What are the biggest mistakes you can make on your website? Is it that you don’t have a list capture mechanism? Is it that you don’t have that magical sidebar widget? Or that social sharing feature? Or the viral lock plug-in? Or that shopping cart ...

 

3 Website Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make (Hint: Not Your Usual Suspects) and more



3 Website Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make (Hint: Not Your Usual Suspects)

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Website Mistakes

What are the biggest mistakes you can make on your website?

Is it that you don’t have a list capture mechanism?
Is it that you don’t have that magical sidebar widget?

Or that social sharing feature? Or the viral lock plug-in? Or that shopping cart or membership site function?

What about that carousel widget?

Only if it could be that simple. Only if we could solve all our website woes with a little plug-in.

The biggest mistakes most folks make are more fundamental than the bells and whistles, or templates and checklists.

If you don’t pay attention to them, you’re building your website on quicksand with no solid foundation.

1. Everything + the Kitchen Sink = No Cohesive Message

You’re multi-talented and multi-passionate, that’s fine. But it’s not an excuse for putting out a smorgasbord of information and hoping your visitors will figure it out themselves.

There should be one narrative, one golden thread, or one theme that ties everything together throughout your website.

And it needs to reflect your values, convictions, points-of-view and personality.

On the surface, it’s often challenging for those who have many skills and tools to avoid sounding like a Jack-of-all-Trades.

However, if you dig deeper, you’ll very likely discover that there’s ONE driver that ties together everything that you do.

This ONE cohesive message needs to transcend your discrete skills, tools, experiences, passions and talent, and speak about YOU from the belief and identity level.

This ONE cohesive message needs to reflect your values and convictions, so strongly that your visitors can feel the energy and authenticity on the page. 

2. Regurgitating Canned Copy with No Personality

Admit it, we all have a dozen templates and checklists collecting dust on our hard drive.

Hate to break this to you, but sounding like everyone else will get you lost in a sea of sameness.

Boring doesn’t sell, and clone-drone communications with no personality or point-of-view will not create a connection and resonance so conversion becomes the natural next step.

Connection-and-Resonance-are-the-New-Currency-of-Conversion

When your readers resonate with your values, convictions and points-of-view, an emotional connection is established.

This emotional connection makes people buy from YOU.

Your POV and personality have to come through in all copy, graphic and user experience design.

A cohesive brand image is not only about pretty pictures or copy that “pops and sizzles.” It also encompasses how your visitors flow through your website and how they experience your content.

To make sure your website creates a deep resonance with your ideal clients, it’s imperative that you not only have a deep understanding of them but also map their needs to YOUR passions, experience, superpowers and offerings to communicate your relevance to them.

3.  All Bells & Whistles with No Clear Goal

Getting the website to do back-flips while rubbing its tummy is not going to grow your business.

Every element on your website needs to work with each other to achieve your business goals.

The content strategy of your website has to fit in with your larger online presence, so your audience experiences a cohesive message when they interact with you from one platform to another.

That means getting clear on what you want your website to do FOR your business (and what you want your business to do FOR you.)

It doesn’t have to be doing everything to achieve your goals – in fact, that may be too much to ask for.

It may be better to use your website to focus on just one part of your marketing plan, and do it well, so it plays an integral part in your overall strategy.

Do you want your site to focus on list-building/lead-generation? Or to convert sales? Or to highlight your authority status so you can be sought after as a speaker?

With a clear intention in mind, you can be selective about the kind of functionalities to include to yield the desired results, instead of throwing spaghetti on the wall and wasting precious time, money and energy.

Of course, it all ties back to having a holistic plan that reflects where you want to take your business – so you can cut the busywork and do what matters.

In this era of Plug-In Overload, we need to exercise DISCERNMENT and DISCIPLINE if we want a website that is more than a pretty picture.

discernment

Over to You

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#BGB #Infographic: Using Social Media to Grow and Promote Your Brand

As an entrepreneur or a solo-preneur, you’re faced with an uphill battle. You need to find a way to stand out from the rest of the people in your industry with something unique and exciting. You have this idea, a brand and a story that you want to tell the world, but how do you bring it to them?

The answer is social media.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, these platforms and more are teeming with people who will be interested in what you have to offer.

Today I’m going to show you why social media is so important for growing your brand, and then I’ll give you an infographic that helps you strategize and maximize your social media efforts.

3 Ways to Grow Your Brand on Social Media

You’ve practiced hard and you’ve learned how to write effective website content, but now you need a way to spread it.

It’s time to jump on the social media bandwagon and bring your brand to the masses.  Here’s three ways to do it:

1. Provide Valuable Content

I’ve been writing for over a decade now, and I’m still learning what it means to provide valuable content.

Everything you post on your social media pages should be relevant, timely, and valuable to your readers. This could be solving a problem for them, highlighting an issue, or anything else that benefits them.

Remember, all of this is going to represent your brand, so make sure it lines up with your brand’s image and story.

2. Engage With Your Readers

Chatting with your readers on social media is an awesome way to spread awareness about your brand.

It also builds trust with your potential customers and offers you the ability to provide timely customer service at a moment’s notice.

These relationships you build will spread via word of mouth as your new followers share your brand with their friends and family.

3. Leverage Each Platform’s Strengths

It’s important to understand how each platforms relates to your brand. Facebook, for example, is great for promoting almost any brand because of the wide variety and sheer number of people that use it.

Comparatively, Pinterest is great for reaching a female audience.

Instagram is the home for unique images related to your brand. Use these characteristics to your advantage to grow your brand.

Harnessing The Power of Social Media (Infographic)

Now it’s time to put unlock the potential of social media. Check out the infographic below for everything you need to promote and grow your brand on today’s biggest platforms.

Let us know how it helps you in the comments below!

 Social-Media-Image-Sizing-Cheat-Sheet (4)

This infographic courtesy of OnBlastBlog.com.

           
 

#BGB Tutorials: Influencer Marketing No-No’s

Influencer Marketing Mistakes

Zak Mustapha is the Man!

He reached out to over two hundred bloggers, entrepreneurs, influencers and experts within their industries, and asked them one simple question:

What’s the biggest mistake they’ve ever made (or seen others make) when it comes to ‘Influencer Marketing’?

217 of them responded with insights, wisdom, and nuggets of gold when it comes to smart marketing, and how best to approach, communicate to, and partner with, influencers within an industry. Here’s a big hint… influencers are just people too. Busy people, just like you and me. But people, nonetheless.

Don’t just take my word for it though. Check it out on Zak’s blog here:

Influencer Marketing Mistakes Guide

Or if you prefer to have your reading broken down a little more, you can check it out over on Huffington Post in a 3 part series here:

Worst Influencer Marketing Mistakes Part 1

Worst Influencer Marketing Mistakes Part 2

Worst Influencer Marketing Mistakes Part 3

Sit down, grab some coffee, and enjoy, this ain’t your average round-up piece!

Over to You

Made any stellar mistakes when approaching an influencer lately? Drop your comments below.

Image Credit

           
 

4 Content Marketing Strategies that Don’t Involve Using Your Words (Writing Words That Is)

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Content Marketing without Writing

Nearly all B2B marketers rely on content marketing as an effective technique to promote their brands. However, 60% of them are still facing serious challenges to produce engaging content on a consistent basis. The question is: are they misunderstanding the term content?

Content marketing involves much more than writing and promoting blog posts. Written content is great, especially when it’s well-composed. However, it’s not (always) the most effective tool to drive engagement.

Internet users can be quite lazy.

They may not grab a dictionary to get through a complex blog post, so simplicity wins. They may not waste a minute of their time if they see your post is too long, so brief and informative is key. Even if you write the perfect post, it still might not deliver the results you expect.

You don’t need to rely on complex strategies to help you develop better content though. It could be that the only thing you need is a shift in the form of content you’re delivering.

So instead of focusing on writing articles enriched with relevant images, move a little outside the box and try something different. Here are some of the best content marketing strategies that don’t involve writing:

1. Publish Online Videos

Remember when the “Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal” videos went viral? The creator of these videos, Ryan McHenry, used Vine to create this silly, but effective pop-culture gem. This is an example that all content marketers can learn from: humor in video format gets tons of attention from influencers and attracts a large audience.

2. img

According to Twitter’s stats, photos and videos get the most retweets among all types of content. Thus, it would be wiser for content marketers to focus more on visual candy than on textual blog posts.

The best thing about videos is their versatility. You can turn a filmed video into a podcast as well as a piece of text by having it transcribed. Thus, you’ll meet all the preferences of your audience.

Some will like the video, others will opt for the podcast, and the rest will prefer the old-fashioned blog post. You’ll offer a single post in all these different forms, and that’s what smart content marketing is all about.

Kissmetrics is a great example of a website that implements this strategy. The YouTube channel is very active, but the same content is also available at the website.

If there is any way for you to bring the topic to your audience in video format, you should definitely do so. You’ll need good equipment if you want to produce high-quality videos, or you can also rent a studio for that purpose. These are some of the editors you can try:

BGB’s Note: You can also glean some tips on video production here and here.

2. Promote Podcasts

You would think that the age of Internet killed the radio, but podcasts prove you wrong. People still want to listen to audio materials. According to a report from Edison Research and Triton Digital, the number of Americans who listen to podcasts during one month grew from 39 million in 2014 to 46 million in 2015.

Sports, politics and news are the most popular categories for podcasting, but the listeners don’t mind some comedy along the way. If you can fit your content into any of these categories, then you should certainly try podcasting instead of writing.

3. img

There are two formats you can consider for a podcast: it can be an interview with an influential person from your niche, or you can be the only one who speaks. You’ll need an outline for any of these alternatives, so make sure to plan your approach very carefully before you start recording.

Here are some tools you can use to record podcasts:

  • Hangouts on Air for live streaming;
  • Audacity for free audio recording and editing;
  • Skype for recording interviews, which you’ll then turn into podcasts with an audio editor.

BGB’s Note: You can also glean some tips on podcasting production on a budget here and here.

3. Create Infographics

We keep talking about visual content because it works. Infographics attract the attention of the readers through great design that presents easy-to-digest information. This type of content works for all industries, so the least you can do is to implement it in your marketing strategy.

Graphics attract the attention of a viewer with a...

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Iconic Brand Mascots That Fuel Business

Iconic Brand Mascots

A professional sports team could survive without its mascot. After all, Mr. Met doesn’t win a World Series. But could you say the same about a well-known brand?

Brands like Coca Cola and Old Spice stay in business because of their products, sure, but often it’s precisely their brand mascots that tend to keep their names in the limelight and keep people talking about their ads, commercials and products.

It’s often their brand mascots that feed the chatter about them across social media.

Stop for a second and think about your favorite brand. Chances are, it has a mascot. The following are some of the best of the best in marketing:

Mayhem (Allstate)

“Make sure you have insurance from Allstate, to avoid mayhem like me.”

The personification of disaster caught on quickly with the character Mayhem, played by Dean Winters.

He was falling on cars, starting fires and knocking over trees to show that anything and everything can happen to your car, so… umm… you might better protect it.

Better to be safe than sorry, right?

Polar Bears (Coca Cola)

The Coca Cola polar bears are a (mostly) Christmas classic.

They never utter a word in their commercials, but the cuddly bears still have an iconic association with the world’s most popular soda.

The characters first appeared in a 1922 advertisement, and Coca Cola continues to use them every year, with massive success.

Captain Morgan (Captain Morgan)

It’s clear the beloved rum company didn’t have to think too hard to come up with its frontman. I mean, whatever else would you associate with a name like Captain Morgan?

Nevertheless it does bear one of the most iconic poses of any brand mascot out there.

Captain Morgan capitalizes on this in its commercials with guys at the bar striking a familiar pose whenever a ‘manly’ feat is accomplished. Such as… downing five shots in a row perhaps?

Gecko (Geico)

Geico has tried its luck with a few different mascots.

Some have worked better than others, but most of them have been left behind in annals of history. But the star of the show will always be the Geico Gecko.

Between Dikembe and the Hump Day Camels, the tiny British Gecko popped up to represent the “15 minutes or less” car insurance company with style, finesse, and a strong association with the brand.

He’s managed to leave quite the impression, with no signs of retirement.

Flo (Progressive)

Are we seeing a pattern with insurance companies yet? They all seem to have a mascot these days (even State Farm has Jake … from State Farm), and Flo is the girl for Progressive.

Her bubbly personality and charming humor do well for the insurance company. The commercials are genuinely funny, and she has been used consistently in commercials for several years now.

The Kool-Aid Man (Kool-Aid)

Oh yeah! Now this one is an absolute classic.

This breaker of walls has represented the drink company for decades and is constantly being parodied on popular shows like “Family Guy” and in stand up sets from comedians such as Dane Cook.

It is funny how the children in those commercials are completely fine with their homes getting bashed in though. Guess that’s just the joy of being a kid. hehe

The Pillsbury Doughboy (Pillsbury)

Another classic mascot with a somewhat creepy belly-poke laugh comes from the Pillsbury Doughboy.

The younger generation might confuse this one with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters,” but that would be incorrect.

The Doughboy was once the first thing America thought of when fresh biscuits came to mind (along with the yummy yeast-y smell) — and Pillsbury still uses him on its packaging today.

Terry Crews (Old Spice)

Sometimes brand mascots help to change the image of companies. Terry Crews from the latest Old Spice commercials is one of the loudest and most well known examples of this.

Old Spice used to be a more, well, boring company that you probably associated with your dad’s cologne. Or in my case, with your granddaddy’s cologne, but due to its rebranding in the 2000s with characters like Terry Crews, it completely revived the company.

Guess there’s something to be said for a bit of sprucing up the old image.

Over to You

Any iconic brand mascots that come to your mind not mentioned here? I could probably think of a few more. Ronald McDonald… Wendy… that white and...

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