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A Checklist to Help You Establish Your Brand Identity

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A Checklist to Help You Establish Your Brand Identity

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Creating a memorable brand takes a lot of time and effort. What do you need to start seeing results from your brand-building efforts? Well, there’s plenty of work to be done to set up the foundation. Here’s your checklist for establishing a memorable brand identity:

1. Find a Catchy Name

This is the first – and crucial – step in creating a solid brand. Re-branding can be a nightmare, so it is very important to make a good choice from the very beginning:

  • Your name should trigger niche associations for your customers to easier remember you and what it is you вo
  • Avoid any negative connotations that can result from professional niche jargon, slang or local dialect

Apart from that, your brand name should avoid breaking any trademarks or causing confusion with other brand names. Mind that if your domain name includes any trademarked terms (like Google or Twitter), you may also have trouble monetizing it with ads as many advertising networks prohibit that

You should also steer clear of names that are too generic as you may have trouble ranking your site for those. Of course, Apple can get away with that and rank #1 when people search for [apple], but few businesses can hope for that result.

It is very hard to make Google aware that your site is a brand if it’s a generic term, so you will be forced to pay for ads to appear on top of your own branded search.

Another good idea is to stay away from terms that trigger “spelling error” suggestions in Google. It may take quite some time to convince Google that your name is actually not a misspelling but your brand or business name. Check out these brands and the misspellings people use to search for their brand names:

  • Hyundai: Hundai, Hiundai
  • Gillette: Gillete, Gilette, Gilete
  • Lamborghini: Lamborgini, Lambogini
  • Hennessy: Hennesy, Henessy, Henesy
  • Verizon: Verison
  • Fedex: Fedx
  • Sriracha: Siracha
  • Nutella: Nutela

The only way to force Google to remove this proper spelling suggestion is to gain a considerable search volume of people typing your brand name in the search box. This may take years.

To get some brand name ideas, use Namify that uses artificial intelligence to suggest catchy names in any category. Take a look at their business names to get an idea of what the tool is able to do.

Once you choose your name, make sure to Google it to see if there are any strong brands already ranking for it or if there are any associations you’d want to stay away from. It is also a good idea to check Urban Dictionary to make sure your brand name won’t cause any trouble.

Finally, use Text Optimizer to research your niche associations and come up with more terms and concepts that may be part of your future brand name:

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2. Define Your Visual Identity

Human beings are extremely visual: We think and remember pictures and colors. As much as  half of our brain is devoted to vision: It takes us 150 milliseconds to recognize a symbol and 100 milliseconds to associate it with something we know.

Creating a visual identity is very important for any brand’s recognizability.

A brand’s visual identity consists of:

The combination of the above three elements make up that visual representation of your brand that is supposed to make it more memorable and recognizable. Obviously, you can tweak and change your visual identity over the years but making too drastic changes is not recommended because you’ll lose your brand’s recognizability.

Long time ago, I wrote on color psychology and while it is a much deeper and more controversial topic than can be fit within one article (or within one book for that matter), it may give you some hints on which color you want to go with:

More often than not, a logo includes both the font and some parts of the branded color palette, so it is often the fundamental part of your brand’s visual identity.

With that in mind, I suggest that you start with your logo.

Namify, mentioned above, generates a logo for any name you choose which will give you some foundation to build upon:

If you are not sure what your brand is going to look like, a branding workshop is a good idea. A branding workshop is a collaborative effort which aims at defining what your brand represents and how that should be reflected in your brand’s style.

I always check Google Images when I am struggling with my logo concept. Google Images work great for finding visual associations with any word. When searching Google Images for any word, keep an on the top row where Google is trying to suggest you broaden or narrow your search to related visual concepts. This is a great help in the brainstorming process!

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If you have funding, you can hire an in-house developer to help create your website, but if you’re a startup or bootstrapped, you may want to consider using one of the website builders mentioned here to create a cohesive look and layout. 

From there, use social media graphic creators that allow you to create and store your brand’s visual elements (logo, colors, fonts) within your “Branding Kit”.  This way your team will be able to use your logo and colors from visual to visual creating a consistent brand image across all your marketing channels (your own site, social media, email marketing):

Online video creation tools like Movavi allow users to maintain brand consistency by using watermarks and branded colors.

3. Create Your Brand’s Communication Policy

You are not going to be the only one talking about your brand and telling its story. You will have copywriters, customer support, sales and social media marketing managers talking to your current and potential customers on your behalf.

You need clearly defined guidelines on what they can and cannot say when representing your brand:

  • Describe what kind of behind-the-scenes pictures you want publicized online
  • Forbid using jargon or slang on your public or private communication channels
  • List all the terms and names your employees should be using to refer to your products. It is often that products are called differently internally from what they are named in public. This may create confusion and diffuse your brand.
  • Mention your content creation policies: What you don’t want your team to include in their content, which topics to avoid and what to keep in mind. These policies should apply to both your brand-owned content and your guest posting process.
  • If your team is into email marketing (or planning to start a newsletter), make sure you add a section on GDPR policy compliance. Specifically, you need to obtain an explicit consent from your customers that they want your business to contact them.
  • Include crisis management steps, i.e. how to deal with unhappy customers or bad press. Your employees are only humans. They can get emotional and bring this emotion to the public when they reply to comments they think are unfair. You need to make it clear that your brand should always be represented consistently and professionally.
  • Warn your content and social media managers to only use images that are explicitly allowed to be reused with commercial purposes. Platforms like Smart Photo Stock with images licensed for reuse with no limitations are best.
  • Create a section for your advertising policies to ensure consistent tone. Note that different platforms may have unique advertising policies and your team needs to be aware of those. For example, Youtube advertising doesn’t allow inappropriate language and controversial issues (like politics)
  • Finally, take this test to ensure your business is ready for unified communications and showing you areas of improvement. Collaboration and remote working are two areas where internal communication policies are often failing but in today’s environment you cannot really do without either of those. So make sure your company has all the required processes and tools at hand.

Narrato is a great tool that makes it easy for your marketing team to collaborate with one another as well as with freelancers or niche influencers while keeping your communication policies in mind. It keeps all the marketing content creation under one roof, allows you to create workflows, add editors and contributors and upload your style guides and communication policies.

Creating a consistent writing style is a great way to make your brand known. Make sure your visual identity is a strong part of your content marketing efforts. Make sure to create and embed well-branded images and videos within your content to design a conversion funnel using your blogging and social media marketing efforts.

4. Set up a Solid Monitoring System

Even with a strong foundation, there’s always a risk that something will go wrong. Any business has unhappy customers from time to time who are willing to make their frustration public.

There are many brands out there who shy away from social media and social listening because they think that active brands are running into a higher risk of a reputation crisis. However, gone are the days when customers were excited to find a brand on social media. These days brands are expected to be there responding and reacting through their official social media.

Falcon.io suggests, no matter your business goals, you should be listening to what people are saying on social media. Some things to tune in to?

  • The name of your brand
  • Your competitors
  • Keywords
  • The names of your boss and your boss’s boss
  • Influencers
  • Hashtags

Whether you are there listening or not, your current and future customers are already discussing you and your products. Being on social media won’t cause a crisis. But not listening can cause that crisis to blow up without you even being prepared.

Social listening is more than replying to customers on social media though. It has a lot more potential:

  • Find happy customers and re-publish their comments as social proof (make sure to ask them for permission to, of course)
  • Identify social media influencers among your current or potential customers and start collaborating with them
  • Figure out why your competitors’ customers are unhappy and avoid their mistakes
  • Identify most popular products or features of your products that people discuss most often on social media
  • Spot where your products are lacking and fix errors without waiting for those errors to cause damage to your brand or reputation
  • Identify where your competitors’ products are weak and create better products
  • Turn unhappy customers into brand advocates by fixing their problems in real time.

I could go on but I think you may already see the point: Social media listening is an essential part of any brand building strategy that should not be neglected.

Conclusion

Building a strong brand is important if you want your business to survive any economic hardships or Google algorithm whims. With a solid foundation, creating a powerful brand will be more effective and even faster. Good luck!

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How We Increased a Client’s Leads by 384% in Six Months by Focusing on One Topic Cluster [Case Study]

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How We Increased a Client’s Leads by 384% in Six Months by Focusing on One Topic Cluster [Case Study]

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Content marketing is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Without it, how are you going to attract customers looking for answers to their questions, and who are potentially in the market for your products or services?

At Tao Digital Marketing, we’ve recently generated some great results for one of our clients operating in the business financial space, The Insolvency Experts, mainly by focusing on just one “cluster topic” that was a huge money maker for them.

When looking at six month comparison stats (August 2021-January 2022 to February-July 2022), we’ve achieved the following:

  • Leads: 95 to 460 (384%)

  • Clicks: 4,503 to 23,013 (411%)

  • Impressions: 856,683 to 2,033,355 (137%)

  • Average position: 33.4 to 23.6 (increased almost 10 spots)

This was mostly achieved by absolutely hammering one topic area: company liquidation. In this case study, we’re going to explain how we did this step by step, so that hopefully you can generate similar results for your own business!

Objectives

If you really break it down, the objective of all SEO consultancy work is essentially the same: increase the number of leads for a business. This was our ultimate goal.

It’s not just as simple as that, though. We all know you can’t get to number one on Google overnight. So, like other SEO geeks out there, we tracked our successes through additional factors such as clicks, impressions, and average position, to show our efforts were worthwhile.

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In January this year (2022) our goals for the next six months were as follows:

  • Leads: Just over double from 95 to 200 (110%)

  • Clicks: 4,503 to 13,500 (around 200%)

  • Impressions: 856,683 to 1,700,000 (around 100%)

  • Average position: 33.4 to 25 (around eight spots)

Insolvency Experts’ audience is primarily directors of UK businesses that are going insolvent, closely followed by business owners looking for financial advice. The majority of Insolvency Expert’s cash flow comes from formal insolvency processes, such as liquidation, administration, and CVAs (Company Voluntary Agreements), so it was really important for us to push these areas.

Our strategy

1. Research “company liquidation” search volume and related queries

We first picked this client up in November 2020. Initially, our focus was on the basics: updating all the top level pages (such as service pages and guides) to make sure they fit the intention of the user and clearly explained the services that Insolvency Experts offer.

Researching what works well at present

One of the pages that our content team updated was their company liquidation guide. After updating, the page started to perform very well in the SERP, and ranked at position #4 for “company liquidation”. Clearly, this sort of content was working, and we wanted to hit it even more.

After pulling some research together, one of our strategists proposed the idea of a “Company Liquidation Content Hub”, as the company liquidation guide was ranking for a lot of long tail questions:

Screenshot showing ‘what’ queries in Google Search Console, such as ‘what is voluntary liquidation’ and ‘what happens to a director of a company in liquidation’

After cross referencing with the monthly search volume for these questions, she added some of these as H3s within the guide to see how they would perform. They resulted in so much more traffic that she decided they warranted their own individual guides, hence the idea for the hub. This would mean we weren’t putting all of our eggs into one basket, and that we could also internally link all of them together for users wanting to read more.

Users that are further down the marketing funnel don’t want to scroll down a huge guide to find the answer to their specific question, and we were certain that this would positively affect bounce rate. We therefore made sure that nine times out of 10, the H1 contained the question that was being answered.

Infographic explaining the sales funnel, starting with reach followed by act, convert and finally, engage

In order to further target those at the bottom of the marketing funnel who want to speak to someone quickly, we placed regular “Contact Us” CTAs throughout the content so that they don’t have to scroll right to the bottom of the page to get in touch with Insolvency Experts.

An example of a piece of content with a ‘Get Free Liquidation Advice’ CTA in the middle

Undertaking a competitor analysis

We also conducted a competitor analysis on this topic, focusing on three key players in the industry that were all ranking well for the phrase “company liquidation”. We found that the key competitors had the following:

Competitor A – 38 indexed articles on liquidation

Competitor B – 23 indexed articles on liquidation

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Competitor C – 47 indexed articles on liquidation

Insolvency Experts only had six indexed articles on liquidation at the time, so it was clear we needed to be on their level – this was an obvious content gap.

Pitching the content hub to the client

We suggested this idea to the client alongside a forecasting spreadsheet created by our founder, in order to justify the resource that was needed to push the client as high as possible in the rankings for company liquidation.

This spreadsheet broke down a huge list of keywords alongside monthly search volume, average click through rate for positions 1-10 on the SERP, domain authority of competitors who are currently ranking for these keywords, and average conversion rate on the site at the moment.

Table demonstrating projected revenue for Insolvency Experts depending on where they ranked on the SERP

This unique formula would then allow us to explain to the client that for X amount of work, we predict we can get you to position X in X timeframe, and this would result in approximately X annual revenue. After pitching this to the client alongside infographics and current performance statistics, they told us they loved our ideas and agreed to let us go ahead.

2. Plan the content after client approval

After the client gave us the go-ahead, the next step was to plan all of this work based on search volume, and therefore priority order.

It’s easy to get lost in all the data within SEO, so it was incredibly important for us to have a solid plan and timeline for these changes. Topics were going to range from How to Liquidate a Company with No Money through to Administration vs Liquidation.

How we communicate planned works to our clients

In order to orchestrate clear communication between ourselves and our clients, we create a Traffic Light Report, which is a live Google Sheets document detailing all work to be undertaken for the current and next quarter. This is split into sections for technical SEO, content, and digital PR/link building (the three pillars of SEO).

This includes justification for each change we make, as well as a link to any live changes or documents. It also details when this will be done and if the action is with us or the client. The tasks are coloured in green for live changes, yellow for action needed, orange for in progress, red for anything on hold and clear for not started.

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Here’s an example of what the content section of Insolvency Expert’s traffic light report looks like for their current quarter (July-September 2022):

Screenshot detailing content to be undertaken between July-September 2022, and justifications for each action

Scheduling the tasks

We then scheduled these topics for our various content writers to work on using our project management software, ClickUp. Within each task we placed a link to a skeleton document consisting of H1s, H2s, and H3s, as well as a title, meta description and keywords to include.

3. Write the content while implementing technical SEO

By this time it was around April 2022, and it was time for us to fully attack the content portion of our task list. Since then, we’ve written 18 pieces of content around company liquidation, and still have quite a few left to go before we consider this area of focus complete.

As part of our uploads, our technical SEO adds FAQ schema, which has helped Insolvency Experts showing up for several featured snippets (more details in results section).

Analyzing as we go along

Once we covered the big topics in the first couple of months of writing, we started to use Low Fruits to find smaller queries which are estimated at around 10 or fewer monthly searches. We’ve had a lot of success targeting lower search volume phrases, as these users seem to be more focused and lower down the sales funnel, so are more likely to be better engaged and convert better. A lot of the time they are pleased that you have answered their very niche question!

The below is a screenshot from a keyword analysis. We trawled through hundreds of keywords to pull out the ones relevant to the client.

A screenshot of queries from LowFruits.io featuring questions such as ‘can you still trade while in liquidation?’ and ‘can you trade out of insolvency?’

We then used Low Fruit’s Keyword Extraction and SERP Analysis tool to give us further details on a select few key terms.

These terms are shown as having a search volume of either 10, less than 10 or 0. Of course, we know that this is still hugely important to cover, and targeting these will bring in a very niche reader who is much more likely to convert due to the nature of the long-tail queries.

Finalizing the hub

Our plan is to finalize the hub this fall, and ensure that everything is internally linked. There will also be a menu change to make the addition of the hub very clear. See screenshots below for the current hub vs. how it will be presented once all content is ready (screenshot taken from their staging site in Kinsta, our hosting platform where we make design changes so that the client can approve them before they go live).

Current ‘hub’ in the menu:

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Screenshot of the current ‘liquidation’ drop down menu, featuring four pieces of content

How the hub will look once all content is complete:

Screenshot sharing newer version of liquidation hub menu from Kinsta staging site

As part of our content process within ClickUp, we have a recurring task to check a new URL in Google Search Console two weeks after upload. This allows us to see if we have the “Google Spike of Acceptance”, which is a sharp incline of impressions/traffic indicating that the content will do well, before it falls then slowly rises again.

A screenshot showing the ‘Google Spike of Acceptance’ in Google Search Console - a sharp spike of clicks and impressions after upload

If we don’t see this spike, we carry out multiple checks, including: Is it an orphan page? Are there any technical errors? Is it indexed? If it is not indexed, we push the URL through Index Me Now.

If the issue is just that the piece isn’t getting picked up, we will take another look at the content to see if there is something else we can do to improve it, e.g. tweak the H1 or expand the content.

4. Build links to the relevant pages and homepage

Once we’d uploaded the content, it was time to build links to the priority pages and homepage in order to build the domain authority.

We wanted to really hone in on generating links for our company liquidation page. The page has 36 backlinks, many of which were built through link building efforts. This was largely done by working with business site publications and creating natural anchor text that would help with certain keyword rankings.

Example of a guest blog titled ‘The Advantages of Business Liquidation’

As well as building links specifically to the company liquidation page, we also built links to the main URL in order to boost overall domain authority. This was done through answering queries through platforms such as HARO and Response Source, as well as working with the client to create relevant, time-specific thought leadership pieces. Here’s an example of a HARO request we responded to, the topic being “Recession-proofing tips for small businesses”:

Although the site’s domain authority tends to fluctuate between 30-33 depending on links lost and general algorithm updates, the links to specific pages have still resulted in an increase in rankings, detailed further below.

Results compared to objectives

Although we knew that our strategy was going to work well based on our experience with our other clients, we were very pleasantly surprised by the huge positive effect our work has made, which enabled us to smash the targets we set!

Leads

Goal: Increase from 95 to 200 (110%)

Result: Increased from 95 to 460 (384%)

As a result of creating incredibly useful, lengthy content and placing regular CTAs throughout the content, we managed to almost quadruple the amount of leads coming through to the client in the space of just six months.

In the six months before our liquidation project began, our Leads Dashboard within WhatConverts shows that Insolvency Experts had five liquidation leads via phone call and 10 leads via their contact form on a liquidation-focused page.

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In the six-month period since we’ve been working on the content hub, they have had 38 liquidation leads via phone call and 52 leads via contact form on a liquidation-focused page.

Result: 660% increase in phone call leads and 420% increase in contact form leads.

Previous six months:

Screenshot of the leads dashboard within What Converts showing that five leads were generated before work on the content hub began

Current:

Screenshot of the leads dashboard within What Converts showing that 38 leads were generated after work on the content hub began

Clicks

Goal: Increase from 4,503 to 13,500 (around 200%)

Result: Increased from 4,503 to 23,013 (411%)

By creating highly relevant content that matched the user’s search intent, we managed to almost quadruple the clicks over the space of six months, doubling our original 200% goal.

The site has received 29,400 clicks overall across the past 12 months. Below, you can see the huge spike in clicks and impressions from January onwards when we really started to focus on the liquidation content.

Screenshot showing spike in clicks and impressions once focus on ‘company liquidation’ began

Impressions

Goal: Increase from 856,683 to 1,700,000 (around 100%)

Result: Increased from 856,683 to 2,033,355 (137%)

Again, by creating highly relevant blogs, Google started to understand the relevancy of our content, so the number of impressions hugely increased. Along with the 137% increase above, over the past 12 months (August 2021-August 2022) the site has received 485,000 impressions for the query ‘liquidation’ alone.

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Google Search Console Graph detailing huge spike in impressions between August 2021-August 2022

The main company liquidation guide that we updated had a total of 732K impressions over the past 12 months, too, with a huge spike from February onwards, when we updated the guide.

Google Search Console Graph detailing huge spike in impressions in February for the updated company liquidation guide

Average position

Goal: Increase from 33.4 to 25 (around 8 spots)

Result: Increased from 33.4 to 23.6 (increased 10 spots)

This increase is due to the relevancy of our content and the amount of keywords each piece ranked for. As mentioned, the main company liquidation guide has worked incredibly well, ranking for 181 keywords, 67 of which are page one (37%). It now has the number one spot for the term “company liquidation”. See below for an example of queries the page is showing up for.

Google Search Console Screenshot sharing queries the company liquidation guide is appearing for, such as ‘members voluntary liquidation’, ‘liquidation of company’, ‘how long does liquidation take’ and more

The page also shows up for six featured snippets as a result of us implementing FAQ schema.

Screenshot showing the company liquidation guide appearing in a featured snippet query for ‘process of liquidation’

335 clicks and 93,663 impressions have come from the FAQ rich results alone.

Screenshot of Google Search Console showing ‘FAQ Rich Results’ within the search appearance column

In the six months before we updated the guide, it pulled in around 650 clicks and 227K impressions. In the six months following, it brought in around 1,180 clicks and 382K impressions. We’ve practically doubled clicks on one single guide.

As mentioned, this particular piece of content has 36 backlinks, and actually ranks ABOVE the official UK government company liquidation guide, which has a domain authority of 93 (about 60 higher than ours). Clearly, we’re meeting the searcher’s intent and giving them what they are looking for.

Screenshot of the SERP showing that Insolvency Experts’ company liquidation guide appears above official UK government advice.

In the six month period before we started work on liquidation, Insolvency Experts had an average click through rate of 0.5%. Over a six month period of us working with them, this more than doubled to 1.2%.

Another success worth noting is that 3 out of 6 of our latest articles have an average page view duration of between 9 and 10 minutes! The other half are averaging around 5 to 6 minutes, which is still very good. Clearly, users are wanting in-depth information on this topic.

The “What happens to a director of a company in liquidation?” guide, which went live in May, is now the fifth most clicked page on the site. when filtered on GSC by the term “liquidation”.

Overall, we’re extremely pleased with the results we generated, and so are Insolvency Experts — the company liquidation department is now inundated with queries and they are rushed off their feet!

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