It's the most wonderful time of the year; a time for celebration of the holiday season...
As we deck the halls with boughs of holly and trim the tree, it's also time to get your business showcased for the holiday season.
This is the time to make sure your social media profiles and website are ready for the festive season.
Here's some ways to dress up your website and social media for the holidays:
Decorate Your Website Home Page Place your best holiday deals front and center on your website. Here's a great example from retailer J Crew who held a “5 Days of Merry. 5 Surprise Sales” recently.
We've added a holiday banner to our site that provides holiday wishes from each of our team members: www.evisionmedia.ca
Design a Customized Christmas Logo Why not create a fun holiday version of your logo for the holidays? Google has been doing this for years. Here is an example of a past Google holiday logo:
Host Holiday Gift Ideas Tell your customers what to buy for the person who has everything. When you make gift-giving easy they buy!
Target does a great example of this right on their home page with a gift ideas list. Listing gift ideas at different price points makes it convenient. For example Target lists gifts under $25, under $5-, and over $50.
Design a special holiday Facebook Cover Image - Show customers your holiday spirit by designing a festive holiday cover image. Our eVision Media Facebook page incorporates our brand colours and logo into our Christmas banner.
Post Family Holiday Pictures On my personal profile, I've posted a picture of our cat Taz by the Christmas tree. Taz has formed min-celebrity status on Facebook. Moreover, a lot of people can relate to what it's like having pets and hoping they don't attack the Christmas tree.
It's a fun image that helps us connect with our audience.
Use Holiday Hashtags
Make it easy for holiday enthusiasts to find you by creating holiday hashtags. Some popular ones include #diy, #stockingstuffers, #holidays, #newyears and so on.
Display Holiday Hours If you plan on taking time off for the holidays let your customers know. A graphic for social media and your website is the perfect way to remind them. Look at this example from The Comedy Spot.
So don't be a Grinch. Show your customers your holiday spirit!
Celebrate by sharing website and social media updates that you are decked out in holiday style. 'Tis the season. Set the mood for holiday shopping and you'll be rewarded.
What has your business done to show Christmas spirit for the holidays? Post your examples below!
Black Friday and its good friend Cyber Monday are over. But it's not too late to prepare for the next big spending spree: The Holidays
Christmas shopping and websites didn't always go together. For years consumers had the option of ordering online for contacting a new business, but an unfamiliar audience only really took the online shopping and procuring services via websites in more recent years.
Now that we're in the age of eCommerce and Amazon is the biggest company in the world, businesses are competing for the same customers who used to trample over each other in malls trying to get the best deal or the last trending toy.
This is not any different for those whose website is designed for lead generation.
Even if you're already selling online, whether it's a product or your service, you may not have all your bases covered. So today I'm going to talk about what you can do to make sure your business is optimized for the biggest shopping/lead generation season of the year.
Did you have a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale?
If you did offer a discount or some other incentive for these two recently passed shopping days then you likely have a lot of abandoned carts or lead contacts that didn't turn into clients or customers.
In online marketing, remarketing has become a great way to reach back out to people who expressed interest in what you do but for one reason or another never actually became a paying client.
If you examine who contacted you and what happened in between them contacting you or trying to make a purchase and them leaving without converting (this is when they become a client or customer) then you will see many opportunities to address what can be understood as gaps in the user experience.
Was your shipping too high? Was the way you contacted a potential lead too aggressive or too passive? Those leads would have become paying clients without that gap.
So fill the gap! Growing based on feedback is how good business evolves. Take the information and learn from it and then apply it.
The analogy many adhere to is a leaky bucket. If you have a leak in the bucket you should repair that leak before adding more water. Consider the holidays a coming storm with flood warnings!
Now if you have a repository of emails to reference you can draft an announcement about the change so it not only stops presenting a barrier for future leads, you've also let old failed leads know that you've changed and they can return for a better experience.
How you go about reviewing falloff from lead to client will vary depending on your business. B2C e-commerce will be quite different than a site designed for lead generation, but the reaction approach and remarketing remain the same.
Set Up Your Marketing NOW
If you haven't already got your holiday marketing set up, you should start right away.
Things like your newsletter, social posting, content marketing and any other distractions from customer service should be set up to send on a schedule and then left alone while you focus on the customer.
In reality, having this work done in October is ideal but better late than never!
Don't switch gears now on what tools you use but definitely set up a December schedule where all your sales and products and services are out there for everyone to find.
You miss all the shots you don't take so now is the time to start sending out those emails and posting to your Twitter account!
Get in the Spirit
It can be tough to navigate political correctness and the holiday season. Depending on your market and locality, having “Merry Christmas” can endear you to leads or throw up a flag.
You'll know best which is right for you, but at the very least a cheery-themed website header update and associated social profile updates would be a great idea.
Do you have a roster of loyal clients you love? Let them know!
Do your due diligence on your clients and feel out how they approach the season. Then craft your materials and messaging so it aligns with their expectations for the season.
If you have an office party, take lots of pictures and get them on Instagram. Then when you have the more settled, posed for pictures you can add a gallery to Facebook.
Presenting your business in a positive way and showing off the staff having fun never hurts and clients like to see the people they're trusting with their money or their business as happy.
This kind of year can be very stressful and it shouldn't be. Whether you sell a product or provide a service, try and enjoy yourself so you don't run yourself ragged and ruin your own opportunities to make new contacts and purchases.
P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It's a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:
There's no denying consumers crave a deeper connection with the companies they do business with. And that's why these days having a fancy website and logo isn't enough to define your brand.
Therefore, it's very important to thoughtfully create a personal brand that truly shares who you are and what you stand for.
If a brand isn't appealing to your audience or not genuine, it can repel customers. But the process of creating a brand can be intimidating for some.
So how do you avoid personal branding blunders when it comes to helping instead of harming your business?
Here's the biggest personal branding mistakes to avoid: Thinking you don't need a Personal Brand Whether you intentionally create a brand or not, every communication and experience you have with customers and potential customers is shaping your brand.
That's why it's critical to create a positive brand communication. If you don't take time to define your brand, your message can get wishy washy. That lack of clarity will hurt your marketing efforts.Using Copycat Branding. Often when people start out in business they feel like imitating their top competitors is a good idea. Don't imitate, instead innovate.
Accentuate what makes you unique. Differentiate yourself. Show why your differences make you a better choice.
Do this by creating signature systems, products and messaging that sets you apart.Not Being Authentic. Some people take a dress-up approach to branding. They feel like they must be something they are not in order to attract customers.
Authenticity in marketing matters more than ever before. Being honest and transparent builds trust.
A brand should be genuine and always maintain consistent messaging that is in alignment with your personality and brand.Lacking Consistency. Your personal brand promise and message should be clear with every communication.
The more consistent your brand is, the stronger it will attract followers. So as you write blog posts, eBooks and social media posts etc., make sure the thoughts, opinions and information shared is consistent with your personal brand.
Every communication should reflect your brand personality and values.Not Writing Your Own Stuff. Content marketing helps you develop leadership in your industry. Your fans want to hear from you – not the same old thing that everyone else is writing.
Every time you write it's a communication that builds a relationship with your followers. They experience your personality and voice. Make time to write your own tips, checklists, guides and freebies for your content marketing efforts.
Writing unique articles also boost your website SEO. Not Defining Your Niche. No business can be all things to all people. It's really important to define your target market. Period.
The more narrowly you can define your target market the better; otherwise, you risk confusing your customers and you'll have a harder time attracting the right kind of clientele that you want to serve most.Not Loving Your Tribe. Your tribe is a group of people where an unconditional love and connection exists.
Raving fans will tell the world how amazing you are. That's why it's important to give special treatment to your tribe.
Find your tribe. Love them hard. Give them special offers. Allow them behind the scene's peaks. Share advanced notice about things coming down the pipes. Forgetting Quality and Professionalism. The Internet knows all so if you make a mistake, someone's going to catch it.
When you send a newsletter with typos or broken links it reflects poorly on your brand. When your customer has a problem and calls customer service, they want their issue resolved.
Pay special attention to your appearance. Watch the language you share on social media. Your demeanour should be humble not arrogant. Display ethical behaviour when attending public events. Answer the phone professionally. Take these lessons to heart and keep them at the core of your personal branding strategy. Even if you feel good about your branding efforts, it's smart to step back and take a look at your existing strategy and double-down your efforts to protect your personal brand.
What stories do you have where your personal brand made a difference for your business?
Social media is everywhere and having yourself on it can be great; however, your professionalism doesn't stop at your professional profiles. If you're an influencer in your industry or the face of your business, then paying attention to personal branding is essential in your social profiles.
So how do you get personal branding working for you?
Here's 5 steps to ensuring you have a strong personal brand that will help with your business success:
1. Audit Yourself A quick audit of your personal profiles is a good idea so you can prune anything you wouldn't want associated with yourself professionally. It will give you a chance to update all your profiles as well.
Make sure all your profiles are connected so users can easily see the relationship. The idea here is that you are an extension of your business and all social profiles clearly indicate to the user who you are and what you're about.
When posting to your personal social media accounts, keep in mind your business goals and remember optics is key. When someone searches your name, what do they find? Remember anyone may repeat that search so if the results aren't good you could lose a potentially warm lead.
2. Set Goals Being the face of your business can also lead to you being an influencer in your industry. But that doesn't just happen automatically. You need to set targets for yourself. And not just in terms of the metrics of measuring success but in how you will achieve the higher standing in your industry that you're after.
Look at people already established in your niche. They may have a business profile but then on their own how are they presented? Successful personal branding should show their personal profile is aligned with the style of their business.
Once you see what content has been effective and how often your peers have been successfully posting, you can estimate how often and what kind of materials you should post.
Also pay attention to where they post and you'll see what platforms have returned results for them. Then you'll know where to focus your efforts.
This element and the audit can be time consuming and confusing so don't hesitate to reach out to social media experts if you require assistance.
3. Create Your Social Media Strategy You have your goals set and you know how often you want to post and how many new people you want to see your content.
Now it's time to incorporate the previous steps and develop a goal-based strategy aimed at realistic growth.
Achieving your goals is a dynamic process where you will consistently evaluate your successes and refine your approach until you start seeing the results you want.
There are various content aggregation tools available that will make it easier for you to find relevant content. And the bonus is you'll get to read more about what you do!
Alltop and POPURLS are some favourites but there are many more you can choose from.
Try tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to help you schedule out your posts but remember to check in often for any engagement. The best thing you can do to establish yourself as an authority is to provide feedback and commentary on other users that shows you know what you're talking about.
By making it a conversation you are becoming an influencer. Other users will see that dialogue whether its tweets or comments and they'll see your expertise in action.
Each approach will vary but there should be consistent elements to any strategy such as choosing which platforms you are going to be able to log into on an ongoing basis and what kind of content is best suited to your industry.
4. Update Your Profiles Having a professional headshot is a great idea for your personal branding. If you don't have that already make sure you get one and place it as your avatar on each social media profile – both personal and business profiles.
Each platform's profile should easily convey a connection to all others. Users should see consistency in both the visual elements and the content you're posting.
If you're having trouble with the various images and sizes required, it's quite easy to set up a free account with Canva, which has predefined image sizes for all platforms and is very user friendly.
5. Hire a Mentor It never hurts to have a third party review your profiles. While asking friends for help may seem like a good idea, an experienced, professional personal branding mentor will know what has and hasn't worked in the past.
Look for someone who has helped others achieve a solid personal brand and reputation in their industry and contact them for assistance. But make sure they know this is about your social media presence so you get someone with relevant experience to your goals.
Personal branding is not as easy as a lot of people think. If you are ready to start but not sure where or how then please contact us and we'd be glad to help. We've helped many people perfect their personal and business branding and I'm sure we can help with yours as well.
To your success, Susan Friesen P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you'll get notified every Tuesday of that day's blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca
8 Key Areas You Want to Keep Your Visual Brand Consistent
Have you ever wondered what your social media followers think about you?
Is it possible you are sending mixed messages to your prospects?
This month we're talking about the importance of personal branding and how it helps your business. This article ties closely in with that regarding your visual brand – essentially how you come across to others.
Over the years I have seen a lot of business owners who haven't taken time to define their brand. They don't understand when businesses stray from their brand, it dilutes their brand power and impact. Or worse, they have nothing about them that sets them apart.
As a result, they complain they are attracting the wrong customers or hardly getting any leads at all...
This "me too" method of marketing that mimics what competitors are doing isn't effective.
That's why I feel compelled to share more what a visual brand is and how to build a strong one online.
Whether you're creating a new brand or updating your existing one, your brand's visual identity is the most important factor in your marketing.
Your brand is so much more than a website and a logo. It's a user's total experience and perception of you.
So every touchpoint a prospect has with you should have one consistent look and theme. This includes your logo, website, stationery, social media, videos, brochures, business cards, and of course your personal brand in how you dress and present yourself to the world.
A solid visual brand: - Helps people know what to expect from you. - Promotes professionalism and purpose. - Draws prospects who align with your ideas, attitudes and values. - Enhances confidence, trust and rapport with your followers. - Builds upon the existing brand experience they have with you in a positive (or a negative) way.
Visual branding adds real power to your marketing. It increases engagement and understanding.
With all these benefits to personal and professional branding, it's more important than ever to brand your visual content and images so you stand out from competitors.
How Can You Keep Your Brand Consistent?
You write blog articles and posts every day. You are working back and forth on projects. How can you be certain that all the marketing you do resonates with your core brand?
Creating a style guide makes it easier to keep your marketing pieces consistent.
Firstly, ensure your brand is consistent in the following areas:
- Headshot – Having a professional headshot goes a long way in developing brand trust. - Logo – your logo is the nucleus of your brand, everything else stems from that. Ensure it's designed properly that includes the psychology of what it represents. - Colour Palette – Colours that will resonate with your target market and be meaningful to your brand. - Brand Message – This is the essence of your business that includes your slogan or tagline of who you are, what you do, and how you deliver value. - Fonts – Being consistent with the same one or two typefaces throughout all written materials as well as graphics - Design Elements – The use of borders, lines, shadows and filters should all become familiar to being associated with your visual brand. - Tone – Set the tone of your business presence and stick to it – whether serious, high-tech, sarcastic or soulful, this is a big part of building a solid brand presence.
For example: our eVision Media colours are purple and green. Our typeface is: Asap. Our logo is: a mother Emperor Penguin and her baby chick. Our slogan is "creating your brand, showcasing your business, nurturing your dream to reality" as seen here in our website header:
We have also created a template that we use for our marketing eTips and inspirational messages, so people instantly recognize them:
Create a Style Guide as Your Road Map
A style guide acts like a map that helps your team to stay on track. Sharing your style guide with key members of your team can ensure everyone knows the style guidelines and can follow them.
- Your graphic designer will stick to the fonts and colours your brand is known for.
- Your web design team can make sure your website and landing pages all have the same look and feel.
This is especially important for companies with virtual employees spanning in multiple geographic regions. Make it easy for your team to access your logo, fonts and templates. Always protect your brand. Double check when new marketing pieces come in that they conform to brand guidelines.
Here is a snapshot of our current style guide:
With this style guide in mind, here's 8 areas you will want to keep your brand consistent in everything you do in your business marketing and social media efforts:
Your website is the biggest brand statement your business has. It serves as a reference to make sure all other brand elements are in alignment.
That's why I am so against people who use cookie-cutter template sites. They may look polished, but they lack the warmth, connection and personality of a branded website (not to mention how badly they are built.)
Make sure the images you use are reflective of your ideal client. Use language that resonates with your target audience. Create an about page that helps your visitors understand your backstory and why you are passionate and good at what you do. The more your website looks and feels like you, the stronger attraction tool it will be for potential clients.
2. Professional Headshot
I was very camera shy when I first started my business. So when it came time to get some updated headshots, I dreaded it. But I found that going through the process brought me confidence.
My new headshots are used as a personal and business branding tool that help me to be more recognized online. They are on all my social media profiles and on our website. As a result, people recognize me when I attend local networking events. Investing in new headshots can truly jumpstart your brand and success.
3. Sharing Photos
Sharing photos makes your marketing more personable and showcases your personal brand. Consumers love seeing the real person behind the business.
So be mindful of when you are working or in group situations and see how you can snap pictures to show followers what you are up to. Take a picture holding your new book. Grab a shot with a new friend you met while networking. Show the resort you are staying at for your business mastermind.
Here's Dana Smithers, Julie Salisbury and myself while at a recent WOW (Woman of Worth) event in Harrison Hot Springs.
Creating videos helps build a strong following online. It's important to have your videos match your brand too. Dress in a manner that is consistent with your brand.
You could also shoot it in similar places or locations. Whether that's sitting at your desk, cooking in the kitchen, or standing in front of a green screen with a projected background, that consistent setting helps build familiarity.
Be warm, friendly and connective. If you promise to offer weekly video tips, then get them out on the same day each week so viewers can anticipate them. Create a custom hashtag for your video tips too - we created our eVision video eTips with the hashtag #eTip for consistency.
5. Branded Images
Kick up the interest of your blog articles and social media with images. There are loads of free tools to help you make graphic quotes, infographics, and other visuals to add impact.
Make sure all your graphic images are consistent with your brand. Adding your logo makes it easy for people to instantly recognize the content is from you.
For instance, the other day we re-posted an older article about "6 Steps to Nurturing A Profitable Business". We featured an image of an Emperor Penguin family. It suggested the idea of nurturing but also tied into our brand with the Penguin theme.
6. Social Media
Social media provides so many opportunities for visual branding. From Facebook cover images to profile pics, to graphics, there are endless opportunities for people to learn more about what you do.
The images you use can evoke the feelings and emotions you want your brand to convey. The goal is for someone to look at your social media account and get an impression that helps them understand your unique vibe.
7. Free Giveaways
When you are offering free reports, tools, and other goodies to visitors, make sure they have the same colours, logos, and visual feel as your other materials.
When it looks professional and makes a great impression, it builds credibility. Plus, it's just one more piece of the brand puzzle that helps them understand what you do.
For example, our free giveaway is "The Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability". The cover features a headshot of me for familiarity, (mind you, this is an old photo so fixing up this free report is a priority of mine.) It has our brand colour of purple and includes our logo. So it looks and feels like eVision Media. If someone forwarded a copy of this to a friend, they would get an accurate sense of our brand.
8. Email Signature
A graphic email signature can add visual impact to every message you send. Services like Wisestamp make it easy to add your logo, picture, and social media links to your email signature.
We have designed many eSignatures for clients that exactly match their brand and it's an effective way to enhance their brand with every email they send out.
Have your virtual team members set up a signature too so you come across as a professional team to your customers.
Are You a Wanna Be or a Real Brand?
It's really important to take a look at your brand as a whole to make sure everything is in alignment.
Is your visual brand - Clear, - consistent, - authentic, - memorable, and - in alignment with changes in the marketplace, your offerings, or your success
Even if your brand was on target 3 years ago, the nature of your business may have changed where your brand no longer accurately reflects what you do or who you serve.
You have become more specialized. You may have new product offerings. Maybe you are now the host of a new podcast.
Take a look at your brand with the eyes of an outsider and ask yourself if what you see truly reflect who you are now as a company.
How Does Your Business Score from a Visual Branding Perspective?
At eVision Media, we are experts at building, managing and marketing Brands online. If you need help developing your visual brand or just need some direction, contact us today. Our team of creative marketing professionals can help keep your brand on the path to success.