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How To Thoroughly Audit Your Web Presence

How To Thoroughly Audit Your Web Presence 900 900 BrandFiend

Guest Blog By: Kevin Cooper, Founder of Broad Band Search

How do you make decisions relating to branding, marketing, SEO, and content direction? While some may try to get by with their intuition, the most successful websites use data to drive their decision making in most cases.

Yet data just doesn’t come out of anywhere. It would be wise to consider performing an audit of your web presence to now only know where your website is headed but where it could head, and what potential isn’t being used to the fullest. A full audit will give you knowledge as to your position in the market, what strategies are and are not working, and provide new perspectives on how you run your site and how it is viewed by the public.

While there’s no particular order you will want to do these in (you will want to look over the combined data at the need anyhow) and there are additional measures you can take, you will want to at least take the following steps when auditing your web presence:

Perform SEO and Local SEO Analysis

SEO is the bread and butter of a solid web presence, so it’s only natural that checking your SEO metrics (things such as your bounce rate, number of referring domains, and the amount of organic traffic) is vital when performing your audit.

You will almost certainly want to use SEO analysis tools to do this, so you’ll want to make sure that you are looking at the right metrics. This will require some additional research on your part if you aren’t familiar with the terminology, but it will be a skill that is essential for proper site management.

At the same time check your page rankings and how they might have changed (positively or negatively) over time.

If your website or business is focused on a local area, you’ll want to check your local SEO metrics instead and based your decisions off them.

See How Your Marketing Strategies Are Performing

While you are looking at your SEO statistics, try to line them up with your marketing methods (whether you are doing that yourself or outsourcing it) and see what you can do to get a full overview of how those strategies are working. A/B testing might be a good tool in this case, and you should try to be quick with any changes you might make to your strategies.

Audit Your Social Media Metrics

This one, fortunately, isn’t a difficult step at all. You’ll want to check your pages and pull the data on what gets share most, and on what platforms your content seems to be the most successful. You will want to choose your own engagement metrics and goals based on your site’s needs, but social media presence is web presence for some brands, so see where you are trending.

Review Your Overall Brand

Your brand recognition and how your brand is perceived are both important parts of your web presence. You might want to ask yourself the following about your site:

  • What are people saying about the brand in comments sections?
  • Does the web site work to enhance the brand, or is there noticeable dissonance that needs to be addressed?
  • What values does your brand portray, and does your web presence work with that?

You will want to see what your brand looks like from the outside as much as possible, and then take measures to adjust. If you’re very concerned or want to focus on other matters, Brand Fiend’s services might be great for your site

Perform a Content and General Site Audit

You will want to look at your site not just from the point of view as a site administrator and editor but as someone potentially looking at the site for the first time. Is the content interesting to you or would it at least be to your target audience? Can you read everything easily, and is the site visually pleasing to the eye? Is there anything that would annoy you?

While analytics are a fantastic tool, sometimes looking at the site like this is one of the only ways to determine why content is or is not working. You will also want to make sure the landing pages and the general information presented on the site is up to date and accurate.

See that Your Services Are Performing Adequately

As part of your web presence audit, you should check to see what your services are doing for you. See what you are using and what you might need, and consider the following:

  • How do you feel about your web hosting services? Are you getting the technical support you need, or is it holding your site back?
  • Are there marketing tools and services that you still use, or are there alternatives that would work much better for your needs?
  • How about the basic services you need to run your blog? Is your internet connection dropping to the detriment of your blog? Do you think a better office or setup on your end will allow for better web presence administration? Consider everything that could be a factor.

Review the Competition

Your site’s web presence isn’t just about your site, it’s about your site’s place in the great online ecosystem online, especially within the industries or niches your site operates in. Check the following for your competitors when it doesn’t go too far out of the way of your own analysis and searches:

  • How do their page rankings stand up?
  • What social media platforms are they most successful on and what content is performing well?
  • What marketing tactics are your competitors using?

Conclusion

A full web presence audit is quite an undertaking and can take you a few days, but it is a necessary one. With the right steps and tools at your disposal, you will be able to make sure that your website grows at a better rate in the future and avoid many of the problems your competitors might face in the coming years. Just remember to perform one at least every six months (and you might want to perform other checks more frequently).

Have you ever performed an audit for your web presence in the past? Was it a dedicated effort, or part of a larger initiative? Are there any other steps you think should be included? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the subject.

Kevin’s Bio: Kevin Conner is the brains behind Broadbandsearch.net. He has been a digital entrepreneur for several years and fully understands the importance of keeping on top of your web presence, both business and personal

How We Helped Layne’s Chicken Fingers Triple Their Social Media Following In a Few Months

How We Helped Layne’s Chicken Fingers Triple Their Social Media Following In a Few Months 900 900 BrandFiend

Over the past few months we’ve had the pleasure of working with College Station staple, Layne’s Chicken Fingers. During this time, we’ve helped build some amazing brand awareness by providing services like social media management, reputation management, paid social, web development, strategic marketing, and more. So if you’ve seen more of Layne’s recently, that’s all us 😉 But no seriously, if you haven’t tried Layne’s Chicken Fingers, the first thing we recommend you do is to try their Soon To Be Famous™ Chicken Fingers! They have 3 newly opened locations in the DFW (Lewisville, Allen, and Frisco) and the food is great! When you have a great product like Layne’s Chicken, it makes our job much easier! In just our first few months of working on a wide variety of things for Layne’s, one amazing thing we’ve been able to do is rapidly grow their social media following! When we started, their Instagram following sat at 550 and is now over 3,000. Also in that short period of time, we’ve been able to increase their Facebook likes by over 500. “Holy Shit”, you say? We know right, so we decided to break down the ways we’ve been able to help build so much brand awareness, which has increased their overall sales growth as well. See below for our break down on things we’ve been able to do to make this happen!

Cohesive Look + Feel

One thing we noticed in the midst of taking over everything marketing and social media related for Layne’s is that their online presence lacked a cohesive look to it and we immediately knew our approach to things would help enhance that. So we started with a social media audit, then making sure we made their brand colors stand out on each platform, as well as making sure the appropriate logos were used on each one as well. After that, we wanted to make sure people knew what Layne’s was all about, their “Soon To Be Famous” Chicken Fingers!

Check out their Instagram

Food Photography

In order to help build on topic one, we needed to provide Layne’s with some brand new images to help promote their product! This meant new photos of all their menu items as well as inside and outside of the store, to give people a look at what Layne’s is all about. These photos were to help us tell their story in the most high quality way possible, we wouldn’t have it any other way! These photos would also be used on social media, their new website, and various other places, to help build an entire cohesive look.

Influencer Marketing

Since Layne’s was such a new brand in the DFW market, we wanted to come up with creative ways to authentically connect their brand with trusted people in the Dallas community. In order to do so, we created an entire list of Dallas Food Bloggers/Influencers and were able to get some of them in to try our food while taking photos to document their experience. As you may know in today’s world, one of the biggest things you can get is a cosign (shout out to our good friends at Cosign Mag) from someone people like! So we connected Layne’s Chicken with some really dope influencers in Dallas like: Jalisa Vaughn, Summer with Love, The Dallas Yum, Dallas Cowboys rookie Kyle Queiro, and more. With influencer marketing alone, we were able to introduce the Layne’s brand to an audience over 150k in total! We were also able to get some really nice photos to use for social media during this process as well, so it’s a win win!

 

Social Media Management

Before we jumped on board, Layne’s lacked consistency in the amount of times they posted on social media, along with an inconsistent approach. We took immediate control of this by posting 3-4 times per week across their main platforms, as well as taking advantage of things they didn’t see value in prior, like Instagram stories and Snapchat advertising. Our consistent and relentless approach let people know that Layne’s is here to stay and that they should get used to us! These efforts helped build great brand awareness and overall follower growth!

Reputation Management

While posting is one thing, actually interacting with your audience is another! Anyone who has been to Layne’s knows that their brand is sarcastic and funny. You know this from the clocks in their restaurant, store open and close hours, and more. So one thing we wanted to do is respond to all the comments we could, whether good or bad! Not everyone is going to have good things to say about your brand, but this isn’t something you should run from. We used this as an opportunity to educate the Layne’s naysayers, making them aware of our great food, and also having some fun while doing so!

Check out some of our crazy comments here

Paid Social

In the midst of all these other amazing things, we made sure to use our marketing budget to reach people in the area’s surrounding these three new locations! We did this by allocating a weekly budget to push paid social media marketing campaigns via Facebook and Instagram. With these paid campaigns we focused on targeting areas surrounding all DFW locations for Layne’s Chicken, to help build awareness. In just a few months, our paid social media marketing efforts have reached over 1 million impressions and engagement numbers that are through the roof!

Check out one of our post that had amazing engagement

Public Relations

We wanted to also build credibility for the Layne’s brand by getting them placement on credible sources. We sent out press releases on their behalf, making media companies aware of their new opening in Frisco, as well as getting their overall story out. These efforts helped us get placements on the likes of D Magazine, Cosign Magazine, and some other amazing food bloggers in the Dallas area!

Video Content

In collaboration with our good friends over at Cosign Mag/Cosign Media, we helped curate some dope video content to help show the Layne’s experience.

Community Engagement

Not only did we help build awareness via social media, but we took our efforts above and beyond as well! We were able to set up community events in which Layne’s Chicken was able to provide food and the Layne’s Experience. From high school football games, football practices, middle school events, and more. These efforts helped Layne’s actually get out and touch people in their communities, which still goes a long way in the social media age. During these community events Layne’s was able to provide food, pass out coupons, as well as push people to post about their experience on social, which helped grow their following as well!

Marketing Materials

While setting up these events listed above and hearing about the events Layne’s had done prior, we realized they had no marketing materials to help themselves stand out at events. We see every event and encounter with your brand as a way to tell your story. With that being said, we designed and printed various event marketing materials to help enhance the experience at these events. This included things like custom table covers, custom event coupons and materials to pass out to attendees, and more.

Overview

Building a your social media following and brand awareness is no easy task, it takes time. But with a little hard work, dedication, and the right team, it can definitely happen! If you struggle finding the right ways to promote your brand and grow your following on social media, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’d love to hear more about your brand and how we can help you achieve amazing success. Contact us!

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons To View Web Design As An Investment Rather Than Cost

5 Reasons To View Web Design As An Investment Rather Than Cost 900 900 BrandFiend

Check out our guest blog by Jock Purtle, Founder of Digital Exits.

Web design can be costly. Big secret, I know. And for most business owners, whenever they see a big price tag, they tend to shy away. But thinking web design isn’t worth it, or that it’s something that can be faked, is just one of the many all-too-common misconceptions about web design. However, this misunderstanding usually comes because managers can’t see the gains to be made from investing in web design.

We live in a digital world. Websites are the new storefronts. They are how most people will first come into contact with your business and brand, and they will affect people’s purchasing decisions. It’s important to view web design not as a cost, but rather as an investment that can help reap significant returns for your company. Not convinced? Here are five reasons why you can expect to get back the money you put into developing a top-rated website.

First Impressions

Like anything in life, the first impression you make with people matters, a lot. Sure, there will be time for you to bounce back if you start on the wrong foot, but if you make a bad first impression with someone, then you’ll be facing an uphill battle to get back in their good graces.

If someone lands on your site and it’s hard to navigate, looks unprofessional, or worse, doesn’t work, then they will begin to form negative associations about your brand you’ll struggle to overcome. Future promotional content might not resonate as well, or you may have a hard time driving traffic to the site with your newsletter or social media. On the internet, you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention. Not investing in quality layout and design can cost you visitors, which in the end will cost you money. On the other hand, a sleek, professional and easy-to-use site will draw people in and get them clicking around your content.

Google Cares

This one should be reason enough for any business owner to pay attention to design. While Google doesn’t directly measure or rate your web design, several of the key metrics it uses to determine search engine ranking depend on your site’s design.

For example, Google uses time on page and bounce rate to help determine the quality of your content. And while you need to have good content to help improve performance in these areas, design helps a lot too. We’ve all clicked onto sites that look messy or unprofessional and immediately clicked off. Even if the content is great, it doesn’t matter. We’ve convinced ourselves it’s not credible and moved on, and Google will take notice when this happens.

Google also cares about how your site looks on mobile phones. Not optimizing your site for mobile platforms is SEO suicide, something a lot of companies learned the hard way a few years back when Google introduced this into their algorithms—a day known as Mobilegeddon. Mobile design can be costly, sure, but the return you get in the form of improved search engine performance is well worth the investment.

Design Affects Conversions

Good web design does more than just make your site look good and present your business in the best light possible. It can also have a dramatic effect on how people move around on your site, and this affects conversions.

Placement of calls to action (CTAs) and visual hierarchies are important for funneling people to the right spot. You want to make it easy for them to find out where and how they can spend money, and this is all design. Sure, your sales copy might be what causes them to finally pull the trigger, but without good design leading people to the right places on your site, this copy will be far less impactful and will cause your conversion content to underperform.

Performance

The internet has come a long way. Many of us can remember when things went so slowly that you could click on a page, get up and get a cup of coffee, and then come back just as the page finished loading. But many more of us do not have this memory, and the possibility of it makes us laugh. The takeaway: your site needs to be fast, or else. And it needs to work.

When someone lands on your page, they expect to be able to move around it easily and quickly. And if they run into “404 Not Found” pages, then forget about it. You’ve already lost them.
Delivering a good user experience comes from having a quality backend design. Hiring a professional to come in and make sure everything is working correctly and at full speed is absolutely essential. It helps improve the overall customer experience and makes sure people stick around on your site long enough to get to your conversion content and eventually make a purchase.

Branding

Last, but certainly not least, web design affects branding. Building a strong brand requires a comprehensive approach, but there is no one component that matters more or less than the other. You may have great messaging, but if your color schemes and layouts are off, then this messaging will be less impactful.

Good design can help to reinforce the brand messaging you’re trying to communicate. It can help people generate positive associations about your brand. Then, when they come into contact with your content, they will absorb it more readily, and it will have a greater impact on their purchasing decision.

Strong brands tend to make more money, and they also make companies more valuable, something of interest to those considering selling their business. Web design alone won’t execute your branding strategy, but it’s a critical component, and it’s an investment you should most certainly make.

Investment Today, Reward Tomorrow

Investing in quality web design simply makes good business sense. It’s important to note, though, that you won’t see results right away. It’ll take some time for Google to register your changes, and for you to see a noticeable change in user behavior. But it will happen. Invest wisely today, and you’ll experience great rewards tomorrow.

About the author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service that specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He is an expert in the valuation of small to medium internet business, and through this work, he has learned the various different things that make online companies successful. He likes to write about his experiences to serve as a resource for other business owners. Some of his work has been featured in publications such as CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.

5 Ways To Brand Your Social Media Channels

5 Ways To Brand Your Social Media Channels 900 900 BrandFiend

Whenever I run into someone I meet from social media, 9 times out of 10 the first thing they mention is how they love our Instagram page. We appreciate each and every person who happens to take note of our aesthetic. But what’s crazy is, it kinda happened on accident. If you could see how I posted on Brand Fiend when I first started the company, you’d be surprised. There was a lot going on and we didn’t have a clear direction of the content we wanted to post. & to be honest, I was never a fan of black and white images before it turned into “a thing” with Brand Fiend. But one day it kinda just happened, and I ran with it.  It was something about how our purple popped off the black and white that worked for me. From there I figured out what type of content we would post then BOOM… we had established a foundation for our social media channels. So for those wondering “how do I get my page to look like that” or “I want to create a consistent aesthetic on social media too”, below are 5 gems to help you do so.

1. Use visuals that are consistent in style & quality

It’s really not about how much you post per day, it’s all about quality! Take pride in posting photos that are clean and professional. That way your followers know that no matter what you post, it’ll be crisp. To make it even more special, find your own style, something that’s unique to your brand. Tying both of these things together will get you off to the right foot in establishing a cohesive social media presence.

PS: When you get that itch to post that blurry photo you happen to love so much, don’t do it, RECONSIDER *Andre 3k voice*

2. Stick with your brand color scheme by any means necessary

When we say “by any means necessary”, we mean it! Your brands color scheme should be reflected throughout every platform your brand is on. Whether it’s social media, your website, branding materials, and more. Also, be sure to use the EXACT color codes and don’t stray away from it. This will help create a foundation for your brand that your following with start to recognize over time.

PS: If your brand doesn’t have a set color scheme, hit us up immediately, it’s an emergency 🙂

3. If you use filters, make sure you use the same ones, every time.

We get it, there are some dope filters out there. Shout out to VSCO, which is the app we use for our “special” black and white photos. So for all our readers who love them, be sure to use consistent filters on all of your post. It helps create a feel that people will begin relating to your brand. It may seem a bit tedious but trust me, it’s more than worth it, and your page will look dope, too.

4. Be entertaining/and or motivational

Let’s face it, people are on social media to be entertained. Most people really don’t care about what product you’re selling, unfortunately 🙁 So, with that being said… find ways to connect with your audience through story telling. Make your audience laugh, be personable with them, motivate them, simply just be creative. Your audience should enjoy seeing your posts and without a sales pitch! So, make sure your posts are entertaining, inspirational, educational, or at the very least, useful.

5. Hire a professional (cough cough)

If you’re not the creative type or your images aren’t capturing enough of your audiences attention, don’t take it personal – there is a bit of an art to it. Consider hitting up a branding agency with experience in social media, design and/or photography (cough cough cough). That way your brand stays with fresh new photos and content to post, that stays aligned with your brand values and helps create a visual aesthetic your followers will love.

No really, if you want more tips, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to hear about your brand and anything you have going on. Email contact@brandfiend.com or click here.

5 New Years Resolutions For Every Entrepreneur

5 New Years Resolutions For Every Entrepreneur 900 900 BrandFiend

Well we meet again! Us vs. another new year. It seems like only a few months ago when we walked into 2017, right? But that’s one thing about time, it doesn’t stop or slow down for anyone, no matter who you are. While we hope everyone leveled up in 2017, we also know this is the time of the year we all reflect and figure out how to be better moving forward. As entrepreneurs, business owners, doers, dream chasers, or whatever you want to call yourself, we all have things we can improve on. Below is a list of 5 key things we as entrepreneurs should keep top of mind heading into the new year and throughout all of 2018.

1. Get Healthy.

I know I know, most of you already have this on your list, and that’s great! But really, when you’re in better health, you have more energy, are more productive, and overall happier. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, who doesn’t want those things as a part of their lives? So whether it’s hitting the gym a few times a week, eating better, or both, let’s make a healthy lifestyle one of our top priorities in 2018. That way we can reach our full potential physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you need some motivational gear or need a team to hold you accountable, check out our good friend Brandon Miller and his Be Great & Accountability Gear.

2. Get More Social.

Social media is one of the best ways to engage and interact with customers, spread brand awareness and connect with potential supporters of your brand. If you have a Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account that is dormant, spend the next year being active and optimizing these channels. Use the different tools provided by each platform to help build your following and grow your brand, it’s all about consistency. For example, our LinkedIn and Twitter pages are lacking heavily. This year we will focus on bringing those to life a bit more, spreading our message and engaging with people on those platforms. If you’re already using these channels, figure out ways to engage with your following even more. Also, don’t just be present on these platforms, focus on building a brand, something people will remember and appreciate! Need help telling your story even better on social media? Hit us up!

3. Charge Your Worth.

Jay Z said it best in 2017 when he said “Set your price and live your life.” and “Sometimes you need your ego, gotta remind these fools.” (If you’re looking for more motivational vibes check out our Fiend Vibes playlist) But seriously, I know we’ve all thought it at some point along this entrepreneurial journey! We’ve all had that moment when we feel like we’re worth more than what we’re charging. So this year let’s focus on being confident in your gift, standing firm, charging what you’re worth, and truly leveling up!

4. Learn Something New.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t know it all, nobody does. Although we may be skilled at whatever it is that we do, don’t be afraid to learn something new. Pick something different to master this year, whether it’s related to your field or not, it’s always important to keep learning and stay sharp. It’ll help you become a more well rounded individual and entrepreneur. Learning something new may also help spark a new service to provide, as well.

5. Remember Why You Started.

When all else fails, remember why you started! Because as we know, obstacles will come, it’s just a matter of when and what those obstacles will be. And a lot of times those obstacles distract us from the bigger picture. But through those rough times, we must continue to remind ourselves of why we started, why we’re doing what we’re doing, why we wanted to become entrepreneurs. That alone should be the push to get us through those tough times.

Happy New Year, Fiends!

Five Common Website Misconceptions That Can Hurt Your Brand

Five Common Website Misconceptions That Can Hurt Your Brand 900 900 BrandFiend

I honestly get a kick out of telling people what I do for a living. Once they know that I’m a website and mobile app designer they often assume that my only purpose is to make things look beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I can do that too. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. They don’t see everything that goes into the process of design and why I make the decisions I do.

I remember the first time I told someone how long a particular website took me to make, and then seeing their eyes grow to the size of grapefruits. Yes, those minimalist designs really took me that long to produce. What they failed to realize was, for every decision I made in that design, brought that business closer to achieving its goals.

Today I want to address some other misconceptions people have about websites. Here are my top five:

1. Business will come your way once you have a website

I’m embarrassed to admit that I once believed that this was all you needed to have a successful business. I published my website for everyone to see, then kicked my feet up and waited for business to come rushing in. I pictured waking up in the morning and visiting an inbox that was flooded with client email about their business websites. Instead, my inbox was flooded with cobwebs.

Why? There is so much more to a website than just designing it and publishing it on the internet. It’s possible to have a beautiful website that converts no one. Its also possible to have a visually displeasing website that still converts. Your website isn’t a one-and-done task you can now check off your to-do list.

You wouldn’t expect a new business owner to purchase some land, build a store front, and instantly get sustainable business simply because he opened a store location. That is where the real work begins in trying to create a business that actually works. Why would you treat your website any differently?

2. Results are not instant

Simply put, your website is a living organism and should be treated as such. Gone are the days when you can put a website up and expect Google to do the marketing and advertising for you. Without marketing your business or finding a way to draw people to your site, regardless of how great the strategy behind your website is, you run the risk of not getting any potential customers to your site at all. If you stop feeding your website with fresh content, your site will become obsolete. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Most importantly, you cant expect instant results. Anything worth having takes time right? The more time you put into maintaining your website, the better your chances are of attracting traffic.

3. My site just needs to look good

Beauty is not all we want (although it’s what we do). We actually want your site to address a business problem and serve as a launch pad for your business. Maybe you want more subscribers, more people to sign up for your courses, download promotional material, etc…. Beauty alone wont get you there. I’ve seen many sites that look great, but other than that, there really is no other reason for someone to stay around.

I cant give just anybody on the street a whistle and expect them to go out and coach a sports team. They would fail miserably. That’s because there is so much more behind the scenes that needs to be understood in order for them to be a great coach. Your website is no different.

The best way to decide if you need a professional’s help or is to assess what your business needs to grow. If the purpose of your website isn’t for creating business, then you probably wont. But if you’re website needs to highlight your unique skill set while establishing your brand and expertise against your competition, then you may want to seek help from a professional.

4. My competitor has a successful website, lets just create something like theirs

I had a discussion with someone who wanted their site to look and sound like a competitor of theirs. Their reasoning made perfect sense; “Well, if it works for him than it will work for me right?”. However, its not how things work. I guarantee that the success your competitor is receiving from their site isn’t because they copied someone else.

Instead, their designer highlighted the company’s unique value proposition which made them stand out from their competition. This certainly wont happen for you if you copy someone else who has an established online presence. I wouldn’t expect you to come out with the exact same product as your competitor and tell people that yours is better. You have to be authentic, be who you are and no one else. Why would someone want to do business with you and not the other person?

People love doing business with people. Your personality can be your greatest asset.

5. Web design is easy

You know, until recently, I thought golf was a pretty easy sport. “You mean all I have to do is grab this club and hit this ball in that direction, and that’s it? Sounds too easy.” I will admit that I have more respect for those guys after trying to do my own golfing out on the green. What once seemed like an easy task simply wasn’t.

Web design is the same way. Often times, people only see the outcome and believe that it can easily be replicated. The amount of time spent to plan, achieve and solve specific business problems is the other 90% you don’t see. Every detail within a site is strategic and used to help that company reach its end goal. It takes a lot of time and thought to craft a website for a specific business that they can then use to market to their audience.

Conclusion

For more helpful tips and actionable advice on growing your business through a website or mobile application, feel free to contact us with any questions. We’d love to hear from you.

Joshua Matthews,

Web Designer

Break Out of Your Creative Rut & Flourish

Break Out of Your Creative Rut & Flourish 900 900 BrandFiend

Let’s face it, we’re all human. I know I know, sometimes as creatives people tend to think we’re super heroes & while we may possess some magical capabilities we all fall victim to a creative rut from time to time. But don’t worry, being stuck isn’t a bad thing, staying stuck is. Here at Brand Fiend we juggle tons of projects at a time, and when you’re paid to deliver these amazing ideas in a short time frame, getting overwhelmed is bound to happen. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I sit in front of my computer, getting absolutely nothing done. Not because I don’t want to, but because I haven’t found that rhythm that’ll help me produce the best work. So if you’re anything like me, you want to get out of these ruts as soon as possible. Below are some tips to break free from your creative rut & FLOURISH:

TAKE A VACATION

Sometimes it takes a total change of pace and scenery to reset the mind. Whether you can afford to take a few days off or simply enjoy the weekend, make a point to surround yourself with a culture different from your own. I recently visited Philadelphia, New York, then home to St. Louis to see family all in the month of September. Getting out of your normal surroundings can help spark ideas you didn’t know existed.

STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE

A lot of time ruts come when we’re most comfortable. Look at it as a sign, and as a time to challenge yourself to something new. Force yourself to do something outside of the norm in order to help keep you on your toes. As creatives, we need to stay sharp in whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish. So creating a challenging task for yourself then actually completing it might just do the trick.

MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

Being an entrepreneur/business owner is time consuming. People are literally pulling for your attention and expertise at all times. While it’s always great to do your best to help everyone else, sometimes it’s good to make time for yourself. Make time to do those things you love and help boost your confidence. Don’t lose yourself while putting others before your own personal care/needs.

LAUGH

Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it is, at least for me. Creative ruts can bring on a lot of stress & stress can drain you. There’s nothing like a good laugh at the right time. So whether it’s watching one of your favorite TV shows, hanging out with friends/family, etc. Whatever the case may be, be sure to loosen up and allow some room for laughter. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count and those little things can help you get back on track.

INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC

As you all may already know, #FiendVibes is definitely a thing here at Brand Fiend. Music has always been one of my biggest forms of inspiration. It’s always been one of the most effective story tellers in my life, since I was a kid. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from lyrics from those on this journey towards greatness, like myself. So when I’m in a rut, I’ll put on an album or a song that speaks to me, in order to help get me back focused. There’s nothing like putting on some good music to get you back in the groove.

SWEAT IT OUT

Sometimes the best thing to do is to just hit the gym, and sweat it out. Especially if you haven’t gotten much physical activity lately, you’ll feel great once you do! Look at it as the sweat releasing all the bad vibes from your life and giving you a fresh start, a chance to reestablish your creativity!

WRITE IT DOWN

Redefine your goals be writing them down. & I mean the old school way, with pen and paper. Sometimes seeing these things will help remind you of what you set out to do and help you get back to where you need to be.

5 Communication Skills Every Entrepreneur Should Master

5 Communication Skills Every Entrepreneur Should Master 900 900 BrandFiend

Growing up an only child and introvert, I stay to myself a lot of the time. I’ve found myself to be an observer more than anything. So working on better ways to effectively communicate has been something I’ve consistently worked on since starting Brand Fiend. Good communication is one of the most important skills we can learn in life. Whether you want to have a better conversation in your social life or in your business, open and transparent communication allows things to flow much more smoothly and effectively. At Brand Fiend, we work with tons of clients simultaneously, so having a trusted communication process gives us the opportunity to help our clients reach their true potential. Here are 5 tips to help you level up skills!

1. Listen More, Speak Less

For some people, listening isn’t always so easy. For me, it’s perfect because I’m great at observing, and you can learn the most about anyone when you simply listen. In business, the best way to get to know what’s best for your clients or how to sell them is to hear them out. They’ll tell you everything you need to know and then some!

2. Don’t Hurry

Don’t hurry, take you time to have a conversation. A lot of people are so focused on getting the sale or closing the deal, they forget to pace themselves. Let them see that you find him or her valuable in the conversation. Sort through all the ins and outs first, it will be very appreciated. When you don’t rush a conversation you will also decrease the misunderstandings because you have more time to explain clearly what you want to say and that will make your conversations more efficient.

3. State Your Value with Confidence

Confidence is key! You gotta “Say it with ya chest!” in the most humble way possible. Branding and selling are all about being able to confidently communicate both your points of value and what makes you different than anyone else on the market. Spend time getting clear about the value you bring to the table and your unique selling points, and build your ability to confidently share that in different contexts. Practice boiling that proposition down to no more than two to three sentences. Some may call it an “Elevator Pitch”.

4. Manage Expectations

At Brand Fiend, we try to stick with the motto “Under-promise and over-deliver”, which might be the most on-point way to describe managing expectations. As an entrepreneur, you have many people pulling for your skills/attention for you to complete things in short time periods. The easiest way to alleviate pressure as an entrepreneur is to manage expectations.

Be clear about deliverables, time frames and results. If issues arise, communicate clearly and frequently. It’s always better to commit to less than raise people’s expectations and fail to follow through.

5. Conflict Resolution

Conflict management is an essential part of being an entrepreneur. A major component of successfully resolving conflicts is your ability to productively push back. The ability to communicate under pressure is a key entrepreneurial skill. When dealing with conflict, you should always be polite, productive and non-personal. Focus on clarity and resolution. Because let’s be clear, you’ll run into plenty of hurdles along this entrepreneurial journey.

 

How To Set Your Social Media Ads Up For Success

How To Set Your Social Media Ads Up For Success 900 900 BrandFiend

Pull out your phone, log into any social media app and I guarantee you’ll see some advertising. Why? Because all social media platforms will encourage any business, from Fortune 500 companies to a mom and pop candy store, to create ads. And they make it easy to do so too, but when you’re making an ad, there are plenty of ways to turn it into a flat out failure before you even hit submit.

All social media outlets are different & pretty much anyone can make an ad if they play around with it for long enough. But they’re also all similar in this regard: if you don’t have a plan for your ads, you might as well throw your money down the drain.

But don’t get it confused, we’re not saying having a plan is a sure way to creating a perfect social media marketing campaign every time – this stuff takes trial and error. However, there are ways to ensure that your ad isn’t a total disappointment. If you make sure that you avoid each of these common mistakes, you’ll have a head start towards successful ad campaigns. Here are some things to avoid when setting up your social media ads.

Bad targeting

What social networks can promise you when you make an ad is traffic (or impressions). Brands are buying eyeballs when they run social media ads. Facebook, Instagram, and the others can promise that they will serve the ad you made to someone. But to who is the biggest question of them all.

There are plenty of targeting options on the major social media ad platforms. But they won’t force you to use them. They’ll let you run an ad targeted to every man, woman, and child in America, if you want. Which is a common mistake beginners make when running these campaigns.

Impressions will be through the roof when you target a massive audience, but it’s not a measure of success. You can get a ton of impressions targeting swim suit ads to people on the North Pole, but how many of those people would click on your ad and make a purchase?

Do your research. Know your audience. Then run your ads.

Bad Imagery

Social media users prefer simple visual content because it’s easier to process by our brains. However when images embody too many elements, they become confusing. When this happens, our brains are not sure where to look at. This creates stress that makes users simply ignore the content and keep scrolling. The key to a good social media image is to generate a positive feeling in the users that are seeing them, while keeping things simple.

Only Making One Ad

Trial and error is a big part of social media marketing, hell it’s a big part of life. Each ad that you put out is an experiment. Sometimes an ad has all of the “right” components and it ends up being a disappointment. But that’s no reason to give up.

Making just one and hoping for the best sets you up for a very limited experience. Making multiple ads gives you a chance to experiment and learn which images and text your audience is connecting with. You can’t get that from just making one ad.

No Call-To-Action

Every ad should have a goal. Send someone to a page on your website, ask them to like your Facebook page, or make them watch your video that you spent so much time making.

Most of the time, a brand has a call-to-action in mind, but they haven’t explicitly stated it. And in on someones social media timeline, you’ve got a matter of seconds to get someone’s attention before they’re gone. Probably even less than that, really.

Nothing’s better than telling someone what you want them to do in the ad copy. If you build in a call-to-action with your words in addition to other options, you’ll be in good shape.

How We Can Help

We can help determine your audience, plan your messaging, and determine an ad budget. We focus on serving ads that resonate with your audience. Success may not come immediately, but the social media world is massive. If you have an audience in mind, social networks will help you find them. Need help putting together a Social Media Marketing plan or need assistance in running your advertisements? Feel free to contact us, we’d love to help!

Hiring a Graphic Designer Versus A Branding Agency

Hiring a Graphic Designer Versus A Branding Agency 900 900 BrandFiend

WHAT IS BRANDING?

The term “Branding”  is very broad & a lot of times its hard to fit what all we can do into one sentence. Sometimes one paragraph isn’t even enough. Initially, a lot of start ups look at us as Graphic Designers because the things they believe they need fit into what a Graphic Designer does. While there isn’t anything wrong with what they can provide, it only scraps the surface of what we can do as an Agency. First things first, bringing brand strategy into graphic design is no easy task, but it’s one every business needs to achieve if they want to brand themselves the right way and establish a solid foundation.

Graphic design is just one element of branding. How your brand is perceived by the world has a direct impact on your success. Your brand should be communicated clearly at every touch point in order to create consistency and to establish who you are in your particular marketplace. Perhaps it’s just easy to confuse graphic design with branding but here’s an easy way to look at it. Your brand is how people see your entire company, i.e. brand image. It encompasses your brand identity, logo, web design, brand message, social media, fonts, values, color palettes, and more.

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

While a Graphic Designer can provide you with the initial things, more than likely they won’t assist in helping establish your brand’s entire foundation, i.e. your message, taglines, strategy, website, and more. That’s where we come in. We work extremely hard to provide a cohesive experience for your entire brand. Not only can we knock out your logo and visual design needs, but we also help establish your brands message, website, social media, taglines, values, email campaigns, and other things to help bring your brand together. All things that are essential in establishing a solid foundation for your startup.

HOW WE CAN HELP

Ideally, you want one person/agency to accomplish all of these things for you in one place. Simply because you want your brand to provide a well put together look on all platforms once presented to the world. Getting these things in different places doesn’t ensure that will always happen and most times, you’ll end up spending more money having to revamp once you realize your brand isn’t quite a “brand” just yet. So as an agency, we’re here to help with all these things and are passionate about helping startups effectively get it right the first time, so there’s no need revamp over and over again.

Need help establishing a foundation for your brand? or need help revamping a brand that you’ve been struggling with? We’d love to hear about it along with what you’re passionate about. Reach out to us by clicking here.