How to Increase Your Web Presence: 4 Strategies
Nowadays, most businesses operate online. That being said, operating in the digital world means that you must have a well-established presence on the web. The main reason is that the market is overcrowded with various other companies that are competing for their customers and their spot on the market. That’s why you need to find a way to stand out. However, even though businesses operate in the digital world, not every company has a good online presence.
Just because your business is out there, it doesn’t mean that people will notice it or become interested for that matter. Building a web presence means that you must make your company recognizable online and known to your audience. Otherwise, you’ll soon be outrun by your competitors. Building online presence takes time and effort. There are various strategies you can implement, but you must plan ahead and determine which strategies are best for your business. Therefore, here are a few powerful strategies to increase your web presence.
Build an awesome website
Websites are the core of every modern business. Without a good website, you have no hopes of developing your business further or increasing your web presence. The main reason is that websites are the face of companies. Your leads will eventually visit your website to browse through your company information, as well as your products or services. If you cannot provide an exceptional experience for your website visitors, you can be sure that they’ll abandon your pages and move elsewhere.
Online consumers have certain needs and expectations when it comes to browsing company websites. In other words, your website must be fast, responsive, easy to navigate, user friendly and safe, among other things. Being able to meet consumer expectations won’t just guarantee their satisfaction. Moreover, satisfied customers will more likely recommend you to friends and family, as well as give out referrals to other consumers. That way, your web presence will experience an increase, thanks to the satisfaction of your customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost-effective marketing strategy that can help you improve your presence online. Not only that, but it can also help you boost your visibility, credibility and exposure in the online world. SEO helps you optimize your website so that it ranks high on search engines, such as Google. Ranking for the right keywords helps your website appear on the first page of search results. That way, your website becomes more accessible and easily findable by your audience.
In addition, content marketing, guest posting and link building are also excellent SEO activities that can help you increase your web presence. However, consulting with an SEO company may be a good idea if you have difficulties effectively leveraging such activities. In addition, SEO takes time before it starts showing viable results and it requires constant improvements because search engine algorithms oftentimes change. That’s why it’s important not to give up on SEO, because sooner or later, you’ll start seeing the benefits of your efforts.
Build presence on social media
One of the best ways to increase your web presence is through social media platforms. The main reason is that social media allows you to directly communicate with your target audience, while you effectively build awareness for your business in the meantime. Actively engaging in conversations with your audience on social media allows you to establish more personal relationships with them. After all, the more familiar people are with your business, the better your presence and visibility will be.
However, when building presence on social media, it’s important to determine which social media channels your audience prefers. That way, you can focus on networks that have value to your business, instead of wasting resources on building presence on every social network out there. In addition, you can leverage influencer marketing to gain more publicity and exposure. That way, you’ll increase your web presence by having an influencer supporting your business on social media.
Publish amazing content
Content can easily increase your web presence and help you position yourself as an industry expert. Good content is widely accepted by online consumers and it’s always a good way to deliver value to audiences, while gaining recognition in return. However, you must focus on relevancy and quality of your content. The more relevant and useful your content is, the more impact it will have.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that your content is authoritative, informative, educational and entertaining. Otherwise, it won’t yield the results you need to increase your web presence. If you’re not a well-versed writer or you feel preoccupied with some other aspects of your online marketing strategy, you should consider outsourcing your content to an outside agency. They have both the knowledge and the tools needed to create a solid content creation and promotion plan for you and tailor it to your goals. Remember, only impeccable content can go viral and take your marketing efforts to the next level.
Building and improving your online presence requires a lot of dedication and effort. Not everything you do will get you the positive publicity you need to make your business famous. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and develop a good strategy that will increase your web presence in the best way possible.
With the rise of the web, people’s approach to making purchases has changed significantly. They are now aware of how important they are to small businesses trying to survive in such a competitive marketplace. And, in return for their loyalty, they expect you to provide them with the exceptional buying experience and they won’t accept anything less than that.
Your customers not interested in your products only. Namely, they want to know the story behind your brand, as well. They expect you to answer their questions fast, connect with them on social networks, and create relevant and interesting content. They don’t want to waste their time, either. If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, they will abandon it and look for your competitors. The same goes for your navigation, mobile-friendliness, content, and the overall visual appeal of your site.
Given all these facts, here is how you should do digital marketing in 2018.
Prepare for the Google Mobile-First Index
If you haven’t heard yet that Google has finally rolled out their mobile-first index, then you’re living under a rock. This has become one of the hottest news in the digital marketing sphere, but what does it actually mean? From now on, Google will focus on the mobile version of your site when indexing it.
So, make sure you optimize your site for mobile searchers. After all, 60% of all web searches are done via mobile devices. Make your keywords longer and more conversational to optimize them for voice search. Use Google’s AMPs to speed up your site significantly. Your navigation should be simpler, while all important elements of your website should be above the fold. For additional information, take a look at what Google says about preparing your site for the mobile-first index.
Do you know that an average U.S. household participates in about 29 loyalty programs? They love them for different reasons- some join these programs to save money, while others want to receive a reward for their loyalty. For some, the availability of rewards programs is the major factor that determines whether they will buy from you or not.
Now, loyalty programs vary and you need to choose the option that works for your target audience. You could give them points or vouchers that can be later redeemed at your stores or offer them exclusive deals for every purchase or referral they make. However, recent studies point out that people have labeled financial rewards or highly targeted incentives far more enticing. So, to make customized loyalty programs, you could offer personalized visa gift cards, with your customers’ names on them or even organize a contest and let them win your premium products.
Focus on User-Generated Content
Let’s face it- people trust other customers more than you. According to the Local Customer Review Survey, 85% of them trust online reviews as much as their friends, while 73% of them will trust your business more if your customers’ reviews are positive.
In light of statistics like this, it’s obvious that user-generated content (UGC) is one of those tactics you simply cannot allow to ignore. After all, it’s your customers that sell your products today.
Use your social networks to invite people to share their own videos of your products or services.
Boost the visibility of this content by sharing it regularly and creating dedicated hashtags.
Most importantly, you need to know what works for each of the social networks you use. Share live stories and videos on Facebook, post photos on Twitter, while the user-generated content your Instagram account could be the combination of these forms of UGC.
Use Social Networks to Offer Instant Feedback
In the past, your communication with your customers was based on phone calls and emails. However, the times have changed and, today, your communication channels cannot be observed in isolation. All instant messaging apps, video conferencing tools, social networks, email providers, and telemarketing strategies are highly intertwined, creating what we call the omnichannel approach to communication.
Today, your customers can move from one device to another uninterruptedly. They can find your phone number on your site and call you instantly, not having to switch between different apps. They can scan your QR code that will lead them to the piece of content they want to read or a product they want to buy. They can stumble upon your business on social networks, read the reviews, ask questions, and follow the link to your site to learn more about you.
If you’re too busy answering your customers’ messages regularly, then hire someone to do so for you. Even better, use a chatbot. Even this is still a pretty new concept, chatbots are predicted to revolutionize the digital marketing industry in 2018. Namely, these AI-powered tools have become smarter and more intuitive. They will provide your customers with relevant, real-time feedback and, at the same time, do all repetitive and time-consuming tasks for you.
You can use social media monitoring tools to keep track of your brand or product mentions. Whenever someone mentions you, you’ll get notified. This is called social listening and it’s immensely important in providing your customers with real-time customers services and collecting their feedback.
Create Interactive Content
Gone are the days when you could write a 1000-word blog post and generate a bunch of links, shares, and comments. We’re living in the era of augmented reality and people expect your content to surprise and excite them. So, update your content strategy with interactive content, the one your customers can actively participate in, such as polls and quizzes. Don’t forget about visual content, especially videos, as they’re expected to account for 82% of the total internet traffic by 2020.
Tell your Customers a Story
You’re not doing content marketing for SEO purposes solely. You’re creating your content for your customers. And, to engage them and get them emotionally involved, each article you write needs to have a good story to back it.
That’s what storytelling is about.
Namely, 92% of people emphasized that they expect all major brands to create ads that feel like stories. Stories share a real-life experience, add the human element to your brand promotion, and evoke nostalgia and empathy. Most importantly, as they don’t seem overly promotional, they will take your relationship with your customers to a completely new, more personal level.
Over to You
Digital marketing is not about promoting your business and ranking higher on Google. It’s also about building and nurturing strong relationships with your target audience. That’s exactly what will set you apart from a sea of businesses similar to yours.
Hope these tips help!
Web Design Stats 2018
A business website is a veritable necessity today, and you may have been thinking about creating a new website for your business this year. These are some of the top web design statistics for 2018 that could help you to create an amazing and truly beneficial website.
Having a Website
1. As many as 29% of small businesses have not yet created a professional website. – Clutch.co
2. Small businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenue are 30% less likely to have a website than businesses with higher annual revenue. – Clutch.co
3. Approximately half of website visitors are interested in the “About Us” page on a business website, and 65% view the business’s contact information. – Vendasta
The simple fact that your business has a professional website can be a boost to your business activity. For example, a website legitimizes your business to potential customers who are not familiar with it. It also makes your business visible through SEO and provides your contact information in the same way a phone book did a few decades ago. More than that, a website is always accessible to provide information to potential customers even when your office is closed.
User Experience (UX)
When designing a new business website, understand that the user experience that you create is just as critical as the visual identity that you establish online. Your website should be functional and easy to navigate as well as pleasing to the eye. An innovative website will be veritably useless if your customers do not know how to interact with it.
4. The customer experience that you provide will be the most important branding feature, passing both price and product by 2020. – VisionCritical
5. 95% of users indicated that a positive user experience is the most important factor when they visit a website. – Econsultancy
6. Your website’s conversion rate could increase by 200 to 400% with a well-designed interface. – Forrester
7. There is a $100 return for every dollar that your company invests in your website’s user experience. – Forrester
If you are not sold on the importance of investing in user experience, be aware that ESPN.com saw an astounding 35% profit increase after updating their homepage design based on user feedback.
Consumers today want instant gratification when using the Internet, and they can become very frustrated with websites that load slowly. If your website loads too slowly, your users may click away before even seeing your full website design.
More than that, Google uses your website’s load speed in part to determine its ranking. Specifically, if your server takes more than two seconds to respond, Google will reduce the number of crawlers that visit your website. These are a few website speed statistics to focus on:
8. Slow loading times for images cause 39% of users to stop engagement with a website. If delays are encountered during peak traffic times, 75% of users will click off the page and head to competitors’ websites. – Adobe
9. The problem of slow website speeds results in $2.6 billion in annual lost sales. – Econsultancy.
10. 47% of users believe that a website should not take more than two seconds to load. – Akami
11. Your conversion rate can decrease by seven percent if there is even a one-second delay. On the other hand, if you increase load speed from eight seconds to two seconds, your conversation rate could skyrocket by 74%. – Akami
To learn how fast your current website’s load time is, use PageSpeed. This is a free analysis and reporting tool offered by Google, and it provides separate reports for your desktop and mobile users.
As important as load time and the overall user experience are, the overall aesthetics are also critical. Users may make a decision about whether or not to do business with your company within less than a second of viewing your website. An appealing website design will encourage your visitors to spend more time browsing it. Take note of these website design statistics:
12. The first impression users have of a website are as much as 94% design-related. – Northumbria and Sheffield Universities
13. A single bad experience on a website makes users 88% less likely to visit the website again. – Gomez
14. 75% of user judgment about your business’s credibility is based on your website’s design. – University of Surrey
15. Approximately 38% of users who believe imagery or layout are not appealing will stop engaging with the website. – Adobe
16. Approximately 55% of users look at lists without bullets, and 70% of viewers look at lists with bullets. – Vendasta
A responsive website is one that provides the same user experience on any type of device. These are a few statistics you should know regarding responsive design:
17. 90% of consumers use multiple devices to visit the same website. – Google and IPSOS
18. 39% of a user’s time is on a desktop platform, and 61% of a user’s time is on a mobile platform. – Global Mobile Report
19. As many as 74% of users may return to a website again if it is properly optimized for mobile usage. – Google
20. 61% of users may develop a better opinion of a company if its website delivers a positive mobile experience. – Vendasta
The bottom line is that your business can suffer if your website is not responsive on both mobile and desktop platforms. More than that, your website may have better search engine rankings when it is appropriately optimized. This is also critical for a positive user experience and a faster load time.
At first glance, you may think that designing a great website for your business is about having an e-commerce platform or an informative site about your company’s services. While these factors are important, you can see that many elements of website design are critical. These factors can have far-reaching effects on your business’s bottom line.
Improving the CX of your eCommerce Site
More than likely, you truly want to provide the best customer experience (CX) possible to the visitors who land on your website. However, in a rapidly changing digital world, it can be difficult to know just what strategies you should use to create a positive experience.
Experts estimate by 2020, CX will be the most important factor in branding, even topping price and the product. Seventy percent of why customers decide to buy a product is based on their perception of the way the company treats them. Taking time to invest in your customer service model is one thing you can do to stand out from the competition.
1. Consistent Experience
Whether you’re conducting business online or offline, offering a consistent service experience that spans the reach of your business allows customers to embrace your brand, no matter how they prefer to shop. For example, if you have an email list, you might send out a coupon code people can use either on your website or in a store. If a customer comes into your store and you are out of their size or the color they want, you provide a kiosk they can order from.
AutoZone has gotten on board with that consistent user experience. If you go in their store, they can help you, but you can also go online, figure out what you need and pick it up in the store the very same day. Customers can quickly see which locations near them have the part they’re looking for.
2. Target Audience
Before you begin to focus on CX, you must fully understand who your target customer is and how to meet their needs. You can figure out the demographics of the people visiting your site by studying analytics, taking polls and studying buying patterns. Once you have a grasp of your typical site visitor, create a user persona based on that model. This persona is who you will plan everything around. You can have more than one persona for your brand, too.
3. Anticipating Customer Questions
When a consumer chooses to visit your site, he or she likely has a specific purpose in mind. Think through what the different purposes might be and how you can anticipate any questions the user will have. If you get a lot of emails asking the same question about your products, or if you offer a certain feature, this is a good place to start. You’ll provide the answer before the customer ever has to ask you.
Notice how Nitterhouse Masonry Products anticipates customers visiting their site might have one of three product types in mind: architectural, contractor or residential. By narrowing down the choices, they anticipate their different users’ needs and direct them to more information on the specific area.
4. Omni-Channel Customer Service Reps
When someone visits your website, you likely have a variety of options for contacting your company. You might offer live chat, email and even a toll-free number. Is a customer who calls your company getting the same answer you provide via live chat or email? Making sure you not only provide consistent answers, but that you keep a record of customer contacts, is vital to making the customer feel valued.
Customers get annoyed when they must repeat a problem they have with your product to three or four different people. About 89 percent of customers state this frustrates them, and about as many feel brands should try harder to create a consistent customer service experience.
5. Mobile Matters
You’ve heard this one before, but it is worth repeating, because more and more people are using their smartphones to access the Internet. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, or doesn’t provide the main features of your website, you are going to have a lot of irritated users. If the mobile site is not up to par, about 52 percent of consumers are less likely to engage with the brand.
Elf on the Shelf is one of those trends you either love or think is creepy, but their website is a good one to study for how to create a great mobile CX. When you land on their page, you have two choices based on whether you are an adult or a child. Their landing page is very simple and to the point.
6. Customer Service Philosophy
Train your customer service reps thoroughly in your customer service philosophy. It can take an additional 12 positive experiences to make up for one bad experience with service. If your customer is dissatisfied, hurry to minimize the damage and turn a negative into a positive. Make sure everyone who has any contact with your customers understands the value of every customer. Likewise, that they reflect that in their interactions.
7. Social Media
If your site isn’t integrated with social media, you might be missing out on traffic. More than 62 percent of people in North America use Facebook. Integrating your e-commerce site with social media is simple. First, you need to mention your social media channels and make it easy to access them. Second, point your social media followers to specials, sales and new arrivals on your site. Of course, there is a lot more involved with marketing on social media, but understanding the importance of a presence is enough to get you started.
8. Gain the Consumer’s Trust
One of the key components of successful CX is that customers feel they can trust your brand. If you receive a question, do you answer promptly? Did you make your contact information easy to find? Other things you can do to gain consumers’ trust is to add any certificates you hold or positive ratings, and adding customer testimonials.
Optimizing your site’s CX takes time and perseverance. Pay attention to any complaints you receive. When do consumers bounce away from your website? Can you improve their experience and reduce your bounce rate? Putting the time and effort into continually improving your CX will pay off in happy customers who frequent your business time and time again.
Expanding Your Brand Presence: 5 Tips
Are you feeling a stagnant air in your business? Strategy planning is a key element of any business, so here are 5 simple ways to further your reach!
How to Further Your Reach
1. Invest in yourself!
Let everyone know who you are by professionally branding your business. Start with a logo and simple website. Creating a relationship with a professional designer will help you throughout your businesses lifetime, you never know when you’ll need something! It helps to have someone on standby who understands your brand and can help support your direction. Designers do a lot more than just create pretty pictures. We create marketing plans, help plan strategies, consult and more. As you grow, your advertising needs change and your designer should be there by your side to guide you. When you are professionally branded and have a user friendly, modern website, it gives your business instant legitimacy in the eyes of your customer. If you are unsure about your logo or website, lots of designers do brand consulting and can help point you in the right direction and show you where you need improvement.
2. Utilize Social Media
The best thing about Social Media is that it is FREE! The worst? You can get lost, easily. The best advice I ever heard was pick the best social media for your business and focus your time and energy on creating great content for your audience there. Do not spread yourself thin posting to countless social media accounts every day. If your biggest audience is on Facebook, utilize groups, events and business pages. Maybe you find your following is more Instagram central. Post updates, stories and go live! Pick your best social media platform and run with it. What about sponsored posts, you ask? Personally, I hardly ever sponsor posts because I know how to reach my target on social media. When I have a post performing exceptionally well, reaching thousands without much effort, I will occasionally boost those. It is already performing for me and converting it to a paid ad will only help my reach!
3. The Right Content
You picked your perfect social media platform, but now you need to post. Create relevant content for your target customer. We’re not talking click bait. Research shows valuable content builds better customer relationships and leads to positive returns for your business! Create each piece with a “Call to Action” or the intent to trigger a specific action in your customer. Pro Tip: Create your content for a few weeks and mass upload them as scheduled posts!
4. Be Engaged
The right content grabs your customer’s attention, now it’s time to engage WITH them! Your created content gets people excited and they want to learn more about you. You start getting comments and messages, engage with them and reply! Your customer base needs to think of you as someone they can count on, someone they are comfortable with. When people feel like they already ‘know’ you from connecting and engagement on social media, you’ve already built the foundation of trust in your relationship with them. Comment on posts in and outside of your social media community. I’m not talking about a sales pitch saying “I’m Sally & I do blah blah blah..”. Comment on things that ENGAGE YOU and that YOU are the expert in. Show off your knowledge, the rest will follow. Engaged networking goes a long way with expanding your reach beyond your own two walls.
5. Get Listed!
Are you listed on the big 7? What is the big 7? Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Foursquare, YP & Superpages. Maybe your business doesn’t need to be listed on all 7, but you can absolutely benefit from being listed on the others. Not only is it a FREE way to get out to your customer base, it helps populate your website and business on search engine rankings. Listed on these websites goes back to tip #1, instant business legitimacy in the eyes of your customer.
What about you? Do you know or practice any other creative ways to further your reach that should be included in this list? Let me know!
How do you build links to your website?
Every online business wants to reach the top and be the best on the market. That’s why the online market is so overcrowded in the first place. Nevertheless, the competition is ongoing and businesses implement different strategies that will help them reach the top regardless. One such strategy is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which helps businesses rank high on search engines and appear on the first page of search results. That way, businesses can improve their online visibility and allow their potential customers to easily find them online.
Link building is one of the most important SEO activities. Even though search engines change their algorithms often, thus changing the rules for SEO, it’s estimated that backlinks still account for around 80% of ranking factors for websites. The main reason backlinks are so important is that they build credibility and reputation of a website they link to; this is why it’s important that they come from reputable sources. Here are a few ways backlinks can boost your website traffic.
Build authority with backlinks
Backlinks are hyperlinks on a specific web page that point back to your website. Simply put, your website will appear on various web pages as a reference for further exploration or as a source of additional information. The more reputable and relevant backlink sources – i.e. websites that point back to you – will provide higher quality backlinks. Many business owners believe they’ll improve their SEO ranking by creating as many backlinks as they can, wherever they can.
However, that’s not the case. In fact, search engines, such as Google, penalize this activity. Instead of spamming backlinks, you should focus on building authority by creating high-quality backlinks. That means you should find websites and blogs that already have good reputation and authority, and are relevant to your niche to create backlinks on. This will undoubtedly build your own authority as you’ll be recommended by reputable sources. Not just that, but the audience on those sources will deem you worthy of attention and will want to check out what you have to offer.
Engage in guest posting
Guest posting on other websites or blogs is a great way to build relationships with popular people in your industry and for creating top-quality backlinks. Basically, guest posting is an opportunity to write and publish articles on someone else’s blog or website. However, you’ll have to find the right blogger or a webmaster and convince them to allow you to share your content.
You could use a reliable link building tool to help you identify prospects that are the most valuable to you and design a compelling outreach message. Furthermore, the content you want to publish has to be high-quality if you want your backlinks to have any real value. That means that the content has to be relevant, creative, informative and entertaining. That way, the audience from the blog or website you’re currently guest posting at, will find your content interesting enough to explore further and even check out your links.
Fix broken links
Broken link building is a great method for creating quality backlinks for your website and for boosting your web traffic. So what exactly is broken link building? Basically, you search for links that are no longer live on websites and blogs that are relevant to your industry and ask bloggers or webmaster to allow you to replace those broken links with links of your own. However, the content you provide has to be relevant to the content that was hosted on the broken link.
That way, you’ll help the webmasters fix their broken links, while you’ll also have an opportunity to create backlinks. Not only will you have backlinks on multiple sources, which will boost your web traffic, but you’ll also find out that it’s easier to fix a broken link than it is to create a new one. For instance, alerting a webmaster about a broken link may take a lot less time to generate a response than waiting for a response to an outreach mail.
Post content on social media
Social media is essential for every online business today. Various businesses build their presence on social networks and publish their content in order to drive engagement in their target audience. However, social links do not account for search ranking factors, but they can indeed boost your website traffic. Creating backlinks on social media can generate a lot of referral traffic to your website, especially if your content goes viral on social networks.
On the other hand, your social profiles do in fact rank in the search engines, so if someone searches for you by name or brand, chances are your social accounts may appear in the search results. Therefore, it’s important to maintain your social activity and publish content that will generate backlinks for your website on social media. Your social links may not influence your search rank, but they’ll definitely get people to visit your website.
Backlinks are one of the most important aspects of every SEO strategy. Not only do they improve online credibility, but they also boost website traffic by increasing the reach and exposure of online businesses. Having high-quality backlinks can greatly improve your business success, not to mention that search engines favor businesses that have quality backlinks as well.
When selling a product, the first option that may spring to mind is to become a retailer for that item. However, you also have the potential to become a brand owner — the person or group that holds intellectual property rights.
In that case, there is more control over which outlets sell the brand, how available the product is in the global marketplace and other specifics. Below, we’ll go over several things you need to do during your quest to become a brand owner instead of just a retailer.
Have Ideas for Products That Aren’t Available Elsewhere
A major factor that causes a person or company to be a brand owner rather than filling the role of a retailer is the presence of ideas for things that aren’t currently available — or knowing how to make things that are better than what people can buy now.
Maybe you love the outdoors and have been thinking about creating a water bottle that makes purification easier when people are roughing it in the middle of nowhere. You might already run a business that stocks outdoor products. However, it probably feels like carrying a selection of inferior water bottles makes your customers miss out.
In the above scenario, becoming a brand owner lets you stock your products in your store. As a result, you can spread the word about them and give current customers easy access to the merchandise.
Protect Your Brand or Product
It’s crucial to go through strategies that protect your brand from dilution. It occurs when there are too many similar products in the marketplace, causing people to become confused about all of them and have difficulty with differentiation.
If your own name is also the brand, you can trademark it, as Oprah did. She’s one of the few people who’ve taken that step to set herself apart. After securing the trademark, it’s also necessary to keep an eye on the internet and make sure merchants aren’t using it without permission. Setting up Google alerts can help you stay more aware compared to manual monitoring alone.
If your product is unique or has characteristics other items don’t, you need to strongly consider filing for a patent. Otherwise, other brand owners could see your products and copy attributes about them.
To ensure your brand and products and properly and thoroughly protected, consult a lawyer who has experience assisting other people in your situation. That person can advise you on the best measures to take, plus tell you what to do if you notice companies or individuals infringing on your property.
Generate Curiosity About the Brand
As a brand owner, it’s necessary to adjust your business strategy and focus on stimulating interest within multiple groups. The more curiosity you cause, the higher the likelihood your efforts will lead to sales and fruitful business partners.
Retailers merely convince shoppers to buy products. As a brand owner, you not only have to do that but also network with distributors that extend the brand’s reach when necessary. Being successful in that task requires showing genuine excitement for your brand and describing why it’s worthy.
Build an Appealing Website
The internet is the first place many people will find out about your brand. Invest time and money into creating a strong web presence that reflects what you offer. Does your brand cater to busy businesspeople, or adventurous travel lovers? Regardless of specifics related to the target audience, make sure the website’s design, copy voice, images and content support the brand. Then, it’s easier to convey what makes your brand stand out and why people should care.
Set Up — and Oversee — Social Media Accounts
Having an informative and user-friendly website is a good start, but you also need to maintain active and interesting social media accounts. Take your time during the setup process and fill out all the relevant sections of a social media profile. Use the same approach to content as building your website and angle it to develop and strengthen your brand at every opportunity. Update social media regularly, too. Ongoing updates boost traffic and engagement.
Also, realize a social media page could quickly become the go-to internet destination for someone who wants to tarnish your brand or is unhappy for some reason and wants the world to know. That’s why it’s crucial to develop and uphold a plan for moderating social media pages.
If you can afford it, hire a moderation team or person to supervise social media and intervene when required. Also, decide what constitutes intolerable behavior. If people continue to break the rules after being made aware of what’s acceptable, ban them and keep track of their IP addresses.
Also, never ignore customers who are truly disgruntled about something brand-related. Instead of keeping up with a publicly viewable content string, you may find it’s more comfortable and private to ask an upset person to send you a private message or call a dedicated phone number to explain their concerns further.
Come up With a Licensing Plan
Licensing is the best way to realize the full value of brand equity because it provides new avenues for promoting, manufacturing and distributing your brand in new markets. It’s essential to prioritize obtaining license agreements as a brand owner to achieve staying power in a crowded marketplace.
There are various ways to do that. Visiting trade shows is a great initial step. They connect brand owners with companies interested in growing the collection of merchandise they offer.
Furthermore, don’t ignore cold calls and social media outreach techniques from potential licensees. Consider that some of the companies most suited to signing licensing agreements may be from other countries, meaning you’d not necessarily encounter representatives at domestic trade shows.
Also, don’t get too eager and sign agreements with any company that gets in contact. Licensees are representatives of your brand, and if they don’t stick to minimum standards when associating with it, all the hard work you’ve done as a brand owner could quickly become nearly useless.
When evaluating whether to accept a potential licensee, ask about the direction they want to take the brand. If it doesn’t align with at least most of your goals or seems in direct opposition, think carefully before finalizing a contract.
Understand What to Expect
Many aspiring brand owners fixate on all the positive aspects of the outcome. Indeed, the advantages are compelling, and the ownership and responsibility involved are quite motivating.
Having a realistic perspective is crucial. Taking steps to become a brand owner is typically more difficult and less straightforward than being a retailer. Because of those realities, you cannot anticipate quick results.
However, it’s not hard to understand why brand ownership provides such a substantial payoff to the people who do it right. Many brands become timeless segments of the pop culture landscape. Consider names like Coca-Cola, Apple and Mercedes-Benz.
As an owner of your brand, you enjoy an unprecedented amount of control over how it appears in the marketplace. Brand ownership also gives more freedom to shape what people think of the brand and perform reputation management as needed.
After reading these steps, it shouldn’t be hard to realize why many entrepreneurs see brand ownership as such as appealing concept. If you can relate, don’t get intimidated by the length and complexity of the process. Instead, persevere and recall that owning a brand could result in long-term profits and recognition within an ever-crowded consumer landscape.
How Strategic Branding Can Help your Business
One way to stand out from the competition and make a mark on the internet for your business is through strategic branding. You’ve likely noticed branding via offline platforms, which is when companies use a tagline or some other identifying tactic to keep the brand in the mind of consumers. Think about some of the billboards you pass on a typical day, for example. However, branding on the internet is an entirely different game.
With so many different choices on methods for branding online, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true ways to brand online that will benefit your business and not cost you much out of your overall marketing budget.
- Develop a Street Team
Street teams originally started out as a way for the music industry to promote artists, but has developed into a method that all types of businesses use. About 33 percent of consumers say they trust a message from a company, which isn’t great, but 90 percent of consumers trust a recommendation from someone they know, even if they just know the person in passing.
This is where your street team comes into play. You should have a database of fans who will go out and tell others about your company and products. This can include social media influencers, people who have been customers for many years and brand ambassadors who you send free products in exchange for their word-of-mouth advertising.
Red Bull utilizes a street team/brand ambassadors to get the word out about its product. The way it has implemented its strategy is to have tiers within the team all the way down to student ambassadors who will recommend the product to their friends.
- Content Marketing
91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing to promote to potential clients, making it one of the most popular B2B online marketing methods. You’ve probably heard that content is king, and in some ways, this still holds true.
However, you have to ensure the content speaks to your target audience and provides some value to them. Gone are days where businesses could keyword-stuff a page, drive traffic and find success. Today’s savvy business owners expect and demand value for their time.
- Make Connections
Small businesses need a convenient way to get active online and begin building that brand image. One key thing is figuring out how to connect with other small businesses, but statistics show that businesses with better listings receive as much as 347 percent more searches than those with subpar listings. A company called Manta helps with Google AdWords placement, figuring out SEO for local listings, social media timing, online reviews and preparing for mobile search traffic.
One example of a company using this platform is Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services. The company specializes as a developer of industrial sites and office buildings, so the ability to connect with other businesses is a real help.
- Social Media
Get everyone in the company versed in how to use social media to promote the business and then allow those who seem to be savvy to promote on your behalf.
Studies show that leads that are generated by employees via social media are about seven times more likely to have high conversion rates. The key is training employees on what to say and what not to say or to simply ask them to retweet and share.
- Customer Service on Social Media
Every day, there are 2.1 million negative social media posts about U.S. brands, which means people are very likely to go online and voice their complaints. Since your goal is to please your customer and show others you care about your customers, it is a smart move to hire customer service specialists to handle social media complaints. The reps simply reach out to those complaining and offer to fix the issue.
JetBlue airlines is an excellent case study of how to use social media to respond to your customers in a pleasing way. When customers complain, it immediately responds, asks for flight info and provides an update.
- Persistence Pays
A person has to see your branding approximately five to seven times before they remember it, as a rule of thumb. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, but it goes to show that you need to put your eggs in more than one basket when it comes to online marketing. Think about where your target demographic hangs out online. If most of them are on Pinterest and a specific crafting site, then that is where you’ll advertise, as well as by using AdWords with a similar keyword range.
- Mobile-Friendly Emails
The number of people using mobile devices to access emails has risen by 180 percent over a three-year period. With more and more people using their mobile devices to get online, it is a smart practice to take those emails you’ve collected and send out a message here and there. You can offer stories about your company, discounts, free shipping, customer testimonials, etc.
Groupon sends out emails several times a week that are segmented to offer specials that particular group of subscribers would be interested in. This highly targeted form of advertising has been quite effective for the site. Those emails are also mobile friendly and can be easily read on a personal computer or a smartphone.
If your company isn’t focusing on branding online yet, then you can see why it is vital that you do. You can easily expand your customer reach by doing online marketing. The key is to be smart about where you spend your marketing dollars. Even though online marketing is a fraction of the cost of traditional print advertising, you can still waste a lot of money if you don’t go into it with a very specific strategy and marketing plan.
Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest design trends and always has a cup of coffee nearby. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner
You don’t have to be hip, trendy, or in an arrantly dynamic new market to pique our interest here at Go Media. We love the challenge of working with clients who have a long history in business but are in need of what I like to call a Marketing Makeover. This could amount to any number of things: from re-imagining a logo, to a complete brand refresh, to freshening up your communications with copy that sheds new light on your business while adding a singular twist to the ongoing dialogue you enjoy with your customers.
Fact is, there are many seasoned and vibrant company’s out there looking for a little TLC, commercially speaking. From re-introducing you to the world with a beautiful, new, fully responsive website, to employing a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy [complete with SEO and social media marketing], the potential for engagement with your audience is staggering nowadays.
And from our perspective here at Go Media, there are few things more rewarding than taking the scattered brand assets and outdated communications of what we like to call a legacy company with a notable history and updating them for today’s marketplace. The process is kind of like treating you to a long weekend at the spa while we rummage through the attic of your house for old family photos, heirlooms, and clues to your family history.
As a copywriter, I particularly enjoy the challenge of updating a company’s overall communication strategy. The task of casting a company’s vision in a new light with a fresh new narrative is one that I relish. And no matter how conventional, or seemingly mundane the subject matter, the prospect of making a company’s communication strategy comprehensible and appealing across new and different platforms (website, blog, social media, etc.) is exciting and should be handled with gusto.
Case in point, Allied Tool & Die [a 70+ year old, Cleveland-based manufacturer of metal stampings for Automotive, Medical, electronic, and commercial industries worldwide] approached Go Media in early 2017 requesting a marketing makeover themselves: new Web Design, Inbound Marketing services (SEO), Upgraded Logo Design, and comprehensive Copywriting Services. Fortunately, the good people at Allied gave us the keys to their “attic” and free reign to rummage.
The Go Media team went for a more acute, contemporary approach to an otherwise fixed industry traditionally accustomed to staying in their own lane. And like a duck to water, we dove in and delivered punchier communications for the pages on their website (Capabilities, Services, Equipment, etc.). Then we launched it all on an intelligently designed, fully responsive Go Media Designer Site complete with artful photos and video presented on a cinematic scale. Phew! Now that’s one stunning Marketing Makeover!
If you know of a company that you’d like to recommend for a Marketing Makeover, or you suspect the company you work for could benefit from one too, give us a nudge!
Customer Chat Tips & Features
Live chat has quickly become a top feature that consumers expect out of a website experience. As of 2017, 48 percent of consumers prefer to communicate with a business via a live chat than any other form of communication. However, just having a live chat feature and delivering an amazing experience via live chat are two totally different things.
The same study discovered that people don’t mind if the chat is conducted through a chatbot or artificial intelligence (AI) as long as they get the help they need and have a good experience.
There are some key things your chat feature should offer, whether you are staffing your live chat with real people or with computers. Nail these seven items, and your chat feature will be much more effective than you thought possible.
Key Customer Chat Tips & Features
- Offer Support, Not Hard Sales
Your chat support should be just that — support. If you use every single opportunity to just try and hard sell, you are going to turn customers off. Your focus should be on how you can help the customer rather than on how they can help you. Yes, you are in business to sell things, but the customer who takes the time to live chat is already interested in buying. Your job is to make sure they have all the information they need.
This also means you need to be strategic in where you feature your live chat option on your website. For example, it should be on the landing page, but do you really need it on your About page?
A good example of a site that does chat support well is Aid in Recovery. It has a chat at the bottom of the landing page that reads “Need help finding a rehab? Chat anonymously with a live agent.” The chat is available 24/7. Since people landing on the site are likely wanting help, this is an excellent use of the live chat option — placing it front and center.
- Email a Follow-up Transcript
Carefully choose your chat software so you can keep a transcript of conversations. Customers may have multiple questions about your product or services. By the time the conversation is over, they may forget every fine detail that was discussed, but they might also be too embarrassed to ask again. Keeping a transcript allows you to later email that transcript to your lead and remind them of everything that was discussed.
This also gives you an opportunity to touch base again and show them you care about whether they are satisfied with the chat experience or not.
- Clearly Labeled Areas
Make sure everything is labeled clearly for your site visitor. He or she shouldn’t have to hunt to find the chat feature. Instead, make sure it is easily found and looks the same on every page. Once the chat box is engaged, it should also be clear where the user needs to type and how to enter the text.
One clear example of a well-labeled chatbot can be found at Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes. A box pops up that has clearly labeled entry boxes and a box stating “enter your question.”
Chatbots are one way to staff your chat without spending money hiring an actual body to run the conversations. Instead, businesses purchase the software once, input all the basic information the chatbot needs based on what past customers or site visitors have asked, and lets the artificial intelligence do its job.
A word of caution here — if you plan to run a chatbot, be sure you offer an option for customers to contact you via email or some other means. A chatbot can’t possibly answer every question there might be, so at some point you’re going to have to input additional info the chatbot doesn’t have. Update it each time you run into a question such as this, and the bot will become more and more efficient with time.
- Use Social Media
Social media is an excellent way to reach consumers, particularly the younger crowd. Allow customers to tweet you for a response, but be sure you have someone readily available to respond. Responses should take minutes, not hours. If you only want to staff social media responses for a certain amount of time, then you can clearly lay that out on your social media pages and your website.
One example of a site that uses social media to interact with customers is Chegg, which is a company that provides textbooks and rentals to college students. Whenever a student has a question, he or she can tweet out the question and tag @CheggHelp. Staff will answer promptly during business hours.
- Offer Multilingual Chat Options
We are living in a truly global economy, so offering multiple language options for your chat is a great idea. If your target audience speaks English or Spanish, then you’ll want to staff your live chat with both types of speakers and train them thoroughly on your products and policies. You would then use routers to send the consumer to the appropriate chat technician.
- Target Specific Needs
Another thing you can do is trigger live chat when a customer is on a specific product page. This requires making each chat highly targeted to that item. So, if a customer is searching for boots and lands on a page for rain boots, the chat might pop up and ask if the customer wants tall or short rain boots. It might ask what the customer will use them for and give a specific product recommendation.
An example of a site using this type of targeted live chat is Ruffwear. The company sells active wear and other items for canine companions. You will find things such as lifejackets, winter boots and vehicle restraint harnesses. Knowing which item to choose can be daunting at times. During business hours, chat boxes will pop up as you browse through the site, offering help with various things, such as finding the right boot and fit for your pooch.
The number of companies offering live chat continues to increase from month to month. New AI advances and increasing competitors in the global market make providing excellent customer service more important than ever. If you pay close attention to your live chat features, you can stand out from the competition by using them in a creative way that puts your customers first.
Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest design trends and always has a cup of coffee nearby. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Starting a WordPress Blog
Copywriter for Go Media
Co-Owner & C.E.O. of Law Firm Ghost Writer
We heard the news. You just launched your own blog. Congratulations! A whole new world has just opened up for you.
Have you just launched your website and brand new blog? This tends to be a very exciting, albeit nerve-wracking time. So much to do, so much to explore. Yet where do you begin?
How to Audit Your Blog & Get Rewarded for Doing So
Have you ever taken a journey through your company blog, only to find yourself lost in a sea filled with content – some old, some new, some great, some…not so much? If so, it’s time to dive deep and do some work at cleaning up your content.
How to Build a Successful Email List
We all want to create an email list that matters, but doing so takes some know-how. Here are some of our suggestions for cultivating a community of email subscribers.
Building a brand is serious business. One that takes insight, perseverance, personality, and patience.
Questions to ask yourself when hiring a freelancer
There are a lot of great freelance designers out there. Whether it is web designer, graphic designer, user experience designer or mobile interface designer. Each has different skill set, expertise and knowledge to offer so you can not hire a graphic designer to do user experience design for you.
With the demand of designers, you need to know exactly what you are looking for to find the best candidate for you. You can’t just invite applicants to interview for the position because you might just end up wasting your time or the time of the applicant.
In that sense, you should have a guided list to know beforehand you decide to look for a freelance designer.
Here are our questions to ask yourself when hiring a freelancer:
What do you need?
This is a very straightforward question. You can answer it yourself but there are still some areas you need to look into to qualify what you need. For example, you need someone with related experience working on the project you will assign to the freelance designer.
This is very important to identify before you invite to interview your applicants for the position to know the following:
- What interview questions you will prepare
- How much salary range you will offer
- Work expectations from the freelance designer
Once you have identified this qualification, you will be able to separate the experienced or inexperienced freelance designers to apply for the position.
How much can you give?
Some freelance designers often charge higher than the others. You need to specify the range of compensation you are willing to offer for the position before you hire someone. If you fail to do this, your offer might end up being rejected by the designer you desired to hire for the position.
Unfortunately, the whole application process will be put into waste before you know it. This is a matter of prediction versus expectation. You can’t hire someone with excellent work experience and offer a small rate of compensation because they already know how much their worth.
If you are going to hire experienced freelance designers, you should meet their standard rates before you attempt to contact them. Some freelance designers provide a list of price for the service they offer so this can give you an idea of how much you should be budgeting to hire a freelancer.
How long is your timeframe?
This separates the inexperienced and experienced candidates. If you have a deadline for the project you are working on. You should expect to hire the one with excellent designing experience because the possibilities of making revisions on the output of your designers.
While revisions are inevitable, the is a high difference between work of experienced with inexperienced freelance designers.
One given difference is experienced designers have completed several projects already and they already know what they are doing such as the can easily follow a given instructions with good design humor.
Compare to inexperienced designers, you can expect to get the work done but there is a possibility that you might need to do some quick fix on the output which does not qualify with the time sensitivity of the project.
Do you have time to train?
Another important ask yourself is do you have time to train? If you are hiring a freelance designer to help you do the job, probably you don’t have the time. However, if you have a very limited budget, you can offer the job to an inexperienced candidate and offer to train as added benefit.
This may not be very ideal but if you are looking to save for other expenses, this might be a good tactic to help you find the person you will train with low compensation rate. But you can also save time training by giving document such as Adobe CC cheat sheets.
Do you have time to explain?
This is for both experienced and inexperienced candidates. You will have to do this otherwise. If you hire someone with an excellent experience related for the job, you might just give a documented guidelines to follow throughout the project timeframe.
For example, you can use project management platforms such as Basecamp or Trello to assign the tasks divided into pieces. By doing this approach, you can minimize the time explaining to your freelance designer of what output you are expecting to see because of the work schedule outline on the platforms.
There is a difference between hiring a fulltime employee or hiring a freelancer. But one thing is for sure. You can’t afford to hire the wrong person for the job. No matter what position or status of employment there is to it, you should be know from the beginning who to interview, how much to give and expectations from the people you’ll hire.