The Most Important Steps To Establishing Your Brand Online

The Most Important Steps To Establishing Your Brand Online

It’s hard isn’t it?
Yes, I’m talking about establishing your brand online. As you have probably learned, you can’t just throw up a cool-looking website and then expect thousands of visitors to come flocking to it.
It doesn’t work that way. And it’s pretty frustrating, right? You’ve probably dabbled in social media. You may have even written a few blog posts.
But nobody comes to visit. And you’re probably about to lose your mind.
To add salt to the wound, you have probably seen many business owners make it look easy. How do they get so many visitors and subscribers?
Here’s reality: it’s not easy at all. Building a strong online presence takes a lot of time and hard work. But that’s not all. It also requires you to make sure you’re taking the right steps. After all, you don’t want to waste time working hard on something that isn’t going to get you anywhere, do you?

Online Branding Steps

1. Start Your Blog

If you have done any reading on online marketing, you’ve already learned why blogging is important for business owners. Blogs remain one of the most powerful tools for expanding your influence, building credibility, and getting more exposure for your business.
Businesses who blog earn tons more leads than those that don’t.
Here are some of the benefits of blogging:

  • Blogging improves your search engine rankings, making it easier for prospective clients to find your business online.
  • It increases the likelihood that prospects will become paying clients.
  • Blogs are a great way to build your email list.

So why don’t more entrepreneurs blog? Well, one of the reasons is because they believe it’s too hard to build and maintain one.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are steps you can follow to establish a high-quality blog.

2. Start Creating Content

After you have chosen your platform and web host, and your blog is completely set up, you need to start creating content. This is the part you’ve been waiting for, right?
Not so fast.
Before you start writing content you need to have a plan. You don’t want to just start writing whatever you feel like writing. You need to know what type of content you need to write.
Fortunately, this isn’t too hard. You just need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of information does my audience need? What questions are they asking?
  • What types of blog posts would work the best for my readers?
  • What have others in my industry written about? How can I take a unique approach?

Here’s the thing: you’re not just writing content for the sake of writing content. Each blog post you write needs to have one objective: to benefit your readers as much as possible.
People don’t read content that isn’t helpful. Chances are, if they came to your blog it’s because they believe you’re providing information that they need. You need to deliver the goods!

3. Create Your Social Media Strategy

Creating a blog is an important step, but it’s pretty much useless if nobody reads it, right? That’s where social media comes in.
Social media is the best way to promote your content and your business. It’s the tool you will use to attract visitors to your blog and your website. An effective social media strategy can get your website more exposure and enable you to interact with your audience.

4. Use The Right Social Media Platform

Before implementing a social media strategy, you need to know which platforms to use. Otherwise, you might be wasting a lot of time posting on platforms that your audience doesn’t use.
The key is to find out which services your target market is using the most. You have to understand the demographics that make up your audience. Fortunately, you may already know this if you’re familiar with your industry.

5. Social Media Marketing Is About Being Helpful

Just like writing content, your main objective when using social media should be to help as many people as you can. It’s not about just promoting your products and services. Social media should be used to share your content and engage with your prospective clients.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never use social media to promote your products and services. It’s a great way to create awareness of what your business offers. However, you don’t want to overdo it.
One effective method for sharing on social media is to use the 30/60/10 rule. Here’s how this works:

  • 30 percent of your social media posts should be your own content.
  • 60 percent should be curated posts of other people’s content.
  • 10 percent should be posts that promote your products or services.

You don’t have to stick hard and fast to that ratio. You might find that tweaking it a bit will work better for your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find out what’s most effective for you.

6. Give A Compelling Offer

How many times have you visited a website and been offered something cool for free? No doubt you’ve probably downloaded at least a few ebooks, checklists, and other types of content from sites that had valuable information to share.
Chances are, you only had to type in your email address, then download the goods, right?
So why does this work? Well it’s a little thing called the reciprocity principle. It simply means that if you give something valuable to another person, they will be more willing to give you something that you want.
In order to get subscribers, you have to offer something valuable. You can’t expect your visitors to give you their highly-prized email address if they’re not going to get anything out of it.
The great thing about this is that it’s not too difficult. You just have to think of what types of information would be the most valuable to your visitors.
Here are a few examples of free offers you can give to your readers:

  • Ebooks
  • Cheat sheets
  • Checklists
  • White papers
  • A free consultation
  • A video teaching

Not too hard right? But here’s the key: it has to be something that goes deeper than the value you’re already providing on your blog. You have to give them a reason to want it.

7. Engage With Your Audience

After you have gained permission to contact your visitors, you need to engage with them. This is where you will develop your email marketing campaigns.
When email your list, you don’t want to send only promotional materials. Similar to social media campaigns, email marketing should be used to provide value to your readers. Otherwise, they will stop opening your emails. They may even unsubscribe.
You don’t want that, right?
Figure out ways you can give your readers more of what they want: helpful information. Here are some suggestions:

  • Send updates on your latest blog posts.
  • Give content that only your email list gets to see.
  • Ask for some feedback from your audience. It’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your subscribers.
  • Give your readers a behind the scenes look at what your business is doing.

When you’re focused on providing more value with your email marketing, your readers will be more likely to spend their money with you. You don’t want to send a ton of sales emails if you’re not also providing a benefit to your readers.

Conclusion

Building an online footprint isn’t easy. It does take time. You will need to work hard to promote your website and build a healthy following. Most businesses don’t get instant results.
But if you’re consistent, you will be able to build an engaged audience. It does require perseverance, but when you finally start getting more clients, the hard work will pay off.

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Top 10 Trends That Will Transform Digital Marketing In 2017

Social and digital marketing have hit their stride – and now that everyone is back from winter break and settling in to the new year, it’s time to review the lessons learned from last year, and look forward to what’s needed for your company to shine in 2017. From the evolving world of artificial intelligence to expectations of instant communications, Stacy DeBroff, CEO and founder of Influence-Central, shares her take on the social and digital marketing horizon, based on her research and work with over 350 national brands last year.

Digital Marketing Trends 2017 (Image: Shutterstock)

  1. New Products Roll in From the Brand Revolution

“As consumers – via social media – we all have a seat at the marketing table -by sharing our needs and priorities through direct feedback and our purchasing choices. We’ve seen the impact of the ‘brand revolution’ on key consumer-facing industries,” DeBroff says. “In the coming year, brands will become even more attuned to the needs and priorities of the consumer, and increasingly shape their product offerings around the latest lifestyle trends.”

2. A.I. Solutions Point to a Brave New World

2017 will be the year when we will look more to artificial intelligence to lend a helping hand. “This current trend with start-up brands, as well as data analytics, identifies applicable A.I. solutions as a way for consumers to navigate in an increasingly complex world,” DeBroff notes. “From advanced electronics applications, to pinpoint analytics that predict consumer needs as they arise, A.I. is on the way, in a big way.”

3. “Instant” Speeds up as the New Normal for Gen Z

What happens when you grow up surrounded by social media and technology? Expectations of instant communications and entertainment become inevitable. Generation Z consumers gravitate to instantaneous social channels such as Snapchat, Instagram, and the new social app Musical.ly. “The downside ?” DeBroff explains, “This generation has grown up with instant response as its baseline expectation. We can count on at least three platforms we’ve never heard of rising to social prominence next year that embrace faster, more pictorial, and more spontaneous ways for rising Gen Z to bond.”

4. Niche Curation Sorts Information Overload

“We find ourselves awash with more information than has ever been available to us as humans, and we simply can’t process it,” DeBroff concludes. “As a result, we’ve increasingly come to rely not just on curated information, but on the people we most trust to curate this information for us in a way that resonates with our lifestyle, interests, and values. In 2017, consumers will be on a mission to find peer specialists with niche expertise to filter recommendations that meet their needs in a customized way.”

5. Mobile Devices Forge On-the-Go Consumerism

In 2017, DeBroff predicts we will see the emergence of a new “electronics evolution” with innovative technology and apps for the mobile phones we keep tethered to our sides. “As these devices offer up smarter, faster, and more intuitive information, they will become even more ingrained into our daily patterns and connected culture – and dramatically influence consumers at the point of purchase. Mobile devices will emerge as shoppers’ most valued shopping partner, as consumers check them for recommendations from their network of trusted advisors while fact-checking product attributes and using online coupons,” DeBroff says

6. Social Influencers Diversify, Specialize, and Grow Exponentially

“We’ve never had more on-call peers to advise us – from peer advisors to specialists and trend-spotters,” DeBroff notes. As we move into 2017, she predicts we will “entrench ourselves more deeply within the social web, immersing ourselves in increasingly diverse and broadening circles of discerning opinions. These influencers will powerfully inform and guide us in our consumer decisions.”

7. Influencer Marketing as a Fundamental Brand Strategy

Many brands now recognized Influencer Marketing as the industry’s hot “go-to” strategy, but they struggle on how best to leverage it and measure it from the perspective of business results and attribution modelling.  “As we head into 2017, influencers will entrench as defining voices in consumer marketing, as brands concede advertising control and look to passionate brand advocates to sway consumers on social media,” says DeBroff.

8. Consumer Resentment of Intrusive Marketing Deepens

Op-ups, banner ads, and disruptive brand messages are all falling out of favour. Today’s consumers don’t want brands aggressively pushing their way into social media feeds, whether on Facebook, through promoted Pins or Tweets, or paid-for Snapchat stories. “As consumers seek to learn more about new products on their own time, expect continued resentment over intrusive marketing to deepen in 2017. Consumers will continue to vote with their feet… “walking” away from social platforms that inundate them with brand marketing,” DeBroff notes. Similarly, the tone and content of ads needs to be geared to the new Gen Z paradigm: fast, smart, sassy, and relevant.

9. Consumer Tethering to Mobile Devices Tightens

As mobile devices take over photography, replace alarm clocks, and provide on-the-go access to favourite social media platforms, as well as music and even audio books, they’ve transformed how consumers communicate and share information. Our smart phones and tablets have become 24/7 companions,” DeBroff explains. This year she says consumers will continue to ratchet up their mobile dependency as more usages emerge. Retailers that do not consider the impact of this sea change, and deal with it intelligently, will be left behind on shore.

10. Words Prove So Overrated: The Year When Images and Videos Rule

“Visuals and videos have truly surged over the past six months, and consumers – particularly those in the Millennial and rising Generation Z cohorts – have truly embraced pictures and videos as a way to gather and share information,” DeBroff says. “Look for new visual platforms to roll out in 2017 to accompany existing ones as consumers gravitate toward authentic, live-action, visual storytelling.”

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