2015 Recap for 2016

We are only one day away from 2016, which means that we have become a bit nostalgic about the last year of content we have created for you.

In a digital world, tips, tricks, and tools are often being changed, updated, or have disappeared. However, we think the following articles we’ve written about web design, digital marketing, SEO, branding, and your small business growth this year will be helpful in preparing you for a happy and successful 2016.

So to get ready for the year ahead, dive in, and reflect on what we’ve learned from 2015:

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brand identity quiz cover

The foundation of a successful small business is the understanding of who you are, and differentiating yourself from the rest of the businesses already out there.

In order to accomplish this you must explicitly identify your brand to reflect your true self through every piece of content that your customer may come across; whether that is your website, your social media, or even just a flyer found in the neighborhood. Many businesses struggle to build a successful brand identity, but when done correctly the results are astounding.

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Brand Personality Chart

Earlier this month Sarah talked about how to name a business.  After you’ve carved out a name for your business, you should think about defining more of your corporate identity. After all, it makes a lot of sense to have a holistic business identity that encompasses your business name, brand, logo, and design aesthetic. Your corporate identity should carry a consistent message across mediums – from digital to print and back again. A fundamental aspect of this business identity is its brand personality.

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stick figures chatting

The essence of marketing is to evoke an emotion from your audience so they are motivated to buy, download, or otherwise engage with your brand.

The true marketer’s dream is for that evoked emotion to propel a user from a customer to a referrer; and have them share their brand experience with a relative, friend, colleague, or Yelp user.

The biggest question marketers are left with is which emotion would be most compelling toward that goal. While some would argue it would be fear, guilt, or urgency, most of these emotions leave a bad aftertaste.

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CoverPhoto for Oomph Infographic - 40 Brand Logos with Hidden Messages

It’s no secret that your logo is an extremely important part of your brand.

That is why we have talked at length about this subject on the Webs blog: from choosing the right color, to small business logo design principles, to which tools you can use to design your own logo.

The logos with the most impact are always those that take their design to the next level. They look beyond the aesthetics of the design, and think about how to make the most of negative space or what simple messages they can convey through design to reinforce their brand.

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Today’s post comes from Alex Mitchell, Webs’ lead analyst.

Sarah has posted a lot here on the Webs blog about the importance of branding your small business (Also see: Understanding Branding) so that your customers recognize what your company stands for and choose to return to it time and time again. However, one attribute of branding that many small business owners overlook is Personal Branding.

Like it or not, as a small business owner, your personal life has the potential to reflect positively or negatively on your business’s perception by potential customers.

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Do you ever wish there was an effective and efficient marketing strategy out there that could bring you new customers while at the same time building loyalty with your current ones? Poof — wish granted.

Referral marketing is a seriously underutilized method of driving traffic and revenue by small businesses, likely because of their limited time, budgets, and tech resources. But the good news is that referral marketing doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. Your program can be as simple or robust as you’d like — the important thing is that you have one.

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When it comes to creating community around your small business, there are lots of different routes to take. We’ve talked about creating community with offline efforts, in-kind donations, and rewards programs. Today we’re going to talk about creating a literal community using established social media tools.

There are three major providers of social media communities: Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Because we are talking about communities with a business and marketing focus, we’re going to exclude Facebook for today, since you have to join or create a group from a personal profile instead of business page on this platform.

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During the month of August, we’ll be talking about how you can help your small business succeed by creating community around your brand. One way to do this is by getting know your audience well, and celebrating them in your marketing efforts.

A great example of this tactic is YouTube’s declaration of Geek Week, which began August 4th and goes through the 10th. YouTube knows that a huge part of their user base is made up of self-declared geeks, and they are rewarding their loyalty by celebrating “geek culture” all week long:

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