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The 4 Branding Questions You Must Answer

The Four Branding Questions You Must Answer

Building a strong brand isn’t difficult, but it does require focus. It’s not uncommon for new business owners—and experienced ones, too—to drop the ball when it comes to branding. It’s not that they don’t know what they’re doing. Rather, it’s that they can’t articulate it.

The good news is that there’s something you do about it. Answering four key questions about your brand can help you focus on what’s most important. And that will make it easy to create a consistent and memorable brand.

Question #1: If your brand were a person, what three personality traits would it have?

It might seem strange to attribute human traits to a brand, but it’s one of the most essential elements of branding. Brands have personalities, or they should. Why? Because consumers want to identify with a brand. Often, they project themselves onto the brands they use.

A brand like Dove might choose these traits: warm, compassionate, and confident. A quick perusal of their website or Facebook page shows all three traits in spades. Their content celebrates women as they are, and encourages followers to share their stories.

Question #2: Which celebrity would you choose to narrate a documentary about your brand?

The second question is one that can help you determine the right voice to use for your brand. A brand’s voice should spring from its personality. It’s important to think about tone, language, and who the audience is for your brand.

A brand that targets affluent people who care about appearances might choose someone like Sean Connery or Gwyneth Paltrow. A young, hip brand might prefer a very different narrator. The key is to come up with someone who would be a good spokesperson for your brand.

Question #3: How do you want a prospect to feel when they read about your brand?

Branding is a two-way street. Ultimately, you want people to identify with your brand. They can only do that if their reaction to it is something you consider. You can’t control how people react, but a carefully created brand is likely to evoke the emotions you want your customers to feel.

A brand like Nike, for example, might want its followers to feel these emotions: empowered, inspired, and strong. You can see these feelings being evoked by their slogan, Just Do It, which encourages people to pursue their athletic goals and overcome any obstacles in their path.

Question #4: What characteristics do the people in your target audience have in common?

Your fans and followers aren’t all the same, but the chances are good that they share some common traits that can help you create a strong brand that appeals to them. These characteristics may be demographics, or they might be personality traits like the ones you assigned to your brand.

A brand like Red Bull, which uses a rather brash, irreverent tone in its marketing, might identify the following traits for its customers: young, daring, and unconventional. By contrast, a brand like Rolls Royce might choose words like affluent, educated, and status-conscious.

The words you choose should describe your target audience. They can also help you define and flesh out your brand so that it attracts the people who are most likely to buy from you. In other words, they work in concert with your brand’s personality and voice.

Conclusion

Creating a memorable brand is a cornerstone of good marketing. When your brand is clearly-defined, it will inform every aspect of your marketing. The voice, characteristics, and feelings you want to evoke will show up in every email, social media post, and ad campaign you run.

 

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How To Segment Your List To Improve Your ROI

How To Segment Your List To Improve Your ROI

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any online marketing method. That alone makes it worth doing. But, did you know that you can maximize your ROI simply by segmenting your list?

List segmentation is considered an advanced email marketing technique. However, it’s not very complicated to do, and you can even ask subscribers to self-segment and eliminate the guesswork. Let’s talk about some of the ways to segment your list.

Segmentation Based on Behavior

The most common way marketers segment their lists is by tracking their subscribers’ behavior and using their actions as a guideline. Let’s look at some examples.

Example 1

A clothing manufacturer that sells apparel for women, men, and children tracks customer purchases to determine what products they want to hear about. A woman who buys clothing for herself might receive only emails about women’s clothing. If she switches it up and buys kids’ clothes, she might start getting emails for those too.

Example 2

A software company segments people who buy a certain product into a separate list. The people on that list then receive a series of emails designed to sell them on a complementary or upgraded product. Once they buy it, they’re then directed to a new list selling accessories or a related product… and so on.

These examples both illustrate ways that a marketer might segment based on behavior. Some basic email automation software doesn’t allow for list segmentation. But, most premium products do—and marketers who segment their lists get higher open, click-through, and conversion rates.

In fact, according to Mail Chimp, segmented emails outperform non-segmented emails across the board. They get:

14.31% more opens

100.95% more clicks

9.37% fewer unsubscribe requests

These statistics clearly illustrate the benefits of list segmentation.

Self-Segmentation

The second option is to ask your subscribers to self-segment. You can do this at the point of subscription, or later. Here are some suggestions.

Self-segmentation at the time of subscription can be effective. However, you’ll need to balance it against the fact that including additional fields in your opt-in form may drive some subscribers away. If you choose this option, keep the fields to a minimum.

Another option is to ask subscribers to self-segment when you send them a confirmation email. That way, they’ve already opted in. Now, you’re just asking them to help you out by indicating which topics they’re interested in. It’s a good way to reassure new subscribers that you won’t be spamming them.

A third option, and this is ideal if you already have a list, is to send out a link asking your subscribers to self-segment. Add a note about wanting to ensure they receive only the emails they want to receive.

If you select this option, you can either link them to a segmentation page on your website and connect it to your email automation service. Or, you can embed the form in your email, so they can respond without having to visit your website.

Whichever option you choose, make sure that you honor subscribers’ requests. This is not the time to bend the rules. The only exception would be if you’re sending out an email that applies to all subscribers. An example might be a store-wide sale or promotion.

Conclusion

Once your list is segmented, you’re likely to see an uptick in your key email metrics, including your unique open rate, your click-through rate, and—most importantly—your conversion rate. If you don’t, it may be an indication that additional segmentation is needed, or that your emails aren’t compelling.

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How Link Building Affects Your Marketing Strategy

How Link Building Affects Your Marketing Strategy

I get it. You want to be discovered. And search engine optimization is part of that. But it’s easy to stuff keywords into your articles or blog posts anywhere to get visibility. There’s more to online marketing than that. There are specific techniques you can employ to get the best out of your marketing strategy without affecting the readability of your content.

You have to use keywords the right way, or you won’t get noticed like you thought you would. Google and other search engines are smart. They value quality over quantity and can identify keyword density and its effectiveness.

Techniques

Engaging online with people who already interact with you and your website promotes your website to relevant audiences. By showing an interest in your followers, you present yourself as genuine and sincere, and you can provide a more meaningful and customized experience for them. Use a blog to accomplish some of this. You can create sharable content by being unique and original. Linking to other blogs or external sources shows that you foster a community of sharing within the industry and value the opinions of other industry experts.

Case studies highlight individual clients and their success stories. It helps other potential clients feel like they have second-hand experience with what you do and makes you more trustworthy. Present these case studies in a visual format like a video showcasing a client interview, or ask your clients to write a quick testimonial you can post on your site.

Pump out news articles to your readers that are relevant to your industry. Keeping up-to-date on the current trends or industry struggles will always benefit you in ways other than direct marketing. Sounding knowledgeable when you speak with clients will get you farther than almost anything else will.

Online promotions or contests engage your social media followers, inspire friendly competition, and offer freebies that everyone likes. This is one of my favorite SEO marketing techniques because it gets the online community buzzing about your brand, no matter what sort of freebie you’re offering.

You should always use these marketing techniques safely and effectively. Ethical business practices and principles are at the core of everything you do. Using these techniques effectively can help you improve your marketing strategy performance and maintain integrity.

Link Building

Search engines are smart enough to recognize quality over quantity, so link building is an essential marketing tool that you shouldn’t overlook. Acquiring links from education websites and other trusted industry experts can drastically increase your rank on any search engine and make you easier to find.

I would even go so far as to say that it’s impossible to rank on Google or any other search engine without links. Here’s why:

  • Links are Google’s #1 ranking factor
  • Links define the entire internet
  • Links point to other great content that deserves to rank as well
  • Links transfer power and trust, hopefully back to you
  • Links help people discover your site

As I mentioned above, blogging is a great way to start link building. Linking to relevant external sources in your blog helps to build credibility with other experts in your industry. By sharing blogs on social media sites, you begin to develop inbound links as well.

Linking to other blogs on your site sometimes generates a ‘return the favor’ sort of attitude within the community, and simply linking to other people’s work can build a good linking foundation. You can also create organic inbound links by guest blogging on someone else’s site.

Researching the links your competitors use is a useful tool for knowledge building. You can learn a lot from the way your competitors link to other content. You gain valuable insight into their strategy, the keywords they are using, and what they feel is important. Using this information, you can build better links to outrank them.

Calls to action with internal links keep people on your site and help them to discover more about you. Writing content that links back to yourself does many things. It creates a backlink, and it promotes other products or services you offer. You can use these tactics to upsell as well.

Providing your users with genuine, useful content comes in many forms. It is critical that you understand how to use keywords effectively because keyword density impacts the readability of your content. Link building techniques provide structure and understanding to what you should publish.

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Choosing Topics That Draw Visitors to Your Website

Choosing Topics That Draw Visitors to Your Website

By now, most online marketers know the basics of maintaining a relevant website. Regular updating, easy readability, intriguing headlines, and accessible writing are all widely understood to be essential to keeping people interested in your website.

However, none of these things address the most essential aspect of generating and maintaining traffic that can ultimately be turned into sales. That all-important detail is…finding topics your audience will be interested in to begin with. 

Topics Are What Matter

No matter how often you update your site, how well-written your material is, how cleverly you promote your content with catchy headlines and good writing, it will all come to nothing if the subject matter is boring.

The trick is to come up with topics that your visitors will want to read and which also make them feel that your site is worth visiting again when they’re done.

Today’s internet audience is amazingly fickle, so if you can’t keep a steady stream of relevant, compelling topics coming out, then you will find your traffic tumbling as your audience deserts you. 

Uniqueness is Gold

What actually constitutes compelling website topics? That, of course, will vary widely based upon what the subject matter of your website is. However, there is one characteristic that readers value which cuts across all possible topics. That golden characteristic is uniqueness.

No matter how well-done your article is on the topics you cover, it will fall flat if people have already seen it before. No one wants yesterday’s news or content that they can get anywhere.

What attracts and holds traffic are articles that you have but that no one else does. Once you establish a reputation as a website with a fresh perspective with info that only you offer, you will find traffic flocking to your site from all over on a daily basis. 

How to Know What is Unique

So, how do you know what is unique? There is really only one way to find out, and that is to see what everybody else in your market is doing for readers like yours.

Monitoring the sites of your competitors and sites dealing with areas related to your field will give you an overview of the types of topics and subjects of interest that others have already covered. Your task then becomes coming up with material that these other sites have not explored. 

How to Choose a Topic 

Ideally, after familiarizing yourself with what others have done, you will be able to come up with topics that are completely different from what anyone else is doing. It can also be effective to do articles similar to what others have done—provided that you have a fresh perspective on them.

Often, there is a lot of content out there on a certain subject, and everybody saying the same old things but using marginally different variations. You can attract a lot of traffic if you can approach these old subjects from a new angle or with fresh information. What is old can be made new again, provided you have an original and interesting way of looking at it. 

Finding topics that draw traffic to your website is something you can do if you carefully monitor the web. Unfortunately, many people are too busy running their business or other enterprise to devote a lot of valuable energy to keeping their website current with relevant and unique content.