The days of compartmentalized SEO are fading fast. To maximize the success of any SEO campaign, it should complement and align with your holistic digital marketing goals. The more fluidly your online initiatives work together, the better the outcome will be for all channels.
One important but overlooked element behind any marketing strategy (especially multi-channel online marketing) is brand positioning.
Put succinctly, a positioning strategy, or brand positioning is how customers view a specific brand in their mind. Having a good positioning strategy will allow you to positively influence your product in the eyes of your target customers. This will help distinguish your brand from everyone else's, including your competitors.
Take Moz for example. They positioned their brand and blog as a white hat, technically sound source of information. The result - thousands upon thousands of natural inbound links are built to their blog posts because they are viewed as a credible source of information.
Like Moz, your goal is to create a lasting and favorable impression in your customer's brain about your brand. You want them to associate it with something desirable and specific that is distinct from the rest of the marketplace. You want to educate, but also entertain.
Crafting your strategy and honing your marketing skills is where being proactive can really help your business. Brand positioning will happen with or without your input, so you need to make sure that your brand is represented in a complementary way.
Determine Your Position
What is your brand's position on the market? If you are just beginning, you might not have enough data to explore, but this can be a good thing. Creating your brand and the character of your business will really drive how your company is perceived.
Look into what customers are - or will be saying about you. You need to know where you stand and where your niche is. Being unique isn't always easy these days. Entrepreneurs pop up in every aspect of the market and you never know when the next big thing will occur.
If you are starting a florist business, for example, you want to make sure you have the freshest flowers and the best arrangements. Follow up with all customers and make sure your co-workers or employees are exemplifying your essence. Having one bad review can negatively affect people's opinions of your shop, which could cause people to begin shopping elsewhere.
Identify Your Competitors
An essential part of business marketing is competitive analysis. Through this, qualitative strategic planning has been made easy to perform. While analyzing your competitors, you should know what you are looking for and how it can help your business.
Look at what your competitors are doing. Check out their Websites and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate how their customers perceive them and in turn, find out what you can do to better your product's quality and price. If they have a large amount of customers or receive higher praise, learn what you can do to beat their statistics.
You might both have floral businesses, but what makes you stand out? Maybe you grow some of your own flowers, maybe your prices are lower, or maybe you incorporate food into your arrangements.
Whatever your angle, make it unique and memorable. This will make it easier for media sources to quote you as a source and will teach your potential customers who they should compare your services against. If your USP is the freshest flowers, you want to be compared to other fresh flower shops, not the laundry list of "cheapest flower" companies.
Platforms & Marketing Channels
Marketing your brand in all forms is important. This includes Internet and in-person. Through advertisements, you can really focus on your audience.
Let's assume you just opened a florist shop. You love making flower arrangements and your goal is to help with large events like weddings and baby showers. You could create pamphlets, flyers or ads, and advertise your brand with local dress shops or catering companies who accommodate those specific occasions.
If you have a larger budget, think about making a local commercial for your business. The most important part is to remember exactly who you want to be your customers and position yourself as the best choice for that group of buyers. This is again what makes understanding your buyer personas and their concerns so important.
For example - pricing can affect your customer's opinions. If you do have the lowest priced flowers in town, then you need to also advertise why. Many people associate low-price with low-quality, if you have found a way to cut costs without lower the quality, make sure your buyers know it.
Statements VS Taglines
Brand positioning statements are often confused with company taglines or slogans. The difference is that positioning statements are for internal use. They guide the marketing and operating choices of your business. A decent positioning statement will benefit you in making key decisions that affect your customer's perception of your brand.
According to cultbranding.com; "An intelligent and well-executed positioning statement is a powerful tool for bringing focus and clarity to your marketing strategies, advertising campaigns, and promotional tactics. If used properly, this statement can help you make effective selections to help differentiate your brand, attract your target customers, and win market share from your competition".
An example of a positioning statement would be: For decorating your joyous occasions, Fancy Flowers is a florist that provides beautiful and thoughtful arrangements. Unlike other florists, Fancy Flowers provides a combination of convenient delivery, original techniques, and personal touches.
A tagline, on the other hand, is an external statement used for marketing efforts: Flowers For Less! Know the difference and use both correctly.
My Position on Positioning...
Not every customer is a good fit your product or service. Taking a clear stand through positioning will help you to attract more of your ideal customers, while saving your team time and headaches.
Being authentic and standing for something is your biggest asset and with that, the right customers will land at your feet.
About the Author: Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a content marketing and SEO firm specializing in outreach link building. Content placement, blogger outreach, and editorial brand mentions are just a few ways the Stellar SEO team can help. Connect on Twitter @theseoproz.