Using Your Logo Efficiently in your Online Marketing

So you have a nice, pretty logo – yay! But now what? Do you know how to use your logo effectively in your Online Marketing? Here are a few tips…

There should be a consistent look and feel to every page of your website. You want your visitors to know they haven’t actually left your site when they go to another page. A WordPress based website is great for this, as you have a standard template that can be customized for your needs, while keeping certain areas the same for branding.

Icons for going back or to the next page, for printing the page or even the icons that line your menu should all follow the same theme as your site as part of your marketing effort. Every aspect of your website should be about your brand. Standing out from the rest is not nearly as important as having others recognize your site. If a visitor travels to other pages and they look different, they may believe they accidentally left your site and then really leave it!

A simple concept for internet market branding is your logo as an icon. You can then use this as buttons and every time a person has to click, your logo makes an imprint. Obviously it will need to be much smaller than the main logo on your page or other areas to be used as a menu icon, as small as 16 x 16 pixels for the favicon (the icon displayed in the browser window and in saved bookmarks), but the reduced image will continue your branding throughout your pages and offer a benefit to your internet marketing effort.

Additionally, with this level of branding throughout your site there will be no doubt in your visitor’s mind where they are. You can even make it so a visitor bookmarking your site will see the icon in his or her favorites, further imprinting the image. Remember, returning visitors often buy more than first time visitors and keeping your image in their minds will aid your internet marketing efforts

And use your logo in your social media sites as well. While I always recommend that you use a photo of yourself for your personal profile on Facebook and Twitter, you can definitely use or incorporate your logo into your Facebook Page photo. And you can utilize a custom Twitter background to help with branding with your logo as well.

With a bit of creativity, you can make it so prospective customers automatically think of you when they see your logo. This is one of the simplest yet most effective branding methods.

Important questions to ask before a website design/redesign

If you’ve ever gone through the process of designing a website, you probably realized part way through that there were lots of things you had never even thought about when you were planning for your site! And if you never have designed a website, and have been thinking that you need to do that soon, getting a head start on planning will only make the entire process easier and less stressful for you.

I’ve designed quite a few blog sites since I started my business, oh way back when  :), and in the process I’ve developed  a list of important questions to ask the client, or at least have them think about as they’re giving me notes for the new site, or their site redesign.

At the beginning of the year, a lot of people start thinking about their goals for their business, and the things they’d like to get accomplished that year, and often times, a new website or a website redesign end up on that list. But unfortunately, the process can get overwhelming and so the project gets put off.

But I can’t just let you sit around with a bad site, or worse, no site at all! So today, I’ve decided that it might be helpful to share those questions with you.

If you’re even thinking about redesigning your website or getting a new one done, check out the Web Design Questions pdf here. And if you have any questions about the web design/redesign process, comment here or email us at info@marketinggeeksintl.com!

The Eight Building Blocks of a Brand

What exactly is a brand?

A brand consists of eight basic building blocks:

- The Name
- The Logo (brand icon)
- The Brand’s Colors
- The Slogan and Brand Messaging
- The Sound of the Brand
- The Overall Look and Feel = The Brand’s Position
- Packaging the Brand
- The Brand Experience

A Brand is the greater sum of its parts. It is always more than just the nuts and bolts, the pieces; great brands are always the result of the whole equaling more than the sum of its parts.

Branding is about making the consumer or buyer, more hip, more in the “know,” more cool than anybody else. We are a generation and a nation wanting to be special. We want to be richer, more beautiful, better dressed and more effortlessly gorgeous than any other generation that we know.

We want everything to mean more. We want everything to have meaning. That’s why we flock to the reality shows. Why we love “The Apprentice” and “American Idol” and other top realistic shows. We crave authenticity in this age of fabrication and falsehood. We “just want to be real.”

We want to be able to trust what we buy and whom we buy from. That’s why Coke is still the number one brand in the world. The more we know about a brand, the more we trust it. The more we trust it, the more we buy it and continue to experience it. The more we experience it, the more loyal we become.

Loyalty is the currency that cannot be traded for dollars.

Happy Holidays from Marketing Geeks!

Happy Holidays from Marketing Geeks! Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year by far – the music, the lights, the food, and the family – I love it all! And as long as we have a white Christmas (which we usually do in the snowbelt of Michigan) I can even handle the cold!    :)

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season, whatever holiday you may celebrate. This time of year is great to take a break and reconnect with the things in our life that are our true priorities, like family and friends.

But with all the holidays sales out there, it’s also a great time to save a few dollars on products and services that will help your business grow in 2011. So in the spirit of holiday sales, we’re offering 25% off our most popular products and services!

Take your pick below, and use the coupon code snowman when you checkout!

Products

* The Social Media Content Creation Kit:  $97  Now $73 Buy Now

Creating a strong social media presence requires content – lots of it! If you always find yourself struggling to publish enough blog posts, articles, tweets, status updates, videos and audios, the Social Media Content Creation Kit is for you. It lays out a simple strategy for generating original content regularly, and gives you tons of ideas for repurposing content, automating your social media, and spending as little time as possible while generating an online presence that screams “Expert”!

* Social Media Assessment & Strategy Call:  $75  Now $57 Buy Now
In this 30 minute call you’ll get a complete assessment of where you are with your current social media profiles, and where improvements can be made.  Then we’ll map out a strategy for you in order to increase your visibility, traffic and sales through social media.

Services

* Project Social Media Done In a Day Intensive:  $897  Now on super-special 60% holiday discount!
This innovative Done In A Day Intensive is a one-day personalized program that gives you direct access to the experienced Project Social Media team and gives your social media marketing efforts the kick in the pants that it needs. Get your strategy and your setup done, all in one day!

* 20 Hour Support Package: $997  Now $748 Buy Now
Our ultimate support package – you get 20 hours of specialized social media, WordPress, 1ShoppingCart and online marketing support! Let us take care of the technical side of your online marketing, and see increased results and more time for you to spend on your business!

* WordPress Blog Site Design: $597  Now $448 Buy Now
Is your site outdated (or worse, nonexistent!) and in need of updates? Tired of waiting for your web designer to make simple changes to your website? Want better search engine findability and social media friendliness for your site? Consider WordPress! Our WordPress Blog Site package gives you a complete website based on WordPress, a user-friendly and search-engine friendly platform that makes updating your site easy, and gives you loads of functionality you probably don’t currently have!

* Social Media Branding Package: $157  Now $118 Buy Now
Having a consistent design across all your social media profiles is a great way to brand your business, provide additional information, and gain visibility. This package gives you a custom Twitter background, a custom welcome tab for your Facebook Fan Page, and a custom YouTube background.

* Press Release Submission:  $67   Now $51 Buy Now
Press Releases help you get the word out about new products, changes in your company or any other news you’d like the world to know about. Our team will create accounts with your bio (and a link back to your site), and distribute one press release out to multiple high-ranking PR sites.

A Few Musts for Branding Yourself Online

Branding is not just your logo or tagline or the “look” and “feel” of your marketing communications. Branding is the sum total of your customer’s experiences and perceptions of your products, services, and employees. In actuality, your brand is what everyone else thinks your company and product are – it’s what people say about your company behind your back.

A branding strategy is the beginning of all customer contact behavior. When the budget allows, the branding strategy can become the basis for better advertising communications such as multi-media advertising, direct mail, trade shows, and expanded public relations.

The undertaking of branding may seem scary; however there is strong proof that branding is worth the effort. Listed here are some benefits of a strong brand.

  • Branding is what gives your company value and separates you from your competitors.
  • Enhanced perceived value allows for top pricing and shelters you from price competition.
  • Branding will provide protection in times of negative press.
  • A strong brand enables you to launch new products and services more quickly and cost effectively.

Your brand will become established in your customers minds, with or without your effort. Branding and managing a brand can be tough work, but here are some easy-to-follow guidelines on how to get started.

  • To succeed, you’ll need to get everyone involved from your graphic designer to your web designer to your customer service department (even if that’s you!) on down.
  • Take a look at some of your successful competitors, or other entrepreneurs you admire. Study their communications and how they position themselves.
  • Learn more about your target market to find out what they value when choosing a provider of your services. Survey customers, ask on social media, etc.
  • Develop a strategy from the information you gathered. It must be achievable and differentiating.
  • Leverage your brand strategy by integrating marketing communications. Ensure your brand is consistent across the board – website, newsletter, print marketing materials, billing, customer service responses, etc. Sending a cohesive message and giving customers the same experience every time will build brand equity.

Permalinks – Getting them right can get you more traffic

Today’s tip is on Permalinks – Getting them right can get you more traffic. Now, what are permlinks, you might ask?

Permalinks are the way WordPress displays the url for your posts and pages.

Here are some examples of different formats that WordPress offers:

Default - http://marketinggeeksinc.com/?p=123
Day & Name – http://marketinggeeksinc.com/2010/01/10/sample-post/
Numeric – http://marketinggeeksinc.com/archives/123

Or, you can use a Custom structure – http://www.marketinggeeksinc.com/how-to-set-up-wordpress-permalinks

In my opinion, the last one is the best format to have your permalinks in for 3 reasons:

1. It’s friendly on the eyes and easier for other people to link back to you
2. It usually keeps them shorter than some of the other WordPress permalink options (day & name can get really long)
3. It’s best for SEO – it uses keywords in your url, and keeps those keywords as close to the beginning of the link as possible, which can be a factor for SEO as well

So if you’re starting from scratch (or don’t have many incoming links), you’ll definitely want to check your Permalink settings. But what do you do if you already have an established blog? You can’t just go in and change them and leave it at that, because any incoming links you already have will stop working.

To get around this problem, you will first need to install the Redirection plugin.  Once it’s installed, go to Manage –> Redirection –> Options, and make sure both that URL Monitoring boxes are set to “Modified posts”. Now you can change those permalinks to SEO-friendly permalinks without having to worry about the search engine consequences. Now you’ll want to change your Permalink structure. Go to Settings –> Permalinks. Select the Custom structure, and enter /%postname%/


One last thing you can do to your permalinks to increase your WordPress SEO is install the SEO Slugs plugin. This will automatically remove stop words (words like and, to, from, if, etc.) from your slugs once you save a post, so you won’t get those ugly long URL’s when you do a sentence style post title. It also helps keep your most important keywords (which should be in your title) towards the front. And since they give you no SEO benefit anyway, you might as well take them out and give that SEO priority to your good keywords!

Deepen connections by greeting visitors by the site they came from!

Have you ever wished you could create a personalized message for readers that came from a certain site? For example, if a reader clicked through from Facebook, would you really like to suggest that they check out your fan page? Now you can! WP Greet Box is a WordPress plugin that can identify the site a new visitor is coming FROM, and display a custom message! It’s pretty easy to setup, and offers many different social networking and social bookmarking sites, so the ones you and your target market are active on should be on there. There’s a quick walk-through video below on setting up and using WP Greet Box

The nice thing is that there are default greetings built in, so you don’t have to come up with something clever to say for each site that you’d like to use. But, the even nicer thing is that if you DO want to personalize the greeting, you have that ability too.

One final note – it’s pretty easy to setup and get going with, but make sure you add in your profile link to all the social networking sites you choose to use – that way they can click through and connect directly with you there, too! Oh, and feel free to deactivate any that you aren’t familiar with. Just places less load on your site, and keeps things cleaner and neater in the backend. If you’d like additional documentation on using more advanced features, check out the WP Greet Box tutorial here.

Creating a Google-friendly Sitemap

A very basic way to explain “SEO” or Search Engine Optimization, is that you are trying to make your site as easy to read and understand as possible for the search engines spiders. Ideally, you want them to visit your site regularly in order to update the search engine listings, you want them to be able to tell exactly what your site is about, and to visit all the deep posts and pages within your sites so you have as many search engine listings as possible.

A very easy way to do this is to use the Google XML Sitemap plugin to generate a sitemap for your site that Google spiders will love! This step, as you can see in the video, literally only takes 2 minutes to set up. If you go on to set up an account with Google Webmaster Tools (which is a great idea), that may take just a few minutes more. But having a sitemap makes it super easy for Google spiders to find all the pages on your website quickly, and be alerted when there’s something new.