Perfecting your branding, message and customer experience

Branding and optimizing the customer experience

I have been so busy over the last few months with this article concept rolling around in my head… It is happening today, because I need to remind myself of these concepts routinely in the future and blogging about them is how I put the plaque on the wall.

Digital Marketing Fun!-Da-Mentals

A HUGE part of marketing is just paying attention to what is out there and noting how it has affected you as a consumer. I have learned so much as a self-taught marketer just by paying attention to what influences me. Observations like how I come to making decisions when purchasing services and products opened up a new perspective. To take it a step further I began breaking down a list of approaches. These can help you make your customers journey more alluring, accessible, and ultimately more enjoyable.

Company message, branding, attitude, and culture play a massive part in influencing potential customers decisions. Ask yourself what are the real drivers that will get people excited about investing in what your company has to offer in the first place? Seth Godin, one of today’s marketing geniuses always points out how emotion is the number one driver to use in successful marketing. According to Seth, there are 6 primary emotions and “All other words are merely costumes for the six emotions built deep in our primordial soup.” The trick is to figure out what combination of these you think you should use when promoting your solution, product, or service. Focusing on finding a relationship to one of these emotional triggers can create powerful messages that will attract prospects.

  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Fear
  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Surprise

(Fear)
For example, if you have a digital security company. You could use the threat of viruses or data corruption as your motivator.

(Happiness)
Introduce adorable animals doing hilarious things into your sketches and pitches. This could make the service / product funny or memorable.

(Sadness)
Relate to the pain or problem that people are experiencing and offer a solution or remedy. For example, someone being bogged with work and getting more time to be with the family by incorporating your solution.

On the other hand, what type of prospect are you wanting to attract in the first place? Do not forget there is the other side of the coin! I sat down and thought about this a good deal and wanted to be realistic with myself about it. The first thing I did was put together a short company personality profile that dictated how we would like our company to be perceived by the outside world. This would in turn influence how we design our message, branding, color scheme, photography, videography, podcasts, and other media.

I knew there were thousands of web design and marketing agencies so above all things we needed figure out what really makes us unique among the heard. Try answering the question (Why your company?).  Build the best profile you can that would attract the type of client you would want to work with in the first place.

Not sure about you, but I would rather work with 10 clients that are fun engageable and easy going, than 1 hard-pressed angry impossible to please one. We came up with 10 adjectives that we thought fit the culture of our company above all others. An agency persona began to emerge.

  • Personable
  • Professional
  • Creative
  • Knowledgeable
  • Understanding
  • Responsive
  • Supportive
  • Friendly
  • Engaging
  • Fun!

The objective here is to attempt to attract clients that work best with the culture and personality we believe our agency to have.

Branding and Identity

Your brand is your identifier, footprint, signature that you will use over and over to make an impression and leave your mark.

Company branding should not be taken lightly. It might evolve and morph in different directions over its lifespan. Its infancy stage will dictate where it goes for years to come. I personally believe it is healthy to spend the time to get this right from the start. Your logo, color scheme, font families, slogans and layout choices will end up being the skin that carries your brand into the future. You really want to brand and accent everything you can think of that will be in front of your customer. If done consistently and correctly, in time when your clients think (Your Service or Product) your brand will be one of the options that arise from consciousness.

Branding is very tribal, and it can give members of your organization a sense of unity and aid in moral. People enjoy being part of something they believe in, not just a paycheck. I do not think I have ever spent money on branding clothing or items that are mostly given away that I regret.

Below is a list of things I would consider to be solid branding choices.

Website
Business Cards
Letter Head
Brochures
Email Signatures
Newsletters
Clothing
Vehicles
Social Avatars
Infographics

Proposals
Invoices
QR Codes
Fav Icons
Stickers
USB drives
DVDs
Images Watermarks
Engravings
Embroidery
Novel Toys

The list just keeps going.

Being Authentic

Being authentic with what you are representing will never let you down. In the beginning when we started Blue Light Labs in Atlanta it was always about trying to appear larger and more corporate / serious. As soon as we dropped the act and stopped making excuses it was so much easier to breath and start becoming what we were meant to be in the first place, a web design and marketing agency that does great work and cares about its client’s success.  I love this line in Pulp Fiction that Harvey Ketel says to this lady that owns the waste disposal company. “Just because you are a character does not mean you have character.” That line has always stuck with me. I honestly believe that the true nature of an organization comes from its founders and employees. People are not purchasing your product or service; they are investing in how you will produce that product or service.

Create A Clear Message

Your message can go many ways, but it should always be parallel with your companies branding and disposition. Whatever media is being incorporated make sure it’s clear what you are offering and why. Short problem – solution examples with a sense of novelty included added into your designs works well.

Digital Marketing Channels

We deep dive into all these marketing channels throughout this blog. There is too much information to cover in this post, so try to research each one before spending any of your marketing budget.

  • (SMM) Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Organic Search
  • (PPC) Paid Search
  • Email + SMS Marketing + Marketing Automation
  • Video Marketing

So how am I going to wrap this up and relate it to customer experience? Yea, it was not until this point that I realized that I have gone off on a few tangents.

The Customer Experience

Like I pointed out above being authentic just works. If a prospect does not find what they are looking for in your message or deliverables you might not need that prospect in the first place. In fact in some cases, they will just end up costing you money and sanity. When the message is genuine, and branding works then comes quality engagement. This is where many companies fall short. It is truly the most important part of the process to optimize and pay attention to. Think about it for a minute if you have done a good job communicating the point. Someone has shown interest in your message via a medium and literally taken the time out of their life to:

  • Click on a link
  • Fill out a form
  • Request a chat
  • Send an Email

  • Call a phone number
  • Write a review
  • Join the email newsletter

This is the point where they begin the journey to either dropping off into a void or becoming a client. It is crucial at this point that everything that happens at this point goes as smooth as it possibly can. You really need to optimize every possible aspect, inconsistency, and potential point of failure in your engagement process.

A huge one that took us a long time to figure out was website speed. Getting our landing pages loading under 2 seconds was a big deal. A good chunk of your prospects would drop off just from having to wait that extra couple of seconds. Once we optimized the images and bulky java scripts along with implementing page caching engagement opportunities more than doubled. I know right? Crazy – I knew it was a factor but not to that extent.

Now, professionally branded landing page we want to be clear and to the point about what we are offering and how it solves their problem. Going into pitching all the other dimensions of what your company can offer them will just muddy up the waters and make them indecisive. When they make a communication commitment there will be plenty of time later to introduce them to other solutions and products you offer but for now, we need to just flirt with them. It does not hurt to give your visitors other options such as scheduling a meeting or chatting directly to a representative. If you decide to offer other opt-in options check that they are optimized and working.

Let us think about forms for a minute. I had this idea that we should be less aggressive with what we were asking for with our initial forms. Rather than asking for name, business name, phone number, email address and details, I simplified some of our engagement pages to just name and email address. The most important part of this is getting your visitor to give up some information. Maybe they are not ready to go on a date yet but are open to getting an email. When a name and email are acquired you could for example forward them to a page that requests more details. In this case some prospects will fill out the rest and others will drop off but at least at this point you have Their name, number, and what channel they came in from assuming you have setup the tracking correctly.

Look into setting up a marketing automation system and CRM that will keep track of your prospects and their profile as it matures. You could setup your CRM to reach out to prospects with branded and customized auto responders outlining next steps and additional information. Then I would setup branded, targeted, content driven, automations to go out every couple of days or weeks after the initial engagement. Just keep in mind the hook is only the beginning, even after your prospects grow into full blown recurring clients reminding them that you have their back after you have delivered a great product can bear fruit for years to come.

(Recap) Marketing Fundamentals, Clear Branded Message, Optimized Funnel, Follow up, Engage and Over Deliver.

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