There are no qualms about it, branding is one of the most powerful tools that internet marketers have at their disposal.
Branding is not necessarily about getting your target market to choose your product over a competitor’s, but instead, is a way of getting your potential consumers to view you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem, which leads to more sales, more revenue, and more overall growth.
Believe it or not, there is a significant difference between marketing and branding.
Marketing contributes to building your brand, but the branding itself is much bigger than any of your particular branding efforts.
After a marketing campaign concludes, the branding is what remains. The brand is what sticks in the mind of the target consumer associated with a particular product or service.
The brand is what determines whether consumers become loyal customers or not. For instance, someone may have bought your IM product because of effective marketing, but it’s the branding that will determine if they continue to purchase all of their IM products from you in the future.
Branding not only creates loyal customers, but ferocious advocates that continue to preach the benefits of your product or service long after they’ve made their purchase.
The point is, you want people to immediately think of you when they have a problem within your particular niche.
Branding in Action
McDonalds and Burger King are both wildly popular fast food chains. They both essentially sell the same limited array of products, but McDonalds grosses $27 billion more than Burger King.
How could this be possible? Burger King works incredibly hard to perfect its products, services, and its marketing. McDonald’s does as well, but they put additional effort into a bigger brand strategy, particularly by paying attention to kids.
They were the first to introduce happy meals, advertise kid’s movies, and add a play area for children. Burger King has followed suit, but are several generations behind.
Despite having been around for decades, Burger King sold a product while McDonalds sold a buying experience. As these kids grew up, they formed an emotional bond with the McDonalds brand that is tough to break. Often times, they have become lifelong customers because of it.
The fact that they’re marketing to a young demographic isn’t what’s important. What is important is the emotional connection that people feel for the brand. This isn’t because McDonald’s products are superior; it’s because of the positive experience they associate with the brand.
Branding isn’t limited to multi-national corporations. You can do this too!
But, how does one even begin going about such a monstrous task? How can you set yourself apart from the thousands of others that are also trying to build a brand name for themselves as well?
It’s actually much easier than you may think. If you take small, positive steps every day to spread your message, then your brand will spread like wildfire before you know it.
Here are some simple tips that only take a few minutes a day…
Hit Up the Forums
Forums have become increasingly popular. In years past, marketers only used forums as a form of funneling traffic to their site by adding a link to their signature.
Now, a vast majority of forums have banned the addition of links to the signature of forum posts to minimize the amount of spam. After all, why would they want people crapping up the experience of their users with low quality advertisements?
The secret is to use your brand name as your forum name and focus on helping others. The more you help, the more people will begin to trust you.
If you’re genuinely active within the forum, word will get out of your products or services and the traffic from loyal forum goers will begin to flow.
Obviously, this is a long term strategy and may take months or even years of posts in order to see a return, but once you get recognized as the “go to” guy (or gal) authority within your niche, you will have gained a rabid following.
At the very least, it will help you spread your message to thousands of people that previously didn’t even know you existed. That alone is worth a few forum posts a day.
Strive to Meet One New Person a Day
Even if you work a hectic 9 to 5 job alongside your internet marketing endeavors, it shouldn’t be hard to meet at least one person a day.
The more people you get to know, the more people that will begin to recognize your brand.
You may have no idea how meeting the right person at the right time can positively influence your business. That one person you meet today may become your most ardent advocate. They may also have connections that will open doors for you in the future.
In order to succeed in business, you need to be a people person. You can’t be afraid to present your brand to others because you fear being judged.
If you feel uneasy about showing others your product or service, then perhaps you need to focus on improving your product or service before you ever begin to market it.
Now, you may think meeting one new person a day sounds difficult. With a vast array of technology at your fingertips, it really isn’t hard at all.
Here are the best two options that I’ve found for meeting new people;
Social Media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook, etc. This is not only where your target market hangs out, but the most influential authorities within your niche hangs out as well.
Send them a friend request, comment on their posts, and show them that you’re interested in what they have to say. Eventually, they will get to know you and a genuine relationship may begin to bloom.
Once the lines of communication are open, you can propose mutually beneficial ideas.
Blogs- There are countless blogs in countless niches at your disposal. Become a frequent reader and contribute to the blogs by posting comments or asking questions. Once you’ve opened up a line of dialogue, you can even try sending them an email.
For both social media and blogs, it’s important that you provide some sort of value. People are sick and tired of spam and are unlikely to respond, let alone become friends with someone that is only interested in furthering their own agenda.
I like to approach people the same way I would if I were to meet them offline in a social setting. You wouldn’t just walk up to a random person you’ve never met, hand them a business card and start pitching your service to them, would you?
Probably not. Instead, you’d take some time to break the ice and let them know that you’re just a regular person just like them, except you have an awesome product.
A brand is an image or idea of a product that your target market connects with by identifying the logo, name, slogan, or business design.
By following a few of the suggestions I provided above, you can easily reach others and spread brand awareness. The more people that your brand influences, the more people that will share their experiences with others.
Through branding, you can turn a simple business plan into a household name that is widely recognized within your niche. Yes, it takes time, yes it takes effort, but in the end, it will be well worth it.