Building Brand Loyalty and Increasing Sales

Brand loyalty is something that drives sales on a daily basis whether it is for coffee or a service provider. Once a person has had a positive experience with a company they tend to feel like they should use this company as long as nothing goes badly. The quality of service has the most to do with brand quality as does the quality of the product. The following are some great ways to build brand loyalty to keep customers coming back for life.

There are large companies like T-Mobile that has coupons on Groupon’s website that update daily. Why would a company that large have to give out coupons to people? It gives them a good deal and it can help get a foot in the door for companies that use this tactic. Coupons are a great way to show current customers that you still care about their savings.

Giving discounts for those who sign long term contracts or have been customers for years is important. A customer will not try to look for another product if the balance of quality and price is there. Shopping around doesn’t happen when somebody is happy with the price. Taking the risk with a cheaper company or brand isn’t worth the risk if the price is even close.

Engaging with customers via social media is a great way to build brand loyalty. For some of the larger corporations like Taco Bell, this comes in the form of a social media manager who like to banter with the followers. This humanizes a company that otherwise would be nameless and not have a personality. This can also be a great place to answer complaints or comments. The social media team is generally the first line of defense against angry customers and can diffuse a situation before a company gets an angry phone call. Engage with people on social media and it will build your brand loyalty and friendliness.

Having people loyal to a brand of service or product has built some of the largest companies in the world. It is important to take every step possible as it isn’t just one customer, it could be a family that is always a Ford family or someone who only likes McDonald so their children like the same. Brand loyalty can flow through generations.

Content Marketing Secret: Tell Customers What to Expect

What’s your favorite thing to read in your leisure time? Is it a suspenseful mystery story or thriller with endless twists and turns that never seems to end up where you’d expect?

How about something on history or philosophy or the biography of a famous or historic figure? These stories make their points slowly like pealing back layers of an opinion.

They are meant to be savored over time. They help you understand their subject by revealing things bit by bit. It’s much like meeting and getting to know someone.

Well, guess what?

While this kind of writing may be what you enjoy in your free time away from your business, it isn’t exactly a good template when creating content marketing for your customers.

Why not?

Simply put, it’s because your customer doesn’t care.

That may sound harsh, but it’s a basic reality. And it’s one you’ll have to wrap your head around if you ever hope to be a successful content creator for your brand.

You see, folks don’t come to Google or Bing to have a story slowly revealed to them over time.

They come to solve a problem, to get a question answered or meet an immediate need.

And they come to solve that problem, answer that question or meet that need as fast as possible.

And the one who helps them accomplish their goal the quickest wins in the end.

So what does all this mean for you and your content marketing?

Well, basically it means that every headline, every sentence, every word of every piece of content you create should explain your value — and why a potential customer should spend time on you.

And then, of course, you have to deliver on what you’ve promised.

As Demian Farnworth of Copyblogger explains:

That means when someone arrives on your website home page, blog, or article, they should know immediately what to expect. Everything — even your microcontent — should be simple, succinct and scannable.”

So save that enigmatic writing for the Great American Novel you’re planning to write someday.

For now, concentrate on telling visitors and customers exactly what they will get if they read your content. Your business will benefit as a result.

What is Brand Storytelling?

Brand storytelling can greatly enhance interest and engagement in you and your business. It has emerged from the explosion of content marketing, brand journalism and article writing that has taken a prominent role in today’s marketing mix.

Each one of these brands consistently tells their story through their visual imaging and content messaging over several platforms and media. They have all built an awareness and relationship with you of their products and values.

Who doesn’t know these names and what they offer?

what is brand storytelling

Your brand story is more than what you tell people. It is what they believe about you based on all the signals your brand sends out. The story is a complete picture of the facts, feelings and interpretations, which are shared about your business by you, your customers, your community and the public in general.

As Christopher Ratcliff of Econsultancy explains:

“It’s a phrase we all understand because it’s one of the fundamental ways we communicate ideas, educate and entertain each other from infancy. We remember information far better when it’s in the form of story rather than as a list of facts. People tell stories, art tells stories, TV tells stories, ads tell stories… so it seems straightforward enough when a marketer talks about ‘storytelling’, we know what they mean…”

Business Brand Storytelling Combines Several Essential Aspects

  • Who you are
  • What you specifically do
  • How you solve problems
  • How you add value and care
  • How you engage and contribute

Here’s part of a cool infographic that follows 85 years of brand storytelling since the 1930s.

what is brand storytelling

5 Elements Make for Great Brand Storytelling

Keep it Simple and Easy to Understand

It’s best to brand for the masses, not just your insiders.

A great example of this is Dove. According to statistics, only 4 percent of women feel good about themselves across the globe. Dove decided to do something that would move the other 96 percent.

From the very beginning, they tried to look for an idea that could actually prove that most women were wrong about their self-image.

They had several ideas, but “Real Beauty Sketches” really stood out. The ad depicts an FBI forensic artist named Gil Zamora sketching women (that he can’t see) by the way they describe themselves. The idea is that women are too critical of themselves.

The tagline: “YOU are more beautiful than you think!”

Make it Emotional

Include characters, personality, humor, pain and joy. Some of the best ways to accomplish this is through blogging, article writing, video, podcasting, webinars and workshops.

Tell Your Truth

Insofar as you believe it and as it has helped others. Share specific examples of your brand in action including the product, process and people that make it happen.

Use First Hand, Real Time Experiences and Examples

Show and tell what you do daily and tell the stories of others you see going through their experiences.

Make it Relatable

So that it is touches people, is poignant and authentic, lingers, entertains and inspires people to want to share and pass it on.

Your brand is you. Your branding is everything you do to promote and market yourself.

4 Tips and Examples for Telling Your Brand Story

Use Specific, Meaningful Ideas

Go Pro Camera is an amazing example of a company and product that is such an integral and important part of our personal and business lives today: visual marketing and storytelling. They make cameras and accessories that fit and fulfill what we do today to capture and share our lives. Their slogan is “This is your life. Be the hero. Capture and share your world.”

Use your Website, Social Media and Email Marketing

Clif Bar is much more than just a power bar for athletes. Husband and wife team, Gary and Kit Crawford, were being pressured to sell Clif Bar. In 2001, they made the brave decision to stay private allowing them to develop an innovative business model guided by Five Aspirations—Sustaining our Business, Brands, People, Community and the Planet. With a portfolio of great-tasting food crafted for athletes and active people, they have become a category leader among health and lifestyle bars.

Balance your Online and In-Person Activities

Ben & Jerry’s operates on a three-part mission that aims to create linked prosperity for everyone that’s connected to our business: suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors alike. Their product, economic and social missions assure that their central role that business in society is initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.

Share your Successes and Failures

The NFL, Target and McDonald’s all have a compelling comeback story. They all got hit with safety and health issues, massive data breaches, higher worker wages and changing food wants, needs and options.

They had to make swift and significant changes to streamline, simplify and align with public opinion. They learned they cannot hide or rest on any laurels and must be accountable to their employees and all their generational customers.

Brand storytelling is a powerful, personal and effective way to keep you real and top of mind. It educates, inspires and ultimately will help you sell and build indispensable relationships and loyalty with your customers and community.

There was a person that had a dream of helping other people solve their problems. So, they created a simple, easy to use solution and asked people to test and try it.

The people really liked it, but had a few suggestions on how to make it better. The person listened, made some modifications and continued to test it. When they were sure it was ready for all to see, they launched it on a bigger scale through marketing, advertising, networking, word of mouth, journalism and social media and it is now a successful small business that helps many people.

5 Effective Positioning Techniques for the Non-Salesy Entrepreneur


salesman

It just happened again.

Someone asked you about your business and once again, you didn’t have a compelling answer for them. You quickly tried to remember your “elevator pitch” that you’d practiced for hours in front of the mirror, but it didn’t work. The best you could do was just stammer out a weak description of the product or service your company offers.

We’ve all been there.

Every entrepreneur has completely botched it when it was time to pitch their company. It’s normal, especially for people who do not have a background in sales.

It’s likely that you read tons of articles in an effort to figure out the perfect way to describe your company.

But what if you didn’t have to? What if there were practical and effective techniques you could utilize to make your introduction more effective?

When trying to sell your brand, it’s better to understand effective sales techniques rather than just memorize a script. When you take the time to learn these techniques, you will introduce your company in a way that will make your company irresistible.

If you master the techniques in this post, you will find it easier to:

  • Give a persuasive introduction to your company.
  • Reinforce your branding throughout the conversation.
  • Inhabit a niche in your prospect’s mind.
  • Get them interested in your offerings.

These are techniques that successful salespeople use to charm their customers and get them to buy. They will also work for you!

Don’t Tell Them What You Do, Tell Them Who You Are

When you’re introducing your business, it’s not time to talk about the products or services that your company offers. Chances are, your prospect already knows what services you provide.

Instead, you need to let them know who you are, and you need to do it in a way that differentiates you from your competitors. The last thing you want to do is introduce your company as another “me too” brand.

Here’s an example:

If your business sells fishing equipment, don’t just tell them that you’re a fishing equipment provider. Tell them you’re the premier fishing equipment supplier in your locale. Or you could tell them that your company specializes in providing quality equipment specifically for bass fishermen.

Find a way to set yourself apart from your competition. Don’t tell them what you do, tell them who you are.

Focus On Outcomes

When positioning your company, it’s important to remember that it’s the outcomes your services provide that are important, not the services themselves. Your prospects only care about the services you provide when they know what these services will do for them. This is why it’s important to focus on the benefits your services offer.

If you have a management consulting firm, you don’t want to just talk about the consulting services you provide. Talk about the fact that your services help managers increase efficiency and make their teams more profitable.

Focusing on the outcomes of your services will help your prospects understand why they need them.

Give Them Evidence

Your claims, while certainly compelling, will not be able to stand on their own. Back them up with some evidence.

No, this doesn’t mean you need to show them all of the data and analytics that prove that your services work. It just means making a short statement about things your company has done.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s some examples:

  • We helped over 1,000 businesses optimize their IT procurement programs.
  • My last client experienced a 50 percent increase in sales.
  • We helped a client reduce their costs by $500,000 a month.

Not too hard, right? A quick example of the results your product or service has produced can strengthen your positioning.

Tell Them What You Stand For

Nowadays, consumers want to know what a brand stands for. You have to be about more than just your products or services.

Your brand has to have an actual personality. Yes, it is important to have a unique selling proposition, but it’s even more important to have a purpose.

A great example of this is Dell. Through their YouthConnect program, they provide technology education to kids in emerging countries. They don’t just stand for selling computers, they stand for helping disadvantaged children understand technology and how it can benefit their lives.

If your company is going to attract customers, you need to stand for something they can believe in. What problems can your product or service solve? When you identify your brand’s purpose, you can show your company’s human side. This will make it easier for prospects to relate to you.

Don’t Just Say It Once

When it comes to positioning, repetition is key. If you only use these techniques once, don’t expect the prospect to remember it. You have to reaffirm your position in each interaction.

Whenever there’s an opportunity in a conversation to reinforce your position, take the opportunity! Just make sure you do it in a way that isn’t awkward.

If the prospect makes a statement that is favorable to your position, use it.  In every interaction you have with your prospect, you should look for areas where you can reaffirm your position.

If the prospect starts talking about an issue they are having that your services could solve, it might be a good time to provide some evidence of how you have solved the same problem. You could also take the opportunity to reaffirm the outcome that solving this problem will provide.

5 Steps to More Professional Personal Branding



professional woman

  • Audio Brand
  • Professional Communication
  • Email Address
  • Image
  • Social Updates

1. Your Audio Brand

I recently interviewed Colleen Fahey, U.S. Managing Director for Sixieme Son, the largest audio branding agency in the world. She shared this: Audio branding brings life and continuity — so when you hear the brand, it sounds like the brand — making every touch point a relationship-builder. Audio branding:

  • Emphasizes brand differentiators
  • Creates brand association with specific emotions
  • Influences sales
  • Transmits values within and without an organization

As a personal brand, you also have an audio brand. What’s the music someone hears when they call your mobile phone? What music is playing on your personal website? When you do presentations, do you have any music that you queue it up with? Or is there music playing in the background? When people are on hold for you, are they listening to music? Music is something that we’ve heard even while in the womb. It evokes emotions and reactions that can go far back into our childhood or our subconscious. For personal brands, your audio brand is exuded in every interaction someone has with you or your communication tools that has some sort of audio associated with it. It transmits the values you have or those you don’t have. Today, audit what people hear when they reach out to connect with you. Does it mirror your brand or is there a disconnect? A disconnect leaves people with the feeling that something’s wrong with no real concrete instances except for “gut instincts”.

2. Your Professional Communications

Think that grammar in social media doesn’t matter? Your grammar matters in your LinkedIn profile and status updates. According to Brad Hoover, CEO of Grammarly, in a recent interview he shared that good grammar in your updates shows you’re someone that “pays attention to details” and you’re someone who is “detail oriented, shows good follow through and is very professional”. You might be wondering — can that really matter in today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected social society? Yes, it can. In a recent study conducted by Grammarly, here’s what they found: Grammarly looked at some of the top brand battles of all-time to see if there was a correlation between the winners of famous “brand wars” and writing ability. They compiled LinkedIn posts from each company (an average of 400 words per company), and asked their team of proofreaders to review each update for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Here is what we learned:

Coke vs. Pepsi

Coke makes four times fewer writing mistakes on LinkedIn than Pepsi.

Facebook vs. Google

Not only does Google dominate the Internet, but it also makes nearly four times fewer writing mistakes than Facebook on LinkedIn.

Ford vs. GM

GM makes 2 1/2 times more writing errors than Ford. What can we take away from this? Brand dominance can be a fickle thing. But, writing is often a good predictor of the top brands because it demonstrates professionalism, attention to detail and credibility. For your personal brand, look at your last 10 posts on any of your social networks. How’s your grammar? Grammarly Lite, which can be added to your browser, is a great tool to keep your updates and tweets as grammatically correct as possible. After interviewing Brad, I gave it a try and love how well and easily it works. (I do not sell or market their product).

3. Your Email Address

Invest in a website for your personal brand and create an email address with that site. A domain name can express professionalism in one email. Emails from Yahoo, Hotmail, Live, etc. give an immediate first impression to the receiver of an email from these domains. For example, when you get an email from someone with an address that is name@AOL.com, what are your immediate first impressions? Even if you have an email address from the company you work with or the college you attend, spend for your own domain, even if it’s your name. It exudes much more professionalism and speaks to whether you’re “on top of your game” better than any free email account can.

4. Your Image

You can look professional no matter your profession. I’m certainly not saying that everyone needs to be in a “suit and tie”. In fact, that apparel in many professions would not be a good fit at all. What is important to any profession is cleanliness and hygiene. Even auto mechanics are assessed for their professionalism on how well they clean up. For your personal brand, this includes everything that’s an extension of you. Your phone, your purse, briefcase and even the car you drive. Again, let’s not confuse that something has to be expensive to exude professionalism. You can drive a car that’s twelve years old or rock a suit that’s eight years old and as long as it’s clean and well kept, you exude professionalism.

5. Your Social Updates

There have been hundreds of articles on what you should post about as a professional. I’m more interested in when you are posting and responding. What time you do this matters to your professionalism. In your Monday morning meeting, if you’re liking Facebook posts on your phone, then anyone connected with you, in their ticker (depending on your privacy) is seeing your activity. At a meeting or event if you’re tweeting, that also is speaking volumes about your professionalism. If it’s a part of the meeting and event, that will reflect positively on what you’re doing and that you’re sharing/imparting knowledge from the event. If it’s you asking about when everyone’s going to happy hour in a tweet, when you’re in a meeting, there’s an entirely different impression that’s exuded. I do realize that there are many tools that automate the release of updates and posts. Again, don’t overuse these or you’ll leave the impression that you automate everything. A mixture of auto updates and real time updates provides a good balance for you and your brand. Look at the timing of your last social updates. To exude a professional, personal brand, timing is important (not everything, but important) and affects whether your first impression is worth a second look.

Is Influencer Marketing a Trendy or Smart Strategy?

 

influencer marketing strategy

Around 2003, many businesses were built by buying pay-per-click (PPC) ads on the cheap.

A similar opportunity exists today, but this time around, social media influencer marketing is the trendy strategy. It’s a strategy to which advertisers — including small businesses — are paying close attention.

If the history of PPC is any indication, influencer marketing ad budgets — and prices — will continue to rise as more businesses pile on to what works. So it makes sense to get onto this trend early for your own advertising needs.

In an introduction to the 2014 Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report from Burst Media, the company explains:

“On average marketers who implemented an Influencer Marketing program last year received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 of paid media.”

Facebook is an obvious channel for some of this influencer marketing. Facebook advertising has been considered a game-changer. But concern exists that Facebook ad prices have risen to levels which might limit the potential for large returns.

And so the hand-wringing continues over which mix of channels and content-type can deliver the best ROI for influencer marketing.

Sponsored Selfie Added to Influence Marketing Mix

Influencer marketplace Tomoson is adding a new option to that mix in the form of so-called sponsored selfies.

As the name implies, influencers creating sponsored selfies just post a photo of themselves using, wearing, or posing with an advertiser’s products.

There’s an attempt to avoid the inconsistency in disclosure problematic in some influencer marketing campaigns too. Tomoson sponsored selfies are always marked with the #ad hashtag, along with #TomosonSelfie.

Businesses have paid Tomoson members to create sponsored tweets, blog posts and videos. So selfies are merely the latest option being offered to the company’s advertisers.

Why selfies?

Selfies are arguably the fastest to create and they’re a normal part of life for millennials and Generation Z.

In an email interview with Small Business Trends, Tomoson CEO Jeff Foster says simple product pics fall flat on Instagram. And when that happens, there’s abysmal social engagement — or none at all.

Selfies, on the other hand, have a record of promoting engagement on the photo sharing platform.

“We have influencers of all sizes, which is perfect for small businesses. Selfies drive real engagement and provide an excellent ROI.  If you have a budget of $500 to $1,000, that can go very far,” says Foster.

His company expects to roll out sponsored selfies to other platforms, including Facebook and Twitter too.

Not a Guarantee of Success

A few caveats must be mentioned, of course.

The success of an influencer marketing campaign will depend on the creativity of the influencers with whom you choose to work. For example, their ability to create engaging content is important.

Images, ideally, should be strong enough to convey a message with one glance, in contrast to a blog post which has the advantage of many paragraphs to make a point.

And even Tomoson admits the selfie method will work better for some products than for others. (It’s probably easier to promote a pair of sunglasses or a line of handbags than a new social network or CRM software.)

Instagram selfies are also not a magic bullet for boosting sales. Like any other marketing effort, you’ll need to use analytics to determine effectiveness.

But it is also a marketing strategy that must be committed to over time in order to see results.

“Influencer marketing is not something you can just buy, like at the grocery store,” says Dennis Yu, CTO of BlitzMetrics. “It’s something you embrace fully,” Yu says in an email interview with Small Business Trends.

Yu adds that marketing messages will still depend upon proper optimization and upon being targeted for an audience likely to convert.