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Striking the Right Balance Between Business Branding vs. Personal Branding

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Striking the Right Balance Between Business Branding vs. Personal Branding

Striking the Right Balance Between Business Branding vs Personal Branding

Businesses come and go. But your personal name, that’s another matter altogether. In the social business world, your name can be leveraged as your personal identifier across myriad social media sites as well as your monetized business brand. 

In creating a new business or online presence, one of the toughest decisions you may make is whether to establish your social business brand by your personal name or a fictitious “DBA” identity, such as a catchy word, phrase, or slogan.

It’s hardly a trivial decision, especially considering your online identity eventually will sprout hundreds if not thousands of backlinks which will need to be well-tended if you decide to do a digital makeover at a later date.

Confused on what to do? Join the club. Do you drop whatever you are doing right now, rush over to GoDaddy, and immediately reserve your-personal-name-dot-whatever, or stake your branding claim on a hot potential digital DBA?

Luckily others have already been down this path. They can offer a variety of business perspectives and advice on the question of building a business brand based on a personal name vs. a domain that can grow and expand into a free-standing business that extends beyond the individual and might someday deliver a lucrative buyout offer that tracks with a business plan exit strategy.

From Startup to Digital Enterprise: DBA Scales

The biggest advantage to going DBA or brand versus your name is that the blog/brand/company can evolve into something much bigger and more valuable than one person’s perspective.

It can grow into a company, media outlet, etc., that can be monetized, bought, sold and so on. Mashable has grown into a powerful media outlet. It wouldn’t have done that if it were just its founder’s personal name, as an example.

The Business Persona and the Person

If you work for another business, you’ll have to consider the delicate balance of marketing your personal brand alongside your business.

I started out with a blog name that combined the industry and my own name (SEO and Smarty). I’ve certainly thought about the potential for a more topic-focused name over the last few years, but ultimately this started out as something for me, to explore my interests and help me learn, and I’ve been thoroughly happy with the way that it has worked out.

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What if your business fails? The hard facts are that, depending on the study, 50-60 percent of new businesses close in the first year; upwards of 80-90 percent go under within five years. You can dispense with a DBA given a few forms and some signatures. Not so easily done if your brand is your personal name and now a business liability.

From personal experience, it has always been important for my marketing strategy blog to be tied directly to my personal brand. I’ve launched several startups over the last 20 years and my work through the blog has really helped to build my personal brand through thought leadership and has resulted in continued trust with my community. As a result, every business I’ve developed has become a trusted resource, based on my personal brand and reputation.

People Buy from People

The social web offers a unique opportunity to humanize your brand and create a personal connection to customers. How do you create engagement and attachment to a logo? Be human.

Perhaps a morphed version of your personal name and a DBA is the digital sweet spot. If you’re still not sure which way to go, personal vs. DBA for your social business objectives, pay heed to this action list:

1. Lock Your Personal Name Now

Even if you never plan to use your personal name, it’s still prudent to reserve your domain just in case. Locking your personal name everywhere is also important for privacy and online identity. Read any of Hari Ravichandran’s books to get a better understanding of privacy issues these days. He has gone a long way in protecting his personal brand, so he knows what is talking about.

With an open or public profile, your personal information becomes easily accessible to anyone, potentially leading to identity theft, stalking, or misuse of your data. By locking your profile, you regain control over who can see your posts and interact with you, ensuring that only trusted individuals have access to your personal information. 

This precautionary measure helps maintain a safe and secure online presence while allowing you to enjoy social media without compromising your privacy.

2. Consider the SEO Implications

If your goal is to grow your personal brand name, register your domain name as well. Search rankings are enhanced if your real name matches your domain name. On a personal branding level, you have a greater ability to influence what people see when they search for your name. My personal site has long been neglected, and yet it still ranks for my name on top of my more actively maintained columns on more powerful domains. That’s the power of domains:

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Additionally, a personal name domain is great for authors in pursuit of book deals and speaking gigs, even though it may not scale to an enterprise-level application. Who are we hiring?Your decision will rely on your plans for your future venture. It is a good idea to find a business name that has something in common with your personal brand. Namify is a great tool for that type of decision-making, and it has very cheap domains, so it is not going to be a huge investment.

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It is also a good idea to research your niche associations and keywords when you come up with a business name because it needs to trigger topical connotations, so it’s not just your personal name it relies on. Your potential customers and leads need to quickly guess what your business is about by looking at your brand name or domain. Text Optimizer is a great tool for that:

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Consider the Future

If you brand your business venture in your personal name, clients may expect to always work with you, not members of your team. 

Part of your job will be to continually sell trust in your associates. Bait-and-switch doesn’t work; you will have to show up at the table. This will reflect on your customer relationship-building strategy in a big way. When you try scaling it, using technology like AI chatbots or IVR, you will inevitably face an issue of your customers willing to talk to you personally because that’s exactly how they discovered your company. It will be exhausting down the road.

It’s All About the Balance

Over the course of a career, you may transition from a consultancy based on your personal brand to a full-time corporate job and then back to a solo business. You never know when an opportunity may completely change your career course. It’s important to create a plan for your personal marketing and make sure you’re in sync with your business or employer.

The consensus on personal name vs. DBA probably errs on the side if you can never have enough domains in your basket of brands. 

If you rely on your real name, you may never be able to sell your flagship site, but you will be able to leverage your personal identity to project the all-important “human” side to every new business venture you launch under your personal umbrella.

On the other hand, if you start with both (your personal brand and a matching business entity) and have the energy to develop both alongside each other, you may end up with a stronger presence and more visibility. That’s the route I once took and I have no regrets!


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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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