Advertisements

Increase Your Brand’s Visibility – 7 Easy Tips

Back in the day, your brand was simple. A logo, some matching colors and a font or two and you were good to go.

That is so last century.

These days your brand also needs to tell your story. Customers are looking for ways to connect with businesses that feel authentic. Branding needs to include tone, shared vision and reflect values.

As far as that logo, those matching colors and that font? They still matter as well.

Here are seven ways to increase brand visibility, both online and in the real world.

1. Online: Make sure your website reflects your brand.

Savvy business owners regularly review their website – it’s the foundation of a brand’s online presence. Outdated information and broken links aren’t the only things you should be looking for, you should also be looking for ways your site can further your brand.

Colors and fonts are visual ways to integrate branding into a website, but your blog and the tone it’s written in will also play a role.

2. Real World: Advertising, collateral and business cards should carry the brand.

No matter how much digital drives the marketing conversation, print is not dead. Whether you are passing out business cards at a chamber of commerce mixer or buying space on billboards along the interstate, the fonts, colors, photos and tone of your printed materials should convey your business’s brand.

3. Online: Take charge of your Instagram feed.

With its visual content and reputation as a no-drama alternative to Facebook, Instagram’s popularity continues to grow, making it a must for nearly every business. But if you want to further your brand, it’s not enough to just post pretty pictures a few times a week.

Developing an Instagram strategy that includes both carefully curated photos and branded content will let your social media team tell your story in a way that complements your brand.

4. Real World: Are you ready to party?

Special events offer a fun way to not only tell your story but give your customers an opportunity to tell your story for you.

From cocktail parties to conferences, hosting an event puts your business in the spotlight. Make sure you let that spotlight shine even further by giving attendees the tools to broadcast your brand.

A whimsical photo frame, event-specific hashtag or a gift for checking in on Facebook are all engaging ways to encourage social traction.

5. Online: Put your best face forward.

Facebook offers several opportunities to tell your business’s story and increase brand awareness. If you are using a photo for the page cover, does it reflect the vision you have for your company?

Do the fonts and colors match your logo? Your avatar is another opportunity, if you are not using your logo or a photo of a team member, use a photo that helps tell the story of your brand.

Facebook posts should reflect not just the visual elements but also the values your company represents – and that includes posts you share from other businesses.

6. Online: Check for brand before you push send.

Email marketing continues to be a powerful tool to reach previous customers and tell your story. Color, photos and style are all elements that should be used to integrate your brand in your outreach.

Don’t forget the email you use every day. Your email signature line offers a great opportunity to communicate brand colors and attitude as well as share a link to your website.

7. Real World: Don’t forget brick and mortar.

It’s easy to get distracted by the details and forget the big picture of what your location conveys. Colors, signage and staff uniforms are all opportunities to make an impact – make sure that impact resonates with your brand.

Do you have tips that work for you?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

Advertisements

5 Time Wasting Marketing Exercises and how to avoid them

Due to the nature of our work, marketing and advertising professionals have extra challenges when it comes to time management. To a greater extent than many other professions, we’re expected to deal with shifting or competing priorities, last-minute client requests, client-orchestrated delays, and crises that require fast action.

In this type of environment, even marketing and ad pros with stellar time management skills can quickly find themselves behind the eight ball, especially if they’re working one man/woman shows or on small teams with limited bandwidth.

If you’re having a hard time getting out in front of your to-do list and can’t figure out why, you might want to consider if any of the following “time vampires” need vanquishing:

One: Doing things for no good reason.

Take a fresh look at your ongoing workload. If you have a question mark about the cost vs. benefit value of any of your tasks, elevate them to your boss or client.

This is especially important to do for “inherited” activities that might have been initiated by someone who managed your accounts five years and two staff members ago.

In those cases, it may be time to retire, modify, or delegate out some activities to another colleague.

Two: And speaking of delegating…

Marketing types can be infamous control freaks. But the savvy marketing pro knows where to best spend his/her time, and where to delegate or job out.

One reason you may feel like you’re underwater sometimes is because you are investing too much energy into tasks that are better suited to someone else’s schedule or ability level.

Three: Project management systems that don’t work for you.

Sure, you may be religiously keeping your project management spreadsheet up to date every week. But is your system really working for you?

If it’s just another time sucker that’s not helping you keep the train moving, it’s time to think about implementing a different procedure.

Four: Ignoring your data.

And by data, we’re referring to outcomes and analytics. If you’re engaged in a time-consuming, ongoing marketing tactic but you don’t have any idea if it’s really effective, you need to hit pause and do some analysis.

Based on your discovery, you can decide if the tactic stays, goes, or needs to be modified.

Five: Meetings by email.

In an era where many of us work remotely from key team members or clients, it can be easy to fall into a deeply ingrained habit of taking care of large amounts of business electronically. And it’s also easy to fall into a trap of thinking that emails and texts are more efficient than having meetings.

Take a look at the amount of regularly-scheduled email that flies from your fingers each week. In some cases, it may be that a 15 minute weekly phone call can save you and your other colleagues multiple hours’ worth of back and forth via email.

How To Tips: Mapping Out Effective Ad Campaigns

When it comes to PPC campaigns, the first hurdle for many clients is navigating and learning the interfaces. This can be incredibly intimidating at first as they sort through bidding strategies, types of campaigns to choose from and everything from broad match to negative keywords.

And then, slowly, they realize that to truly get high-converting ads, they need to tackle something a little more difficult: strategic, well-researched campaign creation.

It’s not enough to just invest in great PPC keyword research and hope that will carry your weight for you. Each individual campaign you create needs to be carefully thought out and based on your goals, your audience, and keywords that you’ve chosen.

In this post, we’re going to walk you through the 5 steps you need to take when mapping out your ad campaigns. We’re going to look specifically at Google Ads in this post for the sake of keeping it simple, but know that the same principles will apply to most PPC platforms.

1. Determine What Goals You Want to Accomplish

One big mistake so many advertisers make is not focusing on singular, specific goals. Do they want to promote a sale? A product? A lead magnet, or specific features of their services? You won’t accomplish much if you have no idea what you’re actually trying to do.

Typically with Google Ads, the goal is to increase conversions, but some brands really do better when optimizing for calls or pushing people through to a landing page with a free lead magnet. Think about what you want to accomplish with your ad campaigns and go from there.

An example list of the goals you might have could include:

  • Use sales or discount campaigns to drive conversions by creating urgency
  • Sell more by promoting individual products or services based on keyword phrase
  • Generate leads by sending users to a landing page

2. Refine the Audience You Want to Target

Step 2 is arguably the most important part of your campaign creation. Understanding your audience, their search intent and what they need is crucial to 1) using the right keywords so you can show your ad to them and 2) creating relevant messaging that appeals to them.

First, you need to understand who your audience is overall. Who uses your product and why?

Breaking your audience down into buyer personas is typically helpful so that you can understand the different audience sectors you have and what they need. Go Liam Neeson on them, and figure out exactly who they are.

It’s important to break down your audience if at all possible, because then you can create more targeted messaging to them.

Last month, for example, I was doing some research about fitness studios that I could check out on my holiday vacation  to see some family. I searched specifically for kickboxing classes and three out of three ads instead showed me generalized fitness classes. I’d all but given up and almost didn’t click on the last ad which was advertising Zumba dance classes, but clicked only because a friend had mentioned the studio before. Sure enough, they actually had kickboxing classes, but their ads campaigns were so badly targeted that I almost missed them.

You need to segment your audience, niching it down as much as possible. Go ahead and create more buyer personas if needed, and make sure that you fully understand how each sector is going to be interacting with your product.

3. Create a List of User Pain Points and Needs

Once you’ve broken down your audience into distinct niches, it’s important to map out exactly how you can help each audience and what they’re looking for.

Let’s say you have your own dog training classes. You’ll have different types of clients who have different pain points and needs, and they’re all looking for different things.

Some clients might have new puppies and are just looking for basic obedience training and a setting where they can socialize their energetic little balls of fur. Others might want assistance with training for competitions and there might be a smaller section who wants one-on-one training for aggression, shyness, or specific behavioral issues.

It’s going to be important to figure out exactly what pain points and needs each audience has so that you can market the right things to them and understand what they’re searching for.

Someone who wants puppy training or basic obedience training is looking for an affordable trainer close to them. An owner who needs help with a grown dog peeing on everything in the house after multiple rounds of obedience training won’t care how much it costs to get someone in because they’re tired of replacing all the carpet in the house. These individuals will look for one-on-one and quick availability.

4. Select Your Keywords

Selecting your keywords in order to create ad groups can really only be done after you’ve identified your audiences and what each is looking for. Each audience niche should have its own ad group so that you can create targeted copy that shows you have what they need right away.

While you’re doing keyword research, try to find keywords that will match a high value search intent that aligns with the campaigns you want to create with the highest search volume but lowest cost and competition level possible.

Relevance is key when it comes to search intent. “Puppy training classes,” for example, would put you directly in line with the services you sell; “puppy housebreaking” could, but people also might be looking for products or tips, not classes. In this case, you could use the negative keyword “puppy housebreaking products” to ensure that you don’t waste an ad impression on the wrong search.

An example of an ad group for puppy training classes might include:

  • “puppy classes”
  • “group dog classes”
  • “dog classes”
  • “puppy obedience training”
  • “puppy training”
  • “dog classes”
  • negative keyword: potty training dog
  • negative keyword: dog training products

5. Craft the Copy You’ll Use

It’s important to craft your ad copy and your messaging after you’ve set your goals and understood your audience’s pain points and search intent, because it’s really almost never a good idea to work in reverse. Following these steps in order allows you to gain a firm understanding of what your campaign should do before you write the ad itself, giving you focus to know what messaging you should use, features you should highlight, and even the offers you should have available.

Google Ads copy is different than ad copy on other PPC platforms, where there’s room to tell stories and really create emotional appeals. These ad campaigns have copy that’s matter-of-fact, feature-oriented, and unbelievably concise.

When creating your copy, think about the specific features and offers that will appeal to their immediate pain points.

In the examples below, the first ad offers “pick-up and delivery services,” alongside a 14-day out-of-house boarding/training program. This directly contradicts the ad below, which focuses on “in home” dog training. One also mentions being licensed and insured, featuring sitemap extensions to explain their programs, while the other makes sure to emphasize that they have reviews.

No matter how great your keywords are and how beautifully you executed your audience segmentation, it won’t matter if the copy isn’t good. If you need some ideas, take a look at the ad campaigns your competitors are running for similar keywords and then find a way to be better. Highlight different features, express things more clearly, or even use site extensions to give your ad some extra oomph in the results.

Conclusion

If you want to create high-converting, perfect-for-your-audience ad campaigns on the first try, this is the process you should be using. It leaves little to chance and guesswork and instead focuses on what you know about your audience, what they’re looking for, and what they need. This is a powerful combination that will help you uncover how to best frame your products and services to each audience niche you’re trying to connect with, increasing your CTR and your conversion rates over time.

Are you struggling to map out ad campaigns that resonate with your audience, or need help managing them? Drop us a message and see how we can help.

Tactics to Rebrand and Be Seen Differently

There is always a lot of buzz about personal branding, and a lot of the focus is on consistency. Apple as design, Walmart as low prices, Fedex as dependable delivery.

People who have successfully branded themselves are also known for something specific. Martha Stewart for domesticity, Oprah Winfrey for authenticity. While it is true that consistency helps branding, the reality is that individuals (and companies) are more complicated than a single tag line or campaign, and sometimes you want to be known for something else.

You already have multiple pursuits in life so you already have more than one personal brand. You might be a marketing manager and a wife and a parent and a marathoner. You will know different people in each sphere and they will brand you based on what they know in that area. Even if you are not consciously branding as a mom, the parents of your child’s classmates probably think of you this way. On the other hand, your running group may not even know you’re a mom. How many times have we met someone in a casual context and are surprised when we learn what they do for a living (or vice versa)!

Here are three tactics to mix up your brand or re-brand altogether:

1. Focus on the area that positions you in the best light.

I coached a stay-at-home mom who didn’t think prospective employers would value her contributions because of her long gap in traditional employment. But she also headed several community programs and was a record-breaking fundraiser. I guarantee that people in her programs saw dollar signs before they saw her mom skills. Yet she always branded herself as returning to the workforce (the mom brand) instead of focusing on ways she never really left (the program leader brand). When she finally re-positioned herself to lead with her accomplishments, she found herself in demand from several companies for sales and business development roles.

2. Focus on where you want to go, not what you’ve been doing. 

An experienced financial services executive is interested in leaving for non-profit work in women’s leadership. She volunteers in a few women’s leadership programs and is already well-regarded in that space. Yet her professional bio makes little mention of this and instead focuses on her long list of financial services-related accolades.

While her track record in financial services is impressive and longer in actual duration, her new track record in women’s causes is equally substantial. If she wants to start being seen as a leader in the women’s leadership space, she needs to focus her story there, regardless of whether there is more time spent in the other areas.

3. Expand your network to broaden your brand. 

Sometimes people who have known you for a long time have trouble seeing you in a new way. You were always the finance person, so they can’t see you in non-profit. This is understandable — you are changing, and they are not. Get some new friends! Seriously, you don’t have to drop the old ones, but if you’re serious about re-branding yourself in a specific way, broaden your network to new people who never knew the old you and don’t have to be convinced.

You don’t have just one brand. It evolves over time. It is different day-by-day in the sense that we all have multidimensional lives. Use this to your advantage. Proactively choose what and how you brand.

Episode 2 – Deny Procrastination

This week in the Mental Heath Monday video we will talk about Procrastination…

My biggest enemy!!!!

Listen here: