Brand Marketing Strategy


Brand Marketing Strategy

Expand Your Brand Content

After you’ve envisioned your brand marketing strategy by plotting a series of newsworthy stories on your calendar, you can move a step further by expanding yourbrand marketing strategy web content in various directions to give your sitemap much more depth. Search engines love sites with hundreds of pages of deep valuable content. They keep updating their algorithms to favor such sites while pushing thin content sites down the rankings. Avoid expanding too quickly for the sake of quantity so that the search engines don’t write you off as a spammer. Instead, grow productively and thoughtfully with quality content.

Provide Detail

One way to expand your web content is to provide deeper details of items you’ve already written about. Let your sitemap guide you as an overall outline for your website. Not every page needs to be linked to the “master sitemap,” which can provide links to sections that have more thorough indexes. The architecture of your website should be set up so that each broad section has its own folder. Within these folders are subfolders for deep links to pages that house more detailed content. Think of your website as a tree that never dies. Its root is the main directory, which encompasses different sections, including a sitemap, which also links to various sections, which lead to deeper links.

Try not to get too scientific about SEO since it’s never been an exact science and its guidelines keep changing through search engine updates. One thing that has been consistent through all these changes has been search engines reward high quantity sites with high quality pages while almost every other type of website has been punished somewhere along the way. High quantity/low quality doesn’t work and neither will a five page website of any quality compete well with a high quantity/high quality site. Quality is measured by the information you provide that can be objectively determined as useful information to online users. Sites like Google know exactly what types of information are in demand.

Ideas for Unique Content

Unique content can be easily created through uniqueness on perspectives, exclusive data, product demonstration tips, historical facts and customer reviews. Videos have become very important to many industries now that YouTube has become a vast library of free video content. By creating educational videos, even with bare minimum quality video equipment, you can engage viewers and offer transcriptions at the same time that double the impact in search engines. Make a point to capture footage of any public events or interviews that you do and then use them to link with various angles of the same topic in your blogs and articles.

Your brand marketing strategy will naturally manifest from expanded content that’s meaningful to your followers. Focus some of your videos, blogs and articles on company personalities who can share the brand narrative to the online community. Let people become familiar with humans who work for your company by offering details to their backgrounds, which fosters familiarity, giving customers a more personalized feel of your business.

Give Industry Commentary

Let your most knowledgeable and articulate experts have a voice on your site. If you’re a one person company don’t be afraid to share your personality with the world, which can make your brand more human and memorable. Comment about your industry’s past, present and future. Discuss the industry’s strengths and weaknesses. By providing a timeline of your industry’s development, you can educate your customers and gain trust in many ways, especially if no one else is doing it. Crystalize your brand marketing strategy by researching unanswered questions in your industry and offer new ideas.

Take the Lead – Download our eBook On How To Use Pinterest for Business

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Brand Strategy :Testing Your Brand


Brand Strategy : Testing Your Brand

Test Your Brand Against Your Competitors

Your brand needs to outshine the competition, maybe not in every way, but in enough ways to connect with the people you target with your narrative. A winning branding Brand Strategystrategy includes studying your competition and figuring out why your brand is better and in what ways it can be better. Keep in mind that consumer reviews keep everything in check, so part of your research needs to include finding out how consumers compare your brand with competitors.

Brand Strategy : Comparing Brands

Even though you may not have access to your competitors’ Analytics for every metric, you can still look at your own statistics and make estimates about your competitors. Sometimes you can get access to their data when they brag about it in the media. Your Analytics will tell you where your traffic is coming from, how much you are getting and what people do when they visit your website and social media profile. One thing competitors may not be able to hide from is how they rank in audience measurement sites such as Alexa and Quantcast. Both sites reveal interesting statistics about traffic for websites.
You can create your own estimates about your competitors’ social media activity by being friends with them and seeing how their users respond to them. You can also check their website to see if they publish online reviews. Another way to compare brands is to see who has higher rankings for keywords in various search engines. An element of your branding strategy should be to prioritize your most important keywords and phrases and then see if you’re winning those battles in online search.
You can also find out who is getting the most media coverage by going to Google and searching for news articles on your competitors.

Brand Strategy : Declaring Leadership

Once you have compiled a comparative analysis report of your brand versus competitors, create a list of goals that allow you to beat competitors. You can declare leadership in many areas, just like you will inevitably do with keywords if you use enough imagination and determination. The art of declaring leadership in anything is more up to you than your competitors. Don’t bother attacking them in areas that you cannot win. If they have a much larger budget, for example, don’t waste time imagining that you can beat them in an outbound marketing campaign.

But when it comes to inbound marketing, the playing field is much more level and you have many opportunities to overshadow the weaknesses of your competitors. The fact that you will be different from them in many ways will allow you be a leader in many areas. By monitoring their weaknesses you can assess where you can develop strengths and whether or not imaginative ideas alone can help you achieve leadership. Your best bet for developing an edge in competition will be in how strong you are with social media. If you enjoy interacting with people and mixing information with entertainment, then that element of your branding strategy will be tough to beat because most companies still do not invest enough time in social media.

Brand Strategy : Study Your Own Weaknesses

Never over-estimate your market position because the market is constantly changing. You never know when a new competitor will come into the market after studying everything you’re doing and mapping out market holes caused by your weaknesses. Instead, beat them to it by knowing your market weaknesses and what you can do to improve them. The most common weakness of small business is budget size. But that’s where imagination can be the key to overcoming money issues. Imaginative campaigns are what drives your brand strategy.

Take the Lead – read our free eBook on Creating Remarkable Web Content


Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


How to Use Pinterest for Business


How to Use Pinterest for Business

Pinterest is the relatively new kid on the block of social networks that is all about driving traffic. Pinterest not only drives, but it transforms your customers into evangelists who Social media communication conceptare responsible for engaging other users 70% of the time.Your presence and activity on Pinterest is substantiated by the 70% of Pinterest users who are on the network for inspiration on what to buy. As a traffic-driving and evangelist-creating social network, Pinterest offers your business the type of targeted exposure that is exponentially beneficial. To get you started, the following information briefly explains how to use Pinterest for Business.

Understanding Pinterest for Business Key Terms

A Pin is when an image is added to Pinterest

Pinning is the actual act of sharing content.

A Pinboard is a group of pins that share the same theme.

A Repin is like reposting or sharing another person’s pin.

The Pin It Button is placed on different websites to promote sharing .

Pinners are the individuals who are sharing the images or videos.

How to Use Pinterest for Business

Pinnable Images

Simply put, every page of your website should have images that are pinnable and interesting to your target audience, which will result in increased traffic.

Pin It Button

Although the real Pinterest users will pin images without any help, some Pinterest users need serious direction, which is provided by the Pin it Button. By enabling the Pin It Button on your website, you will be reminding users about their Pinterest account and their ability to share images with their friends. The biggest benefit of the Pin It Button is that it makes sharing and pinning images a simple step.

Riched Pins

Rich pins include an added bonus to search results by including your business logo. In addition, rich pins simplify the process for visitors to get back to your website with one click.

Setting up Pinterest for Business

To get started, visit the Pinterest Business Section and choose the option for businesses.

You can even convert your personal Pinterest account into a business account with ease.

After the account has been set up, you will want to add boards that will allow you to group the photos that you pin and share with different customer groups.

Sharing Images

Using Pinterest to share images is parallel to the highly effective inbound marketing strategy. In either case, the object is to offer your audience what they desire, which on Pinterest is shopping ideas. However, you shouldn’t only pin images of your products. Instead, you should pin images of items that your customer base would genuinely love to purchase. Achieving the goal of providing your audience with valuable content will directly lead to an expanding audience and more traffic to your site.

The most efficient way to share images is with the Pin It Button extension on your web browser.

Open the Lines of Communication

Like most social networks, Pinterest for business allows you to engage the visitors and customers who have pinned images on your website.
To do so, simply visit , but you will replace “domain” with your actual business website’s address. Once you do this, you can review the images that people have pinned.

Pinterest for Business is Important Because…

People are on Pinterest to make purchases or get ideas about what to purchase. As a business, this environment is exactly where you want to be. While other social networks focus on staying in touch, Pinterest is all about making relationships based on common interests, which undoubtedly includes your line of business.  

IIan Conklinan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.
OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


SMB Branding Series Conclusions


SMB Branding Series Conclusions

Your small business branding strategy should be a long term plan. Forget about quick results so that you won’t be disappointed by the duration of time it takes to orchestrate an effective campaign. Remember that like investing, nothing is guaranteed, but a wise investment in time, care, research and execution has a better chance of paying off than trying to cut corners. Your success depends mainly on sharing expertise and creativity with online followers.

Determination Beats Playing It Safe

The internet has certain powerful aspects that other forms of media don’t have. While traditional media like television and radio have expensive gatekeepers that limit access tocontent marketing large audiences, the internet allows you to creatively build a vast empire of content without anyone’s permission. The more unique and valuable content you can offer, the more likely search engines will assist you in your mission to develop a vibrant interactive online community.

Determination to provide better and more elaborate content than competitors is the gold standard for a successful small business branding strategy. Playing it safe by avoiding the vast amount of work needed to create powerful online resources is a sure path to an unsuccessful marketing campaign. So if you’re going to attempt inbound marketing, make sure you go all the way. Brainstorm with experts who have a proven track record with developing websites, blogs and social media interaction so that you arrive at a solid strategy.

Make Your Brand Shine

Last century the commercial craft of outbound marketing  – the practice of saturating a market with interruptive advertising messages – was the best way to dominate competitors. All along small businesses were not able to compete on this level, as the players who spent the most money on repetitious advertising raked in the biggest return on investment. Hard selling worked when big businesses used their massive advertising budgets to drown out smaller competitors through media saturation.

But now in the internet age a more consumer-friendly approach known as inbound marketing is taking over. Consumers now spend more time researching products online before they make purchases. They have become skeptical of too many exaggerated advertising claims and false promises. So they read reviews by other consumers and learn directly about products through websites, blogs and social media. The internet is here to help deliver your message better than any medium has ever done for small business, so take advantage of it and prosper.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


SMB Branding and Social Media


SMB Branding and Social Media

In the 21st century small business branding is most effectively achieved using a variety of online tools, particularly social media. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are popular social media networks where you will likely reach the most followers, but you may also want to explore social networks that specialize in your industry. Independent musicians, for example, will find ReverbNation very useful when combining it with Facebook. If you want to simplify social media and narrow your focus on one platform, then Facebook is definitely a winning choice.

Building a Base

Social networks are excellent for building a base of online followers. Platforms like Facebook allow you to create a public business profile page and invite people with similar SMB Brandinginterests to become friends. You can build an audience of thousands of people who will see your daily posts. With Facebook you have the option of who gets to view your posts and who can respond. It’s up to you if you want to deliver one way messages about your business and industry or if you want to allow feedback from your friends.

You can build marketing lists from social media and track who your top followers are. Attracting thousands of followers gives you the opportunity to not only deliver your message instantly to people, it gives you better insight on the tastes of your target market than can be gained from typical market research. Each day you can learn a lot how your followers feel about other products and activities beyond what you have to offer. This in depth information can inspire you to provide creative new solutions that may not be met by current market conditions.

Sharing News and Views

As a social media participant, you are able to post a variety of information about your brand. You even have the flexibility of going beyond your brand and sharing wider information that appeals to your market. You can post news stories or songs that associate with your brand. It’s a way of expanding your dialogue with followers beyond the predictable jargon of your industry. Social media is powerful for small business branding because it lets you be your own journalist instead of waiting for the media to tell your story. You can also provide links to your website and blogs that can go into much more detail.

Facebook allows you to express your brand with your own videos, audio and photos in a seamless way. YouTube is also considered a social network because it allows people to subscribe to your channel and post comments. At one time online video was complex and expensive, but YouTube has made it simple. You can host your videos on YouTube for free then link to them on Facebook, your website and other online resources.

Social Interaction

Facebook’s “like” button has become important in many ways to small business branding. Every time someone likes your profile or post it is perceived as an online vote. These votes can add up to big numbers and attract more attention, which can fuel more likes. You can also bond with others by liking their posts. If you’re the only one who likes an individual’s post, they will probably remember your positive gesture.

One way to create a chain reaction of new followers is to visit the profiles of friends and comment on their posts. When people respond to your comments it can inspire them to add you as a friend or vice versa. Social media will be most effective for small business branding if you avoid random friends and streamline your list to focus on loyal followers.

Take the lead in Social Media – Download the OTR Web eBook

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


SMB Branding Strategy


SMB Branding Strategy

Developing a small or medium business branding strategy is essential for success. Any business, big or small, needs to work on this process as a top priority. Authentic products that live up to their claims are now the main key to winning customers in today’s crowded marketplace. The main reason for this type of marketing evolution is that consumers now take customer reviews much more seriously than TV, radio or newspaper advertising.

Consumer Problems

Consumers are bombarded with tons of marketing messages every day and have learned to tune out most of them, at least on a conscious level. People only have so much time in a given day to concentrate on what they need to buy to resolve issues in their lives. Your brand needs to provide specific solutions to consumer problems that you have researched and understand. Developing a product that mirrors other popular but ineffective products that leave customers unsatisfied is the wrong path. Your goal should be more than just making quick profits.

You should develop a brand that overshadows competitors by resolving problems that they can’t. The way to win the attention and trust of consumers is read their reviews brand strategyonline of similar products and study their complaints. Figure out what would make them happy and deliver it through your products. Stay within your means of production and take note of what’s special about your solution. In other words, create strategies by thinking beyond what’s already available on the market.

Product Solutions

Once you have developed a product that satisfies customers by outperforming competitors, you need to plan a strategy on how to communicate the product’s benefits to your market. Avoid hyperbole that makes the product seem bigger than life, which was part of last century’s mass marketing philosophy just to sell units. In the internet age consumers are much smarter researchers and it takes more effort to win their trust. You can earn much more credibility by delivering what you promise instead of making big promises that trick people.

Your products will likely get positive praise if they exceed customer expectations, which gives people positive energy and confidence in taking credit for help others find effective solutions. If your products only meet or fall short of expectations, there’s a good chance the reviews will be more lackluster at best and have no effect at stimulating a chain reaction of positive reviews. Staying ahead of the curve should be your focus.

Communicating the Brand

A small business branding strategy will likely not involve expensive advertising, which is a gamble even for big businesses. Instead, you should pay attention to inbound marketing, which involves techniques associated with web content development designed to attract search engines and users. It also involves engaging with customers and potential customers online through blogs, social media, email, newsletters. The era of hard selling is ending and is being replaced by a series of informative resources that culminate into a sales funnel that points toward online product pages.

Throughout the inbound marketing process you should take a subtle approach that avoids sales talk. It’s better to initiate products with a wealth of information that begins with social media and blogs, in which you will have the opportunity of exchanging valuable information with curious people. Then you can direct them to further resources, such as your website, blogs and newsletters. From there you can provide direct links to your product pages where they can make purchases after you have led them toward making informed decisions. Any additional advertising you do in your small business branding strategy should give reasons for customers to visit your website. 

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Responding to a Blog Post to Your Own SEO Advantage


Responding to a Blog Post to Your Own SEO Advantage

If you write any amount of blogs you will have had the experience of receiving comments back (often software driven or many times written by an offshore SEO specialist and most times in poor English) that hopefully your spam blocker catches or if  not, you read and think, you have to be kidding me! Here is one from a clients site. This one was written well enough that the Askimet Plug In ( a pretty good WP spam detector) was not certain about it  and placed in the possible spam box. “Car shopping can be very time consuming. There are plenty of cars you can look at, as well as a handful of factors to consider. You need to make sure you are aware of what you need to make it a better experience. Consider the following helpful advice for making things easier on you.”  All good except the blog post was about personal life coaching! Into the spam bucket it went, even though it was manually placed there. The bottom line is the comment never made the light of day on the blog.

The main SEO reason for commenting was the hard sought after authoritative back-link. In times past many blogs designated the link back to your website as “follow” whereas now most are designated as “no-follow” and as such there is not the benefit of back-links from different sources. BUT there are still a benefits to be gained if you are willing to put in the time.

Improve Your Visibility with a well written comment in a related blog. Almost always your link is included with a blog comment and there is a good chance the reader will go to your blog and read it …. IF your comment is actually helpful and not just spam.

Establish Credibility again with a well written comment. Just adding a comment without having actually read the blog and the other comments will just make you look silly and will probably never get published. Be sure you know your topic and speak authoritatively and you will enhance your brand and market.

Build Relationships again with a well written comment. When you write intelligently about a topic you encourage responses and that builds relationships not only with the readers but also with other industry specialists. They all like to read good intelligent comments, sometimes they might disagree but the responses create ongoing dialogue.

Back-links, again with a well written comment you can capture the attention of the blog author as well as the the readers that have commented. Blog authors love authoritative and intelligent commentary and will often encourage you to write more by including your link in their post.

Did you happen to notice the key phrase in each of the points? I will repeat it again “A well written comment” that is relative to the original blog post (which you have actually read) and the ensuing comments will most often capture peoples attention and draw a response. By all means at the end of your comment leave an open-ended CTA such as, “I’d love to discuss this further, feel free to drop me an email.”

If you want to learn more about how to use blogs to your SEO advantage then click the link below to gain some valuable tips.

Your comments are always welcome.


Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements  Contact OTR Web.


Targeted Content: Lock On


You’re on our way! You have started a blog and are posting regularly on topics that are relevant to your industry. You have upgraded your web presence to a responsive site. (Most people are using mobile devices these days to gain access to the web and will make buying decisions on their mobile devices). You did not want to miss the boat on that and have potential customers go with a competitor because of the lack of convenience with your web presence! You’ve got your “Calls to Action” and “Landing Pages”; you’re ready. But, ninety days go by and you are not seeing the results you expected. Why? The content is relevant to your industry which is great, but is that content being directed to the right person?


We now need to create “Buyer Personas” and do so in an intentional manner. Buyer personas will help us write content that is more relevant to our specific clientèle – both current and future. We need to think of writing content the same way we would write a letter. The first thing we need to consider is: who are we writing to? It would be awfully difficult to write a good letter to someone when  we don’t know the first thing about them!


Who are they? How old are they? Are they married? Single? What is their income? Are they workaholics? We can ask all sorts of questions to create our fictitious customers. The more we ask, the better. All the questions we ask ourselves will help us identify these personas. After we establish who they are, we need to name them and even give them a picture. This will help us identify with them. We will view them all as people and thus treat them as such. Now what do we do with these personas?


Now we need to find people who are unbiased and fit our profiles. We need at least 20. The more we get, the better our results. We need to make sure we’ve prepared a list of open-ended questions to ask them. Once we’ve gathered all the data on all our personas, we can begin sorting through it and discovering what our target market needs.


We know who it is we want to sell our product to and what it is that they want!  We know who we are writing the letter to!  Now we can make sure our content speaks to them and satisfies their needs. Now that we’ve locked onto their needs as a customer, they will be more likely to seek us out when they are in need of the products and services we provide … because we are building a relationship with them. We understand them. Who doesn’t want to be understood?


  • Who is our ideal client?
  • Are there several?
  • What are their needs?
  • Lock on and feed them targeted content.

Post comments and ask questions relative to your business and asSocial Media is a Conversation a community we can provide input and improve together.

Colin is the Social Media and Content Marketing guru at OTR Web Solutions a web development & content marketing company since 2000, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

If you have not yet moved to a responsive web presence  Read This Blog Post

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Social Media – Luxury or Necessity


Ask yourself this question. Will my business succeed without regular interaction with my customers and employees? I think most business people recognise that they will not be successful if they eliminate or restrict communication with their customers and employees.

What is Social Media? Quoting direct from Wikipedia,  … define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”[1] Social media is media for social interaction as a super-set beyond social communication. Enabled by ubiquitously accessible and scalable communication techniques, social media has substantially changed the way organizations, communities, and individuals communicate.”

Well that was a mouthful … in simpler terms social media allows people and business to communicate and interact within a public forum. Customers and employees are expecting companies today to listen, engage and respond and that is what Social Media does best.

The ever-present fear from many businesses is that if we implement a Social Media platform for our business, people or employees will say something bad about the company, our services or products. The truth is they are saying it regardless and what a Social Media strategy accomplishes is to allow you to monitor your reputation and deliver your message. The other side of that coin is people are going to say good things about your company, services and products. Social Media interacts with every touch-point within your business from sales to customer service to human resources.

Another aspect of Social Media or what is now often called Social Business is the corporate blog which allows for you to become recognised as an expert in your field. People read what you write and you give them the opportunity to ask questions and you answer … well it doesn’t get much better than that for positive reinforcement of your business. Another benefit of the corporate blog is that it adds regular pages of fresh content to your website and I cannot think of a single search engine that does not like that to take place. People read your blog, “like” your blog on Facebook, share your post or Tweet your post and all that creates links and traffic to your website. So aside from interacting with your customers and employees you are also building traffic to your website!

Again quoting from Wikipedia,  … According to a report by Nielson “In the U.S. alone, total minutes spent on social networking sites has increased 83 percent year-over-year. In fact, total minutes spent on Facebook increased nearly 700 percent year-over-year, growing from 1.7 billion minutes in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009, making it the No. 1 social networking site for the month.”

The concluding fact is that business cannot ignore Social Media and they must participate and have a Social Media strategy in place. Social Media is not a luxury or even a necessary evil, it is a positive tool for business to hear, communicate and interact with their customers and employees. Without a Social Media platform and strategy in place, you risk being left behind your competition.

What is a blog post without a call to action … if you recognise that your business needs to participate in Social Media, OTR Web has solutions for your company. Visit our website, our Facebook page or contact OTR and we will discuss how we can help work with your business.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.