When it comes to leads generation, my discussions with marketers mostly reveal that they use traditional methods like trade shows, email marketing, seminars, cold calls, advertising and telemarketing as their primary marketing approaches. These methods are called “outbound marketing” and involve the transmission of a marketing message in the hope that it would travel far and wide and reverberate with the needs of the target market. Well, my opinion is that outbound marketing approaches are losing efficacy for causes discussed below.

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Brands that want to outlast their competition must take advantage of the recent advances in online communication, specifically social media. Social media has created more opportunities for brands to gain insight and engage with their customers than ever before. But brands are facing the challenge of how they can effectively engage with their customers on social media to keep their loyalty and attention.

On social media, customers don’t follow a brand just because they recognize their products but because they like their content and their perception of the brand. In order for brands to build a large following they must retain their interest by sharing their content and becoming a helpful resource for them.

Great characters drive great stories. In brand storytelling, characters personify a brand’s values, personality, and purpose. What makes brand characters different from fictional characters is that they don’t live between pages of paper. They are expressed in a brand’s content strategy like videos, blog posts, social media pages, etc. They help build connections with customers by conveying positive qualities. Here are what brand characters should be:

● Likeable
● Interesting
● Entertaining
● Relatable
● Inspiring

The best brands stories are from brands that can successfully articulate their purpose, embody their values, and sell their uniqueness. It’s through expression of who they are, what they stand for, and how they are different that they attract new customers and gain brand equity.

Identify Your Brand’s Purpose
To integrate storytelling into your brand’s strategy you must have a clear understanding of your brand’s purpose. A brand purpose is the explanation of why your brand or business exists. Your brand narrative’s foundation is built on what motivates your business to function and how it wants to better improve customer experiences and the standards of your industry.

Businesses Need Storytelling

"Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell," said entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin. On his blog he explained what makes a story great, "A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on."

Storytelling has become a skill that business owners can no longer ignore because of its ability to transform how a brand is perceived by potential customers. A brand that is able to tell a great story is more trusted and favored than a brand that doesn’t.

The world today is overloaded with choices. Too many products tend to make it difficult for consumers to make the best choice. Take your kid to a local burger joint and ask him to choose which burger he wants, he'll hate it, as he faces the 'multiple choice' dilemma. However, ask your kid which place he wants to get a burger from, he will be more than happy to choose from the various brands, and is likely to name Johnny Rockets or McDonald’s!

Research says that it also is due to the fact that certain brands are always there on our minds. These include big names like Pepsi and Coca Cola.

Ranking well on search engines is important for many reasons. If your website or landing page appears on a search engine’s first page for a specific keyword or key phrase, it means more exposure and brand cognizance, more targeted traffic to your website, and more sales. Moreover, ranking high on search engines is a very cost-effective marketing method that enables you to pull your target market more powerfully.

There are many search engines out there with Google, Yahoo, and Bing being some of the most highly used search engines. When it comes to SEO, you cannot just rank well on one search engine, and you must concentrate on all of these. Some important factors to consider when choosing which search engine to pay most attention to include:

Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to build brand awareness and drive product sales. The smartest companies out there today work hard to provide superior customer service on social media, but are they successful? The jury seems to be out on this. Customers expect a very fast response when they ask a question on Twitter or Facebook, and surveys have found they expect an answer within 30 minutes in some cases. So what are the true facts as to what is actually taking place?

Polls have shown that 80% of companies that have social media pages believe they provide customer service above and beyond what the customers want. However, the customers beg to differ. Only 8% of social media customers agree they get superior customer service. That means a whopping 92% are not happy with the customer service they are receiving.

Today, the hottest entrepreneurs are talking about how businesses need to build great brands in order to be successful. What is a brand? Usually, people can identify a brand by its trademark logo, however this barely breaks the surface of how business branding works. For businesses, a brand is defined by the perception of their customers. In order to influence this perception, businesses need to clearly explain their brand’s purpose and values. Here are practical branding basics that small businesses can use to start developing their own brand:

Define Your Brand and Create a Mission Statement
What is your brand and what is its purpose? These are important questions to consider because if you don’t have an idea about your brand then how will your customers understand it? Determine your brand's purpose and explain why your target customers would be interested in it. Then put this all together in a mission statement that will explain the objectives of your products or services.

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