Images © 2021 Lindy Bostrom
SO YOU WANT TO GET YOUR WEBSITE OFF THE GROUND, get going with some social media activity and start networking more. You know you need to do these things to bring in more business, but you find yourself floundering every time you try to start.
What should you say?
Where should you post?
How much text is too much on your home page?
How do you reach out to people without seeming like a slimy salesperson?
If you find any of this familiar, you’re not alone. Many businesses are flying by the seat of their pajama bottoms when it comes to marketing. They post regularly to social media, send out monthly emails, throw all kinds of info on their websites, but they’re not seeing any real interest.
WHY? Should they post more often? Start making cold calls? Hire an expensive lead generation company? Start learning SEO?
Well, if you ask me, that’s putting the cart before the horse.
If you’re getting out there on a regular basis and your marketing isn’t working, chances are it’s not because you’re not doing enough of it. It’s because you really don’t have a brand. There, I said it. It’s BRANDING.
Before I offer a breakdown on the meaning of this ubiquitous word, let me share with you what a brand is not, despite rampant consensus otherwise:
A Brand is Not:
• A logo
• A set of company typefaces or fonts
• A color palette
• A folder of photos shot by a pro
• A collection of templates
• A tagline or mission statement
After more than 20 years working with clients on promotional materials, I have come up with an easy-to-follow, 4-step formula for getting a handle on your brand (and marketing!)
4 Steps to Better Branding:
- WHO: Know Who You’re Talking to
- WHAT: Know What You’ve Got That Others Don’t
- WHY: Give them a reason; Tell a Story That’s About Them, Not You
- HOW: Make a Clear, Specific Offer
Here’s the juice:
A Brand is an experience.
When someone has an exceptional experience, they remember it. They talk about it. They return for more.
Yes, it’s that simple. But as a beloved mentor once told me, “Simple is not easy. Don’t confuse the two!” The question is, how do you create an experience that your prospects and customers are going to talk about?
Here are the 4 steps in more detail:
1. Know Who You’re Talking to
Known as you “Target Audience,” the ideal customer for your business is not going to be everyone. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you could lose business if you zone in on a specific type of customer, thus losing potential customers that don’t fit the profile. As Seth Godin says: “Trying to please everyone is a race to the bottom.” Gone is the time when businesses catered to everybody. Even “one size fits most” has become a lie. We have Google. We want exactly what we want, not something kind of like it! Find your Niche! And if you need some help with that, check out my Marketing Mentor, Ilise Benun’s Pick a Niche Kit. It’ll help you focus in on your ideal customers.
Once you start evaluating who your #1 target is, then you can start to imagine you’re talking to them in a live conversation. That’s when the words will start to flow. Creating Buyer Personas is a great way to start. To get started, I have a free Buyer Persona Workbook you can download just for asking.
2. Know What You’ve Got That Others Don’t
What sets you apart from others that are also doing what you do? This is what I call your “Unique Value Proposition.” The important thing here is not to get clever. Most people instinctively know what is unique about their offering. And the truth is, even if you tried to be just like someone else, you couldn’t. You and your business are unique. You just need to uncover what it is.
3. Tell a Story That’s About Them, Not You
How many websites have you visited that go on & on about what they do, their experience, the details of their products or services, their history, bla bla bla bla bla…NEXT! My eyes are getting that glazed-over Google-search fatigue just thinking about it.
What if you got to a website that was about YOU? Where you said to yourself: “That’s ME!” That’s what I’m looking for/need/want…or the exact problem I’m trying to solve!” Now you’re interested & engaged, right?
The story starts with the problem your prospective customer (your Target Audience) has. Then you swoop in with a solution. The story ends with a satisfied customer – and an offer to join the club.
4. Make a Clear, Specific Offer
Don’t underestimate the offer! Nothing is more frustrating than deciding that you want to buy and not being able to find the opt-in button or what to do next to get to the offer. You could get them right to the finish line and lose them—it happens all the time!
Make sure you’re crystal clear with your “Call To Action” – spell it out so a 2-year-old would know what to do.
So that, my friend, is branding in a nutshell. The 4 steps come first. Once you have that, the colors, fonts, logo and messaging fall into place and reflect what you’ve built as the foundation.
Want to take a deeper dive into setting that foundation? If you are a small business in health & wellness struggling with too little return on your marketing efforts, this is for you. I offer customized Branding Program Packages, depending on where you’re at in the game. Take a look, then give me a holler & we can get started. Your marketing strategy will be happy you did.
I lived and worked in New York City for 20 yrs where I worked at several ad agencies and design studios, ran a national magazine as Design Director, and started Bostrom Graphics around 1998. I've been in California for more than 20 years now (you do the math!) and my focus is on businesses involved in health & wellness, natural beauty and sustainability.
On a personal note, I practice and teach Yoga and follow Ayurvedic medicine. Yoga & Ayurveda help maintain balance in my life. The practice informs my business relations not only in my constant thirst to learn about health & wellness, but also regarding personal integrity and accountability in building trusting, growth-oriented relationships.