1) BE SURE YOUR BRAND PREMISE IS CLEAR, AND CONCISE.
Entrepreneurs who start new businesses typically have one very important skill in common: the ability to come up with a new way of solving a problem. That’s how brands are born. But often these same managers fall short when it comes to messaging – in other words describing the central premise of the new brand.
Frequently, product and service descriptions are too complex for someone outside the business to quickly grasp. When it comes to a new business model, a clear, concise definition of why your company exists is the key to success.
Here’s a good test. Imagine someone outside your firm has 30 seconds to tell a colleague what your company does. Have you provided them with a simple, memorable description, or will they have to do their best at improvising on what they understand so far?
2) ARTICULATE THAT BRAND PREMISE ON YOUR HOMEPAGE.
The major mistake with b2b brands is a tendency to squeeze as much as possible onto the home page of the website. It’s based on the fear that ‘we don’t want them to miss something important’. However, the overall result is often a jumble of information, with no clear central theme. Even worse, it makes the company look amateurish. There is no substitute for clean, simple design. That starts with your logo, carries through on your website, your packaging, your blog and anything else that the customer sees.
3) IDENTIFY EARLY ADOPTERS AND TARGET THEM.
We often tell our clients that there is a counter-intuitive stage in early marketing efforts. The idea is to try and define your target as narrowly as possible. The closer you can come to defining a particular potential buyer for your product, the better your brand positioning will be. It forces you to think clearly about the problem this person has that your brand helps solve. It allows you to articulate that in your web copy, your content, your LinkedIn profile and your blog.
In other words, narrow positioning does the best job of selling. When you have a broad target, it’s much more difficult to be convincing. Imagine that you are speaking to the prospect one-on-one. Leave the ‘one size fits’ all to the infomercials.
4) CREATE ALL MESSAGING WITH A GOAL OF CONVERSION.
It’s called conversion rate optimization (CRO). It means turning site visitors into customers. The best way that we know how to do this is: ask them. Allow site visitors to communicate with you via live chat. Ask for feedback. Ask your current customers what they liked best about the site and least.
Look at each stage of your site to determine where the pitfalls are in the conversion process. Just because you have a free download in the Nav bar doesn’t mean that will work best. Have you given them a strong enough rationale to try your product first?
The goal is to discover what’s in the way of conversion. Some people suggest running A/B options on your site right out of the gate to see what works. But we believe it’s better to find out straight from the horse’s mouth, and then make adjustments.
We say this more than once a day: It’s more important for your brand to be perceived as ‘different’ than it is to be thought of as ‘better’. Different is what makes you stand out. Get noticed. Make news. Have your content shared. Better is great, but you have to be noticed first.
A brand strategy that is unlike others in the category gives you the best chance to succeed.
6) PAY FOR DESIGN THAT MAKES YOU LOOK MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN YOU ARE.
Let’s say you have 3- 4 competitors that are easily ten times as big as you are. Maybe even bigger. Create a website that LOOKS better than theirs does. Make it simpler. More creative. More engaging. Less verbose. If ever there were a smart place to invest your initial marketing dollars here is the holy trinity: Your name. Your logo. Your website. Hire the best strategy and design team you can afford. You will never regret this expense.
7) CREATE THE CONTENT YOUR TARGET VALUES MOST.
If original video is king of the shared content world, the videos that provide information your customer truly needs are the ones that will grow your brand. The premise is typically backwards. Businesses think in terms of ‘What have we got that we can make a video about?’ The question should be ‘What’s at the top of our customer’s list of concerns, and how can we address that in a video?’