How to Brand and Market Yourself

While many business owners are already familiar with the process of creating a brand strategy, few people understand that the same rules can apply while marketing and branding themselves. Whether you’re job seeking or hoping to increase your exposure in a particular field, learning how to brand and market yourself is essential if you want to make an unforgettable first impression.

What is a Personal Brand Strategy and Do I Really Need One?

A brand strategy is all about perception, in other words, how people see you. From the very first introduction your personal brand strategy defines who you are, what makes you unique, and what you offer the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re the face of a brand or the man behind a dark curtain, the goal of creating a personal brand strategy is to help differentiate yourself from others, and to develop a consistent professional image that becomes your “trademark.” The more you’re aware of your strengths, your assets, and also what makes you invaluable, you’ll have the confidence to sell yourself to potential employers and prospects. Of course you need one!

5 Tips to Brand Yourself

Before you begin the process of branding yourself you’ll need to take some time and jot down what makes you interesting and an asset in your field. You likely have many unique traits that you bring to the world, and now’s the time to focus on those while sharing your experiences. Experiences are valuable and will help build your credibility and expertise. The following tips will help you develop a concise personal brand strategy so that you can effectively represent and market yourself.

1. Be Consistent

Consistency is key when you’re developing a brand strategy whether it’s personal or business. Writers are known for having a voice that’s unique to themselves. Musicians have a certain style. Actors and actresses have a look that while adaptable, sets them apart from everyone else in the entertainment industry. The consistency of your image is essential in building your name.

2. Increase Visibilty

The first and most obvious place to increase your visibility is on social media. Branding is becoming increasingly more important, as corporations rely on professional networks to scout potential employees and to discover brand influencers. If you’re not visible on enough social networks, you’re selling yourself short from being discovered. Tighten up your LinkedIn profile, stay active on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and share public posts that are interesting and important to you so that followers have an understanding of who you are. It’s really all about creating a consistent and marketable image that across the board, remains the same.

3. Engage Others

Besides writing or sharing content, you need to share dialogue with others so that they share a sense of familiarity with you. This means you need to ask questions and interact with other people so they don’t just see you as a face, but rather a person in which they can relate. Your reputation will drive your brand image, so stay professional and ensure that fans and followers have a positive experience when communicating with you.

4. Share Your Passions

Passion is contagious. Are you uplifting and inspiring others in your daily life? Your personal brand strategy tells the world what you stand for and what you’re all about. Identifying your goals and working towards them passionately ensures others will see you, the way you see yourself.

5. Build Your Own Website

While it shouldn’t always be all about you, building your own personal website provides you the opportunity to share your thoughts, musings, and professional portfolio, all in one place. Make sure you have an updated resume and summary of your skills on your site, as well as samples or links to your other work. Share your personal website on social networks and encourage shares. In addition, make sure you follow and link to other websites that carry your same message to reinforce your professional image.

Success Lies in Your Hands

Once you’ve identified your audience and have sharpened your personal brand image, you’ll be more successful in both your personal and professional ventures. A brand strategy is not just about a business, it’s about the person or the people behind it. These tips for building a powerful brand strategy will help you deliver your message to the right people, at the right time. And as they say, timing is everything!

Mobile Marketing

How PokeMon Go Can Boost Your Business

Do you run or help promote a local business?

Interested in taking advantage of the latest gaming craze?

Pokémon Go is close to topping the number of daily users on Twitter and average time spent on the Facebook app. That’s why it’s time for your business to capitalize on it.

In this article, you’ll discover how you can boost your business’s social media engagement with Pokémon Go.

#1: Invite People to Play at Your Business

Your first step to boosting social media engagement via Pokémon Go is to get players to your business.

Use your social channels to invite people to come play at your location, like Monroe Bank & Trust. Better yet, turn it into a contest! Just be sure to follow the rules on each social network, like Facebook.

#2 Offer Free Wi-Fi and Charging Stations

If you want Pokémon Go players to play at your business, there are two vital things they’ll need: Wi-Fi and charging stations. Use your social channels and window signage to let people know that you offer both so they’ll feel welcome to play.

#3: Ask Players to Tag Their Photos

To make sure your business gets some social exposure, ask players to share their favorite Pokémon photos taken at your business and tag your business when they do.

Depending on which social network they share to, they can either tag your business in the post or tag it as the location they were playing at. Either will give your business some social media engagement among the player’s audience, and further if they share the post publicly.

Be sure to look for public mentions so you can thank players for coming and further engage with your customers and fans!

#4: Encourage Players to Check in While Playing

Another way to boost your social engagement (and local Facebook page credibility) is to encourage players to check in while playing. Hopefully the check-ins will either lead to more players coming to your business or new reviews on your Facebook page.

#5: Get Players to Take Pictures of Pokémon With Your Products

Another option is to incentivize customers to play Pokémon and share their pics on social media. Ask players to aim Pokémon on products they want to buy, and each photo they share with a product tagged with your business name will get them a special discount!

Be sure to start by showing your customers how to do it on your Facebook page, Instagram, and other social profiles.

#6: Encourage Players to Share With Snapchat Memories

Snapchat isn’t completely out of the loop when it comes to Pokémon Go, thanks to the new Memories feature. Although you can’t get customers to add your custom geofilter to their snaps from Memories, you can encourage players to share snaps of catching Pokémon inside your business (using Memories and their camera roll).

#7: Film Pokémon Players

This could go a number of ways. Your employees could film players (with their permission, of course) while they’re “on the hunt” for some Pokémon. Or they could film players after they’ve successfully caught a special Pokémon and have them show off their Pokédex. Depending on the space, you could even have a drone fly over a large group of players congregating at a Gym.

Consider filming videos for live platforms like Facebook or Snapchat, or upload videos later to Facebook, Instagram, and so on.

In a “these results are not typical” kind of way, an animal shelter in Indiana came up with the idea to pair Pokémon Go players with shelter dogs so that players could play and walk the dogs at the same time. The idea was so creative that Facebook sent a team to film it and the video was featured on news outlets nationwide.

Author credit: Kristi Hines

Social Media

5 New Marketing Trends You Tried to Ignore

Yep! You can teach an old dog new tricks. Check out the following 5 new marketing trends you haven’t considered doing…yet.


Specialists predict that by 2017, 70% of online traffic will be videos. Gone are the days of the television. If you want to reach your target audience you need to go where they go- their phones! As mobile technology continues to rise, video technology will become even more powerful. For best results, consider creating a series of videos that engage the viewer and invite them back with anticipation for the next big reveal.

Facebook Live Streaming

Take one. There is no two or three. Live streaming is one of the hottest marketing trends to date, and shows no sign of slowing down. Whether it’s on Twitch or on Facebook, live streams allow your audience to interact with you one-on-one, in real time. The most important thing to remember about this digital marketing trend is that your stream should be exciting to encourage viewers. Save the boring, non-essential details of the day, and focus on worthy company launches, products, services, and news.

User-Generated Content

Do your customers promote you? User-generated content is a hot new trend in marketing that enables you to put your customers in the driver seat.

Whether it’s blogs or recommendations, user-generated content is a trusted and reliable way to influence future buyers. Rather than write generic, run-of-the-mill copy, consider building brand awareness by reaching out to your audience and encouraging them to review your business and share their experience. You can do this by way of encouraging online reviews on Yelp, or asking for shares and testimonials on your social networks. Better yet, ask for guest blog post submissions and stories about your product and brand, and hold a contest for the entries.

Social Influencers

While your company might not be able to afford a celebrity spokesperson, you can still find a social influencer that will help you connect with your audience. Influencers gain followers through blogs, live feeds, and their visibility on social networks. If you can capture the attention of an influencer in your industry, you might be able to get them to talk publically about your brand and endorse it. Since influencers already have their own following, a mere mention of your product or company can launch you in the spotlight. How can you do this? Simple. Reach out! Discover the leading trendsetters in your industry and connect with them personally. A tweet, a share, or a personal message can set the domino-effect in motion, so think outside the box and go where your audience is.


More than advertising, storytelling takes customers on a personal journey. Convey your unique brand message to your audience and entertain them by learning the art of storytelling in your marketing. Your readers don’t want to be bored with numbers and facts. Relating to them on an emotional level is a fresh and honest approach that will help build brand trust, and keep customers coming back for more.

While traditional marketing methods have long been successful in creating brand exposure, Internet technology has increased advertising options significantly. When you’re deciding which mediums to invest in, consider these 5 new marketing trends first. Digital media can help you create a loyal brand following, at the lowest cost.

Do you need campaign ideas or digital marketing inspiration? Contact gotcha! Mobile Solutions today to learn more about our award-winning suite of digital advertising services.

Digital MarketingMobile Marketing

How to Launch a Successful Business By Writing One Sentence

Good copy helps websites attract people and gain new business. No matter how much time or money you invest in your website content or blogs, nothing will ever be more important than the description of your company, in one sentence.

Digital Marketer’s Ryan Deiss shares the most crucial sentence you should craft to launch a successful business.

I have GREAT news…

The buyer of your new product or service is EXTREMELY predictable. They only care about one thing:

What’s in it for me?

I’m about to show you two simple exercises that answer this question for your prospective customer in a single, crystal clear sentence. This sentence is the foundation of your marketing and the reason your business, product or brand deserves to exist. You can use it in your…

Company tagline
Elevator pitch
Headlines (on sales pages, blog posts, presentations, etc)
Product descriptions
… and virtually any other marketing communications you’ll create to launch your new business, product or brand.

Determine the “Before and After”

You’ve likely heard some variation of this before:

“People don’t buy features, they buy benefits.”

The story goes that people don’t go to the hardware store to buy a drill. They go to the hardware store to buy a hole.

In fact, they don’t even want the hole — they want, for example, the feeling of satisfaction and happiness of seeing a family portrait hanging on the wall. They need the drill and the hole to get that outcome.

What is the outcome your prospects are searching for?

Picture your prospective buyer in their ‘Before’ state. They have yet to experience your product or service. They are unsatisfied. Discontent. Perhaps even angry, frightened or frustrated. What is causing this unhappiness?

Now, picture them with your product or service — what has changed in their ‘After’ state? What outcome or benefit have they received as a result of doing business with you?

Ask yourself these questions about your customer’s ‘After’ state:

What do they have? – “I used to have a leaky roof (‘Before’ state) but now I have a dependable, leak proof roof.” (‘After’ state)
How do they feel? – “I used to be worried about the future of my family if I were to die (‘Before’ state), but now that I have life insurance, I have peace of mind.” (‘After’ state)
How is their average day different? – “I used to drive to work every morning in my boring old car (‘Before’ state), now I’m excited to drive to work in my fancy new car.” (‘After’ state)
How has their status changed? – “I used to be a good father to my children (‘Before’ state), but now I am “Super Dad” because I bought the whole family tickets to Disney.” (‘After’ state)
It’s important that you determine your customer’s ideal ‘After’ state because…

Good marketing (and copywriting) simply articulates the move from the ‘Before state’ to the ‘After’ state.
Good marketing articulates the move from the Before state to the After state.

Once you know your customer’s ideal ‘After’ state, you simply need to be able to describe it in your marketing. To do that, you’ll need…

Exercise 2 – Create a Statement of Value (SOV)

If you want to describe the value your business or product or brand brings to the market — and you should because it’s all your prospects care about — you need to complete this sentence:

_____________ enables _____________ to experience _____________.
Here’s how to fill in the blanks on this Statement of Value (SOV)…

The first blank should contain the name of your product or service. Alternatively, go broader by inserting your brand or product name.

The second blank should describe your customer.

The third blank should describe the customer’s desired ‘After’ state.

Let’s look at some example Statements of Value…

Weight Watchers enables overweight people to experience a simple, proven system for losing weight and feeling confident about themselves.

Lego enables children of all ages to experience the joy and challenge of building something that is uniquely theirs.

These first two examples are Statements of Value for brands or companies and fairly generic customers. Let’s look at an example of a single product targeting a more specific customer…

Company: State Farm
Product: Homeowners Insurance
Customer: Home owners in areas prone to natural disaster
Statement of Value: State Farm homeowners insurance enables home owners in areas prone to natural disaster to experience peace of mind that their home and finances are secure.

Once State Farm is clear on the value they bring to this specific customer for this product, they simply need to articulate it in their marketing. Notice how this Facebook ad from State Farm remains congruent with the Statement of Value. Notice how it speaks to the customer’s ideal ‘After’ state. Notice how it speaks directly to the “What’s in it for me?” the prospect cares about.

Before you create a new business, product or brand — you need clarity on the value you bring to market.

Take some time to fill in the blanks on your Statement of Value.

Author Ryan Deiss
Digital Marketer

Content Marketing

5 Things That Will Boost Your Local SEO

Having your website perform well in the results page of a search can play a vital role on the success of your business. This is why there are a number of companies that invest a lot of money on SEO practices to help them achieve this goal. Because there is now a growing demand for this, it can be difficult for businesses to reach a good SEO spot. Even if you are working at improving your local SEO ranking, it could still not be enough to get you the results you need. With so many other companies vying for local visibility, it’s important to know the things that truly matter in local SEO.

While most SEO practices are still applicable in today’s time and age, it pays to know a few other things. Considering nearly everyone uses their smartphone to help them with their everyday tasks, it helps to know how best you can make use of this medium to have a strong local search presence. Here are 5 things that will boost your local SEO:

Claim Company Profiles and Local Listing Pages

With so many different local listing websites available, it is so easy to improve your local rankings without costing a lot of time and effort. There are a number of websites to choose from, which is why it is recommended that you claim your company page on websites such as Google My Business, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp, Foursquare, and There are also industry-specific business directories that you can take advantage of to help your business be recognized by your target market.

An important piece of advice to remember when you are claiming such listings, is that you have to keep your information up to date. This means you have to ensure that you have input the correct location, phone number, operating hours, and any other information that will make it easier for potential customers to find you. Whenever you make a change to one of these, you should also change it on these websites.

Depending on the local listing websites you use, you may need to verify that you are indeed the owner of the business. You will have to either verify your email address or send in the PIN code they send via mail. This helps confirm that you are the right representative of the business.

Optimize Your Website

If you have a website, you need to make sure that it appeals to the algorithm of search engines but remains readable for humans. To improve your local SEO, you need to use the right keywords. However, you have to be careful in how you use keywords as they can hurt your rankings; particularly if they have been used poorly. Remember that through the years, search engines have been modified to recognize websites and pages filled with keywords for the hopes of upping its SEO ranking. These search engines are able to identify which websites do these and penalize them. Apart from that, customers don’t really enjoy looking at websites purely devoted to keywords.

Instead of focusing too much on your keywords, opt for providing quality links, reviews and just a few strategic keywords. You should also make sure your content is suitable so you can have more people visit your page and find it useful.

Make Sure Your Website is Responsive

We live in a time wherein information is accessed through smartphones and tablets. This is how majority of websites are currently being accessed. As such, you have to make sure your website is responsive to mobiles and tablets so you can attract customers to visit it. Otherwise, your customers will look for other alternatives on where they can find a business similar to yours.

Investing in a responsive website can help transform your business and build its success.

Encourage Customer Reviews

One of the best ways you can earn the trust of potential new customers is through your website. You can ask your past customers to leave behind a review of how well they enjoyed dealing with your business. And when you have enough positive reviews, your online credibility and trust can be built for future customers.

A good way you can invite customers to leave a review is to let them know which websites you are on. And while there are other businesses that offer incentives for leaving behind a review, it is not always a guarantee that you will have positive reviews. The things that would are excellent customer service and an even better product.

Make Use of Social Media

Social media has revolutionized how people do certain things. Almost everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even on all three websites. In order to build your local SEO, you need to identify which social media platforms will work best for your business. As much as you can, interact with your followers regularly and upload fresh content. When possible, advertise local events, offer discounts for residents, and even sponsor a local team. These things will help build your brand as people will look for your information online.

These things are organic ways you can boost your local SEO. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on it but with the right techniques and practices, you can be successful with building your brand online. Need help boosting your local SEO? Contact gotcha! today.


14 Summertime Digital Marketing Ideas

Written by Catherine Marsden

With days getting longer, kids home from school, and the backyard grill calling your name, it’s easy to give digital marketing a pass during the summer months. However, this approach can backfire come Labor Day when inbound sales leads have slowed to a trickle and your largest customer let’s you know she is leaving for a competitor.

Rather than completely taking your digital marketing off the boil this summer, here are 14 free marketing strategies to give your brand a refresh, and keep your summer sales sizzling.

14 simple digital marketing tactics to do this summer:

Update your branding
De-clutter your website. Fixing broken links, revising outdated contact information or changing an old profile picture can improve your website’s performance and improve your visitors’ first impression.

Dust off your blog
When it comes to digital marketing, content and consistency are king. Summer is not the time to let your blog go cold. Stay in touch with your readers and provide useful content that answers their questions, even in summer.

Create a new sales handout
On a simple 8.5 x 11 explain who you are and what services your company provides. Keep the branding consistent with your website and have a few of these printed up for the next time you meet with a new prospect or head to a networking event.

Revisit your January business goals
Remember when you were super-charged and set those amazing 10X goals back in January? As the mid-point of the year, summer is a great time to circle back with those goals and see how your business is doing. Remember this isn’t supposed to be a blame game. Just spend some time with these goals, set new priorities and make adjustments, if necessary. The point is to re-charge, renew and reinvigorate your business.

Review your LinkedIn profile. Check whether your LinkedIn profile is up to date with your most recent positions, job titles, awards and skills.

Reach out to your network
It’s a misperception that you need to be executing a large sales campaign on LinkedIn in order to use it effectively. I find the simple things done consistently can have big payoffs. Send a message to a colleague or friend and tell them what you are up to. Better yet, send them an article of interest, and expect nothing in return. Manage your recommendations. Secure one new recommendation for your profile and delete one that is from a long time ago.

Facebook Business Page
Add new services to your business page: Facebook allows you to add in new products and services to tell visitors what your company is all about. For directions on how to add products and services, click here.

Verify your business page
This only takes a few minutes, but doing so will help improve your organic reach. Head into the Settings tab on your business page and click “Verify page”. Facebook will either call a number you give them or send you a code via text message. Once entered, your business page will receive a check mark on it indicating it has been verified, and reward you with increased organic reach.

Update your FB background/cover photo

Just like a store window that needs to be changed to fit the season, you can refresh a stale Facebook business page with a summer-theme.

Build your skills
Take a class. Summer is a perfect time to up your digital marketing game by taking a class or watching a webinar.

Email Marketing
Clean up your email contact list. Gather up those business cards and enter any new contacts that you want to stay in touch with and eliminate duplicates.

Launch an end-of-summer contest or event
Use email marketing during the summer months to spread the news about a free give-away or special promotion.

Retweet or share a customer’s tweet. Staying active on Twitter is as easy as using your cell phone during your free time. Rather than reading your email while at the doctor’s office or when waiting in line, tweet, share or comment on a Twitter post.

Newsjack a summer event. Newsjacking happens when a company adds a clever twist to a current event in the news. Keep an eye on the headlines and see if something doesn’t pop out at you this summer. Create a clever meme or snag a headline by adding your own perspective on a current event.

Distribute Summer Gift Cards

It doesn’t matter whether you own a store or a small business. A summer gift card is an easy way to get more customers flowing in through the front door! Offer decent discounts on your services to ensure people get interested.

Mobile Marketing

5 Summertime Marketing Ideas

Summer is the perfect time of year to launch a campaign that drives new customers and increases brand loyalty. Get inspired by the following 5 summertime marketing ideas, and give your customers a well deserved break from ho-hum sales.

Giveaways- What’s better than free? Your customers LOVE to be appreciated and provided the opportunity to score some cool swag for a change. Clear the remaining winter and spring inventory off your shelves and send it off into the universe. Host a social media giveaway, and ask for subscribers while you do it. You’ll get rid of the old, and make room for new loyal followers who are excited to learn more about your company.

Creative Summer Sales- From a small purchase discount to a birthday or summer soireee sale, gift your customers the opportunity to indulge in something, and make it easy on the pocketbook as well. Because summer usually involves vacation, activities, and extra household spending, your customers will appreciate a promotion while the dog days of summer leave their wallets strapped for cash.

I you want to incorporate a feel-good cause for support, why not offer customers something free or discounted in exchange for donated goods or services.

Stock Up on Promotional Items- Build brand awareness and loyalty with creative promotional products that represent your company, as well as the season. From sunglasses to water bottles, now is the time to pass out logo gear in a variety of materials and bright colors. Invite your customers in through email or social media announcements, and be sure to attract new curbside traffic by drawing attention to your storefront.

Host a Party- Nowhere to go? Get dressed up anyway. Throw a summer party right at your local business and make it themed for summertime as well as your products. Whether it’s a tropical getaway or a sightseeing escapade, dress the part and send out invites to your loyal customers via email, mail, and of course on social media, to promote your company summer bash. Consider extending store hours to accommodate sales and new customers.

Be Fun- People love to support a business that’s bustling with life and energy. When the sun starts shining, fill your vases with flowers, place bright balloons around your door, and use sidewalk chalk in bright colors to promote sales and new inventory. Invite people to sit aspell and take a break from the heat. Be sure to provide complimentary fresh water to keep customers comfortable as they shop.

While many shoppers retreat to the indoors and vacation while your business remain open, summertime is still an ideal season to reach out and attract new clients as well as greet the old. These 5 summertime marketing ideas will keep your sales sizzling while the temperatures soar.

AllContent Marketing

4 Psychology Tips for Better Marketing

Why are we only just starting with human marketing?

A freelance marketing and PR consultant spends considerable time analyzing marketing decisions made by businesses and observing how their audience is reacting to them, to come up with a strategy to improve sales. What has been startling over the past two years is how little most companies seem to think about the personality of their target audience. In that sense, how little we seem to have forgotten about the actual person behind the screen, the human who makes the decision to buy their product.

1) Use human psychology as a guide

Us marketers usually attempt to solve a problem by first identifying who the target customer is. Not all products are made for all audiences. You won’t sell wings to birds. To answer the Who, we ask ourselves what these people do, where they live, how they live, what they like and what motivates them to buy one product over another. But is it all we should ask? This seems obvious, but thinking about the psychology of your audience should not only come first but also guide all your future marketing endeavours.

One of the most crucial marketing trends ruling 2016 is human relationships, on which you can certainly base other elements of your marketing strategy. A good example is social media storytelling, which creates a personal interest and bond between brand and audience. Remembering your audience is made of humans is especially true when it comes to online marketing, an industry that sometimes forgets users have brains, feelings and needs.

2) Focus on basic emotions and feelings

But why are we so late jumping on the human marketing wagon? Thinking about others, in the most basic and human way possible, when focusing on a particular audience should be an innate principle, and a inherent action even for marketers. This doesn’t mean marketers should have a psychology degree, but infusing marketing with more psychology shall build a brighter future for businesses.

Study the mechanics of the mind to build a reaction. As a start, use the 8 basic human emotions (joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation) and 8 basic human feelings (optimism, love, submission, awe, disappointment, remorse, contempt, and aggression) in your audience analysis. These should guide a marketing strategy, as much as natural instincts and reflexes should. What exactly do you want to achieve? Forget sales for a minute. What psychological impact do you want your campaign to have? Put simply, provoke emotions of trust and joy through your marketing and advertising (in the aesthetics and the message conveyed) to build a feeling of optimism towards your brand.

A simple way to have an insight into your audience psychology is to put yourself in their shoes. Who is your typical customer? What are they looking for? What makes sense to them, and what matters most? What emotion drives their search, and what feeling does your product procure them? Are they easily influenceable, and is their emotion contagious in their group? There are hundreds of questions to answer, but this effort leads to a prize: to become your customer’s best friend, before anything else.

3) Make primitive marketing for primal understanding

In our attempt to conduct a more ‘primitive’ marketing, planted on basic human instincts,emotions and feelings, let’s focus on the area of intent. What are the series of movements and reasons behind the physical purchase? What was the customer’s initial intention? Intent plays a powerful role when it comes to online searches and SEO strategy. It is vital for online businesses to consider the human brain behind the typed keywords, and the user’s real intention rather than trying to change their habits.

Bringing humanity back in marketing is a successful formula that can be proven by the viral nature of visual content like infographics and native videos. These play with our basic reactions to bold, bright coloured information, in a primal and innate way, making information easier to remember. The visual nature of human memory is key in the quest of spreading a message, wanting a slogan, a logo or key product information remembered.

4) Become a friend brand

Trust and optimism are a winning pair for advertising and marketing, with ´friend´ brands becoming house guests and household names through regular, ‘homey’ campaigns for products that will immediately respond to their audience’s needs. Mac Donald’s and Apple are now our family friends, using our human nature as the common denominator between brand and consumer, quite rightfully, and our personal experience and stories to develop their mission: anticipating what we will need next before we know it. Facebook is mastering this, with an impressive 63% penetration still in 2015 (Comscore) but its example must be taken with a pinch of salt.

A huge mistake made by not only companies but also agencies throughout the world is neglecting the human in us (social animals) through hyper connectivity. There is now such thing as social media overdose, and social media growth has been plateauing since 2013 (only the over 65s age group is still growing, according to Smart Insights). The last two years have shown us a new, clear movement of social media bashing (users’ desire to ‘leave’ and regain freedom, or in some cases, to ‘quit’, like a bad habit). The reason? Internet connections were supposed to create a valuable and meaningful connection, but they are now often irrelevant and invading. Brands must find the subtle way to be at home with their customer, discreetly snoozing on the sofa – and never becoming a nuisance.

Opting for human marketing can only lead in a deeper, truer bond between brand and customers. Newer business models using cooperation and inclusion as principles show a greater, longer and more ‘constructive’ success. The create/participate model (used by Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, Trip Advisor, Yelp…) shows us that success lies in the intersection between the ‘citizen’ customer and the ‘user’. An audience personally contributing to your success will take greater pleasure and care for the longevity of this success.

Originally posted on the Jennifer Hakim Communications blog.

Mobile Marketing

5 Facts Small Businesses Should Know About Local SEO

Without a doubt, businesses throughout the world all have one thing in common, and that is to bring in more customers to their establishments. No matter how big or small the business is, it is really important for the owner to be able to draw in more people to do business with. Otherwise, they’ll end up having to close the business since there is no way for them to sustain it. One suitable way a company can gain new business is to make sure it targets the right people in his specific geographic location; especially if the business is new. Thankfully, the internet has now given these business owners various ways they can let their prospect customers find them.

But when it comes to utilizing these tools to attract customers, it is important to use them properly. Otherwise, the tool won’t be used to its full potential and it would not lead to good results for the business owner. If you are a business owner, it is important that you know how you can properly target customers to your location. The good news is that you can optimize your online visibility to your local search engine optimization (SEO).

And with the success of this tool, there’s no surprise why search engines seem to be updating itself with new trends every now and then. Because of these changes, companies have been able to place a better local footprint on the results page of search engines. This gives them a tremendous amount of opportunity to be more visible locally and get better exposure of their business and brand to the audience they truly target. In a way, this gives them an edge as it helps make their strategy work for their benefit. Of course, the success of their local SEO search efforts is translated into sales.

The problem is, optimizing local SEO can be very tricky. It doesn’t only end with learning about customary SEO terms and practices, you will also need to continuously do your research on what works in SEO. In this time and age, your visibility online can make or break your brand. Considering the fact that SEO practices continually change, it’s important that you know how things work every time. So how are you to make sure that local SEO works to your advantage? Here are 5 things you need to know about local SEO as a small business owner:

Accurate and Consistent Online Listing

As a business, you want customers to be able to find you and your vital information: your NAP. This stands for the Name, Address and Phone Number. In some cases, it could even be NAP+W (W= Website). Every local optimizer knows how important all these information is. The problem however, is that the accuracy and consistency of these data can be a problem.

A number of users have become discouraged to discover that the business they are looking for online does not update these information whenever they change something. And in truth, there is a large number of businesses who know their NAP+W is no longer updated yet they know that many of their customers rely on the internet for such information. Despite this, many businesses believe they do not have the time to update the information anymore.

As a business owner, you have to remember that these inaccuracies can kill your local SEO. No matter how serious you are with your business, it will be questioned by those who are unable to find updated information of your NAP. This is why you really have to be vigilant and be careful of updating your NAP.

Maximize Directory Listings

Nowadays, there are so many websites that offer directory listings of various companies in their vicinity. So in reality, it’s very easy for your brand to be listed on such websites. The only question is how you will be able to make use of the local directory website to its full potential. It might be very tedious and time-consuming work for you to create a local listing, but in the end, it can be beneficial for your business if you want it to rank on local SEO search. As much as possible, you should fill up the required information on the directory so you can let it work for your advantage.

Researchers have discovered that when a customer looks for a listing, he will want to see the following:
• Address
• Phone number
• General proximity to location
• Hours of operation
• Company name
• Website
• Prices
• General product or service info
• Ratings or reviews
• Compare features, services, other info.
• Forms of payment accepted
As much as you can, try to complete each of these items as every added citation adds to your local SEO uptick. The more complete your online listing is, the better it will be for potential customers to trust your business and patronize it.

Optimize Social Media

Social media has played an important role in everyone’s lives. To this extent, businesses can thrive on local SEO even if they don’t have their own website. As long as they are active on social media, customers can still find them easily. Once a business does not have its own website, its traffic gets redirected to another local listing or a page. This is why it is recommended that you make your business active on websites such as Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Urbanspoon. On websites such as these, they can see a star rating or a review left behind by other customers of the business.

With the new Google My Business platform rollout, experts in the field of local SEO insist that it’s very important for business owners to fill out all their needed information as accurately and completely as possible. Thanks to this tool, your customers will be able to find you easily.

Don’t Beg for Reviews

Online, the best way you can get people to trust your business is through the reviews you received from other people who have already used your services. Unfortunately, this is something you cannot force or beg other people to do. As a business owner, you can’t force people to leave a five-star review of you on social media. Instead, you can encourage users to leave a review about your business by giving them a freebie or a discount.

The main reason why you need reviews is because it can help with your local SEO. The more reviews you have, the more Google will deliver your establishment in local searches.

Never Stop Learning

As Google continues to expand its horizon and target more hyperlocal businesses, your brand should also do the same. It is best that you work with a professional company that knows the latest trends and tools Google uses to make sure that your information stays relevant and on the top results of a page. Only then will you be sure of how you can drive users to your business.

AllMobile Marketing

Are You Scaring Your Customer’s Inner Caveman?

Author credit: Liraz Margalit, PhD

When it comes to improving online customer experience, your visitors are all cavemen.

Why is this important? Because marketers, from tiny entrepreneurs to global enterprises, can unintentionally trigger adverse behavior from visitors if they don’t take psychology into account.

All day long, we humans are trapped in an endless tussle for control of our surroundings, from the big things to minutiae. Since our days dwelling in caves, we crave control because it offers comfort.

When things feel out of our control, our bodies immediately respond. Our deep subconscious floods us with tension until we can remedy things.

This neurological response is the same regardless of the loss-of-control trigger.

If you lose control of a relationship or the buzz of your phone makes you lose control of a pleasant weekend moment, you’re likely to react in the same way.

Case Study: News Content

For businesses with websites, understanding the human need for control offers a powerful tool for enhancing customer experience. In my role as a web psychologist for ClickTale, I recently helped one of the world’s largest and most influential news organizations analyze customer behavior on their website. The news organization was trying to increase video content viewing by having video load automatically on their homepage.

The video in question was slick and well designed, and its content was interesting.

But, there was one aspect the organization hadn’t considered… when a visitor comes to a website planning to read the news but sound and video suddenly jump out at them, the effect is jarring. That surprise makes visitors feel they are losing control.

What we found when we analyzed the page was that visitors tended to always click on the “pause” button as soon as they encountered the video.

Pausing the video put the control of their experience back into the visitors’ own hands.

Automatically starting the video created the opposite reaction. It increased the probability that visitors would not watch the video at all. Instead, it encouraged them to read the text located below the video – not the desired outcome!

The Expectation Factor

This response can be explained by a psychological effect called the expectation factor.

People come into situations expecting to receive something specific. Expectation factors apply to all aspects of life. You go to a job interview and expect the hiring manager to ask certain questions. You go to a birthday party and expect to eat certain foods and have a certain level of fun.

It’s important for businesses to understand that, when customers visit their websites, the expectation factor is also very much at play.

If you present your visitors with an experience that strays too much from what they anticipate, they will end up feeling a loss of control. In response, they will do things to regain the feeling of control. They might click “pause” on a video or even exit the page entirely.

In order to manage this tussle over control between websites and visitors, it’s important to also understand the power of perceived control.

Visitors like to think they are in charge of their actions. When a video plays without visitors initiating any interaction, they feel the opposite.

If a visitor feels that a website is trying to “sell” him something, or push him into viewing certain content without his choosing to do so, he will push back by trying to take back the interaction and intentionally avoid that content. This occurs deep within our subconscious and triggers biochemical prods that are part of a primitive neurological mechanism.

Danger Cues

Why do we react so strongly to encountering a video playing automatically on a website or to a cell phone alarm going off in the middle of a quiet afternoon? The reasons, it turns out, are rooted in our deepest prehistoric history.

The first humans had to be constantly on alert for changes in their environment, because unexpected sounds or sights meant only one thing: danger.

When we click on a website hoping to read an article and instead are confronted with a loud, bright video, the automatic response is not so different from that our prehistoric ancestors, walking in the forest and stumbling upon a bear or a saber-toothed tiger.

Our body reacts first to eliminate the stressor in our midst. Then, because we have an inner need to make sure our thoughts and behaviors are consistent, we then subconsciously rationalize our decision.

“If I stopped the video, it must not be interesting,” you might think to yourself.

By forcing the video upon its visitors instead of letting them choose to click “play,” the news organization significantly decreased the chances readers would have any interest in watching it.

Other Stressors

Automatic videos are not the only online situations that promote stress responses. Visitors also start to feel control slipping from their hands when they encounter very long web pages, especially those that require endless scrolling.

I’ve witnessed visitors start scrolling along a page and suddenly realize they don’t know where they are anymore. It’s a thoroughly modern phenomenon but it evokes the same fear triggers that our ancestors felt when they were in a foreign environment and suddenly didn’t know how far they were from home.

Our prehistoric ancestors used trail markers in order to not get lost. And websites that understand human psychology can also do something similar, employing sticky navigation – website menus that move with the page as the visitor scrolls, “sticking” in place and always remaining visible – to keep visitors feeling in control.

Old reactions, new triggers

From an evolutionary standpoint, if we are in control of our environment, we have a better chance of survival. While our behavior adapts to changes all the time, our evolutionary roots continue to affect us.

Even though the threats have become less obvious and sometimes are not even real, our body will generate the same autonomic reactions in response to perceived or imagined threats. The need for control is rooted deeply within us and has a subconscious impact on our online behavior too.

To avoid these threat-driven behaviors, be sure that your website or mobile app:

1.Doesn’t startle the user.
2.Behaves in the way most users expect it to.
3.Leaves the user in control at all times.

Do you need help putting your visitors back in the driver’s seat? Contact gotcha! today.

AllMobile Marketing