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Bare Knuckle Blog
My 13 year old, Jacob, is starting his own business. Some days that’s pretty cool. Other days I wish he would just go ride his skateboard and be 13. But I’ve decided to encourage this entrepreneurial behavior so here we go.
Last night, we were talking about branding and marketing strategy. As I broke it down for him, I saw the light bulb come on and it was like I opened the flood gates of creativity. If only I could reach all of my clients in this same way. Well, I’ll give it a shot. Let me know how this works out for you.
First, you have to think of your end game. What are you trying to accomplish? For Jacob, he’s creating a brand. He wants it to be popular and recognizable so people buy his stuff. Sound familiar? You want people to buy your stuff right? Easy peasy. We talked about the Nike “Swoosh” and similar brand logos where a simple design is so common that most people instantly know what it is. I pointed to his shoes. His Nike shoes. “Ya get it?” I said. And there was the light bulb.
Now, let’s back it up. How do you get to a point where your brand is recognizable in this way? Jacob’s logo is a swirl. Simple, cool, and fits his company name “Dizzy Skate Co”. Initially, Jacob just wanted to start slapping stickers with that swirl everywhere. But how will people know what that is? If they see a swirl on a sticker or t-shirt, then what? By asking him this question, his answer was what started to drive the plan. He said “I want them to go to my website and buy my stuff.”
Great. Now you know you need a website. But how will they know that they can buy that stuff on the website? Put the domain name on the stuff, right? We’re getting there. You have to loop them in. You have to make these kids want your Dizzy gear so bad that they beg their parents and promise to clean their rooms for a week just to get their hands on a Dizzy hoodie.
Now think of your market. Who’s going to buy your stuff and where are they? Well, that was a no-brainer for Jacob. These kids live on screens like their life depends on it. Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Twitter. So be there. And then, a proud mom moment happened. He said “I have to figure out how to get their attention and be interesting enough to get them to notice me.” Yep, we call that engagement. Jacob started using the hashtag #getdizzy in the social media content that he created around Dizzy Skate Co. So he had already set the foundation, created the accounts, and started the conversation. He’s had some good business advice along the way.
Back to the stickers and t-shirts. That swirl idea was pretty cool, but now what will happen if there’s a hashtag that says #getdizzy? Kids are curious. They are going online to figure out what that’s all about. And what will happen if @DizzySkateCo and some social media icons are on these stickers or shirts? Or even a logo with Dizzy Skate Co? Now we’re on to something.
We all know that in the world of marketing, you have to make that call to action very clear. You have to get their attention and then tell them what to do. With a hashtag like “#getdizzy”, the possibilities are endless. “Ask me how to #getdizzy”, “How do you #getdizzy”, “This is how I #getdizzy”. And #getdizzy can mean literally getting dizzy from doing a crazy skateboard trick that makes you dizzy to getting Dizzy t-shirts and stickers. Love it. The kid came up with all of that. Now let’s put those brilliant creative ideas in action.
Next you need a plan. Jacob has this notebook that he jots down all his ideas in. I drew a timeline for Jacob to help him visualize the process: Logo Design > Create Social Media Accounts > Populate Social Media with Content > Build Website > Create Stickers and Shirts > Drive People to Website Through Social Media > Sell Stuff > Distribute Products to Stores > Open a Skate Shop > Be Brand Famous
This is just a rough idea, and some things will happen simultaneously while other steps may change as this evolves. Jacob was getting held up on that. He couldn’t lay out a timeline because he thought it had to be set in stone. I just said start somewhere and you can always change it.
Once that was laid out, it all became clear to Jacob what he had to do next. And then the million dollar question: “what should I post on social media?”. So I drew another chart in that notebook. I listed his social media accounts down the left and across the top wrote some ideas for what to post on social media:
- stuff about skateboarding
- original image content (the kid lives on Instagram)
- original video content (Jacob has a GoPro so this will be fun)
- links to website
- shout outs and support for other local businesses with similar markets and complimentary products/services
- use of the hashtag #getdizzy in original content
At that point, he lit up like a Christmas tree. “I get it! I’ve got content for days! Ok mom I’m good, I gotta go post some stuff now!” Success! When we laid it out like that, it made total sense and the kid is off and running.
Then came the two million dollar question: “what happens if someone searches for Dizzy Skate Co.” Well buddy, you’re in luck because that’s mom’s job – getting websites to show up in Google when people search for them. So we searched for “Dizzy Skate Co.”. Guess what ranked? His Facebook page, and his little Google Sites page that he started building himself so he could learn the basics of how to build a website. And that is how it works. I wish explaining SEO was always that easy.
Today, he has a clearly laid out plan. He’s finalizing some content for his website so he can build that and have a place to tell his story, sell his merchandise, and house his amazing content. He’s creating engaging social media content to help reach his market and gain interest for his brand with the ultimate goal of driving users to his site to buy his stuff. And now, he’s going back to that one page business plan, provided by his business advisor Tom Lunney of ASBC, and he knows how to answer those questions that perplexed him just a few days ago.
Watching a 13 year old “get it” like this renews my faith in being able to help other businesses be successful with their digital and brand strategies. I might just start saying “if a 13 year old gets it, then so can you!” It’s as simple as this: define your goals, make a plan, be awesome and don’t give up on your dream! It’s exciting to watch this fall into place for Jacob and if you are ready to knuckle up and get real with your digital strategy, then learn from this kid. He’s got it figured out. I’m pretty sure the kid will be brand famous.Allison Chaney
Bare Knuckle Marketing is proud to announce that our very own Allison Kulage-Chaney aka Lil’ Dynomite will be hanging up her gloves in the world of digital marketing to put on her gloves in the world of Women’s MMA.
What started as an exercise regimen and great way to work off some steam, has turned into what her trainer Emanuel Faria calls, “a start of a promising career”.
We asked Emanuel what he thought when he first saw Allison walk into the gym.
“She walked in the front doors and at first I thought she was one of the fighters daughters. She was maybe five feet nothing and looked very out of place. She eventually made it to the heavy bag, and wow. I knew right then that I was going to train her.”
So she was a natural right from the beginning?
“No, she needed a lot of work, but she punched mean.”
What does Punch Mean, mean?
“Why don’t you get in the ring and find out.”
Although Allison aka Lil’ Dynomite is 0-37 in her semi professional career, she feels that this is what’s best for her.
So, from the entire team at Bare Knuckle Marketing, we say “Congratulations Allison!” If anyone is going to get into a ring and get punched in the face repeatedly, we’re glad it’s you!
We have been working with a new client who came to us asking why their traffic dropped so much in recent months. We quickly found that they were working with a company for about a year who was engaging in a highly unethical link scheme. Lucky for our client, they hired Bare Knuckle to get in there and clean up the mess and get them back on track to earning quality traffic and leads.
What’s really scary is the fact that they probably never would have known that the $149/month they’ve been paying for a year has contributed to a significant loss in traffic. On average, they’re seeing around 100 visits per month from search engines right now. A couple years ago, it was over 500. Ouch.
The moral of the story here – if it seems to good to be true, it is. Link building is not easy. Therefore it is not cheap. If you find a “deal” or someone selling you the “lowest guaranteed price on the internet”, avoid that like the plague. These companies are slick, and they talk a good game. Arm yourself with the facts, and some solid knowledge, and please hire a professional with training, ethics, and solid references.
Just get real. You are not going to be an overnight internet success by paying anyone $149/month for anything. Invest in your success. If you can’t afford it, then perhaps you should go find another job and earn some capital before you invest another minute into growing your business.
This case study is a perfect example of link spam, a black hat operation, and how it can cripple a site’s traffic.
This so-called link building service has spent a year and more importantly – our client’s hard earned money – building 100′s of links that are complete garbage. What’s even more shocking to me is that this company willingly shared with me the spreadsheets of 100′s of links that they’ve built over the last year. Wow. Just… wow. Either they are completely clueless or so arrogant that they really think they can dupe people into shelling out cash for crap.
I checked out the links on those spreadsheets. What I found was red flags everywhere in the form of:
- poor quality sites – I have not found a single site on those lists that looks like anything I’d ever waste a second of my time on. Zero value.
- tons of dead links – sites are broken, shut down, or otherwise not valid. Who wants a link from a site that no longer exists? Again. Zero value.
- several sites with the same IP address. Link Farm. Smacking… my… head.
And if that isn’t enough evidence for ya, check this out:
That’s a screen shot of all traffic from Jan 1, 2011 to date. Click the image to get up close and personal. I compared organic search traffic (shown in blue) to direct and referral visits. Look where they took the biggest hit – search engine traffic. I also added annotations in Google Analytics for the Penguin updates – all updates that Google implemented to combat link spam. Hit… hit… hit. This company has thoroughly screwed our client. Lucky for them, the Bare Knuckle team is on the case now.
This is no joke people. There are a lot of sleazy businesses operating out there, and companies are falling for what they’re selling them every single day. My advice to you is to find an SEO that you trust, who has solid references and practices ethical SEO. If you enlist in the services of someone now because they’re cheap, you’ll pay for it in the long run.
So what are we doing to fix this? At this time, the scam artists in question (who will remain nameless for now) have agreed to remove the links. We’ll see what happens. If they do, we’ll submit a kindly request to Google to please reconsider our client’s site, as we’ve stepped in and saved them from the clutches of evil. If they don’t comply, well, then we’ll gladly share their name.
Oh and one more little nugget for ya – on these evil-doers site, they have a big old badge at the top that says “Ripoff Report Verified”. Bwaahahahaha. Even more proof that you can say whatever you want on the internet. Doesn’t make it true. Oh well. Onward and upward.Allison Chaney
There was a time long ago when hashtags on Facebook were clickable, and then they took that feature away. But for a long time, people were still using hashtags on Facebook. Even some social media companies and so-called experts were using hashtags. The rest of the social media so-called experts took their jabs at these companies, and some even created entire Facebook pages and groups around the subject, and weren’t too nice about it. Check this out:
Please note, I don’t condone the use of the “r” word in this context. I’m using this to illustrate a point.
And then, in one day these very people under fire went from idiot savant to marketing genius, thanks to Facebook introducing hashtags on Facebook. One moment they are being teased, and touted as non-experts who are behind the times and out of touch with the evolution of social media. The next moment, they are suddenly ahead of their time, brilliant forward thinking marketing experts, seemingly knowing something that the rest of us weren’t privy to. It’s all in the perception. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Does it matter?
What really matters is if those social media experts are providing value for your business. Are they raising brand awareness? Are they creating conversation that is engaging? Are they reaching out to your market and driving them to convert to a visit, a lead, or a sale? Are they bringing you people who are buying what you’re selling? That’s really all that matters at the end of the day.
My advice to you, make sure you’re working with someone who is keeping up with the news, and know that this stuff changes every day. And most importantly, take everything you hear with a grain of salt. The internet is still the wild west, and we’re all in this together, learning as we go along. Oh and one last thing… play nice. You never know when an insult is going to come back to bite you in the ass.Allison Chaney
Join the Bare Knuckle team! We’re looking for better than the best of the best. Do you have what it takes? Knuckle up and call us. Check out our job description here.Allison Chaney
There. I said it. I’ve been thinking it for years, and now I’ve just come out and said it. Pardon my frankness but I feel like a broken record lately, as I am continually trying to do damage control because someone Google’d themselves and didn’t see what they were expecting to see in the search results.
You may have done it yourself, or perhaps your boss just stormed into your office asking what the h-e-doublehockeysticks you’re paying for this worthless SEO stuff. It’s ok, you’re not alone. Google rules the world and we all want to win in Google. But it’s time to set things straight and really drive this point home: stop Googling yourself. What you see in the search results will be different than the person next to you, and different than what you see two hours from now. (more…)Allison Chaney
Seriously. It’s just that simple.
I hear the question all the time: how do I succeed online? How do I win with the search engines? How can I get more visitors to my site, more Facebook fans, sell more widgets… Many people look for a magic bullet or some secret sauce. They think Google is some amazing entity that will only grant you a top ranking position if you can crack their code. (more…)Allison Chaney
If you’re a Google Maps user, then you may have seen a local business listing that lets you take a virtual walk inside the location. Google Maps allows businesses to create a 360° panoramic view of the inside of their business and yes, it’s pretty sweet.
Aside from being a super cool feature, adding this to your digital marketing strategy can help your business rise to the top. (more…)Allison Chaney