As a business grows, you need to rethink a lot of the strategies that support and run it. You need to rethink the roles inside the job, you need to rethink delivery and organization. You also need to rethink marketing. As you scale, gone are the days of being the scrappy small business just trying to get noticed. Now you need to start representing the brand as it really should be. You should be adding some prestige and heft to your marketing. Here are the steps you should be considering to that end.
Know your ideal customer
Regardless of what it is you’re selling, knowing your ideal customer is the first step in thinking of ways to branch out your marketing. It gives you that deeper understanding that can help you hone down your message. One of the ways to find that better understanding is to build a profile of your absolute ideal customer. Think about their age, education or occupation. Think about what it is they’re seeking directly from your product. Think about what their buying strategy is most likely to be. How would you talk specifically to that customer? To really establish a brand, your marketing needs to be limited (but not exclusionary). By focusing your message on the ideal customer, you create one that has a lot more heft than a generic, widespread appeal.
Realize the best outcome
Smaller businesses tend to be excited about their idea or product. They will talk all about the features and specifics of what they’re offering. This might attract the industry enthusiasts and fuel conversation and speculation. However, it doesn’t tell people why they should buy your product or service. Instead, you want to cut straight to the point. You want to visualize the very best outcome of what happens when a consumer becomes a customer of yours. What kind of lifestyle does it contribute to? What kind of problems does it solve in your customer’s life? Your value proposition isn’t in the little improvements that make your product competitive. It’s in the outcome that makes it valuable.
As you grow from ‘small business’ to ‘growing competitor’, there’s still quite a bit of trust-building to be done. You might have a customer base, but you’re going to be appealing to a larger market than ever. Which means a lot of your efforts are going to have to be funneled into establishing yourself as a trustworthy brand. The use of media that comes with a bigger marketing campaign is a part of becoming more recognizable, for one. But now is the time to start playing with the big dogs. It’s time to use influencer marketing as it’s meant to be used. Not just getting in contact with any blog that will take you. You need to start recognizing the real influencers in your industry and reaching out to them.
Know your press
This idea of reaching out is going to become a lot more prevalent the more a company grows. Now that you’re no longer a scrappy upstart, you’re going to be taken more seriously on the broader scale. Which means you’re likely to have a lot more outreach potential when you’re trying to bring in some publicity and create a buzz. One of the best methods you can use to that end is getting in touch with the press. A business’s presence in the press says a lot about their current position on the market. You might not get every story in a place of prominence, but those you do are doing invaluable work. You might even want to create a ‘Featured On’ graphic for your site to highlight this growing reach you have.
Get the best spots at trade shows
Real live events are a powerful tool for just about any business. As you continue to grow, you’re going to have more resources to devote towards these events. For instance, in trade shows, you need to be willing to not only pay for bigger and better branding. You want to ensure that you get pride of place. Location is a big deal. If you’re closer to other big brands, you establish yourself as being part of that same market. If you’re closer to the entrance, you’re going to benefit from the sheer volume of foot traffic coming your way.
It’s time to look into media that you might not have been able to, in the past, as well. You need to start representing your brand in new medias. You need to give it the professional finish that is lacking in the marketing methods of so many smaller businesses. The breakthrough you’re looking for could be in video marketing. Now you have the resources, you should consider getting a live video production team on board. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get the best results in trying to produce your own video marketing. Those efforts usually do more harm to your brand than good. Pair with those who know how to turn your branding into top notch visual storytelling.
Giving customers a look in
There’s a trend that’s started to grow a lot more popular recently, thanks to the transparency shown in companies like Google. That is the trend of giving the public a much broader look into the environment and culture of the company. Photography marketing isn’t just for taking the best pictures of your products and services. It can also be used to give customers a sneak peek into the everyday happenings and personalities of the company. This puts faces and names to the brand, building a familiarity and warmth that can turn into real viral marketing potential. Encouraging your staff to be social and responsive with their message creates not just a brand, but a team that the public can get behind and support.
Keep data on your side
Creative storytelling and building public recognition and trust are very human elements of marketing. But you shouldn’t be ignoring the colder calculations in the equation, as well. We’re talking about looking at the data behind your efforts. Everything needs to be measured and analyzed. Are you using online marketing? Then tools like Google Analytics can help you understand which messages work better than others. It’s not just a method for companies looking to grab onto any means of growth they can. 51% of the Fortune 500 companies use Google Analytics. As the tech and methodology improve, you can be sure that this number is going to grow, as well.
Take advantage of the time you have
When talking about online marketing, you’re talking about an attention span that is a lot shorter than usual. People browsing online are looking for immediate gratification and instant curiosity. If you can’t offer that to them, you might find yourself fighting to keep the interest of your audience. For instance, look at content marketing which has become one of the most popular and effective online marketing methods. When creating content, you need to think not only about the value it delivers to the reader. You need to think about how to make it ‘snackable’. How do you boil it down to the most vital points and ensure your audience finishes it from start to end?
Go bigger than just yourself
We live in a cynical world. People are conditioned to ‘tune out’ a lot of marketing. There are some ways we break through that conditioning. It can be through visual storytelling or through viral potential. Or it can be through appealing to something other than their consumerist tendencies. Nowadays, corporate social responsibility is on the minds of consumers a lot more than in the past. People want to know that businesses are using their influence and resources to help the world, not just themselves. They’re even willing to spend more businesses who fulfill those ethical expectations. Which is one of the reasons that cause marketing has become such a big deal. If you’re not using the power of aligning your business to a good cause, you’re missing out.
Be the go-to person
Personal branding has become a huge part of brand marketing. Just look at the late Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer or Elon Musk. These are not only smart businesspeople but leaders of cults of personality. People respect them and look to them as experts. Which is a title you should be fighting to hold publicly, yourself. It’s easy to angle yourself as someone with expertise. To be a true expert, however, you have to get others to agree that you are. This means giving appearances in news and media. It also means gaining access to conferences and discussions and becoming trusted in the industry. Content marketing is a huge part of that, but so is making sure that you keep up-to-date and being the expert you market yourself as.
Strengthen your message. Branch out into more impactful media and methods. Represent your brand personally. These are how you scale the marketing efforts of a growing company. We hope the tips above help you spot the specific plans that will work for you.