Knowing where to invest resources is a fine art for any branch of digital marketing. For Brand Marketing, there are unlimited ways for you to throw money at the internet and hope that it makes a difference. Recently, it has come to the attention of marketers that brand CPC seems to be on the rise. With that in mind, we thought it would be useful to consider where it’s worth investing your money, to make the most impact on your Brand Marketing efforts.
Pay your dues to PPC
Purchasing ads for your brand terms may seem like basic Brand Marketing stuff. But since Google has been cranking up the CPC on many brand terms, there have been those who’ve questioned whether it’s still worth the money to bid on these terms.
The received wisdom is that even if you don’t bid for any other PPC terms, you should bid for your brand name. Doing so makes it difficult for competitors to advertise on your brand terms, and makes sure that even if you don’t rank well organically, users still have a chance of finding you when they search for your brand.
Now that CPC seems to be skyrocketing, there are those who are hesitant to keep paying out. Some businesses will argue that it’s not worth the outlay, especially if they already have brand recognition and very few competitors. But really, how many of us are in that position? For the vast majority of companies, brand PPC should still be part of the agenda. Make sure that you aren’t lured into bidding too much for your terms, but definitely keep this cost in your budget.
Great content isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it
It should come as no surprise to anyone that you get what you pay for when it comes to content. Plus, while I’m never going to spout the old cliches at you, we all know that content has an important role to play in all digital marketing efforts. But when it comes to building a brand, content becomes even more vital (if that’s possible).
Expressing who you are as a business, and sharing your values with your audience successfully, is achieved with great content. Sure, it’s awesome that content can improve your authority with Google, and we’re not questioning that it’s an asset to your SEO, but let’s come back to the people who are actually going to spend money with your business.
To connect with people, you need great content. You need to speak directly to them, to get into their heads, if you want to leave an impact. The best way to do that is by telling them a story that will resonate with them, and that they will remember. Move away from the jargon and the tech-speak and engage your audience on an authentic, personal level. This is one of the most important things you can spend your budget on when it comes to Brand Marketing.
Listen to your audience
Social media is a blessing and a curse for Brand Marketers. It’s an unprecedented way of finding out exactly what your audience think of you – the good and the bad! But it can also be an ungoverned wasteland of complaints and slurs, if you’re not careful.
To make sure you get the best out of social media, and keep on top of the chaos, you’re going to need some kind of listening tool. While you might be able to manage it all yourself in the early days of a small business, you’re going to need some help very quickly.
There are some brand tracking tools available for free, such as Social Searcher. These types of tools will probably be enough for a little while, but as things ramp up, you might find that it’s time to invest. These tools don’t have to be expensive. Sure, some of them will set you back a few hundred a month, but there are others available in the ballpark of $30 per month.
The key is to be honest about what you really need and make sure your business priorities are covered. If your audience isn’t that active on Instagram, don’t shell out just for that platform. Have a go at a few free trials if you want to get a feel for user interfaces, and do your research. To make these tools work for you, you’ve got to invest in the services that will give you the best ROI.
Explore other avenues
As with most of digital marketing, there is more to brand marketing than meets the eye. So what other tactics are worth exploring in the face of changing times and trends?
Building on social listening, social influencers are also a lucrative avenue if you manage them well. There are thousands of people on social media who have huge followings and captivated audiences. If you do your homework, you can reap the rewards of their hard work.
The most important thing about working with influencers, is finding the right fit. Authenticity is key in so much of brand marketing, and influencer partnerships are no different. Your brand has to fit well with their image, or their audience won’t care and the influencer might even lose followers – nobody wins. But if you find the best person to represent your brand, you could be onto something great. Depending on the influencer, it might not even cost you that much in terms of budget, but make sure you dedicate the time so you can do it well.
Another great tactic is to sponsor events. Depending on what kind of event we’re talking about, this can get pricey, but if the ROI is right, it’s well worth it.
You could be looking at impressive footfall, giving you great exposure. It might be that the event draws your ideal audience, giving you the chance to make real leads. Or it could be that the event stands for something your brand believes in, and that the association would do your brand reputation wonders. Whatever your brand needs, sponsoring events can often provide an answer. Think outside the box a little, and see what you can gain.
What can you afford to scrimp on?
As with any industry, there are going to be some techniques that are less valuable to you, and provide less ROI. So what are the areas where you can scrape back a bit of budget?
Market research is one of them. Now before there is an outcry at this statement, let me clarify. You don’t need to pay a massive cheque to a market research company, because you know your audience better than anyone else. If you don’t, you should. Save on paying an external consultant by speaking to customer services staff, reading reviews and social media mentions, and looking at your analytics. A few days of work internally will be infinitely more valuable than any external market research agency.
There will be plenty of other techniques that are a waste of money for your specific brand marketing efforts. The thing is, they’re going to be different for every business, every industry and every niche. As with all methods in the digital marketing world, the trick is to test. Have a go with any free trials you can get your hands on and track the analytics. Speak to other brand marketers in your niche and see what has worked for them. If something seems too pricey, look for other alternatives. There’s always something out there, you just have to be willing to try it. That’s why we all love this industry so much.
By Lizzie McCauley, UnGagged