Building your brand is an important step for anyone looking to start or expand their business, writers to carpenters and everyone in between can benefit from having a presence online, although – in this day and age it can be a difficult, although not impossible, feat to build your own platform from which to tout your hard earned achievements.
With search engines constantly changing, improving and expanding their algorithms – it can be difficult and daunting task. For the average non internet savvy Joe, it can be an excruciating undertaking to make heads or tails of it all, especially when technology and social media aren’t your forte.
So you’ve come to realize that maybe, you’re not cut out for this whole self marketing thing – and that’s perfectly okay, luckily there are tons of people out there that are willing to help and have experience building brands. The difficult part is having so many to choose from, it’s important that you’re making sure you get the most bang for your buck – here are 15 steps that I believe every digital marketing agency should take to build your brand.
1. Get to Know You
It’s important for your agency to learn who you are as an individual and as a company so that they’re better prepared to help foster the type of profile and reputation that you wish to achieve. Any good digital agency will analyze your business, thoroughly understand your goals, and collaborate with you on ways to design your strategies.
You won’t be happy with a marketing strategy that doesn’t relate closely to your values or the values of your company and so it’s essential to find a digital marketing agency that is as interested in you as you are. Likewise be sure to find an agency that specializes in your field as they’re more likely to know how to better market your particular goods or services.
2. Match You Up With Specialists
Marketing is more like medicine than you may realize: in this day and age there are fewer General Practitioners and an ever increasing amount of specialists.
Any well put together agency will have an army of specialists in every field.
Today’s companies are a little more advanced, turning their attention to email, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay-Per-Click), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), Social Media, Daily Deals, Webinars, Cool Infographics and so many more. No one person can begin to claim the title of – “Expert of All Those Digital Marketing Things” – as the industry becomes more disconnected and specialist centered.
Agencies can and should help to match you up with the right people who will help you to expand and excel in this day and age.
3. Create an Online Presence
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, social media is the heart of marketing for many reasons. People spend a great portion of their daily lives staring at their phones and computers, the average American 18 years and older, spends 11 hours a day engaging with electronics, multi-tasking their lives away – half heartedly living while surfing their newsfeeds.
All of the popular platforms are frequented by users in the millions – What better way to market to your target audience than by entering into their world and luring in them in with relevant and entertaining content? If you don’t already have any social media pages set up they’ll be able to get you started on the right path and work to gain fans for your page and product.
A good digital marketing agency will be well versed in many different platforms and won’t hesitate to try out up and coming new social media sites that show promise – don’t be afraid to ask to see prior work!
4. Create a Web Page
A place to call home on the web is a crucial step that for some reason – many people forego. Over 70% of businesses did not have a website according to a study done by the US Census Bureau, but why not?
It’s important to have a webpage to be able to link back to from all of your platforms as a converging point. If you don’t already have a basic one set up – and you realistically can make a pretty great one yourself – they’ll be able to help you make a great impression on customers who come across you during their online searches!
5. Research Keywords
There are tools available online that are designed to help you find the most searched keyword related to your topic or brand. Typing in a word will reveal how likely it is to be searched which will greatly help you to decide what Keywords you should be focusing on for your SEO.
If you already have a page set up – an SEO agency may run your page through a SEO audit tool to see if you’re maximizing your visibility in searches with the content of your page.
You’re easily able to do this yourself with tools that are found quickly through a Google search, but here is just one of many available for you to use, many of them only require a low fee or are free to use. Another great tool is WooRank.
The tool will check the density of your keywords on your page, this factors into the search engine algorithms and decides whether or not you’ll be listed in search results.
7. Grow Your Social Media Presence
Once your product pages have been established – it can be tough work to keep them up and running, constantly bringing in new people to check out your product can be a laborious task if you’re already swamped from working on your projects.
A main component of social media – and all marketing – is networking. Agencies tend to have vast networks that can help to improve your odds of bringing in clients by pairing up similar businesses. For example – pairing together a pet store with a god walker could bring in clients for both of these similar businesses.
It can be nice to leave your pages in capable hands knowing that they’ll work to expand your brand as you dedicate your time to areas that can be more beneficial to you as a business owner.
8. Reputation Management – Proactive & Reactive
We all fall prey from time to time to all kinds of reputation problems emerging from a barrage of different factors. You or an employee may have spoken harshly to a customer – a comment online got out of hand and the response goes viral. This incident might have slipped from the minds of the public years ago – but the Internet never forgets.
A hiccup years ago could still follow a company like a black cloud and cause them to lose business.
There are two types of Reputation Management – Proactive and Reactive;
Reactive reputation management is necessary after negative results reveal themselves in list results. The focus is on forcing out the negative listings from the initial page of results to diminish the impact felt by your business. This process can take quite some time, sometimes years, and should only be used as a last resort.
Proactive reputation management is much simpler and the focus is on safeguarding you against possible attacks in the future. By working hard and representing your brand well your agency helps to build your presence so that it’s easier to shield yourself if and when you come under fire at a later date.
Read more about Reactive and Proactive management here.
With the insane amount of digital channels and tactics available to us in this day and age, most companies aren’t able to cope or don’t possess the resources to cover all of their bases. A digital marketing agency has the ability to look at the big picture along with smaller specific objectives which help them to decide which media channels to spotlight. Since they generally have a methodology for evaluating vastly different client-types, prioritization of programs is an area where they are experiencing more and more demand.
10. Search Engine Registration
In a day gone by – you would have to notify the individual search engines of the creation of your webpage by registering it and only then would you be allowed to enter onto their sacred search results. Luckily for us, search engines have evolved beyond this and now are able to pick up on new web pages without direction as long as you have a searchable domain that’s been active for at least a week.
Although it’s no longer necessary – the process is still offered and many spammy SEO agencies will willingly offer the service of registration on main search engines for a fee. (If you’re dead set on registering your page, the service itself is free.)
If you see this service being offered you might think twice about working with that agency – as it could be a red flag of other hidden freebees that they’re charging you for.
Where some of the misunderstanding shows itself is with the issue of a website failing to appear for the keywords you want it to relate to. This has nothing to do with the search engine registration – instead this problem tends to be caused by human error. You can’t submit your site to any search engines and expect them to know that you want to be ranked for any given keyword.
If what you want is for your website to be shown when people search for specific keywords then you need to do both on-site optimization and off-site optimization. The keywords for which any given site ultimately gets ranked for depends on search engine algorithms and their assessment of the site relevance and authority.
11. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
A crucial step for any agency to effectively market us as clients is for them to be able to get us out into the cyber world where we’re more easily found. SEM involves a range of things from search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword research as well as competitive analysis and paid listings to name a few.
This type of Internet marketing is associated with researching, submitting and positioning of a website within search engines to achieve maximum visibility and increasing your share of paid and organic traffic referrals from search engines.
There are many scams out there that are willing to keyword stuff articles in order for you to be noticed by search engines. Keyword stuffing is the process in which they attempt to fit the target word in often without thought of flow or sense. This can be dangerous for your business as search engines will ban, delete or restrict access to your page for attempting to fool their algorithms.
12. Link Building
Links are our main mode of transportation on the web – they’re everywhere and often are offering to take us someplace interesting, they’re the Taxi Cab of the internet and they’re an important tool to make the most of.
Links aren’t the end all to all end alls in SEO, although professionals give a terrific bit of credit to the search engines algorithms for Link-correlated factors. There are at least 10 reasons why link building is important -Through links, engines have the ability to analyze the popularity of websites and pages based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them; they’re also able to detect other merits such as trust, spam, and authority. Trustworthy sites usually link to other trusted sites; meanwhile spam filled pages receive few to no links from trusted sources.
Knowing where to place your links and finding appropriate places to display links that will bring in your target audience can be a daunting task if you’re a self starter like many of us these days – the benefit here of a reputable digital marketing agency is that they’re able to delve into their network and find a similar company with similar consumers and are able to back link you from a reputable location!
13. Link Back to Your Landing Page
It’s important for your links to go somewhere – the ideal place of course is back to you. Links that bring people back to your landing page is essential to bringing in customers. Once at your page it’s your time to shine – by showing them interesting and relevant content they’ll be more inclined to sign up for any newsletters you may be sending out in the future and then you have direct access to a vast number of clients in just a few clicks.
14. Email Marketing
Although you may think the days of the inbox are all but over – the reality is that they’re anything but. With email just an alert away from most phones – it’s easier now than ever to reel in customers by the enticing sound of an email alert.
Bringing your product directly into their inbox has many benefits – not the least of which being the ability to bring them back again and again to your page with new and exciting offers or content.
A digital marketing agency should be able to efficiently utilize this crucial tool to the fullest extent.
15. Mobile Marketing
It’s hard to deny the fact that people are glued to their phones, now more than ever. Everyone these days has a phone (including my neighbors two year old.) So why waste a perfectly ripe opportunity to get to your target audience where they’re most likely to see it? Right in the palm of their hand.