An important part of any business is its branding, and that’s especially true for women-owned businesses. What makes you stand out? How does your ideal client know you’re for them when they see you? What makes a brand successful?
Marketing for women service providers is always a challenge, especially if they are also marketing to other women. The female consumer of today is looking for services that can add value to her life, and she is looking for services that match her values and worldview.
Women service providers have to understand how to present a service that fits her values, and how to value her.
When it comes to building a small business in 2021, it’s easy to think that branding is for big companies. But it’s simply not true anymore.
In the online space, brand strategy is now a key piece of the marketing puzzle for small businesses. More time and money are now being spent trying to define a new brand identity. Yet, without a strategy, you’ll find that your efforts are wasted and can actually hurt your sales.
In today’s economy, any business that does not have a clear brand strategy is going to be at a disadvantage when it comes to competing for clients, especially as more people start embracing brand marketing.
A long-term brand strategy is the difference between a vibrant, engaged brand and a forgettable one. A brand strategy should be the foundation for everything that your business does.
How does a personal brand build a brand strategy?
First, a brand has to know who it is. A strong foundation includes why you’re in this business (as opposed to any other business, be it making soap, cutting hair, or becoming a virtual assistant). It’s important to define things like your core values and company goals.
Once you know who you are and have a framework to communicate it, it’s time to flesh out the rest of the brand strategy with the foundation in mind. Brands are built on ideas, and an effective brand strategy is built on research.
The best way to strategically build a brand is to talk about it with real people who are the ideal clients. You can conduct online surveys to help gauge how much clients love the brand (or the ideas that will make up the brand strategy) and how much these potential services matter to them.
As you pull this all together, you’ll start to form the outline of your brand strategy that you can use in your marketing plan.
It’s hard to understand what you’re trying to say when you don’t know what your market is, what your competitors are, or what your clients want.
In other words, you need to make sure you have a clear understanding of your market and your competitors in order to position your brand.
Step one is to figure out your market. What problems are your ideal clients dealing with? What are they struggling with? What makes them look for a solution?
The next step is to figure out what options are out there for them. Who are your competitors? And what else could they turn to? Some people like to DIY their solutions, while others turn to books and courses. It’s important to have a complete picture of what other solutions are out there.
Finally, you need to really understand what your target audience wants and who they are. I’m not just talking about demographics here. I’m also talking about what keeps them up at night. What makes them excited and pumped up.
Once you know these things, it’s all about standing out in the competitive landscape. The way the world works today is fast-paced, and the need for brands to stand out from the pack is stronger than ever.
For example, if your potential customers are mainly women, we have seen that the best brands are those that have a voice, a story, and a mission.
If you’re not familiar with competitive analysis, it’s a method for analyzing your competition to see what they’re doing right, who they’re trying to reach, and what they’re offering that makes them stand apart from you.
Then you can ask yourself, what makes me different from them and how can I take what they are doing right and do it differently?
The biggest mistake most people make in their marketing efforts is to try to replicate what a competitor is doing because “it’s working for them, why can’t it work for me?” But at the end of the day, you are not your competitor.
They have a different background, a different voice, and different experiences. And all of these things can impact what is working for them and why that same strategy might not work for you.
This doesn’t mean that you can skip taking a look at your competitors. You need to figure out how to define your competitors and what sort of strategies they are using so that you can leverage what you’ve learned to define what makes you different.
Before you look at your competitors, you must first define how you will judge.
For example, when you look at their website you’ll want to see if their websites have the following qualities:
- Easy to navigate
- Cross-browser compatible
- Mobile friendly
- SEO friendly
- Fast loading
- Doesn’t have pop-ups
- Doesn’t have site redirects
- Doesn’t have security issues
- Doesn’t have annoying advertising
- How are they using social media marketing
- What is their website location
- What is their value propositions
You can keep track of all of these items in a spreadsheet and look for opportunities to define yourself as different. Let’s say most of your competitors have a slow-loading website that is difficult to navigate and they have lots of pop-ups. You can stand out by having a quick site that is easy to navigate with no pop-ups. You’ll give your website visitors a much better experience and stand out in your target market.
Brand Visual Language
Images are a powerful way to convey a brand’s messages. We use them to tell stories, tell people who we are, and build trust among our customers.
A brand’s visual brand language is, in essence, the visual language in which a company communicates its brand. Visual branding is a critical element in understanding how your company is perceived, and perhaps most importantly, who is associated with it.
A brand’s logo is the first thing people (and ideal customers) will see, so it’s important to do it right. A brand’s logo shouldn’t just represent its services, it should also convey its overall personality and identity.
Not only does it need to be easily recognizable, but it should also communicate the brand’s purpose and message, conveying both its message to potential customers and its message to the public at large.
Building off the logo and brand style, choosing colors and fonts for your social media channels is an effective way to connect with your audience on the various marketing channels. Social media plays a huge part in marketing strategies for personal brands.
Having a strong brand image is crucial to building a successful business. This is why crafting a distinctive visual identity is one of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign.
You’ll want to make sure that everything feels cohesive, which is why your visuals have to match the words that you use in your brand marketing plan.
A clear brand strategy is crucial in a marketing plan. Without one, you risk marketing for personal gain and not for the organization. Even with a personal brand, it’s about more than just a single person. It’s about the company and business as a whole.
The trick to creating winning marketing campaigns is to rely on the brand strategy and to lean into communicating different aspects of the strategy. So for example, you want to share stories the illustrate your values as a brand.
You can use social media marketing to tell your brand stories on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Using these social channels you can bring brand awareness to the right people.
When you’re coming up with a social media plan, it’s important to know your goals. You then work backward.
Let’s say for example that you want to book a new client. You know that you need to book ten sales calls to get that one client (because you’re not the greatest at sales calls in this example). In order to book a sales call, you need at least two conversations. That means you need 20 different conversation points to get to 10 calls (10×2=20).
For each conversation, you need about two social media posts. That means that your social media strategy should include posting at least 40 times to social media in a month. Most of these should be on the same platform.
That means posting at least once a day on Facebook and maybe producing 10 stories (along with sharing your posts in your stories for maximum reach).
These are just example numbers and every business will have its own. But be prepared to spend a bit more time posting when you’re using a brand strategy type of marketing campaign. It takes more time up front but you’ll attract better clients and it’s more sustainable in the long run as you can reuse old posts.
Your brand marketing plan should include where you intend to post (for example social media), what you want your audience to know about you (your brand foundation), and the time frame you have (a month).
To Wrap It Up and Create a Brand Marketing Plan
Building a brand is about establishing a relationship with the audience over time. This is what drives loyalty and brings those ideal clients to your door time and time again.
First, you have to build a brand strategy foundation, then you check out your competitors to see where you can stand out as different, then you work on making sure your visual brand is in line with your own strategy, and finally you put it together in a marketing campaign (multiple campaigns over time).
When you combine brand strategy with your marketing strategies, you’ll start to attract those people who value who you are as a business. These ideal clients are exactly the people you want to work with, those who understand why you are different, and what your values are.
A brand is the promise you make to your target audience. What promises do you want to make and can you stand by over time?
Need help with your brand marketing plan? Let’s get on a call and see if we’re a good fit to work together!