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What is a brand strategy and how do you build one?

What is a brand strategy and how do you build one?

With a well-researched, in-depth brand strategy you’ll be able to reach the people you want to attract to your business and turn them into long-term loyal customers. 

Sound good? It is!

A brand strategy is like a roadmap for where you want to take your company – without one, you’re just shooting in the dark, hoping to attract customers. 

But what exactly is a brand strategy and how do you create one? Let’s take a look. 

What is a brand strategy?

A brand strategy is basically a long-term plan to develop a successful brand for your company, to achieve specific goals you set.

It includes these three main components:

  1. What your brand stands for
  2. The promise you make to your customers
  3. Your brand’s personality and how it’s conveyed in your marketing materials

There are more elements to a complete brand strategy, but getting these three basics right will help to set you up for success. 

Think of them like laying your foundation for building up a strong and reliable strategy for your company.

First up – tackling target market research

Researching your target market and understanding who your audience is will help you find them, grab their attention, and turn them into paying customers. 

One of the best ways to understand your target audience is to understand how they think, what they feel, and know what they want. So, how do you do that? Customer personas. 

What is a customer persona?

Customer personas are a detailed description of your ideal client. Like a personal profile They help you understand the motivations behind their buying decisions. This will help you know who you’re trying to connect with, and what makes them decide to buy. 

When you’re creating customer personas, there are a few questions to take into consideration:

  • What is their age? 
  • What is their gender? 
  • What is their educational background?
  • What is their occupation?
  • What industry do they work in?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they have kids? 
  • What’s a typical day like for them?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • Where do they get their information from?
  • Where do they prefer to shop?
  • What did they buy recently?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • How can you help them?

Know where to find your audience

Knowing where your audience hangs out online is everything. You can’t connect with future customers if you’re in the wrong place. 

There isn’t any point in fishing in a pond that has no fish in it, so don’t waste time or money advertising where your customers aren’t.

If you want to figure out where your audience is, ask them. Ask current clients where they get their info from. Send out a few surveys. Set up a focus group – do whatever you can to understand where your ideal clients are hanging out and why they choose to spend time there. 

Once you know all these answers – it’s time to start developing your brand strategy.

What do you need to develop a brand strategy?

There are a couple of things you’ll need to create to develop a solid brand strategy for your business:

  • Clear objectives
  • The right brand message

Let’s take a closer look at both of these brand development necessities.

Defining your brand’s objectives

Your brand’s objective is its purpose. It’s the reason your company exists, what it stands for – basically, why you bother doing what you do. 

If you don’t have brand objectives already, here are a few questions to think about: 

  • What problem does your brand solve?
  • How does your brand make your audience feel?
  • Do your clients trust you – and if they do trust you, why? 
  • What is the story behind your brand?
  • What’s the long-term goal for your company? (…we’re talking more than a paycheck here, go deeper – what’s your driving motivators?)

Once you’ve clearly defined your brand’s objectives, it’s time to start crafting your brand messaging to get that across to your audience. 

How to create the right brand message

Your story matters to your clients. It doesn’t matter what your industry is, your story will sell your services/products for you. Your brand messaging should tell them this story. Ultimately, you want to create a message that evokes emotion and inspires action in your clients. 

Why do we tell stories? Because a good story isn’t forgotten easily and the better your brand story is, the harder it will be for your audience to forget you. 

By creating your brand message around your company’s story, you’ll be able to attract your target audience – and they’ll form an emotional connection to you and your brand. 

What’s the big deal about an emotional connection between your customers and your company? Your audience will become loyal – and help spread the news about your company with their friends and family.

Creating brand guidelines

As soon as you understand your audience and have your messaging set, it’s time to think about how exactly you’re going to deliver that message. 

Start getting creative and think about your logo design, the fonts you’ll use, what colors best suit your business and what sort of tone of voice and imagery will work for what you’re trying to say. 

All these elements are key to creating a recognizable brand. 

Brands tend to evolve over time so it’s important that you set up some creative guidelines for your team. This will make sure that your branding will always match your story going forward. 

Now – with all that done, it’s time to start implementing your brand strategy!

Want help with your brand strategy? Get in touch with our team today.  

The best alternative to Feedburner: Follow.it

The best alternative to Feedburner: Follow.it

If you’re not familiar with feedreaders, they are a great way to organize multiple sources/websites in one consolidated location. Kinda like bookmarks but without the need to remember to go through your bookmarks every day, because that’s so 2004.

For a long time, I used Feedburner but when google reader became defunct, I moved over to other platforms. Some of them were okay but for the most part, I stopped using them because they either went out of business or didn’t really deliver.

I recently learned about follow.it, and started using it for this site (see the subscribe box in the sidebar) and I thought I’d share more about it here.

What is follow.it?

Follow.it is a feedreader, yes, but it’s also a way to turn visitors into subscribers, send them notifications about new content you’re creating, and then get those subscribers back to your site.

Does that sound like a funnel to you?

It is and I love it. Follow.it worked really hard to figure out a way for publishers to acquire new subscribers and get them coming back to their site. As we already know, only 2-4% of initial website visits will result in a conversion, so this is another way to capture your visitors and provide them with value (updated blog content) and then get them to come back to your site later to reengage with your services/offer.

Customizations for Subscribers

A lot of subscription tools only think about the publishers, but really the most important users are subscribers. We need subscribers to see the content they want to see and Follow.it gives subscribers various options to customize the information they receive using filters, which can be broken down by keywords, tags, authors, and even popularity.

Email Notifications

The inbox is still where most people live on the internet. More than 50% of people check their email at least TEN times a day (I KNOW!). The great thing about Follow.it is that they automatically check your website for updates and if there’s new content, they send out a notification to all your subscribers. BOOM!

No extra work on your part and your subscribers are getting the latest news from you right in their inbox.

Easy to setup

Follow.it makes it super easy to add a subscribe to your website and there are multiple customization options available. It’s basically plug-and-play. I was able to get our setup in less than 5 minutes!

They also provide thorough documentation, including a how to on moving from feedburner to follow.it.

Pricing

Follow.it offers a free plan that covers most of what you’ll need to get started. But they also offer two paid options with additional benefits like statistics and changing the subject line for your emails. Check out their pricing page for more details, because there are a lot of extras!

Both of the paid plans are based on follower count and very affordable. For example, it would be approximately $25/mo for 2500 followers on the highest (super cool) plan.

Statistics

If you do decide to go with a paid plan, statistics are included, which I highly recommend. What we don’t measure, we can’t change.

From total follower count…

To the number of clicks on messages. Knowing what content resonates with your audience is key in understanding additional content you should be creating.

Overall I’m really excited to see where follow.it continues to go with their product. I’m loving the email notifications and the statistics. And the fact that it’s so easy to set up is great.

So if you haven’t already, go to the sidebar and follow our blog so you can get our updates in your inbox right away. And let me know if you decide to use follow.it on your own blog. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

7 steps to get your website to the top of Google search results

7 steps to get your website to the top of Google search results

You already know your website needs to stand out from the crowd to attract the customers you want to serve. 

Getting to the top of Google’s search results page is the best way to get noticed by your target audience.

But, this is easier said than done and getting to the number one spot on Google takes a lot of hard work.

Google is always changing up their algorithms and it’s now more difficult than ever to get to the top of the SERP (search engine results page). 

So, let’s break down how to get to the top of google. How do you climb up to number one – and stay there?

Here are the seven steps you need to implement to get your website to the top of Google.

How to get to the top of google in 7 steps

1. Write about relevant long-tail keywords

Keywords or key phrases are the words that your audience types into Google to find what they’re looking for online. 

If you think you can rank on Google without using the right keywords, you’re going to hit some trouble further down the line. It’s unrealistic to think you can rank high on Google’s results without implementing some well-researched keyword strategy into your content. 

Now, we’re not telling you to completely stuff your content with a random assortment of keywords, this won’t help your rankings at all. In fact, it might actually damage your reputation and your site could even be penalized by Google!

A good place to start with keywords is by looking at long-tail keywords. These are perfect for attracting the right people to your website. 

Long-tail keywords usually consist of three or more words. Unlike singular keywords they’re more focused (and natural) as they include phrases that your customers will use in their searches. 

When you write using long-tail keywords you’re giving your website a better chance at appearing on relevant searches by people you want to connect with – especially when they’re in your industry and your niche. 

Here are a few examples of keywords and long-tail keywords so you can see the difference:

KeywordsLong-Tail Keywords
Buy shoesWhere to buy designer shoes near me?
SEO tipsSEO tips for small businesses
Forest walksWhere can I go on a forest walk in Salisbury, NC? 

The more specific you get with the things you write about, the more likely Google will be to promote you to your target audience. 

2. Optimize your website’s content

The only way to get to the top of the search results is to start climbing with great content. Put plenty of time and effort into your content and create helpful, engaging, and interesting pieces of copy for your audience to read. 

Do you already have content on your site? That’s great! But if you’re here then that means you’re still trying to get to the top of Google. 

You might have to optimize your current content to make it more appealing to Google (and your audience). 

Here are some ways you can optimize your content for Google:Create excellent, engaging headings

Create excellent, engaging headings

You want your H1, H2, and H3 headings to not only stand out for your audience but to also stand out for search engines as well. Make sure your headings are catchy, easy to read and contain the necessary keywords that will help Google identify your pages.

Your blog posts and copy

Your onsite copy, as well as your blog posts, needs to be written so your audience can easily read them. The longer your clients read your content and stay on your site, the better. Google monitors how long your visitors stay on your site – the longer they stay, the higher Google will rank you.  

You can optimize your website copy by: 

  • Present it using UX best practice (make it easy to read, interesting to look at and use plenty of white space)
  • Writing short sentences so your readers can easily digest your content
  • Making good use of bullet-pointed lists and paragraphs so your posts can be skimmed
  • Using images and graphics to break up any walls of text
  • Writing in an active voice instead of a passive voice 
  • Only writing relevant and useful information – no waffle!

3. Develop a content strategy (and use it)

To help get the most out of your content efforts, you’ll want to create a content strategy – or hire an agency to develop one for you – for your future content creation.

By having a detailed strategy at your fingertips you’ll be able to streamline your content creation process and have a consistent flow of new content on your site. 

With a content strategy, you’ll know when and where you need to post content. You’ll know what topics you’re writing about and how often you need to post them.

4. Blog, and blog a lot. 

How often are you posting fresh new content on your website?

Is it once or twice a month? Or are you blogging once a week?

Updating your website’s blog at least once a month is the minimum you should be doing. Posting something only once every so often or even worse – once a year isn’t going to help you get anywhere with SEO.

If you’re consistently posting unique, valuable content to your website then Google will actively push you up their search engine results.

Publishing articles on a weekly or monthly basis will help generate more trust with your audience too. The more trust you have, the more traffic you’re going to get on your site and the more traffic you get, the higher up on Google’s rankings you’ll be.

5. Get high-quality backlinks

Backlinks are like a gold mine when it comes to pleasing Google. Especially if they’re high-quality backlinks from trustworthy sources. 

The more backlinks you have, the more Google will see you as a trustworthy site. These backlinks will need to come from credible sources though – if they don’t (or you flood your site with dodgy backlinks) then you’ll be penalized. 

Don’t put your trust in any ‘quick fix’ guest post offers – they won’t supply you with any well-respected backlink sources. As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. 

Approach getting your backlinks with care.

6. Keep your ‘Google My Business’ updated

Every business should have a Google My Business (GMB) listing. If you don’t, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to market your company and get more traffic to your site. 

Google My Business is quick and easy to set up – and most importantly, it’s 100% free. 

If you don’t have a GMB listing we’d recommend getting one as soon as possible – and if you do have one then it’s time to update it and optimize it for SEO. 

Optimizing your GMB profile is all about updating your information and sharing accurate information about your company to any potential clients that search for your services. 

By keeping your profile updated you’re also keeping Google happy, which means your business is more likely to show up when a customer searches with relevant keywords. 

7. Analyze, Refine, Repeat

If you’re not seeing much of an improvement in your website’s ranking then there is only one thing for it. 

  • Analyze your site and identify where things are going wrong
  • Refine your site by improving on the parts that are failing you
  • Repeat this process until you see real results

Getting to the top of Google is an ongoing process – even when you reach the top, you have to work hard to maintain your position.

If you need some help climbing to the top of the search results, get in touch today!

Logo Design: How to make your corporate logo look stunning

Logo Design: How to make your corporate logo look stunning

Photo by Roman Pohorecki from Pexels

Logos of any kind are important pieces of branding. But corporate logos carry the weight of a large company, which means they’ll be more fully utilized, more commonly seen, and more closely scrutinized for effectiveness.

Your corporate logo will either enhance your brand identity or detract from it.

How can you make sure that the logo will boost your company brand image? Let’s look at four ways to make your corporate logo design memorable and practical.

Highlight brand identity

Whether your business is large or small, identifying your brand personality is an important part of strategizing everything from packaging to marketing to outreach. That brand identity is what allows you to effectively reach out to your target audience.

Keeping that in mind, highlighting your brand identity within your logo design is a great way to harmonize your branding with your brand itself.

Of course, this means that different companies need different types of logo design. Let’s say you have a large tech-based corporation and want to project an image of trustworthiness, cutting-edge technology, and reliability. What type of corporate logo do you think would accurately reflect those key aspects?

  • A hand-drawn logo with a quirky, amateur feel
  • A generic logo that blends in with the competition
  • A unique logo that projects innovativeness and professionalism

On the other hand, other companies are founded on different personality traits. Your company may need to project approachability, demonstrate a sense of humor, or show that it is family-oriented. A quirky, mascot-based logo may be the best option for you. In other cases, hand-drawn and “homemade”-feeling logos are the most accurate reflection of the brand personality.

An important first step is to recognize the brand personality that you’re working with. Remember that the style of logo that you choose can heavily impact its effectiveness, depending on your business. A great way to ensure that you follow through on your brand identity in your branding is to have it all laid out on paper. Create a manifesto about your brand, describing what it would be like if it were a person, including traits, goals, and values. Then, as you create individual pieces of branding, ensure that they harmonize with that personality.

Utilize color psychology in your logo design

The psychology of color is another vital component of branding. But the tricky part is that we don’t all perceive color the same way, as has been demonstrated by “preferred color” surveys. Men may be more inclined to prefer blues, while women may be more drawn towards reds and greens. Color perception differs across ages, backgrounds, genders, nationalities, cultures, and even individual markets.

So it’s very important to know who your target audience is before you put your color palette in place.

In addition to that factor, it’s also vital to conduct market research and determine what color trends there are within your market, why certain colors are more popular than others, and what message they send. If that message coincides with your brand identity, then you should definitely consider using those trending colors — but there’s a caveat to that. As mentioned in the previous subheading, corporate logos need to guard against appearing too generic or looking too much like the competition. So don’t just jump on a bandwagon without maintaining uniqueness and clear messaging.

Choose dynamic typography based on your logo style

Corporate logos often fall under one of the typography-based logo styles, such as wordmark, lettermark, monogram, or combination mark.

  • Wordmark logos use the name of the brand as the logo itself.
  • Lettermark logos use a single letter, such as the initial letter of the brand name.
  • Monograms use all initial letters in a multi-word name.
  • Combination marks use letters or words in combination with a graphic.

Again, one of the main traits that should commonly be associated with a corporation is power. Due to this, consider a heavier font for your logo. You may also want to use one that includes serifs, as these tend to look more polished and professional.

Whichever type of logo you choose in your design, if the typographic content is the focus, it’s even more important that you make sure it is legible and easy to read. This will likely require some trial runs of different fonts, adjustments in kerning and spacing, and getting feedback on the user friendliness of the logo.

Keep in mind, also, that typography also has a psychology behind it, just like the psychology of color. Your choice of font sends a message about the brand, and certain fonts are perceived as inherently having certain “personality” traits. So sticking to a font that promotes the same message and values as your brand does is a great way to ensure that there is continuity and harmony between your branding and your corporation.

Ensure adaptability

Our final key to creating a stunning corporate logo centers on ensuring the adaptability of the logo. This little piece of branding is small but mighty — it’s going to go a lot of places and be seen by a lot of people. 

You might include your logo on corporate letterheads, on your website, on product packaging, in advertisements, in marketing and promotional material, on business cards, on pens, coffee cups, billboards, t-shirts… the possibilities are endless for a great logo.

With all of those possibilities, though, it’s clear that adaptability needs to be at the forefront of your design.

Expert designers recommend that you have at least a few different variations of your logo in your design stable. 

  • A black and white version
  • A single color-pop version
  • A simplified version
  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
  • If you use a combination mark, you’ll want to have one with and one without both elements

On top of that, make sure that your logo handles both stretching and compression well. Scalability is one of the qualities that should be emphasized during the design process.

A great corporate logo isn’t always easy to attain. Many designers leave some of the above considerations out of the process. But if you make sure to give due attention to each of the four points mentioned here, your corporate logo can come to life, and give your company effective representation.

Author Bio

Alice Scott is a passionate writer and blogger who specializes in topics related to digital branding, blogging, and online business. She loves having Churros with her cat Chubby and morning walks.

5 tips to generate more leads with your health, wellness, and fitness website

5 tips to generate more leads with your health, wellness, and fitness website

A lot of wellness businesses create beautiful websites that look great but they don’t actually do anything to grow their business. Here are some basic strategies your wellness website should follow if you want to increase your sales. In fact, they apply to just about any retail business website.

Messaging that is conversion-focused

Conversion focused content is what makes or breaks a website. A lot of businesses talk about themselves but people really, when it comes down to it, people want to know how you can solve their problem. They want to know how you can help them. Use a short descriptive message telling your ideal client how your product or service will solve their problem or pain point. Why should they do business with you? What’s in it for them? How will you make their life better?

Keep it short and sweet, especially on your home page where you only have a few seconds to get them engaged and interested before they move on. As consumers, we are busy and tend to have short attention spans in the current digital age.

Call to action on every page

What is the main purpose of your wellness business website? To get new customers or recapture current ones. We see so many beautiful websites with no clear message on how to purchase the product, whether it’s a wellness program for a big company, yoga classes at a local studio or wellness products to enrich your life.

Makes sure there is a clickable button in a prominent spot on your homepage. Make it easy for me, the consumer, to purchase your product or service.

On all interior pages (because not everyone will land on your home page) there should be calls to action on where you want the visitor to go to next. Lead them through your site to where YOU want them to go. Don’t leave it up to them to decide.

Compelling lead magnet

You may have heard the phrase lead magnet or opt-in form. This is where you provide something of value to your potential client in exchange for their email address. Studies show that most people don’t buy your product on their first or even second visit to your website. Collecting emails of potential clients is an invaluable tool for further marketing, nurturing, and eventually converting them to paying clients.  

Examples of lead magnets include PDF downloads, quizzes, coupons or offers. It can be anything that your ideal customer needs that will entice them enough to hand over their email address to you. Once you have their email, you’ve captured that lead and have so many more options to reach them with your offer.

Sales funnel and value ladder

Once you’ve gotten someone into your email list with your lead magnet, you need a sales funnel to get them to the next steps. Having multiple offers at different price points (value ladder) is a great way to get people investing and trusting in you. Once they’ve done that, they can move on to higher priced offeres.

So your lead magnet offers something of value that is free. The next step in your sales funnel could be an offer that’s $20-$50 (ebooks, challenges, do-it-yourself options), then the next one $100-$200 (group coaching, programs, done-with-you services), and then the next $1500-$2000 (one-on-one or done for your services).

As your client goes through this value ladder, they gain more trust and confidence in what you provide, making them more likely to continue to buy. It’s must easier to continue to sell to someone that trusts you then it is to acquire a new lead and turn them into a paying client.

Contact information that is super easy to find

This might sound so super simple, but it can be overlooked or difficult to find. If your business has a phone number, make sure it’s VISIBLE in the header on each page as well as the footer. The top right corner of your homepage is a great spot to put it.

Research shows that visitors view a website from left to right, top to bottom, just like they read a book. Putting it in this spot will ensure your phone number will be the second thing they see after your logo. There are few things more frustrating than when you want to purchase a product or service but have to search for a way to contact the business.

Including it in the footer as well is a great way to get people who’ve spent the time to scroll through the page and have now reached the bottom to now move to the next step to contact you. Instead of having to scroll back up or look for a contact page, they have that info at their fingertips.

Use slideshows and video on your homepage only if it makes sense

Okay, so this is tip 6, but it’s kinda a pet-peeve of mine.

Slideshows have become a bit of a website cliche. Everyone is using them. Unless you’re selling a physical product or visual item (like a photographer or artist), a slideshow most likely is of little to no value to your clients. It also takes up valuable real estate and resources on your homepage. 9 out of 10 times, you shouldn’t be using this. 

The same rule goes for video. Unless it really tells a story as to why I want to purchase your product or service, don’t use up space on your homepage. If you must use a video, put it on an interior page where people can view it after you have already piqued their interest.

By applying all of these strategies to your wellness website, you’ll be on your way to generating more leads through your website. If you need help with turning your health and wellness site into a lead generation machine, contact us.