The key to continued growth is getting the branding that sticks, before any marketing strategy or search engine marketing comes into play. Turn the paid spend off until your brand feels true to you.
Branding to me means that when someone goes to your site and inquires about your goods or services, they think “that’s all it costs”? This is something consumers don’t tell you, but if you have a digital marketing agency backing you up, they’ll tell you to raise your prices if you can. Or they should tell you IF they can’t sell at your price point before taking you on. Always ask the advertising agency you’re going with what they think about the price point. They should give you the highest price to be able to run the most creative type of offers without losing margin.
Just because I run an Austin design studio and award-winning creative agency doesn’t mean I always need things to be pretty. What’s the point of having a good looking logo, website, and business cards if they don’t make a positive impact on revenue? That’s why I put the client’s growth strategy before all else. In fact, that is my growth strategy, because if my clients don’t make money, I don’t make money.
So while I’m partial to a beautiful design, I’m highly aware that unless it’s ux-based design it won’t produce conversions or capture any leads. And with a background in business development, sales are the lifeblood of any company. Why is that? Because solid creative is almost always a critical part of the growth strategy. A brand that expands rapidly tends to be one that people can be proud of using. It should speak to their aspirations. Even for a B2B company, you want your service to make people feel cool and savvy when recommending it to others.
My favorite example of this for a few years running is Slack, the chat software that took over the world. Similar software already existed before Slack came into being. Their software doesn’t exactly break the mold, though their feature set and appealing UI definitely played a role in its growth. So why have most working professionals heard of this one chat solution while others wallow in obscurity?
I chalk it up to their branding and how it fits into a product positioning strategy. Start with the name. It’s unconventionally casual for a business product. Their color scheme is bright and cheerful. It looks like it’s going to make work easier and more fun, simple as that. However, getting that message across in a convincing way (without literally saying “this makes work easier and more fun”) is a challenge. It requires a creative marketing agency that can defy convention while being restrained and subtle enough to capture a wide appeal.
I said a successful brand has to be one people are proud to use and recommend. I knew Slack had achieved this when I saw they were selling Slack-branded socks on their website. They had reached the point where a business software was almost a lifestyle brand. Can I add #teamyeezy? People hate Kanye for selling $300 white t-shirts, but shouldn’t you focus your disgust on the people buying them? And if they could sell $300 white t-shirts, you have a lot of convincing to do if you try to tell me you wouldn’t.
So when looking into an inbound marketing agency, look for one that will put your growth strategy first, but with strong messaging and design to support those efforts. That’s exactly how I structured my Austin design studio and marketing agency. If we pay for ourselves times two, and we vet clients and choose the collaboration where we both go, just know we are just as invested if not more, because we will always have something to prove.