Month: July 2017

SEO strategies
Digital Branding

7 Basic SEO Rules You Can’t Afford to Forget

Search engine optimization is not as simple as it used to be a few years ago. However, one thing that has remained a constant throughout is valuable user experience. All search engines focus on providing high quality, useful and practical content to users. For big-money marketing, the focus of your SEO strategies should be entirely upon providing a worthy user experience, which is why you always need to keep upgrading your SEO techniques.

No matter how much you drill modern SEO techniques into your business practices, there is always room for improvement. If you’re completely clueless about where to start with SEO, this quick tutorial by Codeless should be able to put you in the right direction. When applying advanced SEO rules, there is a need to ensure that you do not skip some basic rules, including the following.

1.  Relevancy

Search engines demand relevant content from you. Initially, keywords were used to showcase relevancy to Google crawlers. However, Google algorithms have become more intelligent now. These crawlers not only check the keywords’ relevancy with the topic, but they also check the relevancy of one keyword with others before optimizing your content.

Google and other search engine optimize strictly niche-based content only. For example, orange is a fruit and a clothing line as well. Crawlers compare the keyword ‘orange’ with other keywords in the content to optimize it for an audience looking for clothes or fruit. Audience and niche relevant SEO strategy is the key to optimizing your content.

2. Site Speed

Site speed and bounce rates have always worked parallel to each other for optimizing your content. Fast loading speed of your site retains user interest and reduces the bounce rate. Google introduced Mobilegeddon to optimize mobile-friendly websites and prioritize these websites over others for SERPs.

Accelerated Mobile Page is another project of Google and Twitter, purposed to make fast mobile-friendly web pages. It is a condensed form of HTML used for developing web pages that are fast loading – the key purpose is to reduce the loading speed of a web page. Considering these facts, you cannot afford to ignore the speed of your web pages on any platforms, including desktop, laptop, mobile and tablets.

3. Internal Linking

Google has tightened its rules for external linking for white hat SEO. However, there is still some leeway when it comes to internal linking. Once you improve the site speed and reduce loading time to 2 seconds or less, the next step is to engage visitors.

Internal linking not only engages the visitors and keeps them on your website for a longer time, but also improves your site rankings. This is because it provides visitors with relevant reading options and increases optimization opportunities for your primary keywords. Also, it allows Google crawlers to fetch more information from your website and deem the content as trustworthy.

4. H1 Tags

During early SEO years, search engines started the research process from H1 tags. This process is still in effect. Although search engines crawlers use semantic indexing techniques to fetch content from your web pages, they still start from H1 tags. This simply means that to optimize your content, you should always start from a well-crafted H1 tag.

5. Consistency

If the bounce rate of a website equals the number of visitors arriving at your landing pages, Google crawlers automatically decrease your rankings. Similarly, if you update your web pages once in a blue moon, your web pages will be blacklisted after some time. Google translates consistency as an effort to keep your visitors updated, and counts it as a positive SEO practice.

seo-practices-for-your-website

6.  Backlinking

We have always been told that the number of links on your website is equal to its rank on SERPs. Links can help build audience interest. However, if you put too many backlinks in your content, the audience may lose interest, resulting in increased bounce rate. Similarly, missing out on an important link can lead to reduced visitors. The right balance of quality and informative links in your content is necessary.

Let’s use CareerCrawlers.com as an example. If the webmaster wanted to rank better in Google for keywords related to CNA testing, an example anchor text to use is “CNA Practice Tests“. You want to be careful not to reuse the anchor text over and over again however. Natural backlink profiles mean highly varied anchor text.

7. Size of Content

Around five years ago, Google considered a 300-word document long enough for optimizing your website. Today, semantic indexing techniques of SEO require longer copies to evaluate the quality of your content. The size of your content matters even if you dislike SEO rules, you cannot optimize your website without following them. Therefore, posts of around 800-word posts are necessary for making your content eligible for optimizing on SERPs.

Needless to say, it is important to ensure that you cater to all types of audiences. If your website is not optimized for mobile audiences, this is the right time to make it mobile-friendly.

SaaS Branding

5 Tips for Building Web Presence on a Limited Budget

In today’s competitive online environment, building a powerful presence on the web is a critical step in achieving your business goals. In order to enhance your brand and increase visibility online, you must ensure that you are noticed and ranked highly by search engines. Regardless of how much you have to spend, the following tips can help you get started and begin driving the right traffic to your website.

Optimize For Your Audience

For many small businesses, investing in online advertising targeted directly at your preferred demographic is the most efficient way to increase revenue. Having a unique selling proposition is one of the most tried and true concepts in the marketing industry. It applies to online as well as conventional advertising. Make it clear that you are offering something that your competition cannot match!

audience

Having the correct key performance indicators is an important element of your tactical plan. Create a series of KPIs that is simple, easy to understand and directly related to an increase in your company’s bottom line. Pay attention to metrics that are performing especially well. For example, cost per conversion is often one of the most dynamic metrics for a growing business. Once you have identified the root causes of your most successful KPIs, you’ll be able to focus your energy more efficiently on enhancing your company’s performance.

Create a Budget for SEM

Paid search engine marketing methods are an essential component of your online marketing strategy. Following a budget for SEM allows you to take control over the keywords that will drive traffic. Depending on how much you decide to spend, your SEM budget can also dictate where your business appears within the search results.

One of the biggest advantages of SEM is that it allows you to determine the precise amount of money you are willing to spend. You can set your budget according to how much you wish to spend each day or for each click. You can even make a down payment that serves as credit, or you can use a prepaid credit card to pay as you go.

Start by researching the SEM programs offered by major search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing. They all provide SEM plans that are effective and easy to use. Next, write competitive ad copy that stands out from the crowd. Emphasize your strengths. Stress concepts such as free shipping, complimentary design services or unsurpassed inventory.

Gain the Right SEO Traffic

The best organic web traffic is free of charge, and you can achieve it through search engine optimization tactics. Begin by writing guest blogs for reliable sites that will direct blog readers back to your primary web presence. Existing sites in categories related to your niche are frequently looking for guest bloggers to lend them their expertise.

Your goal should be to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Once you have achieved that goal, demand for your guest blog posts will rise. To start, aim for publishing one guest blog post each month. As you pick up momentum, you will be able to leverage your extra traffic into new customers.

Create Fresh, Original Content

Keeping an eye on the latest big news items, reacting quickly, and writing insightful commentary can go a long way in gaining favorable spots on search engine results pages. Remember that Google’s algorithm favors fresh, original content.

tech-blogs

That means if you are among the first to post a clever reaction to a hot topic, you can attract a lot of extra web traffic. If your post inspires viral sharing and natural linking, you will benefit even more. According to industry experts, new traffic and engagement are two of the most significant factors that signal freshness to search engine algorithms.

Focus on Fast Mobile Speeds

According to Google, more than half of all search queries worldwide now originate from mobile devices. As a result, sites that load quickly on mobile devices and are easy to read on mobile devices are rewarded in search results. If your site loads slowly or is not mobile-friendly, you can be sure that your search results are not performing optimally. Update your site ASAP so it works efficiently on mobile devices.

Building a strong web presence won’t happen overnight – it takes time to cultivate, much like a flower garden or treasured bonsai. And the best part is you can gain the traffic your company needs to thrive on a budget big or small.  By using the right tools, a little creativity and a balanced approach, you can establish yourself online without breaking the bank.


Beth Kotz is a contributing writer to Credit.com. She specializes in covering financial advice for female entrepreneurs, college students and recent graduates. She earned a BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where she continues to live and work.

brand-name
Digital Branding

Powerful Ways To Create A Brand Name That Really Thrives In A Competitive Industry

 

While the term ‘brand’ conjures up plenty of marketing-speak, let’s keep things simple by defining branding as it is → your brand is what tells your customer what to expect from you and how you’re different from the other businesses operating in the same industry.

However, branding itself is not easy. Looking at any industry, there are plenty of multi-billion-dollar businesses with near-infinite marketing budgets, and trying to build your business’s brand from scratch can seem like an impossibility. Yet, many small businesses continue to surprise us, by using clever tactics to set themselves apart.

Not every business is built with a brand new idea that’s never been executed on before. Chances are, your business has plenty of competition, and your product (or service) is just one more in a plethora of options available to your competition. Unless your brand name is strong, you’ll be lost in the crowd, and forced to compete only on price, before you eventually perish. To ensure your business stands a fighting chance, here are some tips on creating a brand name and brand that is successful.

Great Tips For Creating A Brand Name That Sells

Analyze Competitors + Keep It Simple

Before coming up with any name for your new business, it’s a good idea to first take a look at your largest competitor brand names. As an example, let’s take a look at the fast food industry. If you’re a new fast food business franchise you may have competition from:

  • McDonalds
  • Hungry Jacks
  • Red Rooster
  • Burger King

If you take a look at these names what do they all have in common? They’re simple and memorable names. Creating a new brand name should be something that’s memorable, easy to remember, and something that is one, two or three words long. Any longer than this and you risk being forgotten. Longer names tend to be hard to remember and can be tiresome to say. For example:

Mrs. Pickles Specialty Hot Pies

This could be shortened to

Mrs. Pickles Pies

As you can see the second brand name is easier to remember than the first one, thus is easier to remember for your potential customers. This is why some brands such as Ford, Toyota, Uber, Windows, Apple, and other one liners work extremely well because they’re easy to remember and they also offer great products or services as well.

Use Complimentary Wording

When using words together to create a strong brand name, it’s important to make sure they complement one another and it doesn’t feel awkward when saying the name. For example:

  • Awkward: Burger Sword
  • Complimentary: Burger King

If you look at many large brand names with multiple words, you’ll find some have one thing in common. They have a descriptive word, and a noun. Example of the fast food restaurants:

  • Hungry Jacks
  • Red Rooster

Hungry and red both are descriptive words that help to lift the noun and make it more memorable because it gives a visual picture in your customers head. When creating a brand name, depending on your overall industry, try to put nouns and descriptive words (adjectives) together and see what you can come up with that may help envision your dream business name.

Make Sure It Looks Good On Paper

Before finalizing your brand name, you also need to make sure it looks good on paper and as a domain name online. The idea of this is because it will be seen and printed many times, and it needs to look good with the initial design and layout. When considering the design and layout here’s some things to remember:

  • Use simple drawings and colours to help create a more memorable brand logo. Complex logos aren’t as memorable as the single word or simple drawing designs.
  • Make sure the brand name looks good if you wrapped it around merchandise or promotional products. While you may not start out with promotional products, you still need to make sure it looks good for future reference.
  • Will it look good on different media mediums: Eg: billboards, flyers, magazines, webpage etc.

Sounding good and looking good on paper are two separate things. This is why it’s so important to really draw out some logo design options to make sure you can create a name and design that will be remembered years from now.

3 Power Steps For Brand Success

Laying The Foundation

In order to build a brand after the name has been decided that not only finds its way to the top of your target audience’s minds, but also increases your bottom-line while keeping the competition at bay, you must remember that your brand is not just about your logo. Or what a nice office space you have. Or even how awesome your website is. In order to get started on building your brand’s presence in a competitive industry, you must have a clear understanding of your:

  • Brand – What is/are your product/services, organizational values, vision and mission?
  • Target Audience – Know your target market inside and out. In fact, the more information you have, the better. We might even suggest that you build a ‘customer persona’ so you know exactly whom you’re targeting.
  • Competition – What are they offering? How are they differentiating themselves? What are their marketing strategies? Again, be as thorough as possible with your research.

Once you have the above information, you’re in a strong position to start building a brand strategy. Remember, as simple and obvious as the above seems, many businesses skip this step in a hurry to get with the ‘shiny’ aspects of marketing.

Define Your Brand

The moment you try to be everything for everyone, you’ve lost the game. Using the information, you collected in the above step, you will have a clear idea of where your business stands, strengths, weaknesses and plenty of competitor-related information. Now it is time to take the following steps and clearly define your brand:

brand image

What are the one (or two) things you want your brand to be known for (e.g. Google – Search, Uber – convenient transport). This will also be your unique selling point. It can be awesome customer service (e.g. Zappos) or a revolutionary addition to an existing product

  • How will the above help you differentiate your brand from those of your competition?
  • What qualities and feelings do you want your customers to have when they think of your brand?

Marketing Communications

Now that you’ve built a solid foundation, it’s time to put pen to paper and get to work on the “face” of your business. Don’t hold back. Let your creative juices flow. Remember, no brand stands out by being conservative. Look at your competition and identify ways in which you can differentiate your brand. Now, it’s time to work on your logo and other marketing collaterals:

  • What colors do you wish to use, that will help show off the personality of your brand while also differentiating yourself from competing brands?
  • Design a memorable logo and keep in mind that you will be using it everywhere. So, try to minimize or eliminate complex designs.
  • Establish brand guidelines so that all your communications will be consistent with your branding
  • Design your website in line with your logo and brand colors
  • Ensure all your marketing material such as social media profiles, leaflets, advertising etc. are consistent with your brand

Many businesses jump to this step directly. Step 3 is only as strong as the effort you put into Steps 1 and 2.

Conclusion

The above steps will help you get started in the branding game and build a solid foundation based on which you can launch your marketing efforts. If you look at any industry, the brands that are killing it and truly setting themselves apart from the competition are the ones who have done their homework on their market, product offering and competition. They understand that a brand goes way beyond a sleek logo and flashy website.

What challenges have you faced when trying to differentiate your business from your competition?


Bill Sheikh – Owner/Founder

I am the founder of U-Thrive Marketing. U-Thrive Marketing is one of the premier online marketing and website design firms in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Myself and my company have helped hundreds of companies across the US put their business on the map online and offline. I specialize in generating customers for the businesses I work with by utilizing proven online marketing tactics such as SEO, PPC & Social Media. I have been personally featured on many national and local publications with features and articles related to online marketing.

Digital Branding

How Social Media Can Scale Up or Down the Brand Image

Social media has developed as an integral part of our lives keeping us stick to our screens for hours connecting with people around the world. Which started as an entertainment tool, has now become the most powerful measure in brand promotion and marketing. It is pragmatic to start a business and make it known to others through social media marketing. While social media empowers businesses to increase their traffic, reach and leads, it can damage a brand image if not used properly.

Developing a brand image is important for making people aware of the product or service and enticing them towards that particular product or service range. Both small and large scale companies have been spending a huge amount of time and money on creating, retaining and improving their brand image.     Traditionally, the organizations have been able to control their brand image, to some extent, through their communications but the scenarios have changed and brands are now what other people say about them. The companies can only attempt to create a positive impression in the mind of the people with advertising and marketing campaigns.

Social media marketing plays a pivotal role in increasing brand visibility and communicating the message to the masses breaking the geographical boundaries to reach the audience worldwide. With every post, tweet, retweet, like, share and comment, people get a message about your brand.

The majority of the people use social networking sites to communicate and exchange their thoughts and opinion about anything. So obviously, if they have used your product or service, they will share their experience and give an opinion in this regards. Getting favorable comments and recommendations can have a positive impact on people’s perception of your brand.

social media

Unfortunately, if any of the users have a bad experience with your service or product, you can imagine how dangerous it can be for your brand image. So, make sure you remain honest and reliable while communicating anything about your brand. If you falsely represent your product or service, you will be liable for the damage to corporate image leading a downfall in sales and profitability.

How Social Media Makes Your Brand Image

Social media branding let you access more and more people to promote your company and top products/services. The continuous promotional happenings can develop the brand awareness in minds of your target audience, and whenever they would be in need to purchase a product, the memory of your product will click in their mind. Presenting your brand in an effective way before millions of people on social media can turn them into your potential customers.

Trust building

An effective social media marketing strategy enables you to create a vibrant communication portal between the corporate and the customers. It is highly recommended for the businesses to develop a healthy relationship with their customers staying connected and getting their feedback or suggestions for the successful operations and online reputation of the firm. If your customer base feels satisfied, they will favorably share more about your product that can attract more users to your website to get detailed information about it.

Increased traffic on your site

The social media campaign helps you attract more and more visitors to your website to attain certain business objectives. For instance, if you inform your social media followers about your newly launched product or unusual discounts via emails or newsletters and engage them in upcoming promotional plans, it will bring more traffic to your website giving a lift to your profit.

Better search engine ranking

The more people will visit your website, the higher search engine ranking your website will get. So, stay interesting and make sure your message convinces the reader to actively participate in your campaign. If the reader would find your message interesting, it will share it with other contacts and promote the campaign on its own level. Ultimately, the brand awareness will enhance and company will make more money.

How Social Media Can Break Your Brand Image

Here are a few social media marketing mistakes that can damage your brand image. Before reading them we would like you to have a look on traditional content marketing strategies which may cause discredit your content marketing.

 

Not responding appropriately to negative feedback

The worst mistake your social media manager can make is not responding to negative feedback appropriately. No matter how superb your product is or how diligently you are providing services, there would be some cases when you will have to face negative feedback. You can ignore it, or fight back with your customer. Whatever you choose will say a lot about your brand. Rather than ignoring or deleting these comments respond promptly and positively so you do not spoil your customer base.

Promoting your product too much

Though it is free to spread a message through social media, it does not mean that you keep pushing your marketing messages. If your target audience is getting annoyed of your continuous promotional posts, it can have a negative influence on your brand image. Post interesting and engaging content 80 percent of the time, and promote your brand 20 percent of the time.

Imperfect social media marketing strategy

When and how often you will post on your social media page? What will be your profile picture and cover photo? How will you respond to negative comments or feedback? How would you answer the frequently asked questions? Your social media strategy must have the answers to all these questions. A poorly planned strategy will leave you unresponsive before your furious customers that can definitely hurt your brand image.

Inefficient customer care

Customer care is more about turning a complaining customer into a fan by dealing them and managing their complaint properly. Sometimes a well-handled complaint is more useful for the business reputation that a good comment. Unfortunately, if your customer care service is not well trained there are probabilities that they can say something or make customer saying something negative about the business.

While social media enables you to communicate with more and more people worldwide for brand awareness, it also puts a burden on you to keep more populaces satisfied because a tiny comment can make or break your brand image.


Author Bio
Brooke is a tech geek and digital parenting expert. She manages content at www.theonespy.com. She writes mostly about latest technology news, product reviews, and social media norms. Her recently published article at TheOneSpy blog is wide social media presence.

work culture
Digital Branding

Creating A Workspace Culture With Your Employees In Mind

Is your workspace culture employee-oriented? Are your employees satisfied with their workspace? If you asked around your office how everyone feels about their surroundings, not every answer is going to be positive. The fact is that in these modern times, often people aren’t happy with the place they are working in.

If you don’t update the workspace or ignore providing your employees with benefits, this is certainly going to be true. In result, their productivity will downfall, and your business efforts will suffer. Therefore, it is essential that you create a workspace culture that focuses on your employees.

Have a mission and a vision

Do you know where your company is going? It is vital that you have a mission and a vision of your company’s state and future. Define what your business is about, where it’s heading, and why it’s there in the first place.

By doing this, you will create a kind of compass. It will help you know which moves are right and which are wrong. Everyone in your company needs to be aligned with this. By knowing your mission and vision, your workers can actually feel like they are a part of it. They will be able to contribute to it, and feel like their contribution matters.

Without it, you and everyone else will feel like they’re lost at sea.

Have office design in mind

Office design is one of the essential aspects of how your workers feel about their workspace, and it can boost or diminish their productivity. You don’t want to be looking for cheap solutions. You also don’t want to go for an overcrowded space where people feel like they are in a jam.

productivity tips

As an employer, you want to provide your workers with a place where they can feel comfortable doing their jobs. An important aspect of this is providing them with ergonomic furniture. You need to think about your employees’ health.

Encourage social interaction

It is essential to encourage social relations between your employees, as they are important for them to feel like they are a part of a team and therefore satisfied. You should focus on creating a workspace that promotes communication. You can arrange workstations in a way that employees can interact with each other.

Furthermore, don’t forget about office celebrations and birthdays. Even when there isn’t a particular reason to celebrate, call everyone for a lunch together. You can even promote socialization outside office hours via volunteer programs. This is a chance for people to build relationships outside the office.

Think about hygiene and cleanliness

Proper hygiene and cleanliness are vital for every workplace, and they boost your employees’ productivity and morale. Working at a messy office full of clutter isn’t something anyone wants to do. You need to have your office space carefully thought of, and look for good storage solutions to keep the only the items that are actually necessary in the office.

Next to that, the cafeteria needs to provide various choices of healthy food. You need to hire a reliable company to get rid of pests that might be an issue in your offices, such as cockroaches. You don’t want the workspace to be a health hazard.

Build trust with your employees

Your workers want to be treated like people and not like robots which are assigned to finish tasks. Every person wants to be acknowledged for what they have done. That is why it is important that you form a relationship with them that has trust as its foundation.

productivity

They want to know that you believe them to do their job, and to know that their efforts have some worth. While constructive criticism is occasionally necessary, you need to make every employee feel like they are worth your trust and that they are a part of your company.

In summation

Your employees are the cogs of the machine that is your business, so it is essential that you create a workspace culture that focuses on them. They need to be satisfied with their workplace and feel like they are a part of the team. You need to prioritize their health and encourage social activities, in order for them to bond together, and be more productive at work.

How does today's branding work?
Digital Branding

Today’s Social World Branding

In today’s social media enriched society, many businesses assume they can do the branding and marketing themselves.  This could not be farthest from the truth.  Businesses, new or old, need help with their brand and marketing more than ever in our social world branding environment.

Remember there is a difference in brand and marketing.  Brand IS the Company and what you represent.  Branding includes everything about the company, from the tag line, to colors, to logo and more.

Marketing is the effort(s) put into making your brand known.

What are some practical tips that small businesses can take until they can hire a company or someone knowledgeable to assist with branding and marketing?  There are some things a business can do, especially in the social world, to help make their brand known.  This can even lay some groundwork for help later.

Branding Tips Include:

  1. Audience – who are you trying to reach?
  2. Consistency – are you consistently putting out articles, blogs, posts and more?
  3. Hashtags – be sure to make use of hashtags for the industry you are in and your company name, as well as, who the brand wants to reach.
  4. Focus – there must be a focus, not simply putting out a massive amount of data or arbitrary posts.

Audience

An important factor to reaching others with your brand is to make sure that you are targeting the right audience.  Too many people and companies throw so much up on social media but do not try to reach a specific audience. They are casting a net that is too wide and, if anything anyone is reached, it is usually by mere accident. 

To begin targeting the right audience you must think like the person(s) or company you are trying to reach.  Who would be your perfect client? Even consider some of your current or past clients that were a great fit. Assign a name and characteristic to your ‘ideal client’.

There are many good ways to write up a profile of your ‘Ideal Client’ that a simple Google Search can assist in finding.  Many go to the trouble of drawing or sketching their ideal client (often also called a ‘Buyer Persona’).  There are many templates that can help you through the process of finding out ‘who is your ideal client?’.

Consistency

It is impossible to build a brand, especially in the social media world of today, without being consistent.  There are too many images, sounds, and videos on social media to make an impact if you are not always making sure you are branding your work and shares. 

Inconsistency breeds confusion.

Consistency not only applies to branding all posts but also applies significantly to how much you share.  The company must post on a regular basis whether you want to or not, whether you have material or not.

A couple of ways to keep consistent posting:

Use a scheduler for curated content – this can be Buffer, HootSuite, Social Pilot or others.  In the past Buffer was our go-to, but recently changed to Social Pilot and must admit is much better with awesome options at reasonable pricing. You can even find out the best times to post with these programs and set it as scheduled and leave it.

Create content ahead of time.  When there are a few extra minutes somewhere (I know it is unusual for a business owner), but sit for 5-15 minutes and capture quotes or write a blog, even record a few tips on your phone or computer and schedule it to post when needed.

Post at least a few times a day.  It used to be good practice to just post a few times a week. That is no longer the case.  Think of all the images and videos that come across one of your platforms in a day.  It really would be impossible to know a brand without seeing it often.  It can take 7 touch points before someone will begin to think about doing business with your brand.  How will they be able to have those if they only see 1-2 posts from the brand every other day?  It certainly will not stick in the mind unless consistent.

Hashtags

Yes, use hashtags!  Those little ‘#’ symbols before wording and separate them with a comma.  Be sure to decide on a hashtag for the company prior to beginning to use.  Shorten the name, if it is a long name, and if able include the local city. For instance, our local networking group is eWomenNetwork and we are in Richmond, Virginia.  The organization is International, so our hashtag is  #ewnrva.

Be sure to use hashtags related to the industry you are in and where your ideal client will be hanging out.  If the person your company is trying to reach is in groups of sales, then you would include #sales or #salestips possibly.  There are many articles regarding the use of hashtags, so if curious about more information they are easy to find.

Focus

Finally, Focus is key.  When doing social world, branding keep focused on the core values and brand of the company.  This includes curated content and other posts you share.  If your company is a marketing company trying to reach lawyers, you do not want to share how your grandchild just cut his first tooth on your company page.  Keep focused on the goals set and keep the brand and colors the same in all you share as much as possible. Others will soon recognize the articles and posts you share on online as coming from your company. 

It is very easy to become sidetracked and distracted on social media.  Therefore, the focus should also apply when online sharing.  Set a timer or even as soon as finished doing the company work, just disengage.  Save it for personal time, otherwise, three hours go by without your realizing. Be mindful and focused on the people you are trying to reach.  Try to think from their perspective and what they will want to see or what would be helpful to them.

Social media can be very successful for many brands.  Although it is recommended to hire a professional, it is understandable that small businesses, starting out, may want to try some of these steps themselves.  Be mindful while you are on social media that you represent the brand. When able, hire a professional to assist your company with their social world branding.

—————-

Tammy Durden is President & Founder of Tammy’s Office Solutions.  Tammy’s Office Solutions helps micro, small and enterprise businesses in bookkeeping, digital marketing (brand, social media+), virtual assistant services (OBM, Presentations+) and Writing Services.  Tammy loves empowering disabled professionals to work by assisting their clients to achieve success.

Digital Branding

Gumtree Australia Evolving With Brand New Logo

 

GumTree

Gumtree Australia New Logo

 The Australian arm of world renowned classifieds website Gumtree, has replaced its dated old logo with a sleek and modern design.

The fresh new logo on the Gumtree Australia site keeps the heart and soul of the original logo, whilst eliminating unnecessary visuals.

It has been crucial for the company to cultivate their online community. After a lot of market research, results showed that many consumers had negative feelings towards the previous company logo.

Feedback received stated the old logo lacked significance and was a little too chaotic for the modern day online shopper. Therefore, Gumtree hired design and branding connoisseurs Koto, to create something more in line with today’s online consumers.

The original design encapsulated a Eucalyptus or Gum tree. The gum tree belongs to the Eucalypt family and reflects natural connotations of stability and growth.

However as mentioned, it looked visually hectic and has not been changed much since Gumtree’s inception.

The tree is essential to the Gumtree brand, so the brief required that this remain. The tree has now been positioned and designed in a way that enhances recognition. The fresh new tree design can scale up or down on mobile devices or billboards.

The ideas for the new design kept three main criteria in mind; simplicity, digital and modern.

Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Gumtree Australia’s new logo uses very simplistic geometric shapes to represent the gum tree. It uses a bright green color for emphasis.

As a giant of classified websites, the new logo finally reflects Gumtree Australia’s digitally innovative and sophisticated development.

The logo is now streamlined and functional, improving brand perception and reflecting the usability of the site.

Consumers use Gumtree to find something to buy, or post an ad to sell a service or product. 80% of Gumtree consumers use the website from their mobile device, so the new logo had to be simple, but recognizable.

Before settling on the final design, Koto presented Gumtree with eight options to choose from. The new logo was decided upon based on user feedback.

The new logo has been met with a lot of positivity from designers.

Logo Tree

Source: Pixabay

What has been most significant about the entire process is that Gumtree adapted and transformed their logo in response to user opinion.

Although it is occasionally risky to put your business decisions in the hands of your customers, this rebrand process proves that Gumtree is essentially a customer-driven business, that are willing to take on customer feedback and act on it.

Local Branding

Brilliant Tips for Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are a very important part of the wedding ceremony. However, they can also bring a lot of stress. They must be designed, mailed, and RSVP cards must be collected. They announce your wedding and advise you of who will attend and what their food choices are. This can be the difference in preparing food for 100 guests or for 200 guests. The difference is a lot of expense.

Today’s bride is in a unique position. Until recent years the wedding rules of etiquette were written in stone. It was tacky and tasteless to change the standard invitations and you had to include all of the accessories. The family of the bride would be embarrassed. You would be the talk of the town and you’re standing in the community would not get off to a good start.

The modern couple knows their wedding is theirs alone. They have options past generations did not have. Invitations are being customized to match the style of the actual wedding. There is nothing wrong with using a casual design for the vineyard wedding where the groomsmen will wear jeans. You can skip the ivory paper with gold or black print and use colors. The colors should match the colors of your wedding. Like your brand, you should use the same colors on your wedding social media sites.

The wording does not have to be strictly formal. In fact, a very formal invitation to a less than formal wedding is quite confusing for your guests.

Consider the function of the item you are working on. The invitation is to announce your wedding and ask people to join you. It should be in your style and taste and include the necessary information. If it does, then it is “right”. The RSVP card is to advise you of who will attend so you can plan. Make sure they serve their purpose and go with it.

Remember the only people that need be impressed are you and groom.

We will share with you tips from brides, printers, and others who know first hand about the challenges of wedding invitations.

wedding-invitations

Pro Tips

  1. Theo, Development Manager of Eventrii offers this tip.
    “In our experience due to a common problem of lack of RSVP’s to invitations, we have found that giving your guests sufficient time and a simple clear channel to RSVP generates the best response. Typically, no less than 6 weeks allows your guests to make arrangements so they can attend your special day. Using Eventrii allows organizers to send well-designed invitations with a QR code that allows guests to respond at any time using their electronic device and only takes a few seconds to do. It also generates a guest list for the organizer.”
  2.  Demi Mist, creator of Beauty and The Mist gives this advice.
    “Your wedding invitations should be sent to your guests at least six weeks before the big day. This way your friends and relatives will have enough time to arrange a couple of days off work or book a hotel room if necessary. The sooner they know, the better!”
  3. DOM Barnard, of Virtuals Speech, tells us.
    “While it’s important to match the design of the invitation with your personality and wedding theme, don’t get too carried away with fancy fonts. The purpose of your invitation is to provide details of your wedding and where the guest can RSVP so make sure that your font isn’t so elaborate that it’s difficult to read what the invite actually says. It’s best to stick to a more simple font or traditional calligraphy style that everyone can easily read, and ensure that the font colour contrasts enough with the background so that the purpose of your invite is clear.”
  4. Professional, Lizzy D. Lee of DoLeeNoted.com explains money saving techniques.
    “Coming from someone who made all 291 of her wedding invitations on a budget, my best advice for DIY invitations is to create the wording template on Microsoft Word or Microsoft Powerpoint and then print them in bulk at Staples. You can bring your own cardstock to print onto, or you can use the cardstock Staples has available. I also included RSVP links on my invitations in lieu of postcards to further save on postage and printing costs, although I did include printed postcards for guests who are not as tech-savvy and aren’t as comfortable clicking a URL to RSVP.”

 

How To Create A Video Advertisement That Works?
Digital Branding

Real Talk: How To Make A Video Advertisement That Influences

This is a guest post from Gary Cain of Memory Tree, a video production company that works with high tech firms in Austin, Texas and Waterloo, Ontario. Over the last two decades, they’ve produced thousands of videos, from 30-second National TV commercials to 20-minute orientation videos produced in 18 languages and everything in between.
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Times are A-Changin’

When you’re creating a promotional video, there’s a temptation to stick with the same old format we’ve been seeing for years — the classic booming announcer’s voice, grand statements, and a smiling homemaker washing pans with fragrant dish soap. The trouble is, the classic ad format doesn’t work like it used to. According to a recent Marketo survey, nearly two-thirds of consumers are sick and tired of the hard-sell.  The classic ad format is seen as insincere and their messages just aren’t seen as credible. The times have changed, and consumers are now rewarding brands that communicate with authentically. The days, people are only responding positively to real talk.

Nobody Trusts your CEO

No matter how inspiring and earnest your CEO, a message directly from him or her may still fall flat. When you have a personal vested interest in selling your product, people will be skeptical of everything you say. The solution? Let someone else do the talking for you.

Choose a Champion

Find a champion — a customer that’s not only willing but eager to talk about how your product or service has enriched their life.  To convince consumers that your product is worthwhile, it helps to hear it from somebody who is just like them. 

In this video for Westmount Golf & Country Club by Memory Tree, a lifelong member shares his personal story.

 

 

If you’re a little misty-eyed after watching that, you’ve experienced firsthand the powerful impact that a lightly branded advertisement can have on a viewer.  This advertisement is effective because of its authenticity; a real person sharing a personal story about his life and family.  The golf course is another character in the greater narrative. The drone footage of the mist over the greens and sound-ups of the birds are there to convey that this is a special place. It’s the quiet backdrop that facilitates important moments of father-son bonding and communication. Instead of a cheesy slogan followed by a “sign up today” call to action, Westmount simply adds their name briefly at the end – a light touch that completes an authentic message.

Conclusion 

People crave authenticity. If you believe your product has made a positive impact in the lives of your clients, let one of them become your champion in your next advertisement. By allowing someone else to tell a real story that involves your brand, you will gain the trust and the business of your target audience.

Building a social media presence
Digital Branding

The Branding Power Of A Strong Social Media Presence

This is a guest post from Pamela Henning of Tresnic Media, a digital agency that helps brands implement growth marketing systems that turn strangers into customers. Her experience in social media is vast, so we got a chance to pick her brain a bit – read away!

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Social media is one of the most powerful tools companies have at their disposal. It allows them to frame themselves in just the right lighting. Companies who maintain a consistent presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest are more successful than their competitors who don’t.

These social media platforms help to increase brand exposure, leverage credibility, close cold conversions, capture referrals, and overall increase cash flow and customer engagement.

Increase brand awareness through social media presence

It isn’t rocket science, it’s simple math.

A greater social media presence creates a greater opportunity to be recognized. More impressions equal more brand exposure, which makes your company more popular and credible.

For example, suppose you want to be hired as a keynote for a conference. Most event planners start their search for credible candidates the same place we do when we’re looking for answers–Google. By establishing an online presence through social media, you’re more likely to rank higher on search engines, increase your popularity, expand your following, and improve your chances of being seen as an industry leader.

Leverage credibility

So you’re not the most credible source yet–no one knows about your little company. What if you’re an entrepreneur and Mark Cuban retweets you? Or Gary Vaynerchuk? What does that say about your brand to their audience? What does that say to your audience?

Social media is powerful stuff. It’s the easiest way to leverage credibility. One of the biggest challenges any business can face is creating trust. Social media posts connect you to industry leaders and their following. Their “share” is a non-committal way that they can endorse your product, increasing your credibility. Something as slight as a retweet could open a huge door for new leads to come pouring through.

Close cold conversions

Let’s say a potential customer has identified their problem and is evaluating potential solution providers. If you have a social media presence (blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and your competitor doesn’t, who do you think is going to gain their trust and capture their attention? You. If you and your competitor both have a social media presence, but your content is better than your competitors, who do you think will win? You. Again! So much winning, because you understand the importance of managing your brand with an active online presence.

Capture referral

People don’t trust companies they don’t know, but they do trust reviews. Last year, a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 45% of digital buyers worldwide said that reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behavior.

Social media is the ultimate tool to promote positive customer experiences. You can do so by featuring customer testimonials or by simply responding to people who mention you. The best part about social media is that a little bit goes a long way. You don’t need to write a three page thank you letter to your customers, but favoriting one of their tweets will make you more human and, therefore, more likable.

Increase cash flow

In addition to establishing an online presence, leveraging credibility, and capturing referrals, social media can act as a funnel to your website, where you can convert strangers into customers.

If people like the things you are sharing and the personality of our company based on what they have gathered from your social media platforms, they will want to learn more. Social media is an excellent opportunity to nurture your customers through each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Improve customer engagement and satisfaction

Remember what I said about social media making companies more human? I meant it. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook literally give companies a voice. Better yet, they let companies have conversations. How a business interacts with not only their audience but the things that their audience is interested in makes them more relatable, more likable, and more trustworthy. Are you sensing a theme?

Check out some of my favorite (and most successful) social media accounts:

@Wendy’s Twitter
@burtsbees Facebook
@AlexandAni Pinterest
@RedBull Youtube