The Importance of Branding: An Undeniable Fact of Modern Marketing

All involved in marketing know that the importance of branding is a near mystical concept and unbelievably fickle at times. Think of the most solid, unshakable brand imaginable and even that can be left in tatters or slightly worse for wear. However, there is no more powerful tool when it comes to ensuring that your company’s products and services are recognizable. Moreover, these products and services are recognized at the first glance and attractive to your target clientele. To ensure that your brand is always the best, you must understand the importance of branding and regular auditing.

Why is the importance of branding so crucial?

The importance of branding is undeniable. Back in 2014, Cohn and Wolfe looked at American brands and surveyed over 12,000 people across 12 distinct markets. Their findings were clear brand honesty by not letting customers down in importance.  Also, 91% of those interviewed rated branding as highly important. So, let’s get down to brass tacks and look at what a brand audit involves and how it can help.

Importance of Branding
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About brand audit___a key element showing the importance of branding

One of the most forceful elements which depicts the importance of branding is brand auditing. The idea behind a brand audit is to gain an in-depth understanding of where your brand lies. Moreover, Where your brand stands in the eyes of your target audience and how you are performing in their eyes. This is in order for you to come up with the best range of corrective strategies. This is also to understand what you do best and in which areas lie room for improvement. How are you perceived by the well-wishers of your business and how does that compare to your competition? These are questions of prime importance when it comes to ensuring that your brand is attractive to the maximum. Moreover, these questions count while giving your business the best chance of dominating the market.

The ins and outs of a brand audit

Successfully approaching a brand audit requires a distinctly personal and customized approach depending on the nature of your business. What is universal and extremely helpful, however is the need to split up your research into distinct categories as follows:

Internal branding – brand values, culture, unique characteristics  enhances the importance of branding

External branding – identity, advertising, SEO and website, social media strategy, video content, blogs and other content marketing, news and PR. Systems and infrastructure – brand standards, sales procedures, internal systems and customer service standards.

Major aspects of a brand audit

A thorough overhaul of all of these systems is necessary for any business to conduct a successful brand audit. You will be able to better understand your brand as it stands and what you should be aiming for. How your customers view your company’s branding may be vastly different from how you imagine they do. It is vital that enough research is done to get an accurate picture. Of course, you may do a brand audit and like most of what you find regarding the importance of branding.  But, if there is room for improvement, you can certainly take many steps to help change things around. It will definitely improve your public image at the same time.

The increased business value

The generation of new customers verify the importance of branding. A well-established brand is greatly helpful when the company thinks about its own expansion by generating future business. The company gets more leverage in industry with a strongly-established brand at its back increasing the value of its business. The importance of branding reveals itself when a powerful brand makes a more attractive investment opportunity for the company owner. The deep-rooted position of the brand in the market encourages the company to expand its business.

Having developed the business on the basis of a solid brand, the company feels no pressure of generating new customers. There already exists a very positive impression of the brand among the potential customers. They are always willing to do business with the brand they are familiar with and trust most. The way the ex-customers think and respond to a strong brand is the live and proactive advertisement of the company. This word of mouth is the best and the most influencing advertisement technique of the company.

Special importance of branding

It is worth remembering that your brand is what separates you from the (likely) plethora of other companies. These are different companies  in your field offering similar products and services. It offers you the best potential for ensuring your message is memorable in the eyes of potential customers. Tying your brand to a certain, distinct positive message and sticking to that message is often one of the most successful ways to manage a brand. Think of Fairy liquid and the idea that it is a washing up liquid that is kind to your skin and good at cleaning dishes, or Apple (expensive, but easy to use and involves quality design). The power of brand identity is all around us and it just takes a little hard work and investigation to reveal the power of yours.

Cars Marketing

Things to Consider to Successfully Run Aftermarket Automotive Business

What is the automotive aftermarket?

The automotive industry deals with the manufacturing, distribution, retailing and installation of all vehicle parts, chemicals, equipment and accessories. The automotive aftermarket industry also does the same but after the sale of the automobile by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to the consumer. In other words, we can say that the automotive aftermarket is the secondary market of the automotive industry. This is quite possible that the OEM may or may not manufacture the parts, accessories, etc. for sale.

More about aftermarket parts

According to a report by the International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce,” Aftermarket parts are divided into two categories: replacement parts and accessories. Replacement parts are the automotive parts built or remanufactured to replace the OE parts as they become worn or damaged. Accessories are parts made for comfort, convenience, performance, safety, customization, etc. and are designed for add-on after the original sale of the motor vehicle.”

things to consider to successfully run aftermarket automotive business
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The range of the aftermarket covers all vehicle makes and models. It supplies a wide variety of parts like aftermarket chrome truck bumpers, etc. with varying qualities and prices.

Things to consider while doing the aftermarket business:

  1. The aftermarket parts are easily confused with the new parts in appearance. You should assign separate part numbers to them and keep them in the separate section of your parts warehouse.
  2. In case your dealer management system (DMS) does not accept the separate part numbers, you will have to track the inventory through some other system. A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or a Microsoft Access database can serve you in this regard.
  3. A number of states and countries have laws requiring dealers to account for the sales and gross profits with the aftermarket parts. There may rise problems if your existing accounting system does not integrate with the information. So, you should look into the matter and solve it.
  4. Things may become tough for your business if your parts staff does not have a thorough understanding of ‘reusability guideline’. Experienced and trained personnel alone can determine whether or not the part meets the reusability guide.
  5. Only a few good distributors are specialized in selling used-parts because they have got specific training in this regard. You should ask the manufacturer’s service department to facilitate you with the guidelines they have established.
  6. You should deal with the customers, purchasing used parts, keeping in mind that they are always willing to pay 65% to 80% of the new parts. So, be vigilant to earn your share.
  7. A gross profit of 35% to 50% is always expected in this part of the business. You should try to mature your deals ensuring this very range of profit.
  8. You should create a competitive advantage for your Service department.
  9. You should look for a reliable source for securing good used parts if your dealership is not prepared to establish the systems, processes and trained personnel.

Hence, you must consider the above-said points while running the aftermarket automotive business.


Inbound Marketing Best Practices

Traditional marketing strategies have seen their effectiveness disrupted—like so many other business activities—by the rise of digital technology. Paid streaming services for video and music are ad-free. People are using DVRs to record their favorite network programming and skip ads. What’s more, while you’ll find ads on nearly every website out there, they go largely ignored. In fact, most people find them annoying.

Long story short, outbound marketing barely cuts it anymore. Chasing customers down is passé. Letting them to come to you is the order of the day. With that in mind, here are some inbound marketing best practices to consider.

Inbound Marketing
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Identify The Ideal Id

While many of traditional marketing’s techniques have gone stale, one of its fundamental truths remains evergreen. You have to get to know your perfect customer. Take a look at your best patrons—the ones who spend the most and give you the fewest headaches. What traits do they have in common? Once you’ve identified those qualities, you can seek others who “look” just like them. Lookalike customers represent an outstanding opportunity because your offerings already appeal to them—they just don’t know who you are yet. But they will, once you have your inbound strategy properly in play.

Best Begin With a Blog

One of the sharpest tools in the inbound marketer’s kit is organic content. Let’s say you sell furniture online. Articles about decorating, home décor, renovations and other related topics are likely to be of strong interest to your ideal customer. Creating a blog around these subjects will gather all of your organic content in one place. This will give your inbound links a logical place to land on your ecommerce site.

Blaze New Trails with Emails

This tried and true method is one of the bedrocks upon which inbound marketing rests. However, your messaging must be personalized so your target audience will engage with it. Your content must be narrowly focused upon their problems, questions and interests. Think about it; you open email messages when they seem to speak directly to you. And, you click on the links within them when it makes sense to you to do so. See? Email still works.

Mind the SEO Evolution

It has been said the only constant in life is things always change. This is especially true when it comes to SEO. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving in a quest to serve up the most relevant content possible in response to a given query. In fact, Google instituted more than 1,600 changes to its algorithm in 2016 alone. If your inbound campaign is going to be as successful as possible, you must make an effort to keep pace with SEO developments and be among the first to exploit them in your organic content strategy. Those who evolve will continue to show up on the first page of results. Those who allow their efforts to stagnate will get relegated to the second, third and fourth pages—or worse.

Scream and Scream Again

In most cases, first-time visitors to your ecommerce store will look around and leave without converting. That’s OK. It just means they aren’t ready to buy at that moment. But they will be eventually. If you’ve conducted your research, you’ve identified people who both need you and think like the people who already buy from you. This means your messaging will still be welcomed whenever they receive it. Retargeting works. After you’ve screamed at them once, scream at them again and again until they begin to spend. With cookies, you can track their activity on your site and serve them relevant ads, in addition to your content marketing efforts. Then, when they are ready to buy, you’ll be top of mind.

Embrace Social Responsibility

You had to know social media was going to come into this at some point. It’s an ideal delivery method for an organic content inbound strategy. However, choose your terrain carefully, rather than plant your flag on every hill out there. Keeping a social media channel active and vibrant is a lot of work. Thus, it makes more sense to only go after the platforms where your ideal customers can be found in significant numbers. This makes the endeavor a bit less difficult to manage. Plus your efforts will have more credibility because you’re staying within your area of expertise.  Take a look at where your direct competitors concentrate their resources to see where you need to be. Odds are those platforms will work for you too. Identifying and working with social influencers in your arena will generate more traffic and conversions as well.

Video Vivifies and Revives

People love moving pictures, and an online furniture store is nicely positioned to provide them. Decorating clips, tutorials on how to measure a room, advice on arranging furniture to best advantage—the possibilities are nearly infinite. Every social platform accommodates video. You can also include it in your newsletters and emails. BTW, the next big things in video will be augmented and virtual reality. Get on board with them now so you’ll have a great seat when that ship leaves port.

OK, NOW You Can Advertise

Yes, we opened this article saying how advertising doesn’t work as well as it used to. However, when you study your analytics to determine the effectiveness of your inbound strategy, you can also learn where paid ads are likely to be most effective. You’ll know where your best customers spend time. When they see your ads in those places, your messaging will attract their attention, as it will have been supported by your inbound efforts. Further, birds of a feather flock together. If your ideal customer is there, others who think the way they do are too.

These inbound marketing best practices will help you speak directly to those who need and appreciate you most. The real beauty of inbound is you’ll no longer have to chase customers down, hit them over the head and drag them back to your store.

They’ll come willingly, which means they are far more likely to buy.


Why Email Verification Is Crucial to Email Marketing

No matter the size of your business, your goal is to keep growing it. If you want to accomplish that, you have to make sure you are using the best marketing strategies. There are many techniques to choose from, each with different degrees of efficiency. The one that’s driving the most sales nowadays is email marketing, which gives you the opportunity to interact with your customers directly and to promote your products and services.

One of the advantages of email marketing is that you can receive detailed reports on how your emails perform. After each campaign, you can download the reports and study your results: how many people opened your email? How many of them clicked through your content? And, ultimately, how many of them converted? The report also tells you how many emails bounced back, and that is a key feature you should pay attention to.

The reason behind high bounce rates is almost always the fact that your email list hasn’t been cleaned. You might have many invalid email addresses that are clogging up your database and use your resources in vain. How can you determine if your email list is messy? You can’t do that yourself, but a good email verification system will analyze your list within minutes and tell you what’s wrong with it.

Email Verification
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Two types of email verification

There are two different types of verification processes:

  • Retrospective Verification – This process will examine the validity of the email addresses that are already stored in your database. The email verifier will determine whether or not those email addresses are still valid and in use, and will remove the inaccurate and abandoned accounts.
  • Pre-Emptive Verification – This is an effective process that checks the validity of the email addresses when your subscribers type them into your signup form. This is the best way for you to make sure people are not making any typos when they try to subscribe to your email.

Merits of a good Email Verification System

As a business owner, you want to use marketing strategies that are durable and will help you in the long run. Your email marketing will deliver great results if you use an email verification system. We are going to list some of its benefits below:

  • Sending large amounts of emails is costing you money. An email checker will remove invalid addresses from your database, so you will only spend your money on sending campaigns to valid accounts.
  • Your bounce rates will decrease significantly. A good email validation system offers an accuracy rate of 98%.
  • You can easily increase your sender reputation score.
  • If you have expired or invalid email addresses in your sending list, along with spam traps or many email complainers, you will most likely be blacklisted by ISP. An email validation system will help you keep your email list clean and safe to use.

Trading Apps: Your Innovative Ticket to Fiscal Freedom

In terms of online trading, it seems as if the phrase “out with the old and in with the new” currently defines the marketplace. While financial ventures were limited to the confines of a personal computer only ten years ago, a growing number of investors are taking advantage of the numerous benefits associated with the user-friendly smartphone application. How can you employ these very same methods to garner a substantial sum of money and what are the primary benefits that they will offer?

Trading Apps
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Working Smart Instead of Hard

Current statistics estimate that no fewer than 197 billion mobile applications will be downloaded by the end of 2017. This equates to more than 26 applications for every many, woman and child on the face of the planet. One of the reasons why financial-related apps are gaining ground is directly related to the sheer size of the online investment market. Traders are now realising that the intuitive nature of these software packages are the ideal method to generate an income even when away from the home or office.

Finding the Most Appropriate Application

The downside to the sheer number of available applications is that not all are up to par in terms of functionality. Others promise results that are nearly impossible to deliver. If you hope to leverage such systems to your advantage, be sure to address these primary questions:

  • Is the application offered by a well-known and respected provider?
  • How intuitive are its technical aspects?
  • Are timely updates provided when required?
  • Can your personal information remain safe?
  • Will you have immediate access to all of the most important markets?

If you cannot answer a resounding “yes” to each one of these questions, it is wise to look elsewhere.

The Rise of the Well-Informed Trader Thanks to the Diminutive App

Always remember that mobile trading apps should offer far more than access to live prices. Those developed by innovative financial portals including CMC Markets will provide you with the very same user interface (UI) that would be encountered when accessing the traditional website. This is commonly referred to as a mobile-responsive design. All important metrics such as navigation, charting capabilities and trade execution mirror the parent website. This signifies that there will be no additional learning curve. Simply log into your account, tap on the icon and begin trading!

What Options are at Your Disposal?

Variety is the spice of life and it adds some much-needed flavour into real-time trading. This is one of the reasons why we are now seeing a surge of investors within the online community. The best way to evaluate any trading application is to begin by looking at the number of available markets. Some common examples include:

  • Index-based trading.
  • Blue-chip stocks.
  • Commodities.
  • Forex trades.
  • Spread betting.

As you are likely to leverage any application to turn short-term profits, methods such as spread betting can be particularly useful. This brings us to our next point.

The Synergy of Spread Betting and the Mobile App

By their very nature, spread bets are short-term prospects. You can choose from thousands of products and enjoy competitive spreads; both providing a superior sense of flexibility. The ability to speculate on bearish (falling) markets is another marked advantage over other trading options. 3G and 4G mobile connectivity ensure that all prices will be accurate, so you can make pivotal decisions within moments.

Where Are We Headed?

The use of highly advanced and predictive algorithms should dominate the market of financial applications in the near future. You will be able to tailor these software bundles around your unique trading styles; further enhancing efficiency and the chances that you will turn a profit. Regardless of how amazing these systems become, they are still no replacement for sound investment strategies and experience. Still, we are already on the cusp of a massive paradigm shift in regards to the ways that online trades are executed. Keeping ahead of this curve can dramatically enhance your chances of walking away a market winner.


Constantly Evaluate Your Marketing Strategies

Regardless of the type of marketing strategy you employ to make your company more popular, it is important that you evaluate what you have done. This makes it easier for you to decide what else could be done to improve the strategies in the future. You can’t afford to employ the same strategy over and over again if you know it doesn’t work. Besides, you won’t know that a strategy is a failure unless you have evaluated it.

For instance, if you are using pop up banners to reach out to local audiences, it is important that you ask people who have seen the banners how they feel about them. Give them a questionnaire to answer or just ask them specific questions.

Evaluate Your Marketing Strategies
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The questions should be focused both on the aesthetic appeal and the overall value of the banner. Some of them might have something to say about the beauty of the banner. They might not find it appealing at all so they do not really pay attention to it. Perhaps, the colour does not seem fascinating. It might also lack appropriate images. The text might be too long and boring.

On the other hand, the value of the banner must be taken into consideration. Does it contain the right information people need to know? Is it enticing enough for them to take action? Does it give them new information they didn’t have previously? By understanding how they feel about the value of the banner as a whole, it will be easier for you to improve it in the future.

These strategies will work:

If your pop up banners didn’t work the way you wanted at first, it doesn’t mean that you should just give up. The truth is that you can still do something about it. You can make it work if you take into account the result of the evaluation. Besides, banners are not meant to be shown over a very long period of time.

They have to be changed every now and then. There should be updates for people to see. Otherwise, they will feel bored and it will reflect on your company’s lack of innovation.

Keep doing the right thing:

Once a new banner is released, you should assign people to evaluate it. Do not give up until you are satisfied with the results. This is how marketing works. You want to provide the people with exactly what they want to see. This is how you convince them to buy what you are offering them. This is also how you remain relevant especially since you have to contend with a lot of other businesses that might be in the same niche as yours.