Many small businesses make the mistake of overlooking strategic branding efforts. They may feel branding is only relevant for companies with huge budgets and large-scale operations. These businesses may settle for an attractive logo, professional business cards and a canned website. However, strategic branding is critical for businesses of all sizes because it increases their value, provides staff with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.
Grow Corp was tasked with delivering high-impact branding for MessageWhiz, a revolutionary messaging platform that is part of MMDSmart Ltd’s global smart communications enterprise. The scope included designing a new logo, creating visual tradeshow assets, as well as planning, designing, developing and launching a new website that would optimize lead conversions. Grow was also fully responsible for generating comprehensive copy and content for all pages of the website. The catch? The entire project had to be ready in 8 weeks in time for a major industry event.
Read this Case Study to learn how Grow’s outstanding teamwork between designers, programmers, copywriters and project managers led to the project’s smooth progression and ultimate success. Grow Corp delivered an eye-catching logo and conference wall, as well as a vibrant and robust website, fully customized to support MessageWhiz’s unique look and feel. And most importantly, the entire project was delivered on time.
You know you have an incredible product, quality web content and an iron-clad social media strategy but you are still struggling to build the online following your business needs. How do you make sure your website is the one that gets noticed ahead of the competition.
Photo Credit: Aaron Burden – Unsplash
We live in a visual world. Your text, however compelling, well-researched and useful it is, will not stand much chance of getting noticed when it has to compete with the image-laden beauty on the next website.
Marketers will tell you that blogs that contain images receive 94% more views than blogs without images and social media updates containing images get far more likes, retweets, and shares than those without.
Get more views and hits
You want your message to stick in people’s heads? A well-chosen image will make your message much more memorable. Research shows that people retain much more information when it is combined with an image than when it isn’t.
Proper use of images also increases the chances of your website being found though organic searches and raises its profile in Search engines.
Find that winning picture
So how are you going to find that winning photograph that will draw your prospects irresistibly to you website?
A Google search will return a mixed bag of pictures many of which will be unusable due to copyright restrictions or poor quality.
Many online image repositories, such as Shutterstock, charge you for the privilege of using their photographs and what sees like small sums initially, can add up over the long-term. On stock photography agency Getty’s website it is not uncommon to pay upwards of $500 for an image!
All this makes Unsplash a powerful tool to have in your marketing arsenal.
Unsplash is a repository of beautiful, free photos gifted by the photographers themselves. Over 41,000 professional and amateur or hobbyist photographers from all over the world share their original, high-quality images to this online community. The images are free to use and can be shared and uploaded to your website without restrictions. Whilst you are not required to credit the photographer when you use their photograph, doing so is appreciated.
Every photograph submitted goes through an extensive computerized check before being reviewed by an editorial team who select the best quality content to feature.
Whilst Unsplash originally started as a side project of Crew (a community of freelance designers) it became a separate company about a year ago.
There are currently over 200,000 images to choose from and the numbers are increasing every day. To date, there have been 200 million downloads from the site and it has received 20 billion views.
Share the goodwill
You may wonder what’s in it for the photographer. As well as the draw of being part of a global community that shares a common commitment to sharing and distributing exceptional photography with the world, many Unsplash photographers started off by using the site themselves for their own projects and decided they wanted to ‘give something back’. Unsplash photographers also get recognition and exposure through being featured on the site.
So go ahead and make your website stand out with an attention-grabbing photograph and know that in doing so, you are supporting a forward-thinking community of photographers who see the value of sharing their talents with the world.
It’s no secret that content marketing works, boosting boosting SEO, creating opportunities for social sharing, building relationships with your audience and fostering trust in your brand.
So should you grab that keyboard and start writing? Not so fast. A good strategy is just as important as the content itself. A successful strategy can transform random content into an effective results-driven effort that leads to a positive ROI. Here are 5 steps to take to ensure your content will convert.
- Consider your avatar – Take some time to consider the different types of people who make up your target audience. What issues are important to them? What makes them tick? Are there topics or keywords to avoid? What communication channels are they active on? Every piece of content should be created with your audience in mind.
- Keep your branding consistent – Make sure your content ties in with your brand. Whether your brand is uber-professional or quirky and fun, your content should match that tone. Ensure the tone is consistent across all your marketing efforts, including your website, online marketing, email, trade shows, direct mail, and other promotional activities.
- Set up a content calendar – A common mistake among content marketers is communication drop-off. The team may be gung-ho at the outset, but loses steam after a period of time, causing changes in communication frequency and missed opportunities to connect with your audience. Set up a content calendar with clear deliverables and publish dates. Be sure to set specific goals for each content piece and determine quantifiable metrics that align with those goals.
- Write, write, write – You can be sure that your audience is inundated with content from multiple sources, including the competition. Make sure yours is worth reading. Your content needs authenticity and relevance, so make certain you are highly knowledgeable about the subject matter. Research original content on topics you think would be of interest to your audience. Clarify roles and responsibilities around writing, editing, publishing and sharing. Determine whether an outside consultant or agency is needed to augment internal staff to achieve regularly posted high-quality content.
- Share everywhere – Your content can only achieve its desired results if your audience reads it. Determine which channels will be most effective at promoting your content. Keep in mind that oftentimes your content can be re-purposed; for example, a popular blog post can be the basis for a webinar or an in-depth whitepaper. Choose a snappy line from your content piece and share it on social media with a link to the original content. Other creative ways to share content include videos, infographics, e-books and podcasts.
If you need assistance with planning or executing your content strategy, Grow Corporation can help.
As a full service B2B Marketing Communications company, Grow Corp uses effective in-house consulting services, strategy, copywriting and design to build integrated end-to-end solutions that adapt to your company’s needs. We offer strategic input based on our deep business understanding and familiarity with the high-tech and industrial markets. You benefit from our 15 years of experience covering all aspects of marketing communications – alternative strategies, copywriting, design and execution. Our professional and experienced team cuts through the noise to deliver a compelling proposition that meets all your needs. We specialize in connecting the dots between the different messages emanating from the company into one clear, concise and convincing message. For over 15 years, our marketing and strategic advice has helped many businesses and industries, from both start-ups to established multi-nationals around the world. Now, let us help you.
Well, when it comes to producing White Papers, the devil truly is in the details.
White Papers have become a standard feature in the marketer’s toolbox. However, more often than not, these documents are filled with regurgitated, superficial content that is neither informative nor authoritative and says little about the issuing body’s view on the matter.
White Papers are often considered a necessity, rather than a benefit. This approach has negative implications to both prospective customers and partners. A scrabbled white paper does not define the benefit of the offering nor its technical innovation. Such a lack of focus fails to convey the uniqueness and impact of the product or service.
Yet, for all the poor examples, White Papers can play an important role and are well worth the time and effort used to produce them. Writing is a proven tool for crystalizing thoughts and ideas, and the material generated in a White Paper can inform and streamline parallel marketing efforts. White Papers are also a critical component in the customer engagement cycle….an excellent opportunity to move beyond the hype and buzz in order to explain key features and detail unique benefits of their products and services. Moreover, unrelated to a particular product or service, White Papers give the company an opportunity to establish thought leadership.
In summary, the world does need another White Paper, with the proviso that it is solid, instructive and decisive. But questions remain…how can you get started? Which elements must you include, and which should you absolutely avoid?
Gathering feedback on how customers view your products, services and support leads to a gold mine of actionable data….if done right. Here are some best practices for collecting and capitalizing on the feedback you receive from your customers:
Determine the purpose for gathering feedback
Before embarking on any efforts to collect feedback, consider the specific areas you are trying to learn about, and what you will do with the data once it is collected. A good rule of thumb is to ensure every single question you ask will bring you one step closer to your goal, no matter how it is answered. Avoid dead-end questions that are overly obvious or that require only one word answers. When planning your questions, have the end result in mind, so you invite the types of responses that will help solve your problem. Blindly asking for feedback about your products or services will almost never result in actionable insights.
Choose your weapon
Once you have a clear purpose for gathering customer feedback, do some research and determine what channel will be most effective in accomplishing your goal. There are many platforms and tools available; make sure you choose the one most suitable – usually at a decision point, or immediately before an action will be taken. For example, at the point where a customer abandons items in his online shopping cart, unsubscribes from your e-newsletter or returns a product to your store. Popular mediums to gather customer feedback include email/contact forms, surveys, help tickets, review sites, blog comments, social media posts, phone/in-person interviews or focus groups.
Monetize the feedback
While accumulating data is important, it is even more imperative to actually take the time to learn from your customers, and more importantly, proactively leverage this data to guide future marketing efforts and improve products, services and overall customer experience. The feedback you get is only as good as the action you take.
- Improve a product or service: The world’s most successful companies are the best at creating products that meet their customers’ needs and exceed their expectations.
- Create a better customer experience: Wow your customers and they will remain loyal and refer their friends as well. Responding appropriately to a negative customer experience will help ensure customer retention.
- Identify your ambassadors: Customer advocates offer high value at very little cost. Contact the customers who consistently give you positive feedback and develop mutually-beneficial relationships.
- Ask for referrals: Customer referrals are the number one way to attract new customers. If you don’t ask, you will not receive.
Prioritize your response
When determining how best to respond to the feedback you’ve received or the insights you’ve uncovered, divide the data into three stages.
- Stage 1: Urgent adjustments that are both critical and quick. These may be easy wins or crisis alerts.
- Stage 2: Actions that impact revenue over the short-term, such as new product features or upgraded service.
- Stage 3: Ideas or suggestions that will majorly transform your business over the long term. These may be product offshoots or a game-changing technology.
Once you’ve implemented the feedback-based changes, don’t forget to close the loop with your customers. Absolutely let them know that you’ve taken their suggestions seriously and effected change in your business, products or services. This will create good will and encourage more feedback in the future.
Need help with a customer feedback strategy? Grow-Corp can help.
As a full service B2B Marketing Communications company, Grow-Corp uses effective in-house consulting services, strategy, copywriting and design to build integrated end-to-end solutions that adapt to your company’s needs. We offer strategic input based on our deep business understanding and familiarity with the high-tech and industrial markets. You benefit from our 15 years of experience covering all aspects of marketing communications – alternative strategies, copywriting, design and execution. Our professional and experienced team cuts through the noise to deliver a compelling proposition that meets all your needs. We specialize in connecting the dots between the different messages emanating from the company into one clear, concise and convincing message. For over 15 years, our marketing and strategic advice has helped many businesses and industries, from both start-ups to established multi-nationals around the world. Now, let us help you.
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