Why Your Branding Strategy Needs to be more like Mad Libs® than a Form Letter

Why Your Branding Strategy Needs to be more like Mad Libs® than a Form Letter

If you want to stand out, you can’t copy and paste another company’s strategy.

In today’s highly-competitive marketplace, a solid brand identity is critical. Your branding needs to differentiate what you do and how you do it. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; there are proven marketing tactics that can be utilized for your business. Just think of your branding strategy as being less like a form letter – and more like Mad Libs®.

What is branding, anyway?

Branding is the process of conveying your business’ personality. It involves establishing how you want your customers to perceive you, and then it sets the tone for conveying that message. Your brand identity incorporates more than just your product or service, and it is more complicated than choosing the right logo. Your branding covers your user experience (UX) and every touchpoint your company has with its clients – from postcards and newsletters to your website and product packaging.

Why is branding crucial?

If you can be consistent with your branding, then you can differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
Your branding needs to:

  • Establish your perceived value – While you do need to highlight why customers should choose your product or service over others in the marketplace, you also need to present what value you want customers to identify with your offering. Is it quality, craftsmanship, innovation, affordability, or customer service?
  • Create a connection – The best brands have customers who are emotionally attached to their product. How can you connect with your audience? What makes your offering relatable? What will turn your clients into repeat customers?
  • Be consistent across multiple channels – Every touchpoint needs to promote your brand identity. It’s not just about colors and fonts; your messaging also needs to be consistent. If you muddle your identity with multiple value statements, clients will get confused. What is the fundamental message you want to express?

How do you brand your business?

The first step is to prepare a branding strategy that incorporates your voice, extols your benefits, and propels your vision.

It needs to incorporate:

  • Your daily mission
  • Your vision for the future
  • Your voice
  • Product or service benefits
  • Product or service features
  • What people think about your company today versus what you want them to think

When you accumulate the above information, you will notice one thing: no other business can be exactly like yours. If you try to mold yourself into another organization’s template, you may end up losing what makes your company unique. The best branding strategies recognize this fact.

More Like Mad Libs®

Many companies fail at branding because they try to utilize a strategy that has worked for someone else. Looking at what a competitor has done is helpful, but repeating their exact steps is futile. If you want to stand out, you can’t copy and paste another company’s strategy; it will make your business seem unoriginal – like an imitator instead of an innovator.

You don’t have to start from scratch. Take tried-and-true marketing methods and put your personal spin on them. Customers will appreciate your viewpoint more than you know – especially in today’s content-rich world.
Just like a Mad Libs® story, your brand story can be exceptional – if you fill in your own blanks.

Cultivating Lasting Client Relationships

Meaningful Client Relationships Take Time and Effort

Relationships are the axle around which life turns; whether its with family, friends or in business, they are the foundation to a happy and healthy life. Nurturing these relationships, in all areas of your life, takes some effort, and though you may not categorize your client relationships in the same plane as your personal ones, it’s important to recognize that they can all be nurtured in the same basic ways. The age of technology has given us ways to automate certain aspects of our lives; its often possible to navigate through an entire day without the need to speak to anyone in person. The ease with which we can fall into the pattern of assuming an email will do the job is startling. The time-proven truth is that personal relationships can directly influence whether your business succeeds or fails.

To quote a man who knew a thing or two about nurturing a love affair between a client and a product, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Walt Disney.

However, when you’re trying to grow a business, providing quality product is not enough. Your clients need to feel like they are part of the whole picture. This cannot be accomplished through e-interactions alone. The love for your business must come from their understanding that they are more than a “saved” contact in your autodial. A client-focused culture should fuel the need to produce an outstanding product. When you are genuinely engaged and listening to what your client needs and wants, you are more likely to create a relationship in which your client is an advocate for your business.

Today’s reality is that at any moment, an unhappy client can share their opinion with the masses through social media, and the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build can be affected negatively very quickly.

So… How do you make a client fall in love with you?

Keep it Real
Remember names, listen carefully and genuinely respond to issues, concerns and questions – small details matter. Even when delivering less-than-happy news, when you don’t remain personality-less, you are far more likely to have an interaction that both you and your client can learn from. Transparency assures that your client is felt included and considered, and this carries a great deal of weight in a world that often seems impersonal and isolated. Treating others the way you’d like to be treated is our rule of thumb.

Don’t be too Sales-y
Learn to judge when the time is right to sell a new or improved feature or product to your client. This is where emotional intelligence comes in and learning to “read the room” – body language, yours and theirs, the choice of words, all of this is a factor. Find the right tone: be professional but keep it light when you can; this is often a winning combination. If in doubt about whether the time is right to sell, take a moment and ease into it or wait. Too pushy doesn’t always yield the results you’re hoping for and can bring down the room quicker than you can say, “PowerPoint presentation with 350 slides!

LISTEN, Listen, listen
Take the time to call when you can’t meet, and when you do, have a two-way dialogue. It’s easy to lose patience when you think what is being asked for is unreasonable, but carefully consider all that is said; there are always ways to find a compromise you can all live with. Your clients are the lifeblood of your organization, it’s important to remember this AT ALL TIMES.

Honesty is Key
Be realistic about the services you can and cannot provide and the questions you can and cannot answer. This honesty will help build trust between you and your customer. A foundation built on honesty will reap large dividends in the long-term.

Meaningful relationships take time and effort; if you take them for granted, expect too much, or appear apathetic, it can cost you dearly. Remember to remain mindful and you could pave your career with relationships that will last a lifetime.

Infographic: Be More Like Mad Libs® than a Form Letter

At Conveyance, we believe that every client has a unique story to tell. Your story is exceptional when you fill in your own blanks.

Website About Us Page: How to Write One that Matters

Your website About Us page should not be an afterthought. It should be your marquee.

Your website About Us page on your website is often a hidden opportunity to gain credibility and trust, but not in the way you would assume. The professional tone that is often the trademark of your website About Us page can make you sound stiff and safe and sadly, indistinguishable from your competitors. However, this page can be the perfect showplace for your personality – page one of your story and a vehicle to give your brand humanity.

Everyone loves a good story.

A story can provide context and make you memorable. A particularly good story “sticks,” draws in interest, and is more likely to be passed on to others. Figuring out how to tell it might require some introspection on your part: Why do you do what you do? What inspires you? What makes you different? The most authentic part of you can sound knowledgeable as well as personable. This combination is what will make you stand apart.

If your team is the key to your success, focus on the people behind the company. If their personalities are your strength, share them with others. Humanity is what makes us unique, and each person’s story is part of your narrative. This is what makes you “real” to your client.

Use your authentic voice to describe your product or service. Avoid technical jargon when possible. You can sound professional and knowledgeable without necessarily resorting to extensive usage of acronyms and industry-only nomenclature. Polished and professional does not have to translate into confounding. Straight-talk about what you do and how you do it is better than your competition is always effective. This is where finding your voice becomes critical. Cultivate your personality. When you have a defined personality, others are apt to remember you.

Collaboration is key.

Your website About Us page is the perfect place for those who have worked with you to offer their testimonial. Hearing from others about how much they enjoyed working with you and how you were able to help them is far more valuable than hearing from you about how great you are. Include pictures of those who know and like you; names and faces that help a story feel real and complete and therefore memorable. This is the kind of staying power you want for your brand.

Also, testimonials from your own employees expounding on why they love working at your company can have a tremendous impact. Highlight personalities, embrace the quirky; this is what makes your company different and exceptional. Your particular combination of people is what makes up your corporate culture.

Use fun and creative visuals.

If possible, use graphics in an unexpected way. Video is also wonderfully effective. However, if you don’t have the ability to accomplish fancy whistles and melodic bells, words can do the heavy lifting as long as the “story” is clear, real and human.

Your website About Us page should not be an afterthought. It should be your marquee. Make it clever, informative, clear, and above all else, exactly you. You are the strength of your brand. Use it wisely.

Infographic: In-house vs. Outsourced Marketing

Outsourced Marketing is the most cost-effecting way for start-ups and small businesses to spin up their brand and reach their target audience quickly. Here’s how we see it …
Outsource Your Small Business Marketing with Conveyance Marketing Group

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It’s Time to Stop Ignoring Bing, Part 2

Bing SEO, introduce your website to an entirely new – and profitable – demographic

In part one of our series, we talked about why Bing should be taken seriously. It may not be as big as Google, but it is utilized by some very valuable target markets. Check out our blog here if you missed it.

If you believe that Bing could help you reach your audience, you’re not alone. A thoughtful Bing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy can introduce your website to an entirely new – and profitable – demographic. Don’t expect to copy your Google approach, though; Bing is a completely different animal when it comes to SEO. In fact, in many ways, it is much easier to predict than its ever-changing counterpart.

How to Make Bing Happy

There is no perfect formula when it comes to SEO. Your strategy must continually be monitored, tweaked, and reimagined. With that said, though, we do know a few things that Bing likes.

Eight Tips for Bing SEO

  1. Focus on your homepage – and the top of each page. Bing only caches somewhere around the first 100k of each webpage. If you don’t have keywords and relevant content in this space, you won’t show up in search results. Bing also prioritizes homepages over internal pages, making your homepage even more critical.
  2. Insert backlinks. Quality backlinks are very important with Bing. Backlinks are basically links from another website (or webpage) to your website (or webpage). Bing values them greatly – especially ones from high authority sites.
  3. Keep that old content. Bing appreciates older – and often more factual – content. It is seen as being more authoritative.
  4. Employ straightforward keywords. Although voice searches are changing the keyword arena, Bing is still relatively old-school when it comes to keywords. Use them in titles, URLs, and meta descriptions.
  5. Inject images, audio, and video. Bing enjoys sites that are a little more dynamic and less text-heavy. It can also interpret sites that use flash, unlike Google.
  6. Have a prevalent social presence. Social media plays a large role in Bing’s ranking algorithm. Companies who are active on social media and have likes and shares are always ranked higher than those that don’t.
  7. Maintain a traditional domain name. Since Bing feels like older content is often more reliable, it rewards domain names that are older and sound more “official” – like those with “.com,” “.gov,” or “.edu” extensions.
  8. Think local. While Google is often friendly to large retailers, Bing loves anything local. It is great at showing small businesses; just make sure that it can figure out where you are!

It’s Worth the Effort

While we don’t expect a friend to tell you to “Bing” something in the near future, there’s a good chance that you do it on a daily basis anyway – thanks to Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. Bing isn’t going anywhere. It’s time to stop ignoring it and make your website Bing-friendly.

As always, if you need any assistance creating a stellar SEO strategy that will please both search engines, we can help. At Conveyance, we monitor both tools and stay on top of the latest trends. We can increase the visibility of your site on both platforms, and keep your content fresh and authoritative. If you’re ready to reach a new audience, give us a call today!

It’s Time to Stop Ignoring Bing, Part 1

Bing is gaining momentum … and is hidden in places you don’t even know about.

In case you missed it, Bing is still around and gaining momentum. The search engine’s share of the search market fluctuates from month to month, but Microsoft isn’t going to give up. As of June 2017, Bing has over seven percent of the desktop market. That number is a little misleading, though, because Yahoo! Search – with nearly five percent of the desktop market share – is also powered by Bing.

In fact, Yahoo! isn’t the only search feature that uses Bing. Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Windows 10’s Cortana all utilize it. Those may seem obvious, but did you also know that Siri, the popular iPhone “assistant,” runs on Bing? The Amazon Echo, and Alexa, use it, too.

What’s So Great About Bing?

If Bing’s market share doesn’t impress you, perhaps some other numbers will. Since 2009, Bing has been used by 524 million unique users, and those potential customers run an average of five billion searches every month.

There are other interesting demographics as well, like the fact that Bing users are more likely to be female. They are also more mature, with Bing winning users aged between 45 and 65 hands down. Nearly half have a household income over $75,0000, and almost three-quarters attended college. And while it lags behind Google in mobile searches (thanks to Android), tablet users prefer to use Bing-powered search engines – thanks, in part, to Microsoft’s Surface product line.

What does all of this mean? It means that you may be missing out on a large piece of your primary audience.

Still Not Convinced? Here are some more statistics that might interest you:

  • Bing Network searchers have better conversion rates and spend more money online than their Google counterparts.
  • Users in many categories use Bing-powered searches exclusively:
    • Almost three-quarters of business, finance, and retail
    • Nearly 80-percent of automotive and telecommunications
    • Over half of retail
  • Head-to-head against Google, Bing wins on certain search categories, such as:
    • Home Décor
    • Thrills and Adventures
    • Bargain Hunting
    • Pets
    • Cooking
    • Art and Theatre

What are You Waiting for?

Google is still the king when it comes to search engines, but your audience may not be looking for you where you think they are. If you have been thinking about running Google Ads, or currently utilize them, consider trying out some Bing Ads. The average cost per click is lower on the Bing-powered network, and you can even import your Adwords campaigns directly into Bing Ads to save yourself some time.

If you aren’t a fan of search ads, don’t worry. There are many ways to improve your organic search traffic on Bing. It requires a difference Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy than Google, but in many ways, the qualities Bing looks for in a webpage are easier to produce than those adored by Google. In part two of this series, we will lay out tips for improving your website’s Bing visibility.

Stay tuned!

Inbound Marketing Tactics With the Best ROI

Make the most of every marketing dollar

In today’s tech-savvy world, many businesses focus their marketing strategies around inbound marketing. Inbound marketing basically includes any content, social media, or search engine efforts made by a company to draw customers to its products or services. With so many options, many organizations want to know which strategy – or strategies – offer the best return on investment (ROI).

Regrettably, there’s no “secret sauce” when it comes to marketing. Every business is unique, and that means that every marketing strategy needs to be custom-tailored to meet their needs.

Practically every piece of inbound marketing can generate an amazing ROI. The results will probably vary with every campaign, so track them carefully to see what works best for your business – on average.

Here Are Our Picks for the Six Marketing Tactics with the Best ROI

  1. Search Engine Optimization – Also called “SEO,” this tactic is all about getting people to your site “organically” – or without the help of paid advertisements. When creating your SEO strategy, keep in mind that keywords are trending toward conversational phrases and questions – thanks mostly to the increase in voice searches.
  2. Blogs – An essential part of any content marketing strategy, blogs are a wonderful way to attract your target audience. They are also crucial to SEO. While you don’t want to overdo it with keywords, sprinkle in phrases like “the best,” “review,” “pros and cons,” and “how to” to satisfy those longer-tail keywords that are trending right now. And remember: blogs don’t have to be just words. Videos and infographics make excellent additions to any blog – and are well-liked by search engines and customers.
  3. Social Media – If your business targets a younger audience, social media may give you the best ROI. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms are immensely popular, and they allow you to build up a group of followers who may eventually turn into buyers. If you decide to advertise, make sure that you include a call-to-action (CTA) button on your ad. Many companies can also benefit from promoting coupons via social media – Snapchat and Instagram especially.
  4. Influencers – Influencer marketing can be very successful for certain companies. It involves obtaining key individuals to promote your products or services. This tactic may take a while. You must put in the effort to locate people who influence your target demographic and then build relationships with them. Once that is done, their promotion can prove to be invaluable.
    If you don’t have the time to do all of that, you can also find brands in related product or service lines to “partner” with you by offering a guest blog for your website. For example: If you sold graham crackers, you would try to get a guest blog from Hershey about how delicious their chocolate tastes on a s’more with your graham crackers. That would expose your brand to their audience and also show your followers that you partner with powerful brands.
  5. Email Campaigns – An incredibly inexpensive tactic, email campaigns can be very powerful – believe it or not, with every demographics. The great thing about emails is that you can segment your audience and customize your message to each group. Make sure that every email includes a CTA and catchy subject line (at least 6 words long); many companies use these campaigns, so you need to stand out in every person’s inbox.
  6. Lead Magnets – To get email addresses for your email campaigns, it’s a great idea to utilize lead magnets – otherwise known as downloadable lead-generation pieces. Lead magnets are essentially pieces of content, like guides, e-books, checklists, or whitepapers, that your audience would find useful. In order to download the document, users must enter their contact information and sign up for emails. These lead-generation pieces are an excellent way to prove your expertise, and they also allow you to give potential clients something without sounding salesy.

What Tactic is Right for You?

Choosing the right marketing strategies can be confusing and frustrating. What works for the business next door may not work for you, and vice versa! Commit to three or four different tactics, and stick with them. You need to watch how they perform over three-to-six months before you can really measure the rate of their success.

If you need some expert support, Conveyance is here to help! We have highly-skilled team members who know each tactic inside and out, and we have the industry knowledge and know-how to guide your business in the right inbound-marketing direction. Make the most of every marketing dollar and give us a call today!

Tips for Creating a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding has become a major consideration for entrepreneurs and start-ups looking for project funding. Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Patreon are just some of the big names available to those looking to fund rather than bootstrap a new product, service or project. Many people believe that asking for funding is as simple as filling out a few pre-defined fields, and when they find out it isn’t, they either slap together just enough information to get their project online or abandon the idea completely.

If you approach crowdfunding without a plan in place, you will be impeding your ability to raise money. Just like any marketing tactic, crowdfunding campaigns require logical, creative strategies to ensure their success.

14 Ways to Get Funded Using Crowdfunding

  1. Consider your timing.
    If you want to sell a product that is seasonal, then wait until the appropriate season. Backers will be more likely to support something that solves an immediate need.
  2. Set up a quick campaign.
    More days don’t equal more money. The highest-earning campaigns have been 30 days or less, according to our experience as well as published statistics.
  3. Create an attainable goal.
    Your goal should be realistic, not hopeful. Set it for the minimum amount you need to carry out your project. People like to support projects that surpass their goals – not those that can’t seem to meet them.
  4. Give them something to believe in.
    Many backers don’t care about the reward at the end of the line. They want to support a good, compelling cause. Make sure that your story gives them a reason to root for you.
  5. Be honest and upfront.
    Outline why you need funds and where you are going to use them. The more you lay out your budget, the more truthful you’ll seem. Additionally, tell backers how long it will take for them to receive their rewards – and make sure you know the proper turnaround time frames.
  6. Make the “founders” the face of the project.
    You may be fascinating, but if you aren’t the creative force behind the project, you should stay in the background. People want to see that the founders are involved and that they are committed to seeing their project through until the very end.
  7. Produce a stellar video.
    Videos are extremely important in Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Patreon. A professional, well-edited video will show your audience that you’ve invested in this process, and you are serious about it. Do not skimp on this part of your campaign!
  8. Look professional.
    Your video isn’t the only thing that should look professional. The copy in your campaign should flow well and be free of grammatical errors. If no one in your company writes well, hire a professional copywriter to help you out.
  9. Have well thought-out rewards.
    The most common donation is $25, according to our experience as well as published statistics. Make sure that your reward amount is appealing. Have different, well-planned reward levels. Think of backers as buying your product – and not just donating to your bank account.
  10. Use the inbound marketing you already have in place.
    If you have existing marketing systems in place, utilize them! Reach out to people via emails, newsletters, and social media. If you have a website, advertise the campaign on there, too.
  11. Involve your friends and family.
    Don’t forget about the power of your personal network – this is where the bulk of your funding will come from. Even if your friends and family members lack deep wallets, they can share the news about your campaign to people you don’t know. If you know any bloggers, ask them to spread the news for you, too.
  12. Thank your backers personally.
    Expect to spend some time engaging with your backers. They can give you valuable feedback and can help spread the word even further. Send them personal emails; it will be worth it.
  13. Ensure your product is awesome.
    Whatever you are producing needs to be high-quality. Don’t start the crowdfunding process until you’ve already created prototypes, met with manufacturers, and tested out shipping options.
  14. Have another funding source.
    Crowdfunding should not be your primary source of funding; it should be your last. If your project does not meet the monetary goal you’ve set, you will get nothing. It’s essential to have a backup plan in case this happens.

Planning is Key

If you plan well, strategize your written and video content, and then promote the campaign via email and social media while it’s running, you could be on your way to receiving the funding you need to follow your dreams. A crowdfunding campaign should feel like a full-time job while it’s running if you’re doing it right.

Conveyance knows how to fundraise using Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Patreon. If you need any help, just give us a call. We’d love to help you convey your message and turn your ideas into reality.

How Snackable Content is Going to Power Your Future User Experience

The User Experience (UX) Needs to Continually Evolve

There’s no doubt that snackable content is the way of the future. According to a study by Microsoft in 2015, people now have an attention span of eight seconds – down from 12 seconds in 2000. Who knows how short attention spans will be five years from now, or even next year! Social media fuels the fire – so to speak – for the decline, allowing people to absorb information quickly, in tiny snippets.
This bite-sized revolution is now spreading into all types of digital content. In fact, it is going to change the entire user experience (UX) as we know it.

What is Snackable Content?

We’ve talked about snackable content before. It’s basically content that has been pared down so that it can be ingested quickly and easily. It’s accessible, relevant, and enlightening. It’s also based on the idea that users are going to read it when the right situation presents itself, which means that it needs to contain the right information for the right circumstance.

Enter the UX.

Impatience is changing the way designers are arranging content flows. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, developers are now tackling customized digital journeys for users.
The new UX needs to:

    • Account for different delivery methods. Not only does your website need to be responsive, but it also needs to keep your omnichannel marketing strategy in mind. To maintain a consistent brand, your UX needs to uniform – whether a customer is in your store, watching a television commercial about your products or services, or looking at one of your ads in a local newspaper. Can customers access the same information on your website as they can in the store?
    • Be location-specific. Metadata is paving the way for more customized content experiences. With meaningful classifications and characteristics, snackable content can be tagged based on a particular location or other unique attributes. This means that users will only see content that is relevant to them, based on what they are searching for and where they are located.
    • Know the context. Again, metadata is key here, but machine learning is also an important factor. As machine learning improves and devices are connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), the UX can be shaped based on a user’s individual preferences and behavioral patterns.

How will It Work?

To redefine the UX, webpages will soon become template-driven. Pieces of snackable content will be displayed based on each user’s journey. Part of this UX will be based on journey mapping, where web developers take the various levels of interaction a customer has with your company into account. The other parts will be derived from technological breakthroughs in machine learning and artificial intelligence – many of which we haven’t even heard of yet.

One thing is certain: keep your content short, sweet, and snackable. Before you know it, that content will be personalizing your customer’s UX and impacting his or her journey on your website. Searching and scrolling will be as foreign to the UX one day as rewinding a VHS tape is to the Generation Z crowd.

Is your content ready?

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