How to Create a Profitable Brand Strategy
Amie Hamling, Owner at The Creative Blog Co.
29 OCTOBER 2016
The most common way creatives start a business or blog is with an idea — not fully formed — and then, BOOM, they’ve purchased hosting, a domain name, contracted a designer and a social media expert.
They’ve invested financially, but not in their idea/s.
To make, and sustain, a profitable creative brand, you need a plan. Your brand is more than a name, it’s your audience, your style, your strategy, and your profit.
When I first started blogging, I had no idea. I was knee-deep in a journalism degree and needed an outlet for my creative words. I switched from politics to personal stories to travel to lifestyle. As I fell more and more in love with blogging, and started to build an audience, I had an idea to write about travel and lifestyle in Sydney, Australia. In two weeks, I’d changed my direction, blog name and design. It lasted for a year (despite some pretty impressive rankings on Google), and that’s when I decided this is going nowhere — so I started planning, strategising and goal setting for The Creative Blog Co.
This is how I built my idea into a profitable creative business brand. Follow along with this blog post with the FREE BRANDING TEMPLATE. Just pop your email in and receive the Style Guide + Brand Strategy Template.
To create a successful and profitable brand, you must be consistent. When I work with clients on their branding, I start The Passion Project Plan with a style guide. This is designed to align all branding, communications and creative direction for the business — and it’s how you turn from BLAH to BRAND.
Let’s start with your brand voice — are you writing in first person (as yourself), second (to the audience) or third (a brand perspective)? How will your brand voice impact your content? Are there any motifs or symbols that encompass your brand (or who you are)?
Your style guide also includes, exactly that, your brand’s style. When designing your logo, or if you have a designer do it for you, you must consider the fonts and colours you use must translate across your entire brand. Think in two ways for design: PRIMARY + SECONDARY.
Have two fonts and two colours that really show visually what you’re about. Whether you or a designer decides this, it’s important this is written down in a central document so you can always refer to it and anyone you hire can be given access.
This is simpler than many of us consider. It’s not hard to find your audience — THEY. ARE. OUT. THERE. What people over-complicate is what they do and how they can push this out to everyone.
THIS IS THE SECRET: Find a problem and convince people with that problem that YOU can solve it.
For example, I started The Creative Blog Co. because I saw a gap in the market for creatives trying to launch their projects. How many people each day are trying with all their might to start a creative biz or blog? A WHOLE LOT. I also saw a gap in my creativity, and I wanted to help others get started — because I can solve that problem.
I used this simple secret with a client of mine. We addressed the problem her audience has (being ‘stuck’ in health and life, typically women ages 25-55) and the solution (her health and life coaching).
Sales and Marketing Funnel
This takes me to the theory of starting a business and converting into sales. Whether you’re selling services, products or ad space, you need to be aware of how to do this. I have studied marketing and found the best way to turn theory into action + profit is Moz’s marketing and sales funnel (see below). This forms the basis for your content marketing strategy.
In building a customer base, we first must find a way for clients and prospects to find the business in the Discovery stage. Your ideal client (as discussed in Target Audience) to know, or at least be made aware, of what the brand is and what it is you do.
Communication points for the Discovery stage:
- Social Media
- Content Marketing (+ Free Resources!)
This content is ‘thought leadership’ and does not discuss a hard-sell of your products and services. It builds confidence in your readers that you know exactly what you’re talking about.
The Consideration stage comes next, this is where the potential client is introduced to your solutions. Now the problem has been made aware, they need to know that you can solve it.
In this stage, people will be looking for:
- Case studies
- Coaching examples
- Product/service descriptions
Once converted in sales, the Conversion process is the bottom of the funnel — you’re accepting payment and you’ve made a customer. We want the customer experience here to feel simple, at-ease and trustworthy. To consider:
- Payment methods
- Managing workflow
- Contact (Skype, phone call, etc.)
YAY! You now have paying customers — here’s how to turn one time buyers into loyal brand advocates (in the Retention stage):
- Special offers
- Email outreach and follow-up
It’s a big effort to creating a lasting brand, but all this is what will set you up for success — and set you apart from quick-start competitors. Leave your comments and questions below, and start building a brand you can make profit from!
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