Building a brand for a startup or a small business with little capital is really not a simple problem. Especially in times of fierce competition today. If you want to build a brand, you need to focus on a variety of factors, where creativity in the article is one of the essential elements. I have read a lot of SEO articles, PR articles to introduce products from marketing experts, PR professionals, SEO experts, few articles leave a deep impression on me as the article I cited below.
Building a brand is the key to business success, which we do not need to argue for. Simply, if you has a strong brand, you have all: customer, revenue, profit, marketability, etc. However, building a strong brand is not instantaneous, but it is a long process of preparation, construction, adjustment and perfection. From a marketing perspective, branding is a top priority if you want to succeed in today’s tough competition. So what do you need to do to build a strong brand? Especially when your business has just been established, never known in the market. Moreover, the competition in your business is very high, with hundreds or even thousands of sellers with most of the same products, there are no features to make a difference attracting customer. Today in this article, I would like to share my branding story over the years. There are failures, mistakes and how I have perfected my strategy to get a good brand Overhead Crane CG today.
5 misconceptions in the past made me stomp on the spot during the first year of establishment
With the experience, accumulated knowledge when working in a large corporation of machinery and equipment industry of Vietnam in the year 2000, I was very confident when deciding to start my own business. In the fall of August 2013, the main products are Overhead crane, gantry crane and crane equipment. With the core philosophy is: High-quality crane products with cheap price. However, the first year results were not as good as expected because I had made five mistakes in business thinking. These mistakes basically stem from stereotypical thinking, mechanical thinking when you used to work in a big company then set up your own company. Specific:
- Old customers will be loyal when you open a new company
I think so. After I established the company, I perfected my own supplier system and staff. I began to actively contact, inform all my old customers, “close” with me about the product and business philosophy of my new company. In the hope that they will continue to support, purchase the goods as I did for the big company. However, the result is just “good luck”, “ok, you will consider” .. etc. There are no actual orders, even though I tried to persuade them about the Improve the delivery mode, the superiority of the product I offer and the cheaper price.
- Focus on push marketing instead of pull marketing
It is my second misconception strategy. By thinking about the pathway from my old company, I put the strategy of reaching customers to my employees with a clear strategy: “Locate potential customers, send emails, make an appointment to introduce the product you offer in the hope of future orders.” And I do nothing more. I look forward to and hopefully this leads to revenue for the business. But the results, really very poor. Every month orders are counted at the tip of a finger, revenue is barely enough to cover the cost.
- Do not care about building content on the website
Although I know that the basic condition for a business operating in the information technology era is to have a professional website to provide information to customers. About the product, introduce the company’s capacity. But I did not thoroughly explore the strength of the website for the success of the business. I updated the content of the product in a very sketchy way, give perfunctory information about the product, sales policy, etc. The idea is that crane products, Gantry Cranes are large machines/equipments, need to make a phone call or meet face-to-face, not detailed information on the website. This is how wrong!!! Customers do not think so, they read everything they have on your website and only decide to call you when they really believe you have experience in the field you provide.
- Ignore the search engine optimization (SEO) for my website
At that time my business did not have any “search keywords” in the first page even page 2 – 3 when searching by Google. This also means that I did business without the source of customers coming from the internet, from the world’s most famous search engine today. According to a recent study, it was found that every second there were nearly 40,000 searches on Google, which meant about 3.5 million searches per day and nearly 1.2 billion hits per month. I still do not care.
- Do not advertise on Facebook, Google adwords, Twitter
Because of the specificity of industrial machine equipment, I really neglected to attract customers, build brand through social channels such as Facebook, twitter or Google adwords. Meanwhile, rival companies earn revenue, profit every day from these channels.
Fortunately, through a year of suffering a bad business, I realized I had to change. With enthusiastic advice from a close friend of mine, working in the field of PR. He analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of my company and made some conclusions that changed my mind by 180 degrees. I really understand how to build a business brand in the rapidly evolving era of information technology today.
Experience from a marketing expert makes my thinking change
- Forget about old customers and focus on building your business brand on the internet, optimizing your SEO, doing everything to make sure your website appears on Google.
- Provide really useful content on the website for customers.
- Promote the promotion and introduction of products on social media such as facebook, twitter, G +, Linkedin … and so on.
It’s just that, but that talk is really a milestone in business thinking, branding, and my company’s development in the years to come. But that’s the story of the next year, not right after the talk.
I keep going wrong and deviate
Only I think I’m on the right track. You just imagine me as a fresh graduate, struggling to find a job, make money. Then suddenly I was guided by a friend for a session, teach me how to make money, how to earn $5000 per month and I begin to do the instructions of him. And I thought, “The rival companies just wait, waiting for the anger of a superhero”. So, sometimes people can imagine that they are 100% sure they will succeed, will be superior to all just after realizing a truth. In fact, the opposite is true. Please see how I implemented what I learned in the next one year to see if something is wrong here.
- The first thing I do is sign a keyword SEO contract, optimize your website with one of the famous Seo companies (find and click on the top website results), costing nearly 2500$ all. With thought: to fame, it costs a lot. The job is that they will optimize my website to SEO standards, write useful content for the reader and boost the keyword on the google search engine in the quickest time possible (commitment on contract is 6 months I will stand number one). The condition is that I entrust Seo Company with full control over the company’s website and only support and advise them on the technical information of the product. The results are unlikely to be as expected, as I will elaborate later.
- I create fanpage on facebook, twitter, g + and start branding campaign by posting posts every day, even every hour about my product. I do not care whether anyone reads the post and even ignore the complaints of friends and colleagues about I’m spamming someone else’s wall. And the result is just like the first one: Completely failed
- I recruited dozens of customer care staff, stock on all of my merchandise, and waited patiently for the surge in customer success. The result is called “expensive”
Time flies like an arrow. Time to get out, 6 month contract term keyword Seo has almost gone, fanpage is spam everyday, so the number of customers increased as I expected have not reached. While the pressure of staff salaries, the stock of inventory grows, makes me really shaky in my “superhero” thinking. My search keywords still do not appear, even worse than a year ago, the number of visitors from social media messages is almost zero. Up until this point, I have really gotten to know the nature of the branding issue, how it appears on the search engine, and also how I spent six months of valuable time, I made the mistake of hastily making decisions.
Why? I temporarily concluded my mistake in this six months as follows:
- As a small business with little capital, you should never hire website development services from A-Z like I did. Delivering all the work to the seo company that manages both content updates and articles about product is really a big mistake for me. Service companies, they are only good at optimizing the website but not understand anything about your product. When they write product introductory content will not create useful content, only to junk your website only.
- Never trust the commitment “within xxx months, your website will be number one” simply because they are committed to 99% of their customers. Everyone number 1, who will be number 2???
- Spamming your fanpage daily, hourly with product – product – product will only make customers, friends turn away from your product only. Especially with products are less interested as machinery, industrial equipment.
- Recruitment, stock goods massively before the customer is a double-edged sword, is the lightest lighter to burn your money fastest if no results are desired.
- Want to build a brand on the top search engine, it must be done “slowly, step by step”.
These are 6 things I do to help the business stay strong, the website appears on the top sustainable and create a strong brand in the market today.
Recognizing the following mistakes, I learned about online marketing, online business and how to optimize the website, even how to code a website sales. I spend months researching business theory in today’s technology development era and learning free marketing tools at low cost to apply for my business effectively. And the steps I do here are considered as the premise for the development of the brand Overhead Crane CG as today:
- The first is that I terminate the contract of seo services, limit the scope of work in supporting the website code, correct errors when I request, but not content for my website. I will do the content myself.
- I focus on the sharing of content that is truly useful to our customers with our hands-on experience and business philosophy. I write articles “experience buying crane” help customers avoid buying low quality goods and expensive price. I write articles about all the information the customer needs to know and more content really useful to customers, not “garbage”.
- Then I share my quality articles on social networks, fan pages with sparse frequency, no spam, no hourly product talk but just useful experiences, Inspirational or fun stories for customers to read.
- I pay more attention to participating in the forum about machines and equipment and share with other members about us, sharing useful knowledge to help newcomers reference easily about this industry.
- I advertise my product through Google’s paid advertising media- Adwords, with more and more optimized campaigns at an ever-lower cost.
- I reduced the number of employees, added more staples based on the actual needs of customers based on the amount of searches and orders per day.
So, every day, I and some staff in the communications and marketing department do just a few simple things, not big. But the results were beyond my imagination in the early days of the founding. You can look at some preliminary statistics to understand the result is essentially:
- The number of projects we have implemented up to now has nearly 100 large and small projects.
- Daily inquiries from 40 to 50 asking for quotes.
- Daily orders do not count big projects from 5-7 orders.
The number of website visitors per month is 12-15k
- Most of the keywords we SEO are on page 1 of our search results.
Such results are a process that goes from one mistake to another and then correcting, perfecting the thought. It is not an overburdened, overwhelming process, but I really feel like I should share with you to make sure Freelance businessmen or start-ups can avoid the blunders like me. Good luck!
(I do NOT own the images in this article. All rights belong to it’s rightful owner/owner’s. No copyright infringement intended. Source of image: google)