So you have a new offering to share with your customers. Something that will solve their problems and ultimately put more money in your pocket. But what are the best steps to follow for branding and launching your new product or service? Over the years we have had success with a five step approach:
If you have a product or service to launch, you have probably already researched your industry's need for this item... now go one step further. Complete comprehensive marketing research on your competitors:
- Know your competitors' logo and visual branding
- Know their website design, features and calls to action
- Know their website SEO and keywords
- Know their social media plan (platforms, content, frequency)
- Know which associations they are members of and which trade shows they go to...
- In fact, know about all their current marketing strategies
Who are your ideal customers? Define your buyer personas so you can effectively market to them. Be sure to understand their problems and how they approach solving them (if they do!). Also know their media usage tendencies. For example, how they use the internet and other habits. Along with inbound marketing, consider which traditional or outbound marketing might best reach them.
2. Brand Development
Develop a name, logo and url that stands out and can be easily recalled. Refer back to your initial research and determine every way you might want to use this in the future so it's flexible enough for all applications. Take time to be sure it will appeal to your target audience so you don't lose momentum (and money) down the road.
3. Marketing Strategy
This is the fun part... Create a detailed marketing plan - then stick to it. Start with your website. It's essential to have a well-designed website to make a good first impression.
Need tips on what makes a good website - or how to make sure your website is designed to increase sales? Read our recent post here.
Next focus on the strategy, keywords and content of your website and other online marketing efforts. Launching a new brand should include these essential inbound marketing strategies if your budget allows:
- Keyword research & SEO programming
- Clear Calls to Action (CTA) on every website page
- Landing pages that provide relevant content in return for lead information (lead magnets)
- Blogging with keywords to help SEO, enhance your strategic positioning, define credentials, drive thought leadership and occasionally directly promote your product or service.
- Engage on Social Media. This goes beyond sharing your blog posts to Twitter. Know which social media is most used by your audience and how they use it. Put time and creative thought into how to best use these tools. And also have employees use Linkedin to actively engage groups and business leaders in discussions. Fostering these relationships often leads to sales.
- Make videos - YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Get videos on YouTube and be sure they include your keywords. Resist making bad videos, though. Instead, consider professional videos or a strategy that will include humor to help videos go viral.
nd finally, consider paid advertising or "outbound marketing." Depending on your target market and budget, there is still a place for this form of media if it makes sense. Look into traditional paid advertising like print, direct mail, radio, outdoor, TV as well as online paid advertising like Google Adwords, social media ads and site sponsorships.
4. Sales Integration
Now that you have your marketing foundation built, it's time to fine tune your sales process and integration.
End the turf war. Get your marketing team and sales force working on unified goals - with similar rewards. Too often, companies make the mistake of separating sales and marketing, or only rewarding sales people for meeting quotas. This leads to animosity and bloated egos, less valuable customers, less efficiency and lower customer retention. If you don't already have a system in place, we recommend:
- Consider an employee incentive program that would reward every team member for accomplishing company goals instead of just sales receiving a commission. This helps build teamwork and it keeps employees focused on company priorities.
- Establish a schedule and plan for sales follow up. Detail this beyond a timeline of emails and sales calls. Have an attitude and strategy to help customers with their problems. Consider a drip campaign or auto responders in combination with custom messages, phone calls, in person meetings and more!
- Use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool that is integrated with your website so the same tool is used by both sales and marketing. Costs on this greatly vary. We've used SugarCRM and Salesforce, but recently found Greenrope to be quite comprehensive for a much lower fee. A good CRM will be integrated with your website by your marketing team so leads are fed there where sales people can follow up. Both teams will work together in one system for tracking, reporting and lead scoring.
5. Test, Track and Tweak.
Every strategy and step mentioned here should begin with a baseline. Then continuously test new search words, design elements, media and content strategies for results.
Don't make the mistake of "setting and forgetting" your keywords or strategies. The most successful plans are re-visited at least every 2-3 months and more for new product launches.
Define what determines "success." Is it website hits, conversions or sales figures, new leads, social chatter, Google rankings? Establish goals and benchmarks, then run reports to measure your results in different areas. Once the results are in, analyze areas where improvement is needed and tweak your marketing strategy.
If you have any questions on launching your new brand or if you'd like help, please contact us at Alternative Advertising.