We have this conversation with our clients all of the time. We understand where you are coming from. As someone who is ultra-conservative with their spending, I sympathize with my clients and relate with wanting to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. There are only so many dollars to go around. Where should you focus that spend?
Each business we work with is starting at a different place and has an industry that lends better to different methods of achieving success. We dig in, ask a lot of questions and cater a strategy that keeps all of that in mind. Here are some common biggies:
You are ready to start your company. You have figured out a name, and hopefully checked that there is a domain that works well for that name. Now what?! Your logo! As a designer, I place a lot of importance on a good logo, but it makes sense that you should put attention into developing a strong logo to represent your brand. This will follow you around for years to come, if not the entire life of your business. DON’T cheap out and try to design your own logo using a basic Times New Roman, or even worse, Papyrus or Comic Sans (*shudder*) logo in Paint, Word or PowerPoint. You also don’t want to just pull the same clipart looking shape, even if off some of the top stock image sites. For example, you don’t want the same house shape in your logo that thousands of other realtors use. That won’t do anything to help you stand out from the pack. Look at today’s top brands and how memorable and easily recognizable their logos are. A lot of time, money, thought and energy went into consistently putting out images that stay true to that strong identity.
If you skimp on your logo, people WILL notice. People see examples of good branding and really bad branding all of the time. It doesn’t take a graphic designer too know that your logo or company branding leave something to be desired. Make an investment that will leave you thanking yourself for years to come. The right designer will take the time to learn about your company, your preferences and your competition. Sharing a Pinterest board or images to help them get to know what you like is often a good idea. They will come up with several concepts that will help get an idea of what you are leaning towards. As concepts are tweaked and you settle on a final design and color palette, they will then clean up and prep your final file and provide it in all of the common file formats. This will allow you to use it, with no issue, on anything as small as a social media profile button or as large as a billboard.
You will read online that business cards are now a thing of the past. We disagree. We design and choose materials for our business cards, and the ones we recommend for our clients, that get noticed. Yes, they will cost more than the hundred business cards you print on the cheap at your local printer. Choosing an extra-thick paper stock, cool foil, embossing application, colored edge, specialty die-cut or other unique finish will get noticed. With all of the business cards that people are given, especially at trade shows and events, you need your card to stand out or it will have a good chance of being discarded. A couple hundred bucks for 1,000 business cards is money well spent.
We have a lot of clients that come to us very intimidated by the idea of redesigning their website or building a website for their business. This is why you see so many outdated, non-responsive 90’s websites. It is not because people think their websites still look good and are stacking up with the competition…well, at least we hope not! People are so used to the crazy sticker price of big city agency website quotations. They are used to being burned, to being over-promised and under-delivered. You don’t need to have a super-custom, expensive website to make an impact and communicate to your target audience. You need a website with a user-friendly experience, clean design and compelling content. If you are an ecommerce site you need commerce functionality that functions and an experience that your customers expect and can trust. You need a website that will not crash if there are too many users on your site or if you are getting a lot of orders (what a great problem to have!).
Just make sure you have a professional and affordable solution that will communicate and engage your core audience. Make sure to talk through all of the functionality that you want on your site, features you like, any integrations that you want. Even if you don't know specific integrations and applications, talk features. Your website designer should know some of the top applications to achieve the desired functionality you are looking for. Talk to your web team about competitors, other sites you have found that you like/don’t and come to them with a list of wishes and questions.
You can find companies that will provide a high-quality site, where you don’t have to short change your brand to keep things affordable. Don’t get penny-wise and dollar foolish and sign up for a $400 website build with Google. Don’t start your website on a free website builder and then get frustrated or quit. Leaving image place holders and Greek text where your brand messaging should be is not doing your business any favors. You often only have a few seconds to make a first impression. Don’t send your site visitors clicking away to the next person who is selling or offering a similar product or service. You need to know that regardless of the device your customers are on and regardless of what browser they are using (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.) that they will have a great experience when browsing your site’s content.
Content and SEO Strategy
This one is often the hardest sell because it is done in the background. People are also getting emails every week offering to get them to the top of Google in one week for only $100…ugh, no. Sorry to burst your bubble or pry off your rose-colored glasses, but marketing is a process and not a singular transaction. Nothing worthwhile every comes easy. To really have success with an organic content strategy and SEO plan you need to be consistent and make a real commitment to generating quality, keyword rich content.
Creating new website or landing pages, blogging and updating your site’ s content all contribute to your SEO strategy. Location services are also a great solution for a lot of companies. Make sure the company you are working with or the expert you hire digs in to understand your business, your revenue drivers, your competitors, etc. Through research into your competition and keyword effectiveness they will be able to formulate a plan for your SEO and then tweak it as they learn more from results. You want to get found! When your ideal customer goes to Google and searches for something relevant to what you do you want to pop up. It takes effort to make that happen, so start yesterday! You need to find a company to partner with that cares about the long-term success of your company and will make the commitment to take your content and SEO seriously to help you grow and get found more often by the right people.
Does this all sound good but you aren’t quite sure how to get started? Think some of it sounds legit, but have a few concerns? Want to discuss our experience and how we can help take you to the next level? Contact the experienced creative and business strategy team at Strategy Driven Marketing today.