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Who’s the Hero in Your Brand Story?

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Strategy | 0 comments

brand storyStorytelling is one of the biggest marketing words of the year, just behind influencer in popularity. It’s important to craft stories that reach your buyers, and every story needs a hero. Who do you think that hero is? Is it your brand, swooping in to save the day and solve all of their pain points? There’s certainly an argument to be made for the “brand as hero” mindset. The case is even stronger for those companies with a noble edge, such as TOMS Shoes, Warby Parker, or Patagonia. These brands appeal to buyers with their promise to give back, either in a one-for-one model that provides necessities to the less fortunate, or in Patagonia’s case, with contributions to protect the environment. If you think of your brand as the hero in your brand story, then you’re not alone. But ask yourself: Who actually makes the journey?

Considering the Buyer’s Journey

If you answered the question above with “The buyer!” then you’re already starting to get it. Every buyer goes through a certain process before making the decision to purchase. Some have a longer journey than others, but they all go through the same stages.
  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision
Just like an epic novel, these “characters” must move through the phases of the journey before they get the reward: your product or service. So, what does that make your brand, if you’re not the hero in your own story?

Brand’s Role in the Brand Story

Every hero has a mentor, right? Luke Skywalker’s Yoda, Harry Potter’s Dumbledore, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’s Gandalf…even Scout’s Atticus Finch, if you prefer to step away from the fantasy genre for a moment. What do these mentors all have in common? The mentor in these stories educates the hero. Your brand should provide the answers your buyers need to make their decisions, from the very first step of the journey until well after the decision has been made. Now that you’re aware of the buyer’s role as the hero and your brand’s role as the mentor, let’s consider the buyer’s journey again. How can your brand help them on their epic quest to solve their pain points?

Benefits of Reversing the Roles

When the buyer can see themselves as the hero in your brand story, you make an instant connection. Your job is to show them that you care more about their needs than you do about your own sales. You provide them with the content needed to move from the awareness stage to the consideration stage. And as they consider your brand as the answer to their needs, you provide them with the offers they need to make the decision, whether it’s a free trial, a one-time discount, or simply a tutorial. As you continue to mentor them through their journey, they will develop trust that eventually becomes fierce loyalty. Your brand story hero then becomes your brand advocate, and then they might just become the first-most-popular marketing word of the year: an influencer. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you tell your brand’s story, give us a call. We’d love to help you embrace your role as mentor so you can see your hero through to the decision phase of the journey every time.

The Future of Social Media Marketing

Posted by Liz Papagni in Social Media Marketing | 0 comments

future of social media marketingIf you’re still using the old faithful social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—don’t worry. These networks aren’t going anywhere. If, however, you’ve noticed a downtrend in the number of engagements you’re receiving, it may be because you haven’t kept up with the many new ways that marketers are using these tools. The future of social media marketing has arrived. You’ll get by on your old tricks, but to really reach new audiences, you have to try new things. Here are some trends you can adopt right now to see better engagement on social.

Facebook Messenger

It’s true that about one-third of the entire world is on Facebook. This behemoth marketing platform will be a part of your routine for years to come. However, the personal nature that Facebook Messenger offers your communications really seems to resonate with today’s buyers. More than one billion people use Facebook Messenger, which means it’s ripe for the use of ads, video, and chat bots. In fact, some believe Messenger will become the new email—though we’re still reserving judgment on that. Messenger ads work just like the ads that appear in your Facebook feed. You can choose the audience according to location, age range, interests, and activities. The big difference is that the ads you send show up directly in the recipients’ Messenger inboxes, meaning you can be sure eyes touch your marketing efforts.

Disappearing Content

While marketing with Snapchat is nothing new—we’ve actually covered some tips for this medium before—the power of the disappearing message is really starting to come into its own. This particular medium provides a sense of urgency unlike any other advertising option. In fact, the popularity of Snapchat has inspired Facebook and its properties to create their own versions, including Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and WhatsApp Status. The availability of these new platforms has only increased the amount of targeted disappearing advertising that marketers send. It’s really your choice as to which of the platforms you use. You may want to keep a few things in mind as you decide. The first is that Instagram Stories has surpassed the number of Snapchat users, which may mean a wider audience for your marketing. However, Snapchat is still the social media network of choice for Generation Z and Millennials. Choose your channel according to whom you’re trying to reach.

Social Video

While billions of hours are watched on YouTube each day, there’s a native feel to social video—such as those viewed on Facebook and Twitter—that marketers prefer. In fact, 46% of marketers plan to add Facebook video to their marketing strategy this year. Before amassing a library of marketing video content, there are a few things to remember. Most importantly, our attention spans are shrinking. Facebook and YouTube both encourage marketers to create stories in six seconds or less. Longer video still has its place, but if you want regular engagement with buyers, keep those ads short. As you can see, marketing trends are constantly changing. To maintain your brand’s connection to your buyers, your methods must also evolve. If you’d like to explore new ways to use social media for your marketing needs, give us a call.

5 Tasks to Build Brand Credibility

Posted by Liz Papagni in Brand Strategy | 0 comments

brand credibility Your brand credibility is more perilous than you might think. It takes years to craft a solid reputation, and only a split second to destroy it all. With the enormous reach of social media, one gaffe could reach millions of people in minutes. That’s why it’s so important to constantly monitor your reputation and work hard to continuously build brand credibility. These steps are so easy that many tend to set them and forget them. If you’re working now to build your brand’s reputation or clamoring to recover from a PR disaster, start work right away. If you’re coasting along on a great reputation, don’t leave these tasks until it’s too late.

Examine Your Brand

You should always keep your brand in mind, every second of every day. Training for staff should include your brand’s mission, vision, voice, and message. If you’re still not sure what your brand’s purpose is, then you haven’t yet spent enough time building your brand. The message you send to your customers solidifies this brand. If your words, actions, and images don’t fit the brand you’re crafting, then you’ll lose credibility. All it takes is one slip on social media to but your brand in peril. Bigger faux pas, such as the ones plaguing United Airlines in the news lately, could knock you all the way back to the beginning.

Exercise Your Voice

When a vocalist doesn’t use her instrument, it gets rusty from disuse. The next time she sings, she may sound different—and that can be confusing to listeners. Always pay attention to your brand voice. Learn what you sound like to your buyers and work hard to maintain that voice. It’s important to constantly analyze your buyer personas, too. Maybe you’re using the wrong voice to reach them. A hip, trendy brand voice might get attention, but it won’t impress your buyers if it doesn’t match the services or products that you offer.

Build a Better Blog

Buyers want to learn about your services or products before buying. By creating content that establishes you, the company owner, as a thought leader, you build enormous credibility for your brand. Share tips, tricks, and tutorials. Spread good news about your company with press posts. Dig into deeper thoughts and share your opinions about your industry. Every word will work to boost your brand credibility.

Check Your Website

Is your website up to date? An old, clunky, slow website speaks volumes to new visitors. Your brand screams, “We don’t know what we’re doing!” so loudly that nothing you say can drown it out. Make sure your pages load quickly and that the site functions as it should. And, of course, you must be mobile responsive now. Not only will a non-mobile site turn off your buyers, but it also will perform poorly in search engine results.

Pay Attention to Reviews

Now, how will you know that your brand resonates with your buyers? How do you know you’ve built credibility you can count on? By listening to your customers. Read reviews. Take them to heart. Sure, some can be ignored—specifically those left by users hoping to stir controversy. The real reviews, however, should be used to help you build your brand credibility. When reviews are bad, examine the claim, determine where you went wrong, and address the problem immediately. When reviews are good, use the feedback to bolster the credibility you’re building. And remember: these reviews aren’t always a formal affair, left on third-party sites or your own website. Monitor social media to keep an ear tuned to what buyers are saying about you. As you can see, these tasks must be performed over and over and over again. It’s important to always have your brand credibility in mind. If you’re working to build your brand or to recover from an incident that has put your brand in jeopardy, give us a call. Building solid brands is what we do.

6 Reasons to Blog for Your Business

Posted by Liz Papagni in Marketing Strategy | 0 comments

blog for your business Starting—and maintaining—a business blog is hard. We know. Creating a content calendar, conducting research, and setting aside the time to write and publish can take a huge chunk out of your time. That’s why so many companies end up forgoing a blog altogether or only contribute a few times per year. Sure, anything you add to your website can help, but a back-burner blog means you’re missing out on one of the most powerful marketing tools available. There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons to blog for your business, but we think these six are the most important. Let’s take a look.

It’s Actually Pretty Easy

Sure, the thought of researching and writing can be overwhelming, but when compared to many of the other marketing activities you do for your company every day, it’s actually pretty easy to get a blog going. Most website themes include a blogging portal, so you don’t even have to have someone redesign your site or add new pages. All you have to do is click “add post,” and you’re off and running.

Share Your Expert Status

Did you know that 96% of B2B buyers want content from industry thought leaders? That could be you, building credibility for your products, your services, and your expertise. Think for a second: What makes you trust one company more than another when you’re making the decision to buy? Don’t you want to know that you’re putting your own company in good hands? The same is true for consumers, too. Before they buy your products, they want to be sure they can trust you. Show them with your blog.

Increase Your Qualified Leads

More than 74% of companies say that regular blogging increased the quantity and the quality of their sales leads. The reason for this is increased traffic, because B2B companies that blog sixteen or more times per month see up to 3.5 times more traffic than those that blog zero to four times per month. If you’re a B2C company, statistics show that eleven or more blogs each month can bring up to four times as many leads as a business that blogs fewer than four times per month. It just makes sense that more traffic would result in more leads, right?

Get and Keep More Customers

Those leads are more likely to turn into customers, too. In fact, 92% of businesses that blog more than once per week say they’ve gained at least one customer through their content. So, it’s easy to see how more leads could lead to more customers. How can your blog help you keep those customers? Well, many readers will happily offer up comments when they’re done reading. This gives you better insight into your idea customers’ needs. Learn what you can from their input, tweak your buyer personas, and provide a better service or product for your target audience. That’s what keeps them coming back.

Make More Sales

Buyers who read your blog do so because they trust you. That means they’ll give preference to any suggestions you might make. That trust leads to purchases that can soothe their pain points. It’s true; 61% of buyers say they’ve made a purchase based on something they read in the company’s blog.

SEO

You might think we’d lead off with this one, especially since SEO is on the lips and fingertips of every speaker and blogger. The truth is, however, that quality information that inspires trust in your buyers is much more important to Google than your keywords. Still, you can use your blog to drive traffic according to specific search terms. Just be sure to think through the things your buyers are most likely to search for, create the content that will answer their questions, and the SEO will take care of itself. Have more questions about how a blog for your business could boost your marketing efforts? Want to talk to us about how we can help you get your blog moving? We’re here for you, so just give us a call.