Category: Digital Branding

5 Steps to Successful Digital Marketing for Tech Companies
Digital Branding

Crowdfunding vs. Traditional Fundraising: Pros and Cons

Money is one of the most important factors throughout all of the development stages of business, but the time when you probably need it the most will be the very beginning of your activity on the market. Fundraising may become a drudgery because, sometimes, finding investors who will back your idea can be a hard nut to crack. Those who have already gained some experience looking for investors and collecting money are absolutely aware of the fact that investors are known to be quite selective with where they will place their money. The purpose of investing money is to see it grow – if they don’t believe a new business will become profitable, then they are unlikely to take a chance on it.

crowdfunding

Technology and Fundraising

A few years ago, the only way to collect the much-needed money was to fill in an application and ask a bank whether you’re a good candidate to get a loan or not. As the experts from Auto.Loan claim: “For many people this can come as a surprise, especially if they were relying on getting a specific loan.” Another way to get funding was to throw a networking party, where all the guest will be likely to contribute and give your project a chance to thrive, or to look for investors on one’s own account. However, as technology develops continuously, some new options have emerged on the horizon, giving fledgling entrepreneurs and great inventors alike an opportunity to spread their ideas out. One of these comparatively new methods is crowdfunding, which enables people to create campaigns online and collect money via means of the Internet and crowdfunding platforms. All you have to do is to have a brilliant idea, sign up on the platform, create a campaign and start collecting funds to spread your idea wider.

Traditional fundraising and crowdfunding have the same purposes, so it should be indifferent which variant to choose, albeit in some cases where, for some reasons, it is better to opt to specifically crowdfund or fundraise.

crowdfund

Pros and Cons of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding stems from fundraising, but with a twist. It trades upon the power of groups of individuals, or a pre-existing community, to kick off a cause or project and initiate its success. It allows you to put the project out there, even if the entrepreneur’s budget is close to none and, rationally, it should be cursed with failure because of these small resources. Fortunately, even if it seems that your only resource is your brilliant idea and you’re completely starved of other resources or support, it doesn’t mean that you have to drop out of the game.

prosandcons

If you are at the very beginning of your adventure on the market, crowdfunding might be a perfect direction for you. Anyone can create a campaign on these platforms. All a starting entrepreneur has to do is to sign up on the crowdfunding platform, describe what his targeted amount of money to collect is – this is typically the amount which enables the project to see the light of the day. It all sounds like a piece of cake and it really isn’t so hard. The purpose you’re collecting money for doesn’t matter. Whether it’s a new application, an exceptional kitchen robot or a music album, you can create a campaign, set the needed amount of money and the period of which people can contribute and transfer money to back your idea. What is also crucial to mention is that you can personally thank them for this help. The idea of crowdfunding establishes that your backers can either have an equity stake in your business or you can send them an early bird copy of the product, which is like killing two birds using one stone because doing so both shows your heartfelt appreciation and ensures your product sees the light of the day. It is perfect for those campaigns where every single dime counts because the only costs that they bear are – in most of the cases – the incredibly low commissions on the transferred amount of money.

Of course, this approach of collecting money also has some disadvantages. The crowdfunding campaign is time limited, which means that, if the project doesn’t collect enough money during the designated time, it won’t reach its goal and will still be missing the necessary amount of money. The idea of crowdfunding enables supporters to decide whether to dedicate the money to your project or not. It can be an advantage, of course, but let’s imagine a situation in which the potential backer scrolls down a platform which features hundreds of campaigns. So many pictures and volumes of information hits his or her mind at once – they can simply lose their bearings and even bypass your campaign entirely. Your idea can be brilliant for the niche but, for the majority of people who look at the website, it might seem impersonal or needless. Another group of individuals use crowdfunding as a means of collecting money, while also taking the community out of fundraising and will impersonalizing the act of giving. But don’t worry, as, with most investments, people tend to put their money where they will see or feel the most impact. Crowdfunding is all about connecting to real people in real communities, where trust and reputation are front and center in the process.

traditionalfundraising

Pros and Cons of Traditional Fundraising

Traditional fundraising has existed for years, often known as the typical way to raise money for worthy cause. It enables people to contribute to a charity or a cause they believe in, for as long as there has been a need to do so, making other people’s life better. It was – and still is – usually done by collecting money during events or parties where people (potential donors) have fun with something to drink or eat, before sharing their money on a good cause. A much more efficient way of collecting money to start a business, however, is to get funding from venture or angel investors, who share their money with promising projects and see how their money grows in exchange. Another way of raising funds via traditional means is to ask for a bank loan to start or develop your business. All of those methods are not time limited – it means that, by contrast to crowdfunding, this support can be on a long-term basis. Donors sometimes give annual donations, or spread their contributions out. This means that the entrepreneur gets constant financial income, which can be crucial for continual business development.

funds

When you take your first, short glimpse at fundraising in direct comparison to crowdfunding, you’ll see that traditional fundraising may seem much easier. You only need to find an investor or go to a bank to ask for a loan. Beware, it’s not so easy as it seems!

Regarding traditional fundraising, it is often a huge investment of time, money, and valuable resources that lower-income groups or individuals can’t summon. According to the history of fundraising for charity, as well as other good causes, people need to have some money in the first place to offer potential donors some entertainment to make them come and keep them interested. It’s obvious that beginning entrepreneurs and artists don’t have funds to start and develop such an activity, let alone the funds and resources required to throw parties and keep people interested that way. When it comes to loans – which at first may seem like a perfect and fast solution – it may turn out to be nothing but toil. To get a loan, you have to fill in an application containing all of the information about your business activity; you need to prove that you’ll be able to give the money back to the bank – which can be hard. The thing to remember is to conduct good research to find which banks offer the needed type of loan. If you skip this part, you’ll probably lose your time wandering from one bank to another, hearing that you’re not able to fulfill the various requirement that the bank imposes on its borrowers. Remember, you always have to give the money back; it doesn’t matter if your project sinks or swims!

crowdfunding

When comparing crowdfunding and traditional fundraising, the differences are easily visible and, what’s more, both approaches have their own pros and cons, so it often depends on the situation and development level of the entrepreneurship, when it comes to which method to choose.

Undoubtedly, the traditional means of fundraising have been very successful for a lot of projects; however, crowdfunding allows people with very few physical resources the opportunity to develop startup funds for large projects and high needs. The way someone raises money should be deliberate and tailored to his possibilities and business needs.

 

Mattress Startup Branding Tips
Digital Branding

Sleeping Like A Baby – How to Brand a Mattress Startup

With the recent shakeup in the mattress industry surrounding the use of technology, we have come to see many new, and innovative products offered for your personal sleep comfort. Materials are more affordable to manufacture than ever. And with construction design available for a customized sleep experience for a fraction of what it cost a decade ago- it’s no wonder we have seen an influx in new mattress startup companies.

Online advertising and warehouse to front porch shipping also make the consumer experience that much more convenient, which is why branding your startup is so important to your company’s success.

What is a Brand, Exactly?

We aren’t talking about the brands used to this day in the cattle market to distinguish ownership, although the concept was born there. Instead, branding your product in a business sense means to provide a unique promise to your customers that they will recognize amongst all others.

How your customers perceive what you have to offer should be a foundational starting point for your brand, and include what you are communicating to them. Your website, promotional strategies, and graphics should all portray to them this brand. In this case, branding a new mattress startup means you want to shine above all others in the industry and suggest you have something others don’t. So how, exactly, do you go about branding your products to convey this to the world? 

A brand is derived from who you are and what you want your customers to view you as. Hopefully, this is one and the same or you may eventually have some issues with your marketing techniques. This means that you need to start with a clear purpose in mind of where you want to go with this business and start from there. 

How Do I Brand My Mattress Startup?

Once you have a clear purpose of what your business does, you need to make sure you convey to your customers why they need it in their lives. This is your strategy, and you need to consider the following to get yourself started on a journey of business success.

  • Consistency is key in all aspects of this approach as you consider how to best communicate your products, and to whom. What, where, and when you promote your items are all ways to get your brand attention, so you need to take the time to know your audience in order to best reach them in a marketing platform that appeals to them.
  • Learn the needs and desires of your ideal consumer and provide them opportunities to see your brand through your logo, tagline, and within every aspect of your business. Be sure to use an emotional appeal to get their attention. People rarely buy based on logic, they buy based on emotion so you want them to associate those emotions with your brand.
  • Use social communities to build knowledge about your brand. With the use of digital media and online advertising, this is easier than ever. Social media provides an excellent, and inexpensive way to both promote and get the feedback you need to make your brand grow.
  • Make sure your product value is clear to the consumer. Ask yourself why your brand is the best, and convey this message to your audience. If you struggle to answer this, then you need to delve back into your business goals and purpose. This should be a clear, and consistent message.

Customer Service Is Key

All of the above may provide you with an outline to follow for marketing your brand, but your growth will be more dependent upon your customer service. By investing in customer service, and providing for your audience a tangible result, people will begin to pay attention.

Consider a mattress review site that provides unbiased, honest reviews of your product. Positive experiences with the product and effective communication with your customer service is exactly what a potential buyer want to see to make sure their investment is worthwhile. Mattresses are a very personal item people purchase for themselves, and they need reassurance that if they are unhappy, or have questions, their time is valuable to you as a company.

Marketing Strategies

But isn’t everything I’ve been talking about marketing? Not quite. It’s important not to confuse marketing with branding your product, or you may end up undermining your entire message. Sure, branding your product is an integral part of marketing techniques, but they aren’t one and the same.

As mentioned, your brand is your promise to your customer. It should precede and underlie the pushing of your product in a marketing platform. Marketing gets people to buy, but your brand is what gets them to keep coming back for more of what your company has to offer.  You want people to remember the brand, not necessarily the item you are pushing, and in order to do this, you need to get your brand noticed.

To do so you need to promote your brand. By now you should know and anticipate the needs and wants of your consumer and have an idea of how your product is being received. Customer service may be the best way to help spread the word of your products, but getting that brand out there will direct people to search you out.  

Never underestimate the power of blogging to help market your brand. Not only can you compile your product reviews all in one spot, but you can also provide direct links, promotional items, and helpful hints and ways to best support the industry you are selling in. For example, helpful, searchable articles surrounding “Tips to Sleep Better”, or attention-grabbing titles like “Sex and Sleep”, will all bring attention to your brand through online shares to social media and commenting forums.

Avoid This Pitfall

As with anything, even if you feel you have a great product and should be getting attention, there will always be setbacks. To start, you need to know that this will happen and you need to recognize when your strategies are not working before you sink too much money into it. At this point, you need to reassess and avoid the pitfalls that may have held you back.

In order to get attention, you need to be first. Ask yourself, did you make your mark with an entirely new idea or approach, or did you follow a tried and true path that has already been done? If this is the case, it doesn’t mean you aren’t marketable, it means you aren’t branded: you aren’t memorable to the consumer. And you need to go back to the drawing board and determine why, exactly, should consumers consider your mattress over all others? What can you offer that others can’t?

This all comes back to product value mentioned earlier in the article. This is crucial to your survival and should be clear to everyone involved to provide the momentum needed for a successful branding strategy.

What is your e-commerce brand
Digital Branding

How to Establish an Authentic E-Commerce Brand

What is your e-commerce brand A strong brand is so much more than a cutesy name, a logo, and a corporate color scheme. At its core, it’s about creating an authentic identity and purpose that engages the hearts and minds of your customers. It’s finding what makes your business compelling and making that message loud and clear. For those looking to stand out in the competitive world of e-commerce, branding has never been more important. If you’re looking for ways to increase your sales in 2017, learn how to build a brand that feels real. Check out our recent post for actionable tips on how to use digital marketing to promote your brand.

Become a great storyteller

Stories are powerful tools of persuasion, both in life and in consumerism. If done right, they are one of the most effective marketing techniques at your disposal, since our human brains are wired to respond to stories. Today’s shoppers are uninspired by boring brands without hint of personality. Stories not only give you some texture, they also help to build trust – the cornerstone of successful sales. Rather than straight advertising, stories help us to view events from the context of our own values and experiences. Ask yourself why your brand exists – what purpose it is here to serve and how it came about. Contained in your answer is your first story. We can all relate to the tale of a great adventure, whether personal, professional or social. Keep your stories clear and simple, told in a tone of voice that works for the personality of your company. A good example of a brand that tells great brand stories is BeardBrand: seller of beard care products such as oils and grooming kits. Through his blog and YouTube channel, founder Eric Bandholz provides regular content to his customers around beard care and maintenance, positioning himself as an authority in the process.

Maintain consistency

A great brand is recognizable, and to be recognizable, you must be consistent. Both in life and in business, consistency is a strong indicator of trust. As your customers get to know you better, they will come to expect certain behavior from your business, based on their experiences with you up until this point. Brand consistency applies not just to how everything looks, but also to how you do business – from customer service to order fulfillment. When your brand is born, consider what values you will attach to it. What will you commit to providing for your customers, and how do you want them to perceive you? Once you’ve formed and communicated this company image, make sure you stick to it. Brands often reinvent themselves, much to the confusion of their customers. Sometimes it is necessary to revamp a tired company image. But try to do so in a way that doesn’t shake up all the good things that your customers associate with you so far.

Build out your network

Really successful e-commerce stores understand the power behind good content marketing. Useful, interesting and effective content does the hard work for you – and in turn, it positions you as a credible industry authority. And the best thing about all this? Through social media and relationship building, your content can be used to help you build links – an important part of boosting SEO. Social media is your best friend when it comes to content marketing and forming new relationships with bloggers and other website owners. Contact them via social media and email to find out about collaboration opportunities. It’s a good idea to try and build up a rapport, as influencers and editors tend to prefer working with people they know. Once you see a website you like that you’d want to write for or be featured on, check their guidelines to see whether they have accepted guest posts or product adverts in the past. Be sure to do the same for them, and make a lot of noise on social media when your links are published. Build community through customer feedback

Create a community around your products

This is one of the best ways to generate repeat custom – and as any good store owner knows, repeat customers are the lifeblood of your e-commerce business. Generating a community around your products not only encourages your customers to come back, it also helps to create a positive attitude around what your brand has to offer. But it must be fully embraced. To succeed at building a brand community you must be willing to be present – listening to your customers and reaching out to them for their feedback. Your updates and stories must be interesting and regular: not just straight advertisements for your products. Giving your customers a platform to share their views and interact with one another – perhaps sharing images of the product or service in action – will increase engagement and also provide you with a nice amount of user-generated content.

Speak directly to your users

Selling is all about language and using the right language to motivate your website visitors into action. If your potential customers aren’t feeling excited by what they see or read, then naturally they are less likely to spend money with you. So consider what they are really looking for from this transaction. If you sell green tea, then what your customers are really looking for might be better health and more variety. Or if you sell software, then what are the benefits? What does the customer really want from the transaction? What is their end goal? There will always be one. Build your online store The e-commerce brand Shopify knows that its customers’ motivation is to start their own online businesses. The language used on its build an online store page – phrases such as ‘everything you need’, ‘measurable results,’ and ‘make it your own’ – put the focus on the customer and what they hope to gain from using the service. The word ‘you’ is used frequently and encourages the user to imagine themselves using the service and take action – far more so than if you were to rattle on about the service non-stop. It’s all about identifying with your customers’ dreams, and clearly showing them the connection between buying your product or service and achieving that dream. For further information on branding, consider reading our Brand Authority eBook, which will provide answers to all of your burning questions. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that your website visitors are individuals, and not a faceless mob. If you were interested in making a purchase online, what would you hope to see and how would you want to be treated? A brand that resonates cannot be faked – to be genuine necessitates transparency. Tell compelling stories and look to build a consistent and responsive image that gets your customers excited to shop with you. Which of these elements is your online store missing? Patrick Foster, E-commerce Enthusiast and Entrepreneur I’m a freelance e-commerce expert & serial entrepreneur. I love to write articles on e-commerce branding and content marketing for ambitious online sellers, and hope to share some useful insight that will help to grow your business. Check out my website.

Digital Branding

How to Implement The Best Digital Marketing Moves to Promote Your Brand?

The Internet has offered business owners and marketers a plethora of opportunities to promote their brand and products. The main objective behind rigorous digital marketing is to make a brand known. The more exposure you get, the better are your chances of increasing sales. Here are some steps that can help you get such exposure through the use of online tools and methods.

Best Digital Marketing Methods

Consistency of statement

Before you even start talking about your business, and begin promoting it as a brand, you have to be sure of the message you want to convey. And you need to be consistent with your statements and ideas. If you are consistent about the idea and concept, and stick to one idea, concept, goal and objective, you will gradually earn trust for sticking to your brand’s core identity. This is what people like. Everyone loves to rely on a reputed concern.

On the contrary, if you talk about one thing in the first promotion, and another in next, and something else later, you may create doubts in the minds of your viewers. People may not be willing to accept a business as a brand if it is confused about its own objectives, product, ideas etc.

Make your web content optimized

Optimizing web content is one of the most important steps in ensuring exposure and building an impression. When users search about you, or follow some link, the first place they land on is your website. Therefore,it’s the website which is going to make the first impression. If your visitor likes what they see, only then would they think of doing business with you. And hence the website, the design, the content, and everything else have to be appealing, and they must make sense. This should be done in two strategic steps.

The first step is to do good and complete SEO for the website, while giving full focus on content optimization and taking care that the quality of content is really great and helpful. The next step is to make sure that the web design is attractive and makes visitors stay on the site. While the first step is focused on content and on-page SEO mainly, the second step is all about how the visitor’s experience would be. If the visitor finds the site to load fast, easy to navigate and interesting to explore, then your website is ready to fetch business and start creating your brand identity.

Use of social media

Social media is one of the most intimate ways to build relationships with people, establish a client base, create brand awareness and reliability, and make a profile of your business. It’s the social media which lets you connect to the mass at once. However, it’snot just staying on social media as a profile that works. Branding through social media is a much bigger responsibility than you may think. You have to extensively interact with people to generate this feeling among the mass that you are an active business, and are not just using social media to advertise. You need make your audience feel that you care for them and their opinions. This involves speaking with people, resolving queries and issues, conducting web events, and polls to collect public opinion. You may also conduct surveys amongst users. A great way to connect to your customers in real time is to connect the social media feeds with your digital or dynamic signage so that your customers may immediately get to know what is happening with the business, what is coming up, highlights of the latest products, the latest press release and offers and so on. In this occasion, you also must learn of the uses of dynamic signage.

Use Social Media for Digital Marketing

Digital or dynamic signage

The use of digital signage has a prominent role in branding in this era, where most of the information is shared in public, and targeted to viewers through the use of illuminated digital screens. Whenever you are creating a new social message or event that is published on some social media, you may instantly create a feed of it so that users can follow the event through that feed, and then you may display the feed on some signage. This way people in various locations would come to know of the business, the happenings, the name and the thus collectively would create the brand image.

Digital Signage

Creating the best content

It is of prime importance that the content you share on your website, blogs, or social media is useful, factual, informative, latest, and real. If you fail to fulfill any of these, it is likely that your content will also be lost amongst the crowd of lots of other ordinary contents published every day. To stand out in the competition and make a visitor become your fan, you must share information, which in some way is helpful. Being helpful can mean a lot. Help can come in the form of important information, inspiring words, great videos or images, or simple light weight entertainment to rejuvenate. It depends on how you are conveying the message and what the content is. But you must try to engage readers or visitors with original content that makes sense.

Use videos for branding

Videos speak much better, bolder and more effectively amongst all forms of contents. That is why it is always better to speak with videos. The more you stress on video marketing by creating how-to videos, product information videos, review videos, public reaction videos etc, you are going to win hearts faster, get more views, and create a better market.

Press Releases

Press releases have always been important tools in creating brand visibility as you may speak about your products and services in a professional style. Search engines love news format information, and the better you create news through submitting PRs, the better the chances of your visibility.

With the aforementioned tips, your branding efforts are sure to get a boost. If you are new to this, it is best if you consult an expert from the industry to get you started.

Author Bio: Charlie Brown writes great marketing tips and mentors businesses with revolutionary marketing and branding ideas. In his free time, he is found working on the most effective designs of dynamic signage as per the changing visitor preferences reflected at the http://www.dopublicity.com.

Interact through social media
Digital Branding

How To Leverage An Oracle Database For Your Social Media Website

If you are an online marketer, you appreciate the importance of having high visibility on social media networks. If your brand is not visible on social media, you are losing out on great opportunities. Facebook, for instance, boasts over 1.79 billion monthly active users with over 1 billion users logging in daily. If you are not tapping into these numbers, then you are giving your competitors an easy time.

While social media networks were initially designed to connect family and friends all major brands now have some form of presence on social media. From CNN to Time Magazine, these brands have realized the importance of social media in brand marketing. A social media strategy can also help you communicate more easily with your target audience or manage your reputation.

In essence, you need to have a social media platform that is optimized for multiple users. You need the right database to ensure easier and safer interactions with your followers. Finding the right database specifically designed for social media can be tricky. If you are reading this, it is most likely you are looking for some insight on how best to go about finding the right social media website database.

Of course, you should consider that your website will have a higher load if you are integrating social media widgets calling for more capacity. Nothing turns off visitors as much as trying to load a slow website especially when they are in a rush. You might end up losing customers if you integrate social media without having the capacity to support the backend. If you are inviting users to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or other social media platforms, then be ready to invest in a database that has the capacity to handle traffic spikes.

Your website aids social media marketing

Tips For Choosing An Oracle Database, The Best RDBMS For Your Website

There is a huge choice of a relational database management systems (RDBMS) in the market and finding the best can be tricky. The most popular is, of course, Oracle, and it has a large market presence. According to a Gartner Study, Oracle has a market share of 40.8% with its main versions including Oracle 7, 8, 8i, 9, 9i, 10g and 11g in beta being among the most popular. As a business software provider, Oracle remains a one-stop-shop for business solutions and it is no wonder most webmasters prefer using the brand’s IT solutions.

If you are still undecided over the best database for your social media website, consider the following factors:

    1. Your unique needs: You must consider your objectives based on the number of social media users you expect. It is important to start small and scale as you progress. This not only saves you money when you start, but you are also able to monitor the increase in traffic and make plans for future changes. Oracle for instance, has standards editions for its database and if you are using more than four CPUs, you will be required to switch to the Enterprise edition. The Enterprise edition comes with more features.
    2. Use a professional: When searching for a database product, make sure you talk to a professional. In most cases, it is advisable to rely on a remote DBA oracle. This is an expert who knows about the business product and will advise on the best package to use. More importantly, they will help you deploy the database and maintain it. Remote DBA services save you a lot of money and you are assured there are no technical glitches that would otherwise threaten the performance of your social media website.
    3. Capacity: It is important to do some research on how well other Oracle database users are finding the product. You should read reviews and testimonials from other website users especially in your niche to determine if this product will support all the data you are generating.
    4. Technical support: Whether you have programming skills or not, you should first confirm that there will be technical support throughout. Online users are averse to slow load times or unavailability of websites and if yours is constantly experiencing downtime, you can bet most of your target customers are going to the competition.Use a fast server for best website results
    5. Server speeds: This is one of the most pertinent factors when you are shopping for a database to host your website. The processing power of the server must be highto guarantee the information circulating within your website is availed and stored fast. If a user is looking for a particular page, the load speeds must be excellent or else you will experience a surge in bounce rates. A server with high processing power guarantees better interaction with social media users on your site.
    6. Market presence: This is one reason website owners opt for Oracle databases. The fact that the company is the largest provider of business IT tools means they have invested more in research and development (R&D), which makes their products better in terms of quality.
    7. Affordability: Oracle has a wide range of business products and they are priced based on the capacity you need. If you are building a website today, it is always advisable to start with the cheaper option and then increase the capacity as traffic grows on your site.
    8. Mobile phone support: With more people using mobile devices to go online, the database you choose must have the capacity to support these users. Most people are going on social media using mobile, and you might lose a lot if your database doesn’t support such kind of communication.

workplace-1245776_960_720Oracle: The Ultimate Social Media Website Database

If you have talked to a professional seeking advice about databases, it is highly likely that they have suggested Oracle. Oracle allows for greater portability on more platforms and its huge market presence means you can easily find information on how to optimize your database. There are many version changes to increase efficiency and with industrial strength on-line backup and recovery, you are assured of more security.

There are many other reasons to use Oracle database for your social media website and this guide will help you choose the right product to suit your needs.

Author Bio

Evans Walsh is an experienced remote DBA oracle expert. He boasts over 17 years in database management. To find more about Oracle databases, visit his website at Las Vegas Web Design. You can also follow his on his twitter handle @

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

6 Examples of Great Co-Branding

Partnering strategically with another business in your marketing can be wildly successful for everyone involved. However, if the relationship isn’t constructed properly, a co-branding campaign could turn into an epic failure. Both companies have to be on the same page with their target audience, vision, promotion, and price to create a successful campaign. The whole point of co-branding is creating an agreement that will make both parties more successful than they could have been on their own by finding a partner that complements them well. There are plenty of examples of great co-branding and below you’ll find six from major brands that can help you in your own business.

Red Bull and GoPro

Red-Bull-and-GoPro

In 2012, Red Bull and Go Pro teamed up for the event “Stratos” which featured Australian Skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumping from a helium balloon 24 miles above the earth. During the jump, Baumgartner broke three world records, shattered the sound barrier, and used a Go Pro camera to capture everything. The event was wildly popular and a successful project for both Red Bull and Go Pro.

Stratos worked because both brands target the same audience. These companies market to thrill-seekers, extreme sports fans, and those who want adventure. Red Bull’s director of sports marketing Sean Eggert has said that “GoPro camera technology is allowing us to compliment the programming by delivering new athlete perspectives that have never been seen before.”

Cold Stone Creamery and Tim Horton’s

Cold-Stone-Creamery-and-Tim-Hortons

In 2009, ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery and coffee shop Tim Horton’s launched a partnership where each company would put the other one’s menu in 50 of its stores. Executives from both companies decided to partner with each other because they share many of the same customers and each company does most of their business during different parts of the day. Tim Horton’s sees most of its sales come in during the morning and afternoon while Cold Stone serves more customers in the evening. After seeing an increase in sales during a test run, both companies decided to expand the initiative. The two even started offering joint menu items such as coffee floats after listening to the requests of customers.

This co-branding strategy made sense because each company looked at their sales activity and realized that they could complement each other since many of the same customers enjoyed products from both brands at different times of the day. They believed that creating co-branded stores would draw in more customers and they were right.

Uber and Spotify

Uber-and-Spotify

Who doesn’t like listening to music in their car? This partnership allows Spotify users to listen to their favorite songs while they’re in an Uber ride. When you’re waiting for your car to arrive you can queue up a playlist so that your song starts playing as soon as your driver begins your trip. It gives an exclusive experience for Uber riders, Spotify customers have another a reason to pay for a premium membership, and it also gives both companies a unique differentiation over competitors like Lyft, iTunes, Pandora, and YouTube.

MasterCard and Apple Pay

MasterCard-and-Apple-Pay

Both Apple and MasterCard understand that cashless transactions are where our society is headed. MasterCard became the first credit card company to support Apple Pay. This gave Apple an ample customer base to work with while it tweaked its service and gave MasterCard a brand new functionality that was exclusive to their customers. Apple has since teamed up with other major credit card companies to expand their user base.

Dr. Pepper and Bonne Belle

Dr.-Pepper-and-Bonne-Belle

The oldest partnership on the list started in 1975 between cosmetics company Bonne Belle and beverage company Dr. Pepper. After launching the flavored lip balm line Lip Smacker in 1973, Bonne Belle successfully formed a partnership to create Dr. Pepper flavored lip balm. This flavor of lip balm still exists today and continues to be successful.

Nike and Apple

Nike-and-Apple

This is an absolute no-brainer and is an example of very successful complementary branding. Nike knows that their customers who are runners want to listen to music when they exercise and track their progress. So, they formed a partnership with Apple so that their customers could do both. Nike developed a footwear line called Nike+ and Apple created a microchip that fits into the shoes which records the users progress when they activate the feature from their iPod or iPhone. This microchip will tell the user statistics like the number of calories burned, speed, distance, and time. You can even program your Apple device to start playing a particular song when you reach a certain point during your run.

Conclusion

Co-branding can be an excellent way to grow a company without having to make a major investment in resources or create expensive marketing campaigns. It creates a “best-of-both-worlds” relationship where each business benefits from the reputation, image, and customer base of the other. However, co-branding isn’t an end all be all solution and should be executed with caution. If co-branding initiatives aren’t performed correctly, they can turn into absolute blunders. However, if executed properly, they can pay off greatly for all involved and make customers happy. Did you know that having a pet around could make you better at branding? Learn more here.

Digital Branding

The Top 5 Best Ad Campaigns of All Time

What makes people buy? The best advertising campaigns are able to invoke an emotional response from consumers, connect, and engage with them at their core. A product rarely achieves advertising success based solely on merit. The best marketing and ad campaigns psychologically and emotionally create a response in all of us. With the growth of the internet and social media, brands are constantly fighting over the attention of consumers. To make your product or brand stand out you must get creative. Here are four brands that created insanely successful ad campaigns.

Dos Equis – The Most Interesting Man in the World

Dos-Equis---The-Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World

In 2006, Dos Equis took a drastically different approach to selling beer. Instead of positioning their product as a must-have for getting the attention of attractive women, Dos Equis turned their beer into something that promoted distinction and curiosity. Played by actor Jonathan Goldsmith, the character “The Most Interesting Man in the World” says the following tagline at the end of every commercial: “I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” The ad campaign was so successful because it didn’t feel like a commercial. It felt more like a comedy short. Viewers became enamored with the character’s experiences and the character has even been turned into an internet meme. This unique positioning by Dos Equis opened the company’s product to a wider, more youthful audience.

California Milk Processor Board – Got Milk?

California-Milk-Processor-Board---Got-Milk-

California milk sales rose 7% in one year thanks to this clever ad campaign. The interesting part of this campaign is that it wasn’t created to target non-milk drinkers, but those who were already drinking milk. This is important because it’s not always beneficial or cost-effective to try and reel in a new audience. Sometimes, it’s better to market to your current audience and get them to not only start buying your product more, but become fans that promote your product to others as well.

Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Old-Spice---The-Man-Your-Man-Could-Smell-Like

You usually don’t see a lot of overnight successes in online marketing but Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign is an exception. In February 2010, ad agency Weiden + Kennedy launched the first commercial in the campaign, featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa, and it was a viral sensation. Later that year, Wieden + Kennedy devised a social media video campaign in which Mustafa made 186 video responses to viewer comments online. Wieden + Kennedy creative director Jason Bagley described it by saying, “We were creating and sending miniature TV commercials back to individual consumers that were personalized, and we were doing it on a rapid-fire basis…No one expects to ask a question and then be responded to. I think that’s where we broke through”. The video responses made this campaign extremely successful. Weiden + Kennedy capitalized on the momentum of their initial TV spots and engaged with followers and fans. Through all of this, sustaining the brand’s new image and voice were always kept as a high priority.

Dove – Campaign for Real Beauty

Dove---Campaign-for-Real-Beauty

In 2004, Unilever discovered that only four percent of women thought of themselves as beautiful. So, with the help of Edelman Public Relations and Ogilvy & Mather, the company launched a campaign that challenged people to rethink how they perceived female beauty. The campaign gained a flood of attention from the media and discussions of female beauty started taking place on talk shows, in magazines, newspapers, and online. One ad features a sketch artist who first draws a woman’s face based on the woman’s description of herself. Next, he does a sketch of the same woman but based on someone else’s description. Once complete, the sketches are both posted side-by-side and the subjects look at them. In every case, the drawing based on a description from a 3rd party is more flattering than the woman’s own description of herself. This video went viral and contributed in a big way to the success of this ad campaign. This campaign was successful because it touched people emotionally and allowed people to realize that “normal” standard for female beauty isn’t always attainable and that just being yourself is enough.

Progressive – Flo

Progressive---Flo

It’s not easy to make insurance interesting. With the help of stand-up comic Stephanie Courtney, Progressive launched an ad campaign that featured an upbeat, perky sales agent named Flo. In these commercials, Flo talks to customers about Progressive’s features in a sitcom style setting. Viewers loved the ad campaign so much that Flo has appeared in over 100 commercials since 2008. Progressive was able to successfully break away from the negative public perception that people have of insurance companies by creating a fun and interesting character.

Conclusion

Creating amazing, viral marketing isn’t easy. For every incredible success, there are many more failures. However, if you focus on engaging with your customer and creating a psychological and emotional connection with them, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful campaign.