Category Archives: Marketing

Building Brand Visibility in a Social World

BRANDIt’s often been said that business, much like history, operates in cycles. In fact, the concept of the business cycle dates all the way back to the year 1819. In terms of creating increased brand visibility online, what once was old is a new again: word of mouth.

Long before the Internet, advertising or even widespread literacy, word of mouth was how merchants helped increase their business (coincidently, the term “word of mouth” originated in the same decade as “business cycle”). If you built a better shoe, baked a better loaf of bread, or sewed more durable clothes, you would be sought out for your skills. Hundreds of years later, massive brands spent billions of dollars on mass-market advertising, hoping to sweep up potential customers using the most general ads possible. With the advent of the Internet (and, more preciously, Google’s incredible revenue generating machine known as Google AdWords) companies were able to target the exact users and potential customers they were most interested in. While still a powerful moneymaker for Google, building online brand visibility has shifted to social networks. Why, the thinking goes, spend money on advertising when you can have the users do it for you for free? While logical an idea in theory, this is incredibly difficult to do in practice.

At the onset of a brand visibility push, it is an excellent idea to have specific goals in mind. What metrics do you want to use to measure the success of the program? Specific percentage increase in daily website visitors? Increased social media engagement? More monthly leads? Increased foot traffic into your store? Having these concepts in mind will make it easier to help create and define the brand visibility campaign.

One of the most important aspects of increasing brand visibility is a consistent push across all avenues of your online presence – social media, SEO, and pay-per-click programs all need to be reviewed, updated and coordinated as the program moves forward. There are numerous advantages to this. For example, if done correctly, content created for one area can be used and repurposed as a starting point for another. Just as importantly, however, is the need to avoid repetition. Nothing turns users off more than unwanted, irrelevant or duplicative contact from brands and companies.

As the program moves forward, if the predefined goals are not being met, the exact “mix” of SEO, social and PPC may need to be adjusted. While these types of programs have become highly refined over the years, creating the right blend for a particular company is far more art than science. Thankfully, here at Shift One Labs we are more than comfortable in this digital kitchen, and are ready to help your business define your online presence and build greater brand visibility. Just ask some of our friends.

To be the first to know when we’ve released a new blog, simply sign up for our email list at this link.

CMS Marketing Advantages and Trends

marketing

At this point in the evolution of the web, if a company doesn’t have a web site, there is a great deal of confusion on the part of the potential customer. Did I not spell the name correctly? Did they change their name recently? Did they go out of business? The possibility that a website for a particular brand, company (and in many cases, even individuals) doesn’t exist is simply unfathomable. Surprisingly, many small businesses – as many as half in fact – do not have a web site.

Even those that do have a web presence often view their website as more of a “check box” – we have a website and it has our contact information on it, so no need to ever update it again! If you happen to be Warren Buffet you might be able to get away with that, but for the rest of us, a well designed, frequently updated website is a key marketing initiative that will help garner new customers and provide specific information for current ones.

At Shift One Labs we work with clients to help them build a strong online presence. A website is only as useful as its CMS (a database application that provides website text, images, and multimedia content). A well-implemented CMS system is just like the person at work that everyone turns to for help. Their title or official role may not be lofty, but they are the ones that can get things done quickly and painlessly. CMS systems are vital to a company’s marketing efforts since they help create a consistent customer experience across an organization’s online properties, as well as provide internal messaging for employees. Allowing both customers and employees to have a consistent, specific concept of your company is one of the easiest ways to distinguish yourself from your competitors and build brand visibility.

One of the long-term trends that will continue to make a significant impact for customers and employees going forward is the increasing use of mobile devices to access information. Whereas not having a web site used to be an issue, the lack of a mobile-friendly site is increasingly becoming a red flag for potential customers. Over time, this trend will accelerate even faster with additional non-desktop options becoming more common – including tablets, wearable devices (such as the forthcoming Apple Watch) as well as embedded and “constantly connected” devices. Furthermore, younger generations are increasingly accustomed to accessing vast amounts of information via their phone and using desktops only for homework – Millennials, for example are the largest group of cell phone owners and the adaptation rate is still growing. In order to properly leverage all of these changes, small and large companies alike will need to create a powerful content management system that not only takes your current needs into account, but is designed with future technologies and uses in mind. Combined, these tools offer companies a powerful marketing outlet that will have a significant impact on your marketing efforts and help increase ROI. In essence – if a potential customer is looking for you, make sure you can be found.