Increase Your Freelance Marketing Productivity

As a freelance marketer, you understand the hassle it is to keep track of the endless amount of online accounts. Once you're logged into the correct account, you find yourself with five browser windows open each having an undetermined amount of tabs containing all of your systems of process workflow...everything from MailChimp and HubSpot, to Google Drive, Canva, and Buffer. The list goes on while you end up in a matrix of browser confusion.

 Say hello to your little friend.

Say hello to your little friend.

What if there was a way to reduce the clutter? What if you could run all of these apps within one window where you could switch between all your workspaces instantaneously? What if you could access all of the Google Services (including Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and more), HubSpot, MailChimp, HootSuite, Canva, Facebook Business, Facebook Messenger, and just about every other application you need to do your job? What if you could switch between your client's support Google Docs and your Canva account with one click? 

The answer is here. You have to try Shift

 Shift - Main Dashboard

Shift - Main Dashboard

This software is absolutely mind-blowing. Shift is all about streamlining your workflow, like a boss. Get your work done across Google Mail, Calendar, and Google Drive. Not to mention the extensions that are available. Once you're set up with this software, you can increase your marketing productivity immediately. 

 Wide variety of popular apps (Slack, Evernote, WordPress, etc.)

Wide variety of popular apps (Slack, Evernote, WordPress, etc.)

You can access Boomerang, Grammarly, Google Services, and just about all of your favorite apps. Plus they have unified search with the pro version, giving you the ability to search all of your apps and mail accounts at the same time.

 You won't lose any of your extensions, either. 

You won't lose any of your extensions, either. 

If you want to be able to manage multiple accounts with one click, and finally declutter your desktop, Shift is your handsome solution to the mess. Whether you use Windows, Mac, or Linux, say goodbye to ends browser tabs, logging-in-logging-out nightmare. 

If you're still not convinced, take the tour by watching the video below.

Shift is available as a freemium SaaS. It's great for anyone who lives in many browser windows and tabs, having to be constantly switching between Google and Outlook accounts throughout the day. And although the limited availability of Shift is awesome, the Pro version is definitely worth the upgrade. Try Shift. You won't regret it. 

 

Need help managing your marketing workflow?

Let's work together.

How to Survive the Facebook News Feed Update in 2018

How to Survive the Facebook News Feed Update in 2018

The recent news regarding Facebook's news feed overhaul has put brands into a tailspin since the announcement. Many publishers (such as Elite Daily and LAD Bible) who rely heavily on Facebook to drive site traffic, will likely see a huge decrease in audience reach. Zuckerberg himself even acknowledged the fact that Facebook itself will see a significant decrease in traffic.

 " "We will prioritize posts from friends and family over public content" - Facebook

"
"We will prioritize posts from friends and family over public content" - Facebook

If you’re unsure about how to adapt your Facebook News Feed practices, we’ve put together a little summary straight from Facebook, along with some actionable strategies to help you adapt and survive through the most recent changes to the Facebook News Feed.

What Exactly Happened?

The prioritization of friend and family over page posts has slowly been implemented since late 2017, however, the latest announcement has made it official. The overhaul is now full steam ahead. “Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed” as announced on the Facebook Blog. With these announcements, the recent changes will be focusing on prioritizing “posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to”. This is what many businesses and pages are calling bad news, having been presented with many challenges with organic reach drastically declining since 2012.

 Image Courtesy  MobileMonkey

Image Courtesy MobileMonkey

"Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.  "

The purpose for the roll-out of changes to the Facebook News Feed is in an effort to improve the value of content that users engage with on Facebook. "Value", being the keyword here.  In which the goal of said "value" focuses on the development and interaction with each users’ community. User engagement (i.e. comments) will be the primary driver for growing post reach and exposure on the Facebook News Feed. Taking advice straight from Facebook, “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”

Simply put, those managing Facebook Pages can no longer rely on social marketing growth methods that were once considered successful. Small businesses and entrepreneurs will be impacted in the same manner and ought to be prepared for the changes that have already been set in place.

Diversify Your Channels

Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn are all still great resources for business pages and profiles. Utilize these platforms to distribute content on a more frequent basis and analyze the top performing posts from a user engagement perspective. If you notice that your content on one platform has a lot of conversation surrounding it, chances are likely that your audience will have a similar response on other platforms. In this manner, you can "pilot" your content and then distribute the higher-performing (i.e. higher-value) content to Facebook. Other online social communities that are driven by interest groups are also valuable resources for connecting with relevant audiences. Reddit is a popular avenue for online communities, as well as forums and blogs such as Medium. Youtube is another great platform for connecting with your audience and establishing your brand within an online community, however, Youtube also relies on having followers to reach large audiences within the platform. 

There are two new rising types of channels that businesses should focus on developing as part of their portfolio when it comes to social media outreach. Those being "voice" and direct messaging. What we mean by "voice", is audio based communications; i.e. podcasts. The statistics supporting audio as a being a vital method of brand communications is staggering.  With technological advancements in software automation, direct messaging applications (i.e. Facebook Messenger) being coupled with chatbot applications are now another candidate for connecting brands with audiences. 

Change Your Strategy

Although there are a number of new strategies that you can utilize to adapt to the Facebook News Feed updates, there are also a few existing tactics that will continue to be successful in 2018 and beyond. The goal, at the end of the day, should be to provide more value to your audience. In reality, what you want to do is post less often using content that is actually worth talking about. 

Optimize Posts For Comments

One thing that will remain the same is the fact that video posts are your best friend on Facebook. Video posts have a tendency to create conversation amongst an audience, and Facebook recognizes this as a positive thing with the News Feed changes that were implemented. 

Trending issues and hot-button topics that are relevant to the values of your brand and your audience will be the successful discussion points to be distributed as content on your Facebook News Feed. Realistically, it is exactly what your followers want to talk about and why they engage in conversation with you. 

Avoid Comment Baiting

This is a rule that has been in place for a while, however, a reminder never hurts. Comment baiting is when you ask your audience to "like this post!" or "comment on this post" or "like our page!" Comment baiting is penalized and pretty much goes absolutely no-where. Don't do it! 

Facebook Groups

This will be the primary location where businesses can interact and easily reach audiences on Facebook. The benefit here is that businesses can reach a user's notification and News Feed when utilizing Facebook Groups. However, organizations should be care to not open the door to business page saturation within Facebook Groups, simply moving the News Feed issue from one location to another.

Paid Advertising

Of course, you can always "pay-to-play." Sponsored or "boosted" posts will always reach the audience that you target and pay to reach. You're always guaranteed to reach a specific number of users if utilizing paid advertising on Facebook, however, the performance depends upon factors such as targeting, content quality, etc. It is important to target your audience appropriately and utilize pixels to track your conversions to get the best return on your advertising investment. 

BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

The fact that posts of friends and family are prioritized over businesses and pages puts even greater importance on growing your personal brand and networking. The amount of people you are able to interact with on your personal page will help give your business page even greater exposure.

In Summary

Keeping all these facts in mind, quality over quantity seems to be lesson businesses and pages will need to learn with the Facebook News Feed Update. Do you have concerns regarding the changes occurring in the social media landscape? We can help guide you through the nuances and challenges that are presented to your business. Contact us today!

Set Up Your Blog for Marketing Success

Set Up Your Blog for Marketing Success

It is devastating to see blogs with excellent content be anonymous with no comments, a rotting PageRank, and terrible Alexa rating. For those bloggers out there that have decided to launch their blogging careers in 2008, that's great! However, it's now 2018, and marketing plus web 2.0 has changed. Realize that with these changes, it is time to get your blog in order.

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Get Your Blog In Order

1. Write Consistently All the marketing in the world won't help you if you have a dull blog in search for more traffic. Don't give up at all though; great promotion starts and more publicity starts with excellent content and needs to continue on a regular schedule. Maintaining quality and regularity is difficult but essential. Hang in there, because if you can master this, you'll be well on your way to great publicity.

2. Your Design is Essential: First impressions count, and they can count for money. If you're serious about blogging, you're going to need a unique WordPress theme that fits your style. It's impossible to look the same as everyone else and stand out at the same time. It's an easy thing to say but a hard thing to do, but take your time and consider hiring someone to create a design that will help you make your mark in the online blogging world. Or take your time, get a good CSS editor and learn how to do it yourself from the ground up. If you're dedicated and good with computers, this might be the best route to go. 

3. Be SEO Friendly: Get your domain name, host your software, enable permalinks, create unique titles, use unique keywords, enable trackback and the ping functionality and be sure your blog pings pinging-services.

4. Break Important Stories:
Create timely articles and you will generate interest in an area. It's still possible to break a story, and if you put the time and energy into finding stories, you might even benefit from being picked up by A-list blogs. It's also possible to get picked up by mainstream media and more if you watch for the trending topics and break a story.

5. Engage Your Readers: Answering comments on and off your blog adds a human touch to your blog and engages the readers. Starting a discussion and getting people talking about your blog is the best way to generate traffic. Having a conversation about your post is the best way to promote your post.

So as you get with the new Web 2.0 in 2018, you can begin to see more blog comments and a better PageRank along with an appropriate Alexa Rating.  You can have web marketing success all it takes is a little hard work and some elbow grease.

Need help setting up your blog and establishing a content strategy? Contact us!

Top 5 SEO Strategies to Focus on in 2018

 

Top 5 SEO Strategies to Focus on in 2018

Anyone heavily involved in search engine optimization is accustomed to evolving their approach. Some SEO strategies remain useful for a long time, with only slight tweaks required. However, plenty of other methods move from being highly beneficial to extremely dangerous. If you test the limits of your approach, updates can lead to severe penalties or even bans. A more white-hat plan, though, won't usually have the same impact, with updates having less impact or perhaps improving your rankings. So what are the main SEO strategies you should be focusing on in 2018?

seo-asheville-search-engine-optimization

Smart Keyword Placement

While keyword research is still an important part of SEO, the approach required for ranking is considerably different. A successful strategy in the past was to create a new post for every keyword, using the chosen term in the title, description, URL, and various times within the content. An updated approach, though, will focus on grouping keywords together into related terms. Google is far better at deciphering patterns between words and phrases, so you don't need to explicitly make clear what the content is trying to rank for. Ultimately, the focus should be on quality content, written for readers, and built around a clear theme.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is not a new strategy, but it can be efficiently used to optimize your website. Instead of merely adding links without any clear structure, consider the hierarchy of the site first. Your highest priority pages should not be far away from the homepage, requiring minimal clicks to reach. A large e-commerce site might internally link between relevant products in the same category. A blog might add links to articles within a related topic.

Safe Link Building

On-site factors relating to trust and relevance have become increasingly important, but backlinks are still a key factor. Using automated software to gain large numbers of links should be avoided, with smaller numbers of quality links offering a more efficient approach. Guest posts, directories, and social media can all provide safe links, but there is more need to research the quality and relevance of the linking site carefully. It is now also necessary to remove bad links from your profile, monitoring your backlinks using the Google Search Console.

Focused Titles

Titles were typically seen as a place to include some prominent keywords. There is now, though, more focus on trust and relevance, so a low click-through rate (CTR) and high bounce rate can damage your rankings. Create a title that lets searchers know what to expect, using the characters to craft a heading that resembles an advertisement. A good title can lead to a higher CTR than sites ranking above you, with Google then rewarding you for providing relevant content.

Quality Content

Websites typically build up a lot of content over a long period of time. Much of this material might not resonate with an audience, though, and probably receives little or no traffic. Occasionally auditing your site can uncover articles that are low quality and didn't meet visitors expectations. Look at the pieces receiving no traffic in Google Analytics, consider if the content could be improved, ensure the word count is sufficient, and create any necessary updates. An additional benefit of this approach is the ability to promote the content as new.

There are no certainties or guarantees in SEO, with disputes commonplace among the most active bloggers and forum users. There are, though, many best practices that will usually lead to positive results. It is essential to monitor the impact of new changes, being willing and able to adapt if you find ranking doesn't improve. However, an SEO campaign focused on these key strategies in 2018 is primed for a successful year.

Need help with increasing the search engine visibility of your website? We can help! Contact us today.

7 Actionable Branding Tips to Consider for 2018

 

7 Actionable Branding Tips to Consider for 2018

The business and marketing world is always evolving. To stay ahead of the game, you'll need to establish a strong, recognizable brand. Here are seven crucial branding tips to consider for 2018.

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Focus on emotions

Figure out what kind of emotion you want to trigger in your target audience. Emotions play a pivotal role in connecting with your customers. What story do you want your brand to tell? Big names know how to stir certain emotions in their audience. For example, brands that revolve around health know how to inspire their audience to get up and work out. Tech brands know how to hype their audience for their latest products. Figure out how you want your customers to feel. Customers should associate a specific emotion with your brand.

Plan how you want to represent your brand visually

Ask yourself how you want to present your brand visually. Visuals are essential especially in the age of the internet and social media. You'll need to learn how to express your name at a glance adequately. There's a reason that the Google Logo is so recognizable. Do you want your brand to appear rugged? Do you want it to be colorful and approachable? Do you want a minimalist look for your brand? A strong visual identity makes your name easier to recognize and remember.

Understand who you want to reach

Before deciding what you want your brand to be about, you first have to understand your audience. You first need to understand who you want to reach with your brand. With whom do you want your brand to resonate? You'll need to ask yourself a few critical questions, such as your target audience's age range, level of education, lifestyle, and even their gender. Answering just a few of these issues can help you understand how you want to shape your brand for the future.

Don't do it yourself

Most beginners make the mistake of thinking that they can get away with doing everything themselves. Establishing a brand isn't something just one person can do. There's more to branding than just designing a logo. Design and branding agencies exist for a reason. While there are certain aspects of branding that you can do without help, you'll still need professional help in other areas. Don't be afraid to outsource certain parts of your campaign.

Weave branding in everything you do

Branding extends beyond your business. Everything you do, whether it's online or offline should have an impact on the growth of your brand. Your personal brand as an entrepreneur should grow your with your business' identity.

Establish your own online platform

Having an online presence is important both for brands and individuals. Whether you're a blogger, author, or an entrepreneur, you'll need to find a way to cement yourself in the online world. There are a variety of social networks you can establish yourself in, but make it a point to find out which platforms are most important. Facebook and Twitter are musts, but other platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram might not be vital for your brand or niche. Find out what works for growing your brand's identity. Figure out where your audience is, then go to them.

Understand your value

Understand what value your brand has to offer to the rest of the world. How can your brand help people in their lives? How do you want people to remember your brand? With what concept do you want people to associate your name? For example, do you want people to think of your brand for its charity, creativity, or reliability?

Branding is a complicated topic that even experienced entrepreneurs have trouble understanding. Take note of these tips to help your brand dominate the competition. If you need help building your brand or coming up with a marketing strategy, let us know! We can lend a hand.

Branding is an Integral Part of Successful Growth Marketing

Branding is an Integral Part of Successful Growth Marketing

What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know

asheville-marketing-agency

It does not matter what industry your business is in or how long the firm has been in business, without good branding you are dead in the water. Quality branding is an essential part of running a business these days, and building a solid brand is one of the most important things new business owners need to do.

Regardless of industry or years in business, branding and success go hand in hand. Building a solid brand will not happen overnight, but if you are diligent and dedicated, it will happen.

Essential Elements of a Great Brand

Branding should be an integral part of your growth marketing strategy, but what does it take to build a great brand? In a perfect world, your branding efforts would begin as soon as your business was up and running, but the timeframe is not as important as the finished product.

Whether you are growing your business for the future, getting your new startup off the ground or recovering from a marketing misstep, there are a number of essential elements your brand needs to contain. The essential elements of a great brand include:

  • A memorable company name - The name should be easy to remember, instantly recognizable and highly distinctive
     
  • A great logo - The logo is your business in representational form, so its quality will be critical to your success. A colorful logo that symbolizes your business is an essential part of your branding strategy.
     
  • A consistent message - In order for your brand to be successful, you need to create a consistent message. Customers should be able to recognize your brand across all your online and offline properties, from the website to the front door.
     

Big Advantages of a Great Brand

There are big advantages to building a great brand, and in the end all your hard work will pay off. From creating a consistent identity for your company to driving more new customers through your doors, a solid brand is its own reward.

Here are some of the biggest advantages building a great brand can bring to your small business.

  • Puts your small business on even footing with the big boys - It is not easy to compete as a small business, but a solid brand can make you look much bigger than you actually are.
     
  • Builds trust - No one wants to do business with a company they do not know, but a great brand can help you build that initial trust.
     
  • Great branding can jump start your advertising efforts - Marketing can be a big challenge for small businesses, but quality branding can give your advertising efforts a much-needed boost.

Whether you are running a brand new startup or growing an existing firm, quality branding can make a world of difference. To the outside world, your brand is your company, so it is important to get this right. Just think about the brands you respect, and what sets them apart from the rest, then build those elements into your own growth marketing strategy.

How Businesses Can Work Successfully with a Digital Marketing Agency

How Businesses Can Work Successfully with a Digital Marketing Agency

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If you want your business to achieve online success without a massive commitment of resources, then hiring a digital marketing agency is a solid choice. However, while a talented firm can undoubtedly deliver impressive results, there's no silver bullet. To ensure the relationship works well for your business, it pays to do a little groundwork first. What can a company do ahead of hiring an agency, to smooth the path to success?

 

Know Your Target Market

The key to success in online business is knowing how to reach your customers through accurate targeting. Any competent digital agency will be able to narrow this down through research and experimentation, but the process will necessarily consume time and money before you see solid results. If you can supply a detailed definition of your ideal buyer, put together via offline sales or previous online work, then the agency can hit the ground running while refining their targeting over time.

 

Know Your Product

Marketers may be experts in driving traffic and building awareness, but they're not necessarily knowledgeable about your particular business. If you can supply as much detail as possible about your product, including its unique selling points, its competition, and even any drawbacks that you may need to counter, you'll be giving an agency a solid starting point from which to work.

 

Decide on a Destination

What do you hope to achieve by working with an agency, and how will you measure progress? A marketing agency may, for example, judge their success on traffic volume, repeat visits, brand awareness, or any number of other factors. If, however, you're only interested in ramping up short-term sales volume, then this needs to be made clear so that everyone's working toward the same goals.

 

Set Communication Ground Rules

For a marketing agency to be fully capable, it needs to have communication with many varied parts of your business, from sales to customer services. They need to know who will be their point of contact, and your staff should be happy to cooperate with requests for information. Of course, this works both ways: the agency should be clear about how often they'll supply status and progress updates, and they should establish reliable communication methods for if you need to get in touch.
 

Be Prepared to Delegate

Lastly, although keeping up to speed with the relationship is essential, it's best to give the agency staff room for maneuver. You're hiring them for their expertise, so don't be tempted to micromanage their efforts. With clear targets and effective communication, you'll be able to judge on results rather than the day-to-day details of their work.

A right agency will continually work with a business to maximize success, and the relationship will work best when treated as a partnership. Having a clear idea of what you want your digital marketing strategy to achieve, and giving an agency the information they need to work toward this, will smooth the path toward mutually beneficial success.

Are you looking for an Asheville Marketing Agency? Contact Us!

How to Create Viral Content in 3 Easy Steps

How to Create Viral Content in 3 Easy Steps

how-to-create-viral-content

Every content marketer hopes something they develop has the power to go viral. When a piece takes off, it can bring an influx of new attention, clients, and customers to the business. 

However, viral content can be difficult to create. With the mass amounts of information out there, it can be a challenge to know what will stick with your target audience. When you create a piece of viral content, it needs to be different enough to stand out - but that means you're taking a risk. 

Stepping out of your comfort zone as a content creator is one of the best ways to develop viral content. However, simply guessing what will be popular with your target audience can be a waste of time and money. While you want to create something entirely new to your audience, you also want to put in ample research to ensure it fills a need and is valuable. 

There are three clear steps to developing viral content. To help you create a piece that is sure to take off, here are the three steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Find the Right Topic

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The topic you focus on will be the foundation of your topic. In order to ensure your content makes a strong impression on your target audience, you need to select a topic that identifies strongly with your target audience. 

Many marketers assume they know what their audience needs or they can guess what their customers are looking for. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly difficult to predict what will be popular, especially if you're not engaging your audience in the topic research process. 

In order to find a great topic, you need to listen to your audience. Rather than assuming you know what is best for them, you need to listen to what they're asking, identify what questions they still have, and find what problems they most want to solve. You can even jump offline to engage in some real-life conversations. 

Find new ways to engage your target audience. Read publications, popular blog posts, and articles from your niche to understand new developments or ideas. Listen to the conversations your audience and competitors are having, and talk with other individuals in your niche or community to understand the problems that are still out there. From there, you're able to develop a topic strategy that can attract high quantities of attention.

Step 2: Decide on a Content Type

marketing-agency-asheville-nc-content-marketing

Your content topic isn't the only thing that is important. When trying to make a piece of content go viral, you also need to ensure you're developing it in a way your target audience will love. 

There are a number of different content types you can choose from. From blog posts and e-books to infographic and videos, viral content is not confined to just one idea. However, you need to consider your target audience when trying to decide which type of content is most likely to take off. 

When deciding on a content type, first think about what is popular with your target audience. While you may be excited to create a certain type of content, if your audience doesn't enjoy that style, you're not going to get the attention you hoped for. Instead, consider what has been popular in the past and stay within those boundaries. 

Remember to take your time when creating content. If you truly want a piece to become popular, you need to put a lot of hard work into ensuring it is high-quality. If you're trying to develop a piece in only a few minutes, you'll struggle to get any attention.

Step 3: Properly Promote Your Content

creating-viral-content-marketing-asheville

Once your content is created, you're ready to promote it. While viral content is shared widely among target audience members and customers, it doesn't always start out that way. In order to get those first few bits of attention that can get the ball rolling, you need to have a promotion strategy. 

You should promote your content in a few ways. Using your own social media platforms, email newsletters, and website is a great way to get started. However, for a piece to go viral, you need to be able to dip into other networks and communities. 

To get more attention to your piece, consider reaching out to content sharing sites and influencers. When you can get other brands to share your content with their own communities, you're able to get your information in front of a new audience. Not only can this expand your reach, but it can help you bring new customers and get more shares. 

To improve your promotion, be sure to focus on real engagements. When you're trying to bring attention to a certain piece, you may feel inclined to share it as much as possible in as many places as possible. However, if it doesn't fit in that area, you'll only annoy your leads and push them further away. Instead, focus on sharing your content where it makes sense.

Conclusion

Creating viral content comes down to how well you know your target audience. In order to increase the chances that a piece will go viral, you need to take a moment to do the right research, compose strong content, and ensure you're promoting it the right way. 

Use these three steps to bring yourself closer to creating a truly viral piece of content. The more you get to know your target audience, the more you can adjust your content strategy until you're able to create a piece that is shared by hundreds of people.


Want to find out how we can help create your social media content to build your brand? Contact us today! 

A Simple Strategy for Getting Started in the Local Marketing Field

A Simple Strategy for Getting Started in the Local Marketing Field

Providing online services to local businesses is an excellent opportunity for newbie marketers. Many local business owners don't have the time to spend learning the many aspects of online marketing, preferring to outsource to external agencies or individuals. It is common for beginners to study many marketing techniques, but not have a business of their own to which to apply them. Even without a track record or a series of case studies, there is a simple way to get started in the local marketing field. The following method enables anyone to get the attention of local businesses, ensuring you build a client base quickly.

Quick Outline

The strategy involves building a website, along with additional promotional platforms, in a variety of niches in your area. Businesses will naturally find your sites, ideally ranked in a better position to their own. You then have the option of selling advertising space, renting the entire site, or even selling it. This method simplifies the outreach and sales side of local business marketing, which is one of the significant hurdles for new starters. Additionally, you could also offer ongoing services to businesses who are interested in working with you.

Market Research

First, write down a list of popular industries in your area. Obvious examples will include lawyers, doctors, dentists, plumbers, and many more. Use Google to find the top competitor and add their URL to the Google Keyword Planner. You will then receive a list of the top keywords they are targeting, with many further examples available through brainstorming. Keyword tools will often not provide accurate keyword data for low volume terms, so be prepared to use common sense when developing a keyword list.

Site Building

With your industry and keyword lists, you can now start building some initial sites. WordPress offers an easy solution, with plenty of niche-specific templates from which to choose. Use your keyword list to create a hierarchy, grouping appropriate categories and expanding to target long tail keywords on individual pages. Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to ensure your site is set up for the search engines.

Social Network Development

Next, add the site to the major social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Gradually, link to the posts you create for the site. Video marketing is an effective tool to use as it is relatively easy to rank a video for long tail keywords. Ensure you remain active on social media, posting quality content, sharing interesting links, and interacting with the community.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (seo)

Basic SEO involves using keywords and related terms within the title tag, description, and content. Link both internally and externally to authority sites. Ensure the site loads quickly by using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. Build a blog on your site and develop content that would be of interest to people in the industry. This material could include expert interviews, news, local events, or roundup posts.

Additionally, if you have a local address you can use, creating listings on appropriate directories can provide citations for the website. Some relevant and authority links from prominent directories can often be enough to move a site to the first page for many keywords. You can also then create a Google My Business page and increase your chances of rankings within one of the top three map listings.

Earning Income and Ongoing Services

Include a prominent banner explaining the situation with the site, whether this involves renting space or a complete sale. Interested parties can then contact you to find out more and discuss prices. There are also various plugins that can automate the process, allowing buyers to go straight to a Paypal checkout page. During the sales process, offering additional services can be a way to increase income. SEO, paid advertising, and social media marketing are all services in demand, so you can secure clients on an ongoing basis.

This simple strategy can provide an entry into the local marketing field without having to start networking or cold calling. New starters probably won't have a series of case studies to offer, but proof of your results can prove even more enticing. Over time, you may decide to change your strategy, focusing on leveraging your growing reputation. You also can gain many clients from referrals and a growing local network. For those who want to ramp up this strategy, though, there is always the potential to target several locations further afield.

 

Want to learn more about how you can reach more customers in your area? We can help! Contact us today.

5 Ideas for Social Media Posts to Keep Your Pages Fresh

5 Ideas for Social Media Posts to Keep Your Pages Fresh

social-media-ideas

Creating a steady stream of posts for social media can be exhausting. But week in and week out, social media pages need fresh content to stay engaging and relevant. Fortunately, the job can be made much easier by learning a few types of templates for content creation. By intermixing these templates with the types of posts you're already creating, you'll find it much more difficult to run of ideas about what to post next.

 

Post Thank-You Messages

Social media sites are about socializing with others, and there are few pro-social behaviors that are simpler than a thank you note. Show appreciation for your fans, for other people in the industry who provide a value service, or even a specific individual for helping you out with something. A quick glance at social media will show you there are far more complaints than positive messages, and being part of a minority of positives gives you the chance to humanize your brand and connect with people on a more personal level.  

 

Post Suggested Reading

Put all that industry-related reading you do to work. If you find something your audience could benefit from, then point it out to them. Offer up a link or the name of the book as well as a quick explanation of its value. Using your personal perspective is what makes a recommendation like this excel. And if you're posting to Twitter and can't summarize your thoughts in such a small space, it wouldn't hurt to post a link to a longer review.

 

Post Questions

Questions get people to engage with you, and they're a great way to collect feedback in the process. If you're not looking for product feedback or customer testimonials, try friendlier questions like "What's your favorite thing about snow?" Almost nobody wants to follow a big faceless brand on social media sites. When you ask questions, you're directly engaging with your fans in a way that makes your page feel like its run by a real person. You might also find some surprising answers.

 

Post with Community Hashtags

On social media, every day is a holiday. Hashtags like #HumpDay, #ThrowbackThursday, and #FollowFriday are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to weekly hashtags. Tags like these are low-hanging fruit in terms of content, and they're a great way to gain visibility from people who are hanging out these popular tags. You don't have to hop on every hashtag that starts to take off, but occasionally it's worth chiming in.

 

Repost Evergreen Content

Content that remains relevant for months or years is called evergreen. For instance, an article exploring how to get blood stains out of carpet will presumably continue to be relevant even decades from now. Creating something that's relevant in this way can be time-consuming, but its value for publishing and republishing is next to none. If they're relevant, then take a few minutes to find some of your most popular posts, and repost them.  Otherwise, when your social media page is gaining handfuls of followers every day, it's unlikely all those new faces will have seen your best content.

 

Consistent and Still Fresh

It's easy for your content to start feeling repetitive. It's equally easy to start using these template ideas to push some new life into your page. Like with any changes to your social media properties, be sure to carefully track your progress. You might be surprised to learn one of some of these posts connect with your audience far better than others, and either way, you'll have the data to keep your content on the right track.


Want to learn how to get the best out of your social media marketing efforts? Contact us today! 

Maximize Your Marketing Momentum by Adding These Resources to Your Entrepreneur's Cheat Sheet

Maximize Your Marketing Momentum by Adding These Resources to Your Entrepreneur's Cheat Sheet

Whether you are a startup founder launching an online business or a small business owner attempting to grow your company within your local community, it is essential you maximize your marketing efforts. Making the most of your time on social media or creating content to build your brand's reputation will help improve your ROI ratio. Rather than waste time on marketing efforts in a haphazard manner, you need to make a concerted effort to maximize the potential of your online activities. There are a number of helpful tools you can integrate into your marketing strategy to boost your brand's efforts online. Review the following resources to see which ones can improve your marketing ROI.

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How Many Shares

How Many Shares helps you understand which social networks your potential customers are using. Add any URL from your site (or your competitor's) and discover details on the number of social shares the URL has received. Find out if Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit are the top choices for your audience or if you should be increasing your engagement on LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, or Google+.

(howmanyshares.com)

Write Rack

If you want to tweet storm like well-known venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, Write Rack needs to be on your resource list. Build your thought leader reputation online by tweeting long posts of informative content. Write Rack breaks your content into smaller tweets and numbers each post so your Twitter followers know your posts are part of a group. If you are attempting to grow your reputation as a knowledgeable startup founder worth watching, Write Rack is a must-add tool for your resource list.

(writerack.com)

RiteTag

Another excellent social media marketing tool is RiteTag. Find the best hashtags for your Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest posts to increase the spread of your company's online content. RiteTag also offers details on over-used hashtags you should avoid.

(ritetag.com)

Free Survey Creator

For entrepreneurs wanting to solicit product feedback from their users, the Free Survey Creator tool is a must-discover option. Create multiple choice or text input surveys and add your creation to your website by pasting in a single line of HTML code. Solicit feedback on anything from the usability of your site to the terminology used in your marketing materials.

(freesurveycreator.com)

Building a list of helpful marketing resources is essential if you want your company to grow. Whether you want to increase investor attention on your startup or connect with social media users in your local community, utilizing a variety of outreach tools can help build your business. Will you be integrating any of the above-listed resources into your brand-building strategy?

Let us know how we can help your business gain momentum. Contact us today!

What is a Brand?

What is a Brand?

A brand, at its core, is immaterial. It’s about the abstract attributes and values which present themselves in concrete ways. It is the sum of all interactions between a company’s products, service, company, or stakeholders.  Or, “a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”, as defined by the American Marketing Association.

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Branding = Art + Science

A brand is not simply a logo. Your brand is the resulting feeling or perception created from all of the visual and audio communications that are used to portray the personality of your company and the products and services you create. The logo is a symbol that stands for all that the brand represents. Your Brand is the Mix Between a Science + Art. The result of which is the instinctive or intuitive perception or feeling that distinguishes your company in the market.

You can consider a brand as the idea that a person has in mind when thinking about specific products or services, both in a practical (e.g. “the golf-club is light-weight”) and emotional way (e.g. “the golf-club makes me feel more skilled”). It is therefore not just the physical attribute that forms a brand but also the feelings that customers develop regarding the company’s product or service. This combination of a physical and emotional experience is triggered when exposed to the logo, the visual imagery, the name, or even the message communicated. Your brand is a relationship based on the past experiences and future expectations between you and your customers. It is defined by functional and emotional benefits and should be intended to influence customer behavior.

Therefore, it is critical for companies to build a strong brand positioning strategy. Without a comprehensive, well-defined brand strategy and identity, your audience might not understand who you are and what your company represents.

Building Your Brand

Branding is the process of applying meaning to specific products or services through creating and shaping a perception of a brand in consumers’ minds. It is a strategy designed by companies to help people to quickly identify their products and/or company. It also gives consumers a reason to choose one product over another by clarifying what a brand is and is not. It is what makes one brand stand out from another.

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The Strategy (Science)
When approaching your brand, it is important to recognize the challenge that requires implementation of a robust strategy to achieve success. Your brand must align with the products, services and markets your company that your company creatives and engages with. Good branding takes all parks into consideration, from the way the company behaves (brand personality) to the way the company looks (visual perception).

The Identity (Art)
This is the visual representation of your brand. It is all of the visual and audio communications that are incorporated in all marketing collateral, such as sales literature, websites, signage, etc. The visual approach, such as the images, colors, and fonts that are used, significantly contributes to how the brand identity of the organization is perceived.

The Position (Emotional Appeal)
How we define the brand’s unique capabilities and approach to delivering benefits, the benefits the brand delivers to the target audiences, the tangible things the brand can point to that prove that it can consistently deliver on its promise. The objective is to attract and retain loyal customers by delivering a product that is always aligned with what the brand promises.

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You can communicate with various tools to create and shape your brand:

  1. Advertising & Communications
  2. Product & Packaging Design
  3. In-Store Experience
  4. Pricing
  5. Visual Identity

Why do companies need a strong brand identity? In a fast-paced and overcrowded marketplace, our brains create shortcuts for making decisions and are why you need to have a strong brand foundation. Your brand identity is how your audience perceives your company, products, and services. It is the “face of your business” and is the mental box your customer puts you in when they are thinking about buying what you’re selling. For example, when I say the word “soda” – what do you think about first? What image comes to your mind? Is it a can of Coca-Cola or a 2-liter of Mountain Dew? “Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand” (Kotler & Keller, 2015).

15 Questions to Ask About Your Brand

We live in a face-paced world that is constantly changing. New technology emerges everyday, making it easier for more startups and small businesses to compete in your market. It's critical to your success to have a strong brand foundation that clearly and properly communicates your brand identity to your audience and to put in effort to actively manage your brand positioning and communications.

marketing-brand-development-asheville-nc

 

Below is a list of 15 questions that can be used to help you determine if your branding is meeting the expectations of your customers:

  1. Is it differentiated enough?
  2. Does it match customer perceptions?
  3. Does is enable growth?
  4. Does it identify your brand’s unique value to your customers?
  5. Does it produce a clear picture in your mind that’s different from your competitors?
  6. Is it focused on your core customers?
  7. Is it memorable and motivating?
  8. Is it consistent in all areas of your business?
  9. Is it easy to understand?
  10. Is it difficult to copy?
  11. Is it positioned for long-term success?
  12. Is your brand promise believable and credible?
  13. Can your brand own it?
  14. Will it withstand counterattacks from your competitors?
  15. Will it help you make more effective marketing and branding decisions?

 

Need help determining whether your brand is strong enough? Contact us to learn more on how we can help!

24 Questions to Build A Strong Brand Brain

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Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of any brand development project. I know I find it difficult to begin getting my creative energy flowing and wrapping my head around everything that is involved when it comes to branding. It took me years before I finally sat down and compiled the necessary information I needed to guide my thinking and ask the right questions to get the most out of my branding exercises.

Here is a list of questions that will help to get your thinking caps on nice and tight and into branding mode to use to improve upon on your brand:

  1. Who is your ideal customer?
  2. Why does your business exist besides making money?
  3. Is there more than one type of customer?
  4. What are the demographics of your customer?
  5. Who are you being in the world?
  6. What are you committed to?
  7. What can people count on you for?
  8. How are you different? What makes you unique?
  9. What do your customers want?
  10. What are your customers ultimately striving to achieve?
  11. What does your customer need from you? (Achievement, Significance, Belonging, Safety, Physical)
  12. What problem are you solving for your customer?
  13. What pain points do you solve?
  14. How would you describe your company in one word?
  15. Why do you want to help your customers?
  16. What or who is your competition?
  17. How do you make your customers feel?
  18. How are You different?
  19. Why do your customers trust you?
  20. What's your story?
  21. How does your logo communicate your brand?
  22. What does your voice sound like?
  23. What will happen when your purpose is successful?
  24. How will you measure the impact you’re going to have in the world?

Write down the answers that you come up with for each question. They will come in handy later when you begin to organize the information into your brand identity. Contact us for more information about how we can help build your brand.