From the Trenches: Branding

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How the "Marketing Easy Street" Brand Came To Be

Branding is a word which you might hear quite often in regards to online marketing. But what does it really mean? And can branding help you drive more traffic and create a list of rabid fans and buyers?

In this article I want to share my thoughts about branding which is more important than ever with social media playing such a crucial role in Internet marketing. I would also like to explain how you can easily begin branding your websites, YouTube channels and/or product and services to ultimately earn more money online.

Here is how “brand” is defined at Wikipedia.com:

Brand:

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” [1]

Simply put, a brand identifies ones online products / services and separates them from the crowd. Needless to say, with so many websites and Internet marketers all vying for customers, it is important to differentiate that which you offer from that which is offered by the competition.

You may be selling your own products and/or services online or acting as an affiliate marketer who’s promoting another vendor’s products and/or services or merely providing information. In each one of these instances you will be, in some way, branding yourself and your offerings.

Your Business Model — Does Branding Make Sense?

Not all business models are suitable for branding. Case in point, if you were to launch a small website aimed at driving traffic for a weekend garage sale in your neighborhood, spending the time on branding would not really make sense.

If you were going to launch a mini site intending to drive traffic to an affiliate offer, creating a brand would, again, not make much sense. However, launching a large site that’s hosting dozens or hundreds of articles, videos and various other media offerings designed to build a list and ultimately sell products and/or services as a merchant or an affiliate would indeed make a whole lot of sense.

SEO, Branding & Why I Was a Slow Adopter

When I first got started years ago, I had absolutely no background in marketing. As I began to explore various methods of making money online, my main focus was on search engine optimization (SEO) and affiliate marketing.

With the passing of years, I increased my knowledge about SEO and learned how to apply various tactics to improve my position in the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing). A particularly powerful tactic was (and still is today) one which calls for acquiring domain names that are based on exact keyword phrases for which one want to rank.

This is very effective several a couple of reasons:

Keywords and keyword phrases that are listed with domain names scores essential points with the SE.
People browsing the web link to your site via the keyword or keyword phrase you want to rank for.

It is that second reason that plays a huge part in obtaining solid page rankings. Right now I have a 13 month old site that is in the top five of Google for a very competitive moneymaking keyword phrase because this tactic truly works.

The domain name of this site is based on the keyword phrase for which I wanted to rank and dozens other sites in its niche are linking to it by using the same exact phrase. This is what I call simple and effective marketing.

As effective as it is, when it comes to being brand-able and becoming etched in people’s minds and then happily passed on to others, this approach is NOT very sexy. Think of big businesses and it instantly become clear that branding is hugely important.

Apple
Amazon
Nike
GoDaddy
Etc.

All of the businesses listed above have incredibly strong and memorable brands. It is almost impossible to think about companies like Apple or Nike without visualizing their logos; Apple has their apple and Nike has their swoosh.

So, How Can You Effectively Brand Your Business?

I have ideas for domain names popping into my brain all the time. Some of them turn out to be terrific while others end up not being as great as I first thought they might be. If you contemplate your online marketing from time to time, it will become literally impossible for you NOT to come up with some strong domain names.

The inspiration for the domain name of this community blog first came to me as “Easy Button.” Thus, my initial plan was to create a marketing blog and a series of various products around the “Easy Button” concept.

It was very strong and would have made a tremendous brand. However, Staples already had that phrase branded and so I steered clear. Then, spending just a few minutes with my iPad and the WordBook XL application and studied phrases that contained the word “easy.”

That is how I found “Easy Street” and gave birth to MarketingEasyStreet.com.

There is another project on which I am currently working and I believe that it’s got great branding potential. Or maybe I should say that it will have great branding potential once I begin to roll out my marketing campaign for 2012. That new project is:

DomainCheapsters.com

Because this will be a long term project, I needed a domain that will be:

– Short
– Memorable
– Based on a .com domain extension

Why is .com so important? Because Google loves it and it’s no accident that all the big companies use .com extensions in their online presence.

In searching for the perfect domain name for this exciting project, I was also thinking about the way people search for domain names online. “Cheap domain” is among the most popular search terms in the niche and it also accurately describes what is being searched.

Thus, my hunt for domain names began as I was seeking a name that’s short and sweet and based on the search term that is used so often by so many.

I first tried “DomainCheapster” but it had already been taken. So I simply added an “s” to the end of “Cheapster” and, to my amazement, it was available. And not only that, it had been used earlier for the same purpose and had already acquired inbound links from other sites.

With the name DomainCheapsters.com in hand, I started planning strategies for branding it and decided to give it a whole new look.

My plans included a new logo as well as a Facebook Page that would be easily identifiable. While many domain and webhosting companies go for the techie look with slick logos complete with fancy graphics, I opted for a mascot.

I wanted an unforgetable “Cheapster” and began my quest by launching a contest at 99designs.com which makes it easy to get plenty of tremendous logo designs to choose from.

You can spend thousands of dollars or just a few hundred, but when launching a site that will be online for years, the expense for a professional looking logo is worth it. My friends Matt Callen and his brother Brad acquired the logo for their SEO Link Monster at 99designs.com and so do many other successful marketers.

Here is the design I chose and I think it accomplishes just what I was after.

LOGO IMAGE HERE

When launching big projects, spending a bit more time in the planning stages and seriously think about branding, logos, social media and SEO campaigns which can really make the difference between average and extraordinary earnings online. The real kicker is that the actual work involved does not necessarily increase, but more visitors are converted into subscribers and more subscribers become buyers.

What are your thoughts on branding? I would love to know how you approach big projects and if you have every thought about creating your own brand before.

Brian G. Johnson
I'm Social!

Brian G. Johnson

Is a serial entrepreneur, #1 best selling author, engaging speaker, product creator and poodle wrangler who enjoys coaching others to success.
Brian G. Johnson
I'm Social!

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About The Author

Brian G. Johnson

Is a serial entrepreneur, #1 best selling author, engaging speaker, product creator and poodle wrangler who enjoys coaching others to success.

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