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How To Make Resolutions Like A Web Marketing Pro

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - Digital Marketing>Social Media Marketing (SMM), SEO Tips

Embrace The New Year With These Three Tips For A Better You (And a Better Brand) In 2017

The excitement of the New Year is everywhere for the first few days of January, but have you ever noticed how it sort of… fades? There’s a ton of energy for that first week back, but by the time Friday rolls around, the goals, objectives, and resolutions start feeling a little overwhelming. Believe us when we say that it’s no different at a web marketing company. It’s totally normal, though! The festive season is behind you, and you start having to think about what the year will bring. It gets to you! Don’t worry, though—it’s just the winter blues. Focusing on The Good Stuff™ keeps your momentum going in the bleary winter months. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, then here are 3 common resolutions that don’t just beat the winter blues… they help your web marketing, too:

Get Mobile, Keep Moving

Web marketing companies are increasingly focusing on mobile content thanks to recent changes implemented by Google.
Web marketing resolution #1: embrace mobility in 2017 to make the most of your digital presence!
Getting mobile isn’t just good for your health—it’s good for your SEO, too! (Don’t worry, this’ll make sense in a minute.) It’s a common New Year’s resolution to hit the gym and get active. Sadly, too many people hit the gym without a plan—they’ve started moving, but they’re not actually getting anywhere. SEO without a strategy is just as aimless. It’s like lifting weights with bad form, or skipping leg day: it won’t really get you anywhere. Whether you’re at the gym or your website, when you’ve got a strategy, you can really get moving. In 2017, Google’s search index and algorithm are going to put even greater focus on mobile sites. Mobile sites will see the most benefit from SEO, so having a plan helps you reach your web presence goals. I guess that makes us the personal trainers of Ottawa web marketing… right?

Update Your Look

When you look good, you feel good. “Update your style” and “embrace a new you” are common resolutions that do wonders for self-confidence. And, you guessed it, updating your website and brand’s look can do wonders for it, too. In case you missed it, we’ve mentioned how sites optimized for mobile use are going to win big in the new year. We’re not just talking keywords and content (though those are important); visually, having a site that adapts and responds across all devices will go a long way. There are a few other things you might want to consider when it comes to updating your look:

Web marketing resolution #2: update your look! …maybe not this kind of look, though.

Keep these design tips in mind for your brand in 2017!

Make New Friends! (AKA: How To Be A Social Butterfly)

2015 was going to be your year. So was 2016. Don’t just say the same old tired phrase about 2017, make it happen! Try going to more events, concerts, and shows, and make new friends! Your business and brand will benefit from making new friends, too. Recent analysis states that more than 80% of companies are planning to start a social ad campaign in the next year. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all thriving social media platforms with huge advertising opportunities. They’re also a great way to make friends and grow a following! When it comes to branding, focus more on compelling, authentic content in the New Year. Nothing compares to original content that engages with the world around it!

Web marketing is going to increasingly focus on social media interaction in 2017.
Web marketing resolution number 3: make friends, get on social media, and build your brand!
Increasingly, more and more businesses are taking to social media to reach their audience in a meaningful way. Don’t get left behind! The New Year is a great opportunity to try new things, set goals, and expand your horizons, both personally and professionally. Still feeling blue? Don’t worry about it, it’ll pass—focus on what you can do now, plan for the future, and work towards it. Things don’t happen overnight! As a web marketing company in Ottawa, we put in a lot of hard work in 2016—here’s to a lot more in 2017!

Lia

Unleash Exciting Content for Tame Industries

12/13/2018

How Content that Focuses on Users Helps You Stand Out From Crowded, Generic Industry Competition

There’s an unspoken assumption that content writers can come up with amazing content that will wow readers and win big, no matter the industry. But not everyone wants to acknowledge that some industries, despite their importance, usefulness, or commonality, are sort of dreary. They lack the big, obvious, attention-grabbing content marketing opportunities afforded to other industries. Some industries just lack mass-market appeal, which means you’re going to have to get creative.

A woman types on her laptop at a table by a window.
Are you ready to get creative?
Good content is always a challenge, but some industries pose a greater challenge than others. In many of these cases, you must target a niche audience to get results. That said, there’s one fact that cannot be ignored: There are no boring industries—just boring storytellers. Find the stories that matter to your industry and give them the spotlight! If we step beyond the realm of content for a moment, it’s true of practically every aspect of marketing: the challenge is always in finding the excitement and delivering it, not in the industry itself. From advertising to design, content to local SEO strategies, you’ve got to find the hook that doesn’t just attract attention but demands it.

Dispelling the Myth that Certain Industries are “Boring”

As we just mentioned, there’s nothing inherently boring or exciting about any given industry. Marketers are simply good (or, well, bad) at spinning them a certain way. Consider, for example, the fact that there are a healthy 394 million search results for something as generic as “patio construction.” If we narrow that down to “diy patio,” and target those handy folks looking to take on a challenge themselves, that’s still 190 million results. See for yourself:

A sample of search results for "diy patio."
We’ve highlighted the approximate number of results for this search – nearly 200,000,000!
Obviously, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it goes to show that there’s a wealth of possibility in something that might seem pretty mundane. In fact, the more you search, the more you realize that a lot of these topics have a pretty narrow niche. For instance, a search for “tying flies” reveals a treasure trove of articles and topics, tailored around specific species of fish, locations, and inspiration to get you started. There’s a ton of information and data out there that proves that there’s an audience searching for content that informs and engages, no matter the field or industry. You just need to find ways to make it stand out.

Make the Mundane Interesting

Writers make the mundane interesting. They take the details of a project, find the threads that will capture attention, and weave them into something that people will want to read. Of course, this can seem daunting if you’re trying to write content about HVAC systems. So how do you make the mundane interesting? Let’s take a closer look:

  • Delivery is Everything: It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Forget about keywords and focus on the topic. Write for human beings, not search engines! When in doubt, be as helpful as possible. If your content matters to people who have questions or need information, don’t hide it. Put it front and centre. It’ll pay off.
  • Cut the Jargon: There’s a time and place for industry terminology or jargon, but it often gets in the way of your central argument or the point you’re trying to make. If you can say it in fewer words, and with language, more people will immediately understand, why not drop the jargon? It makes reading easier for your users, which, again, ties into being as helpful as possible.
  • Get Specific: We’ve discussed buyer personas before, but when you hit a wall with content creation, it’s time to break out the personas. For instance, if you’re reading this now, you’re either a content marketer or you have a business struggling to make its content strategy pay off. A quick search for “making content for boring industries” reveals how big a concern it is. What concerns or issues does your audience have, and how can you address them?

This all sounds suspiciously like Google’s favourite advice: create great content and great websites. There’s a reason for that: search intent, user experience, and thinking in terms of topics and narratives that engage with your audience.

Focus on Search Intent and Get Outside the Box

If you’re still struggling to find your angle, there are a few things you can do to shake up your usual approach and get fresh ideas and approaches. Focus on search and user intent. All the keyword research in the world doesn’t matter without examining the context you find it in. Those high-volume search terms you’ve found might not provide much in the way of direction. You need to zero in on what provides value to your users and how you can offer comprehensive, engaging content. For instance, if you search “car repairs” in SEMRush, a useful keyword research tool, it’ll return a ton of information about what other terms you might want to focus on:

Search volume for "car repairs" in SEMRush.
We can see the volume of closely related search terms here.
So, say we want to rank for “car repairs.” Running a quick search reveals a bunch of ads before a location snippet, and the top organic result is for the 10 best car repair businesses in the region. As we delve deeper into the organic results, there are several Kijiji results intermixed with websites for automotive garages. Because our search term is so broad, Google tries to return results that match our intent. As such, we get a lot of ads and general information. It’s not immediately clear if we need repairs now, or if we’re thinking ahead for the future, so we get a broad mix. Google’s trying to figure out where we are in the buyer’s journey, and what we actually want from a search—they’re considering the user’s experience and what they’re trying to do.

The Buyer’s Journey

There are three stages to this journey:

  1. Awareness: A user is conducting early, educational research to understand or give a name to their problem or opportunity.
  2. Consideration: The user knows what their problem or opportunity is and wants to understand their options better.
  3. Decision: The user is ready to make a decision based on their research, and simply wants the best possible service or solution.

If you’re trying to create content for a garage or shop, then, you’ve got to do some heavy legwork to get your content noticed and help move the needle on search results. Instead of focusing on broad, catchall topics, try and create content that addresses the buyer’s journey. Target the intent behind a search, not the specific terms themselves—don’t just create content around “car repairs,” focus on providing guides and advice for specific problems.

Two team members brainstorm together, a man pointing at a woman's laptop as he discusses his perspective.
Get outside the box and brainstorm.

Tips for Keeping Content Marketing Fresh and Engaging

If you’re still struggling, understand that there are times where the ideas aren’t going to flow as readily. You won’t always be able to knock it out of the park on the first swing, after all. When in doubt, though, remember:

  • Don’t be boring—remember, there are no boring industries, just boring storytellers.
  • Skip cliched formats—listicles, clickbait, and generic content that doesn’t contribute to the industry aren’t doing you any favours, and users would much prefer something informative and interesting.
  • Remember the power of storytelling—people love good stories! Find the good ones in your industry. They provide huge opportunities to showcase your knowledge and speak directly to the issues your users are facing. For example, jumping back to our car repair example: “A client came in the other day, looking pretty stressed out. Their tire went flat and the rim of their wheel was starting to crumple, but they hadn’t driven their car all weekend…”
  • Don’t be afraid of disagreeing or presenting a contrary perspective. Don’t focus exclusively on controversial topics or adopt a contrarian perspective just because, but if you disagree with popular opinion, speak up. Just make sure you support your stance with well-thought-out arguments and information.
  • Brainstorming (especially with team members) can get the ideas flowing. Sit down with paper or a whiteboard and break things down by topic. Build idea maps and webs of content ideas focusing on who you’re trying to reach. You’ll be amazed at how this can get you out of your comfort zone and shake the cobwebs loose. We particularly enjoy finding top-level ideas and breaking them down until each idea could be a full-sized article in and of itself.

The Last Word

Creating good, engaging content and content marketing strategies is a time-consuming, challenging task at the best of times. With a so-called “boring” industry, it can feel even more daunting—but that’s no reason to back down or give up. Find the threads of the stories and highlight them. Provide answers, information, and stories that users are searching for. There’s nothing boring about that!

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Is it Time For Your Business to Rebrand?

05/25/2018

Improve Your Business and Grow with These Rebranding Tips

Rebranding is an effective way to reach new audiences, intrigue existing ones, and stand out from your competition in the ever-evolving marketplace. It’s also a good way to give your brand a new start, especially if your current brand is stale or tarnished. But rebranding isn’t as easy as changing your name and logo. A lot of work goes into effective rebranding, such as market research, website design, and smart digital marketing. You’ve got to make sure it’s done properly if you want to improve your business’ success and growth. If your current brand image no longer works for you, it’s time for a brand refresh. Here’s what rebranding actually means and how to do it with the help of a web marketing company that offers affordable SEO.

What Are the Signs You Need to Rebrand?

Businesses often choose to rebrand to address and remedy issues their brand is facing. They must first find out what is working with their current brand and what is not working. So why do you want to rebrand your business? Here are some possible reasons why:

  • Your brand image could be tarnished because it is associated with poor customer service or poor-quality products.
  • Your target audience has changed, and you need to update to keep their interest and business.
  • The competition is taking more than its fair share of business from you. You must evolve and innovate to stay ahead of the competition, and rebranding is an effective part of this evolution.

Remember, you don’t have to change everything about your brand if some aspects are still working. If you’ve received positive customer feedback about some of your products, services, or messaging, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Rebranding must address the core issue or issues affecting your current brand image. Use your time and resources to address what needs fixing. If it’s poor customer service, then focus your efforts there. When you find out what’s going wrong, you can develop a solution and branding efforts to match. But if you’re not keeping pace with the competition, then you need to evolve all areas that have fallen behind in your business.

A man designs logos and fonts for web marketing efforts.
From fonts to logos and everything in between, don’t forget the details in your rebranding efforts.

More Than A Name Change

A name change can be a big part of rebranding, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you do. Remember, any changes you make must reflect a greater change in your business principles. You need to: look at your overall strategy and offerings; redefine your target audience; and, create new products and services that appeal to your target audience. Your new brand identity and core messaging need to be aligned with:

  • Website design
  • Brand philosophy
  • Enhanced product offerings and services

Doing Your Research

Using data and customer insights, you can find out what makes your product resonate with your target audience and use these insights to create your brand messaging. You should also do competitive research to see how your competitors are branding themselves. You can take their best ideas and make them your own.

The 5 R’s of Rebranding

Animated image of the letter
Rebranding the right way!
To help you get a grasp on your rebranding and start brainstorming ideas, consider these 5 R’s of rebranding: Revitalize – Develop a new, fresh, and compelling story/message for your brand. Reposition – Change your perception/reframe your purpose or unique selling proposition. Rename – Change your business name to get rid of a bad reputation or to better represent your business. Redesign – Align your design with your brand identity and make it modern. Rebrand – Use all of the elements above to start rebranding your business.

Your Rebranding Checklist

To help you overcome the challenges of rebranding, here’s a checklist to ensure your new brand identity reaches everyone.

A person fills out a checklist in their rebranding guide.
When in doubt, keep a checklist.

✓ Inform Stakeholders

Let your partners, staff, clients, and other business relationships know well in advance about your plans to rebrand. Build up the rebranding for your audience. And welcome feedback from stakeholders to let them in on the rebranding process.

✓ Identify Your New Brand

When choosing your new business name and brand identity, you need to develop a brand architecture. This will help when you’re working with designers and an outside web marketing company. Factors to consider when identifying your brand include:

  • The story you want your brand to tell.
  • Your target audience.
  • Your brand’s long-term goal and whether your new identity will grow into it.
  • Whether your new brand look will fit in across digital platforms and internal content.
  • Whether the URL, trademarks, and social media handles are available for your new brand name.

✓ Update Your Digital Presence

Update your website, social media, and third-party sites with your new brand name, logo, imagery, font, colours, content, and contact information. Remember to:

  • Review links to new pages;
  • Update your business listings in search directories;
  • Refresh SEO terms and keywords;
  • Update metadata on webpages—titles, descriptions, image tags; and,
  • Send updated brand logos and titles to affiliated partners who link to your site.

✓ Announce Your New Brand

Introduce your new brand to the world with a blog post or news announcement explaining the change. Also post about your new brand on social media every so often for the first three to six months following your brand rollout to remind customers about it. And make sure to tell your brand story to appeal to your audience—i.e. how your new brand will change their experience with your company in a positive way. But also make sure you don’t leave behind any brand equity/value with your old brand. If you offer something people love, make sure to keep it while also providing new offerings.

✓ Update Your Brand Internally

Don’t risk looking unprofessional by keeping your old brand letterheads and business cards. If you’re going to rebrand, you must go all the way, both externally and internally. This includes updating:

  • Internal documents—i.e. forms, contracts, and applications
  • Signage
  • E-mail signatures
  • Name badges, business cards, and stationery—i.e. letterheads, cover sheets, and folders
  • Word and PowerPoint templates
  • Presentation decks

To make sure your rebranding has a seamless execution and is ultimately a success, you’ll need the help of rebranding pros. A web marketing company can cover web design, content marketing, social media marketing, competitive research, and effective SEO marketing strategies. With the help of the pros, the daunting task of rebranding will be a smooth transition for you and your business.

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