One of the biggest challenges SME owners face is a consistent marketing strategy to grow their business.
For those who actively spend their time researching on new ways to reach out to their target audience, at one point or another, they would have stumbled upon a term known as direct response marketing.
Simply put, direct response marketing usually revolves around copywriting services that are written or designed to appeal to a specific target audience group.
It makes perfect sense for any new startup or entrepreneur who is on a cash-strapped budget and wants to make the highest ROI possible for their business.
The problem is…
As the business grows, most of these companies begin to realise that their target audience pool is beginning to get smaller and smaller.
Not the least bit surprising as it is only natural that those who have seen the ad and acted on it are already clients. Those that didn’t act then, still don’t have the incentive to do so.
Thus, the business owner is left with little choice but to redo the entire campaign but this time, designed for a new audience.
Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. Rinse. And. Repeat.
Is There A Smarter Way?
Having done this approach several times, most business owners would discover that each time they “restart” their campaign, it gets significantly more difficult.
The new group of target audience doesn’t respond as favourably as the previous group.
Their competition has increased after seeing the success of their ad campaign.
Worse… they find themselves running out of “sales angles” to launch yet another campaign.
That’s the reason why as a digital marketing agency, we often tell our clients to focus on a holistic marketing approach and not dabble in one-time results.
Don’t get me wrong, we love direct response marketing and use it plenty ourselves.
But when we’re planning a campaign, we want it to have longevity.
That means the campaign should naturally “evolve” over time. And to do that effectively… we need a branding strategy in place.
Wait… Isn’t Branding Sortof Taboo?
Anyone who has been in the direct response world long enough will often have heard of how branding campaigns are a “waste of money”.
In fact, here at Simply Professional, we don’t advocate branding campaigns either when it is strictly for building awareness.
Designing a logo, pasting the logo on every street corner, website or social media platform just doesn’t seem like a feasible solution to us. It doesn’t tell me (or your target audience) why I should give your brand a second look.
That said, it doesn’t mean that a company shouldn’t develop their brand.
Take a look at all the big and famous brands and you’ll realise that they started working on their brand identity right from day one.
Naturally, some of them developed and modified this identity over time as they become more familiar with their audience and what they want. But the general idea was there from the beginning.
So, if you’re planning to build a website, it should already have your key messages in place. Who you are, what you stand for, what makes your company different and much more.
Thankfully for most companies, we don’t have to do anything too fanciful. The goal is to be consistent in how we present our brand and to reinforce that message at every opportunity.
Take one of our clients that provide massage services in Yishun. From the moment you step into their spa, you will notice a change in the environment.
Right from the doorstep, they’ve planted scented essential oil to “greet” you and subtly let your mind know you’re here to relax. Then as you change into the slippers they’ve provided, the receptionist is there to greet you and help you register for your appointment.
By the time you’re ready to enjoy their signature body massage, you would already have had a wonderful time, and associated their brand with professionalism, relaxation, and friendliness.
Keep a Uniform. Literally.
For most people, however, sometimes we need a physical object for us to make the connection.
That’s the reason why we design a logo and place this logo on any object that symbolises the brand.
And one of the best ways to do that is with a company tee or uniform. Plus, it isn’t too costly for most businesses.
We spoke with another client that specialises in t-shirt printing in Singapore and we learnt that they provide free delivery on top of the wide range of services.
This is significant, as the type of event where your company is frequently seen, will influence the material you should get.
A simple cotton tee would work for staff that are reporting to an office or helping with customer support.
But a sales representative has to look presentable and usually require a collared tee at the minimum.
Combined with a strong call-to-action on the back of the shirt, and you would have a “walking advertisement” for your brand.
The Drawbacks of Purely Digital Businesses
A funny thing about working with many start-ups is that the moment they bring a business onto the internet, suddenly everything that has been done in the “physical” world gets thrown out the window.
It becomes all about online marketing and what’s the latest strategy or tactic to reach out to a new group of people.
It’s as if many people forget that we’re still selling to humans, real people with their everyday challenges looking for a solution.
The brand message, therefore, whether physical or digital, has to have a connection with the right audience.
And done properly, this message gets amplified over time.
This makes subsequent marketing campaigns easier as people are starting to associate the brand with a stronger meaning.
Like how Apple is associated with being hip and trendy. Starbucks with its experience. And Rolls-Royce with super luxury.
The thing is…
When a business is just starting out, most owners are concern about making ends meet.
“Forget about 10 years down the road when I’m still figuring out the next 10 days.”
Our goal is therefore to strike a fine balance between long term marketing plans and immediate ROI activities to help the business develop and grow.
It’s about having a uniformed strategy for the business.
Both literarily and figuratively.