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.

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.

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.

How online marketing is a lot like working out

joggingI like running. It’s my quiet, me-time for thinking. And believe it or not, I actually enjoy doing squats (that might be more because I know how good they are for my butt!). But even though I enjoy it and know I should be working out most days, I get busy and it doesn’t always happen. And my tendency is to try to make up for a whole week’s worth of exercise in one or two sessions.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the way it works. Weight loss comes from a consistent calorie deficit. If I try to lose weight by working out for 2 hours once a week, my results will never be as good as they could be if I worked out even just 20 minutes a day 5 times a week. That consistency sets up a system in my body to burn more calories all the time.

The same thing goes for online marketing. Posting a couple posts on your blog one day while you’re thinking about it,  or tweeting a bunch one morning and then disappearing for a week will not get you regular traffic to your site. Nor will it help you make connections with other bloggers, possible JVs, or potential clients.

Online marketing, done regularly, can do wonders for your web traffic and filling your client funnel. And it doesn’t have to be hugely time consuming.  Here are a few ways you can fit it into your schedule

  • Take one day per month to write several longer articles (think: 500-700 words). If you’re keeping a list of ideas, this probably won’t take you much more than an hour or two. But don’t do anything with them just yet.
  • Once a week, take one of those articles, and break it into 2 or 3 blog posts. Preschedule these into your blog. Should only take about 15 minutes.
  • Once every week or two, take the previous week’s article, and post it to 2 or 3 articles sites. Should only take about 20-30 minutes.
  • Set up an RSS reader with the blog feeds from industry leaders, people you’d like to partner with in the future, or blogs that have a similar target market to yours. Once a day, find one post that you can comment on. Now, you can’t just say “Great post!” You have to add something to the conversation. But this shouldn’t get too overwhelming if you know you’re only looking for one to comment on. Time? Probably no more than 10 minutes.
  • Use a service like SocialOomph.com or Hootsuite.com to schedule in some tips, links, articles etc. to go out throughout the week on Twitter. Then you’re maintaining visibility, even if you haven’t stopped by yet that day. When you do stop by, you can focus more on conversation and relationship building, knowing that you’ve already shared some great content. If you are very clear on your purpose for social networking, you should be able to come up with ideas pretty easily. And since you’ll be looking at your RSS Feeds daily, you’ll be able to grab good articles to share quickly too.

So while it’s tempting to tell yourself that you’re on top of your online marketing because you took 3 hours one day last month to do some, you’ll be a lot more happy with yourself and your results if you make it happen regularly. You’ll get that web traffic sleek and sexy in no time! Now I gotta get going. I need to work out!

What comes first, the Twittering, or the Following?

Here’s a Twitter Tip video I created after I heard the same question over and over from clients, and then saw it posted by @unmarketing on Twitter. It’s something I see a lot of people new to Twitter struggle with, so here are some ideas to start you off strong on Twitter!

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What do you think? Do you follow brand-new Twitterers if they don’t have any updates at all? I’d love to hear feedback from other active Twitter-folk.

And of course, connect with me on Twitter!

follow-RebeccaZwar-on-twitter

Daily tools of an internet marketing VA

Ever wanted to peak behind the scenes and find out what tools a internet marketing VA uses daily? I’m here to share!  :)   It will vary between person to person, sure, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of these tools would be on other VAs list, so it’s a great place to start if you’re just getting into marketing online.

Programs: (used at least daily, usually)

  • Firefox
  • GimpShop – open-source version of Photoshop. Takes a bit of use to become familiar, but they do have fantastic forums
  • KompoZer - open-source version of Dreamweaver. If anything, it’s much easier to use and figure out and has a more intuitive WYSIWYG editor.
  • Skype - use for chatting with other team members, subcontractors, clients, etc. Also use for free Skype-to-Skype calls anywhere in the world!
  • Digsby - fantastic tool that aggregates webmail like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL, your IM (except Skype, unfortunately), and all your social networking sites. I love it!
  • Core FTP – free ftp tool, never used another. Never needed another.
  • Jing - I love this little ball of sunshine that sits at the top of my desktop! It lets me quickly and easily take screenshots images or quick screencast videos and save, share or embed.
  • Roboform - saves password so I don’t have to remember them, and don’t have to depend on my browsers’ cookies

Other good ones:

  • Audacity - good open-source audio editor for podcasts, audio welcomes, etc.
  • Camtasia - while Jing is great for short 5-minute or less videos, Camtasia is the best option out there for taking and editing screencasts. Trust me, I’ve looked!
  • BoxShot3D - create rendering program to create ebook covers and more
  • CommentHut - tool for speeding up the process of locating blogs to comment on.

These are just the programs I use daily. Later this week, I’ll cover (most) all of the online tools I use daily. After all, we provide internet marketing support!

[tags]Rebecca Zwar, internet marketing virtual assistant tools, social media marketing virtual assistant tools, online marketing tools[/tags]

The 30 Second Brand Test

Or, do the pictures match the words?

When you are branding yourself online, does your message match up with the visuals your visitors are getting? I think an effective brand “package” covers not just your slogan and your logo, but your message, and all the other visuals on your website as well.

Whether you have a fun, creative, serious, technical or *other* tone to your copy, check our your website. Do all the pictures, logos, slogans, and even the font convey that same feel?

When every aspect of your website works together, your branding is that much more effective.

Not entirely sure about your brand’s “feel”? Try this 30 second test from Conversation Marketing:

  • Imagine you’re hiring your very first employee.
  • Figure out three phrases that describe the perfect hire.
  • Make sure they’re more specific than ‘fast’ or ‘smart’

The new wave in branding!

For me, when choosing someone for my team, mine are “creative/entrepreneurial thinking”  “extremely comfortable with technology”  and “Fun!”

What are yours?

[tags]internet marketing, branding, Rebecca Zwar, virtual assistant team[/tags]