Why you should start building your brand now

I like to take morning jogs, nothing too ambitious just 30 or so minutes will do. Most times I listen to music, and occasionally, I listen to podcasts. Today I’m glad I chose to listen to this Ted Talk by Dr. Meg Jay.

Don’t let the title fool you, I think the message here is just as relevant whether you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s. The idea that we have all this time to do all these things we want to do keeps us from pursuing what we really want to do with our lives.

My big scary goal: By the end of this year I want to get moving on making this blog a priority not a choice, and actively pursuing opportunities to grow its audience.

Here is the speech. Play it over your lunch hour, drive home, or whatever down time you have today, it’s well worth it.

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20

Is Oatmeal that interesting? (Why you should own your digital footprint)

Quaker Oatmeal Picture

I share a last name with a famous brand of oatmeal, and my initials DQ are also the initials for Dairy Queen a chain famous for its calorific deserts found in America (particularly the Midwest).

Maybe it’s because I’m a little vain sometimes I Google myself just to see what is out there. I don’t know about you but I sometimes like to Google people I come across (you’d be amazed at what you find) and recent events in my personal life have made me wish I had started this habit earlier. When I started this blog, I barely came up on page 2 near the bottom; page 1 was other websites posting stuff that involved me, a parrot forum (Yes, I was bewildered too) and the aforementioned oatmeal brand.

This bothered me a little because I wanted to come up for my name, and better yet I wanted to have a say in what results were placed at the top of Google. I believed that in a search for my name, the researcher would for sure find me more interesting than the oatmeal brand.

Like it or not, everyone is increasingly having their own digital footprint. Whether it’s your social media profile, a random article you submitted on a site, a government record of land or marriage license, or even a random news article that comes up. Traces of things you touch are filtering through to the online world which as we know lasts a lot longer than human memory, and thanks to increasingly more efficient search engine results, can be pulled up instantaneously.

Why you should build your online brand

The other day Google placed me on top of my LinkedIn profile. Which is a personal an accomplishment for me because I think it has more authority in general than I do. But therein lies a great reason to start your own web space in my opinion.

As more and more things are posted online wouldn’t it be great that the first results when someone looks you up are your own? Think of it in any part of your life, from job interviews, to potential romantic partners to even applications to rent

or potentially get a new roommate. It is increasingly important to show some sort of credibility online and if you cannot control what others post at least you can control what you put out there.

The thing that surprises me is my generation is not always out there on LinkedIn or Google+ or blogging, or Tumblr or Quora. And that is a –OK, but in a world that is increasingly digital with instant searches and now Google Glass shouldn’t we extend the time we put into creating great first impression in the real world to our persona online?

There is always something you are an expert in, whether it’s crocheting, sticking to a fitness program, healthy lifestyle choices, ideas to beat kids boredom or pursuing a dream of travelling, why not share it. Not because you have to but because if someone Googled your name wouldn’t you want the first thing that comes up to be about something you are passionate about? Wouldn’t you want to give them a great first impression both online and off?

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About the writer: Daisy Quaker is an Internet marketing consultant. She loves helping small businesses grow through marketing and by telling their unique stories online. She writes about various Internet marketing tactics and strategies on this blog sporadically. She loves meeting new people, say hi to her on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

How To Stop Interrupting and Start Connecting (in your Marketing)

There’s an old-school communications concept that explains how we connect. It’s pretty simple, it’s old, and it’s still relevant. What’s more, is it can have a powerful effect on your business marketing if done right.

This model communicates a powerful message to marketers and business owners looking to connect with their customers. It can help business owners create strategic internet marketing plans.

It basically looks like this:

So on one end is the Sender and on the other end is the Receiver. The message goes through a channel whether it’s in person, through writing, video, audio or through signals. The Sender creates the message (encoding) and the receiver takes in the message (decoding).  And along the way is noise which can interrupt the message, change it, or affect how the receiver gets the message.

Business owners need to figure out if they are the sender, or the noise.

Is Your Marketing the Noise?

You can use this model in your business and how you communicate with your audience. Are you directly communicating with your customers who are getting the message or are you the noise that is distracting them from what they want to hear? Are you that annoying pop-up, or banner ad that they shut out to focus on what they are actually reading or watching online, or are you the direct message that their eyes focus on?

Think of it as a bad cellphone connection. You’re business is either the voice one on the other hand that I’m straining to hear, or the annoying static and interruption that cuts through the conversation. Change that.

Marketing Noise vs. Marketing Messages

A quick way to figure out if you are the noise or the real message is to look at how people receive your message. Are they in the middle of something else when you pop up, or are they already looking for what you offer whether it’s a product or service when your name pops up?

The right Google ad for example can be the message because I’m looking for a service that you tell me you offer. The wrong ad, say in the middle of me reading something, well that’s just a distraction.

The right e-mail message or blog post when I’m looking for say fun sweaters or great holiday gifts can be a welcome message. The wrong e-mail or blog that talks exclusively about your stuff and how I need to buy it can be, well, annoying and quickly ignored or deleted.

It’s all about how you market your business and what you offer.

How to become the Sender

1. Stop sending noise

The problem with being a distraction is everyone attention goes to biggest and loudest. Most adverts just pass me most of the time. The old model of advertising (or as I call it: Spend, Spend, Spend and Cross Your Fingers) might still work but it’s not the most effective model especially you’re your small businesses.

2. Find a channel that connects you to customers

If you look at it a lot of the new technology is about connecting people. We live in an connected world and getting your voice out through a channel like social media, blogging, video or even online advertising (Pay-Per-Click). There are more opportunities to find a channel that communicates to your customers directly. Find a method that works for you.

3. Start sending messages your customers want to hear

If it’s on a social media network post pictures or links that they would find interesting. If it’s through a blog or e-mail list, write or produce fresh content that they would gain from reading. Writing just about your products is boring. Produce work that centers around the reader’s eco-system. Do your customers watch certain shows? Or maybe follow trends? Or have particular hobbies and interests? Offer to write guest blog posts on blogs in your target market. Consider producing material that talks about things other than your offering.

No one wants to hang around someone who talks all about themselves, nor do your customers or audience. Like I said earlier, it’s really great what your product can do, but talking about it non-stop will bore your readers out. So be interesting.

Spend your efforts wisely, and think of yourself and your business as the sender. It will bring you closer to really connecting with customers.

Image credit: ChangingOrganisations.com

Follow me via Twitter or join me through E-mail to receive your fresh copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

About the writerDaisy Quaker is an Internet marketing consultant. She loves helping small businesses grow through marketing and by telling their unique stories online. She writes about various Internet marketing tactics and strategies. Connect with her on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

The New Currency and How It Affects Your Business

BlackMilK Marketing Small Business

It used to be that money could buy you attention.

Spend enough on advertising ad promotions and you could badger people with your message, jingle, mascot, whatever.

Times are changing. The big guys can buy as many ads as they want, but with so many distractions one thing they can’t command as much anymore is our attention.

Yes, there are those that believe you just have to figure out how to advertise on the new media platforms, but in reality people tend to either ignore those ads or find them an irritating necessity to getting their free video, music or game.

How to Get Your Business/Products Attention

The new currency in today’s world is influence and trust, and it’s not automatically going to whoever spends the most. Instead it’s going to whoever can get the most authentic connection with people who genuinely care about what they are selling.

It’s marketing that’s not for the masses, there are just too many distractions. Today’s main target is the niche, because with just  a small market of passionate fans you can go global.

Brand case study: BlackMilk Clothing

When leggings came back in style, you could get them for $10 at your local mall. They were not that hard to find. So how could an unknown one-man business from Australia, selling leggings at least $80 a piece, gain fans from all over the world in places as far and vast as New York, Thailand, Tokyo, Africa and Latin America?

Here’s how:

  1. He grew a community of buyers through his blog that genuinely interested in and wanted to know about his products.
  2. He included and appreciated this audience in his marketing which consists of uploading pictures of fans wearing the brand’s products through Facebook and Istagram.
  3. He made his brand a cult item -avid fans were dubbed “sharkies”- and sold his products exclusively online. He even allowed the “sharkies” to sometimes vote for which pieces were brought back in the online store.

BlackMilk does not make products that cater to everybody, and it’s not trying to.

What the founder, James Lillis, understood is that the old method favored those with the most money to spend on mass advertising and promotions. He tried that and it failed. But with the right targeting he could get to the top influencers in his niche market gain their trust, and from there it trickled down to their followers who became his followers. Because of this people paid attention to what he offered, and trusted in his products and that brought in the customers.

The Empowered Marketer

Now more than ever you have a choice as  marketer. You can beat the drum to an old tune and spend x amount of dollars advertising to get attention. Or you can grow that organically by allowing people to opt-in to your message and choose to hear what you have to say. You can build a geuine connection, and real interest by building a kid of trust that the old methods can’t buy.

It’s a new way of marketing that can apply to everything from a pastry shop to a clothing business. To command the loyalty and following that brands like BlackMilk have takes a more genuine and honest approach, not a catchy tune.

The top influencers in a niche market have something valuable that money can’t buy trust and loyalty. The takeaway for business, is to cut all the crap and tell genuine stories.

It’s that simple. But not that easy. Because it takes time, and effort and patience and the return on investment is not immediately clear.

But with the power that influence (convincing people to buy a product without having to advertise to them) and trust (genuine belief, connection and identity with your brand) have, it’s a currency that most businesses cannot afford to miss.

Tell your genuine story, appreciate your humble beginnings, and patiently grow your fan base one person at a time. Or find the people influencing your customers, and appeal to their genuine liking, and wait for the trickle down effect.

Trust and influence, that’s what buys you attention, that’s the new currency.

Image credit: Facebook-BlackMilk

This post is part of a series on Branding and Social Media for small business, follow me via Twitter or join me via E-mail to receive your fresh copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Daisy Quaker is an internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing, connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3 Ingredients That Help Your Blog Market Your Brand


Image of ingredients for cookingEvery marketing plan is like its own recipe to concoct the perfect dish, an audience that’s ready to eat it all up. If used correctly, your blog can help make your marketing plan a killer dish.

Using your blog for marketing research

Your blog gives you a great opportunity to study what your readers are doing beyond just how many site visits you receive in a day.

A review of the analytics can help figure out what your reader’s need before they even state it. Marketing surveys are notoriously flawed because there is often a disconnect between what the person thinks they do, and what they actually do when they are not being judged. Your blog gives you the opportunity to study what your readers are doing in their own element.

Things like where ae they coming from, or what do they exit to, can shed some insight into their behaviour. What posts or pages do readers check out the most. What do they share or email the most, what do they not respond to. This can help tailor your posts to meet their needs, and answer your own question: what problems do your readers face, and how can you help?

Using your blog for marketing your ideas

Be careful, because it’s not about you, it’s about your readers. By making your posts useful and relevant to them you can lead them to trust you as a resource and have them primed to buy what you sell.

Avoid self-praising posts, show don’t tell your audience why you are useful to their lives. Think of your site traffic or online visitors as window-shoppers, if they see enough on display to entice them into the store, then they will give you their trust by opting into your mailing list, and allow you to talk to them further, pulling them into making a buy.

But remember, it’s not about you, it’s about your usefulness to your customers and audience.

Using your blog for customer service

On a podcast the other day I heard about how the Hilton concierge service once helped save the life of one man’s dog, by telling them a good vet to take the dog via Twitter.

That’s remarkable. The guy was not even a customer nor did he direct the question to the Hilton hotel, but it’s a service he will most likely never forget, and will share with his friends and family. That is  a proactive marketing and customer service approach, your blog can do it too.

By reaching out to people posting questions or tweets with a solution that does not include an immediate buy, you can help them develop a good impression of your brand and some goodwill towards your business. If it’s exceptional enough perhaps they’ll spread the great experience they had, spreading the goodwill about your business, and their personal stamp of approval. That’s something no amount of advertising can buy.

Business have been built on blogging by understanding their audience. Starting your blog off with some good advice, building trust, an establishing a great reputation can take you further than any advertising campaign ever could. Blogging could be that secret ingredient to your special marketing sauce.

Image credit: Flickr-Mrs Magic

This post is part of a series that will get published on Content Marketing or Blogging, follow me via Twitter or E-mail to receive your fresh copy of helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Daisy Quaker is an internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy, connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.