Effective brand marketing distinguishes one business apart from its competitors, creates top-of-mind awareness, and precedes the “buying cycle” for many products and services.
Unfortunately, most practices continue to view brand marketing as synonymous with mass media advertising (television, radio, print, billboards, etc.). They pessimistically assume that this goal is out of their reach and budget. Thus, they overlook the opportunity, and even necessity to start developing an online brand.
It’s Not Just About Reach, But Targeted Reach
Most practices see “branding” only in terms of large corporate entities, like Nike, Mercedes, Apple, etc., where mass media reach needs to be at gargantuan levels. However, having a household name and branded image is not the only criteria for brand marketing success.
The successful small business brand marketers develop an identity with the right audience.
For example, companies such as Odyssey, Winn, Srixon, and even Ping likely have little or no identity with the general consumer (certainly not my wife!). But to the avid golfer, who invests regularly in the sport, these are highly branded. The same can go for nearly every niche industry.
The key is to find effective ways to reach a substantial, yet highly targeted audience and develop multiple ways for them to become exposed to you, your practice, your services and areas of distinction.
Frequency Is Your Friend
The other aspect of successful brand marketing is to ensure you have enough frequency to your target audience so your messaging has an opportunity to cut through the clutter and help you become recognizable, and even memorable to consumers that are likely candidates for your services or potential sources for referrals.
We all realize that one-time exposure has little branding or residual value, no matter how good the message is. The good news for your practice is that the Internet can accurately target and maintain your presence to highly niche audiences, particularly those who have already had initial exposure to you.
One strategy that can maintain high quality branding exposure to your prospective clients/patients is the use of an automated Inbound Marketing campaign. Inbound marketing helps you identify your most interested visitors through downloading higher quality content and resource offerings and calls-to-action.
Once visitors download these resources, their contact information is collected and a useful, informational email follow-up campaign of additional resources is launched. The information is highly segmented and related to the topic they initially requested so that over the course of the campaign, you become a recognized and branded expert on this topic.
These offerings and calls-to-action can be promoted in a number of ways (the more the better!) including on your website, through search engine PPC ads, social media shares/promotions and paid advertising, display advertising, e-newsletters, direct marketing and advertising, and more.
Behavioral retargeting is highly targeted Internet-based display advertising where ads target consumers based on their actions on the web and previous history. Most commonly used in conjunction with lower cost display advertisements, these ads specifically target an audience with demonstrated interest.
Retargeting utilizes pixels within a page or email that tags the user and sets a cookie in the user’s browser. Once the cookie is in place, the practice is able to show display advertisements to that user when they visit other websites that are part of an ad exchange or display ad network, (Google Display Network includes over a million popular web pages, blogs, smartphone apps, videos, and other online destinations that show these ads).
Retargeting can concentrate exposure to users who have been to a specific destination (including your website), opened your emails, consumed specific types of content, searched specific keyword phrases or topics, etc. And retargeting not only applies to Google-related resources, but can also be part of your social media marketing, including Facebook paid ads.
For a long time, many practices have overlooked their greatest opportunity to develop their brand; their existing and growing list of satisfied clients, patients, colleagues, referrers, vendors and contacts.
Like all efficient and effective marketing campaigns, brand marketing starts from within and radiates outward. Engaging your most loyal and supportive audience is a fundamental foundation to constructing your online brand. Here are some tips to boost your e-newsletter results and campaigns.
Most practices recognize that database marketing can be an important catalyst for stimulating repeat customers, referrals, and promoting special offers or notices. However, they fail to see the bigger picture of solidifying relationships that quality brands are built upon.
Frequency Demands Quality
The biggest objection or concern most practices use to resist branding types of campaigns is that they will exhaust their customers or prospects with repeated messages that eventually turn them off. The key is to ensure you are not simply promoting, but providing truly useful, interesting, engaging and shareable information, resources and assets.
These can be in the form of articles, videos, e-books, infographics, consumer guides, checklists, “how-to’s,” etc. By using a variety of “visual” content, you will not only maintain an audience, you can build your brand and position yourself as an authority that has earned top-of-mind awareness.
Start Branding Today!
The Internet and all of the data that gets collected gives marketers the unprecedented opportunity to better identify, reach and brand your practice to highly targeted and segmented niche audiences. By embracing branding into your online marketing strategy, you will:
- Generate higher quality traffic and leads by reaching the right consumers who already are familiar with you at the right time during the buying or decision-making cycle.
- Stimulate more referrals when the opportunity to share your information and practice presents itself to your branded audience, particularly your existing and past clients/patients.
And isn’t that what effective marketing is all about?!
~ Bill Fukui, Director of Sales & Marketing