Finding an effective way to create and build a desirable brand image is critical if you want to enjoy a high level of success in your field. Your brand is how your customers recognize your products or services in the marketplace, and it also affects how they feel about your company emotionally. You may think that branding is largely accomplished through text and visual messages, and you may also think that you are taking every step possible to develop a desirable brand image. However, audio branding is a critical component to consider as well, and you must effectively use this element to enjoy maximum results.
What Is Audio Branding?
Just as your customers can formulate a brand image for your company based on the graphics that you use in marketing pieces, the same holds true for sound. Perhaps the most common type of audio branding is a jingle or even a catchphrase, but there are other types of audio branding that can also be used effectively. Audio branding is a broad term that encompasses the use of all sounds to develop your brand image.
Everything from brand music to podcasts and other audio platforms can be used to further develop and refine your brand. Because music and sounds often appeal to people on an emotional level, this can be a highly cost-effective way to build your brand image or to redefine it on your own terms.
How to Define Your Brand
Before you can effectively determine how to use audio branding to achieve desired results, you must first determine what your brand stands for. Some companies, unfortunately, let their brand image develop without intentional planning or thought, but you have complete control over steering the development of your brand image.
Using audio branding is one of the more effective ways to accomplish this. Remember that your target audience usually is not paying full attention to your marketing messages, and they often are distracted by various things. Audio branding helps you to get your message heard even when your target audience is only partially engaged.
Consider what your brand currently stands for and what you want it to stand for. Think about strategic ways to use sound to build on emotions or to stand out from the crowd. It may be helpful for you to learn more about how your competition is using audio branding before you decide how to act.
Consider what your competition is doing successfully and what areas they are lacking in. Remember that everything from a pop song or a unique rhythm to an animal sound, nature sounds and more can be used effectively to brand your company’s image.
Are You Already Using Audio Branding?
Some companies view the audio in their marketing messages as a background or filler noise.
However, turn down the volume on the background sounds in your commercials or other pieces, and determine if the effect on the audience is the same. Chances are that the audio in your marketing or advertising pieces helps to define the message, creates an emotional pull or achieves other results. If this is the case, you are already using audio branding without knowing it.
However, the most effective audio branding does not happen by chance. Instead, it is well-planned and thoughtfully implemented. Your sounds should be recognizable and should create the ideal emotional impact. They should differentiate your company and help your marketing to get the recognition it deserves. Ideally, your customers will be able to hear your audio elements in the distance and will immediately relate your company to the sounds they are hearing.
The Many Benefits of Audio Branding
Before you spend time, money and energy promoting audio branding in your marketing efforts, you need to be aware of what the many benefits of audio branding are. Just as visual elements define and differentiate your brand, the same holds true for audio elements. Audio elements may be instantly recognizable, and they may even be catchy or difficult to forget.
Sounds can be elaborate and complex, but you can also use very simple and basic sounds that convey instant meaning in some way. Furthermore, sounds can be trademarked, which enables your company to obtain usage rights to the sound and prevents others from copying your efforts.
While many people view the sound in an ad as relatively unimportant or as filler that simply creates a more polished finished project, the reality is that audio sounds in your marketing material are critical for branding purposes. Spend time analyzing how you have used audio branding thus far and what the effects have been.
Now that you are aware of how important audio branding is for building your brand image, you can determine if and how you need to make changes to your use of sound to more strategically benefit from it.
About the author:
Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon
In today’s competitive online environment, building a powerful presence on the web is a critical step in achieving your business goals. In order to enhance your brand and increase visibility online, you must ensure that you are noticed and ranked highly by search engines. Regardless of how much you have to spend, the following tips can help you get started and begin driving the right traffic to your website.
Optimize For Your Audience
For many small businesses, investing in online advertising targeted directly at your preferred demographic is the most efficient way to increase revenue. Having a unique selling proposition is one of the most tried and true concepts in the marketing industry. It applies to online as well as conventional advertising. Make it clear that you are offering something that your competition cannot match!
Having the correct key performance indicators is an important element of your tactical plan. Create a series of KPIs that is simple, easy to understand and directly related to an increase in your company’s bottom line. Pay attention to metrics that are performing especially well. For example, cost per conversion is often one of the most dynamic metrics for a growing business. Once you have identified the root causes of your most successful KPIs, you’ll be able to focus your energy more efficiently on enhancing your company’s performance.
Create a Budget for SEM
Paid search engine marketing methods are an essential component of your online marketing strategy. Following a budget for SEM allows you to take control over the keywords that will drive traffic. Depending on how much you decide to spend, your SEM budget can also dictate where your business appears within the search results.
One of the biggest advantages of SEM is that it allows you to determine the precise amount of money you are willing to spend. You can set your budget according to how much you wish to spend each day or for each click. You can even make a down payment that serves as credit, or you can use a prepaid credit card to pay as you go.
Start by researching the SEM programs offered by major search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing. They all provide SEM plans that are effective and easy to use. Next, write competitive ad copy that stands out from the crowd. Emphasize your strengths. Stress concepts such as free shipping, complimentary design services or unsurpassed inventory.
Gain the Right SEO Traffic
The best organic web traffic is free of charge, and you can achieve it through search engine optimization tactics. Begin by writing guest blogs for reliable sites that will direct blog readers back to your primary web presence. Existing sites in categories related to your niche are frequently looking for guest bloggers to lend them their expertise.
Experts get a huge amount of traffic on their sites. They use reliable web hosting services, so their recommendations carry a lot of weight. The hosting services you’re about to learn only offer paid plans. Some of them offer a money-back guarantee in case you’re not satisfied. More about web hosting services you can find in this article.
Your goal should be to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Once you have achieved that goal, demand for your guest blog posts will rise. To start, aim for publishing one guest blog post each month. As you pick up momentum, you will be able to leverage your extra traffic into new customers.
Create Fresh, Original Content
Keeping an eye on the latest big news items, reacting quickly, and writing insightful commentary can go a long way in gaining favorable spots on search engine results pages. Remember that Google’s algorithm favors fresh, original content.
That means if you are among the first to post a clever reaction to a hot topic, you can attract a lot of extra web traffic. If your post inspires viral sharing and natural linking, you will benefit even more. According to industry experts, new traffic and engagement are two of the most significant factors that signal freshness to search engine algorithms.
Focus on Fast Mobile Speeds
According to Google, more than half of all search queries worldwide now originate from mobile devices. As a result, sites that load quickly on mobile devices and are easy to read on mobile devices are rewarded in search results. If your site loads slowly or is not mobile-friendly, you can be sure that your search results are not performing optimally. Update your site ASAP so it works efficiently on mobile devices.
Building a strong web presence won’t happen overnight – it takes time to cultivate, much like a flower garden or treasured bonsai. And the best part is you can gain the traffic your company needs to thrive on a budget big or small. By using the right tools, a little creativity and a balanced approach, you can establish yourself online without breaking the bank.
Beth Kotz is a contributing writer to Credit.com. She specializes in covering financial advice for female entrepreneurs, college students and recent graduates. She earned a BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where she continues to live and work.
When I first approached Dean Ara, I was amazed by his know-how and skill levels in the product marketing area. He is the Principal and co-founder of Total Product Marketing. With 17 years of technology marketing experience, he’s run channel marketing programs, go-to-market positioning, and product launches, and managed the online reputation and identity for dozens of clients. That all said, we had to get his guest post on Altitude Branding – and here he is, without further ado:
Looking for a better, more effective way to market your products and services in the cloud, hosting, and tech space without having to spend a bundle or resort to expensive marketing solutions? With the increasing number of startups jumping into the arena, it’s hard to stand out above the scrabble of climbing all over one another to get those customers you just have to have.
The marketing of tech products and services isn’t like the marketing of motor oil. There you just pick the viscosity grade you want and a brand name you’re familiar with. It’s different when you’re doing digital marketing for tech companies. People who need you might be familiar with your company name or brand or, they might not.
Your prospects are considering a pretty hefty investment and will do a ton of research before they even approach you. And how do most of us do our research today? We “Google it.”
Will your prospects find you?
They will if you try this well-planned, five-step digital marketing plan for tech companies — a winning MSP marketing plan that matches your products and services with client needs and educates them in the process.
Give it a try and move ahead of your competitors.
Step 1: Evaluate Where You Are
“If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.” — Sir Terence David John Pratchett, English author
As Pratchett noted, it’s hard to figure out where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. So, start your digital marketing plan for tech companies by evaluating where you are now.
What’s Your Value Proposition?
First, figure out what product or service you’re selling and what differentiates your company from others selling the same things. Turn this into your value proposition — that concise statement that explains what benefit you offer for which business(es) and how you do it better than anyone else. Put another way; your value proposition pinpoints and solves the problem your target buyer is experiencing and describes what sets you apart from your competitors.
Then look at how you currently go about marketing your wares.
Are You Using Enough Marketing Channels?
Digital marketing is a multi-channel activity. It’s not enough to put up a website and expect people to find it. You’ve got to discover where your prospects are likely to be and also be there so they can find you.
More than 75% of B2B use three or more channels when conducting their research, according to Blue Nile research, with 80% leveraging online search and company websites.
What channels are you using?
Of the multiple online channels available, which do you use?
Now it’s time to move to step two of our guide on digital marketing for tech companies.
Step 2: Determine Your Goals
It’s quite likely you’re among the many who’ve listed lead generation and increasing sales as their top two goals. But you can’t just snap your fingers and make it happen. You need to plan how you’re going to achieve those goals. And you need to make them measurable.
So, by how much do you want to increase sales and by when? By what percentage do you want to grow your leads and by when? Then you need to figure out how realistic those numbers are and whether you have the time, resources, and budget to make achieving them reasonable.
If you do, then it’s time to turn to digital content marketing. Demand Metric found that:
Content marketing generates about three times the leads that traditional marketing does
90% find content they perceive as directed toward them useful
82% of people feel more positive about a company when it provides useful content
70% would rather learn about a company through an article over an ad
However, don’t stop reading and get on to writing just yet. You’ve got to develop your digital marketing plan. Let’s face it. Most people look at reading about cloud hosting or SaaS as less sexy than watching paint dry. So you’ve got to figure out a way to appeal to the customers you want.
Step 3: Define Ideal Customers, Create Buyer Personas
The success of digital marketing for tech companies hinges on understanding your target audience, the people/businesses to whom you want to sell. The more detailed you can be, the better.
And you can learn more about buyer persona in this ideo by SEO link builder Julian Goldie
Who Are Your Ideal Customers?
You can’t be everything to everyone, and why would you want to, anyway? Imagine all the irritable, unpleasant, late-paying, and rude customers you’d have among the gems that respect you and sing your praises.
Will become a brand advocate and refer others to you
But we don’t live in a perfect world, so you need to add the customer
Who can’t yet name the problem for which you have a solution, but who knows something’s a bit off
Understanding the Buyer’s Journey
It’s this last person that typifies the first part of the buyer’s journey — the process people and businesses go through before making a purchase.
Digital marketing for tech companies must absolutely recognize this process in order to appeal to ideal customers and those who could become ideal customers. There are three stages:
Awareness or discovery — when pain first sets in and the person wants to eliminate it, but doesn’t yet know how
Consideration — where they’ve named the problem and are actively seeking solutions
Decision — where they narrow the solutions to one or two and work to justify purchasing it
Creating the Buyer Persona
As HubSpot notes, personas are “fictional, generalized representations of real people” that fit your ideal customer profile.Personas make it easier when it comes time to tailor your content, marketing messaging, and services to the particular needs, attitudes, actions, and concerns of the different categories of people you sell to.
You might only need a couple of personas if you’re very niche or very small; others will need more. Possibilities include:
Harried Harry, CEO
No-Nonsense Nelson, CFO
Geeky Gary, Head of IT
Challenged Charlie, Head of IT
Searching Sally, Geeky Gary’s admin assistant
In order to create effective personas that can be used by sales and marketing, you need to do some research. There are likely several people/job titles involved in the company’s decision making process and you need to know which each of them are.
Interview your customers, conduct research, and then create the personas that include the following information:
Lifestyle, family info
Particularities — makes decisions quickly, likes phone calls, evaluates all options, bottom-line guy, etc.
Business or department goals
Challenges pain points faced in trying to do their job
How your product or services solves those challenges, overcomes the objections, help them meet their goals
Step 4: Create Content to Address Buyer Personas’ Pain Points
Think back to the buyer’s journey. It starts when there’s a problem that needs a solution. Think from your potential customers’ perspectives. Are they trying to research what causes it, how to solve it, or what options exist? You’ve got to address all that — and your digital marketing for tech tactics will vary in each stage of the journey. Your buyers need information, research, educational content, that inform and guide them along the process to reach the decision stage.
Awareness stage — Blogs, eBook, white papers, industry research, checklists Consideration stage — Comparison guides, videos, infographics, webinars Decision stage— Case studies, customer testimonials, spec sheets, live demos, free trials
Forty-six percent of businesses surveyed by Blue Nile Research want data and stats to help them during the decision stage. But that “is less about buyers wanting to read dense academic reports and review charts …than it is about them wanting the marketer to give them the information they need to make an educated purchase decision.”
But, once you create all that content, consider search engine optimization.
Include SEO in Your Content
Search engine optimization isn’t just about the speed at which your web page loads. It’s also about your content — and its relevance to the user’s search query. So you need to really get inside your prospect’s head and deliver exactly what they’re looking for.
Google has turned to artificial intelligence and machine-learning techniques “to help it better understand intent behind the words searchers enter, and to make its results more relevant,” says Marcus Tober, founder and chief technology officer of Searchmetrics. “User signals such as how often certain results are clicked and how long people spend on a page help the search engine get a sense of how well searchers’ questions are answered. That allows it to continually refine and improve relevance” — which it does by changing its search algorithm up to 600 times a year.
Again, it’s clear your content must meet the need of your customer. So, think before you write. What is your prospect going to search for? How would he phrase his Google search? What are they keywords in that search that you can capitalize on?
This could help your web page rank higher in search results — but more importantly, it can help the potential customers looking for your solutions to find you more easily.
Step 5: Measure Your Success
If you’ve come this far in your digital marketing plan, terrific. But don’t stop yet.
Now you need to measure how effective it’s been. Why go to all this bother and not know what’s worked and what hasn’t?
So take a look at your content marketing success metrics to discover your most — and least — popular web pages, blog posts and email campaigns. You should aim to measure traffic, engagement, and conversions to help you determine the return on the investment you’ve made.
There are many metrics and tools you can use, but at the least you should measure reach, looking at:
Number of unique visitors
Time spent on each page
Conversion rate — the number of people who completed your call to action
You can go further and breakdown what you look at depending on your focus:
Lead generation — use click-throughs, conversions, time to conversion, leads generated per offer, landing page new contacts
Brand awareness — website traffic, blog post visits, social shares and follows, document and video views
Measuring the ROI of the content marketing program
No wonder. Digital marketing isn’t easy. But at the same time, those four challenges are essential ingredients of successful digital marketing for tech companies. So, if you need a hand — or a complete plan — the experts at Total Product Marketing can help. We can assess where you are, learn where you want to go, devise a plan to get you there, and give you the tools to evaluate your success. Give us a call at 855-646-8662.