internet marketing strategy

5 Ways to Update Your Internet Marketing Strategy in 2020

The end of the year is quickly approaching. This means that you should take time to review the progress of your marketing efforts this year. You should also think about adjusting your internet marketing strategy and improving upon it. Even if your internet marketing strategy was successful this year, there are always ways you can improve. This is especially true when you consider how quickly internet marketing evolves and changes. With that in mind, the following are five ways that you should consider updating your internet marketing strategy for next year:

1. Update Your Web Design

Your web design has a big impact on whether visitors will stay on your website and continue to explore. The thing is, many businesses don’t update their web design for years. What might have been considered a cutting edge web design three or four years ago may be significantly outdated now. Your website should be easy to read and easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile. As a result, modern web designs tend to go with a cleaner, more minimalistic approach. Take a look at the websites from some of your competitors or from other businesses within your industry to see what they’re doing. If it’s been more than a year or two since you last updated your web design, there’s a good chance that it could do with a few improvements.

2. Personalize Your Email Marketing Efforts

Email marketing might be an old internet marketing strategy, but it’s certainly not an outdated one. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to not only nurture your leads, but to continue building relationships with existing customers. Be sure to segment your email lists based on the personal data and user behavior data you have access to so that you can personalize your emails more effectively. The more personalized your emails are, the more relevant they’ll be.

Check out our article: Email Opening Lines That Actually Work

3. Make Better Use Of Social Media

A lot of companies have social media pages, but they don’t do anything with them. Use your social pages to your advantage. Link new content to your social pages. Encourage conversations about your brand or your industry by asking your followers questions. Contribute to conversations that are relevant to your brand. By engaging with your followers, you build brand trust.

While using social media to engage with your followers should be a priority, there are other ways that you can take advantage of social media as well. For example, find influencers within your industry and connect with them. Building relationships with influencers can expose you to even bigger audiences and can help to boost your reputation.

4. Create New Content

New forms of content catch on quickly. Because of this, don’t limit yourself to just writing blog articles. While you should certainly continue with your existing content marketing tactics if they’re working for you, you should also look to vary your content. For example, if you haven’t started creating video content yet, then there’s a good chance you’re already falling behind the competition. If you don’t have the resources to create high-quality video content, consider recording podcasts.

Creating new content in a variety of formats will help to extend your reach and will go a long way towards building your brand authority. You may even want to source some of your content from your users. Consumers often connect more with user-generated content, after all. You can do this by holding contests on social media and awarding prizes to the best user-generated content (such as the best picture submitted on Instagram or the best video on YouTube).

5. Continue Finding Ways To Improve SEO

One of the most common online marketing mistakes people make is to assume that once they optimize their content for SEO, that they no longer have to worry about it. However, SEO optimization should be continuous. You should continue doing keyword research in order to optimize new content that you publish. You should monitor your page speed and improve it when it slows down. Also, work on off-page SEO, such as earning backlinks from respectable sources (such as by getting influencers to share links to your content). Remember that SEO isn’t just about optimizing your website. Your SEO strategy will only improve if you compliment it with your content marketing and social media strategies.

When it comes to your internet marketing strategy, it’s important to take note of what worked and what didn’t at the end of every year. Focus on improving marketing efforts that you feel fell short of expectations or of the goals you set. Even if you’re happy with how your marketing strategy performed, look for possibilities for improvement. As such, keep these five ways to improve your internet marketing strategy in mind for 2020.

The Rising Importance of Voice Search Marketing

Search marketing has long been a primary focus in the marketing strategies of many businesses. A good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can help increase your website’s exposure and bring in more organic traffic from search engines. However, as technology has advanced, search engines have as well. Keywords are not the only way that users perform search queries anymore. Voice search is quickly becoming a priority for search engines, especially with the rising popularity of virtual assistants, such as Alexa and Siri. As such, you will need to adapt your search marketing strategy to include a voice search strategy.

Why is Voice Search Marketing So Important?

Voice search makes searching the web much more convenient for customers. It takes far less time to ask a question vocally than it does to type it into a search bar. Voice search isn’t perfect, but it has improved significantly year by year and will only continue improving. It’s estimated that 65 percent of consumers between the ages of 25 and 49 use voice search-activated devices at least once a day. It’s also estimated that roughly half of all searches will be voice searches by next year.

On top of this, mobile optimization has become a must as a result of Google’s decision to rank pages based on the mobile version of a site instead of the desktop version. While typing in search queries on a computer is relatively easy, it’s more challenging on a smartphone, which is why consumers generally use their phones for voice search more often. By optimizing for voice search, you’ll be optimizing for your mobile audience as a direct result.

Tips On Optimizing Your Strategy For Voice Search

The following are a few essential tips on how to optimize your search marketing strategy for voice search:

  • Use language that sounds natural

    Voice search allows users to speak like they do in their daily lives. This means that the language being used to perform search queries is going to be more natural. When writing content, write using natural language and avoid sounding overly formal, if possible. This greatly improves your chances of being matched to their voice search query.

  • Use questions throughout your content

    Try to incorporate questions that users might have as part of your content. Many businesses are formatting their content’s headers as questions. This will help improve the chances of your content being matched with user voice search queries. For example, if they ask, “How do I get a wine stain out of my carpet?” and you have the header, “How do you get wine stains out of your carpet?” in a blog post on stain removal methods, your post is more likely to come up.

  • Consider user intent

    You can’t solely focus on keywords and hope that they will match. You have to consider the intent of the user in order to write high-quality content that’s relevant to their needs. Doing so will allow your content to be inherently optimized for voice search.

  • Use long-tail keywords

    When a user types in a query on Google, they tend to type in as little as possible. For example, if they are looking for a local plumbing service, they will likely type in “plumber” or “plumber” + their location. However, when performing a voice search, they will say something like, “I need a plumber near me in Detroit.” It’s more convenient to speak longer sentences than to type them. However, this means that you should focus on long-tail keywords more than single-word or small phrase keywords.

Learn more about keywords and SEO: Are Keywords Still Required To Increase SEO Rankings?

  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

    Because voice search is primarily used on mobile devices, you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. There’s no point in attracting leads through voice search if they’re going to leave your site immediately because of a lack of responsiveness. Use responsive design to ensure that your site displays properly on small screens. Make sure your website loads quickly as well.

  • Optimize local SEO

    A large number of voice searches are going to be local. Customers who are out and about will perform voice searches while they are doing other tasks as they search for a specific business in their area. By optimizing for local search, you’ll not only have a better chance at attracting such customers, but you’ll be able to provide instant results so that they don’t necessarily need to visit your site. Submit your NAP (name, address, phone number) to local listings and set up a Google My Business listing to optimize for local SEO.

It’s no secret that voice search is the future. Begin optimizing your website for voice search marketing today or you’ll find yourself falling behind the times — and your competition — as a result.

top b2b company

Stevens & Tate Marketing Named as a Top B2B Company Worldwide

When it comes to branding, it’s important to be focused on the future. At Stevens & Tate Marketing, we look forward to what 2020 will bring. Clutch just announced the Clutch 1000, a list of the 1,000 highest-ranking companies on their site. We are thrilled to announce that Stevens & Tate Marketing has been placed on the Clutch 1000 for the second year in a row!

Out of over 160,000 companies on Clutch, we ranked #820 on the Clutch 1000! That puts us in the top 1% of B2B companies. We are one of 78 companies that list branding as their main service line. Stevens & Tate Marketing is the only B2B company on the list based in Lombard, Illinois!

About Stevens & Tate Marketing

Stevens & Tate Marketing is a leading Chicago-based, integrated marketing and advertising agency that services clients nationwide. We specialize in digital marketing, broadcast advertising, package design, media planning, SEO, social media, and website design.

At Stevens & Tate, we offer leadership in thinking and process. In addition, we know objectives and strategies should always be bold and measurable and that creative content must clearly convey your service or product’s unique competitive advantage.

Above all, we have proven that we can “Make Things Happen” for our client partners. Notably, our two decades of work and hundreds of satisfied clients landed us multiple accolades from the B2B Research firm Clutch. Recently, Clutch named us as a top business services provider in advertising and marketing.

About Clutch

Based in Washington, DC, Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews platform. Users can read through client feedback via the verified reviews on Clutch to find the best service provider for their next project.

Clutch’s primary purpose is to help small and medium-sized businesses find the right marketing agency to meet their project goals and budgetary needs. Furthermore, Clutch helps through unbiased reviews, showing agency comparisons, and sharing industry insights from thought leaders. The platform makes it easy for businesses to find case studies, client testimonials and other vital data in one location.

Similar Article: Stevens & Tate Listed as a Top Branding Agency by DesignRush

Clutch analysts determine which B2B marketing agencies make its carefully constructed lists based on a methodology that relies heavily on verified client reviews. As a result, securing a position on their top 1000 list is especially meaningful to our team. We know that we earned our place based upon genuine feedback from our clients.

Also, you can find us on the Manifest, Clutch’s sister site! The Manifest is a company listing blog that features business survey data and how-to guides. Additionally, Clutch’s third site, Visual Objects, features businesses alongside a portfolio of their past work to guide users through the buying decision.

Showing Our Appreciation

“Winning this award for top-performing B2B companies our second year in a row brings clarity for our team that we are doing the right things during the day for our clients. We work with outstanding relationships, honest brand reputation and our team builds on integrity. Thanks Clutch for putting us on the list.” – Mark Beebe, Partner and Creative Director at Stevens & Tate Marketing

We are thankful for all of our past clients who have allowed us to be part of their success. We look forward to working on more projects in the future! Meanwhile, check out our Clutch profile to learn more about us or contact us to start your next project today!

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marketing optimization

A Guide to Successful Marketing Optimization

Trying to manage all of your marketing efforts can be a time-consuming process. There are only so many hours in a day and if you have a robust marketing strategy, then finding time to perform basic marketing tasks can be challenging. It’s why marketing optimization is so important. The idea of marketing optimization is to improve the efficiency of your marketing efforts and maximize your desired outcomes. Effective marketing optimization can help make your strategy easier to manage and more successful to boot. The following guide lists the steps you need to follow to begin utilizing marketing optimization.

1. Analyze Your Marketing Data

You’re not going to be able to optimize your marketing efforts if you’re unable to identify existing issues and challenges facing your marketing process. Collect and analyze data about your current campaign and website performances in order to identify various weaknesses and/or inefficiencies within your marketing strategy. For example, maybe your email list grows at a sufficient rate, but email open-rates seem to be going down. Or maybe your social media follower numbers are growing, but your web traffic isn’t.

2. Identify What Issues Need Addressing

After analyzing your data, determine what areas could benefit most from marketing optimization. There are a few common ones to consider.

  • Advertising

    Narrow down your audience by identifying your business’s buyer personas. When you have a detailed description of your ideal customer, you can focus your ad campaigns on the correct audience. When you’re reaching the right people, you no longer need to worry about wasting money on failed campaigns.

  • Landing Pages

    If your landing pages are not generating traffic or leads, you need to look into ways to optimize them. Your social media, SEO and paid advertising should all be leading back to your landing pages. Review each page’s copy and see if it relays the correct message you want your audience to see. If your copy does not align with your company goals and values, visitors will get the wrong message. Additionally, rethink your layout and design, including font, colors and images. You can use different CTAs to test what your audience responds most positively to.

  • Emails

    Your email audience is important because you already know they opted in to hear from you. You want to keep them engaged and interested in your business. You need to optimize all aspects of your email campaigns, including times sent, layout, copy and audience. Look into automation tools that will help.

Learn more about understanding email metrics: Email Marketing Metrics You Should Keep in Mind and What They Mean

3. Determine Automation Opportunities

In addition to identifying issues that need to be addressed in your marketing strategy, marketing optimization also allows you to identify opportunities for marketing automation. Automating certain processes can help improve results by speeding up the completion of tasks and improve accuracy by minimizing errors. The use of automation also helps cut down on tedious, time-consuming manually done tasks, therefore giving you and your team a significant amount of time to dedicate to more important jobs.

Take the previous email marketing example. You likely have customer emails that no longer exist, are no longer being used, or the recipients haven’t engaged with your brand for a long time. To remove them, you can implement an email validation (also referred to as email verification) automation tool. Such a tool can comb through your email list and automatically find non-responsive email addresses to remove. This gives you more time to focus on the content of your emails and tailor them toward the active recipients. It also takes the inactive recipients out of your analytics, giving you a more accurate representation of your email performances.

You can also use automation to segment your email list using the personal information you have from your recipients. Segmenting your email list can improve your ability to email relevant content to different recipients. This boosts your email open rate and improves the overall effectiveness of your email marketing strategy. Making your content more relevant to recipients means they’re less likely to ignore emails or unsubscribe from your email list.

4. Execute Your Plan

Optimizing your marketing strategy isn’t as easy as simply doing it. You need to obtain organization alignment, which means working with your team to prioritize responsibilities and inform the proper stakeholders. Certain stakeholders can provide insight into the process, after all. This helps you highlight the goals that you want to achieve. You also need to make sure that you have the resources to execute your plan. Your team may already have a plate full of responsibilities. You will need to efficiently manage who is responsible for what task and how they need to prioritize their work.

5. Continue To Optimize Your Marketing Efforts

Optimizing your marketing strategy may take some time depending on the resources at your disposal. However, once you finally execute your plan, you still need to continue optimizing your marketing strategy. There’s no guarantee that the changes you’ve made will be effective, after all. You’ll want to keep collecting and analyzing data so that you can continually find ways to further optimize your marketing efforts. You may discover that you missed more ways to optimize your marketing strategy. Odds are you’ll be implementing new tactics that will need to be optimized as well.

Marketing optimization allows you to pinpoint problem areas in your marketing strategy and to address them. Optimizing your marketing strategy also gives you the opportunity to obtain a big-picture view of your marketing efforts. This makes it easier to prioritize your tasks and ensure that you’re focusing on the most important tasks at hand.

30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips
what's trending

What’s Trending in Marketing for December 2019

Staying current on what’s trending in marketing is an excellent way to reflect and verify whether your marketing efforts are harmonious with the growth happening in today’s ever-evolving marketplace. We know the difficulty of keeping up with these trends, given the abundance of information thrown at us every day. The following articles come from popular marketing blogs. They highlight current marketing trends that we think are worth paying attention to:

Noteworthy Marketing News

Snapchat Readies 2020 News Push

Snapchat created a news channel that focuses solely on the 2020 democratic debates and gives the presidential candidates more visibility. Candidates can use the channel to promote their campaigns. The content appears in the Discover section of Snapchat around the time of debates and features content from the candidates, news sources and some user content. Not only does this give candidates another platform to promote their campaigns on, but it also gives Snapchat users more access to political information. Read more on Axios.

Brands on Twitter Can Now Hide Replies to Tweets

Twitter now allows brands to choose which replies to their tweets they want to hide. If users still want to see the hidden replies they can tap the gray icon that appears on the hidden tweet. This change helps give brands control over the discussion that happens in replies to their tweets, including spam tweets or irrelevant comments. However, brands need to be careful of hiding too many replies as users may want to see them to find out more information about the original tweet. Marketing Land has the full story here.

Verizon, Snapchat to Develop 5G AR Ads and Experiences 

Verizon Communications Inc and Snap Inc are partnering to create 5G augmented reality (AR) features at Verizon’s labs. With this deal, Snapchat will be preloaded on select 5G phones. Augmented reality features are already a huge contributor to Snapchat’s popularity. 5G AR will allow users and advertisers to view digital objects in the real world using Snapchat. These updates could bring major changes to the user experience. Find out more on RCR Wireless News.

Improving Your Marketing Program

5 Noteworthy User Generated Content Examples & Benefits

Content marketing is an essential component of any successful online marketing strategy. The success of your content marketing depends on a variety of factors. Your content has to be relevant, informative, and of high quality. However, it also has to be varied. Creating content takes a lot of effort and it can sometimes be a challenge to create content that’s both new and exciting. One type of content that you should focus on is user generated content. User generated content adds to your content’s variety and provides benefits. Before going into some user generated content examples, it’s important that you understand what those benefits are.

Using Organic Marketing to Reach Your Audience

There are many ways to go about marketing your business. Paid marketing (such as through the use of Google AdWords or Facebook Ads) can be effective, but there’s only so much you can do with it, as it’s more short-term oriented. You’ll want to implement more organic marketing strategies. Organic marketing is a way to generate more traffic to your website in a more natural, unforced manner. Additionally, anything that you don’t directly spend money on can be considered organic. Of course, it’s worth noting that all marketing costs money in one way or another. However, there are a lot of benefits to using organic marketing that go beyond the cost.

The Power of Social Media Influencers: Why it Works

At this point in time, most businesses are well aware of the power of social media. According to Statista, roughly 79 percent of the American population has a social media profile, which accounts for almost 247 million people. However, simply having a social media presence isn’t enough. If you really want to take advantage of all that social media has to offer, you have to take advantage of the power of social media influencers. The use of social media influencers can help boost your brand’s reputation while also exposing your brand to an even bigger audience.

Recent Marketing Reports, Updates and Trends

Everything’s Going Live

Data from Vivid Seats shows that the number of live TV related events greatly increased over the last few years. The total number of live TV events grew from 348 in 2012 to 1,559 in 2019. The success of these events shows how popular tv shows and characters really are. Podcast channels are also finding success with live events. Food programs and adult shows such as Game of Thrones and The Bachelor tend to do well with their live shows. TV personalities like Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil have success with their live audiences as well. More about the study can be found on Axios.

Engagement Window Shortens for Holiday Email Marketing, Study Finds

An analysis by Yes Marketing found that marketers will most likely have a shorter window to engage consumers during the holidays, based on conversion rate data from 2018. The average conversion rate on holiday-themed campaigns dropped from 6.1% in November to 3.1% in December. In November 2018, 26% of Black Friday email messages were sent before Nov. 19. Marketers may need to shift holiday campaigns earlier in order to get the best results. They also found that emails with no specific deal mentioned in the subject line had the highest open rate for Christmas-themed emails. Read more on Marketing Dive.

Local Mobile, Social Ad Sales to Near $45B by 2024, Forecast Says

With the upcoming elections increasing media ad spending, local advertising is predicted to rise 5.8% to $161.3 billion in 2020, according to a forecast by BIA Advisory Services. 59% of local advertising will be made up of traditional media revenue, while the other 41% will consist of digital ad revenue. Meanwhile, political ad spending in local media channels will hit $6.58 billion. The predicted increase in political ad spending will create more competition with other marketers for audience viewing time. They anticipate over-the-top (OTT) local ad revenue to double from $1.06 billion next year to $2.13 billion in 2024. Also in 2024, they predict social and mobile ad sales to grow 51% to $44.6 billion in 2024. Read the full article on Marketing Dive.

17 SEO Myths

5 Tips on How to Market to Gen Z

When it comes to marketing strategies and marketing trends, millennials receive a great deal of attention these days. However, they are not the only generation that businesses should focus on. Generation Z already has buying power, and it won’t be long until they overtake the Millennial generation as the largest generation. In fact, anyone born after 1996 is considered part of Generation Z, which means that there have already been five years worth of Gen Z adults that you should be marketing to. The following are five tips to take note of on how to market to Gen Z.

1. Stand For Something

While focusing on how your products and services fulfill the needs of your customers is important, it will be difficult to stand apart from the crowd when it comes to getting Gen Z’s attention. They were raised on the Internet, so doing research and finding solutions to their problems is second nature to them. They have no trouble finding multiple options. In fact, the options are practically limitless for them. Consequently, they care more about what a brand stands for.

Gen Z is more aware of environmental, socio-economic, and political issues at their age than arguably any other generation. They look for brands that are eco-friendly or support their political views. This means that you can’t remain neutral. Stand for what your company believes in and you’ll be more likely to gain the support of your Gen Z audience.

2. Focus on earning brand loyalty through engagement

Gaining a new customer is far more difficult — and more expensive — than retaining an existing customer. This means you should focus on building brand loyalty among Gen Z customers. The best way to do this is by engaging with them in a meaningful and authentic way. The challenge lies in the fact that Gen Z is much less brand-oriented. They are more likely to become loyal to your company as a result of how you interact with them than any other tactic (such as offering loyalty rewards).

First of all, don’t push your products on them. When engaging with Gen Z customers, make sure it’s a two-way street. Listen to what they say. Don’t use sales jargon and don’t lie. Be personable. Offer them opportunities to participate, whether it’s by hosting brand-sponsored events, allowing them to submit ideas or feedback, or even letting them contribute content.

Explore more about How Businesses Are Using Brand Ambassador Programs To Increase Brand Awareness And Trust

3. Emphasize Mobile Marketing

Most of Gen Z won’t remember a time when they didn’t use mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. A survey published by IBM indicates that Gen Z prefers using their smartphones over other devices by 75 percent. Take advantage of this by making sure your website is mobile-friendly and that you employ mobile marketing techniques. You may want to develop an app to improve their user experience on their smartphones even more.

4. Understand How They Use Social Media

When it came to previous generations, figuring out social media wasn’t that difficult — everyone was on Facebook and Twitter. While Gen Z still uses these channels, many prefer other platforms. Channels like Facebook aren’t popular with younger consumers because of the fact that they are more family-oriented. Gen Z is more interested in visual-based social media channels that allow them to engage in a more personal way with others and that provide a creative outlet. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Snapchat and Instagram are the two most popular channels among the Gen Z crowd.

5. Invest In Influencer Marketing

Even though certain tactics, such as Google and Facebook Ads, can still be effective, Gen Z tends to respond more to influencer marketing. Influencers on platforms like Instagram have huge amounts of sway with their followers. Their significance makes them a great tool for promoting your products and services to a younger audience that’s relevant to your brand.

Keep these five tips in mind when marketing to Gen Z. While many members of Gen Z aren’t adults yet, we know more Gen Z individuals will become adults in the coming years. As such, they should be the generation that you focus more of your marketing on, which is why learning how to market to Gen Z is so important. Get a head start on your competition by beginning to tailor your marketing efforts to the needs of Gen Z now.

Learn To Use Social Media To Find New Leads

4 Essential Brand Components

There’s a common misconception that many people have that a “brand” is basically just the name of the company and the logo that they use. While these elements contribute to the overall brand of a business, the term “brand” is actually much more comprehensive than that. It involves many different components, which is why it takes a lot of thought in order to successfully develop your brand. The following are the four main brand components that you will need to address when building your brand and what kinds of strategies you can put into place to further develop those components.

1. Brand Identity

Your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived. It’s important that you know what your brand identity is and what you want it to be. If you don’t, how is anyone else supposed to know? You’re going to have a tough time generating brand awareness if you lack a strong brand identity. The following are a few steps that you should take to establish your brand identity:

  • Identify your mission

    What was the reason you established your company in the first place? What is your company’s goal? Consumers want to know what your mission is (and they don’t want to hear that it’s “to make a profit”) and it will reflect who you are as a company.

  • Establish your unique value proposition

    Your unique value proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s a statement of how your offer benefits your customers, how you will meet the needs of your customers, and what makes your offer unique. Every marketing campaign you run should align with your unique value proposition.

  • Create your brand’s visual identity

    The visual elements of your brand certainly factor into your brand identity. Just consider the logos and color palettes of some of the biggest companies out there, from Facebook’s simple logo and use of blue to McDonald’s golden arch and yellow and red palette. A strong logo that’s instantly recognizable is important, but so is choosing your colors. Different colors have different meanings and the colors you choose can have a psychological impact on your audience as well. For example, many fast-food restaurants use red and yellow because that combination of colors is thought to stimulate the appetite. Just keep in mind that consistency is key. If you decide to use shades of blue in your logo and on your website, then you should use those same colors for your social media pages, email newsletters, and physical location as well.

  • Increase brand recognition

    It’s going to take some time to get your vision of your brand identity out to the masses. You’ll want to generate awareness of your brand to do this through a variety of marketing efforts, such as building a website that emphasizes your mission and unique value proposition, creating content that’s optimized for SEO, using social media to engage with consumers and to post your content, and more. It’s also vital that you make sure your mission, unique value proposition, and visual identity are consistent across all platforms. If it’s not, it will end up hurting your brand identity.

2. Brand Image

Your brand image is similar to your brand identity in that it deals with how your brand is perceived. However, whereas your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived, brand image is how your brand is actually perceived. Consider your brand image as the reputation you currently have with the general public. Take for example United Airlines. Not long ago, they updated their brand design in an attempt to strengthen their brand identity as a “thoughtful, modern, and innovative airline.” However, their brand identity and brand image are currently quite different from each other after numerous massive PR failures regarding their customer service. Keeping that in mind, the following are a few ways to build and maintain a positive brand image:

  • Spread your message via PR

    Use public relations to spread your key messages as well as relevant news concerning your company. You can do this through news outlets, trade publications, and even online blogs. Public relations will help you raise awareness of your brand and what you’re doing, thereby helping to improve your brand image.

  • Establish a social presence

    Social media is an incredibly effective way to build your brand image, whether it’s by sharing content with consumers, keeping consumers up to date on the latest news and product launches, spreading awareness of your message, and engaging with consumers on a personal level. In fact, you can even use social media to address negative comments. It’s a good way to repair potential damage done to your brand image as a result of a poor customer experience by showing that you care and trying to correct the situation.

  • Create high-quality content

    Content will help to increase brand awareness by bringing in more web traffic. However, it can also help to build your brand authority. By publishing content that is relevant to your company and to your audience (and that’s of high quality), you’ll become a trustworthy source of information, which — in turn — will help improve your reputation and increase brand trust.

Explore more about defining and developing your brand: Why brand development matters and how it works

3. Brand Culture

Brand culture refers to your company’s core values and how you set an example for those values. Businesses have always

emphasized certain values; however, those values were often things like “reliability” or “honesty.” Values that are more equivalent to basic ethics. While those are important values to hold onto, more and more businesses have begun taking moral stances as well as political stances in addition to generally accepted values. These types of values feed into your brand culture as well. Take Nike for example. They have taken strong social positions by running commercials backing Colin Kaepernick and recently touting the importance of the women’s U.S. soccer team’s World Cup win. These are branding efforts touting their championing of equality, which has become a part of their brand culture. The following are a few tips to help you establish your brand culture:

  • Define your values

    Define exactly what your values are and how your company lives out those values. Don’t be afraid of taking a stance if there’s a particular stance that you want to take. Using the Nike example again, their backing of Kaepernick was considered controversial and plenty of consumers did not agree with their position. However, those that did agree with their position became even more strongly aligned with Nike’s brand. You can’t please everyone, but by sticking to your values, you’ll be more likely to strengthen your relationship with many of your customers.

  • Spread awareness of your values

    Let consumers know about your values by declaring them on your website or by encouraging discussion about your values on social media. Publishing content that backs your values is an effective method as well.

  • Ensure that your company reflects your values

    There’s nothing consumers hate more than a hypocrite. If you’re flaunting your support for equal pay across social media and in your marketing efforts, then you better be practicing what you preach. Your brand culture is incredibly dependent on your ability to embrace your own values within your company.

4. Brand Personality

Your brand personality refers to the human characteristics that your company has. Developing a brand personality is vital to connecting with your audience on an emotional level and for making your brand relatable. Because of this, make sure that you use the following tips to develop your brand personality:

  • Learn who your audience is

    Understanding your audience is something that you need to do from the very beginning. It’s an important step in building your brand identity as well. However, it’s particularly important when it comes to developing your brand personality. The way you present yourself and the way that you communicate should reflect not only who the audience is but what they expect. For example, if you have a younger audience, then a dry, formal tone may not resonate with them. However, if your audience is older, using younger slang and current pop culture references may go over their heads.

  • Engage with your audience

    While you can get your personality across in the content you write, it’s easier to do through engaging with people. It’s why using social media is so important. Your entire audience sees your interactions and it helps establish your personality a certain way. For example, Wendy’s has a reputation for having a playful personality because of their use of humor and the pretend feuds that they get into with other brands on Twitter.

  • Be consistent in tone

    If you’re going to be funny and informal on one platform, you need to make sure that personality carries over to all of the other platforms you use, both online and offline. If you’re inconsistent, it will hurt your ability to develop a cohesive brand personality, which will only confuse your audience.

These are the four main brand components that you will need to address when developing your brand strategy. A strong brand requires a strong brand identity, brand image, brand culture, and brand personality. Implementing a successful brand strategy that develops all four of these components increases brand trust, loyalty, and awareness.

Learn The StoryBranding Process
digital marketing tactics

How Visual Searching is Changing Digital Marketing Tactics

Search marketing is constantly evolving, requiring businesses to adapt their digital marketing tactics accordingly or risk falling behind. Not only is Google known for continually adjusting and improving their search engine algorithm (often requiring SEO strategies to be adjusted to keep up), but new forms of search are emerging. Over the past few years, we are all becoming accustomed to the rise of voice search; however, visual search is advancing in leaps and bounds as well.

Visual search has been around for a few years now. According to a report published in 2017, 27 percent of all searches across ten major online platforms (including Google Images, Google, Amazon, and YouTube) were visual searches. With that in mind, visual search should be implemented into your digital marketing tactics.

Visual search is exactly what it sounds like — performing a search on the web using a visual. While this might not seem very convenient when done on a desktop or laptop, it makes a lot of sense when done on smartphones. Essentially, a consumer can take a picture using their phone’s camera of a product in-store to perform a search on that product. If the company producing the product has optimized for visual search, then that customer should be able to pull up valuable information on their phone. This isn’t the only way visual search can be accomplished. For example, someone could take a picture of a tree to find out what type of tree it is.

Find out other digital marketing techniques: Types of Digital Marketing Strategies Your Business Should Use

What are the Benefits of Visual Search?

Brands that sell products that are more visual have the most to gain from implementing visual search. For example, some of the most common products that users perform visual searches on include fashion, home decor, art, food, animals, and vehicles. One great example of visual search in action is Pinterest. They allow users to take pictures of objects in the real world, which will then pull up results of similar-looking objects featured on Pinterest. The following are a few of the benefits of implementing visual search into your digital marketing tactics:

  • Improve the shopping experience

    There are several ways that visual search can improve the shopping experience. For example, a customer that sees a product that they want to buy can use visual search to find similar products and compare prices. Retailers can also make product recommendations based on the visual attributes of the products the customers have been searching for using visual search. This allows for a more personalized shopping experience.

  • While many businesses monitor social media for mentions of their brand, few employ visual search. Using visual search, allows you to look for your brand logo across social media. This can be very helpful, especially on social channels that are more visually-based, such as Instagram. Take for example, Starbucks. They used visual search to discover that customers were filling their Starbucks cups with whipped cream and giving them to their dogs. Such a trend can be taken advantage of as a marketing opportunity — and they would have never known about it without a visual search.

  • Identify influencers

    Building relationships with brand influencers is an effective way to gain access to large target audiences. However, finding those influencers can sometimes be a challenge. Many influencers do their “influencing” with visual content. For example, it’s well known that there are many influencers on Instagram. Performing a visual search can help you find influencers that are posting visual content related to your company’s products. It’s a more effective way of finding relevant influencers than through text-based searches.

  • Engage users more effectively

    Simply optimizing for visual search can help you engage with your users more successfully. This is because people are visual beings. They engage with and relate to visual content much more than they do with text. The ability to take photographs and obtain information or recommendations based on those photographs will go a long way toward keeping your brand on the top of their minds.

  • Attract more mobile users

    Considering how important the mobile market is, visual search is an excellent way to attract more mobile users. Visual search is a very mobile-centric feature, after all. Few people are going to use visual search on their desktops or laptops due to their static or bulky shape. Smartphones and tablets make it easy to snap photographs whenever users want.

Visual search grows more prominent by the day. The ability to perform searches using images can help to greatly improve your user experience in many different ways. If you have a visual product, then you should begin thinking about how you can employ visual search into your digital marketing tactics.

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what is brand strategy

Long-term essentials: What is a brand strategy?

The term “brand” gets thrown around a lot these days. When people think about a brand, they often think about the name of the company and its logo. For example, Nike and its swoosh. However, these are just elements of their brand. Your brand encompasses much more than just your name and logo. Your brand is about your unique selling proposition, what your company stands for, how you engage with consumers, and more. As a result, you’re going to need to create a brand strategy. What is a brand strategy? A brand strategy involves building your brand identity and reputation as well as increasing brand awareness. A good brand strategy will consist of the following eight essentials:

1. Establish Your Brand Strategy Goals

Without goals, a strategy isn’t a strategy. How are you supposed to measure the performance of any of your branding efforts if you don’t have any goals to measure them against, after all? As such, you need to establish clearly defined goals at the outset. These need to be long-term goals. What are your main business goals? Do you want to reach a new audience? Do you want to be an industry leader? Your brand strategy will vary based on what your main goals are — and while every company’s goal is to “make money,” you need to get a little more specific than this.

2. Maintain Brand Consistency

In order to increase brand awareness, you need to strengthen your brand identity. One of the most important elements of a strong brand identity is consistency. All of your branding efforts need to be consistent across all platforms. If your tone is generally somber (for example, if your company provides funeral services or sells anxiety medication), then posting wacky memes or pictures of cats onto your Facebook page isn’t going to be consistent with your brand. Doing so will only confuse your audience, especially if they jump from one platform to another. For instance, if they’re on your Facebook page and they decide to visit your website and your branding isn’t consistent, they’ll be unsure as to whether they’re in the right place. A lack of consistency causes doubt into what your company is and does, which is not going to help you retain your audience or capture new leads.

The key to maintaining brand consistency is to maintain the same tone and to always keep your message in mind. All of your branding efforts should align with that message. Even the aesthetic of your brand needs to remain consistent. You can’t just have different logos or different color schemes for each platform you use. Consistency is important because it helps to contribute to brand recognition, which is vital when it comes to building customer loyalty.

Learn more about brand development: Why Brand Development Matters and How it Works

3. Avoid Short-Term Brand Building

While getting immediate results would be nice, you don’t want to sacrifice long-term brand building for short-term results. Successful brands take years to build and require continuous work and consistency. It can be easy to lose focus of your long-term goals when you see other companies implement branding tactics that appear to be successful. Just because it works for one company doesn’t mean it will work for you — especially if what they’re doing doesn’t align with your goals. For example, one brand might put out a video that goes viral. Creating a similar video does not guarantee similar results, especially if it’s not in line with your existing branding efforts. You should also be careful about following the latest trends within your industry. Many branding trends are often short-term tactics that may hurt your long-term strategy.

4. Create An Emotional Connection

Branding isn’t just about putting information about your company out into the world in the hopes that consumers remember why your product or service is the best one available. Consumers don’t always use rational thought to justify their purchases, after all. It’s why you need to engage consumers on an emotional level. Not only are they more likely to purchase products from a brand that they can relate to emotionally, but they are more likely to be loyal as a result. The reason behind this is simple: humans have an innate need to belong and to feel a connection.

When building your brand, you need to figure out how you can foster such an emotional connection. It’s why you need to make sure your branding efforts engage consumers on a personal level. Many businesses employ a more informal marketing strategy as a result as its easier to connect to. Developing a brand personality or even putting a face behind your brand makes it easier for audiences to connect to you as well. Take, for example, Apple’s commercials in which a young actor wearing casual clothes and speaking in a friendly, informal manner represented Apple, while an older actor dressed in a suit with a more formal demeanor represented Microsoft. Apple used these commercials to connect to their younger audience, essentially showing younger, hipper consumers that they were just like them.

5. Involve Your Employees

One of the most important ways to maintain brand consistency is by involving your employees. You’ll want to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the tone and message of your brand. For example, if you’re pushing a more informal and playful tone on your social media pages, then you’ll want your customer service reps to follow that tone. The last thing you want is for someone who follows your brand on social media to call your company only to speak with someone who is incredibly dry and informal. This lack of consistency may not fool consumers, but it will hurt your ability to build brand loyalty.

Consumers are expecting a certain kind of experience and engagement as a result of your branding and if they don’t get something similar when actually interacting with your employees, they will likely be let down. It’s why you should make sure that your employees understand your message, goals, and tone so that they can accurately represent your brand when speaking or engaging with consumers, whether it’s over the phone, via email or online chat, or even in your physical location.

6. Reward Loyalty

Customers who have already showcased loyalty to your brand can help strengthen your brand. Such customers will often go out of their way to recommend your brand to others, whether it’s by writing reviews, providing testimonials, or simply recommending products and services to friends and colleagues over social media. There is nobody consumers trust more than another consumer. That is why you should turn to these types of customers to act as brand ambassadors on your behalf.

Reach out to customers who have made multiple purchases with a personal thank you note. Ask them to write a review for you. Thank them for any reviews that they have written. Engage them on social media. You can even reward their loyalty with something like a discount or a special offer. These kinds of efforts don’t go unnoticed and will help to further encourage their loyalty. Making such efforts in public (such as on social media) can help highlight your relationship with your best customers, which will strengthen your brand’s reputation and entice other consumers.

7. Track Your Competitors

Your competition is likely targeting the same audience you are. It’s why it’s worth your effort to keep an eye on what they’re doing to build their brand. While you don’t necessarily want to copy their ideas and tactics (remember, short-term tactics may not benefit you in the long run if they don’t align with your goals), you do want to track what their strategy is and whether or not their tactics prove to be effective. This can help you identify tactics that work and to figure out why they worked or didn’t work. This information can be incredibly beneficial for your own branding strategy since it can allow you to avoid certain pitfalls.

You can also track your competition by following what consumers are saying about them. You can see what positive things people are saying about your competition and use that information to your advantage. Negative comments can also be helpful as they can allow you to address a need your competition isn’t addressing. For instance, if you notice that consumers are complaining because a competitor is difficult to get a hold of, you can make sure that this won’t be the case for you by offering various channels of communication to your audience.

8. Be Flexible

While you don’t want to jump on the latest branding tactics just because they’re trending, you do want to remain flexible. For example, your branding goals may end up changing over time, so you’ll want to adjust your branding strategy accordingly. Additionally, some short-term branding tactics may actually align with your goals and could benefit your long-term strategy. You shouldn’t be afraid to deviate from your existing strategy in order to adopt such tactics. Flexibility is important to your brand’s continuous success.


No brand strategy is the same, nor should it be. Your brand strategy should align with what your goals are. However, these are eight essential tips to keep in mind when creating your brand strategy. Just remember, don’t expect overnight results. Building your brand is a long-term strategy that never ends — you should continue to build your brand even as you gain success. While consistency is important, change is inevitable, whether it’s your products and services that change, your customers that change, or your market that changes.

buyer persona guide for business

Using Organic Marketing To Reach Your Audience

There are many ways to go about marketing your business. Paid marketing (such as through the use of Google AdWords or Facebook Ads) can be effective, but there’s only so much you can do with it, as it’s more short-term oriented. You’ll want to implement more organic marketing strategies. Organic marketing is a way to generate more traffic to your website in a more natural, unforced manner. Additionally, anything that you don’t directly spend money on can be considered organic. Of course, it’s worth noting that all marketing costs money in one way or another. However, there are a lot of benefits to using organic marketing that go beyond the cost.

Reasons to Implement Organic Marketing

There are two major reasons why you should implement organic marketing into your marketing strategy. First of all, it’s a more long-term strategy than any paid marketing strategy is. The efforts you make executing your organic marketing strategy can help drive traffic to your website for a long time to come. They can also go a long way in helping to strengthen your brand identity and build up your brand reputation, both of which will have positive long-term effects as well. Finally, organic marketing gives you the opportunity to learn more about your customers and to better understand what their needs are. This is something that cannot be discovered via paid marketing, which is completely one-sided.

Learn about another type of marketing: The Benefits of Mobile Marketing Optimization

How You Can Make it Work

The following are a number of different tips on how to implement organic marketing successfully.

  • Make sure your website is engaging

    Your website is usually what will convince potential leads to further engage with your brand. Make sure it’s user-friendly, meaning that it’s easy to read, easy to scan, and easy to navigate. In addition to your homepage, consider creating an about page, a testimonial page, a contact page, a blog page, and an FAQ page. You may want to implement a chat feature as well so that visitors can interact with you whenever they want to.

  • Create evergreen content

    Evergreen content is content that will never grow out of date. For example, an article about how to save money will always remain relevant for a financial advisor’s website. Evergreen content will continue to be of use to visitors, which means it will organically attract new leads over time.

  • Use hashtags

    Hashtags make it easier for people to find your content on social media and also shows consumers that you’re up to date on trends and current events.

  • Build relationships with social media influencers

    Social media influencers can unlock the doors to large audiences that you haven’t reached yet. Find the influencers in your industry and engage with them on social media.

  • Engage with followers on social media regularly

    Always respond to commends or feedback that people leave on your social pages, even if they are negative. This will greatly help your reputation and shows people that you care and that your social media presence isn’t just for show. Keep in mind that engagement isn’t just about posting content — it’s about listening to what your customers have to say. Ask questions and respond to concerns in a timely manner.

  • Contribute to social media discussions

    Look for groups, communities, and conversations occurring across social media concerning not just your brand, but your industry as a whole. Engage with these conversations. Doing so will naturally get your name out there and will generate interest in your brand (as long as you have worthwhile things to say, of course).

  • Use local SEO

    One of the best ways to naturally attract local customers is by implementing a local SEO strategy. Use local keywords (meaning, geo-centered keywords) and generate content that’s relevant to your area. Submit your NAP (name, address, and phone number) to local directories as well. This will make it much easier for local customers to find you organically.

  • Find ways for customers to participate

    By finding ways for customers to participate, you create a more engaging experience for them. This can help build brand loyalty as well as generate more interest from new leads. For example, set up contests on social media. Something as simple as sweepstakes can be quite effective. For something a bit more engaging, consider photo contests on platforms like Instagram.

  • Request customer feedback

    Routinely ask customers for their opinions about your products, services, and brand. You can do this by asking visitors to fill out surveys on your site, sending out net promoter scores through email, or asking followers directly on social media.

Organic marketing does take some effort, but it’s less expensive than paid marketing tactics and will have a much bigger impact over the long term. These organic marketing tips should help you to drive more traffic and, eventually, generate more sales as a direct result.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results