The topic of how to present yourself on social media is a topic we’ve discussed before. But over the course of even a few weeks, we are privy to watching companies continue to destroy reputability with consumers online time and time again. It sounds silly, perhaps even elementary (pun intended), but if you’re in the business of digital marketing there are three unbreakable rules you absolutely must follow.
Whether you’re working on a client basis or for yourself, the mantra of any person representing business interests online should be based on these unshakable pillars.
Have a thick skin
It’s simple — don’t get offended. Your target audience is not everyone (and if it is, perhaps you need to re-evaluate your marketing personas), so it stands to reason that someone will have something unfavorable to say about your business at some point.
When that moment comes about, it’s not time to sound the alarm and scorch the Earth beneath you and everyone else. Instead, reflect on why this person is saying anything in the first place, respond in a professional manner, and move on.
Everyone has an opinion, and the internet provides just enough anonymity to let everyone feel like they can weigh in without recourse. You don’t have to be a people pleaser, just a customer pleaser.
Never try to pull a fast one on the internet, as it will backfire almost 100 percent of the time. If you ever believed that no one out there has enough time in their day to research your tom-foolery to the point of cracking the code, think again. Case in point — Catfish is a show dedicated to a microcosm of what we’re talking about.
An even better, more broad example would be Reddit’s dedicated gumshoes in the subreddit /r/hailcorporate. You are familiar with Reddit, right? Anyway, this subreddit’s sole existence is based on uprooting brands from posting obviously promotional material on the website. For a website whose headline reads “The front page of the Internet,” protecting themselves and others from being scammed by companies is a perspective worth respecting.
Let others do the bragging
A little humble brag here, another there, what’s the harm right? Enough self-ingratiating posts and you will quickly turn many people away from your business. Unless it’s a part of your brand voice, it can be extremely grating and even then it’s recommended to be used sparingly.
The difference between, say, a Facebook post showing off your new office and one thanking the people who helped you set it up, is a minute one. But, it’s enough to help a person distinguish between a business that is bragging and one that is thankful.
Still feeling a bit lost? That’s okay! We’re always willing to help.
Owning a website and keeping it secure is a full-time job in today’s world. Whether you’re trying to keep it mobile-friendly or merely protect it from the latest rounds of hackers and exploits, it’s easy to get disgruntled with the whole process and just cross your fingers hoping for the best.
Scams are a dime a dozen, and they spare no expense when it comes to getting inside your website and costing you incalculable amounts of money. Last time, we talked about SEO scams and what to watch out for. But, today, our blog focuses on some common domain name scams and what to watch out for when someone tries to pull a fast one on you.
What is a domain name?
To know what a domain scam is, you first must know what a domain name is. Wikipedia describes a domain name as “an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet.” It goes on to add that domain names “are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System, or DNS. Any name in the DNS is a domain name.”
If that were all you had to go off of, that all seems very technical and complicated—because it is. Scammers depend on that misunderstanding and confusion to make money off of you. In a more laymen sense, domains names are what you type into the address bar to take you to a web site.
They are a helpful marketing tool if used correctly. Making your domain name something memorable, or at least easy to remember, is key. Some companies even opt to use their domain name as a sort-of call-to-action such as www.buythisproduct.com. The mark of a great domain, however, is usually one that is short and gets the point across.
Common Domain Scams
Easily the most common domain scam you’ll see is known as domain slamming. This tactic deceives the site owner into believing they are renewing the lease on their current domain when in reality, they are signing up for a new domain that looks very similar to your own. The difference can be as minute as one letter, but it is enough to keep you out of your own website.
Scammers will essentially data-mine databases to find domains that are coming up for renewal, making this a lucrative business by targeting many web sites all at once. The scam depends on a person’s lack of attention to detail—the invoices they send look legitimate, and the easiest way to avoid falling prey to this scam is to always make sure the invoice is from the company you’ve purchased the domain from, and to double-check the domain name being renewed is yours.
Less common than slamming, is the bogus trademark protection claim. Trademark protection is pretty important to companies, as it is asset protection in a sense. Laws across the globe say that brand owners need to be seen to protect their specific brand or they will lose the right to protect it in the future.
A scammer can play on this fear by sending you a notice that basically suggests there’s an organization trying to register a domain with your branding in that country. Again playing into your unfamiliarity, they offer their help by letting you register the domain through them like they are doing you a favor.
Failing to notice these scams can result in a devastating blow to your website and business.
Needing more guidance with your web site and brand? Don’t fret, Innovations Branding House is at the ready to help you. Schedule a consultation with the experts and see what areas you need to improve on. What do you have to lose?
We’ve discussed SEO myths before, but SEO scams are a dime a dozen nowadays. In a digital medium rife with malware, adware, bloatware, and basically any other word you can attach a –ware suffix to, it should come as no surprise that their real life equivalents are just as ubiquitous.
Your business is their livelihood, so what are the warning signs you should look out for when you’re looking for assistance with your search engine optimization? Avoid these scams like the plague with our list of 6 phrases commonly heard in an SEO scam.
“We have an inside man at Google,” or “we know the Google algorithm.”
This phrase is one we often hear from businesses that have been scammed in the past. Simply put, there is no SEO/marketing agency/freelance expert that has a relationship with Google that gives them “priority access” to the inner cogs and gears of Google.
The fact is, Google changes their algorithm so often that it’s hard to keep up with. Any company willing to tell you they have it in their back pocket, so to speak, is lying. Period.
“We take ownership of your content.”
Would you pay for something simply to not own it? You should treat any SEO agency with the same level of scrutiny. Without ownership of your content, the company can hold it (and you) hostage and possibly even sell it to someone else.
Any company telling you that they need to own the content to ensure its quality has ulterior motives at play, and you should steer clear.
“Our SEO strategies are confidential/a trade secret.”
Let’s be clear—any marketing agency should be able to tell you exactly what their strategy is, how they’re going to implement it, and how they’re going to measure it. If their SEO tactics require secrecy on their part, it most likely means they utilize techniques categorized as “black-hat” which will get your website removed completely from search engines.
Considering that is the very opposite of what you would hire them to do, never be afraid to inquire what their strategy entails.
“Top ranking within XX hours!” or “Lowest price for SEO, guaranteed!”
Basically, any company willing to guarantee you a result within a given deadline is promising something that isn’t possible, and is preying on your desperation.
Aside from this, you already have top rankings under specific search queries. Guaranteeing you these rankings means nothing more to them than taking your money, showing you a high-result you already had, and calling it a day.
“X amount of directory links for $XX.XX!”
Link building is an integral part to giving your website authority on a given topic. Without bordering into the technical jargon that can be confusing, it’s one of the tools necessary in out-ranking competitors and involves becoming the source of information other sites look toward.
When an SEO tactics commodotizes this integral part of an SEO strategy, it should throw up a red flag. Ask yourself—would Google really make it that simple (or cheap) to rank at the top.
Your answer should always be an emphatic “no.”
“Try us out for free!”
It sounds good in theory, but developing a solid SEO strategy is a very involved, time-consuming process that requires a ton of work on the back-end of a website and solid content curating. So much, in fact, that any legitimate company wouldn’t want to do it for free, much less offer to do so.
Not to mention, SEO requires unprecedented access to your website. If you were to be unsatisfied with their trial, locking down your website from further access can end being a lot more work than just changing a username and password. And scam artists are always looking for a way to exploit others.
Great content is the first rule of any worthwhile SEO strategy, though it is not the be-all, end-all solution for your marketing plan. Rather, it is a piece of a larger puzzle in your brand. If you’re ready for the challenge, take the first step toward total control of your marketing plan, learn the ropes from a reliable source, and partner with an agency that wants your success above all else.
It’s 2015, and suddenly we find ourselves surrounded in a future that looks nothing like what Doc Brown and Marty McFly saw when they sped off into the sky back in 80s. In many ways, we outpaced the Robert Zemeckis flick by leaps and bounds, and in other ways we haven’t quite gotten there yet (we’re still waiting for down-to-the-minute accurate weather forecasting here in Kentucky).
In business meetings, clients often tell us they advertise in the phone book in some form or fashion, and that it’s been a big part of their budget for some time. Today, our blog topic focuses in on why it’s time to rethink advertising in the phone book.
Phone Book Ads are Static
Old fashioned print ads are quickly becoming an antique form of advertising, and for good reason. As the march toward the digital medium becomes more ubiquitous among businesses both large and small, phasing out the slow and archaic version of the written word is more prevalent than ever.
To some, this change-over is something to be feared, when in reality it should be praised. One of the best benefits to this medium is the level of control offered to the client. If your business moves, changes numbers, or updates its logo, the ability to change your current advertising without hassle is much easier to facilitate than in typical print advertising.
Though their business may argue that they’re service too has moved into the digital medium, there’s one unavoidable fact that they cannot change.
Google+ (and social media) Beats the Phone Book, Everytime
Google+ is the company’s answer to social media juggernaut Facebook. Say what you will about its use in terms of rate of adoption among people, its use for a business as a marker for Google to find relevant information (like store hours, a phone number, and an address) is unparalleled and allows a business to be put on the map—Google maps, that is. It’s so good, in fact, we wrote this blog post about it.
A properly optimized, active, and accurate Google+ page will provide you all the benefits of local advertising. Coupled with a properly optimized website that plays well with mobile devices, you can outpace the middlemen at phone book faster than ever before.
Phone Book Ads are Difficult to Track for Results
Sure, their physical assets can be measured by circulation (but even then, that number is inflated because not all of the printed books are used/read) and their website may be able to track the hits their page with your business on it receives. But, by comparison to the metrics and insights provided through SEO and SEM marketing, the phone book begins to look more like a patchwork of guesses than a part of a realistic marketing strategy.
And that is merely scratching the surface of a very lengthy discussion. Perhaps your ready to start a new one? If so, we’d love to sit down and explain what we can do to help your business get found quicker and easier.
Color psychology is an in-depth study, and certainly not meant to be diluted down into a few hundred words of study. Picking the correct combination of colors is meant to be a time-consuming process because you are not simply choosing colors that “go well together”; you’re choosing the first thing a potential client will notice about your company and what thoughts they will associate with your brand.
That’s a big deal.
How Brands Use Color Psychology
Did you know that 95 percent of companies use only one or two colors in their logo? The remaining 5 percent use three, but none use more than that. The beauty in simplicity cannot be overstated, because confusing a potential buyer is one of the surest ways to turn them off from your business.
So, what is color psychology? By definition, it is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Color influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Colors can also work as placebos by having the color of pills be certain colors to influence how a person feels after taking them.
It’s the science behind why McDonald’s obsessively uses red and yellow in their in-store décor (hint: it’s to make you hungry), and why purple is used prominently in Cadbury’s branding—to make it feel more special or luxurious.
There’s more to just color than picking one, you must pick a:
- Hue: what most think of when picking out a color, this is picking the wavelength of light to speak scientifically.
- Value: the brightness of a color—the brighter the color, the higher the value and more light it emits. I.E: a bright yellow has a higher value than a dark blue.
- Tint and Shade: Terms to describe how a color varies from its original hue by the addition or subtraction of white or black.
- Saturation: Synonymous with intensity, it is a measurement of how different from pure gray the color is. It helps to imagine this as how pale or strong the color is.
As you can see, just with these four options, picking a color can sometimes feel like picking the needle from its proverbial haystack.
Using Color Psychology to Your Advantage
There is no one color that decision makers lean on to help them make a decision. From person to person, you’re going to find different colors and design elements that speak to them. One person may love black and hard angles, another may prefer softer greens and rounded corners.
Speaking to decision makers is about sending a message that your brand is trustworthy, and having a great-looking brand is akin to owning a tailored suit versus a second-hand knock off. A great logo is often one of the most practical steps you can take toward building brand equity.
Some common facts agreed on about colors:
- Blue hues create a sense of trust and security, and are often seen paired with banks and businesses.
- Green is associated with wealth, is the easiest color for the eye to process and is relaxing. We associate this color with sustainability and eco-friendly as well.
- Orange is an aggressive color which is used to help create a call to action. Other deem orange as a whimsical, playful color (see: Nickelodeon’s logo).
- Black is used to illicit feelings of power, wealth, sleekness and luxury.
- Reds are vibrant, passionate colors known to raise blood pressure and convey energy, excitement, and confidence.
- Yellows convey optimism, friendliness and McDonald’s uses it in their signage to pop against the blue of a clear sky.
- White gives off the impression of purity, cleanliness, and space.
- Purple lends to relaxation and the sense of luxury.
Some interesting trends to keep in mind– over 50 percent of people choose cool-temperature colors as their favorite (like blue, green), around 25 percent pick warm colors (red, orange), and a little over 10 percent choose neutral colors (black, white, or gray).
Color is only one small piece of the puzzle, and we’re always willing to help you find just the rest design and color that suits you.