Module 1: Identity & Brand Analysis
Your marketing strategy is, without doubt, the most single defining element of your success online.
Think of your marketing strategy as how are you going to present your products and services to your audience and engage with them as you continue to grow and do business online.
Your marketing strategy also takes into consideration the “tone of voice” you use when writing your copy for your website and crosses over into the printed media you use to promote your business, service and products.
Marketing strategy is the fundamental goal of increasing sales and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage.
When it comes to mapping out and defining your online marketing strategy consider the following:
- Setting goals
- Creating a sales and marketing funnel
- Developing consistent calls to action
- Creating an effective lead magnet
- Methods of driving traffic
When setting goals, ask – what does success look like?
Make your goals realistic and achievable and then align with your strategies to ensure your best chance of achieving them. Ensuring they are measurable will also help you determine if the strategies you are implementing are successful and contributing to you achieving your business goals.
Consider starting out small as consistently showing up and producing content can be very time consumer and resource intensive. Don’t promise too much, only what you’re confident you can deliver.
List these goals and have them visible when planning your content to ensure the tasks you are performing daily and weekly are getting you closer to achieving these goals.
Where possible, implement tracking on links for marketing campaigns to ensure you can track and report on any marketing initiatives.
Use the Google URL Builder to create campaign links you can track within Google Analytics.
Having goals helps you know what you should be focusing on.
Successful businesses have an effective marketing funnel in place.
To create your marketing funnel you need to start by mapping out your customer's journey, starting from when a customer is a complete stranger to when they become a lead, and then move through particular strategies you have in place that will encourage them to move through this funnel.
Elements like lead magnets, calls to action, opt-ins and offers are all effective and important elements of a funnel.
Think of this marketing funnel as a ‘content conveyor belt’ – Pieces of targeted and topic specific content, designed with the purpose of moving a potential customer through the various elements of your business to ultimately becoming a client.
Call to action
A call-to-action (CTA) is exactly that, a clear, unambiguous visual queue to a user that helps and guides them through a process of becoming a lead.
CTA’s should ultimately direct people to landing pages, where you can then collect the visitors contact information in exchange for a valuable marketing offer – an opt-in or ‘Gift’ (discussed in a later module). In many cases this could be a free ebook or whitepaper for example.
This path, from clicking on a CTA to a landing page, illustrates the process of lead generation. A good CTA should be attention grabbing and help lead a potential customer further into your marketing funnel.
The sole purpose of a call-to-action is to get the user of the website (visitor) to take action. Typically this can be filling out a form (become a subscriber) or it could also be to make a phone call.
A call-to-action can take the form of:
- link, or
An effective call-to-action is not too distracting for a user and presented contextual and in-line with the users experience on your website. For this reason, size and placement of a call-to-action becomes important when deciding where to position one and in what context.
A call-to-action typically uses contrasting colours in order to stand out. This is often referred to as an “accent” colour when speaking with your designer.
Tip: When using a call-to-action when making an offer, provide an alternative to the primary action – give the user a choice. Point out the disadvantages of not taking the action, sometimes this can have a very positive impact on your conversion rate. Also consider conveying a sense of urgency and above all, make it easy for a user to take the action.
When crafting the steps for a successful conversion using your call-to-action, be sure to communicate with the user what to expect. Often it can be a good idea to redirect the user to a welcome or thank you page after they complete the call to action, which outlines what they can expect next and anything they should do.
One of these next steps for the user will most likely be to check their inbox for an automated confirmation email which will require them to confirm their email address.
Help the user at every chance to make it as easy as possible for them to engage and interact with you and your business.
Some best practices to consider when designing your call-to-action include:
- Make then visually appealing and enticing so your visitor wants to click the offer or button
- Make the call-to-action message brief and to the point
- Make them action orientated (“download” or “Register” for example)
- Position them in a way that makes them look like they belong and are a part of the content or copy on the page
- Keep them in-line with the overall style of your website
- Just large enough that they stand out but are not too distracting
- Easy to understand and clear to the user what will happen if they click on the button or link
A call-to-action should be part of every design and style guide. When discussing design requirements with your designer (if you’re starting out), be sure to include a few varied call-to-action styles (primary and secondary) in your design guide and requirements.
Remember, social sharing buttons can also be considered calls-to-action also. Particularly if you are offering an incentive for a user to share your content on social media.
Tip: A great WordPress plugin for building buttons and calls to action for your website is MaxButtons.
A lead magnet can be used alone or in combination with a CTA. This will also be used either within your marketing funnel or as a way to drive potential customers into your funnel. Supply them with something relevant to your product or service that they want.
Use your offers and Gifts as a way to gather more information about a potential buyer while at the same time, driving them further into your funnel. This brings them closer to becoming a quality lead that will spend money on your product or service.
The idea behind a lead magnet is to trade information. You supply something like a free download for example, but in order to complete the download, the individual has to fill out a form that will provide you with more information about them. As a minimum this will be their email address. You'll use the information you gather to interact with them more as they progress through your funnel and in further marketing initiatives.
In order to be able to drive visitors into your marketing funnel, there first has to be traffic on your website.
There a variety of ways you can drive traffic to your website.
Using content such as email newsletters and blog posts, insert links to various places on your website within this content to build your brand name through exposure and drive traffic to your website.
Inserting related keywords into content will help your content and website show up in more search results, this leads to higher volumes of web traffic.
Ensuring that your website is optimized and functioning at its best is essential. People don't want to visit a website that doesn't work properly.
Use engaging social media posts to attract more traffic to your site. Using pictures, video, and other relevant media will help your posts get more engagement.
Planning your content starts with the very basics. Ask yourself, what pages do you want and need on your website as well as those that will help and assist your customer and visitors to your website?
A typical content map usually begins with pages such as; home, about, services and contact. This will build out to eventually become your website “Taxonomy”.
Consider if you need a news (or blog) section. This type of chronologically ordered content is great for SEO and gives you another way of communicating with your audience over and above the written copy on the pages listed above. (More on this later in module 4 – Opt-in and other gifts).
Where should you start
Don’t make this too complicated. Start with something as simple as an Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet. List the pages you need to get started in the first column, then the URL (or ‘page slug’), type of content (page or file for example), targeted keywords and page summary.
Think of this step as creating a ‘content inventory’ of your website. For this step, you may even find using a pen and paper to sketch your ideas down and page flow through your website. A tool I like to use other than a typical spreadsheet is Mindomo. It’s great for mind mapping and creating easy to use and visualise flow charts and diagrams.
Things to consider
When planning the content for your website, be sure to consider your personas and avatars. These are the people and ideal customers you will be talking to.
Ensure your content speaks to these and addresses any concerns and questions you think they may have about your service or product.
Defining Your Avatar
Your avatar is your one perfect audience member that wants and needs the value you have to offer.
Defining your avatar is key in understanding the tone of voice of your website copy and will greatly assist in many marketing decisions.
Knowing who you are talking to, enables you to craft your content in a way that makes sense to your audience and also assists in engaging with the right audience and individual.
Once you know your avatar, you will be able to attract the right customer to your product and eliminate anyone that is either not the right fit for your business or not at the right engagement level.
When defining your avatar, consider:
- Their pain points
- Their likes and dislikes
- What they enjoy doing
- Their dreams
An avatar is a person (singular) who embodies your ideal audience member or customer. They are the person who you are creating your business, your content, your services and your products for.
Your avatar can’t wait for you to launch, because what you are going to provide them with is going to help solve the pain point and fill the informational void they are currently experiencing.
Defining your niche will help you determine what specific content you’re going to offer your avatar based on their pain points and needs.
You can’t sell everything to everyone. The reality is that if you cast too wide a net, you won’t catch many fish at all. But if you narrow your niche focus to a specific product or service, and you target a specific audience, you will have much more success.
So, how do you go about defining your niche market? How do you know what your business focus should be, or what kinds of products or services you should be offering? What will your message be?
Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you define your niche market:
- What am I good at and what do I enjoy doing? Where your strengths meet your interests is where you will find your niche. This is what your company should be focused on and this is what your message should be centered around.
- Are there people who will listen to my message? You need to do some research to discover if there is a demand for what you want to offer, and what your competition looks like. Can you make a profit – is there enough potential volume to support your business goals?
- What does my ideal customer look like?
- Are they female or male? Young or old? School- or life-taught?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- What kinds of topics do they get involved with?
- Who do I enjoy working with now? Take a look at your current customers and take a look at why you like working with them. What attributes do they possess that you’d like all of your customers to possess?
- What do people, friends and colleagues tell me I am good at? Is this something I want to be doing in the next 3 to 5 years and beyond?
With a defined niche market, you will better understand the purpose of your business.
Your website is typically many people’s first impression of your business, company, product or service. As a result, your website represents and is the face of a vital and critical component of your branding strategy. It communicates who you are and what you promise to offer your customers. It does this with its content, layout, design and overall feel.
A well branded website gives a clear picture of your company through the information that’s presented, the way in which it’s presented and the user experience of the site.
A well branded website gives your organization a great foundation for an online presence, a platform from which to communicate what you do and everything you stand for. It’s the place where you can tell your story and engage your customers.
Tip: If you have a registered domain name, use this as your primary email address instead of the generic one supplied to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Things to consider
Choosing the right color palette is very important when it comes to both offline and online branding. More importantly, they need to match.
Color stimulates emotions and facilitates subconscious associations to various things and characteristics.
When deciding on a color or colors for your brand, research their effects to see if the colors you have chosen reflect the emotions and characteristics you believe your brand represents or is wanting to project.
Does your brand have character?
Where possible, try to incorporate personality into your brand to help it stand out and better connect with your audience.
Just as color can engage a visitor to your website, so to can its character. Character enables you to convey and communicate trust – trust in your brand and in doing business with you.
Making your brand successful requires you to make it memorable. How do you want your brand or company to be remembered?
One way of making your brand memorable and stick in people’s minds is to make your message consistent – repeat it.
Be both consistent and congruent throughout your website and offline marketing to ensure you are giving your brand the best chance to be memorable. Ensure your website projects a consistent, uniform image to its visitors and users.
Your logo is one of the key elements of your brand you can leverage consistency and identity awareness.
A logo is essential to any brand and is a key element in your website.
Consider hiring a designer to not only design a great logo but to also develop your business collateral including business cards and letterhead paper. By making that initial investment, you’ll create a cohesive visual voice and begin to establish control over your brand.
When designing your website and deciding on a layout, try to keep it in the widely accepted area of your page header, top left. This is where most users will expect to find it on every page.
Size is also an important factor when positioning your logo on your website. Ensure it is readable, unambiguous and mixed in with other elements yet big enough to be the second or third visual element a user is drawn to. It should be obvious it’s your logo.
When a visitor hits your website, they inevitably think to themselves – what’s in it for me? What’s service or product is this company or website offering and how does it help or benefit me.
To ensure you are attracting the right customer or audience, ensure your value proposition or statement is clear and concise and easily visible to your visitor.
Once you have researched and defined your niche, you are able to draw up your value proposition (or mission statement).
This is targeted directly at your avatar, your one perfect customer, and enables visitors to your website to do their own validation that they are on the right website for the information or solution they are after.
In a few words explain exactly what benefit your site provides to the visitor, so that they’ll know not only what your site is about, but why they should keep using it.
Tone of voice
The language you use on your website and the manner in which you talk to your visitors must reinforce your brand’s character and personality.
It’s not just about what you say it’s also about how you say it. Be sure to choose a tone of voice that reflects your brand’s character and suits your audience.
A website provides the opportunity to communicate a lot about a company.
While products and services may be the first things that come to your mind, the essential components are:
- Overall Feel and Experience
- Quality Content
Module 1 – Tasks and Actions Worksheet (PDF file)