All posts by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.

Digital Branding

Brand Together: How to Make Your Personal Brand and Company Brand Work Together

It’s not every day I get to host an expert of Corey Smith’s caliber. His specialties vary from strategic marketing and business, web marketing and design, creative problem solving, to being a renowned author and speaker. Need help with these? Connect with Corey through his Linkedin or his agency Tribute Media.

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If you want people in your industry to consider you a thought leader, you need a distinct personal brand. If you want to be successful in business, you need a strong company brand.

So what if you want both? Do you have to put in double the effort?

Not exactly.

When you find ways to tie your personal brand into your company brand, a single effort can often do double duty.

Before I share my story of how I did just that, it’s worth mentioning that I’m pretty well-known for my stories. When my employees see me going into “story mode,” I get teased about needing a rocking chair and pipe or how they should all sit cross-legged in the story circle. So I guess you could say that “Story Corey” is part of my brand.

Bonus Material: See This How To Guide for Creating Your Personal Brand in 2017

Jumping on the Brand-Wagon

As I was building my home in 2007, I observed that the only requirement to be a contractor was to own a pickup truck and a dog. Later that year, as I was starting Tribute Media, I noted something similar about internet-related business. Generally, if you had a laptop and lost your job, your next move was to start some kind of web company–usually as a “social media guru.”

I’m not passing judgment. I was one of those people. I just didn’t call myself a guru.

As a small business owner building my company’s brand in the relatively small Boise, Idaho area, I was connecting with other local business owners through networking and working out of shared startup spaces. To pay my growing success forward, I started helping my fellow entrepreneurs by doing speaking engagements, volunteering my time and leading events like Startup Weekend. As I created awareness about Tribute Media, the brand of “Corey Smith: Entrepreneur” started taking on an identity of its own.

Then in 2011, I published a book. It was geared toward people like me: founders, CEOs, company leaders. The idea was to share with them the fundamentals that I taught my web development and web marketing clients. I sold it on Amazon and offered it as a gift to clients as well as guests at events where I was speaking.

Brand-Aid

In late 2016, while wearing my Tribute Media owner hat, I was working with my marketing team to brainstorm ideas for content we could offer on Tribute Media’s website. We knew we needed to provide something unique and valuable to get the right types of leads coming into the website (i.e. decision makers like owners and CEOs). With this in mind, I decided to start giving away my book. After all, people looking to us for direction on web marketing needed to first understand the fundamentals of web strategy anyway.

Because I wanted readers to learn how to *think* about things rather than how to *do* anything, the fundamentals I teach in the book haven’t changed in the six years since it was published. I can’t imagine them changing anytime soon either–after all, the first story in the book comes from 1911. Talk about evergreen content.

Branding Together

Once we started offering the book for free on our site, we were able to repurpose a lot of the content from the book to drive traffic to the landing page where people could claim their free copy. This content included:

* Graphics for social media

* Blog posts that used individual stories and examples from the book

* Key takeaways and quotes for short social media posts

* Tips for people who subscribe to our Tuesday Tips emails

Much of the book’s content came from my personal experiences and stories I told to illustrate the points in my presentations. By posting content on Tribute Media’s website and social platforms that was similar to what I was using to represent my personal brand, I could create a stronger connection between the two. The Tribute Media brand gained additional credibility when people saw a strong personal brand behind the company. And people who saw “Corey Smith” on conference and workshop agendas could see a successful company brand that proved my credibility as a speaker and adviser.

To date, Tribute Media has given away almost 200 copies of a book that began as a tool to build my personal brand. When someone receives a copy of the book, my team follows up with them. We point them to additional Tribute Media content that we think would interest them based on what we know about the “buyer persona” of a company owner, CEO or visionary.

Today, whether someone encounters Corey Smith or Tribute Media first, each brand lends credibility to the other. This lets me concentrate on finding other activities that will grow both brands.

If you’d like to learn more or see this process at work, you can get your own copy of “Do it Right: A C.E.O.’s Guide to Web Strategy”.

Productivity tips
Digital Branding

7 Tips for Staying Focused From Very Busy Bloggers

Lately, it seems that no matter how hard you try, something is always vying for your attention. Whether it’s an angry boss breathing down your neck, the PTA expecting you to volunteer at the next bake sale, or your spouse demanding more personal time and attention, your responsibilities never seem to end.

If your goal is to become a successful blogger and/or Internet entrepreneur someday, you’ll need to discover the best ways to achieve work/life balance. And even more important, you need to learn how to focus.

Without focus, you’ll experience many lonely and difficult nights staring at a blank computer screen. Instead of making progress, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about everything you should have accomplished during the day but didn’t because of a lack of focus.

As you can imagine, the above scenario has destroyed many entrepreneurial dreams in the past, but you do not need to fall victim to the lack of focus any longer.

To help you better navigate these rough waters, we’ll share seven powerful quotes from some very busy bloggers. They’ll help you stay on the path of focused attention that leads to Internet business success.

Our Favorite Tips For Staying Focused

1. At the start of each week, use Google Calendar and plan your week out, using only those activities that will help you reach your goals. Put down the most important tasks first in case you run out of time later in the week so you can catch up if need be.

Turn your tech off several hours before bed. Too often sleep is ignored and there are countless studies that you perform at a higher level when you’re well rested.

2. The best decision I ever made in learning to surf on top of my work-flow, instead of always feeling like I was in an uphill struggle with no light at the end of the tunnel, was mastering the self-management methodology in David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. Your mind is always perfectly focused; its never not focused unless you’re asleep or dead. You have to be strategic about what you allow your mind to focus on by proactively setting up your environment and reminder systems (aka ‘Todo lists’) so that your mind can only focus on what’s important”

3. I have set 5 mandatory rules to my own blogging routine after I felt like losing myself within the overwhelming chaos of a blogger’s life. Writing, publishing, sharing and engaging on social media platforms became rather a full-time job than a hobby, and that did just not feel right at all. With time you become a lot more organized and these 5 simple rules help me to stay motivated and productive:

1) No blogging at the weekend anymore!
2) No tv running in the background while writing!
3) Get up and take short breaks!
4) Probably the most important point for me is, that I have learned to say ‘NO’.
5) Last but not least, probably the best tip on increasing productivity: Love what you’re doing!

4. We’ve found that using a CRM like Buildertrend for home remodeling has allowed us to track our increase in sales and construction jobs. The software allows our office to be synced with anyone out in the field in real time on any device and has allowed our project managers to comfortable double their workload. The increase in productivity amongst our project managers has led to a decrease in hiring additional labor, which ultimately means our margins have increased year over year.

5. Take a Break – Giving yourself a break for a minute or two will certainly help you focus more. Stand up or just close your eyes and do a short breathing exercise and you’re golden. If time permits, take at least 20-25 mins break. You’ll be surprised!

6. Spend an hour before the start of every week to identify goals and plan tasks accordingly. Once you have each task written down, sort them by their ability to get you closer to your goals, whether you’re trying to drive more traffic, shares, income, etc. This guarantees your week to be truly productive and maximizes the time you’re spending working on your site.

7. I am traveling most of the time which is why I am always looking for ways on how to be more productive. I found out that planning my day ahead of time and doing the MIT (most important tasks) earlier in the day really spikes up my productivity. It also gives me more time to explore the places I visit. So before I go to sleep, I write down everything I need to do on the next day and prioritize tasks.”

BONUS: There’s always this innate desire to be better at what we do. Hence, we always feel the need to increase our productivity to attain success. You’ll agree that healthy workers are very much productive and happy while on the job. Quite a lot of studies have shown that employees in better overall health exhibit high performance and efficiency levels, this has resulted in an increased attention and focus from companies on corporate wellness programs. That said – yes, of course, it is possible to fit a healthy lifestyle into a busy schedule.

Conclusion

All in all, today’s busiest bloggers face the same challenges as your average Joe and Jane. But they’ve come up with a few critical, strategic techniques that allow them to achieve enough focused attention to increase their productivity levels.

By implementing the strategy shared today by some of the most successful bloggers online, you’ll create a framework that will allow you to reach seemingly unattainable productivity goals sooner rather than later.

And when all’s said and done, you’ll feel much better about yourself, your situation, and your ability to achieve lasting success online. So please take the time to learn these strategies and begin using them in your online business as soon as possible.

Digital Branding

How to Magnify Your Brand Using Paid Search Advertising

AJ Schott is a partner at the G3 Group Agency and my delightful guest for this week. Based in Baltimore, Maryland the G3 Group is his Digital Marketing Company that focuses on helping clients with Internet marketing, conversion optimizat, on and web design. They provide strategy, design, implementation and execution of digital marketing campaigns that generate leads, sales and engagement. For more information, visit www.g3group.com.

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Many people think PPC advertising is a waste for branding since you already appear at the top of the organic results. But, the fact is, exposing your brand name in multiple positions on the search engine results pages (SERPs) is the best way to magnify your branding efforts. And, it is the only way to guarantee you appear in the top position.

Take Control of your Message

One of the pitfalls of relying on organic search is that you cannot completely control what displays for your brand. You can target specific keywords through SEO, but depending on how the SERPs display your listing, this may or may not fairly represent your brand message.

As you can see in the picture, McCormick dominates the SERPs for their brand name. Even though they have the first organic listing, the message is about their menu Ideas instead of their branded products (spices). How did they solve the problem? They display a paid listing complete with sitelinks, ratings and a direct message about the branded products.

Three not so obvious reasons to bid on your brand name

  1. Your brand name keywords (and brand + product) will provide more ROAS since the cost per click is usually much less than non-branded keywords
  2. Studies have shown that PPC traffic often converts 4X higher than organic because you are in total control of the ad message and the landing page
  3. If you struggle to raise your quality scores, running a brand campaign (which will likely have an excellent CTR and quality score) will help boost your overall account quality score

The best reason to bid on your own brand terms

Keeping your competitors from buying that top spot should certainly be number one on your list, but, what do you do if they are already impeaching on your branded keywords? As per Google’s rules, advertisers can bid on competitor trademarks as long as they don’t use the competitor trademark in the ad copy itself.

Outbidding them is a good recourse. In any given auction for paid search, actual CPC is often less than max. CPC. The most you will pay (actual cost) is one cent more than the advertiser directly below you. Regardless of your actual bid amount; if the advertiser directly below you bids $1.00; you’ll only pay $1.01 to outrank him. This is assuming everything else (ad quality score, landing page, etc.) is equal.

Your quality score for branded terms is almost always going to be much higher than your competitor. This means they will pay more for the branded keyword bid than you will. You can use this to your advantage by raising your branded keyword bids to an extra high level – making it extremely expensive for your competition to ever outrank you in the auction.

Digital Branding

How Attitude Branding Helps Our Business

This week I am thrilled to host Tammy Durden from Tammy’s Office Solutions. She’s one of industry’s giants that loves to share her know-how, and I expect her to come by more often in the future. For her first appeareance she decided to let us pick her brain about Attitude Branding (I’m sure the pun is intended!)

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Branding is all about perception.  How a person views a product or service.  It is about a person’s perception as (1) it relates to how we represent our brand to the world around us, as well as, (2) how the consumer or client sees or even feels about our brand.   Attitude Branding is using perception to its full advantage. 

What is Attitude Branding?

According to Marketinghuddle.com, ‘Attitude branding involves marketing a larger feeling that’s associated in the minds of your customers about your business.’

Consumer Psychology describes it this way: “Consumer attitudes are a composite of a consumer’s (1) beliefs about, (2) feelings about, (3) and behavioral intentions toward some object–within the context of marketing, usually a brand or retail store.  These components are viewed together since they are highly interdependent and together represent forces that influence how the consumer will react to the object.”

In other words, Attitude Branding is about evoking emotions and feelings.  It has everything to do with how the consumer ‘feels’ about our brand.  How do they perceive our product/service in relation to their self-worth, identity, or even who they may want to be or who they desire to be perceived as being? It goes without saying, that marketing our brands have come a long way as Attitude Branding is common place with many of today’s top companies. 

From a Company Point of View:

As we consider this from a company’s point of view, on a smaller scale, we may think we are representing ourselves, our products and/or services to be represented in one particular way, but if the consumer does not pick up on the ‘feeling’ you are trying to put off or represent, they will not connect well with your brand.  If, however, we use attitude branding for our product(s) and service(s), making them appealing, yet evoke emotions it will cause the client to connect with our brand.  This is indeed the sweet spot of branding.    If we can achieve attitude branding successfully with prospective clients, then we have truly unveiled the golden ticket to sales.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

All businesses have tried to figure out the best way to brand our product or service, including, how it will make the purchaser feel about something.  We need or even want to have a connection to the product or services prior to buying.  For instance, if we purchase an Apple (Mac) Computer, most, unlike myself who needs one to be in sync with clients, it is probably because it has come to represent technology, trendy and on the verge of cutting edge to us.  After all, who doesn’t feel a little smarter, even more techie, when they have purchased an Apple product?  Yes, it may be a good product, however, millions and millions have purchased because it makes them feel or sense something more personal about themselves or even their own business.  Simply using an Apple does not make you smarter, however, the perception of the brand is that it does make us smarter, more techie and trendy.

The Consumer’s Perception

Often consumers do not even recognize what they feel toward a brand.  They assume they are purchasing because of the name of the brand and what it represents or because they think it is best product; not based on a feeling.  How many of us would admit to making that last-minute splurge, not because we researched or knew it to be a great product, but because it just made us feel ______ (insert self-confident, beautiful, powerful, on and on).  Purchasers may not even know anything about the company, but only that the product appealed to them. Some will not even know why it appealed to them.

Attitude branding is all about looking at our product or service from the consumer’s point of view.  Even more than this, it actually ties into the purchaser’s perceptions and feelings about themselves.  Which can, believe it or not, have nothing at all to do with the product or service itself. 

Applying Attitude Branding

For those of us who have spent years working on our brand development, tweaking colors, logos and even the tag lines, this can be a little unnerving, to say the least.  Remember it does not matter if the product or service really gives the buyer a better self-worth, lifestyle or other identities.  It is just that it makes the consumer feel they have a better lifestyle or identity by purchasing from you.  So how can we make sure that our brand is not only saying the right thing but also and even more importantly, evoking the right emotion to that will cause ‘lookers’ to become ‘buyers’?

As we try to use attitude branding with our own products and services, we have to realize what the buyer wants or needs to feel about themselves when purchasing with our company.  How can we, as entrepreneurs use the attitude branding in developing our own brand?

A few steps may help you achieve attitude branding with your product or service.

  1. Be sure you associate the branding of the product or service with the desired lifestyle.  If we can brand our product/service with a luxury lifestyle, for instance, it goes to reason, that an increase in desire for that brand’s products and/or services would most likely result in the consumers who want to feel they are living this lifestyle.  Make sure that as we put forward our brand images, logos, and other brand identities, that it also represents a very desired feeling.
  2. Tie in our branding with the feeling and freedom of self-expression.  This is important, as we do not want to seem we are brainwashing anyone, of course, yet, also give the buyer of our brand a feeling of being able to express themselves by using our product and/or services.
  3. We need to develop the brand and even market our business to include words that help the buyer feel some emotion. 

If we can establish attitude branding for our business in a way that helps our clients feel great when buying with us, they will return time and again.

Enhance branding with Instagram
Digital Branding

Enhance Your Branding Process Through Instagram

When you are involved in the branding process through social media platforms, you must keep a track on the growth of your likes and followers. Social media can play a great role in enabling smaller brands to reach a large audience by having a great online presence. Let us discuss some effective ways to improve your branding process using Instagram marketing.

Stress visuals

Focus On Visuals:

When you are working on Instagram, you must focus on the visuals. You must remember the key rules like:

  •  Try to use the same filters every time
  •  Make sure you to select quality visuals which are consistent in nature
  •  Stick to a color theme and use it whenever possible
  •  Never overload your images with text

Use hashtags

Include Hashtags:

Not only effective for Twitter, hashtags are useful for Instagram also. Though you can add a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post, you must try to limit it to no more than 10. This will help to prevent overcrowding ion the post. Try inserting 5 to 10 hashtags in each post and keep tracking your Instagram followers.

Provide A Professional Touch:

Try hiring a professional to maintain your Instagram account. He will post the images in a more creative manner and will help in gaining your followers. If you already have a marketing department in your company, you can outsource photographers who can look after your visual assets. The professional images can be used in blogs, websites, and definitely in the social media platforms.

Promote good causes

Involve Yourself In A Good Cause:

You must take a responsibility to make your world a better place for living. You can connect with the like-minded individuals using influencer outreach strategies for good causes. If you are selling a product which is eco-friendly in nature, you should never forget to mention it. You can associate with the nonprofit organizations. For expanding your reach, you can give away a part of your profits as donation to those organizations. This noble move will surely boost up the branding activities.

Repost And Promote Others:

If you want to be promoted by others, you must put efforts in promoting their post by reposts and shares. You can partner with the brands which have similar numbers of likes or followers like you. You can ask them to include a call to action which will follow your account. You can come to a mutual benefit situation when you repost the posts of others in return for their sharing yours.

Encourage followersEngage:

You are required to be interactive as well as social if you are maintaining a social media account. Make sure that you are engaging with your current followers and are putting efforts to make new followers.

The social media tools are not only used for scheduling the campaigns. With the help of the analytics, you can measure your success and can regularly keep a track of the number of your followers. You can refine your Instagram strategies for improving the clicks and the engagement for your brand.

This information was shared by guest blogger Ginger Domain of Mumbai, an Indian Digital Marketing Company, which has gathered a professional group of young, talented, and highly skilled individuals who provide remarkable website design, web and mobile app development, and of internet marketing. We take pride in helping our clients strategize, design, implement, and manage innovative digital marketing campaigns that generate leads and sales. Not only do we execute, we educate our clients throughout every step of the engagement. For more information, visit https://instamacro.com/

Local Branding

Modern Transit Solutions Can Help Establish Your Brand

The Costs Of Air Travel

You don’t have to own a server array to compete with “the big dogs”, as the saying goes. Using cloud computing solutions, you can do many of the same things they do internally for a fraction of the cost. This allows you to compete, increasing profitability, scaling outward, and eventually being able to source internally.

Today, borders are being eroded and distances consumed by the ability of technology to overcome. You’ve heard phrases like “the world is a global village”, and “it’s a small world after all!”. These sentiments are on the increase, and relatively native to modern times.

Before Columbus found the “east Indies”, as he called them, it’s doubtful you’d hear the sentiment “it’s a small world after all”. That is a consequence of developing social and technological development with time. Today, it’s gotten to the point where business executives in America may regularly go to places as far afield as Japan.

Your small business will be expected by many prospective clients to be continuously available, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, it will be expected that you have transit capabilities. There are many situations where potential clients may be interested in working with you, but will want to meet with a representative personally.

If you only have to make such transits an 11% part of your annual calendar, that’s going to come to between forty and forty-one flights. Should an average flight cost $500 directly, and in total $1200 indirectly (because of the employee time involved), you’re looking at between $24,000 and $48,000 a year on flight expenses.

Solutions

Since many small businesses have to travel regularly in order to become established, playing coastal ping-pong between Los Angeles and New York (not to mention the occasional furlough in Denver), sometimes securing private flight options ends up saving them money.

In America today there are about 211,000 private pilots. That’s not a large number, considering America has 320+ million people currently. What it means, though, is that there is an existing industry in private aircraft, private aircraft parts, and the facilitation of solutions beyond the commercial sector.

You might even say that the industry is ideally sized right now. There’s a lot of room for expansion and innovation. While regulations exist, they haven’t hit that corporate juggernaut level known to be profitably hazardous in the long run.

travel

With these things in mind, for those who’ve crunched the numbers and found private flight is recommendable, there are a few pointers worth taking into consideration. One, you’ll have to do all your own upgrades and maintenance. Two, you’re going to want a solution that can be sourced anywhere; sometimes private airstrips are remote.

A third thing to consider is that you’ll want to source the best possible components for your aircraft, like those developed by aircraft engineers at Lycoming.

One of the reasons AeroInStock.com offers Lycoming carburetor solutions is because of their pedigree; according to Aero’s site: “…carburetors manufactured by Marvel-Schebler Aircraft Carburetors LLC continue with the implementation of modern manufacturing practices and engineered product improvements to ensure delivery of outstanding carbureted fuel controls.”

Protecting Your Investment

Finding known solutions in parts supply for your private aircraft represents an investment in the plane’s future, and potentially a cost-saving endeavor for your small business. When you can reach more diverse clients more quickly, you have a greater chance of establishing a strong brand whose influence isn’t limited to local clients.

The world is a global village continuing to expand, intermingle, and conduct business. If you can establish your brand with such a mindset, you have a good chance of maintaining it for years to come.

Social Media Impacts Your Company's Brand
Digital Branding

Social Media Impacts Your Company’s Brand

I’m happy to welcome aboard Social Drive as this week’s guest contributorSocial Drive is a boutique digital marketing and online advertising firm located in Boston. They help local and medium-sized businesses to create a lean online presence, improve branding with custom content and strategy, and better measure marketing efforts. You can reach the team at Social Drive here.

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Nowadays, it’s incredibly common for people to check out an organization’s Facebook page before buying its product or service. As we know, first impressions are crucial even on the web!

As we know, the first impressions are crucial even on the web!

The messages an organization frames on social media can receive heavy traffic so they must accurately portray it.

Branding in the Age of Social Media

Facebook has become a mecca for updating where you are and what you are doing there.

You might discover a new restaurant when your friends tag themselves there for a romantic dinner. You may learn of a new place for your kids to play when a fellow mom posts pictures of her kids having fun there. Now more than ever, we have access to information on organizations.

You might discover a new restaurant when your friends tag themselves there for a romantic dinner. You may learn of a new place for your kids to play when a fellow mom posts pictures of her kids having fun there. Now more than ever, we have access to information on organizations.

Now more than ever, we have access to information on organizations.

We want to go to a company’s Facebook page to find out more about it. We can read reviews, see images, and find links to its website.There is this increased desire to share our experiences, good or bad, with each other. People can get passionate about their like or dislike for a brand. With the help of social media, people can share those strong feelings. An online review and rating can make or break a person’s decision about a brand.

There is this increased desire to share our experiences, good or bad, with each other. People can get passionate about their like or dislike for a brand. With the help of social media, people can share those strong feelings. An online review and rating can make or break a person’s decision about a brand.

An online review and rating can make or break a person’s decision about a brand.

So does this make branding easier or harder?

The answer is not so simple. The ability to build brand awareness may be more achievable. However, it is challenging and time-consuming to maintain relationships with the public. Studies done by the

However, it is challenging and time-consuming to maintain relationships with the public.

Studies done by the Pew Research Center say that 69% of Americans use social media.  These numbers continue to climb.

According to a survey by Cone Communications93% of those people expect companies to have a social media presence. 

This doesn’t just mean Facebook. It includes all of the main social mediums, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

It’s not as simple as having a social media presence.

The goal is to use each form of social media in the best ways to frame effective messages that reach consumers.

There is a science behind when and what to post. It’s usually connected to an overall larger communication plan that is carefully crafted based on research.

Social media also provides an opportunity to connect with the public in a personal way and respond to customer complaints.

This is why it is crucial for an organization to have a social media expert on its PR team to represent the brand.

Local Branding

15 Tips for Keeping Your Wedding on Budget

We already know that choosing bridesmaid dresses from Azazie is one great way to stick to even the tightest of wedding budgets. We asked wedding pros for their top suggestions for keeping costs in line, and they gave us 14 great tips!

Don’t Skimp on Photography

1. If you hire an amazing photographer he/she will be able to capture everything to look like you spent a lot of money even if you didn’t! Aaron Huniu, Aaron Huniu Photography

wedding-photography

2. It’s easy to go over budget on the photography. Try to barter. If you have a service the photographer might like ask them if they are willing to do a trade. Caroline Ross, Caroline Photography

Research Your Vendors

3. Wedding services can significantly increase the cost of your overall wedding budget. Do your research, you will find the perfect vendor that will compliment your special day and most importantly stay within your budget. Karissa Petrellese, NJ Wedding Pro

Discuss Your Priorities

4. When you’re really struggling to get your wedding spending on track, prioritize what truly makes the two of you happy. By saving, you’ll look back on your wedding day and remember how perfect it was. Justin Miners, Destination Wedding Directory

5. “Use your wedding as an opportunity to bring family & friends together. Sit around the table and do DIY projects together. Prioritize items on your checklist and stay on top of your budget. Ash Metry, Inspired Bride

 

Be Creative and Try DIY

6. Be creative when it comes to centerpieces: use an array of artfully mismatched cake stands to display dessert in lieu of expensive floral arrangements? Jutta Lammerts, Wedding Woof

7. DIY your Seating Chart! There are so many easy options that will add a personal touch, let you contribute something to the decor, and are simple enough for anyone to do, even if they have no craft skills. Amy June, Amy June Weddings and Events

8. Save money on your flowers by DIYing your centerpieces! Check out whether there are any flower markets near you, and willing wedding party members, and the morning of your wedding you can have a fun flower arranging party! Tracy Osborn, WeddingLovely

wedding-diy

Understand Your Budget

9. Set a range of amount instead of a solid amount. This will give clients room for flexibility as well as negotiation. Also, be realistic. If your number of guests goes up, know that your budget goes up as well.” Jo Ann, Apropos Creations

10. Couples need to know the big picture of how much money they have to spend so I can recommend vendors that will fit into their budget as well as their personality and style. Tracie Morris, You’re The Bride

11. Some of the smaller things that we forget to budget for could end up potentially costing a sizable amount – that is where you can stray from your initial expectations. Annie Cording, Wedding Ideas

Make Great Choices

12. Be sure to have your gown cleaned promptly after the wedding. The sooner it is cleaned, the better the chances for removing all stains and soil. Wait too long and you will pay extra for the special care required to remove set-in stains. Sally Lorensen Conant, Ph.D., Wedding Gown Specialists

weddings

13. Hiring a day of wedding day coordinator is seriously one of the best investments you can make for your big day. Not only can they help keep you on track budget-wise and save some serious dough by providing ideas on how to cut cost on items like flowers and decor.. they also help you keep your sanity while planning your big day!
Hosting an open bar at your wedding is a huge expense. Cut cost by offering beer and wine plus one or two “signature wedding cocktails” in lieu of a full bar. Carla Friday, Details Made Simple

14. Open bar seems like a good idea until you rack an almost $1,000 bill. Have a cut off time for the bar. This will help lower your cost on alcohol. Autumn Mae M, City Girl Desert Doll

15. Couples who have a positive attitude and seek professional and relevant advice have a better wedding planning experience. Camille Abbott, Ceremonies by Camille

SEO Directory Submissions
Digital Branding

SEO Directory Submissions – The Right Way To Do It

This week’s guest post comes from an SEO veteran, Brent Broadnax. He is the founder of a leading digital marketing agency in Philadelphia and New Jersey – Nerdbox. Listen to his advice and improve your SEO strategy right away!

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So you’ve got your WordPress site up, running, and on-brand, you’ve jam packed it with content, and you’re proud of the direction it’s taken. What’s the next step?

How can you capitalize and market it effectively, driving up more than regular traffic? An excellent resource to take advantage of is blog directories, a website that a database full of different blogs, WordPress sites, business sites, and more. These directories not only create SEO friendly backlinks, but the opportunity they provide for increased traffic and marketing opportunities are also only limited by the databases you submit to.

How does a blog directory work?

Well, simply, it’s a giant, searchable database of user submitted sites sorted by category and subcategory. When planning on submitting yourself to directories, it’s important to come prepared.

Before starting, spend some time making a centralized file containing all the information you plan on submitting for easy reference. Start with the basics, like URL, RSS feed link, social links, contact emails. This is when it comes to a point when you can get creative. Create a short tagline. Could be a slogan or a quote, or a short description. Choose your main category, then a few rough ideas for subcategories.

Some sites have different or expanded options for subcategories, so it’s important to explore and make some flexible options. That’s the bulk of what you’ll need from this point forward, although some directories will ask for more links, more information, or other small details you can fill in on a case by case basis.

Now you’re ready to submit all of that to directories, which can be a daunting task. Which directories are safe? Which are trusted? Which will serve my best interests? It’s difficult to dive right in, but these two resources will serve you well for jumping off points:

Searching through the directory list, and looking over the directories listed will give you a good view into what certain directories expect, how the handle submissions, and what the directory can offer your site.

As long as it’s a valid, trusted directory, there’s no such thing as putting yourself on too many directories, though you should prioritize more heavily used, better-reviewed ones and keep your submission there up to date. Maintaining a list, even just a link, to the directories you’ve submitted to is also a very good idea, just for your records, and since duplicate entries aren’t a good thing.

How does it affect your site?

Well, firstly, it creates a nice, friendly catalog of backlinks to your site, which is paramount in keeping up a good SEO ranking. Secondly, more active directories will have users, marketers and all sorts of opportunities browsing them looking for blogs that fit their needs, which could be anything from paid reviews or ads, to cross promotion.

These kinds of opportunities usually only manifest from the larger, more travelled directories, which you should be submitting to first. All in all, it’s an important step for any blog to take in the fast paced world of online marketing, and one that should be taken with care.

The Evergreen Academy has made a very interesting guide on How to do SEO that features 40+ helpful training videos teaching you precisely how to save thousands of dollars and have new customers finding your business everyday.

Monetize a digital brand with these strategies!
Digital Branding

15 Ways How To Monetize A Digital Brand

At this point in the game, virtually every company has a website. Websites are so easy to come by, any kid in high school can whip one out.

A few years ago, that was all that was needed. Just a website, with an email and a way to allow a potential customer contact you.

We used our websites as glorified company brochures.

But technology has advanced and today’s customer demands more. They reach for their computer or smartphone to find a service or a product, often before they even look locally.

When they find your site, they expect to be educated and entertained. They expect visual, and audio and immediate interaction. Though, your product may be better than the one they sell next door, if the owner next door has invested in his brand via his website, he will get the business.

Great examples such as Nelson Kitchen & Bath of design are definitely the ones that will take the business!

Keeping abreast of the latest technology, keeping our websites fresh and inviting, and getting our users to share on social media takes time and time is money.

Let’s see what 15 experts we’ve consulted have to say about their ways:

Strategies On How to Monetize A Digital Brand

Below you will find some insight from successful businesses who have harnessed the power of the internet to grow their brand and have managed to let the website pay for itself.

1. “In remodeling, you almost have to become the voice of the industry. Homeowners are looking for an expert. Give them just that. Provide tips and tricks regularly on your website and social media. Showcase and review new products to educate your target audience. Do these things consistently and watch as your organic leads start to grow.” – Kyle Baptiste, www.nextlevelremodeling.com

2. “We firmly believe that no matter the size of your business, it is critical to pay attention to your online brand and reputation. Even though we are a local business, our customers no longer find us just by word of mouth or passing by our showroom. They look for us online, and they want to see that we are active, engaged, and trustworthy. We demonstrate this to our customers by making our online storefront as user friendly and attractive as our physical store – by keeping the content updated, by providing useful industry relevant insights through our blog, by demonstrating our expertise through concrete examples of our work, and by engaging our professional and local community through social media.” – John A. Lang, www.langskitchens.com

3. “Monetizing your website is more than offering ad placement and joining Amazon as an affiliate. It’s a strategy that starts with your SEO and the time you invest in building your audience. The programs you choose that provide residuals, like Amazon and AdSense or even selling your products or services, won’t prove successful unless your website has traffic.” – Lindy Chaffin, www.unstoppablestart.com

4. “Getting your website on the first page of Google is all well and good, but if you want it to remain there for any length of time, you need to make sure that your homepage’s content engages the people who land on it.

There are two simple ways to increase audience engagement that are often overlooked. The first is a call to action: a concise instruction telling the visitor what action you would like them to take. This could be something as simple as, “Call Us For A Free Estimate,” and must include an action word and ideally, a benefit. The second is video. People like video. Google is well aware of this and counts the presence of a video as a positive factor in its ranking algorithm. So if you not only want to get but also to keep your website on the first page of Google, don’t forget to include a call to action and a video on the homepage.” – Philip Trapkin, www.sterlingworks.net

5. “There are many great ways to monetize a website such as an email newsletter lists, allowing ads on your site, e-commerce products and more. With that in mind, one very easy way to earn some extra cash many often forget about is affiliate links.

Affiliate links are a great way to monetize your blog RIGHT NOW with little effort! Many blogs already promote products and services throughout them. If you’re already promoting products why not get paid for doing it?!

It has become even easier with the use of Amazon affiliate links as you can easily set it up and find almost any product to link to. In fact, if someone follows your Amazon link and buys anything on the site you get a percentage of the purchase! ” – Adam Scheid, www.thebrandsmen.com

6. “The best way that I have found to monetize my website is, of course, affiliate marketing. This allows me to earn money on the deals that I share with my readers. I use Google AdSense and earn money on pay per click advertising. I also find that it is very important to keep my Facebook page updated daily and to interact with my followers and readers. This is key in driving traffic to my site every day.” – Laurie Floy, www.stealsanddealsforkids.com

7. “Every page should have unique content that captivates the audience, a call to action for the desired response, a contact form to grow an email list, and a social plugin that allows visitors to share posts, videos, and images.

Mix it up when it comes to content. Use interesting images to attract, properly SEO’d information the visitor wants to read and video whenever possible.” – Randy Lyons, www.advantagelocalagency.com

8. “Monetizing a digital brand has become one of the most sought after segments in the internet and social media marketing. It is not easy, but when executed well can yield some of the biggest rewards for any brand/website.” – Timothy Roman, www.imperialbuilder.com

9. “To introduce our services in a very competitive real estate market we understand the need to exceed our client’s expectations. Since the inception of our business in 1991, we have taken the approach that we need to offer more than just experience and professionalism.

Utilizing our online presence, we have placed quite a bit of emphasis on local brand awareness from both a search and education viewpoint. Keeping our clients abreast with the latest information on what Prescott, Arizona has to offer as well as the most recent information on the local real estate market through our blog is one of our primary tools.” – Kathleen Yamauchi Group Real Estate, www.kathleeny.com

10. “For a B2B service provider like us, creating a non-sales Aesbus blog was at the top of our to-do list for lead generation. By providing rich content, we’ve been able to pull prospects through marketing gravity. Our blog generates secondary interest in our B2B services. And as part of our backend process, we’re able to capture that interest via contact/inquiry forms that correspond to specific services described on our website. The captured contact information is then routed through our sales funnel. Our blog is a friendly way of building credibility that helps us monetize our content. We don’t necessarily make money off of our blog—but, it helps drive indirect sales. We have acquired leads generated directly from our blog.” – Gloria Hernandez, www.aesbus.com

11. “The #1 way I monetize my site is by working with brands through sponsored posts. I’m very selective and only work with brands I trust. To get the attention of big brands, my content and photography must be top notch. Social media also plays an important part in monetization. The more followers you have on social media, the more willing brands are to work with you. It does take time and patience to build a presence on social media, but it’s well worth it in the end.” – Alli Smith, www.anallievent.com

12. “Our website is our sales channel. First and foremost we sell web design packages to other businesses. Using website worksheets and lead generation forms, we are put in contact with clients who need custom responsive websites to represent their brand. Secondly, we also provide recurring monthly WordPress Maintenance packages. Also, we provide Organic SEO services where we take a holistic approach in optimizing websites from the ground up. This way, our lead generation efforts have always been supported by strengthening our digital brand and website.” Lori Newman, www.newmanwebsolutions.com

13. “Keeping the integrity of my blog is the number one priority. Don’t be afraid to turn down sponsored opportunities that don’t fit your blog or your standards. Publishing bad content on your blog can have a very harmful and lasting effect on your future success.” – Julia DeLeeuw, www.everydaymomideas.com

14. “The best way to monetize a website is to sell your digital product, one that can be downloaded like a book. You have to create the content (or you can rebrand other’s content, but I don’t recommend that) and then people can purchase it over it an over again. Second to that would be a membership/subscription. Ads such as Google Adsense are great if you have a ton of traffic, but most people can’t generate enough traffic on their own to make it worthwhile. Creating digital content like a book or an online course is what I consider to be the best way to monetize a website, you just have to decide what it is you want to specialize in and then learn all about it and generate the content that is compelling, so people want to buy it.” Jennifer Brown, www.ghostworks.us

15. “Once you’ve generated enough traffic, the next option is to start getting the most out of your website visitors. Adding Google Adsense ads to your website is a quick and easy way to start monetizing your website traffic. You can also offer relevant affiliate offers through networks like Commission Junction, ShareaSale, Rakuten, or ClickBank.” Chris Cabaniss, www.falcondigitalmarketing.com

Conclusion

There are many ways to use your website and get an almost immediate return on your investment.

It is important to understand that our websites are the first impression we give to a client. This is our storefront, brochures, catalogs, and business cards.

These clients will access you from around the world and at all hours of the day and night. They will slip in, and if you do not provide what they need, they will slip out again.

Being SEO smart and user-friendly will assist you in the land of search engines, but it is the content of your website that brings the customer back.

It is the care and attention you place on your digital brand that makes them share the information.

By using the tools listed here, you can make money with your website on many levels. How you utilize your website and promote your digital brand is up to you.

Your success is in your hands.