from you. Write in a language they can understand.
  • Review your work and watch out for grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Ask 2 to 3 of your most trusted friends or family to comment on your writing.

The other aspects of content writing such as the use of keywords can be learned at another time. For now, focus on developing basic writing skills.

Once you have become more confident with your writing skills, start a blogging schedule:

Blogging takes time and effort. You have to do accurate research to make sure you are sharing facts that are well supported by reliable evidence. You also have to focus on writing original content. This means avoiding the risk of copying another writer’s content.

If you don’t have a website yet, you can use the blogging platform provided by LinkedIn then share it to your other social media accounts.

6. Track Your Performance Using Analytics

As we mentioned earlier in this article, digital marketing has the advantage of web analytics to help you track the performance of your campaign.

Web analytics are programs used to collect valuable data from your website or social media accounts. The collected data will help you better understand how your website is performing by answering these questions:

  • Where is the bulk of my traffic coming from?
  • Which pages have the highest visits?
  • What types of content are being read more often?

Analytics can identify potential problems that are hindering the campaign’s progress. It will tell you which techniques are working and which ones aren’t. This way you have solid bases for realigning your digital marketing budget. You can put more resources on strategies that result in higher ROI.

Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have built-in analytics. You can also download offsite analytics tools free of charge.

It may seem complicated at first but in time and with consistency, you will get better at evaluating analytics.

7. Expand Your Network

Networking is a proven way of building your business by connecting with key people in your industry. One of the most effective social networking sites is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the preferred social network of professionals. There are a number of ways you can build your business through this platform:

  • LinkedIn has a blogging feature which allows you to post blogs and share it with those in your community.
  • You can customize the parameters of your search so you can connect with community members who fit your buyer’s profile, target demographic or those who hold influential positions in the industry.
  • Sign up and engage regularly with community focus groups that are directly involved with your industry.
  • Post relevant content at least once a day in order to stay top-of-mind with your community.

Although signing up for LinkedIn is for free, its features for customizing search parameters will require a monthly subscription fee that ranges from $29.99 to $79.99.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are other effective social media networks you can use to connect with key influencers and expand your community.

Conclusion

Digital marketing gives you the most efficient way of reaching your target market by capitalizing on the power of the Internet. Because digital marketing primarily uses Internet-based tools to run its campaigns, it will be easier on your budget as most of these processes are free.

Finally, the benefit of having web analytics allows you to identify weak points in your campaign so you can further streamline your budget.

The biggest investment you will make in running a digital marketing campaign is time. You will have to spend time to become a more proficient writer. As your campaign gains traction, you will have to double up on your efforts.

If you want to learn more about running an effective but low budget digital marketing program, please give us a call or drop us an email.

We will gladly take you through the process of planning a well-thought out and highly efficient digital marketing campaign.

If a simple car battery replacement becomes a full-blown mechanical problem that requires an expensive air-conditioning fix, it would be safe to assume you are getting ripped off by your auto mechanic. The same can be said for your General Contractor if a seemingly harmless leak in the ceiling has sprung into a rooftop replacement scenario. But how would you know that you are getting ripped off by a Digital Marketing agency?

As the Internet continues to grow in influence and accessibility and as technology evolves to give us the latest in digital innovations, it becomes more important for businesses to incorporate Digital Marketing into their brand development strategy.

Put simply, if you’re not part of the digital landscape, you will be left behind by competitors who have invested time and resources to enhance their online presence.

With Digital Marketing, you leverage the power of the Internet by using its different tools and processes to connect with your target audience. We discussed the various strategies and techniques that comprise a Digital Marketing campaign in our article “How to Drive Traffic to Your Website”.

Ways to Get Digital Marketing Done for Your Business

Entrepreneurs are risk takers by nature. They like to be in the driver’s seat; take charge of the wheel and be in control of all aspects of the journey toward entrepreneurial success. It is not uncommon to find entrepreneurs manage their businesses’ own Digital Marketing campaign.

But even if you have an extensive background and experience in Digital Marketing, it is not advisable to do it on your own. Digital Marketing is a process that takes time to manifest results. As the business owner, your available hours in the day are best dedicated to activities that directly contribute dollars and cents to your bottomline.

That leaves you with two other options for Digital Marketing: Hire a freelancer or contract the services of a Digital Marketing agency.

A freelancer is an individual contractor who specializes in Digital Marketing. He/she will be the cheaper option but keep in mind two things:

  1. The freelance Digital Marketer will need to hire other contracted talent;
  2. The freelance Digital Marketer will also have other clients to manage.

With these 2 factors to consider, it will be difficult for the freelance Digital Marketer to devote 100% full attention on your campaign because he/she cannot guarantee the schedule of the other contracted talent and available time might be constrained by deadlines to other clients.

Contracting the services of a Digital Marketing agency would be your best option as it provides you with the following advantages:

  1. A ready team of experts in every area of Digital Marketing.
  2. Experience and track record for providing excellent service.
  3. Availability of backup services; if your content writer is indisposed, another one can be recommended and assigned to your campaign.
  4. More professional approach; built-in workflows and processes for reporting, record-keeping and client collaboration.
  5. Centralized system of management makes it easier to organize and oversee progress and track performance.
  6. While generally more expensive than freelancers, agencies are open to negotiate their payment structures.

More companies are outsourcing their Digital Marketing needs to third party service providers/ agencies because it is not their core competence. They prefer to leave Digital Marketing to the experts.

Plus, as a contracted service, the company does not incur additional expenses for payroll, benefits, rent and other operations-related items as they would have if they had chosen to do Digital Marketing in-house.

Over the years, more agencies have entered the Digital Marketing industry which has resulted in the dilution of the quality of work rendered.

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by Digital Marketing Agencies

No doubt, some of you may have heard horror stories from well-meaning entrepreneurs who fell victim to the “Digital Marketing Agency from Hell”. Perhaps some of you have been victims themselves.

As with competitors within an industry; no two service providers are ever the same. One will always provide better service and performance than the other. In some cases, the quantity of substandard service providers may outnumber the good ones and the Digital Marketing industry is no exception.

There will always be principled proprietors of Digital Marketing and there will always be scammers out to stiff you of your hard earned money.

Here are our tips on how to avoid being ripped off by Digital Marketing agencies:

1. Learn All You Can about Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is a dynamic approach; it is always in a state of evolution because markets never remain passive.

Through the Internet, consumers have greater access to information. Tastes and preferences are much more sensitive to change than ever before. Digital Marketing has developed different terminologies and jargon that agencies may use to impress or throw you off.

Arm yourself with knowledge; learn what you can about Digital Marketing and its various processes. You don’t have to be an expert but get your proficiency up to a level that you can make heads or tails of the conversation thread.

Another option is to bring a friend or an associate with experience in Digital Marketing during your meeting with the agency.

2. Look at The Agency’s Previous Work

Before you schedule the meeting, ask all prospective Digital Marketing agencies to provide you with client references or a link to a website that shows their body of work.

Take a look at the websites they have built and designed for clients. Do they all look the same with similar content and images? Are the websites functioning well? Are they mobile responsive?

How about the social media pages they set up for clients? Is the level of engagement impressive?

If they gave you a list of clients as references, make it a point to establish contact with them and find out all you can about their experience working with the agency.

3. They Push One-Size-Fits-All Campaigns

Be wary of Digital Marketing agencies that offer you set packages. Digital Marketing campaigns do not follow a blueprint because the goals and objectives of clients will vary.

Marketing strategies must be customized to fit the needs of the client. A big part of the process is market research. A reputable agency will conduct extensive research even at the preliminary stage to learn as much as it can about your business, the industry and your target audience.

Research will be the basis of the Creative Brief or the campaign strategy for your business.

And don’t get fooled by basement bottom pricing tactics! These agencies know pricing is an important consideration for businesses trying out Digital Marketing for the first time because you want to manage risk exposure.

They will get you hook, line and sinker with an attractively priced package. Once your account is in their grasp, they’ll slowly add on to the original contract price with more charges and “unforeseen” fees.

The best Digital Marketing agencies are willing to negotiate their fees or work with you on your budget.

4. Ask as Many Questions as Possible

You don’t want to become the client that sees hard earned dollars flushed down the toilet simply because the agency could not deliver results.

Some agencies will insist on using online marketing tools or specific software programs where the subscriptions could cost you thousands of dollars every year.

What they won’t tell you is that they are earning a commission from the supplier for the continued use of the program even though you are not seeing results.

It all sounds good at the start. You can be dazzled by an amazing PowerPoint presentation. But don’t let the bright colors, fine graphics and enticing numbers on the screen fool you.

Push, prod and probe as hard as you can. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as possible. Again it comes down to learning what you can about Digital Marketing.

Lastly, don’t commit to anything until you have given the proposal enough thought.

5. The Agency Guarantees Immediate Results

If an Agency guarantees you top billing on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page after a few months, head for the door and run away as fast as you can without looking back.

The Agency is getting ready to scam you of your hard earned money. The same goes for agencies that assure you of more than 1,000 followers every week or 100% guaranteed sales conversions. There are no guarantees in Digital Marketing.

You cannot establish a time-table and identify when results will be realized. It is a process that requires consistency, constant review and frequent upgrades. As markets change, so will your campaign specifics.

To get to the top section of the first page of the SERP requires consistent production of high quality and keyword-rich content, a strategic distribution schedule, high level engagement and a consistently high performing website.

This will not be an easy task and you will be competing with other websites that may be using similar strategies.

6. They Are Not Involved in the Process

Does the agency email you with charts that you can’t make heads or tails with? Is the explanation on the report vague and inundated with terms that read Greek to you?

Agencies that flood you with reports that don’t make sense want you to think they are doing their job. Another serious red flag is if the agency does not set meetings with you to discuss web analytics or to give you a more comprehensive idea on how your campaign is doing.

It should never be enough just to send reports. A respectable agency should take the time to sit down with you and explain how the campaign is performing. They expose themselves to being questioned and are fine with it.

7. They Don’t Respond Within an Appreciable Time Frame

In business, correspondence should merit a response within 24 hours. That is enough time for the recipient to formulate a well-thought out reply.

Agencies should conduct themselves as professionals and respond to all communication from you within an appreciable time frame.

It does not matter if the agency’s days are busier than usual. It will not take more than a few minutes to craft an email or to schedule a phone call.

Conclusion

Digital Marketing is a proven way to effectively promote your business on the Internet. But its growth as a process has opened up the industry to opportunistic agencies that overpromise and underdeliver results.

Always take the time to prepare before committing yourself to a venture. Conduct research on the industry, uncover its best practices and perform due diligence on all Digital Marketing service providers who want you to sign up with them.

Time spent on preparation will save you thousands of dollars on unfulfilled objectives and expectations.

If you want to learn more about Digital Marketing, give us a call or drop us an email. We would love to help you take your business to the next level!

Bill Gates was a true visionary when he wrote the essay, “Content is King” in 1996. Gates believed the Internet would provide consumers a low cost medium to publish and access information. He even foreshadowed the coming of video content as a key component for online marketing.

With more than half of the world’s population online everyday, the Internet has become the premiere battleground for businesses to vie for the consumer’s attention.

For businesses, the challenge is to come up with the most efficient way to reach their target audience and consistently deliver quantifiable results.

Does such a low cost, high reward marketing technique exist?

Yes and that is why you need to include video content in your marketing tool box.

5 Benefits of Video Content for Your Business

Video content or video marketing is simply the process or strategy of using videos to promote your brand, product or service.

Text content remains a powerful vehicle for delivering your branded value proposition but it will not match the efficiency of video content.

Put it this way, would you rather spend seven minutes reading a 2,400 word article on the 10 best smartphones in the market or 2 minutes watching a video on the same topic?

In 2015, Microsoft came up with a groundbreaking study that showed people have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. The marketing takeaway being if you don’t capture the attention or interest of the consumer within 6 seconds, you may lose him or her at that moment.

One of the best tips we give our clients at Mountaintop is to add an explainer video on their homepage.

An explainer video is a great way to hook a potential customer because everything they would need to know to convince them to explore your site further can be done in 1 or 2 minutes.

And studies show, videos extend the attention span of the consumer by another 10 to 20 seconds.

Here are 5 other benefits of video content for your business:

1. Video is an excellent medium for delivery.

Video engages with at least two of your senses: sight and sound plus the added bonus of empathy if it is a well-executed production. A study by HubSpot showed that 80% of consumers remember the content of a video they saw one month earlier.

2. Video content can significantly boost your website’s SEO.

In the same Hubspot study, it revealed that 65% of decision makers will visit a website after viewing its video content. Also, vendors of products report 39% of inquiries come from businesses that have seen their marketing videos.

3. Video content delivers on all devices.

Responsive design has become the norm in website development since 2014. Videos will perform well on mobile devices. Whether you are using a tablet or a smartphone, videos will continue to enhance and influence User Experience or UX.

4. Video content enhances your branding efforts.

As we mentioned earlier, video has the advantage of appealing to your senses of sight and hearing. The smart use of color, voice, music and imagery can strongly influence the perspectives and opinions of your viewers and enhance your branding efforts.

5. Video content has a higher probability of going viral.

Another interesting statistic from the HubSpot study is that 92% of mobile users who watch videos will share them with others. Another study by Single Grain showed that video is shared 1,200% more than links and text content combined.

Believe us when we say there are still more benefits of video content for your business. Adding video content as part of your Digital Marketing strategy is not just because “Everybody’s doing it”.

Below is a chart from HubSpot which shows the type of content Internet users most want to see from brands and businesses. You can clearly see the wide, significant gap video content has over other types of content:

If you want to reach out to your target audience in the fastest, most effective and cost efficient way, you should invest in video content marketing.

12 Types of Video Content to Consider for Your Business

Before you start filming, you should know what type of video content would be most beneficial for your business. There are 12 types to consider and each one will have its own set of advantages depending on your goals:

1. Demo Videos –

Show your audience how your product works. This will be effective for businesses that have products which need assembly or have several features. Examples would include kitchen appliances and smartphones.

2. Brand Videos –

The purpose of brand videos is to introduce yourself, the business, products and services to a target audience. This is a great way to build relationships with your target audience.  

3. Event Videos –

If your business is hosting an event, business forum, trade show or roundtable discussion an event video is the way to go. Take video snippets of the most important and relevant activities such as keynote speakers, product shots and audience turnout.

4. Expert Interviews –

One of the best ways to gain credibility and trust with your audience is to have a video interview with a respected and acknowledged expert in your industry.

5. How-to Videos –

This is a type of video that will help the audience find the answer to the question, “Why do you need my product or service?” For example, at Mountaintop we could produce a video on this article.

6. Explainer Videos –

We discussed this type of video in the previous section but we should also note that it can be done similar to a How-To video by simply shooting it from the perspective of the end user.

7. Animated Videos –

Do you want to show your audience how bitcoin miners calculate complex mathematical formulas in the blockchain? Animated videos can greatly simplify information that would otherwise be too complicated to explain.

8. Testimonial Videos –

Client testimonials are one of the most powerful ways to build trust for your product and service. This is often the final push to get your audience to patronize your business. A testimonial video is perceived as honest and sincere because it discloses actual results and the genuine response of an end user.

9. Live Videos –

Streaming live videos are a great way of getting your audience involved in your business. Show them what a day is like in the office. If you’re into product manufacturing, stream a live feed on how your merchandise is made. People in the fitness industry often stream live workouts to their followers.

10. 360 Degree and Virtual Reality Videos –

360 degree and VR videos give your audience a bird’s eye view of your business. These are particularly effective for hotels, resorts and restaurants. These types of videos are also entertaining for the audience because they allow them to control their own experience.

11. Augmented Reality Videos –

Augmented reality videos add another digital layer to your content. This is great for those in the interior design and architectural business.

For example, a viewer can point his or her camera phone to a chair and see how it would fit in your video layout.

12. Personalized Messages –

You can customize your content by producing a personal message in video format.

For example, if you are selling a fitness tracker, you can make a video message to a follower whom you have previously communicated and send him/her an update on the latest models.

Personalized message videos are effective in pushing a prospect further down the sales funnel.

How to Create Your First Video Content

When you finally decide to include video content as part of your marketing strategy, it doesn’t mean you should take out a loan from the bank and buy the latest and most advanced film equipment.

In the first place, your smartphone camera may be enough to film a high quality video. Smartphones like the iPhone 7 have amazing filmmaking features that are comparable with top-of-the line cameras.

Secondly, the video alone won’t cut it. You need a message to deliver to your audience. The content of your message will determine how your video will be shot.

If you haven’t done video content before or have but with little success, here are four simple steps on how to create one that will enhance your overall marketing campaign:

1. Revisit and Update Your Content Marketing Strategy.

Before producing your first video, review your current content marketing strategy. Whenever you introduce a new element to your campaign, its entire dynamic will change.

You may have to revise your content marketing strategy to open up a section that can be addressed more effectively through video content.

The marketing budget may have to be adjusted in case your revised strategy will require investing in production equipment, renting a studio, acquiring talent, scriptwriters or the assistance of film professionals.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Why did I decide to create video content?”
  • “What is the primary objective of my video content?”
  • “How would my audience benefit from my video?”
  • “How would I go about producing the video?”
  • “What would be my distribution strategy for the video?”

It will be difficult to maximize the effectiveness of video content unless you can get it to fit into your content marketing strategy.

2. Prepare a Profile of Your Audience.

If revisiting and reviewing your content marketing strategy provides the “Why” to your video content, then preparing a profile of your audience is the “Who”. Unless you develop a keen understanding of who your target audience is, then your video content may not be seen by the people expected to get the most value from it.

Where to begin?

Look back at your past content and analyze which ones generated the highest levels of “likes”, “shares” and levels of engagement.

Which distribution channel accounted for the largest viewership? Where do the bulk of your followers come from? What issues were commonly raised or commented on by your audience?

Once you’ve come up with a profile of your audience, you will be able to fine-tune the content of your video and identify the most effective channels for distribution.

3. Produce Videos According to Scale.

The advice “start out small” applies to producing your first video. Don’t pull out all the stops and come up with a Hollywood production number when you are testing the marketing waters for the first time with video content.

Again the best place to start would be your past content. Pick out high performing blog posts and create a short video which would further augment its content. For example, we at Mountaintop could produce a video for our blog post “Why Your Website Needs Responsive Design”.

You could also start out by producing an explainer video like one on your products and services and embed it on your Home Page or Services page.

If your video content generates higher returns, slowly scale up the production schedule. You may have to expand your budget but at least you will be more reassured of your investment.

4. Subject Your Videos to Frequent Testing.

Even if you’ve done your homework and followed your content marketing strategy to the letter, do not get complacent and allow yourself to believe your video content will deliver positive results.

Video content like all forms of content should be subjected to testing before getting published or distributed. Content seen through the eyes of another will give you filters you won’t have because of personal biases.

Take note of their comments and assess which ones should be considered as a basis for revising content.

And even once you’ve uploaded the videos, the evaluation should not stop.

Establish benchmarks to measure how your videos are performing and be prepared to introduce  improvements in content whenever necessary.

Conclusion

Numbers don’t lie. If you want your marketing campaign to meet or surpass its goals, you must invest in video content production.

It is a proven and time-tested approach to successfully delivering content to your audience. And demand for video content will only increase as mobile technology continues to evolve and the Internet becomes accessible to more people around the world.

It does not matter if you are a large-scale corporation or a small business owner. Video content will help your current marketing strategy gain more traction.

Are you interested in creating your first video content? Give us a call or send us an email and we will help you get started!

 

 

The word “brand” gets thrown around a lot in marketing discussions. Marketers will advise you to build your brand even before you launch your business. Many entrepreneurs will probably assume they need to have a logo designed and marketing copy made. But is a brand merely a logo with a catchy tagline?

What Exactly Does Having a Brand Mean?

A brand is a promise; you know exactly what you are going to get. When you see the logo or hear the name, it triggers emotional cues in your subconscious. Coming across the famous Golden Arches of McDonald’s gives you the feeling of comfort; enjoying its burgers and French fries with  family or friends.

The iconic red and white logo of Coca Cola with the scripted font design makes you want to be refreshed even when you are not thirsty. It doesn’t matter that soft drinks contain refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring and coloring, “I want my Coke!”

The case for having a strong brand is best exemplified by Nike which was accused in 1991 for hiring child labor in its Asia-based factories.

The company did not deny the accusations of child labor. In fact in 1998, Nike CEO Phil Knight publicly admonished his own company, accepted full responsibility for the situation and immediately instituted measures to improve working conditions in their factories.

In his speech, Knight said, “I truly believe the American consumer does not want to buy products made under abusive conditions.”

However, It is interesting to note that Nike’s sales during these turbulent period from 1995 to 2005 remained solid. Annual sales revenue in 1995 was $4.76 Billion and hit $13.74 Billion in 2005; an increase of 189% over a 10 year period.

Nike survived years of economic and social turmoil because it had built a very strong brand.

It takes years to build a brand. Your initial blueprint will undergo revisions in logo, text format, color, marketing copy and personality as your company likewise goes through changes.

A good example is Apple.

From its initial convoluted design of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree, the logo has gone through a number of changes. The iconic bitten apple design with rainbow colors by graphic designer Rob Janoff coincided with its introduction of the Apple II, the first PC with color display.

The company dropped the rainbow colors and went with a metallic look for the release of the iMac. As the company put out more products in the market, the logo assumed a glass themed design. Eventually, Apple founder Steve Jobs went with a monochromatic look explaining:

“Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

The late Jobs was also known for his monochromatic taste in fashion; always seen wearing a black sweater.

So what is a brand? It is everything about your business; what it represents, its purpose, values, principles and other attributes that define its personality. If a business is defined as a living, breathing entity then that personality is you.

Therefore your brand is you.

5 Benefits of Having a Strong Brand

Brand building is one of the most important, yet overlooked aspects of starting a business. Many fledgling entrepreneurs believe that you should only work on your brand when business starts gaining traction.

In other words, get the cash register ringing first before you worry about building a strong brand.

But here’s the reality of consumer behavior: People don’t patronize products. They patronize brands.

Your product or service is not a brand. It is just a commodity and in the absence of a good, effective branding strategy, it will be lost in the sea of commodities that flood the market.

Here are 5 benefits of having a strong brand:

1. Differentiates Your Product From Everyone Else’s

One of the biggest misconceptions about consumer behavior is that buyers only care about price. Of course, everyone wants to save money but as Steve Jobs once said:

“Pricing does not equate to value.”

Buying the most expensive brand does not mean acquiring the best product in the market as buying the cheapest does not translate to getting a good deal on the purchase.

According to Nobel Prize winning Psychiatrist Daniel Kahneman, consumers base their decisions to purchase on aligned purpose. They couldn’t care less about the price or the ingredients on the label. Instead they care about what your product represents.

This pertains to the “why” of your product; it’s purpose.

Look at Starbucks. It’s been widely criticized for selling expensive coffee but people still flock to their stores for their daily brew. Why? Because the company has been a staunch advocate of the Green Movement.

It donates a percentage of its profits to charitable causes and a number of foundations that work for a cleaner environment. So even if you spend a few more dollars on coffee you could brew at home, you know it is for a good cause.

2. Creates Consumer Recall

Effective branding is a successful marriage between science and psychology. Marketers conduct extensive studies before conceptualizing brand building strategies. They analyze data on your business and target market.

Brand building is not specific to a product or service. It’s purpose is to package your entire value proposition in the most effective way and create an indelible impact on a potential end user.

Keep this in mind: Brands outlive products and services.

Products have life cycles; brands don’t. Take a look at apparel. Companies like Levi’s have gone through flared bottoms, tapered pants, acid wash, engineered jeans, button-fly and slim fit. The brand remains unchanged.

You could overhaul your entire product line within a few years but if your brand remains firmly entrenched in the consumer’s consciousness, you will always have a market.

3. Acts as a Hedge Versus Risk

We discussed the case of Nike and how it survived and actually thrived during a turbulent period in the company’s history.

Another example is Pepsi and that woeful Kendall Jenner advertisement. It was “inspired” by the Black Lives Matter movement and tried to create social awareness. But it was so poorly conceptualized and executed that it turned Pepsi into a laughing stock and trivialized the significance of the movement.

Fortunately, it had built such a strong brand that it was able to shrug off advertising missteps. Pepsi continues to wage a close battle with Coca Cola for supremacy in the soft drinks industry.

A strong brand acts as a hedge versus risk because marketing is hit and miss. There are so many uncertainties and factors you cannot control when conceptualizing ideas.

Sometimes you’ll hit a homerun. Sometimes you’ll strike out on the plate. It will be easier for consumers to forgive if your brand has been associated with quality and good value for a long time.

 4. Establishes Trust

When you go to a grocery store, why do you find yourself reaching out for specific brands even though others would be cheaper?

When you are inside a mall, why do you patronize certain restaurants over others even ones that just opened and were heavily publicized?

The answer is because you trust them.

As we mentioned in our definition of a brand, you know what you are getting. The risk of not enjoying the experience is very small. In fact the only risk is the foregone opportunity of trying a new brand that could potentially be better.

Going back to Daniel Kahneman’s work on consumer behavior, he theorized that our decision making process is influenced by two distinct processes: the emotional side and the rational side.  

Kahneman believes consumers are emotional decision- makers. They patronize products that they share an alignment or emotional connection with. It is only after the purchase was made that the rational mind takes over and asks, “Why did you buy that diet beverage when it is loaded with unhealthy substances?”

You may validate your decision by stating, “This company has been successful for so many years, they would not put anything in their products that would cause me harm.”

You should invest in building a strong brand because it will help you establish  loyalty from your customers.

5. Enhances Your Marketing and Advertising Campaigns

Who doesn’t love Budweiser’s Superbowl commercials? The advertisements use animals like dogs and Clydesdale horses as the central characters. Beer drinking humans only play supporting roles.

In fact, you don’t even get to see the product in the ads. Perhaps you’ll see a box for a 6-pack but for the most part, only the company’s logo is featured. When you watch a Budweiser commercial, you get the “feels”, it is comforting and refreshing just like a tall, cool glass of beer.

Here’s a piece of trivia: Superbowl ads do not translate to brisk sales.

So why do companies like Budweiser spend millions of dollars for these ads? Other than the large audience the Superbowl brings, favorable recall carries over to the company’s long term marketing and advertising campaigns.

For Budweiser, it was the perfect platform to hold a stand against the onslaught of the growing craft beer market.

The payoff will be felt over the next few months or years as the company continues to build on its brand.

Conclusion: How to Build a Strong Brand

The popularity of the Internet has become a double- edged sword for marketers. On one side, it has given us different avenues to deliver content. Most businesses utilize up to five social media platforms to distribute content. And that is just via social media.

A typical digital marketing campaign would include other tools such as web design and development, SEO, SEM, content writing, link building and PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising.

But on the flip side of things, having all of these tools and processes at our disposal can be confusing. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it would be like trying to hit a target 7 yards away with a shotgun. You’ll just splatter ammo all over the place.

Without strategy, thought and purpose your marketing efforts to build your brand will not pay out as expected. All the hard work you put in your content will just go under the radar.

If you want to build a strong brand, you must first determine its strength potential.

1. Run a Brand Audit

A brand audit seeks to uncover the factors that drive growth and determine how the product or service is viewed by the market.

You have to undertake an in-depth analysis of your competition:

  • Review and analyze their websites
  • Study their current online marketing programs
  • Pinpoint the advertising channels they are using
  • Assess the types of content they are publishing and distributing
  • Determine their market share in the industry

Cross reference the information with data on your own business and its current level of performance. This will give you a better idea of how to improve your brand building strategy.

2. Determine Your Brand Value Proposition

Your Brand Value Proposition (BVP) is your key business differentiator. It answers the question, “Why should you choose my brand over others?”

Please take note: BVP does not pertain to a specific product. Instead it encompasses everything you want your target market or audience to know about your business. Specifically, this refers to your purpose.

Determining your business purpose isn’t an empty exercise. You don’t just come up with a string of words that you believe will resonate with your end users. Trust us, customers will know because the BVP will seem contrived and will not resonate with them.

If you want to know your BVP, ask yourself this simple question:

“What 5 non-negotiable values do I adhere to?”

Your core values act as guidelines in how you make decisions. Everything that you do for your business will pass through these values without fail: How you recruit, who you hire, its pricing points, customer service, your product mix and promotions.

Non-negotiable means exactly that. You cannot under any circumstances compromise your core values when making decisions.

Adhering to your core values will shape how your target market perceives you and your business. In time and with consistency, your end users will come to understand and acknowledge who you are and what your brand represents.

Remember what we stated earlier in this article:

Your brand is you.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to know more about the power of having a strong brand, please give us a call or drop an email.

We would be more than happy to help you through the process of establishing your brand in the market place.