If you own a business or work in marketing, you’ve probably given some (hopefully serious) thought to your business brand.
A brand is how an individual, whether it is a person, company, idea or even concept, is perceived. By using that brand, a business can stand out in a crowded market. When comparing similar businesses, products or services, a consumer will be influenced by their perception of the brand.
Maintaining and leveraging that brand should be an important part of your marketing strategy. Your brand strategy is built around the intentional impression the business aims to make on the consumer, customer or prospect. To implement and utilize that brand, companies will carefully craft their strategy. They’ll implement brand guidelines and hire companies to boost, enhance, build, repair and overhaul that brand.
And yet, many companies continue to miss out on tremendous branding opportunities.
Defining Your Brand for Inbound Marketing
Your business brand is more than a logo. It’s not just a name, a design or a tag line. A brand is every link that a business makes to a prospect or customer. It lives in the impressions and perceptions of everyone who connects with the company.
When you think about it, a brand could be a name or a logo, but it’s also the interaction between a salesperson and a prospect. It’s the design of your office. It’s your website. It’s a product or service. It’s the terms and conditions on your website, to the clothes a customer service or salesperson wears when they are working with a customer.
You have a lot riding on your brand, all these micro and macro connections you are making. A positive brand can make people more likely to reach out to your company or pay for your help to solve a problem. A poor brand can make prospects reluctant to work with you. They won’t even reach out to you for a solution. Instead, they’ll reach out to your competitor.
Because a brand is so valuable to a business, it’s crazy that some marketing leaders aren’t taking the opportunity to build their brand with their inbound marketing.
What Does Your Digital Content Say About Your Brand?
For many companies, inbound marketing is the very first opportunity they have to make an impression on a prospect. It can set the tone for the relationship.
With a pandemic and lockdowns fueling a rise in digital — digital marketing, digital information gathering and virtual work spaces — inbound marketing has never been more important. Consumers are relying on the internet and websites for researching new products, and businesses are turning to the internet to find new prospects and to fill in gaps in their sales process.
As much focus as we are all placing on digital, there should be an equal investment in your online and digital brand. Online content is still an afterthought for many businesses. Blogs, if the company still has a blog, are often three or four years old (or more). Those same blogs are being written by interns, or a salesperson with extra free time. Web pages are often dated. They haven’t been updated since you last relaunched your site. Broken links. Art that doesn’t scale. Confusing site layout.
If that’s your business, then ask yourself what it says about your brand. What is the first impression you are making with a new prospect? Have you given as much thought about your digital content and inbound marketing as you have your logo?
Implementing Your Brand Strategy in Inbound Marketing
Businesses need to start seeing their content strategy and inbound marketing as a component of their overall brand strategy.
That means creating a seamless customer and prospect experience from initial contact to closing the sale and beyond — providing delightful service to the customer and turning the customer into a repeat customer. That means providing as much care and consideration to your content strategy as you do to your sales process. It means incorporating your brand strategy into your content. It means crafting a customer and prospect experience with your content.
Brand Voice and Your Content
A content audit is a standard process as a business reviews their inbound and content strategy. It’s also the perfect time to do a brand review
Does your content accurately reflect your brand strategy? Inbound content tools like a blog, an infographic or a video are the first impressions you’re making with a new prospect. It’s important this content accurately reflects your brand. What experience is your content providing the prospect?
Your content needs to match your brand strategy. It needs to provide a deliberate brand experience. Develop brand guidelines for any new content that is produced, and include a review process with your subject matter experts before launching any new content.
Craft new content with your brand voice in mind. Develop a strategy for your buyer’s journey that reflects the experience you want to deliver to the prospect. For example, if your brand is helpful and friendly, then look at experiences that are helpful and friendly. If your brand is solution-driven, then look at providing solutions.
The content you produce is as much a component of your branding as a logo or a tagline.
Making Your Brand Work in Inbound Marketing
Here are a few other items to consider as you review your branding during a content audit:
- Is the content focused on the customer and their needs? Many companies are more comfortable talking about themselves and the service or product they offer rather than trying to help the customer. This can confuse and frustrate customers.
- Does the content help build brand awareness? One benefit of an effective inbound marketing strategy is increased brand awareness. If people are coming to you for answers, then they are seeing and remembering your brand. Incorporating your logo and (subtly) reminding them of your brand mission promotes brand awareness.
- What does your content say about your business? Reputation matters in business and branding, and your content is a great way of having a discussion with an industry. By providing information, you are putting your reputation on the line. If you follow that up with clickbait or misleading content, it will hurt your reputation.
- Are you building brand loyalty with your content? With the brand at the forefront of your content, you are positioned to start building your brand with both customers and prospects. The content and information you provide may also be of value to current customers. Look at ways of providing it for them, which can lead to upselling or cross-sales opportunities.
Getting Started with Inbound Marketing
Even after the COVID pandemic fades and businesses and offices open up, change is here. More and more customers are relying on digital content and the internet for information. That’s not going to change even after we put away our masks.
Business owners and marketing leaders need to start thinking about how they can capitalize on this change. That starts with an evaluation of their inbound marketing and content strategy. It starts with content audit and a review of your brand strategy.
By linking your brand and brand strategy to your content and inbound marketing, you can set up your sales team for more success by increasing brand awareness, enhancing brand reputation, and delivering a better prospect and customer experience. Your marketing and sales should be aligned, working hand-in-hand to push your business as the best solution for prospects.
If you have questions, or need help crafting or implementing your inbound marketing plan, then contact GO2 Partners today. We’re here to help.