Guest Post

Guest Post: Better Branding - choosing your ensemble

Branding, as a term, is thrown around a lot these days. It’s on the verge of becoming a meaningless snippet of jargon instead of a descriptor for one of the most important aspects of your projects. 

In my experience talking with people who are working to build a business, a program, or even something low-key like a book club, people know they need to brand but aren’t sure what that’s supposed to look like.  And yet, most of us naturally perform our own natural branding everyday without even realizing it.

Let’s say you buy a cowboy hat while you’re on vacation in Mexico. It’s one of those straw numbers, with the wire brim so you can shape it as you please. You’re getting ready to go out to a concert at a pub one night, and you decide that this is one of those rare times when a straw cowboy hat will look totally cool instead of screaming, ‘I bought this after too many margaritas on the beach!’ 

Now that you’ve picked out the hat, you’re going to need an appropriate outfit to go with it. You opt for jeans, because they’re a casual staple and are pretty neutral. You pull on your vintage cowboy shirt, look in the mirror, and realize you’ve gone too far towards ‘dude ranch’, so you switch it up for a well-worn tee with a faded stallion on the front. Better. Now the message is, ‘I’m a hot young college kid with a sense of adventure who wears a cowboy hat ironically.’

Great, but what if we switched it up and put you in a full black suit? The cowboy hat would now appear to sit atop the head of a Johnny Cash fanatic, or a mobster who accidentally grabbed the wrong hat on his way out the door. A huge part of branding is finding a look/feel that represents what you’re offering/doing/making.

It’s more complicated than hats, of course, but the first steps are fairly simple. Choosing brand colors, for example, is like our cowboy friend deciding between a blue tee-shirt or a pink one. Setting standardized fonts that you’ll use on all your materials is like Cowboy choosing between a black tee, a black tank, or a black fishnet number: they’re all shirts, but they all send different messages.

It’s time to establish what your branding is going to say about you. Is your company a black skinny tie, or a pair of tap shoes? Whatever you figure out, start putting the whole ensemble together. if it ends up looking like the equivalent of a spandex-wearing gymnast sporting a cowboy hat while rocking’ a pair of black-and-white wing tips, you may need to regroup and try again. But give yourself some slack: we all have our fashion fail moments. 

Jordan Kent-Baas is co-author of the award-nominated blog Project: Priceless—The Free Wedding Experiment, and Project: Priceless—the NEST (the newlywed experience).  You can connect with Jordan via her blogs at, on Facebook at, or on twitter, under her handle @projectpricelss.

Guest Post: How To Attract Customers with a Mobile Phone

I recently met Nathan Richer, owner of Virtual Alchemy, at the Orleans Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase and was thrilled when he agreed to write a guest post for the blog.  Nathan specializes in Internet Marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and is a wealth of great information.

Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt was quoted saying “Mobile is pretty much the answer on everything”. In fact, the search engine giants are considering “mobile first” for all future endeavours. This makes sense since there are about 5.3 billion mobile users compared to a paltry 1.7 billion Internet users.

Google is preparing for the Mobile future….are you?

There are several ways you can attract and retain customers/clients through the use of mobile marketing but today I wanted to focus on Text Message Marketing.

What is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing is similar to e-mail marketing but using mobile phone numbers instead of e-mails. You build a database of mobile numbers which provides you with the ability to send out text messages to your faithful followers.

I want to be clear that I am not talking about spamming people with useless advertisements. Instead, text message marketing can be a great tool for offering value to your customers and building long lasting relationships along the way.

Who Can Use Text Message Marketing?

Any business that is looking to communicate and build relationships with their customers or clients. It is an excellent opportunity to add value to your customers overall experience.

Some of the ideal businesses that use text message marketing include:

  • Restaurants

  • Retail Stores

  • Event Organizers

  • Real Estate Agents

  • Night Clubs

  • Schools

  • Churches

  • Fitness Studios

  • Medical Professionals

The list goes on and on…

How Does Text Message Marketing Work?

A business will need to purchase a mobile marketing platform to set up campaigns, store mobile phone numbers, send messages and even set up appointments. There are some pretty good and inexpensive mobile platforms out there so be sure to shop around. Be prepared for a monthly fee as most platforms charge based on the number of text messages delivered.

Once you sign up for your mobile platform you will be given a short code, which is just a number (usually 5 digits) that people will text your “Keyword” to. Next you will have to create a “Keyword” that represents your business or promotion. Often this keyword will be your business name or something related to your services or products.

The mobile platforms are generally user friendly and shouldn’t take long to set up. Once it is up and running you will need to start building your mobile database by promoting this service.

How to Promote Your Mobile Marketing Campaign

Here are a few examples how you can build a mobile database.

Restaurant Owner
Set up a tent card on your tables that says “Text Restaurant to 54321 for Exclusive Coupons”. Next time your restaurant is experiencing a slow day, just send out a text message that reads “Show this text to your server before 10 pm and receive 10% off your meal”.

Since text messages have a 97% open rate, your restaurant will be busy in no time.

Real Estate Agent
Put a message on your lawn sign that says “Text House to 98764” and have your mobile platform send an automated response with the details of that house. Not only are you providing details of your listing but you are also building a list of potential buyers that you now have access to.

Professionals are able to use Mobile Marketing to record mobile numbers and set-up appointments. This will allow you to automatically send a text message to your client reminding them of their upcoming appointment.

These are just a few examples how you can use text message marketing to increase your revenue while providing value to your customers or clients.

The mobile industry is going to continue growing so now is the time to consider adding text message marketing into your overall marketing plan.

Thanks for the great post Nathan!  I would adore it if my doctor or dentist texted me to remind me of appointments!  Go visit Nathan at Virtual Alchemy to learn more about SEO and Internet marketing - he’s got a great promotion on a web evaluation going on right now!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Social SEO and You

I met Brandon this summer at Social Capital. He’s a wealth of information and I’m thrilled that he’s agreed to do a guest series on the blog about social SEO. Enjoy!

Brandon is a consultant, business marketing grad, strategist, house music junkie, avid reader, speaker, and coffee fiend. He likes to make and break stuff, currently working in the Light Apps division at Corel and the CEO of his own start-up Incentify.

You can find him @BrandonWaselnuk



Many people have heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) especially when starting a new business/blog/website (or all of the above) but not many know how easy it can be to get started with SEO.
The focus of this post is to look at Social Media and how it can affect your SEO positively with easy techniques anyone can use to get a little extra out of their content and efforts.
There are four main sections that we’ll take a look at:

  • Basic SEO principles

  • Facebook Posts

  • Twitter

  • Video

In order to give you a portable asset I’ve built a power point presentation you can download at the bottom of the post with all of the content.

Basic SEO Principles

Starting with the absolute basics is always the best way to get your head in the SEO game. What most of you probably intuitively know is: in social media people share content that is awesome. So the more awesome you can put into your content, the more likely it’ll get shard, leading to increased SEO for the source you linked back to.
What some of you might not know is this quick list on some easy SEO tips.

Linking in posts

When you reference a book in your post, link to that book, the more outbound links you have the better your SEO according to Google. Remember though, you don’t want to send your potential clients/readers away from your site too often, so use sparingly and always make the link open in a new window.

Using tags effectively

When you finish a post you can always add tags to it that help others know what it’s about. This is also catalogued by Google and used when people search something with those keywords you used as tags. Remember that ‘stuffing’ (adding fake keywords you know are being searched) actually reduces your SEO, so don’t tag Justin Bieber randomly! Unless, you know, you’re actually writing about him.

Use a Site Tree for ‘crawling’

When you develop a website you have the ability of keeping an accessible site tree for users to navigate around with rather than just letting them browse via buttons. It’s really good idea to have it for more than just your readers though, Google spiders crawl site trees far more easily than without which actually ups your SEO.

Use Keyword (Google trends will help you!)

Identifying the keywords that your target audience is using is a pretty big endeavour (and a whole series of blog posts on its own) but if you have some then try to make sure you use them throughout your web pages. Just be really careful not to overload on them, if you pass a certain threshold (sources say that’s anywhere from 6%-15% of this word existing compared to other words) your SEO decreases as Google thinks you’re cheating.

Use keywords in Page Titles and URL links

If you have one keyword that’s the most searched, its best if that’s included directly in the Page title and URL link. Imagine you’re writing a post on a new iPhone App, you would want iPhone and App in your URL as it’s an incredibly highly searched term compared to ‘pumpkin’ or ‘cell phone’ for example.

Use phrases and words people will search for

Something that’s difficult to think of at first is: “How will a potential reader find my site?” I could bet they aren’t typing in your name (unless you’re doing marketing around that) but more than likely searching on your area of expertise, that’s where you want your keywords to be so that they can find you. Example: I’m a business strategist and really love helping clients make strategic plans from social media to product launches. It’s rare that someone will Google Brandon Waselnuk as I’m young and just starting my career. I know though that they are probably searching “Benchmarks for Product Roadmaps” so I should author a post around that and fill it with other great keywords!

That’s all for now

It’s a heavy set of information I’ve just brain dumped on you and you’re probably itching to try out some of the tips and tricks. So at this point I’ll recommend you download the slide deck and at your leisure read through the rest of the content.

You can also check back about a week from now and I’ll have written on the next major topic, Facebook Posts and SEO.

Before you go though, let me know if you like  this format in the comments, and as always if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them.

Enhanced by Zemanta