How to Start Promoting & Marketing Your Brand Like A True Pro

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand publishing, brand reputation, branded content, Fitness Marketing, market research, marketing demographics, Marketing in the Moment, marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, word of mouth campaigns

Watch this short tutorial on the three no BS things you must continually do to grow your business.

Most small businesses have a limited budget for marketing and advertising and need to better understand where their promotional dollars will be well-spent.
  • Will targeted Facebook ads bring in new memberships or subscriptions?
  • How about creative outdoor advertising?
  • Maybe collaborating with micro-influencers?
  • Partnering with other neighboring businesses?
  • Try a refer a friend email campaign with a promotional offer for each friend who signs up? Should we invest in a new service, like a juice bar?
  • A direct mailer with a big seasonal discount?
An ongoing approach to market research is the beginning of a blueprint for growth for a business owner and it serves two main purposes.
1. It helps the business become more competitive.
2. It will assist in building a more profitable brand.
Good market research should also tell you (if you are open-minded) what services your customers and clients are not happy with, what needs improvement and what you should be offering that you are not.
Do you have questions about building your business? Drop me a line at hello@mj.works or comment below.

Marketing Your Business Blindly & Building it in a Bubble

Brand Awareness, brand management, Creative Marketing Campaigns, market research, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Trends, personalized brand experience, social media marketing, Uncatergorized

I am working on a video tutorial today on how to research and test before you build your business. It will also be useful if you are looking for ways to make it grow.   I will be sure to share it on this blog once it’s posted.  Market research is really important, yet most brands keep on fumbling along without it.

So many companies that I work with tend to build in a bubble. They forget to find out more about their customers, investigate the competition or look for trends on the horizon.

You need to know the lay of the land. You can’t promote just because everyone says “oh this really works”. You need a marketing map people. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your business and you can’t build anything big in a bubble.

CXBubblePost-1

 

Image from SunCityCamp.com – recreating the Martian experience.

 

The Best Way to Begin Building Your Business

brand management, branding on mobile phones, Marketing Metrics, marketing muscle, Measureable Marketing, memorable logos, Uncatergorized

Essentially there are four elements of marketing that you must get right in order to drive sales and begin to grow.

Before you begin to market, check out your competition or products and services like yours and consider what industry standards are right now. You want to be better.

  1. Branding, which includes your business name, logo, icon and look and feel should be spot on. All it takes is a complicated name that is difficult to pronounce or spell to set you back.
  2. Your price in the market place. Are you priced competitively? Are you too low? Too high?
  3. How easy is it for clients and customers to find you? Are you giving them the easiest access to buy? Can they find you when they need you?
  4. How well are you educating them on why your brand is the best? Are you explaining the value you offer and do your customers get it?

Creating the right marketing mix begins with asking the question “Will my customers and clients find me in the right place, at the right time, w/the best price?

How to Get Press Coverage for Your Brand

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand reputation, How to Do Your Own PR, media relations, media relations expert

Getting press coverage for your brand begins with becoming an expert in your industry and understanding what a reporter, journalist or writer is looking for in a story pitch about your brand. I am creating a one hour class that will teach you the essentials so you sound like a professional. Follow me here and subscribe to my YouTube channel. I will be launching this class by the end of the month.

Are you in the middle of starting your own new personal brand or health, wellness or fitness brand? Email me at m.johnson@themarketcouncil.com or Tweet me @marketcouncil with your questions. I would love to help you grow.

An Easy Guide to Creating a Consistent Brand Experience That Builds Trust & Loyalty

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand newsletters and magazines, brand publishing, brand reputation, branded content, branding on mobile phones, building brand trust, Integrated public relations plan, Uncatergorized

Your website and social media channels are your most visible brand statement to the world and every single page of your online branding should be as consistent as possible.

Your Brand Checklist for Social

Your logo, brand colors, tag line, mission statement, bio/profile, high quality visuals and contact information should be the same on each platform you use.

Why Consistency is so Important

People value consistency which in turn creates accountability. Consistency will also establish your reputation and make you and your brand that much more relevant. Being consistent builds trust with future clients, customers and colleagues and enforces your message.

How to Be Consistent

Be consistent in how you display yourself and your company on each website platform and consistently share information that is helpful, resourceful and useful.

This post is targeted to experts and creators in the fitness, organic beauty, health, wellness, nutrition, spa and medical industries. However the rules apply for all markets and all startups. 

As of March 2016 your essential brand platform list includes:

Your Website and a Vlog/Blog along with the following popular social media platforms where you will create brand awareness about your services and products. I recommend WordPress for both. WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP. But in non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today.

facebook Facebook  The user profile according to 2015 Pew Research –66% Men 77% Women.  87% 18-29 years of age and 63% 50-64 yrs of age. However, you can really target your posts and promotional offers by age, interests and location with Facebook ads if you have budgeted for them. 

Instagram Instagram 22% Men 29% Women.  53% 18-29  years of age and 11% 50-64 yrs of age. As of March 2016 the posts with the most Instagram engagement have long form (five to seven sentences with about five #hashtags). Instagrammers want to know about the backstory  behind your photo and video so bring your emotional side along for the ride. 

youtube YouTube Distribution of video by content includes female dominated categories – makeup and beauty, skin and nail care & weight loss. Male dominated video includes soccer, strategy games, X Box and basketball.

YouTube tutorials and brand announcements may seem daunting at first so spend some time in front of the camera to become more aware of how you look and sound. Practice before you upload. You can also share inspirational videos on your channel if YouTube’s not for you. 

linkiedin LinkedIn A great way to network for B2B (business-to-business) services, a premiere subscription (not the free version) will have you connecting without having done business before. You can also publish your helpful and resourceful information to Pulse, LinkedIn’s blog.  Stats as of 3/2016 28% Men 27% Women.  31% 30-49 yrs of age.  30% 50-64  yrs of age. 

google +Google + This was Google’s way of keeping up with communities on Facebook and Twitter, but it never really got off the ground. Most use it to help with SEO (search engine optimization) 74% Men 26% Women 55% from the US. Read this for more on why Google Plus is not “dead”. 

Pinterest Pinterest  Be sure to link your posts, videos and favorite content from your own website and vlog as well. Boards are a collection of inspiration for you to review and to share with your community. 13% Men 42% Women 34% between 18 -29

Twitter Twitter While there is talk of this platform dying (read this New Yorker article) there are still hundreds of millions of dedicated users. 24% Men 21% Women 37% 18-29 and 12% 50-64

& possibly . . . think second phase of your growth . . .

snapchat SnapChat 70% Men 30% Women 71% are 25 and younger. Right now it looks like SnapChat is a pre-teen to teen social media platform but those in the industry like #askgaryvee think this platform will begin to be used by those 40 plus. All big media now have a channel. 

Tumblr Tumblr is a very visual platform and used by fashion designers, artists and photographers10% of all internet users are on Tumblr – 11% women 10% men. In the future, future possibly Periscope, yet another platform that enables you to “go live” via your mobile device anytime and anywhere. (If you are already on all of the other social platforms than I recommend getting on Periscope now because it is so new.)

As an expert it would also be smart to answer questions on Quora and to dig into conversations on Reddit for future blog and vlog content inspiration.

Follow the Leaders If you are looking for inspiration, check out . . .

I do consult with small brands and start ups, so please email me at m.johnson@themarketcouncil.com with questions or to schedule an appointment.

When to begin Branding? Startup Marketing 101

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand reputation, branded content, building brand trust, Marketing in the Moment, marketing plans, start up marketing

I am working on launching an online class called “The Market Sessions” this fall (Sept 2016) where I will share the most efficient and critical strategies for startup growth & success. Follow this blog and subscribe to my YouTube channel here for updates.

One of the first questions I get from owners and founders of startups and small businesses is “when should I begin branding and marketing my business?” In this short teaser video, I include a brief overview of how and when to start promoting your product or service.

Recommendations include

  • Beginning with a brand name and well a vision/mission and a brand guidelines map for media and strategic partners.
  • A strong Icon that can be used when you grow globally.
  • How to market before you actually manufacturer and/or launch.
  • Taking pre-orders to test the market and help fund the future of your business.
  • Once you start selling, continually checking reviews on Amazon, Yelp, Ebay – where ever customers are talking about you.
  • Marketing IRL(in real life) matters just as much as social media. Make sure you are attending and networking at all important events.
  • How user testing will help improve your website conversion.
  • and why it’s important to stay organized along the way.

Please feel free to email me at m.johnson@themarketcouncil.com or tweet me @marketcouncil with your most challenging marketing or branding question.

Best Practices for Consumer Engagement 2015

2015 trends, Brand Awareness, brand management, customer loyalty, Engaging Customer Service, Experiential Marketing, future of marketing

content-and-social-media

7 Things to Know Before Engaging with Your Customers

1. Customers are smart and they have a wealth of Google-able knowledge at their finger tips.

When engaging with them, give them crystal clear, honest and transparent feedback. 

2. Consumers are cynical, skeptical and have no fear posting or sharing their dissatisfaction.

Aim to educate, enlighten and inspire without spamming or turning them off with too much “marketing”. Try a tone that is humble, friendly yet confident about your unique value proposition.

3. They want answers quickly. In a fast-information world, we must respond quickly and swiftly to avoid a crisis, because information can be shared at the click of a mouse or press of a button.

In a 24/7 world of communication answer customer emails and Facebook questions everyday. Don’t make them wait.

4. Customers go to friends, family and other customers for information. It’s not easy to “interrupt” that conversation, especially when what they are sharing is misinformation.

According to Shoutlet, a social listening research firm claims 95% of millennials say that their friends are the most credible source of product information.

Do your best to gently bring them sources of information that they can trust. Building trust is the best thing you can do when connecting with your consumers. 

5. Consumers don’t trust branded content. Especially advertised branded content. Especially blatant “spammy” content.

As a brand you have to be very careful how you speak to consumers or you will turn them off. Review copy and messaging to make sure you aren’t just “selling” product but sparking a conversation and answering their questions.  

6. Consumers want to keep it simple. Your messages must be simple and easier to understand and important to them.

7. You also need to be exactly where they are, when they want you. On their phones, tablets and at every point-of-purchase. Preferably with a great offer. Convenience is everything. If you haven’t seen Dash from Amazon, check it out now.  https://fresh.amazon.com/dash/

device-amazon-dashAmazon Dash. Just brilliant.

How to Build a Trustworthy Brand

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, Experiential Marketing, experiential retail

I had the opportunity to study and interview one of my client’s product demonstrations this past Monday during a Whole Foods in-store event. Call it experiential marketing for the organic & natural seeking consumer.

My assignment – discover how we can make the program even stronger. What tools should we supply these brand ambassadors with? How can we help them inspire and sell more?

This client peddles chemical-free hair color. I do a lot for them – including the creation of a beautiful new website.

It was just pouring outside. Bad weather had me cautiously driving slick roads thinking – low turn out, it’s going to be a bust, the store will be dead. Wrong.

Whole Foods was jammed, a cart-to-cart race around the fresh organic avocados and shiitake mushrooms. Thought to self: It’s Monday at 11 am EST, don’t these people have jobs?

Armed with new surveys, email sign ups and a beautifully wrapped raffle giveaway to inspire shoppers to hand over their emails and opt in to our monthly marketing offers, I was ready to take these demonstrations to the next level of branding and sales success.

When Branding becomes a Blemish on your UVP

I watched the demonstrator set up her table and she just blew my mind when she whipped out a home-made before and after photo of her own hair with her new healthy color. This is her show and tell to help sell my client’s hair color?

Two amateur photos, printed at CVS and glued on a piece of faded and slightly torn sheet of construction paper with the words “before and after” scribbled underneath. I was stunned.

Now my first thought was – add that to our graphics needs list, but the demonstrator insisted that customers just loved it. They believed the before and after because it was her own photo. It was convincing, not some “branded bullsh$@!

I gather the notion of making every single marketing message polished, perfect and PhotoShop-ed – is just not always the way to play it. Customers are so incredibly skeptical. Ready to shoot you down.

While I really don’t like “studies” and know that most statistics fall prey to confirmation bias, there has been  recent research on just how skeptical consumers have become.

The true challenge of marketing is how to make your mark without burning your brand. How to get customers to trust and believe you before they layout their hard earned cash.

 

Beautiful Photos & Videos for Your Website

brand management, Content management, Content strategy, visual communications

biking on bridge

By now you should know that building great content and remarkable visuals for your website and online brand is really important to your success. If you are starting a new business and you don’t have any of your own photos, there are plenty of new and popular photo and video websites and sources to choose from, including Clip Canvas and Open Footage and those listed here on Hongkiat.com.

I recently stumbled upon UnSplash from @pickcrew and I really like their creative work.  While UnSplash is a creative community of freelance professionals, they do giveaway 10 free (do whatever you want) hi-res photos every 10 days.  Speaking of free tools to help build your business, check out this massive list from The Next Web, here. We love 365PSD for one free premium graphic each day.

Just don’t have the time? Need help building your library of visual assets or creative content? Drop us a line at m.johnson@themarketcouncil.com

Retailers become Agents for Change

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand reputation, cause related campaigns, Creative Marketing Campaigns, ethical business practices

Hola Image copyBarney’s  New York window treatments become Agents for Change. Fashion with a conscience. Watch for more as retailers connect to serve the public and offer deeper meaning behind fashion.

HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles) provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.

#givingback #socialresponsibility #businessesdoinggood