Five Easy Steps to Positioning Your Business

Positioning Your Business in Five Easy Steps

Your positioning is what comes to mind when your target market thinks about you compared to your competitors. When somebody says Rolls Royce, what do you think typically comes to people’s mind? Most likely: very high-end luxury and exclusivity. The reason for that is because of their premium positioning. There’s certainly a very big difference between the positioning of Rolls Royce and Honda. 

Why is Positioning important? 

Your positioning is one of the most crucial elements when coming up with the buying process for your clients, it should never be forgotten about. It is your opportunity to influence the market’s perception of you and your business. 

Failing to properly address the positioning for your business will certainly hold your business back. With or without your input, your clients will position your business based on information from your competitors (which likely will not make you too happy).

Having clear, concise and intentional positioning will definitely help you cut through the loud (and sometimes obnoxious) advertising and marketing noise of the marketplace. In your client’s mind, proper positioning gives your messages context so that they can be heard and even accepted much better.

Positioning Characteristics:

The goal of positioning for your business is to keep your product on top of your client’s mind when they are thinking about making a purchase. In order for your business to be successful, it needs to achieve these three very important objectives:

  • Articulate key service (or company) characteristics
  • Differentiate your business from your competition
  • Address important customer buying criteria 

The messaging with your marketing and positioning of your business are very similar

When coming up with the positioning strategies for your business, carefully review each bullet point below.

Is the positioning for your business:

• Single-minded—is it conveying just one primary message at a time? 

  • Meaningful—is it going to connect with the audience that you are targeting?
  • Differentiating—does it contrast your strengths against the competition?
  • Important—is it pertinent and significant to the audience you are targeting? 
  • Sustainable—will it resonate with the audience that you are targeting well into the future? 
  • Believable—will it ring true with the audience that you are targeting? 
  • Credible—can you clearly back all of your claims?

Strategies for Positioning

Below is a list of some established strategies on how to effectively position your business. Think about your business in terms of each one below and see how they fit.

  • Against your competition: Positioning your business directly against your competition typically requires a specific characteristic that gives you superiority over them. 
  • Away from your competition: Positioning yourself as the opposite of your competition can help you get a lot of attention in a market that is already being dominated by another business.
  • Benefits: Focusing on the benefits that your product provides to your target audience. 
  • Service Attributes: Highlighting a specific attribute of your service can be quite compelling. 
  • Usage Occasions: This kind of positioning stresses when or how your product is used by your target audience. 

Time to get into position.

Remember how I said that successful strategies on how to position your business should address important customer buying criteria, differentiate yourself from your competition, and articulate the important key attributes? In order for you to achieve all three, you need to have a clear understanding of:

  • How your target market goes about making buying decisions 
  • How your competition is currently positioning their business
  • What it is that your business truly has to offer to it’s clients

These three elements of the Positioning Triangle must be in balance in order for you to attain the competitive advantage that you are looking for. 

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Conduct the following analysis to help your develop much more powerful positioning strategies.

Step 1: Get A Clear Understanding Of Your Target Market

Learn what buying criteria your target audience used:

  • Which service features do they emphasize?
  • Which service benefits do they emphasize?

List their buying criteria in order of priority.

Uncovering this information typically requires primary research. If gathering this data directly from your target audience isn’t possible then consult with your sales team and industry experts to get the most accurate assumptions.

Step 2: Understand Your Competition

Conduct primary and secondary research to determine how your competition is currently positioning themselves (their strategies, how successful they have been, etc.).

Step 3: Map Buying Criteria Against Competitive Positioning

Make a note of each competitor that positions their business against similar criterion as you.

Don’t be surprised to find out that:

  • Two or more competitors are battling for the same position
  • A competitor is trying to position themselves on multiple buying criteria
  • One or more buying criteria are not being addressed by any competitor 
  • The market share leader is strongly positioned within the top priority criteria

Step 4: Assess Your Business’ Strengths Against The Buying Criteria

Write out your business’ relative strengths and ask your clients how they rank your different weaknesses and strengths. 

Step 5: Analyze The Gaps

Review the completed Positioning Triangle analysis to determine if there are any vacant positions in the market. Is there one that your business can satisfy pretty effectively? Would positioning your business there bring you the results and returns that you are wanting? If there aren’t unfilled positions, then decide which competitor to battle and which positions you can most effectively win. 

Positioning Triangle Analysis: The Specifics

Going through that exercise should reveal a list of opportunities on how to position your business.

1) One company may have positioned themselves as having the best _____, which might be your weakness. The best move is to not compete there. Instead, maybe consider improving that area over time to make the gap between you and your competitor in that area not so big.

2) Maybe no one has claimed the "best at customer service” position. If so, consider taking it. This may be an attractive situation and may align with your strength. 

3) One company may hold higher priority lengths on warranty and being the high-end service. Are they vulnerable to attack? Have they muddied their position by focusing on two areas? Can you possibly prevail in head-to-head battle for length of warranty supremacy? Might it be worth changing your warranty policies?

Once you’ve determined how you want your business to be positioned, use all marketing elements (communicating, pricing, distributing, features, etc.) to make everything happen.

Conclusion:

The better you understand your market and competitors the better you will be at positioning. Go set the tone for who you are in the marketplace and allow that to help you grow your business.

-Ken Conklin, The King of Premium Branding™

Attract Your Dream Clients With These 5 Premium Branding Hacks

If you aren’t attracting your dream clients, it’s probably because you haven’t positioned yourself to attract them. In order to fix this, there is something very important that you need to do…

Build a premium brand.

And I’m speaking from experience here! After landing the marketing director position at a very well known student housing company as just a 19 year old, I quit after just a few months when I booked a one-way ticket to Hawaii and started my company, Gravel to Castle. I was getting plenty of clients, but they certainly weren’t the ones that I had dreamed about working with. My ideal clients didn’t see the true value that I offered, therefore I had to settle for the “lower-end” clients.

Eventually, I decided to go all in on really establishing my brand and setting the tone for my true worth. No longer was I going to allow others to not see the true value that I offered to the world. 

Since doing this, I have worked with numerous high-level entrepreneurs (most recently Peter Voogd) and instead of desperately having to go search for the next client, clients started to actually hit me up. Getting new business started to get much easier and I was actually attracting the people that I had always dreamed of working with. 

To help you attract your dream clients, I’m sharing my 5 Premium Branding Hacks to help you position yourself as an expert in your field and showcase your true worth.

#1. Make People Go Crazy About You

Client experiences are everything. If the client isn’t happy, they’ll go next door.

What does this mean for your business?

It means that your business will come to an end. To prevent this, go all in on the client experiences, before, during, and after they work with you. Get creative because doing so will make them want to continue coming back.

This is also a great opportunity for you to create more credibility for yourself by generating testimonials and even get new business through referrals. The more people that are running around praising your name, the easier it will be to take your business to the next level.

#2. Make Them Remember You

How do you want your clients to feel after working with you? The goal should be to give them an experience that they will never forget.

The way to go about doing this is to evoke the right emotions when they interact with you. You need to speak their language, know their pain points, and relate to their desires.

Consider the five senses and how your clients can remember you through them:

  1. Sight
  2. Touch
  3. Taste
  4. Smell
  5. Hear

I call that emotional branding right there!

#3. Stop Being Like Everyone Else

Too many people are “me too” businesses, causing them to be seen as average and not unique in any way. How in the world are you going to stand out it you look like the rest of the people in your industry?

You need to find out what makes you stand out. This is where brand positioning comes into play. It effects almost every strategic decision that you make, for this is how you distinguish yourself from the highly saturated competition. 

Create a unique perception of you and your business by asking yourself:

“What space do I occupy when people think about my brand?”

“If my brand was a person (which often times it is), what would it wear, talk like, and act like?”

Answering these questions is what will help you set yourself apart and position yourself as someone totally different than the rest of the crowd.

#4. Create A Premium Image

This is one of the most important principles in premium branding. Setting a powerful first impression can do absolute wonders for your business, but you’ve only got one shot.

Over 65% of the population are visual learners, and around 93% of consumers place visual appearance and color above most other factors when looking to purchase something. 

You know what this means, don’t you?

It means that you need to take advantage of the fact that your image can be a major deciding factor in whether or not someone buys something from you. I recommend that you put out content that is of the absolute highest quality possible. This means using a professional DSLR to record/capture your brand’s content.

Not only will that help you showcase a professional and premium image, it will also help you in initially grabbing people’s attention.

You get one chance to set a powerful first impression, make it a good one. Just like you would dress up sharp for a first date, you want want to have the same mindset for any time that you are putting your business out into the world. 

#5. Show Up Where Your Dream Clients Are

One of the most powerful ways to get in front of the people that you dream to work with is to literally go straight to where they hang out at. 

But where is that?

That’s what you need to ask yourself. If you sell surfboards, you would obviously want to be near the beach. Just like if you sold snowboards, you would want to be somewhere that it snows. 

But sometimes it isn’t as obvious as that, sometimes you need to collect actual data. To do so, go out and actually communicate with your dream client avatar. 

Find out what events they attend, clubs they are involved in, where they go on the weekends, etc.

Don’t assume you know your team clients until you collect actual data from them.

 

Let me leave you with a challenge:

Now that you’ve read about each hack, go through the list just one more time and choose just one strategy to go all in on right now. Whether you are a coach, consultant, own a service based business or a brick and mortar business, these 5 Premium Branding Hacks will help you attract the people that you know you deserve to work with.

Take just one step at a time, and I know for a fact that you will see tremendous results in your business.

To you attracting your dream clients,

Ken Conklin

3 MAJOR KEYS TO BUILDING A PREMIUM BRAND:

Establishing a premium brand certainly is not an easy walk in the park, but doing so can dramatically transform your business by changing the way that the world sees & feels about you (and the way that you see & feel about yourself, most importantly). 

 

Premium branding is all about setting the tone for your worth and showcasing the true value that you bring to the world. It is deciding that you will become sought out because of your perceived superior quality or value.

 

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The foundation to premium brand building is premium brand positioning— & this occurs when there’s a strong and relevant difference in the product or service. Our clients who’ve been able to command a premium price have each had unique stories to tell that helped customers not only become aware of their offerings, but become “strategically aware” of precisely what it was that made our clients’ products or services so different….and as a result, desirable. 

 

Why would you want to build a premium brand? Because premium pricing usually translates into higher profit margins, as additional costs for product enhancements are more than covered by the price premium. 

 

Here are 3 major keys to building a premium brand:

 

1) A PREMIUM BRAND REQUIRES PREMIUM CONTENT: Audiences want imagery that is visually stunning and that provokes an emotion. We live in a visual world and what we see is what can make us decide immediately if we like a brand or not. Take advantage of that.

 

2) RAISE YOUR PRICES: Premium branding = premium pricing. A premium brand demands a premium price because of superior attributes (design, functionality, service) that one can justify rationally. Charge what you are really worth and people will treat you what you are worth.

 

3) TELL A KILLER STORY: This ties back into the first principle. Use provoking images & videos that tells a visual story & takes them on a journey. Tell them something that they will remember.

 

There you have it! Those are only three small components of building a premium brand, but executing on those will take your business to great heights (if done correctly). Let us know how implementing these principles into your brand go by emailing us at contact@graveltocastle.com

-The Gravel to Castle Team

Does Your Website Bring You New Business?

We often come across the websites of many businesses that have the sizzle but not the steak. It's easy to get caught up in wanting to have all of the bells and whistles that make everything look good, but does it bring you new business? After all, that is the objective of having a website in the first place...


Questions to ask yourself:
1) Does the website for my business properly reflect the branding and positioning of my business?
2) How many appointments/purchases am I getting from my website? How much traffic am I receiving and from where are people coming from?
3) Does my website offer useful information and resources that visitors can use to help them with the problem that my business solves? 
Consider the following factors as you prepare to (re)design your website..
 

Hire the Right Agency to Design Your Website
Before starting the process of creating your website, we recommend you be sure that you have picked the right agency that understands business in your specific industry. Does the agency understand your objectives, desired clients, marketing strategy, brand positioning, and overall vision? You better make sure that they do. Most website designers are designers first, business people second. As great as some of the work that these creatives produce is, it is important to make sure that the agency that you work with can put themselves in the minds of your clientele. 

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See Your Website Through The Eyes of Your Prospective Clients
Contrary to common belief, the website for your business shouldn't just be about your business – it should also be about serving the needs of your visitors and prospective clients. Your prospective clients are much more interested in hearing/reading about how you can solve their problem than they are about reading biographies and qualifications. Though they are important, it's more important to let them know how you can help them get to where they want to go. You need to let them know that they can feel comfortable buying from your business (and whether you can deliver to their main objectives).

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Post Premium Content
You want to improve the lives of your visitors. You want to make them think "Wow, if I was able to feel this good after just visiting their website, imagine how great I would feel after buying from them!" We highly recommend that you include a "Resources" section on your website where you are constantly pushing new content that is relevant and valuable. Some of the best content that you can put out are how-to/tutorial videos, newsletters, blog posts, and podcasts. Posting those forms of content will: 
-Attract new visitors to your website
-Increase likeliness of them to return and share your site with their network
-Increase the chances of them contacting you
-Position your business as an authority
-Increase SEO (search engine optimization) so that you can show up on Google

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Be Mobile Optimized
Come on, it's 2017, your site better be mobile optimized by now... If not, find an agency that can take care of that ASAP. Check out a recent case study of ours to see how big of an improvement to our client's business a simple website redesign brought them.

 
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Calls to Action! 
We see a lot of websites that have great information on them but no calls to action. This is a problem because your visitors think to themselves "So, what am I supposed to do now?" when you aren't guiding them to where they should be heading. This is one of the most important keys of generating new business from your website. Either direct them to your store (online or physical) or send them to a contact from so that they can get in touch with you.

 
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Having a great website is obviously crucial in today's age, but a great website doesn't just mean that it looks nice. If you are realizing that you need help with any of the areas that we listed above then get in contact with us right away so that we can help you get past the barriers that are holding your website back from generating new business. 

-The Gravel to Castle Team
contact@graveltocastle.com
 

How to Create Phenomenal Content for Your Social Media

People often ask us "How do you all create such quality content?" when they see our social media. We always tell them that creating content just comes natural to us, but that hasn't necessarily always been the case. Just like with anything, we all start at the bottom at some point.

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Everyone at Gravel to Castle had to start from the beginning. When some of us go through our very first photoshoots from way back we tend to cringe quite a bit. There has been a tremendous amount of growth in all of our "talent" or "skillset" in just that past few years and we want to share with you some of the keys to creating content that we now use today. It isn't as simple as just picking up a camera and pressing the shutter-release button to get a phenomenal shot but it isn't rocket science either.

Here are three of our key factors that we use to help us create phenomenal content for social media:
 

  • Document, Rather Than Create

Instead of trying to plan out all of your content, try to simply capture what is all going on. Whenever we do a shoot with someone that has never modeled for a camera before, they tend to get really nervous & awkward. They really don't know what to do and the photos will always reflect just that. Instead of doing what doesn't feel natural, get loose and just do what you normally do. If you or the model are not a very serious person, don't make it a serious photo. Smile, laugh, dance, do whatever it is that you normally do and simply just capture that moment. We tend to get the best shots when we have music playing and there is a big smile of the person's face.
 

  • Your Equipment Really Doesn't Matter

It does and it doesn't. Let us explain... Many photographers & videographers spend thousands of dollars on getting these huge lenses, buy the latest cameras, and have all of this crazy equipment when the end result is going to look the absolute same as using a somewhat basic DSLR. Yes, having certain equipment allows you to do certain things that you maybe would not be able to do with your current set-up. For example: when we want to shoot a slow motion video, we need to be shooting in at least 60 fps (frames per second) in 1080p, and you can't do that with most entry level cameras (they often only have 720p at 60 fps). Or, if we were to shoot a track race around dusk where we needed to have a solid low-light capability camera that could easily snap multiple shots every second, we would need a solid camera like the 5D Mark III. But, for creating content to post on social media, we are often times able to use a phone camera (such as the amazing iPhone 7 Plus). Whether its taking a picture of a product or capturing a lifestyle in-the-moment shot of someone at an apartment complex, you just need to get the initial shot. Don't worry about what set up you don't have, a true sprinter wearing no shoes can easily beat a beginner with the latest Nike Make-Me-Fasters (not an actual shoe model).
 

  • Edit Your Photos With Professional Software

One thing we definitely recommend is using professional-level software like Adobe Lightroom to enhance your photos, or Premiere Pro to edit your videos. The initial shot is what is most important, but having top-of-the-line software to edit with is the icing on the cake. We can take a normal photo from "Alright" to "Oh my! What camera do you use?" with a simple 5-min Lightroom edit process. We are not going to go into how to use those programs because that is what Youtube is for, but just know that using the best software will do some wonders for you.

Creating content comes natural to us because it is what we absolutely love to do, but it doesn't mean that we don't have any sort of process to do our magic. Try out these three techniques/tips and watch your content go from bad to bad-ass in no time.

If you need any help with your content creation or have any questions you would like us to answer, feel free to email us at contact@graveltocastle.com.

We look forward to seeing your future social media content!

-The Gravel to Castle Team

7 Principles For Revenue-Increasing Social Media

Leveraging the true power of social media marketing can be quite difficult at times. But, having a set of principles that you follow and understand can really help with successfully getting your business seen and heard when developing your online strategy. 

Below are my 7 most powerful fundamentals of social media that I believe are vital to understand if you are wanting to really elevate your audience and increase revenue with this incredibly powerful tool.

1. Listen

Being successful with social media marketing sometimes requires that you listen to the rest of the world more than you talk. Check out your target audience’s online content and try to really understand their language and how they are interacting with each other. Understanding them will allow you to create content that really spark conversations that add value to their lives.

2. Quality

Quality will forever trump quantity. Having 1,000 people that love, share and engage with your content is much better than 10,000 people that simply just become another impression on your content’s stats. Don’t get me wrong, numbers are huge, but being known as quality will allow you to be seen as valuable (which is what business is always about, right?). Which brings us to our next principle…

3. Value

Spending your entire time online trying to promote and sell your products will only disengage and annoy your audience. Unless they already are in love with what you offer and are consistently buying your latest products and services, they need to have a reason that they come to you. How do you do that? You create value. Focus on answering people’s questions and post things that somehow make their life easier. Their way off saying thanks will be by telling their friends about you and buying what you offer.

4. Focus

What is your main objective and game plan with social media? Whatever it is, stick to it. Getting lost and wandering off will simply just waste time and money. Focus on what it is that you are trying to accomplish and go make it happen. Trust me, I have drifted off on my social media strategy before and it can be a challenge to get back on track.

5. Patience

Blowing up on social media overnight is possible, but don’t sit there with your fingers crossed. Do more. This applies to life and business just as much as it does to social media. Success comes to those that work hard and constantly make smart moves (while still realizing that things do take time). Not doing anything will certainly never get you anywhere, but giving constant effort and being patient will eventually get you to where you want to go.

6. Acknowledge Others

You wouldn’t ignore someone who reaches out to you in person so why would you ignore them online? I do my absolute best to respond to every comment on any of my social media platforms (even though it is often very time consuming). Why do I do that? Simply because I want them to know that I appreciate their attention. This will let them know that I see them and am thankful for their engagement, which in return will make them want to continue being there for future posts.

7. Set The Tone

I am a firm believe that you should decide who you want to be in life and simply just become it, so why would social media be any different? Decide who you are going to be online, how your audience will see you, and just make it happen. Set the tone for your brand and the messaging that you will express. This is how you will be seen as an authority in your space and will eventually give you a lot of credibility (if done correctly).

What principle do you think is the most important? Comment below 👇🏼👇🏼 

Need any clarity on any of these principles? Shoot me an email at contact@graveltocastle.com and I’d be happy to help.

 

Best,

Ken Conklin
Founder & CEO

SOCIAL MEDIA IS ALL ABOUT STORYTELLING

There are a lot of things that come into play to successfully get noticed online. Most people don't actually understand social media, for their approach to it either keeps them where they are at or, even worse, sets them backwards. We want to share this very powerful way of looking at social media with you so that you can change the way that you are putting yourself out there. You ready?

Social media is all about story telling. How well you tell that story is what will determine the success of your social media. When we share our photos on our Instagram, we make sure that we are telling a story with each post. Each post shows a side to us that may never have been seen before. Each post is an opportunity to really connect with people by telling a compelling story that sparks an immediate interest in us. That is what you should be doing with your social media, too. Tell a compelling story that will make people learn more about you, as well as want to learn even more about you. Gravel to Castle helps entrepreneurs, businesses, and everyday people  "express their story and spread their message" because everyone has a story. The key is to telling it in an interesting way that will gain the attention of others and spark a real connection with them. If you can figure out how to do this, you will already be a step ahead of everyone else!

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Having a big network with a lot of followers is nice, but if you aren't telling an interesting story to everyone it won't do you much good. Focus more on allowing the world to get to know you in an interesting way is going to be super beneficial to you. Whether you are looking for more clients, want more customers to buy your product, want people to fall in love with your brand, or whatever your objective is with your social media, getting to where you want to be all starts with how you tell your story.

If you would like help with your story telling we would be absolutely thrilled to help. Shoot us an email at contact@graveltocastle.com and we can help you tell your story in the best way possible!

Best regards,

Ken Conklin
Founder & CEO