Email Marketing and B2B Branding
An Overview written by: James Darvell
This article is the first in a step-by-step series teaching:
How to build your brand.
Packed full of valuable information this series will help any businesses new or old, whether they are targeting consumers (b2C) or other businesses (b2b).
This series will be looking at how you can build your company’s brand using email as a primary tool.
This introductionary article will take an overview of the process, and later articles will go into more detail for each step.
What Branding Will Do For Your Business
A brand contains a hidden power that magnifies the power of any advertising message.
In fact, it has the power to transform all business communications into an effective marketing campaign.
Branding strengthens relationships between a company and its existing customers, and can be left to attract new customers all on its own.
In short, it’s a very valuable thing to have, for any company.
The most important thing that a brand can do for a business is to allow it to establish a unique position to market from.
Without a unique position, a business cannot differentiate itself from the competition.
This makes it a lot harder to compete – and often leads to price competition.
Price competition cuts profit margins and makes it difficult for a business to survive and expand.
A business with its own unique position is able to compete on its own terms, and it will attract customers who are looking for unique qualities that you can supply.
How to Build a Brand
Great brands don’t just magically pop into existence. They are carefully constructed and nurtured into existence. While brand building can seem like magic, it’s actually quite straightforward. There are certain steps to follow that will build a powerful brand that works.
At the most basic level, there are really only 3 steps, and each one can be broken down into several smaller steps.
The 3 main steps are:
1: Develop a brand
2: Launch the brand
3: Manage the brand
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these steps:
Developing a Brand
Developing a brand starts with research. It’s important to separate facts from opinions. Trying to build a brand on the back of false assumptions will almost always backfire!
Research will help you to identify several key points.
It will help you to identify the different types of customer that you should be targeting. You will build a profile of each customer type, which will give you an insight into their wants and needs. This is essential when you aim to craft marketing messages which appeal to each.
Next you will be identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the competition, and how customers in the marketplace react to their marketing messages.
This will provide an understanding of what it takes to compete in this space.
You will learn which messages are effective and which are not working. Hopefully, you will be able to work out why.
You are also going to look at your own company and product with a critical eye. You will identify your own strengths and weaknesses, and begin to identify what makes your own company unique.
To uncover all this information, you will be looking in 3 distinct areas. These are the marketplace, your product/service, and your company.
The goal is to establish a unique position for your product or service within the marketplace. This will be the heart of the brand, and will direct the branding messages.
Launching the Brand
Once you have created a brand, you need to launch it. What this means is integrating the brand into all aspects of your business communication.
Far too often, people try to reduce “branding” to something simple, like changing the company’s logo or adding a tag-line to the letterhead. This is part of branding, but branding goes much deeper, than this. To be truly effective, a brand must be integrated into everything a company does and says.
The problem of branding a company is similar to the problems faced by script writers. When they write dialog for a character, writers need to make sure that it rings true. A character has a certain identity, and the lines will either ring true or seem “out of character.”
An audience will reject a script which is not consistent with their expectations about how the characters will behave and act.
If a brand is not used consistently, the marketplace will reject it, and it will backfire. A badly applied brand will seem insincere and will hurt your company’s marketing.
Branding is used to establish the identity of your company. This is why it’s important to base your branding on reality – trying to force a company to assume a false identity in all its communications and actions is impossible, and would ultimately respond in inconsistency.
Once you have worked these things out and integrated your branding into all aspects of your business, you need to get the message out.
There are multiple channels to do this – advertising, PR events, press releases, etc. Do not forget that your regular emails and communications with your customers are a potent channel.
Managing the Brand
Once a brand is launched, it has to be managed. You need to make sure that the company continues to exemplify the brand, and you also need to respond to the marketplace.
With a solid foundation provided by thorough research, you stand a much better chance of creating a big impact through your new brand. But there are no guarantees.
This is why you need to guide the process and be prepared to make changes as you go.
The marketplace will tell you what people think of your new brand. Sometimes it will be directly, in the case of comments, reviews, and critiques. Sometimes you will need to use metrics to infer the attitude of the market.
There are lots of good signs to look out for, such as increased sales, more incoming messages, fewer refunds or complaints. These tell you that your customers are more engaged. To put it simply, they like you more.
On the other hand, mistakes in branding will show up in worsened statistics. These need to be investigated and fixed quickly before the situation worsens!
The Role Of Email
Email is a useful marketing tool throughout the process. Branding is all about communication, and email is the most applicable form of communication in the 21st century.
You can use email in all phases of branding.
It can be used to conduct surveys and gather information for research.
It can be used to test ideas and observations on a small scale before launching big.
It plays a role in launching your new brand to new and existing customers.
And it is a fundamental feedback mechanism that you should use to gauge the impact of your new brand.
It’s important to use the right tools when you are dealing with email. For an individual, a standard email client is enough. For a business dealing with hundreds or thousands of people, this soon becomes cumbersome.
An autoresponder makes it easy to broadcast email messages to prospects and customers. Trafficwave is a managed autoresponder service which provides the tools you need, at a fair price. Unlike other services, Trafficwave charges a flat fee that does not increase when your email list expands.
More to Come………
This article has been a quick overview of branding. In the rest of this series, we will take each of these areas and break them down into step-by-step instructions you can apply to build and improve your brand.
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Published by Brian Nissen - Visit Our Website