Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners


Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be massively beneficial for businesses of all sizes when it comes to marketing. Whether you’re looking to expand your customer base or gain an edge over your competition, there are several simple, cost-effective ways to utilize SEO. When partnered with creative brand design and social media usage, SEO can help your business gain credibility and get a foothold in your field.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few key strategies to help boost your company’s search rankings online in order to get new customers to come to you.


Get Help with Your SEO

Get Help from SEO Professionals

In this age of technology, it’s essential for even the smallest businesses to have solid search rankings on Google. As more and more consumers rely on their phones for everything from driving directions to shopping, you’ll want to ensure they can easily find your business, get in touch with you, and buy products with the push of a button.

Enlisting the services of SEO professionals to help optimize your rankings in Google searches as well as on Google Maps can go a long way. The more mobile-friendly your business is, the better chance you’ll have of finding – and keeping – a larger customer base.


Website Accessibility

Make Sure Your Website Is Accessible

Not only is it important to give your customers lots of options when it comes to your business, but it’s also equally crucial to make your website as accessible as possible and to load it up with high-quality content. You can utilize several types of media on your site to make your business more visible in searches, from multiple links to videos. Just don’t forget to make sure all of your customers can benefit from them. Using captions, alt text (a written description of an image), and font options will help differently-abled customers easily interact with your products and marketing, among other tactics.


Keep Your Content Fresh with Frequent Updates

Keep Web Content Fresh with Frequent Updates

Whether you have videos, written blog posts, or photos on your site, you’ll want to ensure that your content is updated frequently. The more you refresh your content, the more traffic you’ll drive to the site – and increased traffic has a direct effect on your search engine rankings.

Every time you post something new, keep possible keywords in mind that are relevant to your customers. What would they type into Google when looking for your specific products or services? Try to keep these keywords as unique as possible on your website pages to prevent disruptions to Google’s algorithm. You can use online resources to figure out the best keywords and placement on your site, as well as tools that demonstrate how to write good content.

One important way to keep existing customers engaged with your content – and potentially convert leads into customers – is to make use of email marketing. An effective email campaign will help boost sales, keep your business in regular contact with its target audience, and directly promote your products and services. Connecting with your audience via email on a weekly basis helps balance your need to keep them engaged against the desire not to be overbearing.


Take Advantage of Google's SEO Tools

Take Advantage of Google’s SEO Tools

One essential online resource for small businesses is Google Analytics, which helps you track the performance of your website pages and provides lots of information about your customers, such as which social media platforms they used to find your business. Not only that, it can give you valuable insights about your competitors that could prove advantageous throughout the year. You can use these metrics as a guideline for taking your business to the next level or to learn where you could benefit from changing things up.

Becoming proficient with Google Analytics can be a daunting task for new users. Fortunately, there are many guides available online to introduce its tools to new users in order to facilitate a productive learning experience. A good guide will walk you through setting up your account, analyzing your SEO performance, and evaluating reports.


Final Thoughts About Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Final Thoughts

SEO is an invaluable tool for businesses of any size, and there are many ways to utilize these tactics. Do some research on the best ways to integrate search engine optimization into your standard practices, and get help from professionals like the folks at HighClick Media who can assist you in making the most of your website, social media accounts, and overall marketing strategy.

If you need help with any of these aspects of your digital marketing, we’re happy to help you out! Drop us a line here or call us at 252.814.2150 to see how we can help #elevateyourbrand!



Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice, and troubleshooting tips.

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3 Video Marketing Strategies to Boost Customer Engagement

3 Video Marketing Strategies to Boost Customer Engagement

For most marketers, the concept of video marketing isn’t new. But some marketers have yet to develop a video content strategy that effectively engages their audiences. Recent studies have shown that websites with videos are 53 times more likely to appear at the top of Google’s search results. Video content, simply put, is far more engaging than traditional marketing channels.

If you want to learn something new, are you more likely to consult a dry, dusty textbook or a how-to video on YouTube? If you’re like most folks, you’ll choose the video. It’s simple biology – the eyes are attracted to movement by default. Video marketing naturally draws people’s attention. Videos are also some of the most enticing content to share. Statistics show that videos get 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

Communicating complicated concepts in an easily digestible format is something at which videos excel. Audiences are able to absorb information faster, since the human brain processes visuals much more rapidly than text. The average viewer is able to retain 95% of a message in a video versus only 10% when reading written text.

Here are three easy-to-implement strategies for increasing customer engagement through video marketing:

Focus on the Customer

Your marketing strategy should transcend a transactional relationship – your focus should be on growth. Using videos to answer customers’ questions, demonstrate how to use specific products, and even highlight customer reviews are just a few ways you can better engage with consumers.

Be Authentic

Customers want more than just products and services; they want to connect with a brand. Over 70% of consumers believe that companies should strive to make loyalty and rewards programs more attractive. Most companies haven’t gotten the memo yet, as only 24% of businesses are actively focused on creating loyalty/rewards programs.

When a brand neglects to focus on important connection points such as loyalty programs, they’re missing out on building a lasting relationship with their customers. People want to be associated with brands that can demonstrate empathy and deliver a unique, personalized experience. In short, consumers want to be able to relate to a brand.

Videos have the capability of tugging on a person’s heartstrings. When you can create a video that people are interested in watching and taking action on, you have effectively succeeded at engaging your audience.

What better way to promote loyalty and rewards programs than with a solid video marketing strategy? A well-executed video can showcase all the benefits and features of your brand. The message is conveyed in a straightforward yet convincing way that draws in your audience, significantly increasing the chance of customer engagement.

Always Include a Call to Action

Ultimately, customers want to feel like they’re a part of your brand. How can you do that? Create videos with user-generated content, hold contests/giveaways, showcase customer testimonials, etc. Another effective means of connecting with your audience is through Q & A videos. Encourage your customers to reach out with questions in advance. This will make them feel included in the brand.

To learn more about how the professionals at HighClick Media can help you develop and implement an effective video marketing strategy, call us today at 252.814.2150!

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How to Build Brand Affinity with Your Customers

How to Build Brand Affinity with Your Customers
How to Build Brand Affinity with Your Customers

How to Build Brand Affinity with Your Customers

Conventional wisdom says that if you put your customers front and center, they’ll stick with you no matter what. But it’s not as simple as that. You have to give them a reason to stay. The best way to accomplish this is by building brand affinity with your customers.

Brand loyalty is something many companies strive to cultivate with customers. But what if you could take the concept of brand loyalty one step further?

Connecting deeply with your customers on an emotional level can build a long and healthy relationship that’s not only essential to growing sales, but also influences how people speak about your business to others.

Brand affinity involves looking at the customer as an individual, determining how closely connected you are to them, and figuring out how to further cement that connection to secure their steadfast allegiance.

Customers become advocates for a business when they feel connected to its purpose and personality. Defining what you stand for as a company can help cultivate a long-lasting affinity for your brand.


Brand Affinity

What Is Brand Affinity?

Brand affinity is the most enduring and valuable level of a relationship between a business and its customers. It’s based on the mutual belief that the customer and the company share common values. When businesses are able to form this kind of deep emotional connection with their customers, there’s nothing better than that!

Every buying decision a customer makes is based on a mixture of emotional, rational, and behavioral factors. When a customer feels an affinity toward a brand, the emotional aspect is likely to play the dominant role in their decision.

Consumers demonstrate their affinity in a number of ways, including: the likelihood that they’ll stick with the brand over time; the high probability that they’ll purchase the brand when free to choose among others; the good chance they’ll refer others to the brand; and the tendency to describe high levels of overall satisfaction with regard to the brand.

Branding Terminology: What’s The Difference?

You may hear marketers like us kicking around a number of different words to describe the brand-building process. Between brand awareness, brand loyalty, brand equity, and now brand affinity, it can be difficult to determine the difference. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Branding for Beginners

Brand Awareness

This is, quite simply, the extent to which consumers are aware of your existence; or, more specifically, how familiar they are with your brand. Being the first brand name that pops into someone’s head when they’re asked about a particular product is a clear indicator of strong brand awareness. When a consumer is aware of your brand, they may buy it or they may not – but at least they know it exists.

Brand Loyalty

A customer might be loyal to a brand for any number of reasons. It’s possible that they appreciate the quality of the product or the value it adds to their lives. Perhaps they’re motivated by compelling, or maybe they just buy it out of habit because they always have before. With brand loyalty, a customer may prefer your brand and generally choose it over others; but this a purely rational decision on the part of the buyer and doesn’t necessarily indicate a strong personal connection between the customer and the brand.

Brand Equity

Brand equity is the overall added value that a brand bestows upon a product or service. Based on awareness, perceived quality, associations, and loyalty, brand equity is how a brand justifies the value it’s seeking to get in the market. Companies with a high level of brand equity can set higher price points for their products, knowing that most consumers will be willing to pay.

Brand Affinity

This factor is measured at the individual customer level. Customers with brand affinity don’t just like your brand – they love it! They don’t just buy your products – they tell others about your brand and encourage them to buy your products as well. Creating brand affinity with consumers is the pinnacle of any brand-customer relationship.

The Benefits of Brand Affinity

From promoting trust to building stronger relationships, brand affinity comes with a variety of unbeatable benefits:

  • Minimizes the Competition:  Customers who are emotionally connected to your brand are far less likely to run to your competitors the first chance they get. In fact, customers with a high level of affinity tend to buy more in general, shop with you more often, and complain less about inevitable price increases.
  • Helps Build Relationships:  People would much rather do business with a brand that’s not afraid to get personal with customers. Humanizing your business can go a long way toward building relationships with your customers.
  • Develops Brand Personality:  If your brand was a person, what would they be like? What would their goals be? Once you’ve nailed down your brand’s personality, you can use it to better target your ideal audience.
  • Creates Trust:  In business, as in life, trust is the foundation of any solid relationship. Customers are more willing to trust a brand if they know it treats its customers and employees well. Communicate the things that you do well, as a brand, to take care of your clients and your workers. Being open and straightforward with customers – especially when something goes wrong – can also improve a client’s impression of your company.
  • Improves Satisfaction Levels:  When people like what you do, they’ll want to shout about it. If they also have a strong emotional connection to your brand, they’ll want to shout about it even louder. The more that potential customers hear about how satisfied your clients are, the more they’ll come to realize that you’re a brand worth doing business with.
  • Boosts Your Bottom Line:  Perhaps the biggest benefit of brand affinity is that it can convert “regular” customers into brand ambassadors for your business. When these brand advocates share their positive opinions about you to others in their social networks, it’s likely that you’ll receive an increase in word-of-mouth referrals – which can turn into more leads, which can translate into greater sales.
Brand Affinity - We Like You Too

How to Build Brand Affinity with Your Customers

Brand affinity isn’t something that you can force or manufacture – it must evolve naturally between you and your customers. However, if you are willing to invest some time and resources into cultivating this level of connection with your customers, the payoff can be huge.

Here are 11 tips to get you started:


1) Improve Your Customer Service

Determine what your customer base values in terms of customer service, then do everything you can to meet and exceed their expectations. Once customers have come to identify your brand with excellent and responsive service, you’ve created a way to set yourself apart from your competitors. Ongoing positive customer experiences help build strong, rewarding relationships with your customer base.


2) Encourage Customer Engagement

Give customers the motivation to keep coming back to your brand and interacting with it. Encourage comment engagement on all your social media posts. This gives your audience a forum to interact with each other as well as with your brand. Try to determine the ideal platform for reaching your specific customers and consistently post content that followers will be excited to engage with. Photos, images, and videos get a higher number of likes and comments as compared to text-only posts, so keep this in mind.


3) Keep Your Customers in the Loop

Be sure to keep your audience up to date with new announcements and features. Whether you’re launching a new product, going through organizational changes, or giving your website a facelift, make sure you let customers know what’s going on. Being transparent with your objectives and taking the time to communicate with customers can help build trust and organically boost affinity for your brand.


4) Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Engage with your followers on social media by replying to messages, commenting on posts, and participating in groups and communities. Interacting with customers on a personal level increases brand awareness and develops trust in your company. Establishing strong connections with your audience boosts the likelihood that they’ll share your content and spread the word about your brand in a positive way.

Monitor and listen to online communities to find out what people are saying about your brand. Spend some time talking to people and reading comments online. Try to figure out what motivates consumers to buy or not buy from certain brands.


5) Connect with Your Audience Using Targeted Messages

Remind your customers on a regular basis that you’re there for them, to alleviate their pain points and address any specific concerns they might have. Reinforcement helps customers continually associate you with the value they originally experienced with your brand.

Track and study how your customers interact with your products, services, and website in order to figure out what interests them. This will allow you to build messages that are customized just for them, which demonstrates that you’re more genuinely interested in your customers as people, not just as potential sales.

Email marketing is a great way to stay in regular contact with your audience. Whether you’re sending out promotional emails about upcoming sales or conveying important information, keeping an open line of communication with customers is key. This will help keep your business at the forefront of their minds while reminding them why they chose you in the first place.


6) Create a Seamless Customer Experience

Customers don’t like it when you make them work in order to contact you or to purchase from your store. A previous stressful experience with your business will linger in the back of customers’ minds and make them hesitant about doing business with you again.

Whether you set up a 1-800 number that connects customers to a live service rep or design a website that’s easy to navigate – if buyers can purchase what they need without any issues or significant delays, they’re likely to think more highly of your company when considering your products and services in the future. Make it a point to regularly review your customer’s journey so you can continue to find ways to make their interactions with your business smoother and simpler.


7) Use Affinity Tools to Analyze Your Customers

You can’t be everything to everyone, so don’t waste your time trying. When companies try to appeal to everyone, they often lose the unique, emotional connection upon which brand affinity is built. A number of online tools are available that you can use to help home in on your target audience.

Google Analytics offers a wide range of audience demographics including age, gender, location, and browsing behaviors. Its “Affinity” category helps inform you what type of lifestyle choices your website’s visitors make. For each “Affinity” category, you’ll also be able to see data related to website visits, new visits, bounce rates, pages per visit, and visit duration. For websites that are set up for ecommerce, Google Analytics displays data detailing transaction, revenue, and conversion rate information for each “Affinity” category.


8) Offer a Personalized Experience for Customers

Personalizing their experience makes each of your customers feel that they’re valued. One way to do this is by allowing customers to create a profile on your company’s website. Set up form fields that specifically focus on which aspects of a user’s profile will help create the most personalized shopping experience. Offer customers some type of reward around their birthdays. Consider offering a one-time discount that customers can use on their birthday month – instead of just on their actual birthday – to make this reward experience easier to redeem.


9) Implement a Loyalty Program

Setting up a points-based reward program allows your customers to earn points by making purchases with your business. After earning a predetermined number of points or spending a certain amount of money, members receive a reward. In many cases, these types of rewards come in the form of discounts toward future purchases.

Tier-based rewards, by comparison, are based on how much a customer spends with your company within a set amount of time, typically within a year. Higher tiers unlock greater rewards – these might come in the form of deeper discounts or access to exclusive sales.


10) Understand Your Brand Associations

Social intelligence will provide you with knowledge about how consumers currently view your brand personality and the brand associations they make. Create a search for all “mentions” of your brand. Take a look at topic clouds in order to identify common themes when people talk about your brand. If there are specific qualities that you wish to be associated with your brand, search for those words within all the mentions of your brand. Conduct a comparative study to see how you stack up against your competitors.


11) Be “On-Message”

When you have identified your targeted audience and come to an understanding of how customers associate with your brand, you can better determine how closely your perceived image aligns with the reality of your audience. Work on highlighting the areas that fit the message you wish to convey.

Make sure your brand stands for something, and that it’s a well-defined “something.” If you communicate that message effectively, you’ll soon have customers buying into your brand values.

Final Thoughts

Building brand affinity is one of the most effective ways to nurture both short-term and long-term growth. But it isn’t something that happens overnight. Like any other relationship, one between a customer and a company takes time to grow, mature, and strengthen. But by integrating these approaches into your business, you can secure a more successful relationship with your customers today – and enhance and expand that partnership tomorrow.

At HighClick Media, our marketing experts are ready, willing, and able to assist you with all of your branding needs. We dive deep with you to answer the questions that matter most to your audience. What makes your company different? What competitive edge makes you worth someone’s time, energy, and money?

A strong brand identity will stick with your customers. We help you create a corporate identity that will build trust and resonate with people. From your tagline to your brand persona, we’ll help you find your brand voice.

Call us today at 252.814.2150 to find out how we can help your business connect with your target audience like never before!

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Give ‘Em Something to Talk About: A 4-Step Guide to Boosting Your Brand Reputation

How to Boost Your Brand Reputation
How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Give ‘Em Something to Talk About: How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

If you’re looking for a surefire way to win customers’ trust and grow your business, you need to pay special attention to your brand reputation. In today’s world, consumers have tons of options when it comes to online retailers. If you want to encourage more people to choose your website, it’s important to have a stellar reputation as a brand.

When people see your brand logo, you want them to instantly think of your business as one that’s dependable and passionate about helping customers. As you continue building your reputation, you’ll notice that more people are visiting your site, which significantly increases your chances that they’ll convert to customers.

Your brand reputation hinges on several factors, including established marketing channels such as social media and email. In this article, we’ll examine several things your business can do to make sure you’re establishing a favorable brand reputation.

I got a reputation! A following! My brand is on the rise! - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Demonstrate Your Value

One of the best ways to bolster your brand reputation is to demonstrate your value. Many organizations like to talk about what they do that makes them great – and sometimes that approach is successful. But if you want your business to grow by leaps and bounds, you need to show visitors what you bring to the table.

There are many ways that you can highlight your brand’s value in a manner that your audience can better understand. A SaaS provider, for example, could present a full demo of the dynamic features their product offers. Instead of merely reading about how quickly someone can construct a form with your software, show them by providing a demonstration.

We would appreciate a good review. - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Another great way to underscore your value is to showcase customer testimonials and reviews on your website. This method works particularly well because it’s someone else – not you – who is touting your company’s value. New visitors can see what actual customers think about your products or services, and that can be the determining factor when contemplating your value proposition.

Research proves that reviews and testimonials can help increase sales by building social proof – the idea that our behavior is influenced by the actions, attitudes, and beliefs of others, assuming it must be the correct behavior – which generates trust and a positive reputation. Adding these blurbs to your business website can improve your conversion rate by 270%!

Finally, someone's talking to me! - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Engage with Your Audience

If you’re not purposefully engaging with your audience daily, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build up your reputation. Consumers expect online brands to engage with them on social media, email, and their websites.

There are several ways that you can enhance engagement across all your marketing platforms.

On your business website, you can allow comments and reviews on your blog posts and product pages. Engaged visitors will take advantage of these channels to communicate with your brand. Make sure your team is available to address users’ concerns and thank them for their feedback.

You subscribed to my email list; prepare to buy! - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Email marketing is another avenue where subscribers want to see more engagement. When you send out emails as part of a drip campaign, you can expect to get responses from users based on what you sent to them. By personalizing future emails in the campaign, you can offer specific answers to customers’ questions.

When you engage with users directly, they’re far more likely to regard your brand as trustworthy.

Social media is another pivotal platform for customer engagement. Whether you’re a small, independently owned business or a major corporation, social media engagement can generate substantial results for your business.

Who here is on social? - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Reach out to consumers who comment on your posts and join relevant social media groups where you can interact with your target audience. Customers recount that when a brand engages with them on social media, they typically spend 20% to 40% more when they shop on that brand’s site.

The reason for this is simple: when companies deliver targeted, interactive experiences to consumers, they’re taking significant steps toward strengthening their brand reputation.

Is there something I can help you with? - David Rose, Schitt's Creek - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Improve Your Customer Service

Your customer service and support teams are essential to furthering your brand reputation. Should a customer have questions or concerns, your customer service team can make the difference between a completed purchase and an abandoned cart.

Let’s say you’re visiting a particular website to make a purchase. After selecting the products you’re looking for, you realize you have a question about one of the items in your shopping cart. So, you begin searching for a way to contact customer support. Upon finding the appropriate link and typing out your query, you find out that the promised response time is 3 to 5 business days. Would you patiently wait for a response or abandon your cart and seek out a competitor with a team that’s ready, willing, and able to support you?

Hmmm...I think I'm gonna pass on that one. - Aretha Franklin - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

In this age of instant gratification when consumer patience has dwindled to almost nil, most people would choose to find the items they need on another website.

Ideally, your website’s live chat options should include a combination of real customer service agents and chatbots. The chatbot is your first line of defense. This handy tool is typically located at the bottom corner of a site’s homepage, so customers can easily access the information they need when they have questions.

When I think of chatbots.... - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Chatbots should be able to accommodate essential operations such as password changes and blog references. If an issue is more complex, you can program your chatbot to transfer that customer to a live agent where they can get assistance immediately.

When your team can answer customer inquiries in minutes instead of days, you’ll be well on your way toward building a positive brand image. Customers will return to you time and time again when they perceive your business as hospitable and reputable.

Implement Social Listening - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Implement Social Listening

Social listening involves monitoring and cultivating your business based on what consumers are saying about you and your competitors on social media. It’s also a powerful tool for improving your brand reputation.

Nearly half the population (49%) uses social media platforms to talk to friends, watch videos, and make purchases. Identifying how people think about your products or those of your competitors can help boost your brand reputation.

Big Reputation, Big Reputation... - Taylor Swift - How to Boost Your Brand Reputation

Through social listening, you may notice that several people outside your primary social media group are discussing a feature your product is missing. Instead of viewing this feedback in a negative light, you can use it as an opportunity to show your commitment to customers. Implement the requested features whenever possible and work towards building an all-inclusive package for users.

Overall, social listening can help you pinpoint customers’ persistent or recurring problems, as well as identify potential areas for improvement in your products or services.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to boost your business’s brand reputation. The tips covered here are broad in scope and applicable to a variety of different industries. Carefully consider where you might be missing out on critical opportunities to deeply connect with your audience, and make the necessary changes to rectify these problems.

Before you know it, you’ll enjoy a world-class reputation with both new and current customers. Bear in mind that reputation is much easier to lose than it is to gain. Build your audience’s trust, continue delivering on these standards, and you can expect to see exponential growth in the years to come.

If you’re looking to boost your brand reputation through digital marketing, HighClick Media is here to help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150!

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The Basics of Brand Loyalty: Transforming Your Customers Into a Lifelong Community

Brand Affinity - We Like You Too
Brand Affinity - We Like You Too

The Basics of Brand Loyalty: Transforming Your Customers Into a Lifelong Community

Chances are, we all have that one brand which has effectively, in its own way, stolen our hearts.

Brand loyalty is when a customer consciously chooses your product or company over that of any of your competitors – not just every now and then, but each and every time. It’s when customers don’t have to be pitched or pressured in order to make a purchase; they will invariably choose a particular brand over any other brand’s services or prices – even if they’re cheaper! Having cultivated trust with their customers which goes deeper than details like pricing, these companies often command their corner of the industry.

It’s critical to differentiate between customer loyalty and brand loyalty. Customer loyalty is primarily concerned with prices and services, while brand loyalty involves people’s perception of your business and the emotions connected with it. In this day and age, many newer companies lack brand loyalty because shoppers have easy access to compare details such as pricing and online reviews.

Establishing brand loyalty is no simple matter. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best strategies for building brand loyalty and transforming your customers into crusaders for your business.

Engage with Your Customers Regularly

It’s crucial that you’re connecting with your customers across every marketing channel. This includes – but is not limited to – emails, social media, and text messaging. Customers are people, and people naturally respond well to engagement.

Being available to engage with your customers on all the channels helps to humanize your brand. Doing so can build confidence in your brand and let your customers know that you and your brand can be trusted. Listening is half the battle. To really demonstrate to your customers that you’re paying attention to them, you need to bring about change based upon what they have to say.

With that being said, it’s essential that your brand is consistent in your communications in order to establish and maintain a high degree of brand loyalty. It makes no difference if you’re reaching out to people across all channels if you’re not doing it consistently.

Customers spot inconsistency and regard it as evidence of what it is – a business that’s disorganized and unprofessional. By maintaining a powerful brand voice and outlook, customers will come to embrace that tone as who your company is and will instinctively remember. Apple is a great example of a brand that is continually interacting with their customers across all marketing channels. Subsequently, their brand loyalty is among the highest in the world.

Reward Your Customers

People like to be appreciated. When your brand rewards customers for their loyalty, they feel cared about – and in exchange, they’re likely to demonstrate even greater brand loyalty. This is a progression that becomes stronger and stronger each time a customer redeems a reward.

Consider Starbucks – a brand that offers a commonplace product at a premium price, yet has consistently clung to a boatload of brand loyalty. Part of why Starbucks is so adept at this is because of how they’ve “gamified” their rewards program in a way that engages customers and gets them excited about using it.

Take the time to download the Starbucks Rewards app – as well as those of other prominent companies that loom large over their respective industries (e.g., McDonald’s, Nike, etc.) – and you’ll notice how seamless and innovative they’ve made it for customers to claim their rewards. Draw inspiration from these examples and attempt to recreate their success on your own website or via a company app as a means to further build brand loyalty.

Another spectacular strategy for rewarding your faithful customers is to do so in astonishing and unexpected ways. Sending them a small complimentary gift or even a simple text message on their birthday or during the holidays goes a long way toward showing your customers that you’re thinking about them. People enjoy being pleasantly surprised, particularly when it’s from someone they might not expect it from.

Building Trust and a Community Takes Time

Even the top brands didn’t achieve brand loyalty overnight. For all the brands mentioned above, it has taken decades to build up the loyalty they enjoy with their customers. So if you don’t get the results you want immediately, it’s understandable. You’re playing the long game, and boosting brand loyalty is one of the things that takes the longest.

A good place to start is by establishing your business as a trusted authority in the field. Accomplishing this demands taking your reputation management seriously and being diligent when it comes to adjusting your tone in order to win the trust of your customers.

Reviews are extremely critical in 2021. Responding to negative reviews can be tough, but it is essential. When you can effectively deal with unfavorable reviews, it illustrates to customers that you value what they have to say and will reply in a manner that resolves their concerns.

It’s only natural for people to want to demonstrate loyalty to their own communities. Take advantage of this characteristic of human psychology to establish greater loyalty and trust in your company.

Form online communities either on your website or even through social media with a simple, straightforward hashtag. This will serve as a nexus for your customers to interact with each other as well as with your brand.

Celebrate Your Customers By Sharing Their Positive Brand Experiences

Customers trust other customers above anyone else, including company representatives and paid spokespeople. Never underestimate the value of word of mouth. An excellent way to draw attention to this and impart it to your customers is by creating a testimonial page on your website.

A testimonial page allows you to highlight the positive experiences that other people have had with your brand. This varies from a review section in that you have the opportunity to handpick and highlight the exact testimonials that you want to be shared.

When a customer sees the testimonials, they may be inclined to think: “If those customers had a great experience with this business, then so will I.”

Even now, word of mouth is still the most tried-and-true method of marketing. If you celebrate your customers by rewarding them or sharing their experiences, there’s a good chance that they’ll tell their friends and family about your business. So don’t doubt what you’re doing simply because you don’t see instant results – these results will ultimately manifest themselves in your sales.

Working with Influencers

You can boost your brand loyalty by capitalizing on relationships with people who have already established loyalty with their customers or fanbase. Whether that’s collaborating with another brand or with social media influencers, it’s a remarkable way to encourage new consumers to trust you.

Take the average influencer, for example. Tens of thousands (sometimes millions) of followers already value their opinions and trust them implicitly. When an influencer promotes your brand, thousands of people will see it and – at the very least – be interested in learning more about your company, if not place their trust in you without question.

Final Thoughts

It’s essential to keep in mind that building brand loyalty isn’t something you can accomplish overnight. Keep at it and don’t lose heart if you don’t realize immediate results. Ultimately, you’ll be extremely gratified when you have a passionate customer base that will stick with your brand no matter what other brands in similar categories may have to offer.

If you’re looking to “up your game” when it comes to increasing brand awareness, marketing through social media, or updating your website design, HighClick Media is here to assist you! Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or visit the Services page on our website to learn all about how HighClick can help #elevateyourbrand!


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Growing Your Business vs. Growing Your Brand: What’s The Difference?

Growing Your Business vs. Growing Your Brand: What’s The Difference?

Growing a business and growing a brand often go hand in hand – but there are a few key differences. If you Google the phrase “the difference between a brand and a business,” you’ll come up with an infinite number of search results consisting of explanations aplenty describing what a brand actually is. The two work in conjunction, naturally, but growing each is a rather different endeavor.

A brand can generally exist autonomously of the businesses that operate under its umbrella. You can have numerous businesses or companies under one brand – Procter & Gamble or The Coca-Cola Company, for example – but the majority of the time, you won’t have multiple enterprises under one business. A brand is a broader representation of your business – it’s the image or identity behind your business, your ventures, and your community.

In this article, we’ll explore the major differences between growing a brand and growing a business and reveal how you can successfully do both.

Businesses Are Centered On Sales, Whereas Brands Are Community-Focused

Presumably, the aim of any business is to generate income. But the broader goal of building a brand ought to be to establish a community. Having a dedicated community can certainly lead to sales – that’s how business and brand go hand in glove, and why both are so crucial to your success.

That said, in order to grow a brand, you’re not going to be concentrating on the number of products you sell or the number of leads you generate – you’ll be much more concerned with engagement, reach, and recognition. Whereas building a business entails expanding products or offerings, developing a brand often means zeroing in on a singular concept or focus that you want your brand to encapsulate.

Your brand forges a reputation for you and any businesses that operate under that brand. Simply put, your brand is what helps people recognize and relate to your business.

Your Brand Is Bigger Than Your Product

Since building a brand transcends generating income or marketing new products, it concentrates more on public perception and sentiment. Establishing a brand isn’t about what you sell, it’s about how you make people feel.

For example, let’s take another look at Coca-Cola: this sweet, carbonated soda brings to mind unanticipated moments of happiness – not necessarily as a result of the product itself, but due to the branding around the product.

Lots of us have probably seen the Coca-Cola commercials depicting cheery people sharing a cola as part of the brand’s “Share A Coke” campaign. In this manner, Coke becomes more than simply a beverage; rather, it serves as a community for people who favor the brand and its products.

This is a clear-cut example of how product, business, and brand come together to construct a community and stimulate sales. These are the types of campaigns and connections that loom large in people’s minds and invoke an indelible impression of your brand and how your company functions within that brand. By linking your products and offerings together, you create the connections you need to have with your customers so as to maintain their interest in those products and offerings.

Your Brand Can’t Be Stripped Away from You

Your business might possibly fail, but a brand doesn’t work like that. A brand only fails if you neglect to find the right community and keep growing it. If it’s not working, you can attempt to alter the direction of your brand or change its focus. Your brand can’t ever be dispossessed of you, nor can it be appropriated outright. Your brand is an embodiment of your values, views, and goals rather than a physical offering of services or products.

For one reason or another, your business may ultimately cease operations – but your brand can unquestionably endure beyond that. A brand is the image and voice of the companies which it comprises. In a sense, a brand is more of an idea than an actual entity – and no one can take an idea away from you! Thus, growing a brand becomes just as critical in any business undertaking as growing the company or business itself.

Why Not Both? ~ Joel McHale

Growing a Business and Brand Are Different, Yet Equally Essential

As an entrepreneur or an established business owner, it’s just as important to grow your brand as it is to grow your business. Your business permits you to meet the needs within the community that your brand creates. Your brand affords you the opportunity to reach more people whose needs your business can help to resolve. Growing both of them concurrently helps you achieve your business goals more effectively. Certainly, these concepts can function independently, but the most successful businesses have devoted communities and a high degree of recognition around their brand. Therefore, it’s crucial that you make the effort to establish and build up your brand in addition to your business.

If you find yourself in need of a brand refresh, if you aim to increase brand awareness, or if you need some help establishing an air of authority around your brand, HighClick Media can help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or visit our website to see how we can help you #elevateyourbrand!

NOTE:  An earlier version of this article originally appeared on

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How to Deal with Negative Customer Reviews

How to Deal with Negative Customer Reviews
How to Deal with Negative Customer Reviews

How to Deal with Negative Customer Reviews

Negative customer reviews can happen even to businesses with top-notch customer service. Mistakes will happen from time to time; and unfortunately, social media makes it possible for a disgruntled customer to quickly tell lots of people when something goes wrong.

However, a negative customer review doesn’t necessarily signal disaster. It may seem counterintuitive, but getting a couple of negative reviews every once in a while can actually create trust with customers. Too many stellar reviews can make your business appear fake.

Shoppers understand that no business is perfect – and your response to a negative review offers an opportunity to demonstrate that you truly care about your customers.

By following these steps, you can transform a negative review into a positive experience.


Step 1: Respond Right Away

To keep a negative review on social media or another public site from adversely impacting your business, respond promptly.

You may not yet comprehend what went wrong – or whether you’re just dealing with a demanding customer. At this point, it doesn’t matter either way.

Publicly acknowledge the customer’s feedback and advise them that you’re looking into the matter. It’s essential to address the situation with urgency in order to stifle the complaint before it goes viral.

The proper response can even turn a negative review into a positive one! Data confirms that 33% of negative reviews on Yelp take a positive turn when a business makes the effort to respond to a dissatisfied customer.


Step 2: Follow Up Discreetly

Issuing a public apology helps safeguard your company’s reputation. Once you’ve posted a heartfelt apology for others to see, attempt to get to the heart of the matter in private. Contact the individual via phone or by using a free app like Clover Feedback.

If you choose to communicate by email or direct message, bear in mind that anything you say in response can readily be saved as a screenshot and re-shared.

If the customer is still unhappy, it’s important to let them voice their concerns in private where you can address them directly.


Step 3: Support Your Staff

Mistakes happen. As a small business, your employees are in the trenches every day, representing your brand to your customers. When a complaint is lodged, your staff needs to know that you are going to back them up.

This could involve providing additional training on how to handle dissatisfied customers, establishing a complaint policy, or immediately handing off negative reviews to managers (or to yourself, as the business owner) to lighten the load for your team members.

Keep an eye out for “constant complainers” or “barnacles,” two particularly prickly types of customers who can turn a situation toxic quickly.

These customers enjoy airing their grievances, regardless of whether they’re valid or not, in order to try to get a discount or a freebie.

When you confront one of these customers, take the high road. Do what you can to rectify the situation, and then move on.


Step 4: Make It Right

Customers take satisfaction in supporting small businesses, due to the fact that they routinely establish personal relationships with you and your staff members.

Because you’re most likely acquainted with many of your regulars, you’re ideally positioned to personally and genuinely resolve a negative review.

Determine the quickest, best way to remedy the immediate problem. This typically involves either returning an item, replacing it, or providing a discount.

Acknowledge that you value this individual’s loyalty. Empathize and engage with them in a way that sets your business apart from the dispassionate customer service centers at most big-box retailers.

“Apologize for and explain the situation, issue a refund (if applicable), and offer an additional benefit for sticking with you. Have a set strategy for specific problems, but personalize each response. Great customer service can turn unhappy customers into brand advocates. Poor service does exactly the opposite,” says Carlo Cisco, owner of FoodFan.


Step 5: Prevent Future Negative Reviews

Lastly, take advantage of this bad review as an opportunity to improve. How can your business function better, assist customers more efficiently, or enhance communication?

Establish formalized procedures, such as a refund policy or return policy, and review them often.

Role-play with your team members and coach them on how to respond to an irate customer face-to-face.

Implement a system or tool where customers can provide feedback directly, as opposed to on a review site such as Google or Yelp.

In essence, a negative review should be seen as a gift. It demonstrates that your customers are fond enough of your brand to go to the trouble of leaving you feedback.

Even the worst reviews can end up being positive experiences if managed properly.

Final Thoughts

Need help engaging more effectively with your customers? HighClick Media can help!

Our brand development specialists are ready, willing, and able to help create a comprehensive brand strategy that connects your business to your audience.

Our social media marketing strategies can help elevate your business by increasing its website traffic, brand awareness, and customer relationships.

Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here!



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Navigating the New Normal: How to Market Your Business in a Post-Pandemic World

Navigating the New Normal: How to Market Your Business In A Post-Pandemic World

In the span of a few short weeks, our whole world has changed. A deadly virus that very few saw coming has forced workers to stay at home for their own safety, businesses to shutter temporarily, and entire economies to be shut down. As a result, instead of developing long-term business strategies, working to achieve ambitious growth targets, and readying the launch of new products, small and large organizations alike have been prompted to hit a pause-and-reset button.

Even now, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, as infection and death rates continue to rise. In the face of what’s sure to be a severe economic recession, businesses, in general – and marketers, in particular – are struggling to find a way forward. How long this recession might last and what shape it will take are open to speculation. Though a great degree of uncertainty remains, what’s clear is that the immediate future is going to look dramatically different than the one we’d planned for at the start of the year.

With lockdowns beginning to ease and the scale of the economic challenge coming into clearer focus, companies can start to measure the initial impact the global pandemic has had on their businesses. If profits are lagging – as they inevitably will be – business owners may seek to cut costs by scaling back their marketing efforts and curbing ad spend. However, as we will see, this is not the time to “ghost” our customers. Companies that do so, in times of crisis, often struggle mightily to regain market share once the economy eventually recovers.

As unemployment skyrockets, money will inevitably be tighter for consumers as well. We can expect that customers will behave differently than before, since their immediate needs and short-term priorities will have drastically changed in the past few months. In order to rebuild the trust in their company’s brand, products, and services, marketers must alter their approach to their customers. The message must be restructured to fit the tone of the moment, or else it may come off as tone-deaf at best, or offensive at worst.

Let’s be clear: there will be no “winners” from the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is possible for companies to come out of this crisis stronger than before by leveraging a combination of shrewd crisis management, sincere empathy, and a depth of understanding of the “new normal” we’re all facing.

8 Strategies for Marketing Your Business in a Post-Pandemic World:

 1)  Customer Insight

Knowing as much as possible about our customers and prospects has always been a hallmark of any successful marketing campaign. In a post-COVID world, insight will still be of vital importance, but we must closely monitor consumers’ current preferences, needs, and even their feelings, as these will change often and rapidly.

In the wake of this global crisis, a few trends have already emerged. Consumers seem to respond best to positive messages brimming with confidence, reassurance, signs of hope, and a clear path for recovery. Customers have also shown a greater desire for more sustainable products, as well as an increased intent to buy locally.

As marketers, we must be willing to dig deep to understand what consumers care about, what they don’t, and what they’re anxious about at any point in time. Using social media and data analytics to track behavior will help us understand what potential customers value most and what concerns them. A clear marketing strategy, now as before, successfully links what a brand has to offer to what potential customers want.

2)  Communication & Engagement

The need to engage with clients has never been more important as it is now. Failing to do so effectively risks damaging long-term relationships with customers. While it’s understandable that companies may be unsure of what to say, how to say it, and when to reach out to customers, it’s crucial that we keep the lines of communication open.

More than ever, people crave a human connection. Brands that can relate to customers at a human level, by initiating new and meaningful conversations, will not only see a boost in exposure but the increased potential for new clients as well. We, as marketers, should strive to provide consumers with relative, informative content when they need it most, being mindful of their short attention spans and the need for instant gratification. All communications should be carefully monitored and altered as necessary to meet the changing needs and interests of consumers.

3)  Empathy & Sensitivity

As marketers, we must get to know our audience well enough that we can credibly ask them to trust our solutions to provide for their needs. In order to do that, we have to be able to empathize with our customers. Empathy goes beyond merely thinking about customers’ needs and being sympathetic to the challenges they face. Genuine brand empathy requires marketers to forge a deep, emotion-driven understanding of what customers are going through during these troubling times. This isn’t something we can fake or pay lip service to with empty clichés like “We’re all in this together.”

Businesses must acknowledge customers’ anxiety, grief, and frustration and respond with compassionate, relevant content that’s in tune with where customers are in this moment. Customers should feel as though we have their best interests at heart. If we truly do, we must back up our words with actions and help provide tangible solutions.

Pretending like nothing extraordinary is happening is both tone-deaf and irresponsible. People will remember how brands handle their marketing during this time. Negative association with a brand can cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation and its continuing business operations. We must be vigilant to ensure that the information we’re sending out is sensitive to both our customers’ needs and their recent experiences.

4)  Digital Transformation

Over the past several months, a global population in lockdown has flocked to the internet in droves. From online grocery shopping to video-conferencing to telehealth, digital media has been able to meet people’s most pressing needs like never before. The internet has also played host to a variety of entertainment options for the homebound, from gaming to social media to live TV and news. Ecommerce has grown exponentially in recent months as well. The digital landscape has been expanding and evolving for some time now, but the rate at which it has done so during the pandemic is staggering. The majority of these digital users, new and old alike, expect their reliance on digital media to increase or, at least, remain at the same level for the foreseeable future.

Some brands have spent the past couple of years investing in their online customer journeys – developing websites, applications, and implementing live-streaming, to name a few – are now reaping the benefits of these efforts. A multitude of retailers and other businesses have spent the last two months scrambling to set up an online presence, with mixed results.

Now more than ever, businesses are realizing they must turn to digital channels such as social media to maintain connections with customers, as well as sow seeds for future growth. Advertisers and marketers alike have taken advantage of digital media’s unique ability to reach customers in real time and adapt messaging quickly as needed. Everywhere an organization exists digitally is a potential customer service channel. As marketers, we must expand our efforts to find, engage, and serve customers everywhere online. Advanced targeting and personalization allow marketers to track customer sentiments more efficiently and adapt messaging to current moods and behaviors.

Going forward, companies would be wise to invest in creating positive digital experiences for their customers. Social media pages should be updated frequently. Websites should be responsive in design, optimized for mobile, and as user-friendly as possible. First impressions of a business aren’t just made in person anymore.

5)  Cultivate Trust & Brand Loyalty

Creating trust and cultivating brand loyalty are critical to remaining competitive in a post-pandemic world. Brands that build strong relationships with their customers in the short term will reap the long-term benefits of those connections.

As much as is possible, businesses should continue delivering on their promises, respond quickly and effectively to customers’ concerns, and maintain brand visibility. We, as marketers, must be able to demonstrate a deep awareness and understanding of the positive outcomes and experiences our audiences want to achieve, not simply focus on transactional behaviors that we want to drive.

Winning over new customers in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis may be difficult. Our focus should be on re-targeting previous patrons. Keeping in touch with past customers via social media, email marketing, and targeted ads is key to maintaining close relationships with our customers.

6)  Creativity & Innovation

Our job, as marketers, is not only to keep our businesses moving in the right direction, but also to build and maintain truly meaningful partnerships with our customers. By creating content that engages in memorable, surprising, and personalized ways, we can inspire customers to take the next step in their journey. We should focus on producing content that’s more personally resonant, situationally relevant, and emotionally intelligent. Providing trusted information, some much-needed comic relief, or anything in between can help our clients get through this difficult time.

The pandemic offers a unique opportunity to rethink the way we’re presenting our products – the manner in which we talk about them, the topics in these conversations, and the context around our customers’ experiences. Too many advertisers and marketers are using the same tired strategies to reach out to their customers during this time. We are tasked with making sure our brand stands out while also appealing to what our customers want.

A valuable exercise for marketing teams to explore is brainstorming how we can create content for platforms we haven’t employed previously. By expanding their organic reach, brands can stay top of mind in a global audience that’s actively seeking new media.

7)  Agility

Throughout the pandemic, businesses small and large have shown the capability to pivot quickly to address the changing needs and priorities of their customers. Being prepared ahead of time to adapt to an ever-changing market is critical to future success.

Businesses must examine their goals and strategies and consider new approaches, services, and products they may not have considered previously. Marketers must continually reassess who their potential customers are, how they make their purchasing decisions, how likely different groups will respond to marketing, and how messaging and content should be modified for different audiences.

The way we do business has changed dramatically in a few short months, thanks in large part to the increasing number of remote workers. Organizations that were previously leery of allowing employees to work from home have quickly developed and implemented strategies to make remote working a functional reality. Businesses are realizing that this arrangement can be a cost-saver, as working from home reduces the need for office space and other infrastructure. As a result, this practice will likely gain greater acceptance going forward.

8)  Everything Is Marketing!

During these challenging times, companies can continue to build their brands by treating everything they do as marketing. From employees’ community service efforts and corporate social responsibility work to company communications on social media, everything an organization does shapes people’s opinions of our brands and influences their decisions about whether to do business with us, now and in the future.

We, as marketers, must ensure that every activity we engage in reinforces and interprets our brand’s positioning and personality. We have the ability to turn interactions with employees, business partners, communities, and customers into potent messages about our brand. By transforming everyday actions into extraordinary ones, we can improve brand perceptions and attract greater attention to our business.

The Forecast

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses cannot simply dust off the old marketing playbook and pick up where they left off. Brand personas, methods, and messaging must evolve to confront the new realities. The effect on consumer behavior and values will almost certainly continue for years to come.

Marketing will play a key role in our recovery. Companies that have been able to prosper during lockdown – grocery delivery services, for example – may experience significant setbacks once consumers return to in-person shopping. Businesses that may have been forced to close temporarily will have to find ways to persuade customers that their products or services are safe once more. Still others will have to implement strategic plans to win back customers who may have adopted new daily habits while working from home. Throughout all this, information and communication will be vital. Marketers who make the most of these unique circumstances will be best positioned to help restore the economy.

It’s still too early to know what the “next normal” will look like, which behaviors will persist, what attitudes may shift permanently, and what technologies will have taken root in the lives of consumers. As marketers, now is the time to double down on what we do best. We need to make sure our brands are at the top of searches, our social media pages are constantly updated, and that we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to connect with our audiences.

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Taking the Shame Out of Shameless Self-Promotion

Taking the Shame Out of Shameless Self-Promotion

They show up multiple times a day on social media. You see them in endless TV commercials. They’re loud, they’re annoying, and they’re everywhere! They are the shameless self-promoters of the business world.

When you examine the strategies and tactics of the most effective attention-getters in history, you’ll find an extensive list of notable individuals – P.T. Barnum, Richard Branson, and Donald Trump, to name a few – who are incredibly talented in the art of self-promotion. Regardless of how you feel about the people who have employed these techniques, it’s undeniable that their efforts have been remarkably successful.

Yet many business owners feel extraordinarily uncomfortable when it comes to self-promoting their ventures. Why is that? Where in our journey did we determine that self-promotion is bad? Why do we accept that as the truth? Why do we associate expressing joy, confidence, or pride about our work with something for which we feel shame?

This article will attempt to answer these questions, examine the specific tactics employed by shameless self-promoters, and provide action steps to help you, as a business owner, feel confident about promoting your enterprise to prospective clients.

Zara Larsson Self High-Five - Shameless Self-Promotion

Why Is Self-Promotion Important, Anyway?

At its essence, self-promotion is getting your proverbial foot in the door with potential customers. No matter how outstanding your product or service is or what amazing value you can offer, if prospects don’t know you exist, you’re never going to have the opportunity to do business with them.

Selling yourself can feel awkward, arrogant, and agonizing. But if you want your business to prosper and you want your work to have a positive impact, you’ve got to learn how to master it. When you don’t actively promote your services or products, you are robbing people of the chance to do business with someone who truly has the customer’s best interests at heart.

If you aren’t willing to market your talents, expertise, and products, people will quickly overlook you. Business strategist Debbie Allen sums it up like this: “The world isn’t going to beat a path to your door unless you lead the way.”


Healthy vs. Shameless Self-Promotion: What’s the Difference?

Not all self-promotion is shameless. It all depends on your approach.

Understanding how to recognize shameless self-promotion allows you to distinguish it from the kind of healthy self-promotion that genuinely serves your business. If you can’t tell the difference between the two, you’ll never feel entirely confident in talking about what you do with potential clients.

Tooting your own horn is fine, just as long you keep it in moderation and know when to put the trombone away. Knowing where to focus your efforts and where to draw the line are important components of self-marketing success.

Healthy self-promotion is all about spreading ideas, knowledge, and a higher vision. When you promote ideas, you give people something to cheer for, a cause to support.

What makes self-promotion shameless is how often you do it, the intensity with which you approach it, and to whom you’re promoting yourself. It’s generally unwelcome, unlikeable, and quite often insensitive.

Shameless self-promotion involves repeatedly mentioning your business, services, products, or accomplishments without any real concern for the people the business is purported to be helping.

In short, you’re a living, breathing, nonstop sales pitch – for yourself.

Ryan Serhant Sell It - Shameless Self-Promotion

Shameless Self-Promotion Techniques to Avoid

There are many positive, healthy ways to self-promote. Some methods, while they might seem harmless at first glance, can actually be detrimental to both you and your business.


Asking Friends and Family to Support Your Business

When you launch a new project and you’re excited about it, the first thing you want to do is tell your friends and family. Those closest to you may not personally have a need for your products or services, but they might know someone who does. They may not be able to patronize your business with a purchase, but they can still add their encouragement or share your posts.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with asking family and friends to endorse your new enterprise, it’s important to understand that they’re under no obligation to do so. And if they don’t, you shouldn’t pester them about it.


Making Every Conversation About Your Projects

While it’s obviously okay to talk up your business, doing so all day, every day to every single person you encounter is not an ideal plan. In fact, it’s a very quick way to lose people’s attention and respect.

Starting a new business is a full-time job. As a budding entrepreneur, it’s likely all you’ll think about for a while. Because it’s easy to believe everyone else is as invested in the project as you are, you might be tempted to converse about it constantly. Even if you’re unaware that you’re doing it, it’s still fairly shameless – especially if you’re trying to solicit funds from people.


Spamming Your Contacts Via Email and Social Media

Using social media to garner interest in your business is perfectly acceptable. Where it becomes shameless is when you use these social networking platforms to spam your contacts with constant updates about your business and ask that they share them.

The same goes for email – if people start receiving too many messages from the same businesses promoting their products and services, they’re probably going to end up trashing them. If you only send the occasional email with enticing offers and shy away from being too “sales-y,” it’s more likely to be read.


How to Approach Self-Promotion in a Positive Way


Don’t Promote Yourself – Promote What You Believe In

By promoting what you believe in instead of making conceited claims or rattling off a catalog of services, you can more clearly convey what kind of business you run, what you represent, and the true value of what you do. That’s why people will choose to do business with you.


Start Circulating Your Ideas

Create genuine value and interest by bringing something new, or at least a fresh perspective, to the table. Let people know what you stand for, particularly as it relates to issues that are relevant to your audience.

Make your vision as unambiguous and well-founded as possible. Brand yourself and your ideas as original and exclusive. Although few ideas are genuinely unique, your expression can be.

Engage with power brokers in your field of interest and advise them why they should promote you. If they won’t, create influencers from within. As Nathan Hangen succinctly states, “Build others up until they have the power to build you up.”

Not everyone will approve of your ideas or your approach, and that’s alright. Acknowledge your critics, but don’t hesitate to challenge them, either.

People Helping People. It's Powerful Stuff. - Shameless Self-Promotion

Focus On Helping and Serving Other People

When done effectively, self-promotion is an art form. It comes from a place of service, from your passion and commitment to support others first. Effective self-promotion comes naturally when words and actions connect your head and heart.

Demonstrate that you truly care about solving people’s problems and making their lives better. Step outside business-related topics every once in a while to promote worthy causes. Good people want to do business with other good people who share their values.

When you start to look at self-promotion as a way to serve others, it becomes far less intimidating.


Let Your Passion for What You Do Shine Through

Passion is both inspirational and infectious. When you passionately believe in yourself, your ideas, your services, and your products, people will start to have faith in you as well and champion your business proudly. You won’t need to shamelessly self-promote; others will do it for you.

100% Real John Crist - Shameless Self-Promotion

Be Authentic in Everything You Say and Do

People can spot a fraud from far away, and nobody wants to do business with one. Pushing something you really don’t believe in is actually worse than shameless self-promotion.

When you say something about yourself, it’s a claim. When someone else says the same thing, it’s a fact. And that’s a heckuva lot more potent than shameless self-promotion.


Be Confident

People who have a difficult time selling and marketing seldom succeed. In order to move forward with your business, you must become absolutely sold on yourself, your abilities, your products, and your services – or no one else will be!

Muhammad Ali was one of the consummate self-promoters in history. He was well-liked not just because he truly was “the greatest,” but also for his integrity and the audacity of his ideas. Mike Tyson’s accomplishments were magnificent, but he never projected a greater vision that made us cheer.

Don't Let Your Dreams Be Dreams Just Do It Shia LaBeouf - Shameless Self-Promotion

Learn to Live By the “Three Rules of Shameless Success”

Rule #1:  Have your own personal style. No one can compete with you when you’re comfortable enough being your own person – someone who shares their own ideas and their own mind.

Rule #2:  Never give up – even when other people don’t believe in you or your ideas, or tell you that you’re crazy. No matter how many roadblocks get in your way: move around them, over them, through them, and keep going!

Rule #3:  Stand out and get noticed. Find a way to position yourself in front of the right people who will listen and pay attention, and ultimately support your success.

Final Thoughts

Some entrepreneurs and business owners view shameless self-promotion in a negative light because they fear it will be misconstrued as a form of endless bragging. Unfortunately, as a byproduct of this fear, they often choose the opposite extreme – not talking about their business at all.

Don’t let this happen to you! Your ideas need you. If you have a vision, don’t let anyone get in the way of achieving your goals. Learn to talk about yourself and your vision in ways that are genuine, engaging, warm, and generous. Share your ideas in the form of anecdotes, stories, and conversations with other people – particularly people who may find that information valuable or relevant. Being generous means that you’re able to both relay your own news and welcome the news of others.

Perhaps entrepreneur Marie Forleo said it best: “It’s time for all of us to untangle these feelings of shame and self-consciousness from the act of expressing our gifts, and offering our services to the world. Instead of calling it shameless self-promotion, let’s take the shame out of it altogether!”

Keep in mind that while self-promotion is extraordinarily important, it’s only one aspect of running a successful business. Make sure you’re offering products and services that people want and providing them with an excellent experience. Those two things alone can be more beneficial than any amount of self-promotion when it comes to sustaining or growing your business.

If you need help getting started with promoting your business, especially online, HighClick Media can help! We can develop and implement a digital marketing strategy tailored to your specific business that will get results! Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here!

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How to Grow Your Business with Contests & Giveaway Campaigns

How to Grow Your Business with Contests & Giveaway Campaigns

Integrating a giveaway campaign into your overall marketing strategy can be incredibly advantageous. A well-executed giveaway can help advance your business rapidly and at a relatively low cost. In fact, this type of campaign can yield a return on investment as much, if not more, than traditional marketing channels.

While large-scale prize draws were formerly the domain of powerhouse organizations, the internet has since devised tools that will allow your company no matter how large or small to effectively manage nationwide campaigns.

How can a giveaway help achieve rapid growth for your business? What is the secret that has historically made these campaigns so successful? Is a giveaway campaign worth the time, effort, and resources it will take to run it? This article will attempt to answer these questions, and many more besides.

How to Grow Your Business with Contests & Giveaway Campaigns

8 Benefits of Giveaway Campaigns


Giveaway campaigns are mutually beneficial for consumers and businesses. People LOVE the idea of getting something for nothing. Marketers can take advantage of this “love of anything free” to reap a number of benefits for the businesses they represent.


Increase Brand Awareness

Brand awareness consists of two main components: brand recognition and brand recall. Brand recognition is the ability of a consumer to recognize one brand over other brands, based on its attributes and design elements. Brand recall refers to the ability of the consumer to correctly generate a brand from memory when prompted by a product category. By putting your brand out there in lots of places to let people know about your giveaway, you’re also gaining a lot of attention for the business itself.


Promote Your Products

Whether you’re launching a new product or you just want to get more eyes on your existing line of products, a giveaway offers an ideal opportunity to accomplish this. Some people may not have realized you existed previously (see “Brand Awareness” above), while others may have heard of you but never known exactly what kinds of products or services you offer.


Generate Fresh Leads

By having participants sign up for your giveaway by submitting their email addresses or other contact info, you are, in essence, creating new leads for your business. These leads may or may not become future customers, but you have at least gained an inroad to communication through their participation in the campaign.


Boost Your Sales

Let’s face it unless you’re running a nonprofit organization, you need sales in order to stay in business. During economic downturns or particularly competitive periods, you may need a little something extra to push you over the hump. A successful giveaway is capable of doing just that.

Build Your Social Media Following

An effective giveaway campaign can help enhance your following on popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Since most giveaways are promoted and shared on social media anyway, this is the perfect opportunity to gain lots of new followers for your brand. You can even choose to make “liking” your brand page as a condition of entering the contest.


Increase Your Email Subscriber List

One of the most popular and simplest entry methods for giveaways is the submission of your email address. By capturing the email address of participants and adding them to your newsletter, auto-responder, or blog update lists, you can quickly and easily build your subscriber numbers.


Show Appreciation for Your Fans & Followers

If you’re an established business, chances are you already have a dedicated “fan base” of satisfied customers. This is something that businesses often take for granted, but the truth is that your customers are free agents who can choose to shop elsewhere at any time, and for any reason they choose. By actively engaging your already-happy customers in a giveaway campaign, you show them that you’re thinking of them and care about their continued business.


Create Better Engagement with Existing Prospects

If you’re like most businesses, you probably have a number of “followers” who aren’t actual customers…yet. Since they are already following your page, they’re likely to see any updates you post. When they’re made aware of your giveaway campaign, they may be intrigued enough to not only enter the contest but to finally give your products or services a try as well.

8 Common Types of Giveaways

Giveaway marketing takes a variety of different forms, all of which involve the distribution of free merchandise or services in some form or fashion in order to promote your business. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of giveaways, and explore how they could work for your organization.


Pre-Sale Giveaway

When companies introduce a new product to the market, they often give away free samples. They might hand out products to consumers in person or send free coupons in the mail. They might also offer free e-coupons to people who “like” the products or brand pages on Facebook.

While some folks may be hesitant to try something new if they have to pay for it after all, if they’re disappointed, they will have wasted their money many people will try anything once if it’s free. If consumers feel that the product is good, they’ll come back to buy it even when the product is no longer free.

With this kind of giveaway, companies target likely purchasers. They give away free products to people who are already in grocery stores shopping or at the restaurant eating, or to people who are paging through the Sunday coupon circulars. Marketers already know these people buy similar products, making them far more likely candidates to like the new product as well.


Gateway Product

Amazon often offers complete e-books for free download for a limited time – from a day or two to a month or two. Anyone with a Kindle or a Kindle app on their phone, tablet, or computer, can download and read the whole book without paying a penny. At first, this sounds crazy, since neither Amazon nor the writer or publisher of these books makes a penny on the download. But authors and publishers have discovered that offering a book for free can create more sales for the author’s other works. If a reader likes what they read, they often return to see what else they can find by that author, and this time they’re willing to purchase the book. On Amazon, free books climb the bestseller lists, becoming more visible, so that more people will likely see the book and be inclined to buy it even after it’s no longer free.


Loss Leader

A loss leader strategy involves offering a product or service at a price that is not profitable with the intention of attracting new customers or selling additional products and services to those customers. In a loss leader giveaway, you give away something for free in order to get customers in the door, in the hopes that they’ll buy something else while they’re there. If enough people buy the business’s other products, then the giveaway is a worthwhile campaign.


Free Publicity

Sometimes a company uses a freebie campaign as an opportunity to grab attention that it couldn’t otherwise afford to buy. A famous example of this is when Oprah Winfrey, in the year 2000, gave every member of her studio audience a new car. GM, the car’s manufacturer, received tons of positive press for donating nearly 300 of its new Pontiac G6s. Every newspaper in the country reported about the extravagant giveaway, alongside television, radio, and internet coverage. An ad campaign with similar coverage would likely have cost GM considerably more than the giveaway itself. Not only did they get everyone talking about their new car, but GM also got to be the good guy, enhancing its reputation with the public.

Branded Giveaways

This popular type of giveaway combines your company or product logo along with your marketing slogan on unrelated, low-cost products. These practical items are distributed to targeted audiences who, in turn, will keep and use them for extended periods of time, and are therefore reminded of your brand over and over again.


Your Own Products

Product giveaways are a simple, low-cost way to encourage your target audience to try your products. This type of promotion banks on the quality of your product when compared with others on the market and prevails only if your product has the wherewithal to truly have an impact on consumers.

A number of supermarkets invite manufacturers into their stores to conduct sample tasting in hopes that consumers will be enticed by their brand’s product enough to make a switch. In certain cases, these trials also succeed at introducing customers to a new product that they wouldn’t have tried otherwise.



Partnerships between any two small, non-competitive businesses help minimize the cost and expand the scope of giveaway marketing efforts. Such partnerships can have a tremendous impact and elevate the reach of your brand considerably.


Trade Shows

A trade show giveaway is a reliable way to garner interest from fellow businesses and consumers, regardless of the industry. This type of giveaway often differs from traditional customer giveaways in that the attending audience has already demonstrated an interest in the showcased industry, simply by being there.

Trade shows offer a forum where products can be directly evaluated, side by side, by both industry experts and consumers. To that end, these giveaways should be more focused on making an impact than evoking a sentiment of goodwill. Creativity can give your company an edge over its competitors in such a setting, and any giveaway that culminates in more visitors to your trade show booth is considered to be a triumph.

Potential Problems & Possible Solutions of Giveaway Campaigns

While there are obviously a ton of benefits to giveaways from a marketing standpoint, there are a few potential challenges that some businesses may face when running such a campaign.


PROBLEM: Giveaways Invite “Freebie-Seekers” & Treasure Hunters

Let’s be honest. Some people are just entering your contest to get something for free. Successful giveaways often end up with thousands of entrants, very few of whom have any interest in your company whatsoever.

When you start using the email list you’ve gathered during a giveaway, you’re likely to see both low “open” rates and high “unsubscribe” rates. The latter can actually be quite damaging, as this designation can result in your emails ending up in spam folders if enough people report abuse or mark them as spam.


SOLUTION: Find the Right Barrier to Entry

Engineering a giveaway expressly to discourage entrants might seem like the opposite of what you want, but it’s worth thinking about. When it comes to leads, quality beats quantity.

On the other hand, asking for too much info is a surefire way to deter even potential entrants who truly are interested in the prize.

A good compromise is asking participants for an email address, but offering them an extra chance to win if they share something perhaps involving a hashtag on Twitter or elsewhere.

Social media is still a very personal space, and most people won’t share something unless it corresponds with the image they’re trying to portray there. People who might become excited about your brand or product and may have friends who could be as well have a likelier chance of entering (and winning).


PROBLEM: The Prize Is Underwhelming

Let’s say you’ve decided to give away the latest iPhone. Not a bad prize lots of folks like iPhones. But lots of folks already have iPhones. These days, iPhone and iPad competitions are everywhere, so they just don’t have the intended effect of enticing entrants the way they used to.


SOLUTION: Give Away Something That’s Valuable to YOUR Audience

What would make your ideal customer’s life simpler? If you can’t determine this yourself, ask your current customers. Just be sure to enter them in the giveaway as a courtesy for giving feedback.

If your brand sells its own products, this is much easier. A free product or one-year subscription probably won’t cost you too much, but it’s extremely useful to someone who genuinely likes your product.

PROBLEM: Marketers Often Neglect to Adequately Follow Up After the Campaign Is Over

Sometimes marketers allow an interval of months to pass between setting up a contest and sending the first email to the resulting list. This is a huge mistake!

By this time, the average person will have forgotten about signing up for your emails in the first place. They’ll probably assume you’ve bought the list from someone else and are now spamming them. First impressions are crucial, and this isn’t the one you want to make when you’re sending what’s likely a promotional email.

Whether you’re following up about how to earn additional entries or notifying entrants about when the winner will be drawn, you can start testing how responsive your new list is before the contest is even over.


SOLUTION: Craft the Ideal “Loser Email”

Send a follow-up email when the giveaway is over to let entrants know that they didn’t win the competition (which they may have even forgotten they’d entered). Include a clever subject such as “You’re a loser” which is far too enticing to ignore or automatically delete.

The follow-up email should announce that a winner has been drawn. This is a critical step when you’re giving away a product or subscription. If you fail to announce a winner, some contest entrants may hold off purchasing from you indefinitely “just in case they win.” Let the “losers” know that while the winner has already been drawn, they can still receive a discount on the featured product.

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How to Run a Giveaway Campaign

Understand the Upsides & Downsides

Like any other marketing approach, not all giveaway campaigns will be successful. The internet is a congested space, with tons of free stuff being offered. It’s conceivable to spend a great deal of money on a giveaway campaign and generate any income or acquire a single subscriber. Attention still transcends free products.

Not all industries or websites will garner massive amounts of shares. A subscription to a specialized industry tool won’t propel hundreds of thousands of tweets. Neither will a product with mass appeal attract the right kind of attention nor get seen by the right audience.

So-called “spy tools” such as SEMrush or Ahrefs enable you to evaluate share metrics from your competitors or other industries. As part of your planning process, take a look at previous giveaway campaigns so you can set realistic expectations.


Set Goals for Your Campaign

Based on your current strategy and budget, work to define your marketing goals and determine specifically how the giveaway fits in.

Is your aim to gain more email subscribers? Boost sales? Get lots of shares? Increase brand awareness? Some combination of all of these things?

The fact of the matter is, whenever someone is giving away free stuff they’re going to be popular. Making a person’s day is always fun, and it’s totally fine if that’s your primary goal but be sure to communicate that in advance.


Identify Your Audience & Choose Your Prize

Determine what specific audience you’re targeting and what product you’ll offer to entice them. The product you select as a prize will likely dictate not only the breadth of your audience, but also the type of audience to which you’ll present your business.

Unimaginative prizes, such as the latest Apple products or Amazon gift cards, will elicit a practically limitless audience. But you’ll also have a next-to-impossible task trying to get their attention. Since this kind of prize is neither directly associated with you nor your audience, the underlying message is that there are strings attached therefore, there’s no reason for anyone to truly pay attention.

If your aim is to attract brand advocates, leads, or prospective customers, offer a prize that will engage people who are, at the very least, moderately likely to become customers. Some marketers are of the opinion that “a lead is a lead” and ultimately, the more the better. While it’s true that some leads generate revenue, boost your brand, and end up becoming devoted customers, other leads simply join your contest because they’re interested in winning a prize.

As a general rule, the larger the potential audience, the greater the prize needs to be. The more targeted the audience is, the more targeted (and desirable) the prize needs to be.


Define & Devise Your Promotion Plan

As with any other kind of content, you need to have some type of promotion plan. How will you notify people about the giveaway? How do you plan to spark their interest? How are you going to establish trust? (Most people recognize that there’s usually a catch.)

Begin with your current audience, then expand to an audience you don’t already have. Paid social media can be a helpful option since that’s where most sharing will take place anyway.

Identify ways you can target specific audiences that might take an interest in the giveaway. Reach out to prospective clients who follow websites that are complementary to yours. See if their followers might be interested in your campaign as well.

Try to strike a balance between over-promoting and under-promoting. Employ a crafty mix of stunning visuals and compelling copy to get your message across. But, by all means, don’t spam people in order to get noticed. This is rarely effective and often detrimental to your business.


Configure Your Infrastructure

Take advantage of “plug-and-play” giveaway software such as Gleam, KingSumo, Rafflecopter, and PromoSimple. These useful tools are designed to help you collect entries, manage your campaign, and select a winner in addition to providing a smooth and optimized experience for users.


Encourage Social Shareability

Incentivize participants to share the giveaway with friends and family in order to gain extra entries. Additional sharing creates a viral factor that will translate into more email addresses and participants than you would likely have received with pay-per-click ads or more organic promotions.


Announce a Winner & Award the Prize

After the contest has ended, your giveaway tool of choice will automatically select a winner. You will then give final approval based on predetermined contest rules and verify whether or not the entrant has confirmed their email address.

You then notify the winner and deliver the prize to them. Announce the winner to all participants. It would be great if you could get the winner to share a picture of themselves with the prize. This delivers social proof and encourages participants to enter future giveaways that you might hold.


Follow Up with Your New Email Subscribers

While some participants might have initially only been interested in free stuff, it’s possible that they might be at least mildly interested in your email marketing. Giveaway entrants might not show an interest in your current offer, but there’s no reason you can’t go back and reach out to them with a new offer in the future.

It’s essential that you clearly spell out what people are signing up for somewhere in the fine print of the giveaway itself. Allow them to opt out if they’re no longer interested in your marketing emails landing in their inboxes.

Once the giveaway is over, “scrub” the unsubscribes and non-responders from the final metrics and start email marketing to all your new subscribers!


Analyze Your Results

Run your landing page URL through a sharing tool to generate final share metrics. Examine your analytics to view total sessions and your email platform to note the number of email addresses submitted. 

Evaluate the results of the campaign based on your previously set goals. If the cost of the giveaway prize turns out to be less expensive than acquiring the same number of new subscribers through pay-per-click or other channels, then your giveaway is a marketing success!

Final Thoughts

Sometimes creating social virality for its own sake can be a worthwhile endeavor. A giveaway campaign is an extremely powerful marketing technique that can go a long way toward making that happen. However, giveaways and other contest-style tactics are best employed in tandem with your other ongoing marketing efforts. They will never be able to replace the entirety of your promotional strategy. You’ll need a variety of different campaigns, contest-based and otherwise, to achieve the best possible results. And, as always, make sure you have a strong sense of who your target audience is and how best to reach them.

HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in targeted online marketing solutions. We can help elevate your brand by developing a smart marketing strategy that actually works! Call us today at 252.814.2150 or message us here!

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