A good and strong brand identity is one of the strongest weapons in the marketplace. Have you ever wondered how big corporations have created memorable brands?
The answer is simple: by creating a unique and impressive identity.
What is a Brand?
A brand is a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind. Thus brands help harried consumers in the crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value.
The legal name for a brand is the trademark and, when it identifies or represents a firm, it is called a brand name. You can register your trademark to protect your brand, for example – the name of your product or service. Click here to find out how to register a trademark in the UK.
What is Corporate Identity?
Corporate Identity represents a combination of colour schemes, designs, words, etc., that a firm employs to make a visual statement about itself and to communicate its business philosophy. It is an enduring symbol of how a firm views itself, how it wishes to be viewed by others, and how others recognize and remember it.
Corporate identity is ‘out there’ sensory-experience conveyed by things such as buildings, décor, logo, name, slogan, stationery, uniforms, and is largely unaffected by its financial performance and ups and downs in its fortunes.
Corporate-identity is either strong or weak (not positive, negative, or neutral like a corporate image) and is more or less permanent unless changed deliberately.
What corporate image really is?
A corporate image represents a mental picture that springs up at the mention of a firm’s name. It is a composite psychological impression that continually changes with the firm’s circumstances, media coverage, performance, pronouncements, etc. Similar to a firm’s reputation or goodwill, it is the public perception of the firm rather than a reflection of its actual state or position. Unlike corporate identity, it is fluid and can change overnight from positive to negative to neutral. Large firms use various corporate advertising techniques to enhance their image in order to improve their desirability as a supplier, employer, customer, borrower, etc.
The image of Apple computer, for example, as a successful business has dimmed and brightened several times in the last 30 years. But its identity (conveyed by its name and multicoloured bitten-off-apple logo) as an innovative and pathbreaking firm has survived almost intact during the same period.
How Can You Build a Successful Brand?
Create a brand that is timeless, distinctive and powerful that will help your business or product stand out from your competitors.
The right brand identity design can be one of the company’s best marketing tools as it transforms the company’s vision and values into an image that customers become familiar with.
Build a memorable brand. The brand identity design is what often helps the customer to remember the company.
A company’s brand identity can be represented through a unique logo that is often incorporated on all the company’s materials such as stationery, business cards, packing and so on. Make sure it’s easy to read and memorable.
A Logo is the central, identifiable visual element that helps customers discover, share and remember a company’s brand. a good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic and simple in form, and it conveys the owner’s intended message. You should follow Smashing Magazine‘s five principles to ensure that your design meets all of these criteria.
Use the same font character and colours on your marketing materials. Look at Virgin brands. All Virgin businesses have the word ‘Virgin’ no matter what services or products they provide, and the name is written using the same font and colours everywhere.
Create a Corporate Identity Manual to be followed by all departments within your company for any internal and external documents and activities.
A good corporate image is important for almost all businesses because this is what attracts many people who aren’t drawn in by words and numbers alone. The word apple associated with the Apple computers and iPhone is the best example.
Once you know what name you want to use and what colours identify your brand and business, make sure you use them everywhere – on your website, on your business cards, on social media, in any images or videos where your brand is mentioned, but also inside your offices or retail shops.
Five Questions to Help You Identify Your Brand Correctly
Before going into designing your brand, answer these five questions.
How is your brand perceived against other competitors on the market?
What is the positioning statement of your brand?
Who is your audience?
Whats values & believes should your brand have about your business?
What benefits do you want your customers to associate with your brand?
Brand identity design is an artistic and practical approach that focuses on the needs of the companies in areas such as marketing, packaging, product branding, communications and website design. If you are a business owner wanting to create a good and lasting identity in the market, perhaps the professional help of brand identity designers can benefit you.
How to Design a Brand Identity?
Large organizations with layers of management require a thorough brand identity system that provides a unified vision and tools that help everyone build the brand.
This presentation from Creative Market will walk you through the major steps required to craft a professional brand identity.
Be Really Clear on What You Want Them to Know
Your customer is the king, so make sure your brand and your marketing messages reflect this – you provide a service or a product to solve your client’s needs, to empower him, to help him, or to honour him. It’s not about what you offer, it’s about what your customer receive from you and how your product or service help them.
As Steve Jobs said in the video below, you have to be really clear on what you want them to know about you.
Don’t focus on what products and services you offer, but think about how you can help your audience.
I think one of the best definition of what a brand means was given by Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO – “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
Many small business owners got their beginning as an employee. They worked for somebody else, they had a dream and believed that if they work hard their business will succeed. The issue is, if you’ve been an employee for years, it may be difficult to shake off the bonds of the employee mentality.
If you’ve got an employee mentality, you are more likely to look to other people to tell you what to do. You may find it difficult to take responsibility.
You see, as an employee, you’ve no say about how the business is executed. You just work hard to prove your value so that you can stay employed.
Which One Are You
If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you think differently. Essentially the buck stops (and begins) with you. You’re responsible for the success and failure of your business. And you are the one who makes all the huge decisions (including who to designate smaller decisions too!).
To discover if you’re thinking like an employee or an entrepreneur, take this fast quiz:
Do you confine your tasks/responsibilities to a subset of what is required for your business to flourish?
Do you base your lifestyle on your revenue?
If a money setback happens, do you shrink your budget to adapt to the reduction in revenue?
Do you constantly seek outside advice to make even daily decisions?
If you responded “yes” to most of these queries, chances are you’ve got an employee mentality. Those with an entrepreneur mentality would’ve answered “no”.
How does an entrepreneur think?
Entrepreneurs understand that occasionally they have to do things in their business that are “higher up” or “beneath” their skill level. Their mental attitude is if it has to get accomplished, get it accomplished and they’re not adverse to bundling up their sleeves and getting their arms dirty.
Entrepreneurs will seek to develop their business, enlarge their line of products and broaden their services when money setbacks happen. They don’t let themselves get to be or remain a victim of fiscal conditions.
If a money setback happens, do you shrink your budget to accommodate the reduction in revenue? Entrepreneurs send out the payments for themselves first. They centre on bringing in the money that supports the lifestyle they want and invest the rest into their business. That stated, they’re likewise they are aware of and accept the sacrifices that may need to be made in order to achieve a goal.
Entrepreneurs handle their time and take responsibility for their actions. While they might seek out mentors to guide them to expanded growth, they are in control of their day-to-day actions and don’t need somebody else to tell them what to accomplish or prompt them to accomplish it.
Non-Profits need to be marketed just as much as any other group. You might not be selling designer handbags, but people need to want to help your cause just as much as they want to pamper themselves. Placing an adequate amount of emphasis on marketing your non-profit is the best way to lead you to success. The best part is that it doesn’t need to be exorbitantly expensive to see real results. Read this guest blog post to discover 7 creative ideas for an effective online marketing campaign for your non-profit organisation.
1. Reach More People With Your Content
One of the most important parts of marketing is getting your message out to as many people as possible. This is why a blog is such a powerful marketing tool. By providing a lot of content on your blog, you make it easy for more people to find your non-profit through a Google search. Try sharing things like helpful tutorials and infographics. Your readers will want to share this useful content with their friends, and your reach grows exponentially.
2. Use Free Funding Where Available
Google Grants offers non-profits a substantial advertisement stipend every month. If you meet their qualifications, you can use this money to put out the word about your non-profit without having to spend any money. See how far the free funding will take you before you start adding money into the ad budget. You’ll be able to get more accomplished with less cash, even if you equally match the free funding Google provides.
3. Give Your Non-Profit a Personality
If people can recognize your non-profit as a friend and ally, they’ll feel more inclined to contribute. Many companies use brand voices to establish a web personality, and your non-profit can do the same. Frequently communicate with your friends and followers in a personable way. Answer their questions and comments. Provide superior social media support. This will keep you at the forefront of people’s minds, making them more inclined to donate.
4. Incorporate Video Content
Video is extremely important on the internet. If you’re limiting your marketing message to text posts, it’s likely that the great things you have to say are being lost among other walls of text. Since most social media websites and apps allow videos to auto-play, people will be distracted by the moving image. They’re more likely to stop and see what you’re about than they are to blindly scroll past it. This is a great way to catch habitual scrollers who may have otherwise overlooked your marketing content.
5. Explain What Makes You Different
As an example, consider breast cancer charities. They’re all doing wonderful things, but those things may be different. With similar messaging, colour schemes, and branding, people might not be able to tell one from the other. This can lead to them misdirecting their donations or failing to understand why your non-profit is a better choice.
Make sure your logos, colours, and even fonts are different enough from similar non-profits. You need to be recognizable as a specific brand if you want to be successful as a non-profit. Educate people about why you’re different from the others, and maintain honesty and transparency. This will encourage a favourable opinion about your non-profit and the work you do.
6. Make the Most of the Content You Have
Repurposing content is a lot like recycling plastic goods. Everything gets a second life in a better form. It also gives you another opportunity to draw people in and raise money. If you wrote extensive pieces that were connected or part of a series, you can bundle them and release them as an eBook. You can either quickly and easily self-publish and sell this eBook on Amazon for direct profit (as much as 70% of the list price for Kindle titles), or you can give the eBook away for free to people who subscribe to your mailing list.
Both options have advantages. By selling the eBook, it’s easy to raise a substantial amount of money for your non-profit. By giving it away and collecting emails, you’re getting direct marketing access to people who are already interested in what you have to say. Try doing a mixture of both – selling it while also offering it free will create multiple fruitful paths.
7. Have an Easy Call to Action
The cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign is an easy call to action. If you make it difficult or confusing for people to donate or help in some way, they’ll get confused and lose sight of the goal. Many social media platforms allow the addition of a direct donate button. These are easy to locate and serve as constant reminders. You can also add donation links or widgets directly to your blog posts. Tie this button into your marketing messaging for a simple path to a completed action.
Remember to constantly monitor your marketing efforts and make changes where necessary. See what works and optimize where you see the most success.
Guest Author: David Beeshaw is a blogger who dedicates his time and efforts to helping others fight STIs and HIV. Interested in leading a healthy lifestyle, David is currently supporting raTrust, a non-profit STI and HIV prevention organization.
We live in a digitized world where electronic gadgets run many aspects of our lives. This revolution in the way people do things affects the world of marketing as well. More specifically, businesses depend on digital marketing more than they do on traditional advertising. Most business owners are investing in LED and LCD signs. In fact, a recent report by Market Scale revealed that the digital signage industry might grow by 9% annually between 2018 and 2020. However, challenges exist in this industry. Read this guest post to find out how Augmented Reality, Video Wall and Virtual Reality are going to be used in the marketplace.
One of them is the display of static messages. Examples include ‘we are open,’ ‘amazing discounts on offer,’ ‘sale,’ or the name of the company. In fact, bright and flashing letters are the only difference between most of these signs and traditional ones. Fortunately, some of them have different messages, but the setting is monotonous. For instance, most of them display letters with little or no images.
Another problem is that they are standard signs in today’s business world. That means using them would not differentiate you from your competitors. However, technological advances are changing everything including the marketing industry.
Augmented refers to an addition a person makes to something that exists. In this case, augmented reality (AR) is an overlaid image that appears over what you are seeing. It is a revolutionary concept because it helps consumers when it comes to determining if something is ideal for them. More specifically, they can see how it will look like in the intended environment before they buy it.
Multinational corporations are taking advantage of it already. For example, IKEA is the largest furniture retailer globally, and it sees the benefits that could come from using this technology. In September 2017, the company introduced an app known as IKEA Place. You can view furniture virtually with this application.
More specifically, you can select the items you like. Then this app will add an image of them to where you want to put them. It has an accuracy rate of 98%. That means the virtual item you are viewing will look that way in real life when you put it there.
A video wall refers to multiple monitors that are set up on a single wall displaying a coordinated message to a particular audience. The effectiveness of this marketing method is indisputable because it captures the attention of passerby immediately. In fact, it draws them to the images on the monitors because they are massive and they always change, unlike most displays.
Video walls will change digital marketing because you can use them in unique areas. For example, businesses are using them in their reception lounges, open hallways, exhibition booths, and as additions to their outside walls. They will revolutionize this industry as well because they make it possible for someone to integrate social media into their marketing displays.
This integration is dynamic because it occurs in real time. For instance, people viewing the wall can see a comment they just made on the company’s social media page. This level of interaction between consumers and the company through a marketing technique is unprecedented.
For example, AT&T collaborated with Toms Shoes to produce a VR app that takes users on a humanitarian trip to South America. More specifically, they would go to Peru where they would give someone a pair of shoes. This virtual experience would provide users with an idea of how valuable their contribution to this philanthropic work was.
This collaboration took place sometime back. Today, companies have embraced VR like never before. They include Wal-Mart, the New York Times, Boursin, and Lowe. Other organizations that have adopted it in their marketing campaigns are Volvo, Medicover, Incheon Airport, and Nike.
Guest author: Mia Clarke is part of the content and community team at Userful.com, experts in all things video wall and display solutions. When Mia is not spreading the word about video walls she is often found discovering the great outdoors, walking or cycling.
The best time to solve a problem is before you even have one. Preemptively addressing potential concerns of your customers, as well as offering help before help is ever needed, can keep customers coming back and reduce the rates of returns or refunds. Be more helpful than necessary – people will remember you for it, and your business only stands to benefit from it.
Passive Versus Proactive Approaches to Customer Service
With reactive customer service, each customer is treated like a unique scenario and occupies the time and attention of one or more members of your service staff. This usually involves some redundancy, as many complaints are common. It also throttles the productivity of customer service staff who could be focusing their undivided attention on a sole customer with a specific and unique support request instead of providing quick service to a customer who has a garden-variety gripe.
Proactive approaches may seem like more work, but in the long run, they turn out to be less work. If you provide as much service as you possibly can up front, people are going to be less likely to turn to you for common service issues and questions later on down the road. They’ll be making more informed purchasing decisions, and they’ll understand what to do. Most proactive approaches involve providing tools or resources to your customers – you only need to create them once if they’re evergreen.
Provide Useful Content and Guides
If your business offers a lot of options, especially in the way of sizes and styles or customizations, create comprehensive buying guides. Teach people how to take the measurements necessary to assure they’re getting things right the first time. Provide excellent visual examples that showcase real-life size and shape comparisons. Giving them all of this info ahead of time can reduce purchasing mistakes and relieve some of the burden on your support staff, who may have otherwise needed to provide lengthy consultations, troubleshooting, or refunds.
Providing this information can also help turn curious observers into buyers. If uncertainty about which style or size would be best is preventing people from shopping with you, they’ll have access to all the information they need to make a purchasing decision. They won’t fear that they’ll make a mistake and wind up returning or not using what they’ve bought from you.
Explainer Videos and Tutorials
Giving your customers a total breakdown of your products or services will leave them with fewer questions. One of the best ways to do that is through the medium of video. The blend of moving pictures, audio, and text will give your customers a three dimensional understanding of your products and services that suits every learning style. If you aren’t already using video, hire a video creator and editor to work for your team.
It’s also worthwhile to offer up complementary products and services to influencers who will be able to create videos based on your products. People will see tutorials and reviews from their peers and the people they trust – making this the perfect blend of service and marketing. These videos will answer the “how does this work?” and “how do I use it?” and “how does it look?” questions that people may have.
Automate Your Service Tools
Almost every grocery store now has a self-checkout. This is because people would rather do things themselves. It makes them feel more in control of their time and their outcome. Sometimes, people simply don’t want to navigate the phone or email chain that comes with customer service or support. They’ll file something away as a negative experience, they won’t shop with you again, and they’ll move on to the competitor. Automated tools might persuade them to give you another chance if things didn’t turn out the way they planned.
Offer easy returns or exchanges. Allow them to print shipping labels and a form including their reason for returns directly from your website. They won’t need to try to contact you during business hours or wait for a response, because everything they need to serve themselves has already been provided for them. They’ll skip the process and head straight for the results.
Follow Up Immediately After a Purchase
Someone has just received what they bought from you. They might not have had an opportunity to use it yet. That’s okay – reach out to them first. This is a great strategy for obtaining customer reviews and feedback, and it also immediately opens the door for compliments and complaints alike. If you get their feedback immediately, you can start putting it to good use. Making improvements or expanding readily available information to cover things that your customers mention (including building a better FAQ) will keep you growing and improving without space to pause.
Proactive approaches and automation don’t reduce the quality of service – they drastically enhance it by making help immediately available, even if it’s preemptive. If you aren’t yet utilizing proactive approaches, it isn’t too late to start. You know what your customers want. All you need to do is give it to them all at once in great detail, and you can send the service staff on vacation for a few days.
Guest Author: Evie Cooper is an experienced Project Manager and Team Leader at UKAreaCode, an online data library. Working with numerous people everyday, both clients and co-workers, has given Evie a lot of experience in customer relations, team management, and leadership – experience which she often shares online with other experts. Feel free to reach out to Evie on @CooperEviee.
When you start your own business, it’s often challenging to get out of the minute details required to keep things moving and take a high-level view of the bigger picture. Focusing on building a brand, rather than just growing a business, often gets sacrificed as a result.
While there are many small pieces to building a good brand, you will discover that taking the time to do so creates a strong foundation for the rest of your efforts. When things go astray, you’ll always have a safe place to return to, so that you can recuperate and make your next move. Here are some of the main reasons building a good brand is important, and steps you can take to get started.
Your Brand Defines Your “Why”
Organizational Consultant and author Simon Sinek captured consumers’ buying mentality perfectly when he said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” A core component of building your brand is deciding what your business stands for and what you hope to accomplish beyond making money. It fuels the idea that business owners are pursuing their passion, and the brand should speak to that pursuit.
Take some time to sit down and consider why you got into this business, beyond the potential for monetary gain. How do you want to help people? What problem will your product or service solve for your customers? Defining your “why” will help you craft a mission statement that will act as a guiding light for your business.
Define Your Target Market
The one size fits all approach rarely works in marketing and branding. While the thought that casting a larger net will catch more fish makes sense in many aspects of one’s existence, it won’t work when trying to build your business.
A part of building your brand is defining your niche or target market. It includes thinking of who is most likely to purchase what you’re pedalling so you can gear your promotions and optimization efforts toward those people. Building your brand can help you narrow down your target market and vice versa.
Start by crafting an avatar of your ideal customer. Bring them to life by giving them a name, physical features, a job, a family. All of these should tie back into the general demographic categories of your target market, such as age, geographic location, gender, race, income level, etc. Creating an avatar helps make your potential clientele more tangible.
As you go through and see who your target is, you may make changes to your approach. Your penchant for casual, fun fonts and language may not appeal to your ideal customer who is a seriously driven C-suite executive. Alternatively, your use of bold, masculine branding might not appeal to a new mom looking to connect with like-minded individuals.
When someone thinks of branding, it’s the logo design, colours, and fonts that first come to mind. We know that Nike has the iconic swoosh logo and often uses black and white in their designs. Rarely do we think beyond those visual representations into their messaging– i.e., how they speak to us.
Coca-Cola has one of the world’s most recognizable logos, but what is their message to us? Lately, their brand strategy and messaging are crafted to associate the visual representation of the business with parties, fun, and carefree living.
What do you want your business to be associated with? What emotional response do you want to elicit when speaking to your potential customers. Do you want them to be filled with inspiration and motivation to become great? Do you want them to consider all the fun they’ll have with their friends after purchasing your goods?
These considerations will help you determine the type of language you use to communicate with your target market. Whether you take an elite, formal approach or a fun, approachable angle, your messaging is a significant component of your brand strategy.
Communication and Consistency
Once you’ve figured out who you are, why you’re doing this, and in what way you’ll speak to your audience, you need to figure out how to reach them. By what methods will you make a connection? This part of building your brand is closely entwined with your overall marketing strategy. Having a strong marketing strategy ensures that all the hard work you did to build a brand gets noticed by your customers.
Whether you choose to engage in social media marketing, email marketing, print advertisements, trade shows, or any combination of all of these methods, consistency is key for success.
Your imagery and messaging should remain the same whether you’re sending an automated email to drive traffic to your sales funnel, if you’re posting on Facebook, or when you need to customize for your trade show booth and greet customers face-to-face. Remaining consistent will build brand awareness and trust in your authenticity as a business.
Putting a lot of time and effort into building a good brand will yield a positive return on investment for your efforts. As your business evolves, your brand will evolve as well. Regardless of how it changes over the years, a good brand will always provide a strong roadmap to success.
Guest Author: Nikita Ross is a professional ghostwriter and business developer who lives and breathes marketing. With a strong educational background and eight years of practical marketing experience, Nikita knows that the key to marketing success is continuous learning and adaptation.
Marketing has arguably experienced the greatest noticeable shift in its entire history, and Snapchat and Instagram are highly to blame.
Today’s successful marketing is all about storytelling. It’s no longer about the products or solutions you’re selling, or all the bells and whistles your product provides that no other company can top. What makes memorable brands is the way they weave themselves into consumers’ lives and make themselves relatable and relevant.
Truth be told, marketing through storytelling is nothing new. But it’s where this storytelling is now taking place that’s having the biggest impact on brand success.
What is Branded Storytelling?
In simplest terms, branded storytelling is the presentation of ideas, experiences, and beliefs that people can relate to, but they’re delivered by brands in a non-salesysort of way.
Branded storytelling differs from traditional marketing and advertising in that the product being promoted is oftentimes the brand itself.
There is no in-your-face sales pressure. There’s no ‘You Need X, We Have Y’ delivery. It’s not about highlighting products and features and benefits.
Rather, branded storytelling is exactly what it sounds like: a story where a brand plays a role in its telling.
At its core, marketing through storytelling isn’t new. Take a look at any State Farm or Sonic television commercial from the past decade or longer and you’ll notice the story represents moments you’ve likely experienced yourself. The whole idea is to make you a part of their story. They want you to relate to what they’re saying, because if you do, then you should also be able to relate to their brand… and ultimately whatever they’re selling.
What is new, however, is the fact that branded storytelling has shifted from traditional commercials to the social media airwaves. And Snapchat and Instagram are two of the main reasons why.
How SnapChat and Instagram Build Connections, Not Customers
So why the sudden spike in social storytelling?
Branded storytelling found great success on television, even as far back as the 1950s when television began to enter every home in America. But with the rise of streaming media services like Hulu and Netflix, portable media devices, TiVo, and smartphones, mainstream television’s heyday is just about over. People aren’t watching television in the same way they did a decade ago, which means they’re also not watching commercials the same way. Advertisements aren’t getting the same attention they once did.
Naturally, brands gravitate where their audience is most likely to be. In today’s digital age, more than 80% of internet users are active on social media. For brands to be there too just makes good sense.
Their Stories feature introduced ephemeral content to social media. Where other platforms make a brand’s content accessible for its entire social media, Snapchat and Instagram mirror conversations and moments as they occur in real life – fleeting and spontaneous.
Of all the social media platforms, Snapchat and Instagram are the ones that most closely resemble real life. When you have a conversation with someone, 99% of the time it goes undocumented. There is no looking back on every word spoken, no longstanding history of your multiple conversations over the years. At best, your moments become memories.
Because of this closer representation of real life, and because of its ephemeral nature, Snapchat and Instagram are becoming the new storytellers that reach audiences on an unprecedented personal level.
As a result, their audience becomes more than just customers – they become connections.
Adding the Transformation Element to Marketing
Perhaps one of the most defining features of social storytelling is the added element of the transformation. Brands aren’t just presenting a problem and showing off a solution. Rather, they’re taking the story a step further by presenting the transformation of what their product can do.
Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is a classic example of this. Rather than promoting soap and lotion or using models as spokespeople, Dove instead focuses on the real, natural beauty of its customers. They didn’t use models, but rather a group of women of all ages and professions to highlight their brand. The campaign was meant to inspire and empower rather than sell or promote a product, and as a result, Dove was able to connect with their audience on a deeper, personal level.
Snapchat and Instagram Stories help to bring out this transformation element because they rely on almost-instant engagement. Users only have a short amount of time to view content before it’s gone forever. Because of the temporary nature, marketers are forced to get creative in their messages by making each one impactful and well-branded. This is the only way to create these memorable connections and take advantage of the best benefits of social storytelling.
Brand marketing is not what it was fifty years ago, or even a decade ago. Storytelling still remains one of the best ways to connect and relate to your customers, but the space where these connections occur has shifted.
For now, social storytelling on Instagram and Snapchat is it. But just as these social channels upended television’s effectiveness in brand marketing, never forget that something else could come along to overtake the social media spotlight. Only time will tell.
Guest Author: Alli Hill – As a long-time writer for NoStop Blog Writing Service, Alli’s dedication lies in solving business problems through content creation. With nearly a decade of marketing and SEO experience, Alli enjoys putting her expertise to work for clients. She thrives on all things fun, offbeat, and original, ensuring your audience will never have to read a boring piece of content on your website.
Being organized in your marketing efforts is one of the keys to success in every business – so if you are not managing your social media profiles using a social media management tool and still doing everything manually, you are missing a lot!
Tons of social media management tools exist nowadays to help you with your daily marketing tasks. From planning, to sourcing great images, to scheduling and analytics, certain tools excel among the rest. Below are the top 12 social media management tools you can check out to help you with your marketing campaigns, presented by Andrew Kunesh, a young writer passionate about technology.
We’ve placed Social Report is at the top of the list because it’s simply the most complete social media management platform available in the market today. On top of that—their prices are awesome. Whether you are an individual managing a handful of social media profiles or a large digital marketing agency managing hundreds clients, Social Report’s advanced suite of tools for social media scheduling (Instagram included), profile analytics, stat reporting and automations has your back. Definitely give their 30-day free trial a go if you’re looking for an awesome tool in 2018.
Tweetdeck is a social media dashboard application for management of Twitter accounts. If you manage multiple Twitter accounts, this app offers a more convenient Twitter experience as it lets you engage, monitor, and schedule tweets for multiple accounts from a single customizable dashboard.
Social Pilot is a cost-effective social media management platform for teams and agencies. It’s main focus is to automates content sharing across your social media profiles. From scheduling social media posts, to content curation and custom Facebook branding, this tool is useful for agencies who maintain a large number of social media profiles on a daily basis.
MavSocial is a content management and publishing tool for brands and advertising agencies with a focus on visuals. It allows users to store media files to their cloud-based library so you can plan, analyze and schedule to various social media channels. What’s great about this tool is that when planning content, users can obtain post approvals to managers by sending them approval requests via email and coordinate campaigns or posts via their built-in chat application.
For every brand, the first step in establishing a social media presence is to create a social media strategy. Moz helps you in this area and more by providing you data that answers a lot of your questions when we talk about success. What are your social media goals? Are you trying to achieve traffic back to your website? Who do you want to reach, is it your existing customers, influencers, or are you tap a whole new market? When you have all these information handy, it becomes a lot easier to plan and execute campaigns effectively.
Planning your entire social media calendar can be a pain especially if you want to consistently post fresh content to your social profiles. This is where Post Planner comes in. It includes an intuitive post-scheduling tool to guarantee that the most effective content is posted at the right times allowing social media marketers to post as efficiently as possible.
No matter how great your content is, if its not accompanied by a great image, then you can expect minimal engagement in your posts. Unsplash is a great resource for social media marketers looking for high-resolution images that are free for use in any campaign. The images are properly tagged so you can easily search for an image suitable for the post.
When you create and design your images with the intention of keeping your followers engaged, you can be sure that your overall brand experience increases as well. Canva makes graphic design so much easier by providing templates for every use. Whether you need a Facebook banner, an Instagram photo or a Twitter cover photo, Canva can easily turn non-designers like us into a pro in seconds!
Sniply allows you to add a call-to-action to any page on your website, allowing maximum engagement from your followers in every link that you share.
Running a contest and want your followers to join? Want to increase your email marketing list? All you need to do is attach a button to the page that links to your own website, so that people can discover you while they read.
Socedo is a tool especially made for B2B marketers. It identifies qualified and real-time leads by using social intent data through Twitter. It starts by identifying prospects through conversational search criteria based on real-time interests. Automated messaging then leads to a landing page or starts a conversation. Using Socedo’s social lead monitoring feature, it helps social media marketers track lead behavior on social media and find prospects based solely on keywords.
The goal of AddThis is simple: to make your content shareable with just one click. This social share plugin provides share buttons, targeting tools and content recommendations so your posts get more likes and shares which in return increases engagement with your audience.
Social Toaster is a fan engagement platform that allows you to empower your biggest fans to act as word-of-mouth ambassadors for your brand. With this tool, your supporters can be easily reached through email and social media. You can run various campaigns, contests and games through the app and the more your supporters participate, the more chances of winning! SocialToaster is compatible with major social media channels and uses an easy signup system via social media.
Managing several social networks at the same time can be overwhelming if you try to do everything manually. Social media management tools are here to speed up your workflow and get better performance analysis. Whatever your business goal is for running various social profiles, there’s a social media management tool for you, ready to help you save a lot of time!
Guest Author: Andrew Kunesh – Technology, coffee, and cycling enthusiast. Chicagoan. Entrepreneur. Writer.
Run an e-commerce website, but find it a challenge to reach a wider audience? It’s often the case that an amazing site, with fantastic services and products, will struggle to break through the glass ceiling and make it big in the online sphere.
If you’re looking to improve your brand identity, there are a series of steps you can take to raise awareness. Some of the most effective can be found in this detailed guide. If you’re looking to make the most of your target audience, be sure to follow the advice we give here.
Social media isn’t just for kids anymore. Businesses from every sector have been able to make the most of this platform across the past few years, with companies reach out to a wider audience thanks to the nature of these channels.
One-in-seven rule – Only promoting your business itself with every seventh post, while the other six offer valuable content.
Asking questions – These promote engagement from users, which in turn boost the number of people talking about your brand.
Add value – Make sure the content you’re posting is actually valuable to your users. If there’s no trust built up in this sense, they’re unlikely to come back to you in the future.
Add a Pinterest board – These give your brand a sense of personality and are eye-catching. They socially amplify your campaign for the best results.
On a similar note to some of the points mentioned above, content marketing will serve to provide real value for users. This is ultimately what they’re craving online – a series of resources which provide the overall result of informing them of something they didn’t know.
This is best done by implementing a detailed content marketing strategy. Using well-written and valuable blogs posts, you’ll be able to draw in large numbers of people, who’re able to make a real connection with your site. Platforms such as Shopify have great implemented features that’ll make content marketing a whole lot easier.
Get your website reviewed
Is there a chance your core hub of operations could be changed in any way? Sometimes it’s not obvious where alterations could be made – and that’s where auditing tools come in handy.
These kinds of programs are able to analyse everything on your site in finite detail, providing you with a clear plan of action heading forwards. Learn from what they tell you, and implement the changes to heighten the chances of being picked up on by users.
SEO may not be a term everyone is familiar with, but it plays a massive role in deciding how much exposure things get online. Meaning “Search Engine Optimisation”, this tactic sees people targeting certain key terms people are searching for, and laying out a page in such a way as to appeal to the algorithms used by the likes of Google and Bing.
There are many eCommerce platforms but, in this blog post, I will focus on what I’ve tried or heard good feedback from other people I know – WooCommerce, EKM & Shopify.
Before I will go into the details about features and prices, I want to make a clear distinction between the type of software you can use to develop an online shop.
SaaS vs. Open Source
Software as a service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. The vendor hosts your online shop on their own servers and you pay monthly to use their software. The advantage is that you don’t need to worry about any updates because they do everything for you. Also, the majority of them come with all the features you need to create a good looking functional website. EKM and Shopify go into this category. They offer an out-of-the-box solution to create an online shop easily. Everything you need is already built in – customizable themes, shopping cart functionalities, product management, as well as marketing capabilities. eCommerce SaaS providers also ensure that you meet PCI compliance standards.
Open source eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and Prestashop need to installed on your server and most of the time use additional extensions to make the platform work the way you want. The term open-source refers to software whose original source code is made freely available and can be modified or enhanced by anyone. Since you have access to the source code, programmers can mould the platform to fit their business needs. You will need an IT specialist to help you with this. The main advantage is that you own the software and you don’t need to pay a licence, but it’s your responsibility to maintain and correct any bugs.
If you have a WordPress website or a blog and want to add an online shop, the WooCommerce plugin will do the job perfectly (like my website), but if you need an online shop on its own I would personally suggest using a Saas platform and highly recommend EKM.
WooCommerce for WordPress
WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce plugin for WordPress, designed for small to large-sized online merchants. While the plugin is free and easy to instal to your WordPress website, there are many extensions you may need to customise your online shop according to your needs. Please be aware that many extensions like WooCommerce Product Tabs or Bundle Rate are chargeable so you may need some extra payment when you set up your shop.
WooCommerce comes bundled with PayPal (for accepting credit card and PayPal account payments), BACS, and cash on delivery for accepting payments. If you need a specific payment gateway, you can integrate with other payment providers.
WooCommerce is designed to work seamlessly with themes you know and love
Unrestricted customization: Edit any part of your site – from the homepage layout to the buy button – to stand out from the crowd.
Built-in blogging: Publish great content and build a strong brand. Use WooCommerce to integrate eCommerce with WordPress, the world’s most popular content publishing platform.
Embed products, checkout and more on any page: Use shortcodes to add your products to blog posts, or create landing pages that go straight to checkout
Categories, tags and attributes make products easier to find
Product ratings and reviews – Show customer feedback directly on the product page
Customize for your location – Set the currency, language and measurement units that are right for you.
Product sorting and filtering – Let customers sort products by popularity, newness, rating, price or attribute to find the right fit.
Unlimited images and galleries: Include any number of photos to show off your products. Set a featured image to highlight the best photo site-wide.
Unlimited products: Add as many products as you want to sell – your only restriction is your inventory.
I used EKM and totally recommend this eCommerce platform. I think is the quickest and easiest way to start your own online shop and you don’t need to be an expert to do it. Over 50,000 shops have trusted EKM.
From adding your first product to managing your orders, the EKM support team will help you with all the demands of running an online business. On top of this, for the first 6 months, you will have your own dedicated Account Manager who will be on hand to get you selling in record time.
All the features you need to sell online, including a domain name, secure servers and the ability to take payments, are included in any package.
Build like a pro – Find everything you need to build your shop in one place, with tools and features that make building a professional shop simple. Upload products, monitor stock and more – all in one place.
EKM’s unique ‘Evolution Mode’ ensures your website never goes out of date, ever. Your shop will always be in optimum selling condition. The EKM Evolution Experts will also regularly check your website and offer advice, design changes and fix any mistakes, without you lifting a finger.
Beautiful designs, built to sell – There are over 150 customisable themes to choose from. Fully mobile-optimised and colour customisable.
Unlimited products – Upload as many products and categories as you want. There are no limits, so you don’t have to worry about incurring extra costs if you expand your product range.
Customer login – Give your loyal customers a place to login and buy from you.
Boost your sales with EKMPowershop eBay Integration.
Courier integration for easy pricing and delivery.
Powerful Marketing – Handle everything from SEO, to increasing sales with all of the marketing tools and features you need. With EKM you can tell the search engines what you sell and watch your rankings climb. Submit your products to Google Shopping, create a blog for your shop, set up a loyalty points system or boost your sales with discount codes and showing related products – the possibilities are endless. You can also link all the major social networks to your shop.
Convert more visitors – Turn more visitors into customers by creating the ultimate shopping experience. Live chat with visitors, automate ‘back in stock’ notifications and other features are included to increase your conversion rate. My favourite – The platform will remind your customers of what they have viewed in your shop to make increasing sales simple.
Powerful product search, very accurate. You can also collect search stats to see what your customers have been searching for.
Take payments easily – Take credit and debit card payments instantly with payments powered by Klarna. There’s no extra setup required and you’ll also benefit from PCI compliance and an SSL certificate. EKM also works closely with more than 20 different payment systems, including PayPal, SagePay and WorldPay. There are no transaction fees from EKM.
Free migration – Coming from another provider? The EKM experts will help migrate your shop and get you back selling in no time, free of charge.
Buy from an Official EKM Agency Partner
Because I like and trust EKM, I decided to become an Official EKM Partner. This enables me to offer you this fantastic deal:
All the features mentioned above (and more)
Free domain name (or you can transfer an existing one for no additional cost)
Free UK based support via email, phone and live chat
Do you think your customers are on Facebook? With Shopify Lite you can sell on Facebook and chat with your customers on Messenger, add products to any website or blog, and accept credit card payments for only $9 per month.
Other eCommerce platforms
Big Cartel – Great for makers with a small number of products to sell online. I haven’t used them but it looks ok for a small shop.
Magento – Open-source eCommerce platform, that can be installed on your own domain hosted. Not my favourite. I tried Magento 2 (via a solution partner) but I didn’t find it user-friendly and it was extremely slow. Other people may have had other experiences though.
PrestaShop – Open-source eCommerce solution, used by many businesses worldwide. It seems to be easy to use and it’s free. It can be installed on your own domain. Their recommended hosting company is 1&1, but Siteground also supports PrestaShop.
Big Commerce – creative people from around the world have used this platform to build their online store, manage and sell their work, delight their fans and customers, and run their business their own way.
OpenCart – A free shopping cart system. OpenCart is an open source PHP-based online e-commerce solution that can be installed on your domain (like WordPress and PrestaShop)
I trust that this blog post gave you an overview of the main solutions to develop an online shop. If you need a WordPress website or an online shop please get in touch. [xyz-ihs snippet=”my-email”]