Brands have an incredible amount of power and influence in the buyer’s journey. They help buyers understand why you’re in business and how you can help them. If built well, brands can represent things like quality and innovation, or emotions such as excitement and fun.
Not all brands communicate well, particularly smaller companies.
Bummer, I know!
But it takes a lot of work, time and money to shape perception, and not all companies can spare their resources. Outsourcing this effort though to an agency partner that’s sales-focused could be a win-win solution for any business, even yours.
Either way, how do you know if your brand is communicating good things online or if it’s leaving people in a deep state of trance?
I get this question all the time from small business owners, and I like to respond this way:
Well, what does Google have to say?
Google is a free and effective way to know what your brand represents to strangers that know nothing about you. In fact, consider Google’s page result your hand dandy brand report full of eye-opening insights to start developing a brand-focused, inbound marketing strategy.
The best and fastest way to know if your brand is working for you is to do something we all do: GOOGLE it.
If you thought a good website is all you need, think again.
When you’ve spent time brand building as part of your inbound marketing strategy, Google will have really good things to say about you. And when Google reports these items, it’ll shape your brand and give you an advantage in the sales process. Why? Because it gives people a mental picture of who you are, what your products represent, and whether your brand is a fit for them.
(Image from ignitionmedia.com)
Besides a website, you should consider:
- Are you active on social media?
- Have you been featured in the news lately?
- Are your blog articles on top of your search engine?
- Can your customers review your products?
Remember that for anyone who uses Google, perception becomes reality.
How do you add value to improve your Google ranking?
In my experience, I have found six key elements that go beyond your website and add value for your brand in today’s digital era.
Let’s take a look at them closely:
1. Online reviews influence buying decisions- BIG time.
Reviews have plenty of weight in generating, qualifying, and converting leads when it comes to inbound marketing. In fact, there are companies out there that lose plenty of business simply because their customer reviews don’t have anything good to say- or anything at all for that matter.
Our recommendation as an inbound agency partner is that you pay close attention to customer reviews, and use them to create positive interactions.
2. Boost your appeal using images.
A few weeks ago we wrote a series of case studies on effective online marketing for a client, and we showcased a company that increased its sales by simply improving their Google Images search inquiry. The company sold elaborate aquariums for high-end residential and commercial properties. This client needed a way to prove they can do it all and since their clientele was so visual, they needed to see samples of their work before even considering them. Google Images did the trick while using optimized metadata descriptions in their website images to add more leads to their funnel.
(Image from thefwa.com)
3. Video content can give your small business an edge.
Creating online videos is another way to influence your brand visibility on a Google search because video content gets a VIP spot on search results. This should be of no surprise since Google did buy YouTube back in November of 2006 for $1.65 million.
Let’s take a look at an example of how video content has a direct influence on your brand reputation. The other day a Duo client mentioned they joined Tai Lopez’s 67-step program and after a quick Google search we found he was touted as a scam artist online. Tons of reviews shared on social media, particularly Quora mentioned this. Later, we ran into video published with the sole purpose of debunking the rumor appearing on the top search results, thanks to specific keywords and likely a paid source.
At the end of the day, videos have a tremendous impact on brand building, especially if your online reputation is at risk.
Want more about video marketing? Read this article to get start using YouTube as part of your inbound marketing strategy.
4. News features and articles can make you look impressive (wink, wink).
News features are a more obvious way to build your Google first page brand report. And if you’re not spending enough time trying to get the press to write about you, I encourage you to blog on your own site or participate as a guest blogger in exchange for a link back to your site. All of these items can, in fact, appear on your Google search result and boost your credibility at the any stage of the sales process.
Lucky for you, we do ghost blogging and digital PR as part of our inbound lead generation strategy for businesses.
5. Social media is all about engaging -not turning off people.
What you write on your company’s social media profile and posts can appear on Google and people will see it, eventually. That’s why you should be strategic about every caption, photo and video you create, because they reflect the style of your brand and influence the perception of potential customers.
(Image from marketingland.com)
Google gives preference to social media on search result rankings too so make sure you create engaging content to appear on the most relevant social media platforms for your audience, whether it’s Twitter, Yelp or Instagram.
For small companies considering social media, remember that social media should be about making personal connections, not selling.
6. Google loves metadata.
Metadata descriptions are the brief summaries you see under your page link on Google. A good metadata description encourages people to visit your site by providing the information they need in their buyer’s journey. It’s way better to have a visitor click on your website than venture out on the Internet to see what some random person may have said about you, so be clear and inviting on each page’s metadata descriptions.
Free inbound agency tip: put special attention to metadata on your 'About Us' page, because it tends to be the most visited on company websites.
Let's work together on improving your ranking on Google.
As an inbound agency partner, we make sure marketing activities communicate exactly why customers should buy from you—over and over again. It doesn’t matter if you’re in B2B or B2C, all brands need to communicate something positive to push leads to a close and we know how to support you in that mission.
Just like a positive Google search could help your business prosper, a poor result on Google could hurt your business more than you think. That’s why we want to help you find the perfect mix in your inbound marketing strategy, so clients tell you more often: “I found your business on Google!”