So, you want to grow your brand with an online ad campaign. How do you do it? More importantly, how do you run an effective campaign that brings in new customers and doesn’t waste your money?
Here’s a quick guide to growing your brand, from first steps to final product.
Find out what’s already out there
The first step to growing your brand is finding out what information is already out there. A quick Google search can oftentimes reveal shocking results. This is true both for your personal brand or for a business. On a personal level, did you Tweet something back in 2011 that could be damaging? Now is the time to clean that up. Are there college party photos on your Facebook page? Get rid of them.
In extreme cases, you might want to use this opportunity to change your name. If there are a large number of negative reviews for your business, it can be impossible to get them taken down. If you’re an individual, using your middle initial can sometimes be a good idea. For example, if you search your name and the first five results are news stories about a child molester, just do business as John H Smith.
Know your target audience
Now that you’ve made sure your own image is squeaky clean, it’s time to focus on your audience. Specifically, you want to know who they are. This is one of the first steps of any good marketing process. Why?
To be effective, an ad has to have something to offer. There needs to be a compelling reason for someone to click through and actually buy your product. If you want to convince somebody, you need to know what makes them tick.
This customer avatar, along with an understanding of your brand and culture, allows your advertising partner to build the best possible ad campaign.
Keep your pitch simple
If you want to create effective, high-converting video ads, it’s important to create a simple pitch. After all, you’ve only got a few seconds to grab your customer’s attention. The concept should be simple and easy to understand.
At the same time, it’s important to make sure that potential customers actually understand what you’re offering. According to Arina Katrycheva, an executive from actiTIME, which offers timekeeping services:
“Don’t think that your customers understand your product as well as you do. Even something super simple might be not that evident for people. Especially if you provide some complex software with a learning curve. We always talk with the customers about our product with simple words, detailed explanations and examples. Don’t let your clients feel confused.”
A short ad might not be the best time to explain every last detail of your product, but you need to at least communicate why someone would want to pay for it.
Define your brand identity
According to HubSpot, a major marketing platform: “Your brand identity is the representation of your company’s reputation through the conveyance of attributes, values, purpose, strengths, and passions.” That’s a lot of words.
More simply, your brand identity is your brand’s “personality”. For example, Dollar Shave Club famously ran an ad campaign with the phrase, “Our blades are fucking great!”
This doesn’t mean that if you drop an F-bomb in your ad for homemade plush animals, you’re going to drive sales. But for a brand with Dollar Shave Club’s “frat boy” image, the slogan was very effective.
A good example from the corporate world is Allstate’s “You’re in good hands” campaign. The actor’s voice is soothing and calming, reassuring you that even though you just got in a car accident, everything is going to be just fine. This pairs beautifully with the company’s logo, which also adorns the end zone nets at many football stadiums.
Developing your brand identity will help advertising partners, such as VisCap Media, to build a campaign that introduces your brand to the right audience.
Get your brand in the news
Sometimes, the best advertising is free. If you can figure out a way to tie your product or service to a major event, you might end up on the news. For example, here’s what Joseph DiBlasi of nonprofit group The Conference Board had to say:
“During the last presidential campaign, we leveraged the fact that the dates of the debates were published well in advance. We had enough breathing room to develop op-eds that were both thorough and incredibly timely, which led to multiple publications featuring our commentary.”
In DiBlasi’s case, the “product” was actually a set of policy proposals, but this can work for services and physical products as well.
Host an in-person event
An in-person event is a great way to introduce yourself to customers. If you’re offering a service, it gives them a chance to ask you questions and learn more about who they’ll be working with. If you’re offering a product, it gives them a chance to get their hands on that product.
In-person events can take a variety of forms. For example, before COVID came along, Home Depot used to host monthly kids’ workshops. These workshops introduced kids to basic tools and how to use them. Meanwhile, the parents got to browse and shop.
Of course, this kind of event can get expensive. You have to pay people to staff it, and you have to advertise the event to begin with. But there are plenty of affordable ways to showcase your product or service.
For example, trade shows attract thousands of people who are looking for products in a particular niche. Oftentimes, you can get a table for a very affordable price. Similarly, you could partner with other local businesses to sponsor a local non-profit. All it takes is a bit of creativity.
For the time being, in most countries, hosting an in-person event is a bad idea. That said, there will come a day when we are once again able to get together in person. When that day comes, an in-person event is a great tool to have in your toolkit.
Ask your customers to tell their friends
At the end of the day, an ad is just an ad. It can be eye-catching, entertaining, or even moving. It can get people interested in your brand and make them want to learn more. But everybody knows it’s just an ad.
Referrals from friends and family, on the other hand, carry a lot of weight. In fact, a whopping 83% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. And according to Inc.com, “People who were referred by friends were three times more likely to purchase than visitors who clicked on online ads.”
So, besides asking them nicely, how do you get your existing customers to refer friends and family? One way is to give them a reward for doing so.
Dropbox has a referral program where customers can earn extra storage by referring friends. For every friend a Dropbox user refers, they earn an additional 500MB of storage. Industry analysts estimate that in the program’s first 15 months, Dropbox grew their customer base by between 5.25 and 9.76%.
Considering that 500MB of storage is practically free, the Dropbox referral program earned huge gains at virtually zero cost.
By following this advice, you can grow your brand and connect with more customers. But you don’t have to do it alone. Contact VisCap Media to learn more, and start building a campaign that you’ll be proud of.