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I really want to talk about the difference between branding, marketing and selling, because I actually think they are 3 distinct things but often we get them a little muddled. For example, a lot of creative people spend a LOT on their brand, but don’t spend a cent on marketing or they never create a sales strategy. I want to make sure that you understand what these three things are and how to make sure you are branding your business beautifully, marketing your business effectively and have a strategy to sell your service or product. Neglect of important aspects of your creative business is usually why your creative business is struggling and I really want to hone into the importance of branding, marketing & selling in this episode.
Firstly, let’s look at what the difference between these three things are.
Branding definition – Distinctive wording or Visual aspects used to identify a particular company in promotion. A lot of people think that this is marketing, but it’s actually not. Obviously, have a really great brand will help to attract, rather than repel people, BUT branding is not marketing. I want to make that clear. You might have a great brand, but that doesn’t mean you have a great marketing strategy in your business, those are two seperate things. Yes, a brand helps with your marketing strategy, but it’s a very small part of it and I’m even going to say, it’s definitely not the most important part of marketing.
Marketing Definition – Promoting a brand & reach potential customers who may be interested in purchasing. Marketing is the strategy to actually make your brand seen & known. Without a marketing strategy, you might just have a great, beautiful brand with that no-one knows about. Marketing is really important. It’s the steps you take to ensure people know that your business exists.
Selling Definition – Convincing people to buy something from you once they have arrived on your website or in your inbox. If you’re selling a service a great sales strategy you could implement is a consultation process using visual proposals. If you are selling a product, then you want to think about your website sales copy.
Let’s look at these three things more deeply.
Branding is creating the distinct visuals & wording in your business. This is all about consistency. I think a really great idea, is to put together a 1-3 page Visual Branding Guide for your business and then follow it! I suggest having 3 distinct colours, 2-3 fonts and logo & even a mock up of 9 squares for your instagram feed. Having a guide like this will help you ensure that everything is looking consistent, from the emails you send out, your website, your social media accounts & any other material you create for your business. I have created a template for this Style Guide booklet & you can purchase it from here for $14.99. Along with this booklet is a little video tutorial explaining how to use the template.
The other part of branding are the words that you use to describe your business. I think it’s really great to have a one sentence catch phrase that sums up clearly and succinctly what your business is about. For example my current coaching business catchphrase is “I help creative women turn their art into a business”. My floristry business catchphrase is “We make wedding flowers a little wild, a little different & a little romantic”. A little catch phrase like that that you can use on your social media accounts, on your website, on your email signature, business cards etc can really help to communicate to potential clients and customers what you offer & what you’re about. It’s really important with your catch phrase that you try and not be too creative with it. Often we fall into the temptation of playing around with words and making them fancy, but the most important thing is not how fancy or clever they are, but how clear and concise they are. The purpose of them is to communicate clearly what your brand is about. We don’t want to confuse anyone with fancy words, phrases or lingo that has to be directed when read.
Some of you may have heard of a guy called Donald Miller. He is a recent branding hero of mine and has a podcast called “Story Brand” – it really is brilliant! I want you to go and have a listen to it and get some ideas on how you should be using words in your branding.
Here is an example of a catch phrase (or clear statement) a wedding planning business used that Donald Miller tweaked. The wedding planner used to have “Special moments should be beautiful”. He suggested they simplify it even more and go with something like “Your wedding will be beautiful” or “We will make your wedding beautiful”. It’s less fancy and much more clear and to the point. When using words in your business make sure they communicate what you do clearly.
Once you have established a beautiful and consistent brand, you can start marketing your business. There are so many ways that you can market your business and its all about finding one that works for you. I recommend that every creative business owner decides on 3 areas that want to focus their marketing efforts and become and expert in these 3 areas. Some ideas of marketing may be an Email List campaign, Free content that you provide that attracts people to your services, Instagram, Word of Mouth, Facebook Ads, networking, publications, Pinterest, Google, SEO (if you haven’t already, go and listen to episode number 3 where I interview Jess Shipton about SEO marketing). What is going to be your area of marketing? I want you to learn it, read every book about it and know the strategy so well you could teach it. Marketing is getting your brand out there in the world for people to see. How will you do that? I know there are a variety of people and creative businesses that listen to this podcast, but here are a few suggestions:
If you’re a photographer, I highly recommend using Social Media and Networking.
Photographers have an amazing gift to give other creatives – photos. By collaborating with other creatives or businesses and sharing your photos with them this can be a super beneficial marketing strategy. If you can be sharing your photos around Instagram and have a number of other creatives sharing your photos on instagram this will really help to get your name out there. So if you’re a photographer, try not to be too precious about your work. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be paid for your photos, because 100% you should be paid! But every business needs to have a marketing strategy, and if I was you, I would be sharing my photos with as many people as possible who could benefit from them so that your photos become viral all over social media. I’ve seen this happen time and time again in the wedding industry in particular. Photographers willing to share albums with all other creatives involved in the wedding, always have a broader reach.
Another suggestion, if you’re a designer, graphic designer, artist or interior designer. I would be looking at starting a weekly blog alongside an email list. People love to see beautiful content and they also love to learn how to DIY. If you can create a blog that showcases your beautiful work and then occasionally teaches some of your skills people will love it and sign up to receive your blog updates. Also, putting together a blog really helps to establish your expertise in an area. You want to show people that you’re really good at what you do and creating a weekly blog where you not only show your amazing work but teach from a position of expertise, people will begin to know, like and trust you. Creating this know, like and trust factor will help to convert your email list into eventual buyers of what you have on offer. Don’t be scared to give away things for free – a free guide, free tutorial, free templates, free quiz or free consultation. People love freebies and this is a great way to grow your email list and a tribe of people who know and love you and will ultimately want to buy from you. It’s definitely easier to sell something to people who already know you, like you and trust you. So if you’re in the “designer” category or if you’re a marketing expert or someone who has something educational to offer your clients, definitely look into starting a weekly blog and growing your email list. I could say so much more on this topic, but for now, I just want to encourage you to start thinking about this if you haven’t already.
If you’re a florist or do anything in the wedding industry, I would definitely recommend develop networks and relationships with other people in the wedding industry. This is such a vital aspect of marketing for everyone in the wedding industry. To do this, I would be arranging a styled shoot where you collaborate with a heap of creatives in the industry and each post the style shoot on instagram and tag each other in it. A really well organised styled shoot can give you a lot of momentum in your business. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I had to be involved in Styled Shoots because I can not overestimate the impact they had on the growth of my business. Without them, I think I would still be struggling to let people know I actually exist. The great thing about collaborations is that you get in front of other audiences for free. So be selective with who you pair up with for a styled shoot and really think about whether their audience is an audience that you think will also be interested in what you have to offer. So there is just one idea for those in the wedding industry.
I haven’t mentioned or explained all of the different marketing avenues here, but hopefully we’ll be able to deep dive into some of them in more detail in the future. We have an episode coming up on Facebook Ads that I’m really excited about, so watch out for that one, including other episodes where we look at how to marketing your service or product more effectively.
The third thing I wanted to look at today is the “Selling” aspect. Creating a brand won’t immediately sell whatever you have to sell. Marketing your services won’t necessarily sell what you have to sell. There needs to be an additional strategy that you adopt and employ in your business to make sure that you’re not just creating a beautiful brand and then attracting people to it, but you’re also converting people that arrive on your website or your inbox into paying customers. If you don’t have a sales strategy or system to convert people into paying customers, it’s quite possible that you’re leaving a whole lot of money on the table!!! Because not only is there strategies behind converting people into customers once they’ve reached your website or inbox, but there are ways to get them to be more than 1 time paying customers or to buy more from you than they had originally planned. All of this comes down to your sales strategy. So what is your sales strategy? Really, depending on your business, I want to suggest that your sales strategy could one of two things. One – a Consultation Process that converts or Two – a Sales Page that converts. Let’s have a look at these two sales strategies just briefly.
A consultation process is a great idea for any service based business. So if you’re a photographer, florist, graphic designer, interior designer, artist doing commissioned work I’d love you to start thinking about employing a consultation process in your business. A consultation process basically takes a potential customer that lands in your inbox on a journey with you so that they don’t want to buy from anyone else. It’s a way of making sure once they’ve hit your inbox, you’re going to do everything you can to secure them as a client. I hear so often that creatives struggle to convert enquiries into paying clients. Often people land in our inbox shopping and demanding our prices. So how do we avoid falling in this trap of just sending over our prices and then never hearing from people again? A consultation process my friends! I want you to get on the phone (at minimum) or have a Skype call with them or, even better, take them out for a chai! I know this is going to take WAY more time than just sending over your prices, but I want to ask you? Are you hoping to secure the bargain hunters or are you looking for your ideal client who is willing to sit down, chat and hear about how you can knock their socks off with an amazing offering and service that they cannot resist?! Getting in front of potential clients, building a relationship with them, adding emotion and a human element to their decision making process is KEY to converting clients into not just customers, but higher paying customers. Its very easy for people to say no to a price that’s been sent in an email and it’s also very easy for people to say no when they don’t know you. Instead of making it easy for people to say no, I want you to make it easy for them to say yes. It’s going to be so much easier for them to say yes, if they know who you are and you have demonstrated to them that they can trust you. The only way you can do that, to complete strangers on the internet, is to have a consultation! After your first consultation I want you to give them something for free with your quote. A free Visual Proposal is a great idea, particularly for florists, wedding planners, graphic designers or interior designers. Put together a one page document that visually outlines what you can do them. People love to get a visual. I promise you that you won’t regret doing consultations once you see the difference they make to your conversion rate. If you’re not already doing consultations, get on that. And if you’re not giving something for free or giving an incentive for them to book you, start brainstorming ways that you can do this.
Now if you’re a product based business and you have an online shop where people arrive on a web page and click to purchase, the consultation process isn’t going to work. What you really need to be thinking about is your sales copy. Your sales copy is the words on your website page. There are a few important elements of a sales page that I want you to include if you’re trying to sell something straight off your website:
So there you go friends, the difference between Branding, Marketing & Selling. They are 3 different aspects of running a business + all highly important. I hope you found these to be extremely helpful!
Let me know how you go with implementing some of these ideas!