Over the past decade the tools and techniques we use to increase brand exposure have evolved. While some marketing technology requires industry and tech knowledge, there are several easily accessible, user friendly marketing tools that any entrepreneur can implement on their own. However, not all of these tools are created equally. In addition to that, most small- to mid-sized business owners are lacking the time to figure out how to properly use this technology and implement them on a consistent basis. We created the F.A.T. (Financially Accessible Technology) Stacks series for SMBs who know enough to be dangerous, but don’t have the bandwidth to keep up with all of the moving parts.
The term “stack” is used because each portion makes up a layer in the user’s journey and how they interface with your brand. For example, an SMB will typically utilize a website service (e.g. Squarespace), an email program (e.g. Constant Contact) and a social media business page (e.g. LinkedIn). These tools make up the company’s marketing technology (martech) stack. However, there may be better and more efficient options, as well as additional tools that should be adjusted and added to the stack to increase productivity and simplify the customer outreach process.
The basic components of an optimal marketing technology stack include:
- Website built on an easily accessible content management platform
- Backend analytical tools to measure website performance and searchability
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program for email marketing and sales tracking
- Customer outreach program via email automation and digital ads
- Appropriate social media channels, and an all-in-one dashboard to monitor and post to each channel
Under each of these components, there are potentially dozens of options a business owner can choose from that vary greatly in complexity and price point. What’s more, it’s important to consider scalability in both technology and team size when selecting the products in a the business’s marketing technology stack. For example, an e-commerce startup might not need much more than MailChimp to send out customer thank you emails, but the lack of automation and integration with the established web ordering system will cause major delays as sales grow.
Successfully installing a marketing technology stack and ensuring staff is appropriately trained to use the tools involved is a crucial component in attracting and engaging with the target audience in the most efficient way possible.
If you’re interested in learning about Fetch IMC’s stack install, click here to get in touch!
Website design is a laborious process that is unique to each and every business. Misinformation abounds regarding the “right way” to build a website. Should you hire a professional for $30K? Ask your neighbor’s 19-year-old nephew to put something together?
Team Fetch has been a fan of Squarespace for some time now, utilizing its versatile templates and customization opportunities to create visually-appealing and user-friendly websites for our clients. As a long-time Squarespace customer, Fetch IMC was recently invited to join Squarespace Circle.
Through Squarespace Circle, Fetch will have enhanced access to Squarespace features and resources, as well as the use of beta features and discounts for the platform’s services. We’re excited to pass along our newfound perks to our clients!
Click here to read more about Squarespace Circle.
For the second year in a row, Fetch has been named one of the top public relations firms in Chicago! Expertise, a platform designed to locate local experts, surveyed 706 PR firms that serve the Chicago area to select the top 18 to feature.
Firms were scored on more than 25 variables across five categories, then analyzed the list to hand-pick its recommended companies. Fetch also received this honor in 2017.
Our own Erryn Cobb spoke with BizCast HQ as part of the organization’s leadership series. Check out the video to hear about what he’s learned as a graduated entrepreneur.
It’s a common theme for entrepreneurs to spend an immense amount of time – and even money! – on their first website, only to forget about it as the business picks up. This can actually become detrimental to the digital health and searchability of the business. Think of your website as a living, breathing plant — it continually needs water and sun if you want it to grow your brand. When considering a rebrand, it is absolutely imperative that you plan to revamp and optimize your company website.
Websites Have a Shelf Life
Your website is the digital storefront for your entire brand, often serving as the first touchpoint for your potential customers. The backend of your site should be easily accessible to layman users to make it easy to update key points of your business. (e.g. hours of business, new phone numbers, etc.) Unfortunately, due to the perceived complex nature of a site, business owners can become too intimidated make these necessary changes. If this is the case, we can almost guarantee you need a new website. There are dozens of professional website and content management platforms designed for users with absolutely no prior design experience.
Focus on the User Experience
It’s no secret that online users’ attention spans have grown shorter and shorter over the years. In an effort to keep readers engaged and moving through your website, you’ll need to evaluate the user experience (UX). How many tabs or menu items does the visitor have to click through to get to the information the need? Does your website function well on mobile devices? Can the user quickly find contact info? It can be tempting to use flashy videos or photos, but always remember that the user’s journey should be simple and easy.
Don’t Forget About Copy
Web copy should be just as streamlined as the design experience, written in short succinct sentences that briefly outline your offerings with plenty of calls-to-action (CTAs). As you’re evaluating your current website, read through every single line of website verbiage. You may be surprised at how much your brand language has changed. Consider your SEO strategy (or lack of strategy), and how you can fix that with content adjustments and ongoing contributions.
A subpar online presence will negatively affect your business in a variety of ways. As you’re considering a rebrand, your website redesign should be the centerpiece of your marketing efforts.
Consistency in your brand messaging is key in communicating your core offerings. Even if you’ve defined your unique value proposition, this won’t be clear to your target audiences if your marketing materials don’t reflect it. As you’re evaluating your need for a rebrand, gather every piece of marketing you use or have used, and prepare to take a close look at each item.
Start with Your Logo
A business’s logo is the cornerstone of the brand, the starting point in creating that instant recognition among your target audience. However, the design process can cost quite a bit of time and money — two things budding entrepreneurs find are in short supply. Think about how you would do your logo today, knowing what you do now about branding. Now think about how you could put those ideas in place to give it an updated look. Remember, a rebrand doesn’t mean trashing your logo. Simple font and color hue adjustments can make a big impact.
Move on to the Marketing Collateral
Up-to-date marketing materials are important for every business, regardless of whether or not sales are involved in the day-to-day success of the venture. Gather up all of your collateral – brochures, pitch decks, direct mail – and review the messaging and overall design. Are they communicating the brand effectively? Is the message the same across each marketing piece? Does it have the correct address and contact information? It helps to sit down with all materials at once to get a top-level view of your marketing program.
Finish with a Complete Audit of All the Rest
A marketing collateral audit doesn’t only refer to sales materials; take a look at every item that contains your company name or logo. This includes items like business cards, pens, signage, stationary and envelopes. You might be surprised with just how many outlets your brand touches! Not only should you look over everything for accuracy, but also think about necessity. For example, branded USB drives were all the rage 10 years ago, but today this will make you look outdated.
After conducting your audit of all marketing materials, you’ll probably be surprised at just how much your business has evolved since its startup days. Still don’t know whether or not you need a rebrand? Take our quiz!
Every time someone asks me how things are going at Fetch, I give the same reply: “The marathon continues.” Being a small business owner is one the of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I have had in my life. The one constant in the marathon of entrepreneurship is change.
When we started Fetch PR nine years ago, we had a very clear mission. Deliver meaningful results for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Over the course of the past decade, that objective has remained our focus and has helped guide us and our clients to new heights. However, times have changed. PR, marketing and the trajectory of small businesses have changed. We will never detour from our path of delivering big-firm results for SMBs. That being said, we’ve evolved how we go about doing it.
Our rebrand is more than a name and logo change. We’re staking a claim in the SMB space. We know what small- to mid-sized businesses need to grow their brands. We are laser focused on leading the industry in delivering unmatched results for entrepreneurs who need it most. While PR will always be part of what we do, we are now partnering with our clients to be their go-to marketing resource.
Welcome to Fetch IMC
Erryn “EC” Cobb
Refuse To Be Ordinary
Just when you think you have a good handle on how your brand is perceived by your target audience, we’re here to throw you a curveball: how does your brand look to potential recruits? If you find yourself just trying to fill open positions instead of recruiting top talent to help grow your company, it’s time to take a close look at your employer brand.
Recruiting is Marketing
Ten years ago, most of the workforce was simply happy to have a steady paycheck. Companies didn’t have to offer fancy amenities and perks, because they had the upper hand. Fortunately, the economy has recovered quite well, and unemployment has dropped to its lowest rate since 2000 (as of June 1, 2018). This means employers need to put forth effort to actually attract the type of employees they want.
Understand Your Brand
Just as you would conduct an external brand audit, you need to take a hard look at your employer brand. As you evaluate your recruiting assets, make sure your brand voice and feel is weaved through every piece of collateral. The same is true for the onboarding process, a new employee’s first true interaction with your company. Every member of your team – from customer-facing positions to the person processing payroll – should be able to explain your company’s culture. Word-of-mouth endorsement from your employees is just as good as any lead generation initiative.
Look from the Outside In
Once you’ve examined your company culture, take a look at how (or if) you’re promoting yourself as an employer. It might seem self-serving to talk about all of the wonderful benefits you offer your employees, but that is going to be one of your best assets when it comes to recruiting the most qualified talent to join your team. Applicants want to know these things, and not sharing what sets you apart is actually going to hurt your chances at recruiting.
Recruiting top talent to work for you is a plight understood by every company, but the ones who get it are the brands that treat their recruiting process the same as their sale process. Click here to read more about how to improve your internal and external brands for overall success.
Are you the same person you were 10 years ago? Neither is your business. Chances are, if you’ve been around for more than a few years, something about your company has changed. This might be a slight tweaking to make your business more competitive or a complete shift as a result of industry changes. No matter what has changed or why, your brand should reflect that.
Core Offerings Are Huge
It’s easy to disregard slight changes to your products or services because they might not seem like that big of a deal from the inside. (Especially if this was a gradual shift.) However, from a potential customer, that small amendment could be just what they’re looking for. Take a step back, and look at your core offerings with a fresh eye. If someone you did business with on the first day you opened your doors approached you now, would you offer them the same service?
Company Culture is Key
Too often, company culture is overlooked when it comes to selling a brand. However, your culture and your brand cannot be separate. You’ve probably worked hard building a strong internal system of communications, employee engagement, general workforce bonding, etc. Sharing that with your target audience adds to your overall brand equity. Additionally, promoting your strong culture will help attract top talent that will drive your business forward.
Brand Equity Needs Attention
Speaking of brand equity, have you measured yours? Establish how much value your brand has within your target audience, and how recognizable it is among those in your network. Your customer might have a general idea about what you bring to the table, but the strong key points may have become muddied as your business has changed. A rebrand can be a fantastic way to reestablish your messaging and give your hard-earned brand equity a boost.
As you’re taking a look at how your brand has changed for your target audience, remember that it’s important to actually define those target audiences. If you’re still not sure whether or not you need a rebrand, take our quiz!
If you want to find out how consistent your brand messaging is, ask three people to describe your business: a customer, an employee and yourself. If your company has been around for while, you’ll most likely get three very different messages. No matter who the public face is for your brand, it’s important that everyone involved be able to distinguish the key points that set your offerings apart from the rest.
Once you’ve identified your target audiences, think about how you want people to interact with your business. Whether a potential client is holding your business card, using your website or reviewing a sell sheet, the essence of your company should be there and be familiar. If you want them to walk away feeling confident, work backwards and decide what your business can do to instill that emotion.
How did a boring yellow ‘M’ become one of those most recognized logos in the world? Consistent branding. You might not be as big as McDonald’s (yet!), but presenting a unified look and feel across every single marketing channel is crucial in communicating your value to your target audience. Part of your rebrand should be to decide how this will spread across every platform.
Depending on what type of business you’ve built, there could be multiple internal audiences – from support staff who keep the company running to client-facing employees who interact with your target audience on a regular basis. However, when it comes to brand messaging, everyone needs to be on board.
A good analogy is how restaurants work with their serving staff. When a new menu item is released, a good restaurant will have everyone taste the item while they explain the flavors behind it. That way, the servers can make recommendations to the customer and be able to describe the dishes before placing their order. Now, ask yourself how your employees would be able to explain your offerings to your target audience. Can they describe your services? Do they know the key differentiators of your brand? Would they recommend working with your company to their own networks?
Strive to have every single person who interacts with your brand come away with the feeling and knowledge you want to communicate. You may never reach McDonald’s status, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to instill that same recognition among your target audience.
Still not sure about a rebrand? Take our quiz!