What does your brand say?
The way you communicate and interact with potential customers creates an unspoken promise. Whether it’s through advertising, packaging, or customer service, your communications let customers know what to expect. Marketers call these expectations your brand promise, and every company makes a promise in one form or another. Understanding and intentionally communicating your promise is an important first step to create your brand, differentiate your offering, and forge a strong relationship with customers.
Typically, a brand promise is communicated internally and experienced externally, but some companies also make their promises their taglines. While there’s no single formula to a winning brand promise, make sure you at least convey who you are and what you stand for. Think about Ritz Carlton’s “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” or FedEx’s “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.” Keep it short and impactful, and avoid generic or meaningless wording.
Your brand promise must set you up for success in the long run, so don’t make promises you can’t keep. The best way to build brand equity is to overdeliver on your promise and surpass expectations.
It’s not easy to write killer copy. Whether you are writing for your website, packaging, or an advertising campaign, writing copy that sells can be unexpectedly challenging. Realize we’re talking about copy that sells, not necessarily great copy. You might find that short, terse sentences sell much better than poetic, profound paragraphs.
The secret to writing copy that sells is to get inside the head of your ideal customer. Write from the customer’s perspective. To do this, ask questions:What do they care about? What do they not care about? What causes them to buy? What inspires and frustrates them? Some marketers go so far as to create personas, which describe their ideal customers in excruciating detail.
Knowing how your target customers think and feel will allow you to view the buying decision from their perspective. You’ll be able to understand why certain benefits resonate with customers more than others, and how to influence them more effectively. You will be able to properly frame your benefits and clearly articulate how you’re different than the competition. See the world from your ideal customer’s perspective to write copy that sells.
Guerrilla marketing is a catchall term used to describe unconventional marketing tactics. Guerrilla marketing is a cost-effective way to be different and get the word out, which is why a lot of entrepreneurs are guerrillas at heart. Advertising is expensive. To put it in perspective, a one-page ad in most mainstream magazines can cost over $60,000. Even if you could afford this, it’s probably not the best way to invest your marketing budget. Instead, get creative and be different.
Guerrilla marketing tactics are great for any size company. To help determine feasibility, you might rent a mall kiosk over a weekend or set up a trade show booth to see if there’s enough demand for your idea. Contests with fun, whacky prizes can be a great way to get people engaged. Even bigger companies can get in on the action. Red Bull’s marketing strategy has a distinctly guerrilla feel to it. They create and promote insane stunts and events, and get worldwide media coverage for it.
The best part of being a guerrilla is how much fun you’ll have. How can you not have fun throwing wild parties, putting on insane stunts, or pulling pranks that get national media attention? Just make sure you don’t get too crazy—you probably haven’t allocated any of your marketing budget to post bail.
The universal thorn in a startup’s side is a constant lack of resources. Startups simply don’t have the resources to launch national advertising campaigns, lease the best retail space, or build robust technology. But you can’t look like a fly-by-night operation, either. For people to give you their money, they have to trust you. The name of the game in Startupland is to create the impression that you are an established, trustworthy company. To be taken seriously, you have to look bigger than a couple of hackers in a garage.
There are many ways to do this. Ultimately, it depends on the nature of your startup, but there are a few tried-and-true tactics. A 1-800-number with an interactive menu has a “big company” feel. Even better, have a virtual assistant patch through your calls. Media mentions can also an effective way to demonstrate social proof. Major media logos on your website are a great way to establish credibility. To a lesser extent, testimonials are a way to create trust. Written testimonials are okay, but videos of your ecstatic customers are even better.
Perception is reality. If you want customers to buy from you, make sure that you’re perceived as a winner.