With the challenges facing the world right now, we all find ourselves unsure of what to do or how to cope. These thoughts of uncertainty have impacted how organizations function, how they market and where they spend budgets. During times like this, perhaps the best solution is to invest in yourself, preparing for what comes next.
In the world of digital marketing, there are opportunities that only cost time. Today I’m going to share five things you can do to improve your brand for free. These tactics are designed to expand your brand presence within search, better connect with your audiences and return dividends over time. Don’t worry about keyword research or paid search targeting, all you need is a little know-how, patience and time. Let’s get started.
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When marketing budgets get cut, specifically paid budgets, that doesn’t mean your site just stops performing. In fact, it’s a perfect time to evaluate your content and where you might need to grow or optimize. The best place to start is your brand, as your site most likely needs to make up for cuts in paid search, which usually includes a branded campaign.
When you Google your brand name, what shows? Do you see your site, if so what position? Is your Google My Business listing present? How about your YouTube or Twitter feed? Keep these things in mind for future updates. Typically, a branded search returns your home page, about page or perhaps a service or product page.
If your site is not present for your brand, or not ranking as high as you would expect, a simple way to start optimizing your content includes;
Updates should be focused on what you do, why you do it and who it’s for, all from the perspective of your brand. For instance, CVR is an Indianapolis based, full-service agency, focused on Building Brands That Matter. We recently followed this very process, improving our branded rank which enables potential clients to find us quickly. We have more work to do, but at least we know our branded terms are performing well.
Your website is only one “property” that you can own and be found for on Google’s page one. Others include Google My Business, Facebook and Twitter, as well as YouTube. You may or may not have content for each of these channels and that is ok. Every company is different so I recommend you review each of these platforms to determine if they fit your business model.
For companies that have a storefront, service an area or accept customers during business hours, I recommend reviewing Google My Business and Bing Places. Each of these platforms provide customers a number of ways to interact with your brand, including finding a location, visiting your website or giving you a call. These listings also help you own more of Google’s page 1 when someone searches for your brand.
The first step towards improving your map visibility is to claim your listings. Once your listings have been claimed, review and update the following areas;
Once your listings are well defined, continue to look for additional opportunities. These can include addressing your ratings and reviews. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, this activity shows those interested in your brand that you care about your public perception. Consider actively posting your latest blog content, providing an offer or listing some of your products.
For CVR, having a well performing Google Map Listing certainly helps contacts find our office, as well as our website.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Google My Business is limiting the types of updates available. Please review their guidelines during this time.
YouTube is the second most popular search engine and gives audiences a different way to consume your content. As the platform has matured, creators have been provided a number of tools to improve their videos but also establish their brands. By optimizing your channel, audiences are more likely to find your brand and experience your content through a new medium. With so many people working from home during this time, video streaming is set to explode.
To begin updating your YouTube channel, focus on the following areas;
The About section offers space for a short description and links to your site as well as providing methods for contacting you in case someone is interested in your services. Playlists offer an opportunity to collect similar videos into an easy-to-consume format. As a video finishes, the next will auto play. Keep this in mind as you select an order.
Once you have a few YouTube playlists, it's time to customize your channel. Think about how you want channel visitors, both subscribers and non-subscribers, to experience your content. You can select which video is featured, what playlist is presented first, as well as where your entire upload list is placed. Once your content is well organized, go ahead and upload a new channel icon and hero art to best match your brand or current campaign focus.
Lastly, don’t forget about your videos. Titles and descriptions offer areas to highlight what your content is about, as well as who you are as a brand. Descriptions will accept links back to your site, so think about what page makes the most sense, based on the video topic. Speaking of links, consider embedding the video on that page. With so many ways of access, you never know how users will find your content. Last, do not forget about tags. Tags are used to tie your videos to similar videos, increasing the chances of your content being suggested to viewers.
When was the last time you reviewed your email list? I don’t know about you, but during my time of isolation, email communication has exploded.
With the onslaught from this channel, it is vital that we send relevant messages to the right audiences. Perhaps your business model supports a single email list, but experience has shown me that segmented lists that align to customer type, interest or funnel position outperform blanket email sends. As an example, segments based on purchase behavior have helped one of our e-commerce brands improve open rates by 37%, driving a 14% increase in revenue. Even if your goals are not transaction-related, I bet there are opportunities for improvement.
Think about your audiences;
Before you send that next email campaign, evaluate the list and think about how the message could be adjusted. Build those segments, tailor the message and hit send. Once you have campaign metrics, evaluate segment performance and begin planning the next campaign.
By now chances are high that you’ve experienced at least one Zoom call, Teams Meeting, a Slack Chat and/or maybe you’ve embraced the Facebook Messenger App. These methods of communication are helping keep businesses active, especially with internal teams and contacts. But how do we continue to connect with new audiences or retain the attention beyond advertisements? Video streaming is certainly an option and only growing in popularity.
Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube offer live streaming to everyone for FREE. DJs, yoga instructors, celebrities and food personalities such as Alton Brown have begun to embrace these platforms, and the world is taking notice. Experiences such as these offer a raw disconnect from the times. I personally love getting to see Alton Brown’s kitchen and lifestyle. He has been an influence for me since the early days of “Good Eats” and now I have an even better sense of who he is as a person.
Brands that are willing have this same chance of connection. Living streaming from your carry-out service or communicating how you’re accessible is a great start. Simply gathering a group of individuals to discuss the current state of the industry, while small in audience size, could have a huge impact on future success. This approach can be tied into your email marketing, resulting in a well-attended webinar. The key thing to keep in mind is that not all of these efforts have to be massive successes. It’s just another long-term strategy that could pay dividends in the future.
As promised, all of these updates can be done for free and improve your brand presence. With business slowing down for the short term, asking your marketing team to focus their efforts on what can be done now is a great way to invest in the long-term. The uncertainty we find ourselves in will change. By focusing on platforms under your control, your brand will be that much stronger once the world recovers. If you feel uncertain about these times, consider watching our recent webinar, Decision Making In a Crisis. Please know, CVR is here to help.