Want to Maximize Your Marketing? Use These Marketing Statistics

When you’re running a business or leading a team, it can be difficult to know where to focus your attention because everything feels important. That’s why making data-based decisions around where and how you spend your energy is important—it removes the guesswork. It creates clarity around where your time and energy will result in the biggest impact and generate the most value for your company.

In this blog, we’ll look at a few statistics and break down what we can take away from them so you can spend your precious time and energy where it counts the most.

  1. 54% of decision-makers say they spend more than one hour per week reading and reviewing thought-leadership content. (Edelman/LinkedIn 2021)

Creating content is time-consuming; thus, using data to help you make decisions around the most effective content to create is your best solution to optimizing your effort and time. This stat tells us that the people you care about the most (the decision makers behind who’s going to buy your product) are taking the time to read content that educates them. If you prioritize writing content, such as blogs, that focuses on educating people and solving their problems, you’re more likely to get your brand and organization in front of potential customers.

Thought leadership can sound scary, but you shouldn’t be in business if you’re not confident in what you’re selling or teaching people. So remind yourself that you’re the expert and focus on sharing your hard-earned knowledge in a format designed to help people and solve their problems. It’s great for building relationships, SEO, and establishing your brand.

  1. Virtual events, webinars, and online courses ranked first in the B2B content that yielded the best results in 2021. (Content Marketing Institute)

Another powerful way to generate leads and build engagement is by offering long-form educational content. Online courses and webinars are two great options if you’re trying to maximize the value of your time since they can be designed to be evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that will be available indefinitely, creating a pipeline that can generate leads well into the future.

Consider how you can offer a course or a webinar that solves your customers’ problems. Think ahead about where they’ll be in the buyer’s journey and consider how your content offer will meet their needs. Then you can design a follow-up strategy to capitalize on your now high-qualified marketing leads (or people who are more likely to buy your product because they are more educated about how it solves their problem).

  1. Email marketing has the highest return on investment for small businesses. (Campaign Monitor, 2019)

Email marketing is one of the top performing forms of marketing today. It’s a great way to maintain engagement with your contacts, gain helpful insight into your contact database using analytics, and move leads through the funnel.

But you shouldn’t email for the sake of emailing. As much as email can be a great tool for building relationships, it can also ruin relationships. Make sure your email content is relevant, useful, and timely. Over-sending emails can become a nuisance to your contacts and result in unsubscribes. It’s also critical to take the time to design and format your emails intentionally. Email design, like web design, will significantly impact whether your emails get read.

If you’re in doubt, ask the data

Time management and marketing go hand in hand. Make sure you’re paying attention to what’s working and what isn’t. Use defined metrics and goals to decipher what content generates the highest value for your business and make decisions around what you’ve learned.

It takes time to collect enough data to make these decisions, so stick with each activity for at least a few cycles so you can accumulate enough data to make qualified decisions – because data tells a much more accurate story than your gut does. Creating content and managing a brand online takes time and effort, so spending your time in the right place makes or breaks your success.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by milkos

Get Your Marketing and Messaging on Track

Developing powerful messaging can be one of the toughest challenges businesses face in marketing and branding. You do so much, and you know it all, but how do you convey your organization’s value to your audience? How do you tell them the 1,000 reasons to work with you in under 50 words?

Many businesses focus on the wrong things to try and connect with their audience, leaving them no closer to their goal and with a whole lot of wasted time and effort on their hands. Gone are the days of people caring how old your business is; gone are the days of long stuffy bios and dense, technical language.

Effective messaging doesn’t have to be a mystery. It simply takes the right approach to get to the message you’re looking for.

Start looking toward the future

When hiring someone outside your organization to help with marketing, a common tactic is to research your top three competitors and base your messaging on what they learned. They’re hoping to find out what you’re up against, what is successful for others in your industry niche, and where the bar is set.

But this strategy is deeply flawed. It starts on the premise that your competitors know what they’re doing, which very often they don’t. (They probably looked at competitors’ websites, too!)

The second problem with this approach is that it only reflects what has already been done and will only work to ensure your messaging becomes a copycat of theirs, undermining your unique perspective and value. Essentially, it puts another company’s words in your mouth—and your competitor’s at that!

So, instead of looking back at the lagging indicator created by what other organizations have done in the past, start by looking to the future. Your future. Ask yourself where your organization is now and envision where you want to go. Your message should reflect where you are now and project the future with you and your client in it.

Figure out who your audience is

Before you write anything, start by defining your audience. Identify who your ideal customer is and what brings them to you. What are their worries, challenges, and pain points, and why are you the organization to help them overcome those things?

Once you’ve identified the face of your audience and you’ve identified their challenges, envision their future. Envision how their future will be improved through what you can offer them. Create a message that allows them to see a better version of their future selves. Work to reflect their pain points back to them in the form of their aspirations, enabled by you.

Keep it simple

One of the quickest ways to lose someone’s attention is to overload them with information. Read through your message from the perspective of your ideal customer. Are you providing them with information they don’t need at the moment? Are you getting wordy about your excellent organization and all the fantastic things you do?

While it may make you feel good, it only makes it harder for your ideal customer to get what they need. People are busy. They have a lot to do and little time to do it, and they want the easiest, most transparent, most obvious solution. They shouldn’t have to expend effort to understand what you do or know the obvious next step. If they do, they’ll leave and probably never come back.

 

Your message should only give people precisely what they need at that moment. No more, no less.

Let your messaging evolve

As your business develops and grows, so should your messaging. Consider it a living, breathing part of your organization that needs to be fed and allowed to evolve.

Don’t hold your messaging hostage to old, stuffy language just because that’s the way you’ve always done it. Keep coming back to it, evaluating its effectiveness, and giving it room to change. It takes serious effort, but with every inch of messaging effort you put in, your customers receive a mile in value.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by puhhha

Why You Need to Understand Branding vs. Marketing

Quick, a pop quiz. Are branding and marketing the same thing?

If you answered yes, think again. They’re not the same. In fact, the difference is crucial to understand if you want your business to grow effectively.

Branding vs. Marketing

Branding: Branding is your company’s personality. It’s how you talk, look, and handle sales calls and interviews. To use a term coined by Gen Z, your brand is your company’s “like, total vibe, you know?” Branding is your strategy.

Marketing: Marketing is your company’s interaction with the world. It’s your social media posts, emails, and event promotion. It’s in your job posts, client communications, and sales sheets. Marketing is your tactics.

When businesses mistake the two as the same, they miss out on crucial pieces of one or both. It’s pretty straightforward. You can have the best strategy in the world, but you won’t get anywhere if you have no tactics. If you have lots of tactics but no strategy, you’ll spend your energy in the wrong places and won’t hit your goals.

Value vs. expense 

Branding differs from marketing in another, equally important way: it generates and stores value. Consider Starbucks and your local coffee shop. They both have their own set of loyal customers. The local coffee shop goers might go to Starbucks in a pinch, but they’ll always pick their local shop over Starbucks. And vice versa.

Since their product is the same, why do some customers stick with the local shop and some stick with Starbucks? Because each has a unique brand personality—and those personalities resonate differently with people, according to their tastes and values.

Your brand is the personality of your organization, thus, storing value for your business since it’s the brand that attracts customers.

Marketing, on the other hand, is an expense. It’s what gets your brand in front of potential customers. You must spend capital to attract people and begin to garner brand recognition. Marketing is just as crucial as developing your brand since without it, you don’t have a chance at growing your customers.

Thinking long term

Developing a solid brand and an effective marketing strategy takes time and effort, and most small businesses struggle to find time to work on both. But by starting small and staying consistent, you can make a significant impact long term.

  • Brand development: Define your values. Work with your team to discover what your core values are. What is your Why? How do your values impact your product and the promise you make to your customers?
  • Marketing: Communicate your values. Create a campaign to spread awareness of your brand’s values. Define ways you can get these values in front of prospects. Identify goals and metrics to track your success. This might look like a social media campaign with videos breaking down your values or an internal report you share with your audience demonstrating how you uphold and stay accountable to them.
  • Brand development: Define your voice. Identify how you want to communicate with your audience. Are you serious and direct? Playful and helpful? Do you joke and use emojis, or keep your language corporate and buttoned up? Is your language simple or complex?
  • Marketing: Use your voice. In your next campaign, integrate your voice into how you present your information. If you want to hire for a position that just opened up, consider how you phrase the requirements and talk about it on social media. If you’re selling a new product, what words do you use to describe how it will help the customer? Use your brand voice to help you make these decisions and ultimately affect who you attract.

These are some examples of how branding and marketing work off one another to help you create a more prosperous and purposeful company. When you understand how each tool works together, you can make a more significant impact. Your brand is powerful, but it’s nothing without the effort of marketing.

One shouldn’t exist without the other; the more intentional you can be, the more powerful you become.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by rawpixel

Five Principles of Design and Why You Should Care

Whether you’re running a one-person or 1,000-person company, you’ve got a brand. And all brands need to be maintained and protected to do their job. With the importance of social media and digital marketing, your brand plays a significant role in your company’s relationships. It’s the face of your organization, setting the tone for your conversations and directing the attention of your prospective buyers and prospective talent.

When protecting your brand, you need to have a grasp on what to look for when evaluating your visual content —whether it’s a website, case study, or social card. It doesn’t matter if you have an in-house designer or work with a contractor to help you develop your branded content; either way, use a clear set of basic standards to evaluate the quality of your digital or print content.

Understanding these concepts has become even more crucial as DIY graphic design programs like Canva have cropped up, making it extremely easy for anyone to create branded/designed content regardless of training. Here are five basic design principles that will help you evaluate the quality of any design.

1. Consistency

One of the most fundamental concepts behind a brand is that it’s made up of similar, recognizable visual concepts. This means that brands must be repetitive in their designs to make it easy for others to recognize them and create a visual harmony that ties each piece of content together. Visual consistency and repetition help your audience identify that the individual pieces of your content belong to a larger whole.

Everything should be strictly defined—the typography/font you use, the colors, and the types of shapes and images. If your brand only consists of two colors and you need an accent color, pick one and stick with it across all your digital and physical platforms.

2. Contrast

A simple yet crucial part of design is contrast. Ask a graphic designer, and they would tell you contrast is when two strictly different elements are used together to create impact and direct the gaze. But for branded and digital content in general, contrast plays an even greater role—accessibility.

Yes, content should be visually balanced and not chaotic. It should also be clear, easy to understand, and (hopefully) visually interesting. But you should also make sure that anyone, regardless of their physical ability, can read and understand your content.

And that means ensuring high contrast between text and the background it sits on. Text shouldn’t be placed over patterns; it should be a color on the opposite end of the spectrum from the background it sits on. If you’re ever unsure, ask yourself if the text you’re looking at is as easy to read as it would be if it was black text on a white background.

The same rule should go for your logo. When used, it should always be in the highest possible contrast with the background it sits on.

Design Principal Examples

3. Alignment

Another fundamental yet significant piece that will impact the quality of your designs is alignment. To make things easy to understand, you need to use consistent and intentional alignment.

Think about the text, for instance. If you’re using center-aligned text, consider where it is on the page. Does it have a visual component it should align with? Elements can be aligned to any side they share. This could mean all elements are aligned to the left, right, top, bottom, or middle. When reviewing a piece of content, consider whether the design elements are properly and consistently aligned.

4. Hierarchy

Hierarchy in design is exactly what it sounds like, the order in which different design elements should be given importance. Most often, hierarchy refers to size. It is what helps your audience organize the content on the page. Your first instinct might be to make your logo large, but ask yourself, is your logo the most important thing you want people to see? Or is it the message, call-to-action, or image?

When everything appears visually important calling for attention, then nothing is. Use hierarchy to help your viewer receive the right information in the right order.

5. Balance and space

Consider balance and space within the design. Are there elements that feel cramped? Does each element have enough space to ‘breathe’? Web designers would tell you that white space is crucial for helping viewers absorb the content presented to them. If you try to cram too much information into one space, you’ll lose their attention because that information becomes difficult for them to translate. As a rule, each of your design elements should have enough ‘white space’ around it so that it’s easy for someone to absorb the element at a glance.

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Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by kengssr1980

Launching a Powerful Employer Brand

Whether you know it or not, your organization has an employer brand. Every company that has employees has one whether they spend time developing it or not. Essentially, an employer brand is the ‘personality’ your organization projects to its employees and prospective talent. It’s the reputation your organization has as a workplace, as opposed to the overall reputation your organization has to its customers and general audience.

And it’s important. Really important.

For one thing, having a strong employer brand can save you a lot of money. Harvard Business Review found that companies overspend on salaries by 10% when they have to compensate for a poor reputation. That’s not to mention the loss in prospective talent, which they found reduced by nearly half when organizations had a reputation for lack of job stability, dysfunctional teams, and faulty leadership.

According to Randstad, 96% agree that a crucial component influencing employee satisfaction is how well company values are aligned with employees’ personal values. And prospective employees seem to know that since 50% of job seekers would pass over a job with a pay increase if it was at an organization with a poor reputation.

The benefits of actively creating and managing your employer brand are well worth the effort—not to mention the value in avoiding the drawbacks of not doing so.

So, how do you develop a good employer brand?


1. Review your current brand.

Start by talking to your team and taking an internal temperature reading of how your current employees view your organization. Look at employee reviews of your company on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. Check out our company’s social media and see what language you use around your employees: how you recognize them, engage them, and motivate them.

Take the time to go through your current employee-facing documents like your employee handbook to get a feel for how your organization is already communicating with employees. Finally, look at your competitors and get a feel for how they present their employer brand to identify how you stand apart from them. See what prospective talent is navigating when looking for a job in your industry.

2. Develop a message

While you may have heard of a regular value proposition, an employee value proposition (EVP) might be an unfamiliar term for you. Essentially, it’s a concise explanation of why your organization is desirable to work at, what sets you apart, and what it’s like to be a part of your culture.

Creating an employee value proposition can be a fairly involved process, but it’s definitely worth the time it takes to develop. Creating a strong EVP requires serious introspection about your company values, research into your employees’ needs and desires, and thoughtfulness about the future of your company. It will become the foundation of your employer brand, creating language for your recruiters to center their message around, and offering a guiding light for your company culture, priorities, and leadership style. And it will play a crucial role in helping prospective employees determine if they are interested in working at your company.

3. Create employee ownership

Before releasing your new EVP and clarified company values and culture into the world at large, it’s crucial that you create a foundation for it to take root and grow within your organization. Make sure that you’re projecting an accurate message that reflects what it’s like to work for you.

To ensure you’re communicating from a place of honesty, work with key employees (leaders, managers, and individual employees) to help execute and implement your vision. Review and update your policies, benefits plan, and managerial approach to find ways to align them to your EVP. Create ways for employees to take ownership of it so they can act as stewards, ushering the values and culture throughout the organization.

Ask if it’s reflected in:

  • New employee onboarding process
  • Employee benefits and perks
  • PTO policies
  • Employee development opportunities

4. Launch externally

Once you’ve created an employee value proposition that reflects the clarified values, culture, and priorities of your organization, you’re ready to begin sharing your employer brand with the world! Offer your EVP to your hiring manager, add it to your careers page, and use it as a guide for how you interact with potential talent.

Begin telling your story as an organization on social media, through how you interact with and promote your employees online. Team up with your marketing team to determine how best to communicate your message and start telling the story of your organization from within. It’s crucial to keep returning to your employer brand to determine if it needs to be updated as your organization changes and grows. Remember, since your employer brand exists with or without your effort, it’s so much better to actively maintain your employer brand than it is to let it exist on its own, without your guidance and ownership.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by nenetus

Message Over Madness

We’ve all heard the term “cleanliness is next to godliness” at some point in our lives. Its wisdom has followed us from our teenage bedrooms to our homes and our offices. Nothing says focus like a well-organized desk or ‘delicious meal’ like a sparkling kitchen.

There’s a reason this sentiment is so powerful. Science tells us that disorder makes it difficult for our brains to focus on a task and that cleanliness in one’s home is directly related to stress levels and mental wellbeing.

So, what does this have to do with your business? Consider how often people interact with your company. Now think about how often they come across your website, your sell sheet, or through our office doors. Every time they do that, they interact with your brand, messaging, and organizational personality.

Now think about your value proposition. Can you concisely tell someone what you do? In less than three sentences? How about just one sentence?

Getting back on message

It may come as a surprise, but many business owners struggle to explain to other people what they do. This is often because business leaders think of their organization as a series of reasons, actions, and results, each as important as the next. While this may be true when defining everything a business does, it can become extremely messy when trying to communicate your value to someone else.

This leads to misleading, messy, misaligned messaging (excuse the alliteration). The triple Ms can result in:

  • Website pages with way too much information, overwhelming visitors
  • Sell sheets that confuse instead of educating
  • Sales conversations that lead to headaches
  • Employees who struggle to stay aligned with organizational goals

Begin by asking the question: when people visit your website, how quickly will they be able to tell what you do? How easily will they be able to identify if your solution is right for them?

Our daily lives are filled with clutter, no matter how clean our home is. We have junk mail to sort through, advertisements interrupting our shows, traffic to navigate, and unnecessary meetings to get through. When it comes to finding solutions to our problems, we don’t have a ton of extra space in our brain to give to finding that solution.

The bottom line?

People won’t stick around to try and sus through your confusing website. They’ll leave for an easier one to understand. And they’ll make the decision in less than 20 seconds.

Every business offers a solution, whether you’re selling sweaters or software, which means that every business, everywhere, needs a clear value proposition. The clearer the value proposition, the more effective your messaging efforts will be. And the clearer your messaging, the easier it is to attract and retain customers and even employees.

A great value proposition should:

  • be easily remembered by every one of your employees,
  • be written in less than three sentences, and
  • be clear to any layperson who comes across it.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these three books that can help you write a value proposition and clarify your message:

  1. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
  2. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

A clear value proposition isn’t just good for your messaging. It’s good for your clients, prospects, and even your employees. The clarity it provides sifts down through every conversation, interaction, and decision made around your business. It creates trust and dependability, and it removes friction. If you’re truly interested in helping your organization remove the clutter, start by developing a powerful value proposition.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by Pixel-Shot

Three Steps to Honing Your Message

Developing powerful messaging can be one of the toughest challenges businesses face in marketing and branding. You do so much, and you know it all, but how do you convey your organization’s value to your audience? How do you tell them the 1,000 reasons to work with you in under 50 words?

Many businesses focus on the wrong things to try and connect with their audience, leaving them no closer to their goal and with a whole lot of wasted time and effort on their hands. Gone are the days of people caring how old your business is; gone are the days of long stuffy bios and dense, technical language.

Effective messaging doesn’t have to be a mystery. It simply takes the right approach to get to the message you’re looking for.

Where to start

When hiring someone outside your organization to help with marketing, a common tactic is to research your top three competitors and base your messaging on what they learned. They’re hoping to find out what you’re up against, what is successful for others in your industry niche, and where the bar is set.

But this strategy is deeply flawed. It starts on the premise that your competitors know what they’re doing, which very often they don’t. (They probably looked at competitors’ websites, too!)

The second problem with this approach is that it only reflects what has already been done and will only work to ensure your messaging becomes a copycat of theirs, undermining your unique perspective and value. Essentially, it puts another company’s words in your mouth—and your competitor’s at that!

So, instead of looking back at the lagging indicator created by what other organizations have done in the past, start by looking to the future. Your future. Ask yourself where your organization is now and envision where you want to go. Your message should reflect where you are now and project the future with you and your client in it.

Define your audience

Before you write anything, start by defining your audience. Identify who your ideal customer is and what brings them to you. What are their worries, challenges, and pain points, and why are you the organization to help them overcome those things?

Once you’ve identified the face of your audience and you’ve identified their challenges, envision their future. Envision how their future will be improved through what you can offer them. Create a message that allows them to see a better version of their future selves. Work to reflect their pain points back to them in the form of their aspirations, enabled by you.

Simplify

One of the quickest ways to lose someone’s attention is to overload them with information. Read through your message from the perspective of your ideal customer. Are you providing them with information they don’t need at the moment? Are you getting wordy about your excellent organization and all the fantastic things you do?

While it may make you feel good, it only makes it harder for your ideal customer to get what they need. People are busy. They have a lot to do and little time to do it, and they want the easiest, most transparent, most obvious solution. They shouldn’t have to expend effort to understand what you do or know the obvious next step. If they do, they’ll leave and probably never come back.

Your message should only give people precisely what they need at that moment. No more, no less.

Keep working at it

As your business develops and grows, so should your messaging. Consider it a living, breathing part of your organization that needs to be fed and allowed to evolve.

Don’t hold your messaging hostage to old, stuffy language just because that’s the way you’ve always done it. Keep coming back to it, evaluating its effectiveness, and giving it room to change. It takes serious effort, but with every inch of messaging effort you put in, your customers receive a mile in value.

 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by gstockstudio

How to Get Online Reviews for Your Business

We all check reviews out, whether it’s for a restaurant, a new car purchase, or a medical professional. We know how valuable they are when we read them. But are you taking the time to cultivate that type of experience for your customers? Creating that advantage for your business?

More reviews mean better SEO, more social credibility, and more usable data for your company to source. But how do companies get reviews? Making a one-time push for reviews is common. Brick and mortar retail stores and restaurants solicit reviews after a grand opening or event. Online companies will get reviews after rolling out a new product or service.

Having current customer reviews makes a huge difference as most people consider reviews that are a few months old irrelevant. So, what are some ways your company can keep the reviews consistently rolling in?

Reach out

A great way to get customers to leave reviews is by directly asking them. The challenge here is doing so in the right way, at the right time. Here are some ideas.

  • Set up an automated email asking for a customer review. Schedule it to go out a week or so after a customer has made a purchase. Make sure you give them enough time to receive and use the product before scheduling the email to send.
  • Set up a short survey to send out right after you complete a webinar or event, asking people to share their experiences. Remember, when asking for a review, being prompt is key.
  • Send out a social media post asking for loyal customers to give back. This can be done in a friendly, personal tone that encourages people who care about your company to come forward and show their support. Be sure to express your gratitude and make it cheerful—you don’t want to appear desperate!
  • Asking one-to-one is also a great way to get reviews. Consider having a wrap-up meeting after completing a client project. Use this time to ask them about their experience, make sure they have everything they need, and request a review. This is a great practice when your business offers services that require in-person or video meetings. People respond well to being asked personally—happy customers want to give back!

Make it easy

Optimize the pathways your customers can take to leave reviews by creating multiple avenues for them to do so. The easier it is to leave a review, the more likely people will take the time to leave you one. You can do this by:

  • Creating easy, direct routes from your website to pages like Facebook, Yelp, and Google Review by adding badges to your menu bar and footer
  • Making sure you add a link asking for a review to your email signature
  • Adding a link for reviews to your product pages and confirmation emails

What to avoid

An important rule to getting reviews: Never pay anyone for a positive review. It is not only illegal but can be very obvious to anyone reading them. When customers come across fake reviews, they immediately lose trust in the company. If your company is getting fake positive reviews, it will backfire and undermine your social credibility and legitimacy.

Ready, set, go!

Make sure you keep your eyes out for new ways of engaging customers and bringing in reviews—the internet is a constantly changing platform and staying on top of current trends is critical to maintaining relevance. Any way you look at it, reviews will help your company get visibility, credibility, and informative, usable data.

Talk with your team, create a plan for asking for reviews, and then stick with it! Consistent reviews can give your business the social proof you need to boost both SEO and credibility. And unlike so many other activities, it doesn’t require a line in your budget!

 

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Three Books to Help You Jumpstart Your Brand

Creating a relevant, strong, and trusted brand is one of the most fundamental aspects of developing a successful company. Many entrepreneurs find that it’s one of the hardest things to accomplish. Not because it’s unattainable, but because it takes long-term planning, strategy, and self-education, all of which require quite a lot of time. (Oh, and the belief that it’s worth the time.)

One of the reasons creating a successful brand is so difficult is that it’s confusing. Messaging, platforms, brand development—it’s all been rapidly changing for the better part of the last two decades. Keeping up is hard work! But if you put aside the technology and the data and all the fancy new platforms, there are some strategies any business can tap into that are evergreen and will last the lifetime of your business.

Aside from hiring a marketing company to help you, there are an overwhelming amount of resources out there for business leaders to tap into to help them grow and develop their brand. To help, we’ve narrowed it down to three books that will help you cover all the most important bases.

The Truth About Creating Brands People Love

Authors: Brian D. Till and Donna Heckler

This book is excellent for busy leaders who don’t have more than a handful of minutes a day to spend reading. The book is broken up into 51 short chapters, each teaching one specific lesson about marketing. Take your highlighter and go chapter by chapter, allowing each truth to sink in throughout your day. From positioning to strategy, Till and Heckler do a stellar job breaking down common marketing misconceptions and righting the common marketing ‘wrongs’ companies make every day. This book will help you avoid common mistakes and enable you to develop a better understanding of what marketing is and isn’t.

Start With Why

Author: Simon Sinek

Since his famous TED Talk, Sinek has been a household name among business leaders for the last decade—and for good reason. Start with Why breaks down one of the most fundamentally impactful messaging strategies out there. Detailing the same method that skyrocketed Apple into one of the leading brands of the 21st century and enabled Martin Luther King Jr. to move an entire generation, every entrepreneur should read this book—not just people interested in marketing their business. It will help you frame your brand and your vision and enable you to authentically connect with your audience in a lasting and impactful way.

Building A Story Brand

Author: Donald Miller

This bestseller offers a handy toolset designed to help you position your brand in a way that connects with the dreams and goals of your audience. In today’s world, the customer has never been more important, and many brands struggle to understand how to position themselves to their audience. This book takes you chapter-by-chapter, step-by-step, through a series of exercises to help you clarify your message into something your customers will want to listen to. It may even help you better understand your organization. When developing your website, your marketing materials—even your sales pitches, this book turns the traditional advertising storyline on its head in a refreshingly clear and effective way.

Take matters into your own hands 

Don’t let the feeling of overwhelm stop you from attacking the problem of your brand. And don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from learning something new. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing organization to develop a successful brand. In fact, doing the learning yourself will help you develop a greater understanding of your brand, empowering you to take it farther than any external organization has the power to do. The information is at your fingertips; all you have to do is open the book.

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

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What Marketing Stats Can Teach Us About Human Behavior

Whether you’re in HR, marketing, sales, the C-Suite, or customer service, you rely on people. You need them to listen, to purchase, to follow, to keep coming back to you. And while your audience might be different, people are generally the same.

As the world of marketing has boomed over the past decade, so has its reliance on data and its ability to derive knowledge from it. Some data is too specific, but some data speaks on a grander scale, tying into modern human behavior and sentiment that we can use to inform just about any part of business.

Stat: After a bad experience, 88% of visitors won’t return to a website.

We live in a world of abundance. Customers have seemingly endless choices when it comes to where they spend their money and time. If they don’t like their experience with you, they can return to Google and click the next link in their search.

What can this teach us? That you have to prioritize your customer’s experience—even if your product is the best on the market.

If you work in HR, this correlates to an employee’s onboarding or offboarding experience. If they have a bad one, their entire perception of the organization can be tainted. If you’re in sales, think about the experience your prospects have with you. Are you calling them once and then forgetting about them? Or are you only focusing on trying to sell them the product of the highest value despite whether it’s right for them?

Ultimately, your audience’s experience as they are introduced to you, your website, your product, or your organization, sets the tone for your entire relationship. If you’re not making your best effort to give them a quality experience, they won’t be inclined to stay for long.

Stat: Nearly 100% of first impressions of a website are based on aesthetics and design.

While we’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” these days, that’s how people decide whether you care about them. If you haven’t updated your sales presentation since 2015, no one will take you seriously because they won’t feel taken seriously. If your employee handbook is ten pages of technical language without text breaks, no one will take the time to read it. If you show up to your job interview in an old t-shirt and ripped jeans, they aren’t going to give you a chance.

The way you present your information, value proposition, business, or company values is just as important as the information you’re trying to convey.

Stat: Every dollar invested in user experience results in an ROI of up to $100.

Investing your time, energy, and money into the experience of your audience pays off. While this may be common sense, it’s still one of the most impactful concepts you can learn. If your business sells products online, have you taken the time to walk in your customers’ shoes? Do you know what it’s like to purchase something from your own site?

If you’re preparing for a sales meeting, do you research your lead? Do you know what their pain points are, what their values are, what their goals are? Have you role-played your presentation?

As an HR leader, have you reviewed your employee benefits usage? Do you know what their experience is during open enrollment? Have you tried to seek out ways to improve it?

The success of your venture rests upon the ease of engagement for your audience. The easier it is for them to say yes, make the purchase, and understand what you’re telling them, the more often you’re going to succeed.

The underlying truth

Ultimately, each of these statistics tells us one fundamental truth: it’s not about you—it’s about your audience. Suppose your first concern is impressing your audience with your experience or making sure they buy the most profitable product or hit all the boxes on your compliance checklist. In that case, you’re setting yourself up for building low-quality relationships that won’t last.

If, however, you’re concerned with what they see when they first meet you, if you’re careful about how they receive the information you’re communicating, and if you’re bent on making it as easy as humanly possible to engage with you, then you’re setting yourself up for success. It’s that simple.

 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

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