I got to speak at Strategy Night for PechaKucha in Santa Fe! PechaKucha is a Japanese style of presentation aimed at brevity. The rules are to present using 20 slides, which play for 20 seconds each.
This was a great opportunity to share what I’ve been working through with clients lately: the brand positioning statement. It’s such a useful tool for marketing strategy. The positioning statement lays out how you’re going to “position” your brand to make it appealing.
When you write your positioning statements, keep in mind that this is NOT a mission statement. A mission statement lays out your values and “why” you’re in business. A positioning statement acts as a guide for your marketing plan.
The words that you use to describe your business could be very different depending on who you’re talking to (your target market). That’s why you can have several positioning statements if you have different types of customers. Like how Pedialyte makes separate ads for parents and athletes.
How to Write a Positioning Statement for Your Business
My favorite part of marketing has always been branding. A foundational step for solidifying your branding is to craft a statement that will describe how you’re going to position your brand. A positioning statement is a specific message, and it’s aimed at a specific audience, and it’s something that’s going to guide your branding, and your company can use it internally when you’re crafting those outward facing marketing messages.
When you’re making this position in statement, you have four major decisions.
main benefit you’re providing
how you’re going to differentiate yourself from all the other competitors
I’m going to walk you through an example of a positioning statement and notice how those four elements are going to come into play. In this example, we’re going to pretend that we’re marketing a new art gallery.
For millennial art collectors who love to travel, Hidden Light Photo Gallery is the contemporary photography gallery that will bring the beauty of the world to you because it displays captivating images from the furthest reaches of the Earth.
So for your target audience, it is the business within this industry category that provides this main benefit, and it sets itself apart from all the other art galleries.
So let’s go through each of those, starting with target audience. It’s also called buyer persona, and it means listing every characteristic you know about your ideal customer. And you can go back through your transactional data and see who your most profitable customers were.
If your customers are business customers, then you’re thinking about things like firm size and company culture. What a company’s decision making processes is like–you’re taking all these traits. For consumers–if you’re selling to in consumers than you’re thinking about other things like demographic, what the individuals interests are and maybe what their purchase occasion is.
So you take all these traits and you put your customers into groups and you think about: what’s the size of this customer group? What’s their growth potential? What’s their profitability?
You choose your ideal customer group based on these traits, and you consider what this group really needs. And how is your business going to meet this group’s need better than anyone else? What resources do you have that are perfect for this customer group?
Next you have to communicate your value to that group. You start with your industry category, and you want to use the most familiar terms when you’re choosing your industry category. Think about the words people use when they’re thinking about your industry.
It’s very rare that a company would ever need to create a completely new industry category. Even if you’re entering a new or nascent market, look at the trends and jump on board with whatever’s the most dominant category label right then.
And it would have been really difficult in the days when the horseless carriage was invented to know what the most dominant terms were to be able to do that research. But now we have Google trends that we can look at and we can see what words people are using to search around your industry.
Now choose your main benefit. Your company has a lot of benefits that it’s offering your customers, but first you choose the main one that gives the most value to your target audience, and it might not be obvious.
A lot of times you’re filling an emotional need, so you dig in and you decide what’s really the most important that I’m offering. You’ll have secondary benefits as well. In our example gallery, a secondary benefit of the art gallery might be nostalgia.
Finally, think about how you’re differentiating from your competitors. Really look at your resources versus your competitors’ resources. And how can you convince your target customer that you can provide them the most value beyond what your competitors can provide?
Back to our example. Our target audience is based on demographic and interest. The category is well defined. The main benefit is aesthetic, and you’re focusing on something different than all the other art galleries.
So your positioning statement is really going to unify your marketing efforts, and you can have several positioning statements, especially if you’re targeting lots of different groups of people or you’re providing several products or services. I encourage you to sit down and go through this and think about what your own positioning statement is. And how is that going to impact the rest of your marketing?
And feel free to reach out to me. I love to talk about marketing.
Marketing jobs have come to include more digital marketing skills than ever before. For a single person tasked with the role of “digital marketing”, the responsibility can feel overwhelming. Some even pile online marketing on top of another full time job, and then feel guilty when they don’t see results.
If you’re wondering whether you can see meaningful results from gaining digital marketing skills, the answer is YES, you absolutely can. There are no barriers to entry, and the world is your playground. However, if you are looking for an easy way to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), then hire someone.
The problem is, many people eagerly watch a few videos about specific skills like keyword analysis or Facebook advertising and then lose their enthusiasm. The digital marketing journey requires dedication. You’ll need at least 10 hours a week of time dedicated to your business’s online presence. If you’re able to commit to this journey, then read on.
Consider the symbolism of the lotus flower. Its roots are in muddy water, but it reaches toward the light to produce something beautiful.
Owning your digital marketing is like plunging into the murky waters of uncertainty. At first you’ll struggle and you may even find things that make you cringe. Then you’ll gain new knowledge and discover new passions.
Along the way you’ll learn to use the tools available to you and explore new ideas. Perhaps your “Mad Men” style marketing assumptions don’t hold up to the data. You may even decide to change elements of your business.
Finally, you’ll emerge with a greater understanding of how your business brings value to people. Digital marketing will be a source of real connection with your customers, and you’ll be able to engage with them like never before.
11 Digital Marketing Skills
Start by committing dedicated time each work day to digital marketing. Plan to dedicate two hours each day. No matter what happens during those two hours, you’ll have made progress toward your goal of engaging with your customers online.
While every little bit helps, your competitors may have a full-time digital marketing director or even a digital marketing team. Take a deep breath, evaluate your resources and make a realistic plan.
If you dedicate enough time and approach each task methodically, then you will excel in any marketing channel you choose. Don’t fall into frustration. Remember, this is a job for an entire team of people. Celebrate each small victory.
User Experience (UX)
Before you dive into any fancy analysis tools, it’s helpful to walk through the online experience you’re providing. Pretend to be your customer and complete the entire buying process online. Go all the way through from landing pages to checkout. What did you learn simply through this role playing exercise?
Now take a look at Google Analytics behavior flow to see how users are traveling around between pages. Hotjar heatmaps can give more insight into how people navigate your site. Did this data spark your curiosity?
Just as curiosity is great for relationships, it’s also what will keep your love for digital marketing alive. Are you curious about your customers, your competition and innovations within your industry? The information you glean will inform your business decisions and make you a relevant participant in the online conversation.
At this point, we’re plunging into the unknown in hopes that our research and data analysis will provide us with the answers we need to make informed decisions that will change our business. Curiosity will spark the questions to direct our research.
Take your questions and run with them. Never stop pursuing your question until it leads to a new question. You may even achieve the bliss of working in a flow state as you devour information and find new information relevant to your industry. Immerse yourself to discover who your competitors are, where your customers are talking and what they really think of your business.
Don’t shy away from data analysis. This is now regarded as one of the crucial skills marketers must have. Data will let you know what’s working and where opportunities for effective content lie.
You can use data to determine the topic of your next blog post, find dropoff points in your lead generation, and obtain better search results. The more you wrap your head around your data, the more you can start layering it to understand how your digital marketing is affecting your business.
Start with solidifying your brand positioning statement and then examine each component of your online presence. Think about all the paths that your current customers take to find you. It’s better to have a consistently wonderful web presence than to be sparse on several social media platforms. Use data analysis to determine which channels that are working for you.
This skill can’t be understated for digital marketers. Spend time creating fail-proof systems that will ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Make checklists and schedules for tasks that you’ll repeat.
A systematic approach is crucial to ensure you’re engaging with your customers in a timely and relevant manner. Marketing automation is your friend here. Any time you automate a task, set it up.
Now that you’ve researched, analyzed and organized, maybe the digital landscape no longer seems so murky. Now we come to the flower of your efforts: content marketing. Your curiosity will have lead you to several topics you can write about.
High quality content will begin to flow. You can write about interests that many of your customers share and target that content directly to them. You can use data to find topics with decent search volume that don’t have much competition. All your ground work will start to pay off when your relevant content reaches the right audience.
You’ve seen the data and hopefully you’ve been able to pinpoint some successes from your online marketing efforts so far. Take everything you’ve learned to make a plan. It can be broad at first, and the goal is to keep finding frameworks that you can repeat. Always leave room for experimentation.
While social media marketing gurus and other experts often have useful tips for how to improve your marketing, nothing will tell you more about what works for your audience than experimentation. Remember the scientific method? You start by asking a question, and then create an experiment that will answer your question. Marketing campaigns are perfect places to test your assumptions.
A/B tests enable you to send 2 different promotions to determine which version is the most effective. Many email marketing softwares have this feature built in. Remember to only change one element of your campaign in each test to gain clear insight. Always be willing to change your strategy.
Need help with strategy? A digital marketing agency can review your strategy, or set you up with one to follow. Even experienced marketers find value in enlisting consultants.
If you made one person think or feel differently, then you were really able to engage that person and your effort was worthwhile. Now that you’ve organized and automated the activities that used to stifle your enjoyment of digital marketing, you can engage as a member of the online community.
Doesn’t it feel good to be on top of your digital marketing skills? Moving past the “I should post to Facebook” stage is definitely better for your brain. The next time you tell someone new about your business, you can smile confidently and say, “look me up online.”
If you made it to the bottom of this article and decided that you’d like help with your digital marketing, then reach out. Our team has thousands of hours of digital marketing experience and a lot of patience.
Many small to mid-size business owners wonder whether they should hire out their marketing services. Usually, the business wants to provide an authentic public image for the company, and wants to find someone who will translate the spirit of the business into an online presence. While hiring a full time in house marketing director will provide this level of intimacy with your company’s inner workings, it is also a big responsibility that will increase your overhead.
Especially in small businesses, marketing directors on site often get pulled into the day-to-day activities of a business, which detract from their specialized job. Innovating and trying new strategies may fall to the back burner. There are so many opportunities for getting noticed with digital marketing! It is difficult for one person to be specialized in all of the marketing skill sets that would benefit your business.
Benefits of finding an outsourced marketing group:
Having an agreed-upon marketing strategy: You can view your contracted marketing director as your go-to for communicating your business goals. They will work with you to create a strategy with concrete marketing plans.
Access to specialized marketing technologies: Digital marketing agencies carry subscriptions to software tools and marketing programs that allow them to mine data and find the most effective ways to target their efforts.
Regular reporting to see the impact of work completed: An outsourced marketing group will provide regular reporting (often monthly) that will allow you to see progress toward your business goals.
Outside perspective: Do you feel “tunnel vision” from being too close to your business? Do you have a clear answers ready when people ask about your business? An outside perspective will help you translate your message to your target audience using data and unbiased ideas.
A team of experts: Marketing outsourcing companies enjoy the freedom of using their budgets to hire the best sub-contractors for specialized jobs as needed. An agency’s job is to find the best way to get the job done. This may mean drawing on their network of professionals in areas like animation, videography or custom web development. It’s like having an entire marketing department on an as-needed basis.
At Zenbox, we strive to be as personal and involved as an in-house CMO while providing the specialized resources of a marketing agency. We meet on a regular basis with our clients to make sure that communication is clear and the marketing goals in place align with the current climate of the business.
In fact, we feel that regular meetings between marketing and business managers are vital. How can you trust your marketing to someone who is out of touch with your business? The goals of the business often change. Seasonal shifts, changes in product supply, changes in customer preferences, and new opportunities in the marketplace all deserve immediate response.
Some of our clients just want us to take care of all their marketing without much oversight. Others want to see and approve all the web pages, blog posts, social media posts, graphics, photos, and messages that we create. We get it; those businesses are passionate about making sure that their marketing is consistent with their vision. As long as they’re willing to put in the time and give feedback in a timely manner, we’re happy to follow a review process.
If you’ve come to the pivotal point in your business where you recognize the need for help with your online marketing, you may be wondering where to start. There are several agencies specializing in specific areas like web design, social media or SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but which of these will benefit your business the most?
The first step is to meet with an online marketing consultant with whom you can discuss your business–what is the mission or passion behind your business? Who are your customers? What are you already doing online, and what does your “sales funnel” look like, whatever that may represent for your industry?
A good digital marketing specialist can help you find an efficient mix of marketing within your budget and navigate this continually evolving field to form a clear strategy for meeting your goals. Rather than seeking out independent companies for social media management, online advertising, web design, website management and SEO, you’ll want a good Internet Marketing Specialist to develop a cohesive plan. Consistent online branding, improved user behavior flow, more accurate targeting and more comprehensive analytics are all benefits of a coordinated online marketing effort.
Why should I invest in online marketing?
Online marketing is a tool that enables people to realize their dreams. For brick and mortar small businesses, this means the opportunity to reach new audiences and retain existing customers by making products or services available to them year-round. Using email campaigns and social media marketing, you can inform customers of your new offerings even if they visit your physical location infrequently. In time, online revenue could exceed physical purchases, and some small businesses even find that it suits their purpose to transition to a purely online business. For small businesses, online marketing is a way to gain an edge over local competitors.
For businesses that exist solely online, their website and combined digital marketing efforts constitute their livelihood. Ecommerce sites provide a way for entrepreneurs to launch their businesses without having to invest in a physical storefront. Other advantages of purely ecommerce businesses include the freedom of mobility, the ability to set your own hours and the flexibility to scale as needed.
Can I do small business online marketing on my own?
Many small business owners try to handle their online marketing all on their own, or in-house, struggling to put out content, taking shots in the dark, and ultimately taking time away from their core business to engage in time-consuming activities that seem to provide few results. In another common scenario, without a dedicated professional whose main focus is online promotion, digital marketing gets put on the back burner, and the activity remains largely ignored.
This being said, how could a business owner ever trust a complete stranger to post on their behalf? You want your online brand to accurately convey the heart of your mission. This is why you need an Internet marketing specialist who has a strong grasp of what you do and how you want your image projected online.
You want to find someone who is willing to spend the time getting to know you–someone who will keep in regular contact. You are in control of your brand, so it is important to discuss your ideal level of involvement in the online marketing process with your online marketing consultant. You can think of your consultant as your online marketing director.
What is a good online marketing strategy?
Online marketing is made up of several different sub-categories. Your digital marketing strategy will include some or all of the following: web design, SEO, email marketing, social media, online paid advertising, lead capturing and content marketing.
If you’re looking for a new website design in Santa Fe, NM, or elsewhere, there are several firms to choose from. The important thing is to find a web designer who will get to know you and find the most effective way to present your story. Zenbox Marketing provides web design and development services as a keystone to your online marketing strategy. If you already have a website, Zenbox will start with a website audit to evaluate your design, SEO, ease of use and performance. If you don’t have a website, then Zenbox will create a website in line with your business goals.
There are many factors involved in designing a website that you will be proud of. Consider the following aspects when making long-term plans for your website:
Competitor Analysis – It’s important to research close competitors, not only to determine what aspects of their web design you like or dislike, but also to gauge their website’s functionality. You want your website to have a competitive advantage over other similar businesses.
Custom Solutions – Need a custom solution for your website? Zenbox has you covered. Whether it’s a unique feature or a custom design, Zenbox will provide the programmers you need to make your dream website a reality.
Website Maintenance – Zenbox treats your website as a living, breathing part of the Internet. The components that make up your website need to be regularly updated and maintained to protect your website against vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. Your relationship to your web designer is important for the long-term health of your website, and Zenbox Marketing is in it for the long haul.
Content Updates – Zenbox web design gives you access to your website to update text, photos and videos. This gives you the flexibility to make quick changes to your website. Zenbox can also make regular content updates for you if you’d prefer. From completely managing your online marketing to filling in the gaps, Zenbox will accommodate your preferred workflow.
Search Engine Optimization
Additionally, you want a website that can be found by people already searching for what you provide. SEO is a vital component of any website that will greatly increase your return on investment by enabling search engines to interact with your website while ranking and indexing. If you want new users coming to your website, then SEO should be a priority.
Are you sending regular emails to your clientele? Are the emails specifically tailored based on your relationship with them or is everyone in your database receiving the same email? Email marketing is a huge source of revenue, and customizations to increase your open rates and click through rates are well worth the effort. Zenbox will work with you to see what you’re currently doing, what’s worked so far, and how you can improve your revenue from emails.
Zenbox Marketing provides dynamic email campaigns that filter content based on the interests of the email recipient. For example, if you want to announce all your new products in an email, you could send an email to everyone on your list. Utilizing dynamic email content, each customer would only see a few products listed in their email based on their interests. This makes emails more relevant and targeted to your audience, and shows that you care enough to know what your customers want. Once your customers understand that your emails are specific to them, they are more likely to open your emails and more likely to click to visit your website.
The time that it takes to segment contacts based on interests, tailor emails specifically to your different customer segments, optimize your emails for mobile viewing, review the analytics of your email campaigns and re-categorize your customers based on their interaction with your emails are all activities that can have a huge impact on your sales. Zenbox Marketing can completely manage your email marketing campaigns.
How can social media benefit your business? Are you spending a lot of time posting to several social networks, or are you focusing on the social networks that deliver the most results? Because each brand is different, your social media strategy needs to match your goals. A well-targeted social media strategy can engage a new audience and drive website traffic or foot traffic to your business. If you feel like you’re wasting time with social media, then it’s time to re-think your social media game plan.
Online Paid Advertising
Paid advertising, or PPC (Price Per Click) advertising refers to advertising through other websites like Google or Facebook. Online advertising is more effective than print advertising because it enables you to specifically advertise to people based on their demographics and interests. In the case of Google Ads, you can even help people who are already searching for the product or service you offer to find your website. Another benefit of online advertising is that you can start with any size of budget. Since the effects of online advertising can be directly tracked and measured, you can invest more money in the ads that drive the biggest results after initial experimentation.
What percentage of people who walk through your door or visit your website come back for another visit? Retaining the attention of your first-time visitors is a key growth opportunity. The goal is to collect as many email addresses as possible from people who have any interest in your business. To encourage visitors to leave their email addresses, you could offer a coupon, free content, special website features (like saving an item to a wish list or scheduling an appointment), or simply the opportunity to keep up with new products or services.
The words, images and video that populate your website and social media profiles are key to engaging your audience and generating new leads for your business. Google’s search algorithm is continually improving its ability to lead searchers to relevant content. Content adds value to your website by educating your audience on the importance of what you offer. The more information you have, the longer people are able to stay on your website.
A great way to circulate your content is to post to a blog on your website. You can then provide teasers of your blog posts on social media and in your email newsletter, encouraging people to click to your website to read more. A steady stream of new content shows Google that your website is relevant and gives your audience a reason to visit your website regularly, keeping you fresh in their mind.
How do I integrate my online marketing efforts?
A good digital marketing strategy will integrate your website, SEO, email marketing, social media, online paid advertising, lead capturing and content marketing to guide your visitors down a path of conversion. Whether your business defines conversion as a sale, an appointment or a podcast download, the behavioral flow of your visitors can be analyzed and adjusted to meet your goals. Each of the individual marketing activities should play a role in converting your audience, so it’s important to analyze them all together to identify weak links and recognize where you’ll see the greatest return on your investment.
An example of a customer journey is as follows. A 65-year-old woman sees an ad on Facebook with an excerpt from a children’s story about gardening. The image and story entice her, so she clicks to read more of the story. The Facebook ad appeared on her home feed based on the fact that she is a grandmother, she gardens, and she has engaged in Facebook activity related to storybooks in the past. The link takes her to the full story, in blog format. To accompany the story, there are photographs of the story’s main characters, animal garden ornaments, which are the company’s main product. After reading the story, the woman orders the book so that she can read it with her granddaughter later. She is also added to the email list that may one day convince her to buy a garden ornament.
It is best to have several paths leading to your conversion point, and the effort you put into each of your online marketing activities will strengthen the entire system. Content marketing strengthens SEO and landing pages help retain visitors from paid advertising. A coordinated online marketing effort will help you understand how customers are interacting with you online and give you the insight to improve your system.
How can Zenbox help me with online marketing?
Do you want to talk about your online marketing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or elsewhere in the world? It all starts with a face-to-face meeting or phone call. I’m currently helping clients in New Mexico and across the United States. If you need a go-to person for online marketing, then give me a call. The first consultation is free, and I will be happy to get to know you.