Did you know the average person is exposed to a staggering 3,000 brand impressions every day? With such an overwhelming amount of information bombarding consumers, it’s crucial for small businesses –especially those that don’t have a big marketing budget – to find ways to cut through the noise and capture their audience’s attention. How do you do it? Here are four essential steps that can help you get noticed in a crowded field.
Step 1: Leverage Audience and Competitor Data
There’s an old saying that marketing starts and ends with your audience. And it’s true. Data has become a powerful tool for marketers, providing valuable insights into consumer behavior and preferences. Utilizing and interpreting data accurately can significantly enhance your marketing efforts. We’ve talked a lot in the pages about what you need to know about your audience and how to develop personas. We look at six areas that are worth understanding for each audience segment:
- Demographics (gender, age, location)
- Professional background
- Psychographics (especially love, hate, fear/anxiety, ambition)
- Online behavior
- Challenges/pain points
- Other interests/hobbies etc.
Understanding these six will enable you to start the process of messaging and creating assets that best meet your potential customers’ needs. But a lot of companies may have similar data on your customers. That’s why it’s also important to understand, in-depth, where your competitors are and what they’re doing marketing-wise. After all, you’re not going to stand out if you simply repeat what your rivals are doing.
So, what is useful to learn about your competition? This information is readily available for you to gain access to:
- Company brand narrative: How does the company project itself? To whom? Is it consistent?
- Website structure & UX: What’s the website experience like?
- Content/SEO (with a competitive analysis tool): What terms does the company show up on?
- Email marketing (frequency and other tactics): What’s the tone and voice of the emails, are they effective?
- Paid display ads (visuals from moat.com, retargeting techniques): Is the company doing advertising? If so, what do the visuals look like? Are they retargeting individuals?
- Paid search (with a competitive analysis tool): What terms does the company buy?
- YouTube/Social Presence: How often does the company post in social or YouTube? What’s the engagement like?
To get more details on this, we’ve included a link to our guide: How to Analyze a Competitor’s Digital Marketing Presence, which you can download for free.
Step 2: Projecting a Unique & Consistent Brand
OK, so you know what your competitors are doing and where your audience is. In a sea of similar products and services, projecting a brand narrative that is distinct and compelling is crucial. But this is where a lot of companies either start copying other approaches or don’t take the time to consider what their own unique brand is and what it represents. The reason that this is a crucial step is that companies have to carve out the space where their competitors are generally not in order to stand out. But at that same time, they have to still meet the needs of the customer base. It’s not easy.
But that’s what a good brand narrative does. It carves out that unique space that all your marketing “hangs off of” – a phrase we’ve stolen from our friends Toby Trevarthen at The Narrative Playbook and Rob McLoughlin at DCDR. In other words, by understanding your customers’ needs, desires, and pain points and knowing where your competition isn’t, you can create an authentic narrative that demonstrates how your offering provides a unique solution or experience – key factors in capturing attention and building a loyal customer base.
Step 3: Creating Captivating Visuals & Marketing Collateral
If you want to know the biggest reason why your marketing doesn’t “pop,” it’s probably because you cut corners when it came to investing in great visual assets or didn’t take the time to come up with something creative in terms of original marketing copy or the design itself. This is where the art of marketing comes in.
Let’s face it: In a world where attention spans are shrinking, the run-of-the-mill honestly doesn’t cut it anymore. You have to get creative. Where to start? We often say the best thing you can do is to start by tapping into shared understandings between your company and customers. Humor, storytelling, or unexpected visuals can help create a memorable impression that sets you apart from competitors.
Step 4: Focus on Your Timing and Personalization
To stand out in a crowded market, it’s crucial to reach the right person at the right time. Tailoring your messaging based on where individuals are in the buyer’s journey, also known as the funnel stage, can significantly impact their decision-making process. Also, understanding the customer’s mindset at each stage will help you provide relevant and timely information, guiding them toward a purchase.
Moreover, consider the frequency and timing of your messaging. If all else fails, why not be more aggressive in your marketing approach? There’s no reason not to be, as consumers are more likely to remember and engage with brands that maintain a consistent presence. (However, don’t overdo it either: Striking the right balance is essential to avoid also overwhelming your audience.)
Finally, it’s important to adopt a data-driven mindset – one that allows you to make adjustments and optimizations based on the performance of your marketing campaigns. Analyze key metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement. If you continuously refine your approach by leveraging data, you’ll eventually make your marketing stand out, improve your performance and get better ROI. Still need help? Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation about your marketing needs.