I received an email in my in box recently that made me cringe. Then it made me think.
As an agency that concentrates on SEO and PPC – seeing an email like this makes us scoff. It’s a bit scary – Then we had a discussion around the flip side of discounting that went something like, “You know, if that email had said ‘80% off shoes’ you’d have had a very different reaction.”
When does a discount SUPPORT a brand, and when does it hinder it? Certain things in life many of us strive to get at a discount. There are many other things that seem inferior if we’ve purchased them at a discount. Why does the saying, “You get what you pay for” only apply to certain products and services?
Discounting your service rates might make sense from a lead generation standpoint in the short term. In the long term, the damage this does to your brand could negate the importance of those short term gains. On the other hand, an established brand can discount their jeans, or jewelry, or coffee makers by 80% and everyone jumps on board. Is this the difference between discounted services and discounted products?
How do you create a brand message, generate business, become a known entity,without seeing all of your hard work thrown out with one email subject line?
In branding, associating your brand with a generic service or product is the number one goal. When an email is sent, or a query is put into a search engine, your goal as an online marketer is to have your (or your clients’) products or services show up in front of the consumer. If you have a really strong brand, it could become synonymous with the product or service. “Jacuzzi” is a brand of hot tub, but many people who don’t know call a hot tub a “Jacuzzi” regardless of actual brand. When you search for something, you “Google” it. I’ve even heard more non-savvy web users say “Google that on Yahoo.” I really wish I’d have had a video camera on for that one. In the South, if you ask for a “Coke” they ask you “what kind?” Coke = Soda.
So how do you get there? How does your brand become THE product or THE service? Good question. Most of the brands I mentioned above have crazy high advertising budgets, they can afford to employ and/or enlist an army of brand evangelists that seed the population. On a smaller budget? Slow and deliberate wins the race, just like the tortoise.
Having the whole team on the same page can make all the difference in the world. Consider setting up a mission statement with regards to brand. Refer back to this statement often, reiterate a portion, or all, of the mission in every piece of advertising you create. Every PPC ad, every Facebook or Twitter post. Before you roll it live, compare it’s message to the overall message of your brand. If it seems weak, or could be misconstrued, take it back to the drawing board.
Test your marketing ideas on a focus group (it can be friends or family, honestly) to see what the population outside of your marketing office thinks of the campaign. If the most basic user doesn’t get it? Try again.
Keeping your messaging consistent is a good portion of the battle, but it’s just a battle, not the entire war. If you want your brand to be a household name, it COULD get there by just concentrating on Facebook, or Twitter – but it’s pretty unlikely. Keeping your brand active in many different platforms, all the while keeping the message consistent across every platform can help you obtain results in the long term. Don’t duplicate your message – how you speak, your voice, should change depending upon the platform. Witty and flip works on Twitter sometimes, but might alienate your Facebook audience. Consider your target audience and craft your messages in accordance with that audience AND your brand mission statement.