Every company has a story to tell. It’s not always the best company with the best products that end up on top. More often, the brands that build their narrative in an easy to understand and compelling way through marketing storytelling win the lion’s share of the lead pool.
Why? Because brand storytelling and content marketing create a connection between you to your customer. It builds trust, familiarity, and a sense of security. It allows your leads to perform their due diligence and decide who wins their business and assures your customers they have made the right decision in selecting your company.
Much has changed in the last couple of years post Covid. In this new era, AI tools like ChatGPT are developing at an astonishing rate, with many speculating that they are poised to dethrone Google’s unchallenged, long-running reign at the top of the digital hierarchy. The implication is that it will ultimately change how we create, search for, and disseminate information.
Yet, despite the massive market disruption, some things have not changed, and highlighting your brand’s unique value proposition and strategy is still the key to winning the hearts and minds of your target client base.
Gate 39 Media CEO and founder Shane Stiles presented at this year’s NIBA CTA Connections event at DePaul University on April 18. In his presentation, Shane explored the tenets of creating a successful marketing strategy for alternative investment businesses through streamlined brand storytelling and differentiation.
Building Trust Through Narrative
Building your unique brand story is essential to every aspect of the customer journey. Within the investment ecosystem, markets move up and down in a never-ending cycle. When you hit that drawdown or the economy changes, which it will, your story has already prepped the investor on how your company navigates tough market backdrops to ultimately achieve your client’s investment objectives over a complete market cycle.
But don’t put all your money in the middle. Your strategy is designed to achieve a specific goal for a portion of your client’s portfolio. The backbone of marketing should be brand building and lead generation using the following process:
Define your company by storytelling, creating engagement with your customers around your services, brand, teams, and your customers. Not only is digital storytelling a key conversion tactic for in-person customers but also for online leads that you don’t see on your website, blog, and social media.
Sharing Your Uniqueness
Sharing your uniqueness builds your brand and accomplishes the following objectives:
Education: Your potential client wants assurance that you can get results within your vertical. Communicating the components of your investment strategy and how it is unique and performs beyond the norm helps your client remove themselves from the typical reactionary rollercoaster and trust the process.
Differentiation: Whether you sell investment strategies or snow tires, the burden of differentiation and standing out above the crowd rests squarely on your brand’s shoulders. You have to differentiate something to be memorable, even if it’s the strategy itself.
Consistent Visibility: You must stay in front of relevant audiences at all times. Remember, the engagement created through strategic narrative doesn’t end upon conversion. You must continue that relationship throughout the entire customer cycle. How do you continue to tell your story? Social media? Video Marketing? Blogs? Newsletters? Webinars?
Getting Your Lead to the Finish Line and Beyond
Creating your brand messaging is largely visual and starts with your logo. From there, share your story in a compelling and memorable way while informing the investor, so your unique message sticks in their mind. It is estimated that it currently takes an average of 8 points of contact with a lead before they have established enough familiarity and trust with your brand to make a purchasing decision. So, your messaging ultimately needs to move that potential client to the finish line.
Brand building is constant. You can’t just expect it to be one and done. Think of the process of generating leads, converting leads to customers, and keeping those customers happy as a circular loop. Messaging that keeps your customers engaged beyond the sale is just as important as the messaging it takes to convert them to a customer in the first place.
Gate 39 Media’s Strategic Process
As an award winning boutique agency we specialize in creating customized client branding by finding each client “voice” through the power of storytelling. We begin to construct our client’s unique narrative, and ultimately the overarching marketing strategy, by whiteboarding their services, strengths, lead magnet assets, visibility, competitors, and market differentiators.
Once we map this out, we can take a step back and look at what’s working currently and what’s not. Where do we need to focus our attention to tell a robust story to reach the intended target?
Next, once we have those components in place, we determine HOW we will tell the story through content distribution- market commentary and thought leadership blogs, newsletters, email updates, landing pages, email drip campaigns, CRM automation, videos and webinars, social media, and linking strategies.
Defining the Who, What, When, Where, and How
Who is Your Target?
Who is your ideal client? What is their age group, ethnicity, lifestyle, and, most importantly, fears and aspirations? What problems does your product or service solve for them? (That last one is important!) Clearly defining your target client serves as a blueprint for every marketing asset that follows. Take advantage of this critical step, and your marketing will likely succeed.
What is Your Frequency, and When Will Your Leads and Clients Hear from You?
How often will you contact your leads and customers? This might seem obvious, but many firms’ marketing strategies tend toward the ad hoc side with no defined rhythm or specified frequency. Again, studies show that converting a lead to a customer takes at least 8 points of contact. Are you hitting those metrics through a defined process of communication?
How will you Create Content?
Next, we build a content strategy and calendar combining blog and thought leadership, social media, videos, website changes, and PR. It’s never just one form of marketing that will get your leads to the finish line. It is a robust combination of elements that work toward that ultimate goal.
Where will You Distribute Content?
Outlining the specific mediums to deliver content is critical. From online press releases and subscription sites to CRM drip campaigns and blog posts, having a detailed strategy with key dates is essential to reaching your target.
What is the Purpose of Each Marketing Asset?
Every piece of content we generate needs to have an intended consequence in mind. How do we want the lead or client to respond to the message? We create unique Calls to Action to elicit a specific response. In some cases, we want the user to schedule a consultation. In others, we suggest that they attend a webinar or offer feedback. Defining the intention of the piece and what you expect the user to do is an often-overlooked step in many marketing efforts.
How Will You Test and Measure?
Gate 39 employs a technique called growth-driven design when creating websites and other marketing assets. We generate a marketing roadmap to reach an intended target audience. Many agencies stop there. But, we take it one crucial step further by collecting marketing data and testing and measuring our results to identify areas where we can improve and places that are working well that we can leverage for better results. The work is never really done.
Generating a steady pool of leads, converting them into customers, and nurturing them into raving fans is the ultimate goal of all marketing and sales efforts. Storytelling fosters brand loyalty and creates an emotional connection with your base. Following a strategic plan, executing accordingly, and testing and measuring results is the pathway toward moving the needle on annual revenue.
Gate 39 Media, led by CEO and founder Shane Stiles, has been acknowledged by the Gramercy Institute for their outstanding achievement in creating and producing content for financial and agricultural firms in alignment with the Inbound Marketing Philosophy.
Their marketing assets are tailored to reach the right audience in the right way and at the appropriate time, earning them the recognition and honor of being chosen as the winner of Gramercy’s FCMA Financial Content Marketing Awards 2020.
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