times square brand elements at night

Everything You Need to Know About Brand Elements

Brand element design and maintenance are essential pieces of brand management. According to Strategic Brand Management by Kevin Lane Keller, brand elements, also known as brand identities, are devices that allow a brand to be identifiable and differentiable. These devices are things like logos, brand names, slogans, jingles, packaging, and so on. Think of some famous brands: Apple, Disney, Tesla, State Farm. What do all of these brands have in common? A strong brand image. Their elements are easy to identify and differentiate within their industry.

Selecting Brand Elements

When choosing brand elements, you want to make sure they are memorable, meaningful, and likable in order to build brand equity. You also want to ensure that they are transferable, adaptable, and protectable in order to maintain the brand equity you have built. But what do all of these terms mean when it comes to creating and maintaining brand elements?

The 6 criteria for brand elements explained:

  1. Memorability

Brand elements need to seize consumers’ attention in order to become memorable. This will allow consumers to recognize the brand amongst competitors and recall it when they are in need of what the brand provides.

  1. Meaningfulness

In order to be meaningful, the brand elements must provide both general and specific information about the brand. What is the product category it resides in? What are the unique benefits and qualities of the brand? If the brand elements do not do a good job of shaping and explaining what the brand provides and stands for, consumers will not feel that the brand is meaningful to them.

  1. Likability

If the brand elements are appreciated by consumers, then they will be much more inclined to buy. Think of the M&M characters. Not only were they memorable and meaningful to the brand, but they were also loved by consumers, young and old. The M&M brand uses characters as a brand element to build likability and they have succeeded time and time again.

  1. Transferability

Brand elements must be easy to transfer across line or category extensions. For instance, if Apple had the name “Apple Computers”, it may have been a bit more difficult for the company to market new products like headphones or digital media players. However, the name, Apple, allows for transferability. The brand name is also easy to transfer across geographic regions and market segments.

  1. Adaptability

Think of the Pepsi logo now versus in the 1980s. It still has retained a similarity, but the current one is much more modern. Adaptable brand elements are easier to modernize in order to suit the changing landscape of what consumers see as valuable. An example of this can be found with the Washington Redskins. Many consumers now view the name and logo for the team to be outdated and unsettling, making those brand elements inflexible and in need of change.

  1. Protectability

Lastly, brand elements must be protected. Ensuring international legal protection will lead to less fakes and frauds. Protecting brand elements can keep the consumers’ perception of the brand from suffering. It’s difficult to argue that fake Gucci hand bags help the exclusivity of the Gucci brand.

Brand Names

There are a few general guidelines to follow when naming a brand. First, simplicity is key. No one appreciates an argument over how to pronounce something. Queue the hund-day versus hun-die argument. (The car brand, Hundai, is in fact pronounced hun-day, in case you were wondering). Think about names like Burger King, Target, Pampers. These names are fairly easy to pronounce.

It also helps when brand names are descriptive, such as Bath & Body Works and Toys R Us. This makes it easy for consumers to understand what the brand is about. Similar to descriptive, we have suggestive. These are names like Nutri-Grain, Lean Cuisine, Quick Trip, and so on. Even if the brand is unfamiliar, descriptive and suggestive names help the consumer decipher the benefits with ease. However, these names can be limiting. For instance, Southwest Airlines may not come to mind for someone in Chicago, even though the airline flies in and out of Midway Airport all of the time.

Slogans

Slogans, or catch phrases, are great for providing a memorable message for consumers about the brand. Think of some of the classics: There’s Nike’s “Just do it!”, Walgreens’ “On the corner of happy and healthy!”, and the unforgettable “Where’s the beef?” from Wendy’s. Slogans quickly communicate information in a sticky way that helps consumers with recall and recognition.

Just like all brand elements, slogans should follow the 6 criteria. Coors, for instance, utilized the slogan, “Turn it loose”, which translated to something along the lines of “suffers from diarrhea” for those in Spain. Ensure that slogans are easily transferable across languages and cultures by doing your research before “turning it loose” out to the market. Hubspot has a great blog post on slogan guidelines followed by a fun list of the most famous ones.

Packaging and Design

As humans, we are inherently shallow when it comes to physical appearances. Oftentimes, we do judge a book by its cover. Packaging is no exception. According to Forbes, branded packaging must do these 5 things in order to be successful:

  1. Stand out

And they don’t mean be the loudest. Instead, be the cleverest. Visually draw the consumer in.

  1. Be simple

According to Forbes, “We so rarely experience moments of visual or auditory calm that we gravitate toward [simple design]”.

  1. Pass the five-year old test

Passing the test means that you can describe the brand packaging to a five-year-old and they’ll actually be able to find it in the store. It helps when the brand’s packaging has something distinct about it. We don’t like having to decide amongst a lot of options, so a distinctive brand mark can make our lives a whole lot easier.

  1. Trigger emotional engagement

Be empathetic toward consumers and convey that empathy in packaging. Your customers will thank you.

  1. Create iconic assets

Assets refer to typography, color, style, orientation, and so on. Think of it this way: If someone held up only the “D” in the Disney logo, there’s a good chance you would know it was Disney right away.

Brand Elements for Small Businesses

With so much to consider, it’s no wonder why brands have long, tedious processes in place when it comes to brand element design and maintenance. This article discusses a lot of larger brands, however businesses of all sizes need to become experts in this area too. A great marketing agency, such as Infinite Reach, can help small or local businesses achieve this expert status by creating a seamless brand image across all marketing channels. Internet marketing is especially key- and there are a few things you can start doing right away to integrate your brand elements online.

Social Media Marketing

Best Practices of Social Media Marketing

Back in the good old days of the Mad Men era, advertising lived and died by television, radio, newspaper, and billboards. You simply had your creative directors, account managers, artists, and so on. Not even the great Don Draper or Peggy Olsen could have predicted that one day, newspapers and magazines would be struggling to make ends meet with printed editions. The words digital strategist, graphic design, and social media marketing were unheard of. Now, advertising lives online. Why? Because we live online. In fact, people check their social media accounts about 17 times per day. This number might seem ridiculous at first, but it actually makes total sense.

Let’s Talk Numbers

Take a moment and think about all of your different social media accounts. Immediately, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter pop into your head. Oh yeah, and now that you think of it, you also love to go on Pinterest and YouTube from time to time. According to a Global Web Index Social Report, the average social media accounts per user sits at 5.54. As far as daily active engagement, people are on an average of 2.82 platforms. Of course, in the older age range, these numbers decrease slightly, while younger age ranges increase slightly.

With these numbers in mind, it’s important to realize that when brands play in this space, they need to be cohesive with the environment. Even it’s called “social media marketing”, users don’t want to feel like they are being marketed to. Lately, engagement on social media, making it imperative that your brand’s content stands out. Follow these best practices when it comes to different platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to help your brand gain popularity with users.

 

2016 social media marketing statistics

Instagram

Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags. Make sure hashtags are relevant and specific to the brand. For instance, if you’re writing a post for a wedding cake from Charlotte Bakery, don’t just put #cake. This makes it very difficult to track the brand’s performance. Instead, try #CharlotteWeddingCakes. This unique hashtag makes it easy to measure how the campaign is doing.

Capitalization within hashtags with multiple words is also key. By capitalizing each word, users can read and understand the hashtag with ease. Isn’t #ReadingWithCapitals easier than #readingalllowercase?

Quality photos and videos are winners. Make sure the brand’s images are taken with high quality cameras. Instagram is all about filters, so make sure the brand’s posts utilize the different styles- just like other users! It’s also important to properly size images according to the specific platform. This infographic from Social Times highlights the appropriate image sizes for Instagram and other prominent social media platforms.

Interact with users when called to do so! Creating enticing content is important, but retaining brand followers cannot be left out.Social media marketing doesn’t end when you hit “post”. Make sure you’re reading comments and checking out what the brand has been tagged in. Respond to comments from users with the brand’s voice in a timely fashion. Thank users for their feedback (whether positive or negative). To initiate interactions, ask followers to answer open ended questions and respond to what they have to say. Keeping a high level of engagement with Instagram users and followers of the brand fosters a meaningful relationship that would not otherwise exist.

Facebook

Business pages are a fantastic resource for consumers on Facebook. Branded profiles bear a striking resemblance to individual Facebook profiles, which allows brands to be seen as more humanistic. A business page should always have complete and updated information about the company. If the page is for a brick and mortar restaurant, it is imperative that the page prominently feature information such as the location, hours of operation, contact phone number, a link to the website, etc. It is extremely frustrating for users when this information is missing or inaccurate. For a brand such as Oreo, the page needs to update users with exciting information that pertains to them. While those that follow Oreo may not care about where an Oreo plant is located, they do care about interesting new flavors of Oreo cookies. Make sure the content within the business page caters to the users needs and reflects the brand’s image.

Time posts well to ensure the most interaction. Users tend to check Facebook frequently throughout the day, so be sure to post when the brand’s target audience is most active. Do research and test posting at different times to see what times are most effective. You may think posting after business hours on week days is the way to go, however you could find that you’re missing out on weekend activity. Don’t want to worry about branded social media posts on the weekend? Tools like Hootsuite can help you schedule out posts ahead of time so you don’t have to do so manually.

Take advantage of Facebook live video for a new, exciting way to engage with users. Live video is already immensely popular within the Facebook community. If something is happening to the brand that fans would be interested in, start streaming! It won’t be long before streaming becomes a key player within social media marketing. If you’re looking for tips and tricks on how to get involved with Facebook live video, there are many resources already available.

Twitter

Be concise in order to get the brand’s message across clearly. You may be thinking, “I’m only allowed 140 characters, doesn’t that make my message concise?”. Not necessarily. It’s surprising how often brands try to cram multiple messages into 140 characters. That’s why it’s a good rule of thumb to stick to one clear idea per post. This allows followers to quickly consume and understand the brand’s message.

Keep track of trending hashtags and utilize them when they are relevant to the brand. Checking out the trending hashtags is a great way to stay on top of what users are excited about on Twitter. Thankfully, Twitter has a whole section devoted to trends, making it easy to see what’s hot in real time. If there is a trend that is highly relevant to the brand, jump in! However, if the brand appears like it’s reaching to be a part of something, users may react negatively.

Use images and videos frequently to entice engagement from followers. Twitter posts with an image or video are about 3 times more likely to receive engagement. Retweeting images and videos about the brand from fans is also highly encouraged. This builds stronger relationships with fans while creating brand awareness among other Twitter users.

Keep Yourself Educated on Social Media Marketing

When it comes to social media marketing, there are always new updates, tools, and processes popping up. That’s why it is so important to stay up to speed when it comes to marketing through social media. Get more wins by being proactive rather than reactive with social media marketing. Your followers will take notice.

 

 

Man with virtual reality headset

Virtual Reality and What It Means to Marketing

Yes, it’s 2016 and you are reading an article on virtual reality. Let’s just take a moment to realize how cool that is! If you haven’t yet been taken into the world of VR, pull out your smart phone (if you’re not on it already) and check out this awesome video. This video is shot using a 360-degree camera, so when you swivel your phone, the scenery changes as if you are actually inside of the video. Virtual reality takes 360-degree videos further by adding the concept of depth.

What is Virtual Reality?

Vrs.org states, “Virtual reality is a term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions”.

VR plays off of your sense of sight, yes, but also your sense of balance, depth, height, etc. So how is this different from watching a 3-D movie? We can see the movie theater around us while watching the film. We know where the alternate reality ends and where our true reality begins. But a VR headset, such as the Oculus Rift, immerses the user in the alternate reality. It blocks out everything else from sight, tricking the senses. In short, it makes the user experience something as if they’re really there. This is because it covers the user’s view completely. Less immersive versions of VR are also making a statement. Pokemon Go is taking the gaming industry by storm with its AR (augmented reality) technology. This makes the pokemon characters appear to be in front of the gamer’s view by tapping into the back-facing camera.

When thinking about the potential for virtual reality, entertainment instantly comes to mind. Things like gaming, movies, and the video you watched just now are what make consumers excited about VR! But what opportunities do marketers see in VR?

Brands Go Where the Consumers Are

Virtual reality is just barely edging into the consumer market, yet the tide of affordable headsets is inevitable. Google Cardboard costs about $15, making it possible for users to join the fun at a low cost Google claims that global search interest for virtual reality has grown almost 4X in the last year. Already, cell phone companies are enticing buyers with contracts that come packaged with VR headsets. It is predicted that a year or two down the road, consumers will see them as another must-have piece of technology. It’s clear that consumers have a strong thirst for what VR has to offer. This makes it imperative that marketers keep up with them.

Marketing Opportunities

Interaction

Marketing through virtual reality has the potential to give consumers a new way to see ads. Already, marketers are looking ahead and planning campaigns entirely based around VR. The advertising space is overcrowded, especially in the digital landscape, and consumers are tuning out. Virtual reality is soon to be the marketer’s saving grace. Virtual reality advertising is a way for brands to stand out and interact with consumers in a new and exciting way.

For instance, the fashion apparel retailer, Top Shop, gave shoppers at the store virtual reality headsets to watch Top Shop’s fashion show. It caused a major buzz among the fashion community, creating lines of people desiring to see the show live. Top Shop extended the buzz by creating an on-demand version of the show for shoppers to view via VR headsets over the next three days. Top Shop was praised as an early adopter of the technology by news sources and consumers alike.

 

Testing

Virtual reality also has huge potential in the testing department. Testing new products or services can be extremely expensive. Paying for testers’ travel, time, and their use of the product or service adds up fast- especially since it often requires a large sample of data. Virtual reality enables testers to experience the product or service in a more convenient and affordable way. For example, it allows the person to walk through a newly designed hotel room, sit in a car, or check out a new watch. The tester does not have to travel to a new location, give up lots of time. They don’t have to physically use the product or service, yet their feedback is immediate. This means money and, more importantly, time is saved.

See for Yourself

Another exciting opportunity is the “try before you buy” method of marketing. This idea has been around for a long time, but VR steps it up a notch. Now, consumers can get a taste for the finer things. VR helps with envisioning a sofa in their living room, trying on a diamond bracelet, or admiring an art piece in their hallway. Part of the reason so many people still prefer buying in-store over online is because they find value experiencing the product. VR is the next best thing to that in-store feel. It gives consumers a new opportunity to try out something they are considering, giving them the extra push needed for a purchase.

Dig Deeper

Lastly, virtual reality has the potential to help a brand tell its story in a new way. Take charities for instance. Many are successful through the use of images or videos; however, donors still can’t fully experience the detriment that a charity attempts to overcome. Virtual reality is already proving that it pushes donors to dig deeper into their hearts and their pockets. In this story by AdWeek, a donor who had committed to giving $60,00 ended up donating $400,000 after watching a film on the water crisis through a VR headset. This is a drastic increase in the amount of empathy and money given, both of which are important to the success of a charity.

Leave a Lasting Impression

With all of the excitement about virtual reality, it is important to note that even a cool VR headset cannot stifle dull content. When it comes to the marriage between marketing and VR, interesting, relevant content is always the way to go. Infinite Reach Agency understands the importance of quality content and its role in video and VR. Check out its services to learn more.

 

Internet Marketing Chameleon

What is Internet Marketing?

Internet Marketing Defined

Internet marketing is a form of marketing that uses the internet in several forms- web, email, and social media. The online landscape is constantly changing and evolving, making it important to be a marketing chameleon of sorts; always adapting and embracing agile marketing ideologies. Of course, traditional forms of marketing such as television, radio, and print ads are still relevant. However, internet marketing has grown to become extremely important to brand success at all points of the marketing funnel. People live online and turn to the internet for many reasons, particularly when it comes to the buying process. Consumers use the internet to become aware of products. They also engage in product research, whether it’s through reading reviews from their peers or comparing prices and features. Now through e-commerce the internet is widely used to actually buy products.

According to CMO by Adobe, online sales are predicted to grow to $370 billion in 2017, up from $231 billion in 2012. Sites like Yelp and various social media outlets allow consumers to promote or demote products and brands. However, about 50% of Millennials say they regularly browse for items that they don’t necessarily plan on buying. This is why internet marketing is important. With the entire buying process now available online, it is essential for brands to maintain an influential presence through web marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing in order to stay competitive.

Web Marketing

Web marketing is a very broad term that encompasses a variety of internet marketing techniques including websites, online advertising in the form of images or videos, sponsored search engine ads, and organic search engine results via search engine optimization, also known as SEO for short.  Always make sure that:

1. Your website gives off a great first impression to potential buyers.

2. Your online ads appear in front of the right buyer personas.

3. Your content is not only relevant, but interesting in order to yield optimized organic search results.

Somewhere around 93% of all online experiences start with a search and about 75% of users never look beyond the first page of search results. SEO helps ensure that users find your website on the first result based off of things like keywords, tags, and content. What’s more, SEO leads have about a 14% close rate, much higher than outbound leads. All of these aspects of web marketing should be in conjunction with one another, creating a seamless brand image that appeals to the right buyers. Professional marketing agencies, such as Infinite Reach Agency in Phoenix, AZ, work their magic to ensure that web marketing is integrated with other forms of internet marketing.

Email Marketing

Email marketing can be extremely powerful when performed correctly. You cannot simply send out emails to consumers and expect them to take interest instantly. Instead, it is of high importance that emails contain quality, useful information that is personalized toward the receiver. This article discusses a few ways to make your emails stand out against the many emails consumers receive from brands daily. It is necessary to promote joining the mailing list. Having an opt in form on your webpage can only take you so far. Make sure you have calls to action featured across multiple platforms, not just the webpage, that draw attention to the benefits of receiving emails. Also, each email should be personalized. Include the person’s name and catering to their specific interests. Also be careful to optimize the layout of the emails so important information can be quickly found, no matter what device is being used to read the email. Lastly, make sure emails are leading to conversions. It may seem obvious, but leading users to the appropriate landing page within the site is a key to increasing conversions and bettering the user experience. Email marketing is a wonderful way for people to engage with brands and remain connected with them.

Social Media Marketing

Speaking of connection, about a third of millennials say social media is their preferred channel for engaging with brands. With over 2.1 billion people active on social media, brands are finding ways to join social circles and connect with consumers on a deeper level. Since the average user maintains 5 accounts, brands can reach out to audiences in a variety of ways. The different platforms mean different techniques are needed- whether it’s a 15 second video on Instagram, a carousel on Facebook, or a 140 character post on Twitter, brands are able to tell interesting stories and engage with users on a more personal level. It also allows brands to jump on social trends (although some do it better than others). By reacting uniquely to crazes like “Damn, Daniel” and Shark Week, brands can gain the upper hand. Hootsuite has a great blog on all things social like this one: 18 social media marketing tips. One of the tips: Always be proactive. Much like the brands jumping on social trends, always be listening and engaging with users. Create interesting, and refreshingly relevant content that will win over audiences. Another tip is to know when to outsource your social media. If you didn’t immediately recognize the “Damn, Daniel” reference, then it may be a cue to check in with social media more. Listening and reacting quickly takes dedication and finesse. Experts can stay on top of your accounts without losing your brand’s authentic voice.

The Final Say

We can all laugh about the fact that some people thought the internet was going to be a fad. Filled with challenges and opportunities for marketers, the internet is now integrated in practically everything we do- including the buying process. Keeping up on web, email, and social media marketing makes you an internet marketer. However, putting forth quality content that is directly relevant to your audience makes you a great internet marketer.

The web is becoming more and more cluttered with advertisers that blend into the background, making it easy for consumers to brush by without a second thought. Make sure your internet marketing strategies and tactics have the ability to stand out. Does your website have a fantastic design and information that is tailored to your audiences needs? Are your emails getting reads and clicks? Are your social media posts sparking engagements? If not, then hopefully this article has some helpful tips to get you started in the right direction! Looking for more? Infinite Reach is a marketing agency in the Phoenix area that is qualified to bring your brand’s internet marketing up to speed!

 

Build video content into SEO strategy.

If Video Content isn’t Part of Your Strategy, Your SEO is Suffering.

It’s overwhelming, but it’s true: if video content isn’t part of your strategy, then your SEO is suffering. The most effective, integrated marketing strategies leverage SEO best practices. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a carefully calculated technique used to attain higher rankings on search engines. A high rank is necessary if a website is to appear on the first page of Google results. Let’s face it, no one goes past the first page. Part of SEO is incorporating necessary keywords in blogs, articles, and text posts, which can push a website up to the top of search results without spending precious funds on sponsored ads. But now there’s a whole new opportunity that’s entered the world of SEO: video content.

So why are people pressing record so much lately?

      1. Video better solves engagement.

        It takes much less brainpower to process a video versus text. Video also adds more emotional value to the message since images and sound have a greater ability to produce empathy.

      2. Audio and visuals are able to draw in the audience.

        In fact, users will stay highly engaged with your website for about 6 times longer if there is video content available. The average person spends only seconds on a webpage, yet video can entice the audience to stay longer and become actively engaged with the site. HOWEVER, if the video takes longer than 3 seconds to load, the audience is far more likely to navigate away from the website. There’s nothing sadder than beautiful video content gone to waste due to slow loading times.

      3. 95% of video content is remembered.

        This implies a higher level of interest is maintained with video. Part of this stems from a video’s ability to tell a story well. Audiences are more likely to correctly recall a story they saw in a video, as opposed to recalling facts or figures in text. When someone remembers the story of a video, emotions can be triggered along with those memories so associations are stronger.

      4. A video can help you stand out from competitors.

        Sure, it sets the bar higher from a creativity stand point, but unique videos can serve as a great way to express a brand’s image. Videos are a great tool for expressing and reinforcing a brand’s personality through animation, actors, music, and so on. A tone can be relayed to an audience almost immediately.

      5. Video content reaches further.

        There are just under 8 billion people in the world today. Now imagine being able to touch every single person through a video. That’s what Facebook currently has the ability to do. According to TechCrunch, Facebook recently hit 8 billion views per day with no sign of slowing down. Other social media outlets are seeing intense action with video as well. Short and easily consumed text posts on twitter are now joining up with short, easily consumed videos as 5 tweets per second contain a vine link. Similarly, Instagram is seeing the benefits of video. There has been a 37% increase in shares from Instagram since the social media outlet created the option to upload video content. All of this is great, but remember, the video content needs to be shared through the right outlets for your audience. It’s important to take the time to determine which social media platform is right for you. Check out how Facebook is formatting video content:

      6. You can now join hands with YouTube.

        The video king has over a billion users all over the globe who watch millions of hours of video every day. YouTube is also the second largest search engine after Google, making it an important resource for consumers. For many marketers, YouTube can be an unfamiliar landscape, but there are lots of stats that can help bridge the information gap.

      7. Video content has a strong global reach.

        Cisco claims that 80% of the world’s internet traffic will come in the form of video by 2019. This implies that consumers will be expecting video content on all aspects of the web.

      8. Keywords lead to major impact.

        When it comes to video, keywords are included in titles, descriptions, and tags. Optimizing the keywords centered around video as well as text is necessary for a fully optimized effect.

      9. Video content achieves a higher rank on search engines.

        The likelihood of being ranked on the first page of Google results is increased by 53% with video content. This is extremely important since hardly anyone will ever scroll past the first page of results. SEO video content can help ensure you never have to worry about your site being buried.

      10. Video rakes in the shares.

        Video is shared 1200% more times than links and text posts combined. Sharing video sparks meaningful conversations between audiences and allows for a stronger brand reach.

Optimized Video Content is Here

Now that we’ve established just how important video is to the marketing landscape, let’s refresh ourselves on what SEO means: Search Engine Optimization is a carefully calculated technique used to attain higher rankings on search engines.  There are several different factors taken into account when accomplishing this. These factors can include keywords, colors, tags, content length, content structure, outbound links, and about a hundred other things. Fortunately, there are SEO professionals that can bring these factors together to create amazing results. Infinite Reach Agency, a Phoenix SEO company, offers video services. The need for optimizing video content has become a necessary part of marketing strategy and Infinite Reach can help! In order for SEO to reach its full potential, it is absolutely crucial that video is not left out of the equation.

Killer copy and images may be the key to success right now, but the future is video. In order to stay ahead of the curve it is now necessary to include video in your SEO strategy. Just as the marketing mindset has changed to mobile first, there is now a push to start planning for video first. It is wonderful to create video content, but it is far more effective when it is fully optimized. Better yet, a professional SEO company, like Infinite Reach, can take on the task and lead you to higher rankings and stronger brand reach.

Why an SEO Company Should Build your Website Infinite Reach Agency Blog SEO

Why an SEO Company Should Build your Website

Building a website is a lot more detailed than meets the eye. What a visitor sees on the screen only scratches the surface of what is really involved in building a successful site. The ultimate goal of a website is to be easily found on the internet and an SEO company specializes in making sure you do just that. A professional SEO company has experts who pay attention to every detail of your Website design from what colors you use to what keywords are  most likely to achieve the search results you are looking for.

What is SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, SEO is a science which is used to achieve a high-ranking position in search results without having to pay for sponsored ads. SEO companies have a variety of ways in which to create a site that is recognized as an authority in their field and ranks highly in search results. SEO professionals utilize a myriad of resources to optimize everything from colors to content.

When you build a website you want people to find you, and with good SEO rankings, they will. Having high ranking results is essential, studies have shown that users will not scroll through several pages of search results but will make up their mind on the first few pages. Hiring a professional SEO firm to build your website from scratch will ensure that, from conception, your site will achieve high ranking results by managing both on-page and off-page optimization.
Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

On-page Optimization Factors

Website optimization is divided into two main categories: On-page and Off-page. On page optimization includes things that the publisher or creator of the site has full control over. The first thing an SEO company will do is tailor all of your content to ensure you are using terms that truly represent you and your brand. All of the information on your site needs to be personalized for your brand. Some on-page areas of interest to your SEO company are continuity of branding, load-speed, the research and proper usage of keywords, and the freshness of content.

Continuity of your branding is paramount – I cannot stress enough that without continuity your users will not be able to easily identify you as their favorite brand. The more consistent you are with your branding, the more likely consumers are to recognize and develop a loyalty to your business. The length of time it takes your website to load is extremely important to your SEO rankings.

Users do not have the time to wait for a site to load – If they do not get instant satisfaction, they will leave, or “bounce” quickly. SEO professionals will optimize picture sizes and video links to make sure your site loads quickly even on mobile devices. Katelyn Flores’ article Is Your Website Mobile Ready? outlines the steps a designer takes in order to make sure a website will support mobile.

Keywords are another major area of concentration for SEO companies. Keyword research is essential in optimizing your website. Your SEO company will make sure you are using relevant keywords in your URL’s, web pages, meta descriptions and headers. Making sure your pages include the proper keywords will ensure that anyone looking for information on that topic will be able to easily find your content and will know that it is relevant.

One of the last things to focus on when designing for on-page optimization is your content. Is your content relevant to your brand or business, is it high quality content or is it fluff or filler? These are a few of the things your SEO company will keep in mind. Using well-written, fresh content will make you an authority in your field and search engines will recognize you as such.

Off-Page Optimization Factors

Unlike on-page, off-page optimization factors include things that the publisher or creator of the site does not have control over. Off page SEO is very different from on-page. On-page factors require a real hands-on approach to achieve the desired results.

Off-page factors are more in the hands of the user and other people than in you or your SEO firm. Off-page optimization includes areas such as the authority of external links, average visit length, social media reach, number and frequency of returning visitors and the inclusion of internal links.

The quality and respectability of your external links (links to other sites) is important to your SEO because the links create a connection between you and the other sites leading search engines to assume you are similar. Poorly chosen or verified links can also negate any credibility you have built with your own users if they discover you are linking to irrelevant, out of date, or unverifiable sources.

This can also affect your bounce rate, or the amount of time a visitor stays on your site before leaving, or “bouncing” to another site. If you do not establish yourself as a credible and trusted resource, your visitors will look elsewhere for their needs.

Not only are external links important to your SEO score, so are your internal links (links to other pages on your site). SEO scores consider such things as if you include any internal links and if you do, do they work properly and add to the user experience, or are they clumsily included and forced on the content instead of naturally occurring. If the inclusions are not natural, they will seem like an advertisement and not like the useful, needed information you are trying to create.

Your site visits and social media reach are other factors that affect your SEO score. The number of visits your website receives and the frequency of return visitors have a lot to do with your rankings. The more return users you have, the more credible and authoritative you will look to search engine bots which in turn will increase your rankings.

Your social media reach, or the number of times your content is linked to or shared on social media platforms is also important to your rankings. If your content is linked to or shared by known, credible, and authoritative sites on a regular basis it will benefit your SEO simply by association.

Anyone can create a website today with software like Dreamweaver. But if you don’t consider all the factors that go into SEO rankings, your site may not be as successful as you hope it will. SEO companies today offer full service website creation and optimization. Hiring a professional SEO firm to design your website will ensure you are starting with the best possible product. If you have questions about SEO, our team can help. Contact us today!

instagram

Instagram; It Keeps Getting Better and Better

In the world of Instagram, things are just absolutely incredible. More and more people are finding ways to use the real-time online mobile platform to create trends, re-invent their style and brand all the way to producing and then also broadcasting a new thriller in short 15 second episodes as in Shield 5. I’m completely enamored with how it’s being used and seriously research and study new trends and ways companies as well as the regular Joe are reaching their followers on this platform daily.

Have a Voice? Instagram Can Be Integral

Okay, so we’ve established that I’m a fan. Let’s really look at Instagram and I’ll explain why. I actually love it and have finally developed a voice on the platform that I’m proud of with my personal profile of @BeingKristiChurch. Over the last 9 months my life has changed dramatically into fitness and eating healthy so I’ve been fortunate enough to have grown a following of over 1,000 people in a short amount of time. I found my voice and my audience. It takes a lot to narrow that down…and now I stick to posting on 3 or 4 different topics with one thing in common. Happy and healthy living.

If you have a mission or truly something to say that people can identify with, it can be an incredible tool. Instagram encourages organic and real-time sharing. It was made for you to stop and share exactly what you’re doing at the time. In addition, the use of hashtags has also developed in helping tell and share your story.

One of my favorite hashtags is #FromWhereIStand. Every now and then I’ll grab whoever I’m with and we’ll all put our feet into the frame of my cell phone and I’ll capture a pic of where we are in real-time. The cool part is that you can geotag that to exactly where you are at that moment, connecting space and time in a way that it gets logged into the Instagram book of time – forever. How cool is that?

Instagram; Not So Easy For Professional Marketers

Here at Infinite Reach, we work hard to include every important social platform we can for our clients to help their followers connect in ways that previously, hasn’t been available. If you’re reading this and wondering why you should hire a social media marketing company to handle your social platforms, our very own Kellie Meisenheimer explains perfectly in this article.

Top of the mind awareness is difficult to achieve these days, especially now that we live in the world of selective consumption. Everyone has a choice as to how they’re reached and what messages they receive during their day; unlike the tactics of first generation marketing where messages were flying at you in all directions and places 24/7 – 365 days of the year. They were intrusive to say the least.

The one issue for marketers is that Instagram has always been difficult to manage electronically. Being that it was designed to be in-the-moment it doesn’t allow for marketing teams to easily plan ahead and include this platform in the marketing plans of their clients, without a lot of extra effort.

For starters, Instagram can only be managed on a mobile device. Okay, let me digress. You can use Instagram on a computer however, what you can do isn’t as important as what you can’t do.

You can’t post an update unless you are on a mobile device. Once you go log in to your Instagram account on your computer device, you can like and comment on other posts, but if you want to actually create an Instagram post you need to move away from your laptop or desktop and use the Instagram app on your mobile device in order to do so.

Dashboard scheduling tools such as HootSuite are popular for marketing teams as they allow for multiple client and platform management. All the major social platforms can be managed via Hootsuite and up until recently, Instagram wasn’t one of them. Still, as of last fall when IG joined the Hootsuite bandwagon it did so with limitations.

With Hootsuite, it’s a known fact that it’s a helpful tool to schedule posts that will roll on your terms while focusing on the main goals of your campaign. With the IG – Hootsuite integration, Instagram still has control over the fact that their main mission is intact – they are a real-time online mobile platform. They’ve been able to stay true to their own mission and still allow marketers a way to use the tool. It’s a win-win, right? Not quite. Posting to Instagram through the dashboard is still time consuming and takes extra effort. It’s not perfect.

Here’s a quick tutorial from Hootsuite on how to add the platform to your dashboard and schedule posts.

 

To make matters even more difficult, in order to manage an Instagram client account, one would have to log out of their own Instagram account and log back in each time they would want to publish a post. Big pain in the back-side! This was a frustrating piece of using the tool that I just had to accept. Not everything is perfect in relationships and sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad. It can be love-hate. A push-pull, if you will.. or in this case a ying and yang… and I’ve made peace with it.

Instagram Announces Account Switching! Ahhh….Thank you, Instagram!

However –Instagram’s recent announcement just took a little bit of the sting out of this bittersweet relationship we have. As professional marketers, we received excellent news last week that Instagram has finally released the much anticipated Account Switching tool! Yes!! Thank you so much Instagram!! You just keep getting better and better!

One can quickly and easily switch between multiple accounts on Instagram now… which is one step closer to helping marketers do their jobs more effectively. Here’s the step by step in how to set that up!

The following is adapted from a post published on February 9th, 2016 by Nicole Cozma of CNET.com

Step 1: Head to your profile in the app to access the Settings menu in the top right corner.

instagram-accounts

 

Step 2: Scroll down to the very bottom of the menu to reveal the Add account option. Tap and enter your details to log in to another Instagram account.

Step 3: You can switch between accounts by tapping your username at the top of the app. Another account (up to five total) can be added through the username menu, as well.

As for push notifications, they will work for all accounts that have them enabled, according to Instagram.

Should you need to log out of any account you’ve added to the app, simply pick it from the username menu, then head to the Settings area through your profile. There be a log-out option for the current account near the bottom of the list.

 

The fact is though; you’ll always need your mobile device in order to post on behalf of a client as that is the core of what Instagram is all about. It takes a little practice to get used to, however after you get going a bit, you’ll see that all the hard work is worth it, especially if you’ve established a great Instagram voice. That’s #instagood!

 

 

Social Media Management

Why You Should Hire a Social Media Management Company

Social media marketing can be tricky. Establishing a successful social media presence requires a massive effort. A lot of people think that social media management is simply posting a picture of what you had for dinner on your Facebook page and then waiting for customers to come banging down your door. Well, that is not the case. Posting cute pictures or inspirational memes may get you some likes but if your posts have not been researched, thought out, and specially designed to reach your target audience, you might as well be talking to yourself. That is exactly what a social media management company does.

They have a team of specialists on staff to create a strategy, or type of road map, focused around your business and brand which guides everything they do. When they issue a press release or social media post, it is branded and works in conjunction with everything else in the campaign. That way it funnels all potential customers to the right place through repetition and recognition.

What is Social Media Management –

Social media marketing is one of the best ways to build a brand. It has become an important way for companies today to build lasting relationships and communicate with their customers or “followers”. People expect to be able to reach out to their favorite companies through social media and have their cares and concerns addressed in a timely fashion. It can be overwhelming trying to post current content related to your business or brand, attract new customers, keep followers engaged, and connect and build your brand all while trying to run and grow your business. That’s where the management part of social media marketing comes in.

By hiring a professional Social Media Marketing Company, you save time and money by gaining access to many things you would not otherwise have. Management companies use expensive software and experts which would not be cost effective for most businesses. Professional social media marketing companies will have the experience and expertise needed to target customers who are interested in your brand. They will select the appropriate platforms for your specific demographic, they will build, grow, and maintain relationships with your network, as well as optimize all content to fit your target market. Beyond posting and creating content and advertisements, professional management companies also scan social media for relevant conversations to join and monitor the web for mentions of your company or brand. They also have access to research and analytical tools to show you how the content is working and if it is attracting the amount and type of audience you are looking for.

Lastly, a management company can not only manage your outbound content, they can manage all inbound content as well; being ready to respond to customer inquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, thus taking the pressure off of you and allowing you to grow your business.

Why Not Hire a Full Time Employee –

Many companies choose to hire a full time employee, or Social Media Community Manager to handle their social media marketing. This can be expensive, and as the amount of social media platforms and conversations increase, it can quickly become overwhelming for one person to manage efficiently and effectively. It is expensive to hire a new employee and their salary is just one of the costs to consider. In addition to their salary, there will be the cost of their training, benefits, taxes, equipment, office space, and any other perks offered by your company. The dollars start to add up quickly.

Not only will you save money by hiring a management company, you will gain the benefits of having an entire team of professionals on your side. A management company offers you many benefits, their constant exposure to social media gives them insight into what’s hot right now and trending on social media so they can use it and relate it to your brand specifically.

If you hire a company to manage your social media, they have the resources needed to do the research into areas such as your competitors and target audience, which are important aspects in producing a successful social media campaign. They come prepared with experience from other clients and can provide insights into your business or brand that you may be too close to see.

Social media management is a full-time job best suited for a team of experts, like the one at Infinite Reach Agency, who have the knowledge and experience to react to any situation quickly and effectively and provide you with the best experience possible.

Once You Hire a Social Media Management Company – Be Involved

Once you hire a management company, your work is not done. You can’t just hand over your brand to a management company and expect them to know your story and be able to convey it properly without direction from you. Only you have the insight and knowledge of your brand to make it a success on social media. You need to share your story with them, and I’m not just talking about the 30 second pitch you have practiced a million times and give to everyone. I mean you should really share your story.

Tell them about your passion that first sparked you to start your business. Tell them about your success stories and your failures, your biggest clients and your smallest triumphs. You never know what will resonate with other people and the more your management company knows about you and what your brand means to you, the better job they will do representing you.

You should provide them with pictures and graphics, articles, and any relevant content you have. One of the most important things to remember is…If you build a relationship and work with your Social Media Management Company – Together you will succeed! If you need help with Social Media Marketing Management, Contact us today! Our team can help!

 

user searching google, infinite reach agency blog

Here’s Your #1 Tip to Ranking on Google in 2016

If you haven’t been able to rank on SER’s (search engine results) then that should be your top goal for your business in 2016. Just because you build your website and pull the chain to click on your little open sign, doesn’t mean people are going to find you on Google.

I get asked all the time how businesses can get to the holy grail of ranking on Google – which is the top position on page 1 in the search results. Let’s start by saying that there aren’t any short cuts to ranking. It’s a long process and in most cases requires a bit of patience a well thought out plan that is implemented over time.

For most, it takes a solid year (and in highly competitive landscape – even more time) to move up in search engine rankings. Our clients hire us for our SEO prowess and to help them be found and rank on Google and frankly, if done right is a time investment worthy of the work we do.

Your #1 Tip to Rank on Google in 2016:

Create a Content Plan and add quality, relevant and meaningful content to your website on a regular basis.

Yes, you read that right and it may feel redundant – however we may all need to hear it again and again. The number one thing each of our clients (and you!) can do for your own website is all about content. The main problem being that many people haven’t created a content plan to use.

Below are 5 things that we’ve found that will drive your site up in ranking–in addition to what your SEO specialist does for you.

5 Things to Include When Creating a Content Plan

  1. Commit to a Content Calendar

Create your content calendar and commit to sticking to it. No matter what happens, create a “no excuses” policy regarding your content calendar. For 2016 I have asked our marketing manager, Katelyn, to create a content calendar and assign blog topics to all of our staff each month. We’re sharing the love and responsibility of coming up with solid content.

In addition, I’m leading by example and have committed to writing 2 blogs a month. (self talk inserted here: gulp..I can do this, I CAN do this!)

  1. Stay Consistent

We all get excited about a new goal or idea we commit to doing. Here I’m going to give you a word of caution and tell you it’s better to be more conservative than normal. When you commit to a regular content calendar – please do yourself a favor and be consistent.

Consider your time and how much you can REALLY commit to your blog articles before you decide on the frequency your blog will hit the internet air waves.

It’s better to commit to two blogs a month over a 6-month period than start out really strong producing 6 blogs a month only to crash on the second month due to time or coming up with topics to write about. You’ll lose momentum and all that great Google juju you’ve built will fall off a cliff and you’ll be starting over. Choose a day of the week and your monthly frequency and stay consistent.

Most importantly, don’t forget about your new “no excuses” policy and just get ‘er done!

  1. Commit to 20 New Blog Articles for 2016 at 800 Words Each

Let me rephrase that. Make that a minimum of 20 new long form blog articles released over a period of at least 10 weeks or out as much as up to 40 weeks. There’s a magical number of posts for Google to recognize the value and worth behind a website. We believe from everything we’ve researched and experienced that the momentum starts around 20 long form blog articles. Once you hit this benchmark, the uptick begins!

Now with that being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t also write some 400-500 word posts. Just be sure you have your 20 scheduled in there and you can pepper in a few lighter posts, especially if you’re running low on time here and there. The more quality content, the better.

Now I can hear the rumblings all the way to my desk. You don’t know what to write about – well, tip #4 will help with that!

  1. Give Your Followers What They Want

What exactly does it mean to write relevant content? The landscape of branding has changed. People aren’t following brands any longer – they’re joining them. Now more than ever when a follower aligns with a brand, they do more than simply pay attention – they’re jumping on the bandwagon with them. Why? Because they are getting something they want or need… or aspire to be. I love that phrase – aspire to be. Why? Because it really focuses what we do and what content we give our followers. Give them content that helps them get to that place of aspiration. That’s powerful stuff!

In addition; if you’re writing about your business, what you are passionate about and know – then you can give your followers exactly what they want by sharing the content that will keep them coming back for more. Case in point; by giving you the tips in this article we are giving away our number one nugget this year because followers like you are reading our blog. This is part of our secret sauce and how we are so successful to our clients. If we can help you aspire to be a better internet marketer, then we’ve done our job helping you do yours better. See how that works?

We’ve written a lot of content around this very subject – if you need more ideas on what to write about check out this article on How to Write Quality Content Now. 

  1. Use Keywords, but Focus on Meaning for User Experience

I read an article recently that keywords aren’t that important any longer. Keywords are still very important – they’re the foundation on which your site is built. However, the reasoning behind this statement is regarding blog content and that Google doesn’t simply match keywords in a search query with keywords on a webpage any longer.

It uses the keywords but also looks for meaning of the site and what’s actually behind all those keywords. As Google works to get closer to artificial intelligence (AI), they have written algorithms around finding out the meaning of a site to match user experience.

Let’s face it. In our crazy, hectic lives users don’t go look at content unless they’ll get a payoff for their time. The content they’re searching for will either teach them something new, be useful in some way or be fun and entertaining. Users also don’t share content they don’t deem worth the time of other’s they want to share it with. So, increase your share rate (and Google juice) through giving the content they want by also increasing their user experience at the same time.

A Word About Google

Google is a business too. Their goal is to provide the best search experience possible to their users. With that comes the desire to give their users exactly what it is that they’re searching for.

In an article by Roger Montii for Search Engine Journal, Montii easily explains that “because words have multiple meanings, Google uses geographic signals, previous search signals and statistical signals in order to identify the most popular reasons users search for a phrase”. Google is looking at the “why” behind the search to populate the search queries and provide an answer.

So while it’s not just about keywords, it’s also about the search itself and the answers the user expects to receive when they type enter their query in the search bar.

In this competitive digital landscape, we have to up our game and provide the best possible content so that Google sees our sites as worthy of answering that search. By understanding what it is that Google is looking for and how to couple that with the right amount of content, type and frequency; you’ll be poised to help your ranking grow in 2016! Get busy creating your content plan and please don’t hesitate to ask questions or leave comments.

What else can be added to this plan to help make others more successful? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Automation as Part of Your Marketing Plan

Marketing automation is designed to fit into your existing workflow. It uses technology to plan marketing strategies and activities. It automates repetitive tasks and streamlines your efforts to increase efficiency.  Marketing automation is a great tool to include in your marketing toolbox, along with all its other benefits, it also provides several ways to measure the results of your marketing strategies.

Marketing Automation is a platform used by marketing companies which includes a variety of computer programs and technologies allowing for more effective campaigns to be launched and managed more easily. It allows your marketing team to utilize multiple avenues online such as social media, online advertisements, and websites. Automated marketing’s original focus was on email marketing campaigns only, but has since become much more sophisticated. Marketing companies today use marketing automation not only for email, they also use it for lead generation, sales tracking, inbound marketing and so much more. The automated processes and analytical tools are invaluable to a successful marketing campaign.

Marketing automation was designed to simplify the marketing process, when integrating automated marketing into your current marketing plan, you should consider your current strategy and how you will implement the new technology. You should consider whether it will add value to your existing marketing plan and how you can get the most out of your new tools.

Automated Lead Generation and Management

Automating your marketing plan can be beneficial in attracting new clients as well as nurturing the relationships you have with your existing customers. With marketing automation’s tracking abilities, you can not only see who is visiting your website, you can track your visitor’s movements once they leave, which provides you with a more complete profile of your customer. This gives you the opportunity to launch a more personal, targeted campaign in order to win their business. Some of the benefits of good client management are larger deal sizes, more accurate forecasting, and a higher customer conversion rate.

Studies indicate that after implementing marketing automation and lead generation, overall leads sent to the sales department may have decreased, but the close ratio increased by an average of thirty percent and revenue per sale went up an average of seventeen percent. According to Marketing Automation Times, companies that invested in marketing automation saw an average annual revenue increase of almost fifty percent.

Another aspect of lead management, which marketing automation is having a positive effect on, is Market Segmentation. The analytical data received from various marketing automation platforms allow marketers to quickly and easily identify and categorize your customers making it easier to create unique marketing plans for each market segment. The analytical data also allows you to quickly and easily measure the impact your marketing strategy is having. Having this information available at the click of a mouse makes it easier to re-direct a campaign which is not performing as expected. Conversely, it allows you to intensify a campaign which is out-performing expectations.

Automated Email Marketing Campaigns

Marketing Automation has revolutionized the Email marketing campaign. In terms of personalization and timing, automation has increased sales, efficiency, and customer retention. Companies used to send out impersonal, blanket email blasts to everyone on their mailing list which resulted in poor performance and sales. Now, automation allows a marketing agency to create several very personalized campaigns designed to improve customer experiences, build lasting relationships, and encourage repeat purchases. A customer who receives an email specifically targeted to their needs feels like more than just a number. A well-timed, personal message to the customer can be the difference between a one-time sale and a loyal, repeat buyer.

In terms of timing, automation has allowed marketing agencies to streamline their procedures. No longer does your account manager have to sit at a computer waiting for the right moment to send that email. Today you can create and schedule multiple Email campaigns at one time and your clients will receive each email precisely when it will make the most impact. This allows more time for new marketing strategies and other activities.

Inbound Marketing Automation

Inbound marketing differs from traditional marketing techniques such as direct mail, TV or radio commercials, and spam by targeting your audience and bringing them to you. Its main focus involves strategically promoting your company and attracting clients and customers to your business. Inbound marketing accomplishes this through a combination of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing, blogs, articles, and podcasts, as well as numerous other online platforms which are available to marketers today.

Inbound marketing attracts customers using specialized, targeted social media posts, blog posts, and SEO optimization. Using automated marketing for your social media and blog posts makes sense for several reasons. Automation allows your marketing team to schedule social media and blog posts in advance, creating a regular schedule which is easier to maintain and increases your exposure. The way Google’s little bots check for content, the more regularly you post, the more relevant your site becomes. See “How to Write Quality Content Now!” for more information on the importance of regular scheduling.  Not only does consistency get you noticed by search engines, it gives your brand a certain credibility when you deliver what people expect when they expect it.

Automating your inbound marketing processes gives you flexibility by allowing your team to plan and schedule your campaigns well in advance and gives you more time to manage other aspects of the plan. There are many advantages of marketing automation. In the hands of the right marketing team, it can be invaluable. If you need help with Automated Marketing, Contact us today! Our team can help!