10 Simple Steps To An Epic Mission Statement

10 Simple Steps To An Epic Mission Statement

December 21, 2017

So you know what a mission statement is.

You’ve got over the bland, corporate terminology that it is!

And you understand that it’s really bloody important to have one for your business, even though you’re just starting up.

Excellent.

So let’s get into the steps of how to actually do it!

By the end of this, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to start crafting your brand mission statement.

The problem of process

Business theory tells us we need to create mission statements for our brand. Great.

But not quite how to go about doing it. You know. Like the exact steps, rather than vague concepts.

Cheers for that ‘business theory’.

The process is usually a mystery and puts people off of doing it for their businesses because they don’t know where to begin.

But it’s really simple. And I’m gonna show you how.

Research (but not too much...)

A lot of people get put off of the perceived amount of research they need to do to create their statement.

Research is important. And on a whole different topic, is extremely important to the success of a business.

Knowledge is power, as they say.

But for this, keep it to a minimum. To be honest, this is more about you. Your brand. Your business. You don’t need much research for that. You just need to do a lot of soul searching.

Be completely honest with yourself about what your business is, why it exists and where it is heading.

Answer from the heart and you’ll get a mission statement a million times better than any research could get you.

So with that in mind, here’s a simple, effective step-by-step guide. Time to work those brain cogs!

1. Define your story

Your story is one of the most important foundations to your business and brand. It sets the tone for who you are and what you’re about. It’ll define why you exist – your passions, your drive to succeed.

Your story will be unique to you. By knowing yours, you’ll know where you’ve come from and where you’re going (and your customers will too!).

Write down how and why you started your business, what experience you bring to the table and what your vision is for helping people.

2. Develop your personality

Your business personality defines your brand. It may or may not be the same as your own personality. Remember – your business is a different ‘person’ to you and must appeal to your audience.

It’s there to be their best friend, their teacher, their role model. It’s the blueprint of how you present yourself to your audience – look, feel, tone of voice. How you connect with your audience.

By knowing your brand’s personality and sticking to it in everything you do, you’ll build trust and empathy from your audience.

Think about yours. If your brand was a person, how would you describe it?

3. Decide on your values

Your brand values represent what your business stands for, what it believes in. A constant code of conduct, giving you guidelines on the WAY you do business. If something goes against your values, it doesn’t belong in your brand or business.

Make a note of everything you feel passionate about in your business. What do you want it to represent? What do you want it to stand for?

4. Make your promises

Your promises are the way your audience experience your values every time they interact with your brand. They need to be specific, relatable and relevant to your audience.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO PROMISE!

Promises are another vital component in building trust. Whatever you promise your customers, make sure that everything you do delivers on them. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.

What can you categorically promise your audience? What will you deliver to them each and every time at every touchpoint?

5. Agree on your reputation

Your reputation is how you want people to FEEL about your brand – what you want them to say to others about you.

Every activity you do in your business should result in making your audience feel the way you want them to. The better you make people feel, the more they’ll share it with the world!

How do you want your audience to feel when they come into contact with your brand, when they think about your brand? Energised? Safe? Serene? Inspired?

6. Understand your solution

Your solutions, be they products, services, free content, must always solve a specific set of problems. Problems are based on wants, however what someone wants might not always be what they need.

They NEED your product. But they WANT a better life in some way – more happiness, less pain. Your job is to connect the dots – take them on the journey from wants to needs. All your activity should be aimed at doing this.

What are your audience’s desires? What do they need from you to make their dreams a reality?

7. Curate and create

Now that you have all the answers, time to start crafting your statement. It’s all about the wordsmithing.

Distill your answers into words, phrases and ideas that explain your existence.

What you do.

Why you do it.

And how you do it.

Write them all up on a whiteboard, stick ‘em on some post-its. Get them all in front of you so you can see everything.

You’ll start to see certain words, certain ideas come through above others.

These are the ones you wanna grab hold of.

You’ll start off with a paragraph of an initial mission statement before whittling it down. That’s all good. It’s all a process of honing, chiseling and polishing until you come up with the final statement.

8. Choose your words carefully

When you have a complete idea of everything you want to include in your statement, it’s time to choose the exact words you want to convey it all.

Think about the meaning of each word. How can they be interpreted?

Do they restrict your vision i.e. by a certain technology or product/service?

Are they complete i.e. do the terms you use imply everything you do or can they be open to interpretation?

Be selective and be deliberate. When you only have 10-20 words to play with, every single one of those words have weight.

Every single word counts.

It’s kind of like creating a tweet to summarise a thesis. Stupidly difficult, but not impossible.

I always think about the Mark Twain quote – “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Long-winded waffling is easy. Perfectly crafted brevity takes time.

9. Sleep on it...

Stepping away from our own words for a time always seems to give us new-found perspective on them.

Don’t try and perfect in a day.

Not even the greatest copywriters would do so if they had the option.

Revisit over the next few days. It’ll be good for your brain to mull things over and piece everything together.

10. Commit to it!

There comes a time when you just need to get on with it.

Nothing will ever be 100% perfect.

Think about all the hard work you’ve done up to this point.

You’ve gone through every defining question about your business. You’ve whittled down a mass of ideas to a few core guiding principles. You’ve spent a good couple of days arguing in your head like a crazy person about whether you should replace the word ‘inspiring’ with ‘exciting’…

You’ve done 90% of the work and have attained 90% of the result.

That last 10% left to do really isn’t worth your time and effort.

The gains won’t be worth the amount of time you put in.

So tick it off!

Mark it as complete!

You now have a mission statement for your brand!

Now it’s just the small task of building your entire business around it…

But what a business it’ll be!

What stage are you at?

Just starting to think about why you do what you do? Are you currently covered in multi-coloured post-it notes? Have you spent the last two days hammering your face into a thesaurus?

Let me know how you’re getting on in the comments below!

How Powerful Storytelling Drives Profitable Brands

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How Powerful Storytelling Drives Profitable Brands

December 20, 2017

Want more customers? More loyal customers? Of course you do…

Tell a story. Tell your story. Tell their stories.

Simple as that.

Storytelling is the great driving force behind all the most successful brands.

It’s a way to truly connect with your audience on an emotional level. A level that hooks them in and doesn’t let go.

I’m gonna tell you exactly how building a story around and throughout your brand will help you, your audience and your entire business.

But I’m not George R. R. Martin!

And you know what…you don’t need to be!

No-one is expecting the next Game Of Thrones from you (although you’d be onto a winner if you did!).

The concept of storytelling can be daunting. Where do you start? Novels are massive right!?

And this is where most people think about it the wrong way.

You don’t need a sprawling epic. You need to tell people about you. You need to tell people why they should care.

As a professional blogger and business owner – that should be second nature!

Once upon a time...

Mention the word ‘story’ and more likely than not, people will get children’s fables flash into their heads. They’re the first stories we’re introduced to and the ones we most readily remember.

We therefore paint storytelling with a childish brush. Something that couldn’t possibly be of relevance in the business world (unless you’re in the business of writing children’s books!).

But stories have been a staple in human interaction and consciousness throughout time.

We use them to explain. To urge change. To pass on thoughts and ideas.

Stories are built around empathy so people will engage with them and relate to them. They put everything into familiar relationships and create a resounding sense of movement.

They’re the foundation blocks of communication.

And communication is exactly what businesses are based on.

So let’s look a little closer into the top 6 benefits impactful brand storytelling can offer your business.

1. Attraction: Show your audience empathy and they’ll listen

Everything starts with your audience. Your target market.

Get to know them inside-out. Their wants, needs, goals, desires, problems, pains, lifestyles, interests, hobbies, social circles etc.

If your story immediately shows them that you understand where they currently are and where they’d like to be, then you’ll hook them instantly.

Your story needs to be a mirror to your audience. They need to be able to see themselves in it. Like you’re talking directly to them and no-one else.

Lead with them. Not yourself.

Describe their pains and desires in detail and tell them how you can help them on the journey between the two.

2. Understanding: If you’re clear on why you exist, then others will be too

We’re very inquisitive creatures by nature. If we’re attracted to something or someone, we’ll want to suss it out. To understand everything about it.

You brand story should therefore tell your audience everything they need to know about you.

How you started. Why you started. What you actually do. What your journey has been like. Where you are now. Where you’re going.

And in order to tell your audience that, you need to actually know it yourself!

And you’d be surprised at how many businesses aren’t able to answer all of those very simple questions.

What’s great about your story is it forces you to focus on why you exist. To really think about it. Your drivers, passions and vision.

The clearer and more concise you are in all of the above, the easier it’ll be for you audience to know what you’re about and decide if they’re with you or not.

3. Connection: We build relationships with others of shared values

At the heart of our businesses are the relationships we build.

And relationships are formed on shared values.

Do you know what your brand stands for? What matters most to it over anything else?

Are you all for exclusive luxury, charitable giving, environmental protection, education etc.?

You need to be sure that what your brand values, your target market values just as much. They must align.

We find recognition and affinity in those that mirror ourselves. And we want to form stronger bonds, stronger relationships with them.

Relationships are built on communication. Your story tells them about you. And they in turn will tell you more about them.

Who they are. What they like. What they want. A hugely valuable source of research and direction for your business.  

4. Trust: We like what we know, we trust what we like

When we form a relationship with someone, we’re constantly seeking more of a good thing. We know we like it and we want more of it.

We then develop trust.

And trust is a powerful thing!

Trust leads people to listen. To believe. To care.

It’s the ultimate goal of any business. To have a dedicated following of trusted, loyal customers will be your lifeblood.

Your brand story will build trust in your audience if they see themselves in it. If they believe in it. If it speaks to their passions, their desires and their values.

When people believe in your brand and care about it, they’ll move onto the next stage…

5. Purchase: People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it

Your brand story needs to have a purpose.

And ultimately, that purpose is sales.

Everything you do in your business should be geared to making sales, and your brand story is no exception.

Don’t be put off by the term ‘sales’ or ‘selling’. They don’t mean you need to be a sleazy car salesman with underhanded tactics to trick people into purchase.

Quite the opposite.

Sales are a result of trust and belief.

If your story resonates strongly with your audience, they’ll buy from you.

Think about most of the products and services in existence. The ones that you buy. They’re not one-of-a-kind. They’re commoditised. The same thing being sold by countless other businesses that you could’ve bought them from.

But you didn’t.

You went with the one you did for a reason.

And that reason was because the brand appealed to you. Because you shared an affinity for who was selling it, rather than what exactly it was they were selling.

For example. Sneakers are sneakers right. But Nike and Adidas are very different. You fall into one camp or the other. Be all you can be. Strive to be the best. Or youth culture. Style and edginess.

Both products will keep your feet warm and dry. You can walk/jog/run in both.

But you bought one of them because you shared their values. Trusted their quality. And believed in their vision.

6. Shared Experience: Brand stories aren’t there to be told, they’re there to be lived

Finally, your brand story shouldn’t be yours alone.

It’s the culmination of every one of your customer stories and audience interactions with your brand.

It’s a shared entity.

Your story should be powerful enough to become an experience for people. Something they want to talk to others about.

Your story will drive your word-of-mouth.

Very rarely do people talk about generic products. They talk about those that are backed by something more.

A clear vision to make the world better somehow.

A movement people can relate to and join.

You brand story will be told and retold. To explain who you are. To urge the change you stand for. And to spread YOUR thoughts and YOUR ideas.

A story worth telling

If you want to really connect with your audience to build empathy, trust and loyalty, then you need to perfect your story.

There are no wrong stories. Every story will resonate with someone out there.

There are over 7.3 billion people on the Earth.

Trust me. Your story will hit with someone!

Just make sure you know it. Know it well. And know who you’re speaking to.

Your brand, your sales, your business will flourish as a result.

What’s your brand story?

Do you already have one? Do you need to get started on one? How have the above points changed your thinking on the importance of brand storytelling?

Let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Surprising Steps To Strong Brand Loyalty

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5 Surprising Steps To Strong Brand Loyalty

December 19, 2017

The holy grail of all freelance entrepreneurs!

Brand loyalty creates a fervent tribe of devout customers that buy your products and services, come back and buy more, and sing your praises to everyone they meet.

Revenue-driving and word-of-mouth spreading – all of their own accord!

Genius stuff!

But it takes time and effort to take someone from knowing nothing about you to becoming your no.1 fan.

And in this article, I’m gonna show you how.

At the end of it, you’ll know the 5 key stages you need to take your audience through to develop a seriously strong loyalty to your brand.

The one problem when it comes to brand loyalty

We’re all told to do it. Get loyal customers.

But no-one actually breaks down HOW.

What you’ll usually see is people diving straight into the specific tactics. How to use (insert your tool/social platform/community forum) to do it.

Now these tactics are great and have their place. But without understanding the overall process – the reasons behind the how, you’ll never be able to mould your entire brand experience into a loyalty-building machine.

The death of brand loyalty!?

A lot of people say that brand loyalty is dead. I see it bandied all round the internet.

Brand loyalty isn’t dead. I can assure you.

Loyalty is the ultimate state of love, respect and trust of someone or something.

How can that die??

If you can get your audience to love, respect and trust your brand, you WILL create loyal customers over time.

So here’s how you do it…

1. Spark the desire

We all want something.

A certain experience, result, status or feeling.

And we as entrepreneurs create products, services, brands and businesses to appeal to those wants.

So everything therefore needs to start with an understanding. An in-depth understanding of your audience – their wants and desires. Their pains and frustrations. Their personality and values.

If you don’t know who you’re doing something for, how can you know what to actually do?

This involves a lot of research.

Go to the places they hang out online. Read what they say. Ask their opinions. Interact with them and find out everything about them.

When you’re 100% sure on whether they want to feel excited and energised or calm and relaxed. When you definitely know if they want practical step-by-step advice on how to do something or real life motivational success stories. When you’re sure about helping them perfect their social media presence over email automation…

You’re ready to tailor everything you do to those desires. To what they want and how they want it done. Build your products, services, sales pitches and brand identity around it.

Be something they’re magnetically drawn to. Peak their curiosity. Entice their interest.

And then move onto the next stage.  

2. Build the anticipation

When you know that someone or something can fulfill your desire, you start to anticipate your desire being fulfilled.

That sounds quite trite. But it boils down to achievability.

If you desire something that’s out of reach, it will always be an unfulfilled wish. If however, someone suddenly makes your desire a realistically achievable thing for you, you’ll start to work towards that goal. To attain it.

It’s your job then to build anticipation into habit.

Tell them you have exactly what they want and give it to them. Be specific about it. Take them on a mental journey of where they are now to where they want to be – their ideal.

The more you show someone how you can help them, the more they’ll want your help.

This constant reinforcement builds anticipation. An anticipation of change. Of one step closer to their ideal each time.

And that’s the crux of it. To build anticipation and turn it into habit (a key part of loyalty), you need to have a consistent, regular and definite schedule of delivery.

Think about it. Let’s say there’s a new design tool that you want. It’s epic. It’ll make your blog look incredible. But the release date is sometime in the next 2 or 3 years – maybe. That doesn’t go a long way to building the anticipation.

Now what if that tool was definitely going to be available in 2 months time. Suddenly you’re picturing yourself using it. You’re planning it into your life and business. Because there’s a concrete moment in time when your desire will be fulfilled.

It doesn’t have to be a one-off either.

Think about TV shows. They come out each week on a specific day. You look forward to that day, that time, every week. Because you know you’ll get your fix of entertainment, of feeling good.

Keep doing that time and time again, and that anticipation will become habit – something your audience will do of their own accord without you having to prompt them.

I know never to miss an episode of Game Of Thrones. The PR and Marketing teams don’t need to remind me it’s on each week! 

3. Deliver a sensory experience

You know what your audience wants.

You keep moving through that journey from where they are now to where they could be.

Now it’s all about how you do it.

We are sensory creatures. It’s the way we naturally assimilate information.

Through sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

Each of these can be used as part of your overall brand experience. To influence perception, emotion and behaviour. It’s all about brand psychology.

As a professional blogger, your business will be mainly online. That means how your brand looks – its visual design – and how it sounds – its aural design are the main methods you should be using to hook your target market.

If you have a physical product, then the feel and weight of it will influence the perception of quality. If you run events or have a bricks and mortar presence like a shop, spa or restaurant etc., then how the environment sounds and smells will play a huge part. If you produce food, then the taste of it will be another part that makes up your overall brand.

All you sensory experiences need to be consistent and work together as a whole.

Do you want someone to feel relaxed? Whip out those pastel colours, calm imagery, soft tones and subtle scents.

Want someone to feel energised? Pump out the beat-driven music, the bold, striking colours, athletic imagery and fresh, powerful scents.

How we experience something sparks the hook. If it makes us feel good the first time, then we’ll want to feel good a second.

Make sure you’re using the sensory parts of your brand to full effect.

As I said however, this stage is just the hook, the invitation. The next stage is what keeps and converts them!

4. Develop the connection

Experiences can be epic! But they can fade quickly if we have no-one to share them with.

It’s always the people that turn good times into great ones.

It’s no exception for your brand.

Your audience want to interact with you. To know you. Your personality, thoughts, values and beliefs.

They want to feel like they belong to something greater than themselves. To know they’re not alone.

To be part of a select and accepting group; knowing that we’re in like-minded company makes us feel safe.

You must not only develop the connection between yourself and your audience, but you also have to be the facilitator of relationships between your audience members themselves.

Relationships build trust. And trust builds loyalty.

The better the relationship you can help create, the more your audience will welcome you into their lives.

Speak to them regularly through your blog, video and podcast content. Ask for their comments. Create a community and get people to join. Use email to keep the conversation flowing. Speak to them. Listen to them.

There’s a reason why people become fanatical about certain sports teams, about certain online games, about certain religions. It’s because of the strong communities behind them.

Make your brand a place for people to grow in, not a product vending machine.

5. Create lasting memories

We remember the things we love. Simple as that.

You’ll never forget something that moved you. That made you feel good. That inspired you.

You’ll never forget a brand that helped you become the best you can be.

Do everything right in the previous 4 steps, and love for you brand and lasting memories will be your reward.

We become loyal to the things we trust, love and remember.

That’s the whole point of building a brand. A brand is a relationship with your audience. An ultimate journey of loyalty.

Loyalty’s a harsh mistress

It’s not easy to create loyalty. But you can definitely do it!

It takes a lot of time, effort and bloody hard work. But it’s worth it.

If you’re making sure that you know your audience inside-out, you’re speaking to and fulfilling their desires, you’re consistent and habit-forming in your delivery, you’re using your brand’s sensory aspects to influence perception, emotion and behaviour, you’re building strong relationships and communities, and you’re giving them everything they need to remember you above anyone else…

Loyalty will follow.

You’ll need to put a lot of work in up front. It’ll seem fruitless and frustrating at times. You’ll want to quit.

Don’t.

Keep going. Push through the barrier. I promise there’s light on the other side.

It takes businesses years to build fanatical followings.

Just remember that everything you do is growing that loyalty with people.

How’s your loyalty building going?

What are your audience’s desires? What can you help them with? What sort of personalities do they have and how are you appealing to them? What are you doing to build relationships and communities?

I’d love to know! Post up in the comments section below!

[SYBS EP31] What Makes A Great Lead Magnet

sell your brand show ep31 - what makes a great lead magnet

SYBS EP31

What makes a great lead magnet?

In this week’s show, we’re gonna take you through all the elements that make up an epic lead magnet that’ll have your audience hooked, ready and drooling to sign up for. We look at the best types, how to integrate them into what you do, and some tips for making them really stand out. These are the first steps to growing your all important email list, so the better they are, the healthier your email list will be!

And in this week’s Content Report, Mike gives us a very interesting run down of The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Peopleby Stephen Covey. I was also surprised there were only 7! And I wax lyrical about one of the nicest (and most successful) guys out there – Mr. Pat Flynn and The Smart Passive Income podcast. A podcast that as of this air date is up to a whopping 296 episodes! Big numbers! Big content! Big value! An incredibly varied and enlightening show with some great guests.

Let’s get to it!

Just want the highlights?

Then the show notes are for you! Get our best advice, hints and tips from this episode straight to your inbox! The only thing it doesn’t include is the mildly amusing show banter…possibly not a bad thing…

10 Must-Have Features Of The Perfect Mission Statement

brandsnack - 10 must have features of the perfect mission statement

10 Must-Have Features Of The Perfect Mission Statement

December 14, 2017

An ugly term.

Mission statement.

Has there ever been anything more corporate? More suited and booted into stiff white-necked collars? More trapped in the monotonous web of pointless business process?

It bores me hearing it. It bores me writing it.

But the value that hides beneath those two words excites the hell out of me! And it should for you to!

You’ve probably heard the term. A term that’s usually had all of the life and passion sucked out of it by dusty business theory text books.

I’m gonna tell you exactly why you should be excited about it however. Why having one is vital for the success of your (and any) business. And the key elements of a successful statement (so you aren’t just wasting your time!).

Don’t get the wrong end of the mission stick!

Because of the boring stigma attached to mission statements, a lot of businesses don’t even bother create one. They’d rather start with their products and services, their market or their sales pitches.

Let’s face it. It’s much more gratifying in the short term to see some money coming in, directly off the back of whatever you’re doing, than ‘vague’ strategy work with no instant benefit.

But how can you move forward in your business when you don’t know why you’re doing it? You need to do this before you do anything else! You wouldn’t start trekking into the Amazon rainforest without a map (to be fair, even if I had a map, I probably wouldn’t – but that’s another thing entirely! Not a fan of massive, deadly, man-eating/stinging/ripping creatures stalking me).

Even when businesses do take the time to create one, they miss the point.

Boring as hell. Generic and forgettable. Completely pointless.

Because no real thought has gone into them. Usually because they do it to tick a box. Because that’s what they’ve been told they need to have. Not because they WANT to have one.

Not just for the big boys!

People get confused and put off by mission statements as they’re usually waffled about in the same breath as multi-national corporations.

Only massive brands should have a mission statement. Only companies with thousands of employees should have a mission statement.

They just aren’t necessary for startups and solopreneur businesses.

WRONG.

In fact, a mission statement is even more important for small businesses, and the best time to create one. Before you grow. Before you create your empire.

EVERY business needs to have one, no matter the size, no matter the niche, no matter the audience.

Do you know why you exist?

Now this is a better way to put it.

Your mission statement is your purpose. Your reason for being.

It should act as your guide. A mantra that everything you do in your business – every product you create, every email you send, every piece of content you write, every interaction with your audience – should be directed by it.

If what you do doesn’t fit with your mission, then don’t do it.

It’ll be a valuable sense of direction for every decision you have to make.

That’s a powerful thing to have!

Clarity and purpose. A guiding principle that keeps your business consistent and always moving in the right direction.

So, let’s have a look at the 10 elements that all incredible mission statements have!

1. Tell your story

People relate to and are captivated by stories. Who you are, where you began, where you’re going. We all seek to understand people, businesses. The more we understand something, the more we can judge if we like it. The more we like something, the more we trust it. And the more we trust a person or a business, the more we’re likely to listen to what they say and buy what they sell.

2. Make it personal

To you and to your audience. Starting with you, it needs to be a true reflection of who you ARE and what your business DOES. Not who you want to be and what your business should be doing. Be completely honest with yourself on this. It must be completely representative of who you are now.

It must also be relative to your audience. Their wants. Their needs. Their problems. If they can see themselves in it, then you’re on the right track.

3. Say it like they’d say it

A lot of ‘business gurus’ tell you to keep it simple. Use simple language. But I’m not happy with that. I’d much rather tailor it my audience. Use the words and terminology they use. Your language will be completely different if you ran a business aimed at aspiring creative writers than senior aerospace engineers.

If your entire audience uses and accepts certain jargon, and it’s right to include it. Then include it. Just make sure it resonates with them.

4. Keep it short

No-one likes a thesis. We’re all up for instant, easy answers. And it’s no different with your mission statement. In fact, the shorter it is, the easier it is to read, digest and remember. Anywhere from 10 to 20 words is the sweet spot really. Less than that, and you’re probably getting a little vague. More than that and you’ll bore the crap out of people.

5. Make it actionable

Don’t be wishy-washy. Be concrete. Make it something that you CAN do. Day in, day out. It needs to be grounded in reality and be absolutely practical. It should be something that your audience can recognize that you’re doing in every part of your business. In every activity you do.

6. Always deliver on it

This one goes without saying, but your mission is your promise to your audience. Making promises to your audience is vital in building trust and credibility. And you need to keep them! Don’t be afraid of making promises, be afraid of breaking them.

Make sure that in everything you do, every time, you’re always living up to the promise and values held in your mission statement. There’s no point in creating this amazing sounding statement if you can never live up to it. It’ll do you much more harm than good in the long run.

7. Polarize people

You’ll never be able to please everyone. And you shouldn’t want to. Pick a niche. Pick an audience. And talk directly to them. Screw everyone else. They don’t matter to your business. So you shouldn’t care about what they think, say or feel about what you do and what you stand for.

Sounds harsh right? But it’s the only way to go from mediocre getting by, to exponential success. If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no-one. Always be clear and confident in what you do, who you are and more importantly, what you don’t do and who you’re not! The audience that you want to talk to will love you more for it.

8. Look at the bigger picture

You’re trying to make an impact in people’s lives. To the way the world does something. To break the status quo. Think about the bigger picture around your business. Yes you’re there to sell people your products and service. Yes you’re there to make money. But what good do you bring to the world? What’s the change for the better you want to see?

Be aspirational, be inspirational and dream big. If we as entrepreneurs can’t be bold in our vision, then who can?

9. Create a game-changer

Be different! Know your competition and go where they don’t. Be what they won’t. Do it better, faster, more in-depth, more specific, more bespoke, with more passion, with more style. Be that single point of difference within your industry and shout about it. That’s why people will come to you and ultimately become loyal to you.

Your mission statement needs to call this out. How are you better than anyone else out there? What is it you do? How do you do it?

10. Start a movement

If you get the previous 9 elements in, you’ll have an epic mission statement to guide your business and brand. And you will start a movement. People will believe in you. Will trust you. And will spread the word about you getting others to join your cause.

If your reason for existing is worthy enough, your audience will follow.

It’s not set in stone!

So you now know that a mission statement is vital to your brand, no matter where you are on your business journey.

You know it’s your true purpose. The what, why and how you do things. The reason why your business exists.

It should be a true reflection of you and the audience you are trying to attract. And it must inspire all to action. To deliver a constant, specific experience and result, day in, day out.

But it will change.

As your business evolves, so to will your mission. It’s completely natural for that to happen.

You’ll start using new technologies, opening up to new niches, focusing on new audiences etc.

It should never be a complete re-write, but there will be amends over time. Just make sure that it doesn’t happen to often. It should only be a result of your business naturally changing, not a flippant mind.

Always use it to capture your ambition, to embody the spirit of your brand and to guide everything you do.

A little tip...

To create an impactful, actionable and inspiring mission statement, you need to know exactly who you are and exactly who your audience are. It takes time, but is absolutely necessary to the success of your business.

What’s your mission?

Tell me about your mission. Have the above points helped you create one if you didn’t have one already or re-look at an existing one? What part of this article gave your brain a nice tickle?

Let me know in the comments section below!

5 Expert Tips To Become A Brand Storytelling Genius

brandsnack - 5 expert tips to become a brand storytelling genius

5 Expert Tips To Become A Brand Storytelling Genius

December 13, 2017

People get a little overwhelmed when they hear the word ‘storytelling’.

Sounds a bit grand. A bit creative. A bit beyond the limits of our literary abilities.

I’m used to writing mildly amusing Facebook posts about nonsense. Or half-muddled Whatsapp messages full of spelling errors.

The art of storytelling seems a million miles away from the simple text pleasures of everyday life to try and get a semi-unforced chuckle out of our friends.

It’s really not though.

I’m gonna take you through 5 incredibly useful tips for creating your brand story that’ll make the process a lot easier and much less daunting.

Blank document syndrome...

Most people don’t write because they don’t know what to write.

We all have our own stories to tell. They’re inside each and every one of us.

They’re unique.

And we tell them every day! To our friends. To our family. To that poor barista you see every morning at Starbucks that feigns pleasant smiles at your ramblings (they’re rather convincing aren’t they!).

Your brand story’s no different. It just needs to follow a few simple rules.

100,000 words…??

Stories don’t need to be multi-part epics.

They don’t need to include a colourful cast of characters sprawled across interlinking chapters that take months to write.

You’re not writing a novel.

You’re telling people about you. Who your brand is, what it stands for and how it’ll make the lives of your audience better.

If you follow these 5 tips when creating and telling your brand story, you’ll be onto a winner.

Nothing complex, I promise.

And to be honest – all complete common sense (although isn’t that the funny thing with common sense. It only seems to all make sense once someone’s told you – surely that’s the complete opposite of the meaning!)

Anyway!

Onto the tips…

1. Be honest, authentic and sincere. Be a decent human being.

We all have an uncanny ability to smell BS from a mile off.

If something seems too good to be true. It usually is.

If you’re trying hard to be something you’re not. It’ll show.

It’s the same with your brand. It needs to be true to who you are. To its personality and values.

At the end of the day, it’s just like making friends. Be yourself, be kind, be respectful and you’ll find others that appreciate who you are. No-one wants to be friends with an asshole.

Be relatable to your audience. Be available to your audience. It all goes a long way towards building emotional connections with them.

The cornerstones of lifelong rapport, trust and loyalty.

A lot of businesses (and people) feel the need to jazz things up a little. Embellish the truth. Try and force rose-tinted glasses onto other’s faces. It’s the whole Instagram-perfect thing.

But it’s not real!

And sooner or later, people will see through it and lose faith.

Being perfect isn’t relatable. Don’t polish things up. Keep it raw. Keep it real.

Now that doesn’t mean don’t make an effort. You still want your brand to be perceived as high quality and valuable.

But it does mean being transparent about everything. Even your failures.

In fact, talking about your failures and how you overcame them is one of the best ways to show you’re human. That you’re not above anyone else.

It’ll also position you as a trustworthy source of authority in your niche as others can learn from your mistakes and see your success as attainable.

2. Make your world passionate and addictive

Passion is infectious.

So show it! Don’t simply tell it.

Show your audience why you do what you do. What drives you. Why you can’t wait to get out of bed each morning and help people.

Show them your vision for a better future and a better life for them.

Be visual. Describe in detail using words. Use imagery to transport people. Highlight those you’ve helped and introduce them to your audience through testimonials and case studies etc.

Create a world that hooks them with a promise and keeps them with a lifestyle.

Make them not want to leave. Make them want more.

Turn your brand into a habit!

Think about some of the world’s most addictive brands – the magical childhood memories of Disney that all families love, the borderline obsessive Apple fans than wouldn’t dream of owning a phone without an ‘i’ infront of it, the Coca Cola drinkers that only drink ‘the real thing’.

It’s all because they’re passionate about their offering. About weaving their way into the lives of their customers.

The more addicts you create, the more of a movement you make.

The bigger the movement, the bigger the addiction.

3. Stay relevant and entertaining

Know. Your. Audience.

Know what they want and expect from you. What they like. What they don’t.

You need to constantly be adding value to their lives. Whether that’s knowledge, motivation, inspiration etc. Find your way and give it to them.

Your story needs to speak to your audience’s desires and pains.

It also needs keep in line with current trends. If your industry has shifted dramatically. If your niche no longer cares about the angle of your story, then you need to shift your message.

Otherwise it won’t land well with your audience.

On top of being relevant, your story also needs to entertain.

That doesn’t mean in the jester, ball-juggling kind of way. More the mental stimulation of curiosity, surprise, amusement, joy, inspiration or enchantment.

Again, it comes back to who your audience are and what they expect from you.

If people don’t ‘enjoy’ your brand in some way, they won’t care about it and they won’t come back.

One of the best ways to entertain is with humour. If you can make people laugh, they’ll love you.

Not easy to do, but you don’t need to be a comedian. You just need to know what tickles your audience’s funny bone. A little research is all it takes.

4. Always be consistent

There are two parts to this.

The first is be consistent with your brand. That is, be consistent with your brand personality, your brand values and your brand promises to your audience.

If you say you do something. Do it. Prove it. And keep doing it, and proving it.

If you stand for something, then always adhere to it.

Want to help the disadvantaged? Then constantly help them. Want to save the planet? Then do everything you can do make an environmental difference.

The moment you contradict any one of those within your story, you’ll instantly lose credibility. People will lose trust in you. And they’ll move on.

Consistency breeds trust. And trust breeds loyalty.

You also need to stay consistent across everything you do. Where you write your story. Where you tell you story. Where you show your story.

Through all the content you create and interactions you have – blog, videos, podcasts, newsletters, emails, courses, phone calls, events, in-person meetings etc.

Your story must be the same each and every time. Don’t add to it. Don’t detract from it.

And…

5. Tell a single story. Keep it short and simple.

Not only does it make it easier for you to tell, it makes it so much easier for your audience to understand and remember.

And if they know it and can recall it easily, they’ll be likely to tell others more readily.

Get your key points across.

Keep it tight and don’t confuse or bore people.

Don’t veer off into unnecessary details.

Everything you have in your story must hit an emotional hook point with your audience. They must be able to recognise themselves in it.

It must be simple to follow and relate to.

And tell it as often as you can!

Grab hold of any opportunity to share both the highs and lows of your story.

Obviously keep it relevant to the situation however – always look to add value to a situation. Don’t be that weird guy at a party that only talks about themselves, even though you didn’t actually ask – thank you very much.

Start telling your story

When crafting and telling your brand story, if you keep these 5 tips in mind, you’ll have something ready to grab the hearts and minds of your audience.

It’s as simple as making sure you’re brand is always being true to itself, it’s always being a decent and honest entity, adding value wherever it goes and is passionate about what it offers and who it helps.

Keep it simple. Keep it relevant and if you can, try and crack a smile.

You’re not as far off of a genius storyteller as you thought!

How do you craft your stories?

Which of the above tips really resonated with you? What are your thoughts on crafting compelling brand stories? Do you have any great tips to add to those above?

Let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

22 Seriously Useful Places To Find Your Target Market Online

brandsnack - 22 seriously useful places to find your target customer

22 Seriously Useful Places To Find Your Target Market Online

December 12, 2017

So you know who you are. What you’re all about. Your entire blog content strategy.

You also have a pretty good idea about who your target market is.

Now it’s time to find them!

By the end of this article, you’ll know the tried-and-tested best places to go looking for your target market online!

Like a rabbit in headlights

The internet is an almost infinite sprawling mass of information, users and animal memes.

The world (and all its nooks and crannies) are literally at your fingertips.

You can reach anyone. Anywhere. At any time.

Your options are endless and hide so much untapped potential.

Your target market are out there. Waiting for you to help them.

I don’t know about you, but an infinite number of choices has a bad effect on me. It sends me into a rocking, dribbling mess in the corner of my office. I can’t deal with it.

I end up paralyzed, doing nothing and talking to no-one.

Infinite choice is an infinite headache.

In order to make progress and start building a relationship with our target market, we need to narrow down to the best options available to us, and those we are actually suited to.

You need to own your channels

It used to be the case that we could choose one option and focus 100% on it. In fact, a lot of people still recommend this. But I don’t agree.

Your target market will have a wide range of interests and media preferences. They’ll have accounts on a number of different platforms, forums, websites, publications etc. And not everyone of them will be on all of those channels.

It’s your job to be everywhere they are.

To be constantly top of mind.

I’m gonna relate this to a bit of dating theory – the only bit I know (because it’s essentially the same thing – building a relationship with others, trying to avoid the whole ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ text message!).

To build trust and likability, you need to vary the environment you meet in. This maintains interest and keeps the spark. The cinema, the park, a cafe, concert etc.

Variety is the spice of life and it’s the same in the business world. Not only do they start seeing you everywhere (relevant) they go, you’ll also reach the maximum amount of your target market on all platforms.

So here are the top places you need to be to find and build relationships with your target market.

1. Facebook

With over 2 billion monthly active users, the world’s number 1 social platform will definitely host a crazy amount of your target market. If you know what your audience likes, look for the Facebook Groups they’re in and join them.

Also use Facebook Ads to promote to them on their feed. Their audience insights are insanely detailed. You can even use it for free to build a target persona of demographics, likes and interests etc. without even placing an ad! 

2. Pinterest

The world’s second largest search engine after Google! Create boards and put your content up with keyword-rich metadata and people will find it when they search. Make sure you stay relevant, regular and consistent.

The main tactic here is to submit your content to group boards. Use PinGroupie to find ones that fit the bill. There are a whole host of different boards for different interests that thousands of your target market will be looking at and engaging with.

3. Twitter

There’s a lot of noise on Twitter, and it’s not my preferred platform for building relationships, but it is great to get your content out to a wide-reaching audience. Make sure you’re optimising your hashtags so that when your target market search for a topic, they’ll have a decent chance of seeing your content. The more you can post, the better here!

4. LinkedIn

Not just for your immediate work connections, LinkedIn Groups are another great place to find your target market – all actively engaged. You’ll get recommendations based on your experience that you can sign up to, or go on the Groups Directory to manually search.

Slideshare is also another great place to reach your target audience, whilst re-purposing your blog content at the same time!

5. Youtube

1.3 billion total active users and 30 million visitors per day. Your target audience will lap up your video content if you’re creating it! Get your content right, get your video SEO and keywords right, and just like Pinterest, people will be able to search for topics they’re interested in and see you finely crafted content.

Also, only 9% of U.S small businesses use YouTube for their marketing. So if you start – you’re well ahead of the curve!

6. Instagram

Not a traditional channel, but with the addition of Instagram Stories and push notifications etc., Instagram is becoming a viable platform for reaching your target market with your content.

A little finicky to set up as it’s all from your mobile, but once you do, you’ll find a sea of people to interact with. Businesses are only just jumping on this also, so the sooner you do get on, the bigger the slice of the pie you can get.

7. Google +

Ok, so not the biggest out there, but there are some that use it, along with their Groups.

No harm in posting your content up here also both to your profile and external groups. It will also help with your SEO and organic reach playing nice with Google!

8. Reddit

Reddit can be a harsh mistress, but treat her right and she’ll repay it in spades.

Full of the most devout topic followers, it’s a great place to build relationships with the most ardent of your target market. There’s a sub-reddit for everything! Search for relevant sub-reddits on the site using your topic keywords, join up and start interacting. Make sure you follow the rules however – Redditors can be extremely quick to call you out and ban you if not!

9. Quora

You can host your own Quora blog to re-publish your website content, but the best part of Quora is posting answers to people’s questions. These are your target market directly ASKING for help!

If you can provide great, detailed answers with links back to your site to help them more (not to your products!), then you will quickly start attracting more of your target audience. Your answers will also remain for everyone to see, so that when they search for that question, your help will come up again. Genius!

10. Podcast directories

Do a podcast? Great, get it everywhere! There are around 50 top podcast directories to submit your content to – make sure you’re getting into all of them. You’re target market will have preferences over which ones they use.

Some of the main ones include iTunesStitcher and TuneIn. They each have different submission requirements, so can be a bit of work to set up, but once you’ve done it, you’re reach will explode!

11. Yahoo Groups

Yahoo does still exist, and it has it’s own groups where people like to hang out and discuss a huge variety of topics.

Search for keywords related to your topic of business and join up to the relevant groups to introduce yourself, what you do and how you can help people.

12. Medium

For bloggers, Medium is a no-brainer. You can re-publish content on your website to Medium, either under your own profile, or, if you want to really maximize your reach to your target audience, through Medium publications.

Visit TopPub and search for all publications that your target market would likely read. Get your content up and submit it to each of them. If you can get into one of them, you’re content could be read by thousands.

13. Online publications

Type your keywords into Google and see what publications come up. Some will accept post submissions, others won’t. It’s all about a but of research on your part really.

Again, you can re-purpose your existing blog posts from your website and reach out to a whole new part of your target market that may have never heard of you otherwise. Make sure you read their submission guidelines however – they’ll all differ.

14. RSS / Content Aggregators

You can either submit your content to sites such as Digg or AllTop – both massive content sites that accept a wide range of content on varying topics.

You can also set up your RSS feed for your target market to subscribe to by linking to it in your blog posts and using FeedBurner to easily link it to RSS readers such as Feedly.

15. Niche forums / communities

Sometimes the niche forums are the best. You’ll have to do some digging through Google search to find them however. Type in your keywords and stick ‘forum’ or ‘community’ after them. You’ll soon find the top ones around. Dip into them and see if they’re worth your time.

16. Niche blogs / websites

Other people’s blogs and websites around your niche are also a great place to find your target audience. Find the places that complement what you do. If you’re writing about cooking, look for others that focus on cooking equipment or herbs etc.

You can join the discussion in their comments sections to introduce people to you and what you do. Don’t be promotional however. Just be there to actively help people, not sell to them.

17. Flickr

Is your blog image heavy? Do you create your own? Get them all up on Flickr and link back to your site. There are over 2 million groups on the platform!

You won’t get a massive boost in traffic, but it will be a steady stream. The great thing about Flickr is that Google will prioritise the images from it also in their search rankings. Bonus!

18. Snapchat

An up and coming channel in the business space, Snapchat is being used by more and more professional bloggers to reach their target market. It’s no wonder with over 30 million monthly active users!

Use the Story element to shoot videos to give a glimpse into the daily runnings of your business. Use it for timely promotions for your products and services. Content lasts for 24 hours before it gets wiped.

19. Whatsapp

Another new channel that’s growing fast. With over 1.3 billion monthly active users, it’s a great platform to reach your target market and share your content. Use Sumo’s social sharing buttons to add Whatsapp sharing to your blog.

20. Slack Groups

There are a number of open and invite-only Slack groups available to join in a lot of niches. Check out Slacklist and find ones that would appeal to your target market. Join up and start introducing people to your content!

21. Product Hunt

If you’ve got a product to sell (which you should), then time to get it up on here. Basically a curated list of submitted products for people to discuss and rate. Another avenue to reach people that would want what you got.

22. Your email list!

And finally, yes, your email list.

That thing you’ve worked hard to build. Don’t forget it!

With all the focus on finding your target market all over the internet, we can sometimes miss them right under our noses.

Make sure you’re engaging them first, as they are the ones that WANT to hear from you. Make sure you’re interacting with them regularly.

Your sales come from your email list. Treat it nicely.

The internet is still rather large…

But with these top platforms and channels, you now have a much better idea of where to focus your search for your target market.

You don’t have to be on all of them!

If you’re audience doesn’t use one, don’t waste your time. But wherever your audience are, you NEED to be also.

A little-known tip…

Remember that it takes time and consistent effort to own a channel. If you know that your audience are there, then don’t give up. It’ll be hard and fruitless at first, no matter all of the ‘instantly 10X your traffic’ lies that are constantly thrown in your face.

Building trust is a long term exercise.

If today is better than yesterday, no matter by how much, then keep going!  

These are the main ways I reach my target audience. Do you know of any others that would be great additions? Which ones are your favourite out of the list?

Let me know in the comments section below!

[SYBS EP30] How To Consistently Create Great Content

sell your brand show ep30 - how to create great content

SYBS EP30

How to consistently create great content

This week, we hit the big 3-0! And with it, we have a bumper show all about how to write, create and publish great content that will position you as an authority in your niche. Day in, day out. Week in, week out! Great content creators aren’t born, they’re made – and they follow a strict framework to consistently smash it out the park.

We all have a tendency to put up massive barriers to creating content – writer’s block, not confident in our knowledge, don’t have the time etc. So we’re gonna take you through the framework and mindset needed to up your content game to epic levels. We really enjoyed recording this episode (just this one – the others have been real painful – mainly Mike’s fault) – you’re gonna get some great insight and actionable advice!

In this week’s Content Report, Mike takes us through a classic by David J. Schwartz in The Magic Of Thinking Big. Giving us all the motivation to aim high and reach the lofty goals we desire. We also take a look at power words and how to use them throughout your content in Sumo’s epic guide.

Let’s get to it!

Just want the highlights?

Then the show notes are for you! Get our best advice, hints and tips from this episode straight to your inbox! The only thing it doesn’t include is the mildly amusing show banter…possibly not a bad thing…

[SYBS EP29] The Top Business Influencers We Follow

sell your brand show ep29 - the top business influencers we follow

SYBS EP29

The top business influencers we follow

In this week’s episode, we list out the top influencers that have helped shape us and our businesses to where we have got them today. There are some crackin’ people on this list, all known for different things, but every single one of them having a lot in common in how they go about helping people. We all need people to look up to, learn from and guide us on our own journeys. Let us introduce you to ours!

And in the Content Report this week, we talk about Sell Or Be Sold by the awesome, ever-present sales powerhouse that is Grant Cardone. We also go through another quality Sumo guide, this time all about getting your written content featured in large publications. Because let’s face it, if you’ve written it, you’re gonna want to spread it everywhere for maximum effect!

Let’s get to it!

Just want the highlights?

Then the show notes are for you! Get our best advice, hints and tips from this episode straight to your inbox! The only thing it doesn’t include is the mildly amusing show banter…possibly not a bad thing…

[SYBS EP28] 5 Simple Steps To Better Customer Loyalty

sell your brand show ep28 - 5 simple steps to better customer loyalty

SYBS EP28

5 simple steps to better customer loyalty

In this episode, Mike and I are gonna be talking about customer loyalty and how you can use your brand to get more of it. Most people think branding is all about logos and colours. Pretty things with very little tangible ROI. Not quite…Your brand is an entire experience for your audience. One that will attract, hook and keep them. We break it down into 5 very simple, actionable steps you can take to start increasing the customer loyalty for your business. Because we all just want to be loved really eh?

In the Content Report this week, we also also have good chat about the always helpful, always damn-right interesting Mr. Miles Beckler and his one year review of his video marketing efforts. And Mike takes us through How To Be A Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott – it’s all in the name really.

Let’s get to it!

Just want the highlights?

Then the show notes are for you! Get our best advice, hints and tips from this episode straight to your inbox! The only thing it doesn’t include is the mildly amusing show banter…possibly not a bad thing…