6 Brand Marketing Opportunities That Don’t Involve Advertising
This article was originally published in Forbes.
Talk to anyone about your work as a marketing professional and the conversation will likely steer toward traditional and digital advertising: TV, radio, print, direct mail, banner ads, streaming audio and video, native content, paid search and social media.
No surprises here. These are, after all, the marketing assets with which they interact on a daily basis. These assets are also what we as marketers pour our time, energy and resources into producing.
But marketing goes far beyond the ads served while streaming a show, flipping through a magazine or scrolling social media feeds. And chances are you’re missing opportunities to introduce and reinforce your brand.
What Opportunities Exist Beyond Advertising?
Here are six unique ways to reach prospects and customers with your brand narrative outside of the more obvious advertising channels:
Sure, your website is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate you own. But when was the last time you audited your website or overhauled it? A website’s design and content should reinforce your brand identity and provide a consistent, outstanding experience for first-time visitors and repeat customers alike. Drive traffic to relevant landing pages and maintain a high degree of cohesiveness throughout their journey.
Most visitors will spend time on your website using their smartphone, so be sure to use a mobile-first design. It’s also important to pay attention to load times to help keep bounce rates low. Review website analytics regularly to ensure mobile and desktop users are engaged, and learn how they utilize your website. And, of course, fix any broken links or other errors that might detract from the user experience.
2. Meta Descriptions
We’ve all been there before: You’re ready to publish a new page on your website or an article for your blog and you quickly hammer out a meta description. Make sure it’s coherent and has a keyword or two, and you’re good to go. But while creating meta descriptions with the right keywords matters to search algorithms, you want to be mindful of the actual consumers scanning search results for content. They matter, too. Compelling meta descriptions that reflect your brand voice and tone can help you build connections with prospective customers before they even click on a link.
3. Trade Show Presence
Think about the last trade show floor you walked. How many pens, stickers and pieces of candy did you end up stuffing into your conference tote bag? Your brand has a real opportunity to stand out at a trade show. Transform your booth into an experience that goes beyond pop-up banners and gimmicky giveaways.
Design a comfortable, on-brand environment that invites prospective customers to stick around for a while. Set up monitors to display brand videos, product demos, testimonials and more while they’re waiting to talk with a sales rep. Equip your sales team with tablets and slick customer-facing content to use during their introductory pitch. Invite industry influencers to stop by to record a podcast and interact with visitors to your booth. These extra efforts demonstrate your brand’s commitment to being extraordinary.
4. Curb Appeal and In-Person Experience
When a customer or first-time visitor sets foot in your business location, what do they see and hear? How are they treated? Where do they wait for an appointment? These collective experiences significantly impact how they will ultimately view your brand. Design your signage, entryway and lobby to reflect your brand. Tend to every detail of their on-site interaction—from initial welcome to wait time to how they depart. This should include training and equipping your office staff to support the overall customer experience you’re trying to create.
5. Statements, Invoices and Stationery
Let’s be honest, nobody likes paying bills. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to just stamp your logo onto your statements and invoices and send them off. Instead, use these touch points as an opportunity to reinforce your brand and remind customers why they like doing business with you. Keep your communication clear and concise, and make it easy to pay invoices. This adds to a smooth, streamlined customer experience.
Also, don’t forget the power of a nice handwritten note to thank your customers for their business. Design stationery or note cards that reflect your brand—or better yet, put together a brand box with a branded coffee mug and some locally roasted coffee to show your appreciation. Such attentiveness to your customers does not go unnoticed.
6. Products and Services
Ultimately, your products and services are the most important way to assert your brand narrative. Get earnest feedback from your customers and sales team and look for ways to constantly improve and add value to whatever it is you’re selling. This also applies to the sales process, packaging and delivery. You should seek to create a truly memorable experience for each person who purchases your product or service.
Increase The Effectiveness Of Your Advertising
Advertising is essential to your brand’s marketing strategy, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. There are many other ways to create a positive customer experience that can help build customer loyalty and drive word-of-mouth marketing—all while increasing the effectiveness of your ads. Taking advantage of these opportunities can move your business forward when done well.