Marketing your business can be really expensive. But there’s a better way.
When it comes to marketing, companies often fall into one of two categories:
Following their gut.
Blindly putting money towards strategies, content, and channels that don’t connect with their customers and fail to produce the results they hoped for.
2. They follow carefully thoughtful strategy backed by curated research.
They run lean, targeted campaigns. They create exciting content borne from sound strategy, and distribute it across relevant channels.
Resonating with their rapidly growing customer base. And appealing to a broader community.
At Aktual Design, we prefer the strategic approach.
We get it. Marketing is cool. But before you start throwing money at marketing, a few things have to happen.
Research your competitors. Understand your market
Solidify your brand strategy,
Then you can:
3. Create a budget. And spend it wisely.
Research your competitors. Understand your market
Odds are you're not the only company in your industry or niche. Your competitors strategically place themselves in the market to solve certain problems.
What did they miss and how can you create a strategic brand that targets the missing pain points that your competitors don’t talk about?
Tesla did not invent the electric car. Apple didn’t make the first computer.
What are your competitors doing to grab audience attention?
What are their values, mission, purpose, and vision?
What is their tone of voice?
What pain points do they address? What pain points did they miss?
What is their positioning?
Research your competitors to find out where you fit in the market.
Understand your market
Audiences like to categorize things. We try to fit things into different boxes, so they make sense.
Make it easy for your community to make sense of your brand. Help your target audience find the right box by aligning yourself with a brand archetype, building a brand voice, and solidifying your position in the market so that your customers have no other choice but to choose you.
Research. Adapt. Build.
Solidify Your Brand Strategy
Grow your brand from the seeds of an exceptional brand strategy. Help your audience make sense of who you are. And where you fit in their lives.
This is where most people miss. They conduct a couple A/B tests, interview a few customers, and start designing a logo. And fonts. Everybody loves fonts. After collecting data on your audience and researching your competitors, there’s a few more steps you need to take.
A brand strategy is more than a one-hour meeting on what social channels to use. It’s more than a color-coded message calendar. And it’s certainly more than what most people do.
But you’re not most people. You’re going to take a hard look at your purpose, mission, commitments, and values—more on that here. You will delve deep into customer and market research.
You will probably spend a lot of time seeking out answers to the questions—who? what? how?
So that when it comes down to the next part—the best part—it will seem too easy.
Position your brand. Solve Problems.
Stagnation is the enemy of success.
You need to position yourself with potential growth in mind. Give your brand room to grow into its potential.
Positioning is a lot like being in the right place at the right time. But it doesn’t happen on its own.
Your positioning is a culmination of all the hard work you did building a brand strategy.
Positioning helps tell your brand story. You tell the story of your brand’s heart through your brand voice.
How your brand talks to your audience
What is your brand’s communication style and personality?
Use that voice to communicate your value proposition through your brand messaging pillars.
How do you solve your customer’s problems?
What pain points do you address?
How do we want to communicate with customers?
What do we want them to think of when they think of us?
Boost your brand identity with visuals
Visuals also help tell your story.
Craft a logo, pick a font, and design visuals that help your audience connect to your brand.
Visuals are supposed to look good. But they also serve a purpose. They build on your brand heart and help direct viewer attention, create clearer CTA’s— helping visitors find what they need so they can flow through your content.
Take these visuals, add relatable copy, and build a website.
Preferably one that’s user-friendly, solves problems, and looks great. Talk more about your customers more than you talk about yourself.
Now that you’ve built a solid foundation, you can build on it.
Spend that marketing money!
You’ve done your research. You built your brand strategy.
You positioned yourself to fit the market, crafted messaging to appeal to your ideal customer, input killer visuals, wrote clear copy, and put them all together in a killer website. All to ensure that when you put your marketing wheels in motion—your brand has consistency.
“What we strive for is a coordinated, consistent, and effective brand presence in everything we create. If we make something, we want to make sure that people know where it came from”
— Aktual Design Founders Haley and Elliot Beeson
Everything we’ve talked about today— targeted research, brand identity, brand strategy, positioning, design—they’re all tools. Tools that you implement, levers you pull, to create consistency and exude authenticity at every touchpoint.
Other levers like SEO, brand marketing, paid ads, subscriptions, and everything that comes after your research and brand strategy, get a lot easier when you have a great foundation to build on. These tools will become part of your everyday kit.
Use them to reach new customers. Or to grow your business.
Do inquisitive, targeted research. Develop a solid brand strategy, and position yourself to meet the needs of your customer and the needs of the market.
After that, spending your marketing budget becomes, well…easier.