4 Ways to Build a Brand Geared to Your Target Customer
This is an era of branding—from personal branding to the big brands that have always put marketing might into building a powerful image. Small businesses need to be just as diligent about branding—but also highly aware that small business branding is a different animal. Everything a small business does must be focused on their customers, and present a cogent, uniform image that appeals to those customers.
Here are four keys to doing it well.
1. Identify your ideal customer
Sounds simple? You’d be surprised how many small businesses waste time, energy, and resources going after every opportunity, instead of having a laser focus on identifying the customers who have the exact problems or needs that their products and services solve. One way to uncover your ideal customer is to make a list of your current clients whom you’ve enjoyed working with and who have brought you the most business and referrals.
Look for their common characteristics, such as demographics (age, income, education), and psychographics (the more subjective stuff like values, interest, lifestyles.) Some people even suggest you write a profile of your ideal customer, including details of where they went to school and how they spend their day, so you have a solid image in mind of who you are trying to reach.
2. Create your personal brand
Charlie Cook, a business consultant and author of The New Profit Rules, says small businesses make a mistake by trying to copy the brand strategies of national companies with tremendous advertising budgets. Instead, he says you should put your unique personality into your small business marketing—because that’s something no competitor can copy.
“Whether you sell to individuals or large companies, your buyer is a human being with his or her own quirks, interests, and emotions,” Cook says. “When they get to know you and your own ideas, expertise, and passion, they’ll be able to relate to you and be more comfortable doing business with you.”
For example, Cook regularly shares details from his personal life in his newsletter and website. And it’s likely that your company’s personality is a key draw for your ideal customers anyway, so leverage it.
3. Focus and test your messages
Once you understand the ideal customer you’re trying to reach, you need to make sure your Internet advertising messages constantly reinforce your brand. In a digital marketing age, you have an advantage because customers leave all sorts of clues that marketing is working.
“Take note of the data about who is clicking on your ads,” says Laura O’Shaughnessy, CEO of SocialCode, a social advertising agency. “What else are they interested in? What messaging and images got the best response? This can inform not just how to optimize the current campaign, but how to engage with your customers on social media or during future ad campaigns. The data is gold. The best way to build a relationship with interested parties is to cater to them with relevant messaging and content.”
4. Maintain a consistent voice
Your companies’ voice is the language and personality you use to communicate with customers in your local internet marketing. If you send out a folksy newsletter, it shouldn’t link to a professorial-sounding website—the tone and feel of all customer communications should reflect the relationship you have with your ideal customers as well as their expectations. Your logo and design should be consistent across websites, business cards, and every other touchpoint.
“In the digital age, marketers need to ensure that they thoroughly consider the consumers’ mindset when visiting a brand’s website or social network site,” says Daryl Colwell, vice president of MediaWhiz, a marketing firm. “Potential customers are coming to brands’ websites via a multitude of off-site social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, where they were likely spending most of their time viewing family photos, playing games, and chatting with friends. Make sure the transition to your website is as seamless as possible.”
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