If you’re still trying to figure out what your marketing strategy will be for 2018, stop throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks. Consumers in 2018 are savvier, impatient and dying for a genuine connection. Understanding who you are and what you stand for should drive your marketing campaigns this year.
My experience working with small and medium-sized businesses is that digital marketing strategies don’t always reflect their brand’s core values. Why is that? Digital marketing is often seen as a disjointed, separate platform for attracting prospects and communicating with clients when in reality it should be viewed as a critical way to showcase your brand’s internal values.
What are your core values?
Far too frequently, the core values of your business are overlooked or recognized half-heartedly in an effort to get the job done. Business owners, managers and marketing directors alike don’t recognize the importance of core values as the building blocks for your operation.
But that’s where they’d be wrong. Core values should drive every aspect of your business. They are the behaviors that hold everyone accountable. They create clarity around the purpose of your efforts and they define what a prospect should experience, feel and expect when they engage with your brand.
In 2018, we will continue to see a shift in how businesses utilize their values as a way to drive their digital marketing strategy. Here’s how.
Recognize the importance of consistency
Consistency helps your prospects and clients know what to expect when they work with you. When a brand is consistent in their marketing, prospects can better understand who you are as a company. Many new marketers think that consistency equals frequency, when they should be viewing consistency in terms of how various arms of marketing and branding flow together and provoke the same feelings across various mediums.
Think about the look and emotive qualities of the images you use in your marketing and posts. Whenever a prospect encounters your brand, you want them to recognize you instantly, even if your logo isn’t present.
Don’t shy away from discussing your values and mission
If your brand values are driving your actions, take the time to explain them to your team and your extended network. We work with people that we know, like and trust, and we often know, like and trust companies that share our same values. Bringing these values to the forefront of your marketing and taking the time to explain them puts you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
I recommend doing this through monthly or quarterly blog posts that explore what one or all of your core values mean and how you apply them to your business on a daily basis. This will also help to remind you to think about your values when you’re publishing content.
Align your tone with your values
In terms of consistency, you also want to make sure that you are utilizing a consistent tone in addition to a consistent look and feel in your marketing. This tone spreads from your website and blog to email marketing, videos, social media posts to how your own employees talk about your company and more.
It should reflect your values as a brand and that speaks to your target market. Take a moment and write down a few key phrases that you can use across your marketing efforts to help tie your tone together.
Integrate images and video of your team in action
What better way to showcase your values than to highlight your team living them? Video currently is one of the highest drivers of digital marketing engagement and it truly creates a piece of content that can showcase the personalities of the folks who embody your brand values.
Is there someone on your team who was born to be in front of the camera? See if they want to jump on Facebook Live and have them do a demo of a product you offer or explain tips that can help your network solve an issue they are trying to overcome. Being consistent with these efforts can go a long way.
Rethink how you respond to comments and reviews
Though it may seem small, this is one of my favorite ways to bring your brand values into your digital marketing strategy. Rather than being reactive to comments and reviews, make 2018 “The Year of Proactivity.” Have a plan for how your brand replies to both positive and negative comments and reviews.
Let’s say your brand values include community and passion. Wouldn’t writing a quick reply to every comment or review you receive help to reiterate that you are building a community of people who engage with your business online? If you receive a negative review, take a moment to think about the language you utilize in your response. Are you coming across as combative or are you opening the doors for further conversation to rectify the issue offline? Depending on your brand values, you may find one type of response reflects your business better than another.
What are your brand’s core values and how do you incorporate them into your own marketing?
(Article written by Caitlin McDonald)