When Is It Time for a Branding Overhaul?

If you are in an upper management position in a company, or if you are the sole propriety of your own business already, then you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.  You need to be able to make the tough decisions at the right time, otherwise you risk compromising your business and the future of those in your team.  No one is going to make the decisions for you, and nobody’s even going to initiate a major change in operations because it’s not their job.  It’s yours.

When it comes to branding there are many vexing questions that you must have answers for.  One of the most challenging questions is: when is it time for a branding overhaul?

The answer to this question would have been harder in the pre-digital era.  Luckily, today there are a number of metrics available to make the decision easier.  You can consider:

  • Changing engagement rates relative to the most recent branding overhaul
  • Changes in direct traffic and potential reasons why
  • The success or failure of your most recent press campaign

Monitoring these metrics will give you a strong indication of whether or not it’s branding that needs to change in order to boost your business. 

Changing Your Brand Means Knowing Your Audience

Making a branding change is all about knowing how your business resonates with your audience and then capitalizing on it.  Here are three general tips to keep in mind while you contemplate the big decision of revamping the company’s image:

  1. Change your logo every 5 years.  Changing your logo (even slightly) within a five year span is smart business practice for a number of reasons.  The most obvious reason is that it keeps customers interested, and what’s more important than that?
  2. Does your business strategy no longer resonate with your branding? This is the tough question that you and your marketing team need to figure out.  It often happens that business strategy changes so quickly that branding is left behind.  Operating with an image that does not represent the specific service or purpose of the company will slice through potential revenue like a hot knife through butter. 
  3. If customer loyalty is lagging, it’s time for an overhaul.  This is another tricky intangible that you need to understand thoroughly before deciding to revamp.  Gauging loyalty has nothing to do with press clippings, direct traffic to your homepage or any other fancy marketing metric.  Loyalty is measured by word-of-mouth marketing and the number of social shares you get when posting a on Facebook.  It’s your community of customers that stand behind your brand, partly because they like what you do, and partly because they like your branding (the story behind your company and the message it shares with the world).  If this loyalty begins to lose steam, it’s definitely time to refine your message with a corresponding image.    

It’s All About Timing

Measuring the impact of your branding relative to the voice of the company requires constant attention.  There is going to be a right time every 5 or so years to change your image – it’s just important to figure out when that time is.  At the end of the day, a change in the tone and aesthetic of your brand might have the kind of measurable impact on sales that you’ve been looking for. 

Lead Generation-How to Scale Up Your Business Without Breaking the Bank

Lead Generation: Going Back to Basics

Lead generation is one of those areas of business that you will always need to think about.  You’re probably asking yourself every week if the inbound strategies you are using bring in high enough conversion rates.  What’s going to happen to your business if conversion rates drop below 3%? 

While I can’t say what will change, I can say that nothing should change about your lead strategy just because of a two-month dip. 

Don’t Overthink Your Lead Strategy

Stressing about your lead strategy can be a healthy obsession.  Part of your overall inbound marketing strategy, lead generation is the crucial second step in the chain that begins with organic traffic and ends in a sale.  Figuring out the best way to turn visitors into interested customers is part of the magic of business, and definitely requires a lot of strategizing and execution. 

Recent data shows that average ecommerce conversion rates hover around 4%.  Or consider that the average lead generation conversion rate in the travel industry is 5%, while in business services it’s 3.4%.  So, it’s likely that your work fits right into your industry’s average.  Point being: it’s hard to generate leads. 

Go Back to Basics

The only way to put your mind at ease about your lead generation strategy is to bring it all back to basics. 

It might be that you are over-extended in your lead generation attempts.  Or perhaps the actual content of your outreach efforts is not resonating with enough people.  In both of these examples, making small changes to your approach will not make the difference you are looking for.  To greatly improve your sales numbers, you may need to change the entirety of your lead generation strategy. 

Where is Your Call-to-Action Button?

It might be time to change the location and design of your CTAs.  Is it being ignored on your blog no matter how many views the blog gets?  Then try putting together a direct messenger campaign on Facebook that targets people who have reacted to your posts recently.  Or simplify your web design to make your CTA stand out more. 

Landing Page Optimization Shift

This might be a concern for the web design team, but without your input it will undoubtedly suffer.  A landing page needs to have a few components to be successful: a catchy headline, a short batch of text that is easy to read, and a call to action button that stands out from the rest of the content.  Without these basic features shining through it’s very possible your landing page is the weakest link. 

The Offer Needs to Have Impact

Here is where you can be creative and unique.  The whole point of a lead is to collect the personal information from potential customers.  In order to receive this information, you need to make an appealing offer, and perhaps your offer just is not appealing enough.  Get brainstorming and figure out what incentive you can provide your customers.  Offering a spreadsheet or free consultation in exchange for signing up to a mailing list might be the change you were looking for to keep things rolling!


So, don’t get discouraged by your lead generation conversion rate.  It’s a hard bargain to generate interested customers no matter what business you operate in.  When things get overwhelming, the key to success is returning to the basics, because it will remind you what it is that makes your company unique. 

5 Common SEO Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Question: What is the most valuable intangible in business?

Answer: Time.

No matter what area of business you apply the microscope, time management is the most valuable intangible.  It can either make you the most efficient person you could ever be, or lead you down a path of confusion and misunderstanding as you put tons of work into your business but keep on seeing diminishing returns.

Working on your business is all about making the most of your time in every single task you take on.  So what’s a good example of poor time management in business?  Operating on old principles that have become irrelevant in the fast-paced world of innovation and adaptation. 

A great example of operating on outdated principles can be found in search engine optimization.  Search engine optimization (or SEO) is an area of digital marketing that changes rapidly in relation to consumer behavior and Google measurement metrics. 

In the interest of saving time, many small business owners might think they can do their own basic SEO and get away with it.  They can, but only if they stay up-to-date with best practices.  Much like any area of business, managing your own SEO strategy it’s very easy to fall by the wayside and use methods that you think are effective, but in Google’s eyes are meaningless (or even harmful).

Here are 3 things I’ve noticed about SEO measurement that you should avoid if you want to make the most out of your time and effort:

  1. Conversions

The thing about conversion rates is that they are very alluring.  Of course it would be great to take a quick look at your Analytics, notice that conversion rates are going up across the board, and then pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  That would be a mistake.  Why? Because unless you are purely an e-commerce site, conversion rates tell only part of the story.  The common conversion metrics people look at are things like landing on your homepage, signing up for a newsletter, or the percentage of returning visitors.  That might look like a good percentage on your Analytics report, but if it does not have a meaningful impact on your bottom line then you need to change things up. 

2) Traffic

Overall traffic is another appealing stat that can misinform you.  Let’s say you incorporate some generic keywords into your site and see a 15% increase in site traffic over 6 months.  Generating increased traffic really only matters if it leads to increased sales – otherwise the value of the effort is worthless.  Focus purely on generating traffic that actually leads to sales, and to do that means cutting down your impressive overall traffic numbers and getting more specific.   

3) Poor Keyword Descriptions

The best way to target meaningful searchers is to isolate long tail keywords in your niche.  The big hitting keywords draw far too many site managers in because of the high volume of traffic they draw – until six months later they realize that all their work has led to no increase in sales. 

Stick To Value-Added Issues Only

Remember that comment about time the beginning of this blog post?  It applies to even the most acute levels of search engine optimization.  To avoid aimless hours trying to improve your overall traffic, stick to value-added issues that bring in the money.  At the end of the day, nothing else matters as much closing the sale

How to Make Back Linking Work for You?

It’s the digital version of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back.”  Backlinking sounds like such a small thing, but can be extremely advantageous for those who do it strategically.  Implementing backlinks into your site is something you need to be thinking about if your business relies on digital exposure. In fact, many businesses should be putting as much time into a back linking campaign as they put into public relations and social media updates.  It really is that important.

According to Google, back linking is one of the most important metrics to measure site authority and relevance.  As you can probably guess, ‘site authority’ and ‘relevance’ are SEO terms that mean higher ranking – and thus more revenue!  That’s why the ROI is so strong for back linking strategies as compared to PPC campaigns. 

The principle behind Google’s approach is this: the more sites of high-quality content linked to pages on your site, the more relevant your site becomes.  So, basically, that means you want to publish high-quality content that references (and is shared by) influential authority sites in your niche. 

Five years ago their approach was not so specific.  It used to be that the volume of links meant more than the quality of the links, which induced site managers to take part in back link stuffing.  Google penalizes this type of practice these days, so it’s important to stay on top of best-practices in your digital marketing strategy

Not Complicated, Just Specific

It might seem like back linking is a complicated part of high-level search engine optimization, involving HTML code and dense analytical work.  In reality, building a strong back linking strategy is something any business owner can do in collaboration with a digital marketing agency.  All it requires is some basic knowledge of HTML, a thorough understanding of important players in your niche, and a commitment to hard work.

Let’s say you run an e-commerce site selling barbeques in Indianapolis.  What are some back linking strategies you could use?

  1. Keyword Research – The best way to start is by typing in the short and long tail keywords you want to get backlinks for.

An example might be: “best BBQ Indianapolis”. 

Once you generate a list of 5-10 phrases, do a bit of research into what sites rank for each phrase.  Take note of these sites – because they are your competitors – and build and Excel sheet with all the relevant backlinks on their site.  You want to have 7-10 relevant sites from each competitor that you should link to as well.  This research will become the basis of your back linking strategy because it clarifies what terms and what sites you want to backlink too. 

  1. Broken Link Strategy – Based on your keyword research, go through high authority sites that link to competitors and look for broken links.  There are some great back linking tools to help you with this step.  Simply write to the site manager informing them of a broken link, offer your site as an alternative link, and start watching your SEO ranking improve. 
  1. Rely on Bloggers – Back linking is still dependant on volume of links, and the best way to boost your volume is to rely on social shares and blog shares.  Chances are your business has a pretty strong social media presence, likely being followed by influential writers in your industry.  Getting them to write a feature on your business is a great way to build authoritative backlinks because it’s essentially an endorsement. 

It’s A Multi-Pronged Approach

As with a lot of entrepreneurial work, a proper backlink strategy requires a multi-pronged approach.  It’s one piece of the puzzle that will deliver stronger results when used in conjunction with the right social media strategy, funnels, email campaigns, and website design.  Considering that these technologies (and Google rankings) are always changing, rather than take everything onto your shoulders, it’s best to work with a digital marketing strategist who will have the tools and expertise you require to stay ahead of the curve. 

How to Build Authority with Your Blog

One of the best in-house marketing techniques you can take advantage of is a blog.  A regularly updated blog full of high-quality content is a great marketing resource for a whole bunch of reasons. 

For one, blogging is still one of the most effective SEO tools in your personal arsenal of digital marketing tools.  Google Webmaster loves having new pages to index on sites they are already familiar with.  The logic behind this is quite simple: the more new content a page has to index, the more relevant it is deemed by Google in their optimization rankings. 

You can change content on a service page, but realistically, how often are you going to be changing this content? Probably once a month, at most.  With a blog you can literally post as much as you deem necessary.  As long as you optimize each post with a few SEO basics (which you can learn about here), the blog post will help your organic search ranking and provide valuable insight for your customer base. 

For another thing, a blog is a great way to connect with your customer base in a genuine, ‘non-advertising’ kind of way.  A lot of digital marketing can fall into the trap of generality and mass-communication.  With a blog, you are essentially providing free insight into your industry (and your business) without asking for anything from the visitor.  It goes beyond advertising and offers a behind-the-scenes look at what differentiates your brand.  That’s a huge intangible value.  Gary Vaynerchuk refers to this as a “jab” in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”.  Give value, and then give some more. Earn the right to make the pitch.

Techniques for Building Blog Authority

Focus On Content – There is nothing as valuable as writing engaging content.  Find your voice and style before you start blogging so that your words remain familiar to readers.  Check out sites like Alltop, Google Alerts, or Feedly for inspiring topics to riff on. 

Start Guest Blogging – You want to get your words in front of as many readers as possible, and that means guest blogging.  A lot of the biggest aggregators of traffic do not generate their own content – they allow others to post on their site and thus generate traffic for them.  Scroll through Huffington Post and Entreprenuer.com to get an idea of how posts should look, and then reach out with your own unique list of blog post ideas. 

Invite Guest Bloggers – An effective way to get your blog off the ground is to invite a guest blogger to write a few months of content.  Pick a writer with a large built-in audience of readers who would be interested by your brand, and track the changes in site traffic to see just how impactful it can be. 

It’s a Long-Term Investment

It’s important to take a long-term approach to blogging.  Always remember that you can run tests on what works, and adapt the content accordingly. 

In running tests of your blog content, you might be surprised at how much ‘traditional’ blogging advice simply does not work for you.  A case in point is the clean-cut layout most web designers recommend.  Sharp lines, simple black and white color scheme, few distractions – what could be more appealing?  It’s only appealing if it draws traffic to your site, and you should experiment with various layouts to see what most people prefer. 

In developing blog authority it’s important to rely on intuition and experimentation instead of spending excessive amounts on banner advertisements (to give just one example).

Build Authority in a Unique Way

It’s an exciting prospect to plan a year’s worth of blog content.  With the right kind of digital marketing consultant, a lot of research and a bit of soul searching, before too long it will be your name at the top of Google queries in your niche.