Click With Brand Synergy

So you reckon a click-and-mortar strategy is for you? Well ask yourself this question: What do you expect your brand to gain by the move? For dot-coms, establishing consumer and market trust might be a key objective. For brick-and-mortar companies, locking out online competitors might be the objective.

Those objectives can’t be compared with each other. Nor can their achievement be easily ascertained or measured. But the goal of both entities is that they derive benefit from the new strategy. And one of several key areas of benefit lies in brand synergy.

Relationships With Customers and Partners

Brand diversity is reflected in your brand’s capacity to deploy all its communication channels at optimum points in each consumer’s life cycle — the ability to maintain the brand’s relationship with the customer, offline or online, in a timely, customer-sensitive, and intelligent manner.

That doesn’t mean overexposure, such as plastering a logo all over the place. It’s about developing a strategy that introduces the brand to the consumer meaningfully, in all situations, and in ways appropriate to each customer’s level of familiarity with and need for the brand.

This means achieving brand synergy, the compatible marriage between your brand’s identity and consumers’ preconceptions or understanding of it.

With click-and-mortar partners working on the task, cohesive brand handling can grow this synergy. Competent, cohesive brand handling induces the sum of the benefit to both entities to be greater than the benefit a brand enjoys alone (offline or online).

The Benefit

Here lies a click-and-mortar benefit. On the Net you chiefly use just one sense — sight — right? You can use your hearing, too, but the Net mostly communicates visually. This limitation underlies a clear benefit for an online brand assuming an offline partner or operating strategy.

The real-life store can appeal to all the senses. The Starbucks environment, for example, not only appeals to the eye with couches, lamps, and tables but also creates olfactory appeal and taste experiences. You know when you’re passing by a Starbucks cafi without looking at it. So the Starbucks brand appeals to all five senses.

The Challenge

And here’s the other side of the coin. What’s the value to the user of interacting with the brand in partnered offline/online environments? Cohesive brand handling is the customer’s minimum expectation. Consumers assume they’ll have their preconceptions about a brand satisfied. If they’re surprised, they need to be able to process the unexpected within the parameters established by your brand’s lexicon and personality. What’s a brand’s gain in suddenly becoming unrecognizable by defying expectation?

Will, therefore, a click-and-mortar setup make your brand easier to find and acquire from your customers’ perspectives? Faster to use? Cheaper? More convenient? More informative? Will it offer a larger selection? Become more relevant and customized?

One or more of these points must be apparent for there to be increased value for your brand in transitioning to a click-and-mortar existence.

Concentrate on the Objective

Your brand’s goal should be to add value to your customer’s relationship with the brand. And the only way to ensure that this happens is to identify the increased consumer values you want the partnership to achieve, then track their evolution during the transformation process.

Your brand-building efforts need innovation that enhances your customers’ relationships with the brand. And the click-and-mortar principle expands your brand’s opportunities for exposure, communication, and gain. But concentrate on objectives.

If you can, contact a marketing agency, such as SMA, to help you achieve your goals. Will your brand click with a click-and-mortar environment?

How SEO Makes Your Web Copy Stronger

People say that web writing is a balance between writing copy that’s friendly for search engines and copy that’s friendly for people, and there’s some truth to that. But I’ve found that search engine optimization (SEO) actually strengthens my copy.

SEO is not black magic. It’s not about tricking the search engines into ranking your site higher when people search for a certain word. It’s about aligning the best practices of SEO with the principles of good communication.

Yes, there is a technical aspect to optimizing your website so people will find it when searching with tools like Google. True also that there are certain things that can be done with HTML code that web visitors never see. However, the real trick to SEO is to make your site as relevant as possible to the people you’re talking to.

Relevance: that’s what it’s all about.

Think like a search engine

Can content be relevant both to machines – the web crawlers that search engines use to index websites – and to your human web visitors simultaneously?

Absolutely.

In order to think like a search engine, you have to know what parts of your website the web crawlers sent to scan your pages look at. But you have to keep the overall goal of the search engines in mind, too.

The search engines, after all, have the same goal as you. To help users find relevant websites. In this case, hopefully, your website. A big part of creating a keyword list is trying to figure out which words are being searched for by the people you want to visit your website.

So really, good SEO copywriting is about getting into the mindset of your audience. And that happens to be rule number one for good copywriting of any kind. Think from the point of view of your audience.

Once you have the keyword list, you’ll want to use it in places where the web crawlers will find it. Like in headings, subheadings and image titles.

SEO makes online copy stronger

Will using the keywords in places that the search engine dictates make your copy weaker?

Not at all.

If your web copy is already strong, it will make your web copy stronger. It’s not an accident that the search engines are looking for keywords in places like the headings and bullets and links. It is, after all, logical, that the words that are relevant to your content should appear there.

The only way it could make your copy weaker is if you do things backwards and try to jam keywords into your text as an afterthought, giving it an unnatural feel.

When does it make sense to prioritize keywords over good web copy?

Never.

When you start focusing on SEO, rather than relevance, then you’ve lost the plot. Because if SEO tactics detract from the flow, sound or rhythm of your text, then the text is less readable. And if the text is less readable, then it’s less valuable to your target audience, and therefore less relevant. After all, who wants to read a text that’s written more for search engines than human beings?

The trick is to use the best practices of SEO in a way that makes your copy stronger, more important and more valuable to your target audience. Then, not only will you the right people find your content, but they’ll be pleased that they did. If you want to know more about SEO, click here.