Utilizing Automated Marketing to Generate Leads and Nurture Relationships

You’ve heard about automated marketing, but have you ever thought about using it for your own company?

A Great Place to Start: What is Marketing Automation?

Automated marketing is a tool that allows you to automate, streamline, and measure your marketing actions to increase revenue and operational efficiency. In a nutshell, it allows you to optimize your time by streamlining the marketing processes through automation while still personalizing content and nurturing relationships with your audience. By measuring and tracking tasks, you can create campaigns tailored to meet the needs of your market segments. An automated approach is used by marketing departments for repetitive tasks such as email campaigns, social media, or other actions on websites.

Common Software Used for Automated Marketing

  1. Campaign Monitor
  2. SharpSpring
  3. MailChimp
  4. Hub Spot: 
  5. Marketing 360

When your company launches, it is easy to maintain these one on one relationships with your audience, but as your company starts to grow, it is impossible to keep up and manage these relationships without any help. That is where automations helps.

The goal of marketing is to generate more leads, close on potential clients, and drive revenue for your company. Automation helps generate leads by driving traffic to specific landing pages, allowing you to track and convert leads. It also allows you to shape campaigns according to the various touch points and call to actions of the end users. Since the automation can be tailored specifically for market segments, it feels more like a give and take relationship rather than a hard sell.

 

What Does Automated Marketing Look Like?

Someone once explained automated marketing to me as the same as growing a plant. You need to plant the seeds, which is the initial outreach from the company to the audience in the form of an email or social media post. Next you need to give the lead (seedling) water and light by delivering customized, value driven information to the specific audience.This is done through specific campaigns that trigger an automated action depending on the customer’s response. Finally, we hope to have nurtured the lead well enough and grown it to the point of being an actual paying customer. Nurturing a plant or a lead is not a guaranteed process, and it is important to tailor interactions based on the evolving needs of your audience.

Concepts to Keep in Mind when Using Automated Marketing Techniques

1. Segment your lists into sectors

You can segment your list you can communicate directly to your audience’s wants and needs. Build personas to represent segments.

2. Test your email lists and timing.

When you send emails is equally important as the content in the emails.

3. Keep your content relevant.

4. Track your results.

5. Whittle down your email lists.

It may seem important to have a large subscription base, but the active subscribers are going to be the quality leads.

6. Allow your subscribers to manage their preferences.

7. Always include a specific call to action.

 

Brand Iron is here to help you automate your marketing, improve lead generation, and optimize your systems. To talk with us regarding automated marketing or any of your marketing needs, visit www.brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901.

Packaged Content Development

In today’s market, content is king. At Brand Iron, we get asked all the time how our clients can create and integrate original content into their marketing, PR, and social media efforts. The issue is they never seem to find time. Awhile back a client asked if we offered a content development package that would to help write, develop, and design original content. Well, the answer is now yes. We are pleased to announce several packaged content development options. The packages will contain original content that can be used for your company blogs, press releases, and social media and marketing efforts.

     1. Content Bank Development –  One of the first steps to generating content is to gather a backlog of links, articles, white papers, pictures, and videos. The content you gather can then be used across all social media channels, websites, blogs, online, and even for your email marketing. Collecting the necessary resources will save you time and ensure you have engaging content customized for your target audience, while also developing a space where you can continue to grow your content bank.

     2. Content for Brochures, Sales Materials and Websites – It is pretty amazing to us that we get calls from companies who tell us their websites or sales materials are designed and ready to be printed, but other agencies are asking them for the content. Isn’t that the whole reason they went there in the first place? To not just have the material designed, but to have content created as well? Our solution is a quick mini BrandStorm to help companies develop their strategic brand in a messaging platform which we then go on to use for content development

     3. One Time Special Content – Over the last couple of months, we developed special project content focused on the idea of communication during leadership changes. We helped to develop internal and external messaging to help pro-actively address any concerns that surface with a change in leadership. In these cases, we developed:

  • Internal messaging to be communicated within the companies
  • External messaging to be communicated to key customers and vendors
  • Communication with the media (Public Relations)
  • Content to address skuttlebutt in social media

     4. Two Original Content Pieces Developed Each Month – Each month Brand Iron will develop 2 pieces of original content that can be utilized in the following:

  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Public relations
  • E-mail blasts
  • Trade or industry articles/content
  • Etc.

     5. Four Original Content Pieces Developed Each Month – Each month Brand Iron will develop 4 pieces of original content that can be utilized in the following:

  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Public relations
  • E-mail blasts
  • Trade or industry articles/content
  • Etc.

If you are not currently utilizing content to promote your business, now is the time to seriously consider doing so. Content can be used to position your company, product, or service as the finest brand by communicating to your customers your company values. Organic search results will also increase as you continue to add new content and improve your company presence. Original content will only bring value to your company and can be the extra boost you need to reach the next level.

 

To talk with us regarding content or any of your marketing needs, visit www.brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901.

Brand Champion and Visionary Jeff Bezos is Making his Next Big Move in Taking Over the World (of Retail)

With its acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon is looking to change the way we shop – again.

Jeff Bezos is the definition of a Brand Champion. Forget the fact he has built Amazon’s market value to $487 billion and boasts a personal wealth of $84 billion. It’s the paradigm shift that Amazon represents, the way it has fundamentally changed how we all shop, that solidifies Bezos’ legacy.

With Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods for close to 14 billion dollars, it sure looks like Jeff Bezos has set his next course: reshape the way we purchase and receive our groceries.

The announcement came as quite a surprise to most of America and Wall St., and we can only assume it is causing shock waves and injecting fear into grocery store chains around the country. When a major behemoth buys into your space with what must be certain plans to shake things up, it’s fair cause for concern.

Moral of the story: this is a bold move. One that only a Brand Champion like Bezos could even dream of, much less pull off.

Brand Champions have a distinct and unshakable vision for their companies – not only where they are today but also where they want to go in the future. They layout plans for how they are going to achieve their objectives, big or small or massive, and then they get the rest of the company on board to make that dream a reality.

Here it is, stepwise:

  1. Have a vision
  2. Create a plan
  3. Share the vision and plan
  4. Layout a timeline with milestones
  5. Assign accountability
  6. Execute the plan
  7. Follow-up on progress towards that plan
  8. Realize their dream
  9. Reap the rewards
  10. See new vision and repeat!

Simple, right?

It’s going to be interesting and fun to see what Bezos and Amazon have in store for the grocery industry. What dreams do you have for your company, career and life? How can you be the Brand Champion you see in the news or hear about in a blog? What are you going to do to reshape your industry and be the Brand Champion you were meant to be?

At Brand Iron, we use a proven branding process, modern technology and analytics to produce measurable financial outcomes for our clients. See how at brandiron.net or call 303-534-1901.

Brand Iron’s Brand Champion Mantra

A Brand Champion Mantra is something brand leaders and company employees live, breathe, practice and fulfill every day in order to help their brands grow.

Whether you are selling a product or service, a business is only as good as its customers’ experience. That’s why it’s so important to know your company’s Brand Champion Mantra and exactly what it’s going to take to ensure you and everyone else in your company abides by its guidelines every single day.

Here is the Brand Iron Brand Champion Mantra, and, as far as we’re concerned, the only way to cultivate the best brand and produce the best results possible:

  1. We are here to make sure our clients are successful, both outwardly and internally.
  2. We are pro-active and we anticipate potential challenges before they become a problem.
  3. We collaborate and help one another improve and get better each and every day.
  4. We deliver great brand experiences for our clients and stakeholders.
  5. We take the time to make sure everything we do is to the highest of standards, is professional, hits benchmarks and is producing results.
  6. We learn and grow, pushing ourselves to discover, master and be on top of new trends and technologies.
  7. We are committed to listening to and understanding what our clients are saying and making sure we are intimately connected with them and their goals.
  8. We are execution-oriented, and we always work as a team to achieve our goals and the goals of our clients.

What’s your company’s Brand Champion Mantra? Write it down, frame it, live it, and deliver extraordinary results to your customers and your employees.

 

Branding for Revitalization

Branding isn’t only for new or growing businesses; it’s also for companies that need to be revitalized.

Companies that have navigated bankruptcy, been through reorganization or that have been experiencing declining revenue often need to either work on their existing brand or create a new one to reshape, recharge or re-position their business.

It’s the revitalization phase which too few companies take the time or money to invest in. Along the business lifecycle chart below, one of the best ways to change your company’s trajectory is to rebrand and reposition yourself and company to restore confidence internally first, and then externally to your target audience.

Case Study

In some markets such as Oil & Gas and Retail, tough times have been prevalent. Re-branding can help tremendously to refocus and breathe new life into a company. Brand Iron underwent a rebranding effort for Garbanzo Fresh Mediterranean in an effort to revitalize their brand and financial performance:

Before:                                                                                          Before:

 

After:                                                                                              After: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The result of the revitalization effort was an updated brand that addressed not only the company vision and message, but also how the company fulfills its brand promise and delivers great brand experiences:

For another example of a company looking to revitalize its brand promise, check out how we helped Newton Running change its perception in the marketplace.

If your company is not producing the results you desire, it may need a boost. A great way to do that is to consider branding for revitalization. Call Brand Iron @ 303-534-1901 to begin learning how.

Great Brand Champions Know the True Meaning of Good Old Fashioned Holiday Spirit

Best Buy etches its spot on Santa’s “Nice” list with a generous dose of holiday giving.

The season of giving is back. For proof, look no further than a Best Buy store in Long Island, NY. Employees of the big box retailer noticed that a local teen had come into the store every day for a month to play the new Nintendo Wii U display. Warm with holiday cheer, they all decided to pitch in and purchase the $300 console for the teen and present it to him next time he came in to play.

The teen, confused and speechless, humbly accepted the gift and shook the hand of a Santa mysteriously dressed in Best Buy blue.

READ MORE

If this was just an example of community giving and selflessness during the holiday season, or even customer service well beyond the norm, that would be more than enough to warm our hearts. But the actions of these Best Buy employees highlighted something else, something people like us here at Brand Iron know as being great Brand Champions. The unsolicited actions of a few people at this one location speaks volumes for Best Buy as a whole and a corporate culture that truly puts their customer first.

A jolly shout out to goodness from us here at Brand Iron. Look around for your chance to pass along the holiday spirit, and we’ll be here as always to help you Achieve your Anything.

Have a great holiday season and a happy New Year from all of us here at Brand Iron!

 

The Resignation of a Brand Champion Affects Company Performance – Even in the Stock Market

Starbucks shares fall on announced CEO departure

We know that every brand needs a Champion. Someone who stands behind their company’s distinct identity, who wholly engages it, pushes its message, and makes sure it is at the forefront of everything the company does. For Starbucks, that person is none other than Howard Schultz. For more than 20 years and through two separate stints as CEO, Schultz has provided invaluable vision, guidance and leadership for the Starbucks brand. In turn, we think it’s fair to say Starbucks has done pretty well selling a fair amount of coffee.

But a Brand Champion’s actions don’t just define company performance in terms of products sold or customers served. When the news came out that Howard Schultz is stepping down, a different Starbucks metric took a hit – their stock. The departure of Schultz, a clear Brand Champion in the eyes of company shareholders, caused an initial stock plunge of 10%. Shares have since recovered, but not fully, and only because Starbucks coffee is so darn good. However, it’s clear that investor confidence took a hit after its Brand Champion announced his resignation, and that is telling of his instrument to how the company is perceived.

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Starbucks shares fall on day of Schultz resignation announcement 

READ MORE

Stepping in as CEO is soon-to-be-former President and COO Kevin Johnson. At Brand Iron, we’ll be watching to see if he can take the brand reigns and keep an already prosperous company on the path of prominence. We know one way he can do that, and it has something to do with becoming Starbucks’ next biggest Brand Champion…

 

What sets the marketer and the snake oil salesman apart?

Results. Very few companies want to come off as used car salesmen, but branding and marketing are a few of the hardest things to track in terms of measurable results.

At Brand Iron, we have this little thing called BrandGO. BrandGO connects your business to your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. Basically, it’s the dashboard to end all dashboards. By bringing your data to life, you can clearly see how specific marketing initiatives and tactics are moving the needle and affecting your bottom line. Oh yeah, did we mention that your KPIs will finally be all in one place?

That’s all good and swell, but you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s in it for me?” right now. Let me walk you through the benefit break down.

Track Your KPIs: This equals you staying up-to-date so you can rock your company goals. Now you can see which mediums and Call to Actions are actually working and which ones aren’t.

Move The Needle: With a fancy schmancy Brand Activation Score, you can see the bigger picture of how each and every core division of your company interrelates to the next.

Ensure Accountability: We’ll cover all your bases, from sales, marketing, and operations.

Return On Investment: “Business talk” meaning more dollars in your pocket by using BrandGO. With the power of information, you can see exactly how your marketing is getting you concrete results and generating ROI.

Bottom line: You come out on top, looking like a boss.
Just like your burrito at Chipotle, BrandGO is completely customizable. Track what you want, and prioritize by what’s most important. By connecting, tracking, and growing your business efforts, Brand Iron helps you Achieve Anything with BrandGO.

 

Ready to get started? Check out our website for more details.

 

 

 

Marketing Yourself As An Alternative Investment

 

Marketing lives in a completely separate world from Private Equity, Real Estate Investment, and Venture Capital. However, each discipline is a different exposition of core strategic thinking. Two industries, each faced with a vast sea of competitors, deciding how to stand out from the crowd. After years of picking up new investment firm clients, it’s still difficult to change their minds when it comes to effective marketing. Let’s start with a few basic initiatives that alternative investment firms need to take to heart.

Competing For Investment $$$

First things first, you have to know where you stand. Alternative investments have a hard time defining their competition. It’s nice to think that your brand is an island in itself, untouchable. However, alternative investments not only compete with other alternative investments of all types but also against traditional investment firms as well. Your company is competing for dollars against all of these other players and in order to grow, you have to know what you’re up against.

Brand Strategy Shouldn’t Be An Afterthought

Branding an investment firm is just as important as branding any other company. Firms need to engage people in order to answer the age old question of “What’s in it for me?”. Try adding a splash of life to a dry brand story. It might surprise you how intriguing a well thought out investment philosophy can be. If you’ve got an airtight message, you’ve got it made, as long as you can communicate it effectively.

“If you’ve got an airtight message, you’ve got it made, as long as you can communicate it effectively.”

Find What Really Differentiates You

From a marketing perspective, finding what differentiates you is easier said than done. What if you have 645 years of combined experience? So does nearly everybody else. Your track record of sound investment decisions is unbeatable? Give me a break. Take some time to dive deeper and consider the little things that seem insignificant. Transparency is a scary word, but baby steps can bring you a long way in the eyes of the public and your potential portfolio investments.

Play In The Hay

Economic markets affect all of us. For investors making smart marketing moves, this public interest denotes two things. Firstly, the potential for content creation is infinite for your industry. From blog posts to podcasts and more, people always look for the most up-to-date financial information out there. This leads to my second point, which gives you, the creator of this content, the prestigious title of financial expert. Capitalize on your investment cred and create engaging content that puts you and your firm at the top.

For investment firms, marketing initiatives of any kind can make a huge impact on the industry, and for the most part, are long overdue. Communicating the message of who you are and what you believe is key, and if you’re worried, Brand Iron is always happy to help.


 

 

 

Branding & Marketing 101: Manufacturing Edition

The suit-wearing, martini-drinking city-slick marketer may be the first thing that pops into your head when it comes to branding and marketing. However, the modern marketer is a little more relatable in real life and asks the same foundational questions as today’s manufacturers. How do we stay competitive within our industry? Are we consistently showing who we are as a company? What do we do to keep our customers happy, all while planning for future growth? Brand Iron is proud to represent the Colorado Advanced for Manufacturing Alliance and help all manufacturers advance through marketing. As experts in the marketing industry, here are our best practices for the experts in the manufacturing field.

Target

One of the first things to consider is who you want to talk to. This will give your marketing strategy direction, especially for manufacturers who have to take into account not only end users but B2B sales as well. Make sure your company’s message is clear and hits home for the audiences you are targeting. A Customer Relationship Manager, or CRM, is our chosen tool that helps keep track of whom your marketing is touching. For manufacturing, this can act as your company database and is incredibly helpful for understanding and respecting those important sales channels for B2B and end user customers.

it’s important to convey to the customer not only who you are and what you do, but why you’re better than your competition.

Media

Once you figure out your target audience, the next thing to do is find the right media to communicate your message. Are you using face-to-face methods like a sales team or tradeshow presentation? Have you tapped into online resources such as social media and email? When you understand which forms of media are the most appropriate for your target customer, you can form a strategic plan to drive engagement, sales, and revenue.

Engage

Every customer is on a unique journey to make the best purchase. When manufacturers understand this process, marketing and sales become easier and more effective. Today, customers start their buying process by researching. This usually is conducted on a variety of online and offline media. When it comes to content, the substance of your messaging, it’s important to convey to the customer not only who you are and what you do, but why you’re better than your competition. From process to product, manufacturing has extraordinary potential when it comes to driving conversation through content.  Engaging content draws the eye of the customer, and hitting them during their research phase helps keep your product top of mind.

Measure

Lastly, measuring your marketing efforts is crucial. Without concrete numbers to track ROI, marketing can seem like a needle in the haystack method of driving business. By tracking email campaigns, advertising, customer leads, etc., you can see for yourself your ROI, as well as tailor your marketing plan to be more effective.

The Keys to Branding and Marketing Success
  1. Utilize your brand to achieve your goals
  2. Champion your brand
  3. Know why you’re better
  4. Develop a go-to-market strategy
  5. Make it fun and engaging
  6. Create a great brand experience
  7. Measure, grow and evolve

For the manufacturing industry, marketing can be an incredibly empowering tool as well as a key differentiator against your competitors. With these best practices, you can set your company apart and focus on always advancing.