Building Your Brand – Why Blog, Why Use Display Ads etc?

“You’ll never get yourself off the treadmill of paid ads, if you don’t build your brand”

Someone on a Search Podcast, 2019


It’s very easy to dismiss online content, blogs, image assets and even display ads as pretty much useless – because you don’t have the instant gratification of seeing leads and/or sales.

This is completely understandable; especially if you have a background in sales – where your job has been to ‘finish off the lead’ and get a sale.

However, if you are in it for the long (or medium) run, then building your brand is a must. Whether you are a tradesman or a giant corporation, your brand’s reputation and the brand-awareness is your safety net when it comes to consistent website traffic, leads & sales.

It takes time to build a brand – but once it is built, those people who come to you direct because they know who you are – are effectively free – or at least very cheap in comparison to some of the cost per click of Google Search Ads these days.

Building a brand is not easy however. Take my other blog for example – Blackbeltwhitehat.com

The blog has over 600 pages of content, lots of it really long, in-depth and time-consuming to produce. The site has 5,000-10,000 visitors per month, but virtually nobody comes to my website via a branded search on Google.

This could be down to one specific reason – the domain name is crap and hard to remember.

I’ve bought a few more memorable domains (like WokeMMA.com “Woke” being an ironic term for self-awareness used in the MMA & Jiu Jitsu communities) and I am currently weighing up the time & effort of re-branding everything like GoogleMyBusiness, TrustPilot etc. – plus all my back-links currently point to blackbeltwhitehat.com (I’m aware of 301s etc. but I’ll still definitely see a drop in rankings).

My blog is ultimately a hobby that I’ve invested less than $50 into over 6 years.  But if I had some more budget – I’d put together a plan to build my brand online…

Logo Design Illustrator
Blackbeltwhitehat.com

How to Build a Brand Online

First make sure you know your target audience & do one of those SWOT analysis. Then make specific goals to establish some brand KPIs.

Here are some ideas on what to do next:

  • Get a relevant, easy to remember domain name!

Learn from my mistake, a short catchy domain name is an easy-win if you are just starting out from scratch. A lot of the best and obvious domain name will be taken however, so you’ll have to do some research first. If you are just starting out, don’t name your business until you secure your domain name!

  • Display Ads

Depending on your niche, you can set tiny max CPC bids in some instances – and they’ll still get thousands of impressions for very little spend. Gmail ads work particularly well for (potential) low CPM (cost per 1000 impressions).

Rotate your display ads’ design & colours to stop people ignoring them due to ‘banner blindness’.

  • Blog & Outreach

Blog are great for reaching people who are researching a potential purchase.

For example, I landed on Perfect Keto’s blog a few times whilst researching Exogenous Ketones. Then ended up buying their branded product on Keto-pro.co.uk; because, for what ever reason, I trusted their brand.

Create great content, with statistics, images and video – and then outreach it – i.e. send it to relevant blogs and websites.

If you can afford it, use “PR-Level” outreach and contact national newspapers etc. This can be done via websites such as gorkana

If you content gets links too – then great – that’s good for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Doing some of your own exclusive research and generating tables of statistics are great for generating back-links naturally i.e. passively.

So consider doing some market research using Google surveys etc. These guys calculated RV/Campervan depreciation in value, just by looking at vehicles for sale online and get hundreds of back-links.

To turn blog’s into direct sales, you can also use relevant ‘CTA’ images below your blog.

For example, if you post a blog about the Walking Path’s of Snowdonia on your Snowdonia-based-bed-&-breakfast website; consider adding a relevant & clickable ‘book now’ and/or ‘get your free brochure’ button with eye-catching image at the bottom of the post. Many people now do this with newsletter sign up pop ups, which are a bit annoying but do work.

Before you start a blog, do your keyword research.

  • Create Tools

Content is great – but tools tend to do better than copy. For example, NerdWallet’s top page in terms of organic traffic – is their mortgage calculator.

  • Reviews

As well as brand awareness, you want some social-proofing of your brand. Start with a free account on Trustpilot and GoogleMyBusiness

  • Video & Social Media

The number 1 mistake people make on social media is to harp on about their brand all the time. Be entertaining, provide useful information and insightful comments. If you are over-promotional, people will not follow you. Build some authority by providing helpful insights that your target market will appreciate.

Videos & podcasts can be costly in terms of time. If you don’t want to set up your own podcast, guest-appearance on other people’s podcasts can generate valuable awareness and also back-links to your website (important for Search Engine Optimisation/Rankings).

  • Build an amazing product and/or service

This is your foundation and one of the reasons that Apple is so successful. An LSD-fueled Steve Jobs came up with some amazing ideas and concepts. The brand also turned itself into unique hybrid of tech & fashion thanks to their pioneering products.

The big, light-up apple on the back of Macbooks no doubt was a design aimed at building brand awareness too!

Please note – I realise this blog has a rubbish social media following. But that’s due to lack of time/money investment. I generally just use this blog as somewhere to record my thoughts & to remember how to do all things marketing related. E.g. here are my notes so I remember how to use Screaming Frog to scrape OG tags.

See my 2019 guide to Keyword Research by Clicking Here.

How Important is the Right Accountant?

When someone goes about starting a business, the nervousness and the excitement is highly motivating, and it’s easy to get straight stuck into doing all the interesting stuff, like the marketing, sorting out the website and creating your company logo.

Accountants in Chester
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It is important however, to get the basics in place first, and to give the fundamentals, and the ‘boring stuff’ the same thought, care and enthusiasm as the more interesting and rewarding elements of starting your own company.

Choosing the right accountant for example, is not the most exciting task, but can be pivotal in regards to your businesses success.  It’s pretty interesting, but also a bit worrying, that any Joe Bloggs can call him or herself an accountant without any relevant credentials or qualifications.  In spite of this fact, very few business owners speak to a number of potential accountants, or research around them and their reputation. This is potentially a huge mistake.

Ensure that any accountant you are considering hiring, are qualified through one of the main associations/accrediting bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW),the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

It goes without saying, or it should do, that you should also look into how you will pay your accountant. Are there set fees, or does he/she charge an hourly rate?  If possible choose someone that can audit and advise you in regards to your business, as well as being a bookkeeper. Ideally your accountant will have experience in your business sector; but not conflicts of interest.

Ensure that you do not choose an accountant, just because they are situated right next to your office. It is an important decision, that should not be just a quick decision or after-thought.  They will after all, be in charge of your money.  Look what happened to Mike Tyson!  (he wasn’t screwed over by an accountant, but still…).

I live in North Wales, right on the border with England, and my accountant is based in Chester.  It’s definitely worth looking outside your home town. I did have an accountant based in Wrexham, but it was impossible to speak to, or get in touch with him, via phone or email, so he may of well be based in Australia.  Good customer service and ‘contactability’ are also crucial.

Disability inactivity

Small Businesses and Accessibility for Disabled Customers & Clients

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) states that businesses that provide ‘goods and services’ must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people.

The DDA may influence your entire business, from how you treat your staff, people who apply for jobs at your business, and of course – your customers.  If you fail to do what is deemed as reasonable to adapt your business to the needs of disabled people, then legal action could be taken against you.

If you’re not motivated by compliance with the law (or the ethics behind disability access), a free service created by directenquiries.com allows businesses with ‘good’ access and facilities for people with disabilities to be listed on their directory.

Direct Enquiries will also provide an action plan to identify areas that need improvement.  These are generally simple changes that can be done at low or no cost to the business.

The directory and the corresponding action plan aims to encourage more businesses to improve their access and services, and in doing so, attract more of the UK’s disabled individuals.

In addition to the improvements in disability access (to new buildings and businesses in general); there has been an increase in the sale and manufacture of recreational vehicles and cycles for the disabled, or people with specific needs.

Inactivity is a major problem; and can compound existing health problems for people with mobility issues:

Disability inactivity

Companies such as Quest88 are now providing a range of disability aids and cycles that give disabled people a range of ways to become active.  With the success of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics this market has seen an exponential increase over the last 3 years – improving people’s lives and boosting British manufacturing at the same time.

Kiosks point of sale

How Point of Sale Is Evolving

As technology continues to evolve at an exponential rate, point of sale is developing to correspond with customer’s expectations of speed and efficiency. The shift from traditional high street and in-store shopping, to online shopping, represents a demand for convenience.  The rise of internet speeds, web-enabled mobile phones and the increase in the use of tablets like the Nexus and iPads; is good news for online retailers, but creates a separate issue of optimisation across channels.

The issue of Conversion Rate Optimisation across different platforms and technology is the subject of many articles, and many tutorials; however less is written about integration across platforms.  Over the past 5 years, in order to meet customers’ preferences and to increase efficiency, a number of retailers have launched online kiosks in store.

The kiosks are able to provide the customers with detailed brand and product information at the touch of a button (or maybe a few buttons).  They can also check availability of specific products and many kiosks now come complete with chip and pin technology, so that customers can effectively ‘self-serve’ themselves, and potentially avoid long queues and delays that are often seen in busy retails outlets.  They can also potentially be integrated with mobile phones, remembering customer details, and even enabling customers to use coupons found online.

In the aftermath of the last British recession, people are demanding more product information and specifications before making a purchase. Kiosks are an ideal way of providing instant access to this information without over-stretching resources in terms of staff time and availability.   In addition some larger stores stock thousands of products; with dozens available for a given purpose.

Kiosks point of sale
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Kiosks can help people follow simple questions, and narrow down results to give one, or several products that perfectly fit the customer’s individual needs and requirements.

Kiosks can also provide retailers with additional information to fill their ever-expanding database of customer data.  Customer journeys and ‘bottlenecks’ now have a whole new dimension; as does Conversion Rate Optimisation.

This information can be applied relatively easily, as most e-commerce kiosks can be updated with relative ease. Are in-store kiosks the Sales Assistants of the future?  Hopefully not literally, but they can certainly be used to streamline store processes and optimise sales figures.

Keeping your Business on the Straight & Narrow

We all know the stat, well, approximately – 90% (ish) of businesses fail in the first year…

Most of us have dreams of starting a particular type of business. Be that as it may, when the fantasy turns into a reality, many don’t really have a clue about running or maintaining a business.

There is both an art and a science behind running a successful business. From the income administration through to the business’ operational procedure. There is a wealth of learning and data for organisations to influence, with the goal that they can control their business in the right course. From choosing the right accountant, to sorting out the company website; there is lots to learn, and fast, when you start your own business.

Business blog
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The longer it takes people to pick up and learn basic business procedures and best practices, the more money it will cost.
So what are a few things that they can do? All things considered, they can embrace courses that won’t upset their business hours and permit them to take in the essentials that will make their business develop.  Courses are normally available on bookkeeping and business management at local vocational colleges.

The business must have clear and quantifiable objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Without an unmistakable system, the business will be meandering heedlessly and there won’t be any reasonable strides for the associations movement. This will influence the business all in all and workers inside of the business. Choices that will influence the business’ development will dependably return to the business technique that is set up.

The business can just become effectively if there is an in number group of representatives, consultants and offices that are working towards the fruitful execution of the method. The business should have an in number ability securing procedure and needs to recognize and contract ability that will best execute the method for the business. The ability ought to be procured taking into account quantifiable results. Enlist a group of authorities that will be committed to dealing with the complete workload for one of the offices in the association, to guarantee that specific zone of the business is performing as per the dispensed targets.

Income is lord to a business. It is key for dealing with the development and money related danger to a business. The straightforward guideline is to keep expenses low and to keep income high. This likewise means overseeing organization income and benefit conjectures, and in addition watching out for operational expenses and to keep looking for approaches to minimize them.

Imagination is crucial for the business. By what means will the business keep on enhancing with anticipated buyer patterns and changes to nature, innovation and that’s just the beginning? Apple is one of the idea pioneers regarding the matter of development through outline. It’s this ground breaking that will permit the business to develop into a brand pioneer.

Build up the business’ novel worth suggestion.

The business needs to keep showing quality in its industry and to its purchaser market. What is it about the business that makes it a pioneer? The business ought to look to enhance its quality through accreditations, perceived industry affiliations, grants, testimonials and customer portfolios, to give some examples. The more the business enhances its apparent worth, the more open doors will emerge for the business to work with higher profile customers and for new business to go ahead autopilot.

Entrepreneurs and supervisors need to make a move in terms of satisfying the business technique. This must be accomplished by having an unmistakable heading and activity arrangement for the business. In the event that the work force inside of the association can take in the obliged activities as has been demonstrated by other effective organizations, they will make an in number open door for their business to well over the long haul.