1. Be consistent
In marketing, as in life, consistency is king when creating anything with staying power. Once your corporate look has been created, you have approved your logo and colours and defined your corporate identity you need to stick to it – forever. Your company’s corporate branding needs to be visible in everything you do, from the tone of your text, merchandising, business cards and website, even in the way you present yourself, everything must be easily recognisable. We’re constantly bombarded with information, especially online, so you also need to make sure that your communication strategy is consistent across all channels - online, in print and in person - so you don’t have to spend more money than necessary promoting your brand.
2. Be real
As with most things in life if you aren’t real you will be found out. So it makes sense in business to be genuine in your desire to succeed and also to provide a good product or service rather than taking short cuts. A good example of how ‘being real’ can help rather than hinder you is Google ranking. Once upon a time it was sufficient to produce ill-written web content stuffed with keywords aimed solely at search engines. Luckily for the ‘humans’ visiting website, Google’s new algorithm penalises this practice. This is great news for businesses that want to get ahead and care about their clients. Rather than taking short cuts to acheive high ranking web content, text must now be written with both people and search engines in mind.
3. Be intelligent
When starting a new company it’s tempting to save money by asking friends or family for favours. This may seem like the cost effective option but in the long run it is often a false economy. Regardless of their capabilities they will prioritise paying clients and will only deal with your project as an afterthought. If you care about your business and clients you should always use the best resources possible, be it legal, financial or marketing services. As in construction, you need to build strong foundations before you start to build upwards, and they must be strong enough to sustain further growth and to weather all storms. The money you spend employing professionals will save unnecessary expense further down the line.
4. Be different or be daring
This is something that companies in all industries struggle with as it requires some courage. At the end of the day, if you dare to be different it will make your brand stand out from your competition. You may be providing a familiar product or service but you can be different in your approach to managing and marketing your business. Differentiation in the market is vital. Your customers need to know why they should buy from you. Identify the points that make your company unique, integrate the core values of your business into your brand and make sure you get the message across with innovative marketing.
5. Be simple
The world’s most successful businesses offer clearly defined products, a simply buying process and easy to understand offers. Your marketing should provide the path of least resistance to potential clients. No one wants to read long winded text or to go through complicated registration and buying processes, so why not make it easy for them and you’ll get a better response.
You’ll find that most successful businesses sell just one type of product. We’ve all been frustrated by restaurants offering long complicated menus as we know the food and service would be much better if they would just concentrate on fewer dishes – keep it simple. Once you have sorted out your product you need to make it as easy as possible for people to buy it in the least amount of steps. Make life even easier by thinking through special offers from your customers’ point of view – make offers simple, straight forward and easy to put into action.
6. Be professional
Professionalism in every aspect of your company’s operations is essential in order to convey the message that you mean business and you’re in it for the long haul. When it comes to the information that you provide and how you respond to clients, even smallest details can set off alarm bells, if incorrect.
Timely response: If a client has made the effort to fill out a form, they are a valued lead and should be treated accordingly – get back to them ASAP. If you don’t response they’ll buy from someone who will. The key is to be honest; if you’re a small company don’t promise a reply within 24 hours if it isn’t possible, instead let them know an approximate timeframe so they don’t feel neglected. If you don’t, you will be wasting your marketing efforts and you may as well throw your money down the drain.
Contact details: ColaCola doesn’t provide a Hotmail email address or a mobile number as the company’s corporate contact details and neither should you. It looks like you consider your business to be more of a pastime than a professional concern.
Links and forms: If you’re asking potential clients to click through for more information or to complete a form, make sure it works. Nothing hints at a sloppy unprofessional service than unloved websites with broken links.
Consistency: In order to present a professional image you need to project a consistent corporate presence throughout all marketing activity. If your corporate branding is haphazard, inconsistent or your marketing is badly executed it all reflects negatively on your professionalism. It suggests a cavalier attitude towards the products you sell and the service you provide to clients.
7. Be honest
Blowing your own trumpet is fine but don’t over egg the pudding! Making grandiose claims that you can’t live up to is going to reflect badly on your business. Honesty is the best policy. It’s always better to under promise and over deliver. Make sure your marketing will delight rather than disappoint.
If you acknowledge your own strengths and weaknesses, you can set yourself apart from the rest. This applies to both your products and services and the way you market them. For example, if you play to your strengths of providing a great service and leave other aspects that you’re not so adept at, such as marketing, to the professionals.
8. Be kind
Don’t get despondent if things aren’t progressing as quickly as you had hoped. You need to be patient with yourself and your staff. Rome wasn’t built in a day and if you put in the ground work you should reap the rewards.
Also, remember that running a business is about more than profit, it’s a lifestyle for you and provides jobs for your staff.
Your company can also benefit the local and wider community by supporting charities. This is an act of kindness that will not only provide much needed funds to the benefactors, your business will benefit from tax relief and with the right marketing assistance you can generate positive PR. And just remember, what goes around comes round, so you should always be kind to people on your way up…
9. Be social
If you want your business to grow you need to be social. Regardless of your personal opinion about social media you need to have a presence on the most appropriate platforms, otherwise you’re missing the opportunity to connect with your customers. Social media is a vital part of online marketing campaigns; paid ads, fire fighting, special offers and sharing videos. Similarly, if you’re in the hospitality or travel industry you must be vigilant and respond to any online posts about your company, particularly on TripAdvisor.
There is also the aspect of ‘being social in person’. Networking is a great way to grow your contacts and ultimately your business. Customers and suppliers alike make value judgements about businesses and the people behind them. When someone says ‘it’s not personal it's business’ think again! If customers don’t feel like you care, they will go elsewhere.
10. Be grateful
Looking on the bright side will help you to appreciate the progress you have made already and what can be achieved in the future. People who are grateful for what they have, personally and professionally, give off positive vibes which in turn attract more abundance.
It may seem obvious but if you are grateful for the clients you currently have, you’ll do a good job and it will lead to more clients. Again a fairly obvious assumption, you should be grateful to your staff and the suppliers who make it possible for you to run your business. Finally, you should also be grateful to your competitors, as they are saving you the job of educating your potential clients about your type of product, so you can concentrate on defining yourself in the market.
We’ve all heard the saying, “smile and the world smiles with you” and guess what… it’s true!