6 Tips to Help Your Brand Stand Out in the Digital World

Written By: Kyle Musser


If you’re like most entrepreneurs and small business owners, there’s a good chance you’ve asked the question…

“How does our brand stand out from the crowd in this incredibly noisy digital world?!?”

Whether were talking about any of the Fortune 500 content teams all the way on down to the small business owners, entrepreneurs, and growing brands that we serve here at Digital Conversion Labs. Many creatives are asking this same question when it comes to creating, executing, and evaluating a standout content marketing plan.

Now the simple answer to that question is that you (and your brand) will never stand out and get noticed if your content is mediocre, if the message doesn’t resonate with your audience, or if you are always trying to cram spammy sales messages into your content mix as you fight to get into your customers bank accounts.

The great part is that this is the case for many businesses and brands that are still trying to figure out the digital pathway for unlimited profits.

I say “great” because this exact phenomenon and lazy way of thinking about content strategy is leading to a lot of frustration and pain for many business owners. While at the same time this approach is also opening up incredible opportunities for those that have the desire to win in the digital world by following some simple strategies for content marketing success.

The reason that this is happening is because there’s a huge difference in mindset, strategy, and execution when you compare content marketing pros against their less than outstanding amateur peers that think “just creating” content is the best way to win in the digital age.

And whether you’ve yet to realize it or not, when you run your business like an amateur you are only hurting yourself as you are cutting your profit pathway short when compared with your potential to scale your business.

For many of you, you might be wondering why this is really happening?

Well, the fact is that the people who really understand the power of content marketing and the digital world flat out have a superior edge over those that don’t because not only are they leveraging time and resources, but they are also achieving attention at scale.

Read more about this in Gary Vaynerchuk’s early 2016 article…

They… those that are willing to invest in content marketing, know based on real-time data and metrics what’s working, what’s not working, and where they are able to double down so that their efforts achieve the highest ROI on digital dollars.

All while understanding that your customers are the hero’s in this whole story and that your brand (and business) is only there to guide them in solving your customers’ pains, needs, and desires.

So for many of you reading this, I know that there’s a good chance that all the talk about content marketing, social media, Facebook ads, digital strategy, etc., is still leaving you feeling like this…

via Giphy.com

See not only do you have to worry about this whole content and digital marketing thing, but you also have team members, expenses, customers, customer happiness, competition, etc. that you have to worry about on a daily basis.

The great news is that there’s plenty of hope in the future of business and more importantly tons of opportunity to not only keep the rent paid and the lights on, but also to flourish as a growing brand in the digital economy.

So before we dive in anymore, quick question for ya…

Ever heard the term “Kaizen”?

If you’ve never heard this saying before, then implant this deep inside of your memory because it’s a lesson that all entrepreneurs, content creators, and creatives should embrace every single day.

Kaizen simply means “Continuous improvement” in Japanese.

And I’m sure that there’s a good chance that many of you reading this have never had the experience in supply chain or lean manufacturing where this principal is referenced quite often.

That said, here’s why it’s relevant to you and your business in today’s digital world.

So when it comes to the conversation around your brand, what’s it really takes to create a stand out content marketing plan?

Many times when working with clients, we usually attribute back to a few things…

1 — “Story Labs Script” Are you positioning your brand in a way that puts your customers needs, wants, desires, and purchasing decisions at the center of your content as a way to add more value and create more conversations that build the foundation for converting more prospects into paying customers?
2 — “Brand Labs Script” Does you content marketing align with your brand positioning so that your content not only stands out, but it’s becoming known as a go-to resource in your niche for current customers and potential customer prospects?

On top of having increased clarity over those two key ideas and having working strategy sessions around those concepts, you also have to be thinking about what you are currently doing to draw attention to your business.

Stop here for a second and think about things within your brand that you’re already doing on a scale of 1–10 in terms of things like…

Social Engagement,
Content Share-ability,
Customer Referrals and Virility,
and so on.

Got an answer?!?!

If you’re like most brands (and entrepreneurs), you’ll probably do one of two things…

1 — You’ll rate yourself on the high end in an effort to make yourself feel better about your content creation so that you can justify the investment of resources on the front end… even if it doesn’t produce new leads.
or…
2 — You’ll rate yourself on the low end based on the notion that good is never great when it comes to anything in your business… specifically your content marketing efforts.

Doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting a business or you’re working with a full content team that’s in charge of your brands’ content creation, promotion, execution, etc.

Whichever spot you find yourself in, the fact is that we can all be doing better in our businesses at any given point in time.

And I know first hand that this can be frustrating especially for those solopreneurs and small business owners who might be questioning where you’re going to find the time (and money) to create (let alone improve) the content you know you should or could be producing.

The pull to “constantly do better” has the ability to shift your focus away from what truly matters and that’s serving your customers or developing new customer leads.

Here at Digital Conversion Labs, we like to call it the…

“Conversation to Conversion Unlimited Profit Pathway.” — Kyle Musser, Founder and Chief Brand Advocate

So before we dive in, two things to remember:

1 — If you feel like you’re never going to catch up let along stand out in the digital age, know that this is not the end. In fact, digital content marketing is just beginning to really get interesting and become more lucrative.
2 — Standing out in the digital age doesn’t require massive infrastructure, budgets, resources, or even time for that matter. It just requires having an actionable plan in place that you can consistently leverage the Kaizen Principle of continuous improvement.

Whether you realize it or not, we live in some of the most abundant times to be in business in terms of how you can target, reach, engage, and convert leads into customers no matter what your target audience is or what niche you’re in.

Never before has it been easier for most anyone to quickly put a content marketing plan in place, immediately test that plan out, analyze the data in real time, and progressively iterate your way to converting more prospects into customers.

But that being said, what you must have if you want to achieve success in the digital world is a strategic plan.

Better yet, what you and your team need are principals through which you can filter your efforts and resources so that you can produce higher quality content, more impactful messaging, and convert more leads into paying customers.

So if you’re still here, it’s time to check out the 6 Tips to Help Your Brand Stand Out In The Digital Age…

via Digital Conversion Labs Design Labs

Tip #1 — Start and validate (more) small experiments.

When it comes to anything in business or life for that matter, I always like to encourage our Digital Conversion Labs clients and even my team members to abide by one of our core values here at Digital Conversion Labs and that’s the…

“Commitment to Continuous Experimentation.” — Kyle Musser

This philosophy was born out of the fact that when it comes to the digital economy, literally nothing is going to stay the same on a day to day basis.

Especially when it comes to the way you work, how you build your business, and where you connect with your prospects and customers.

For those of you familiar with the tech startup world, you’ve most likely heard the mantra “Just ship it” coined by serial entrepreneur Reid Hoffman.

via Ben Casnocha

And in my experience working with high-level business leaders and entrepreneurs, this is an adopted mentality which ultimately serves as the difference between soloprenuership and building a business at scale.

Just think about this scenario for a minute…

If you’ve ever had any interaction with a venture capitalist or venture investor, you’ll quickly realize their job is to recognize the potential for an infinite upside of new deals to hit their desk. While at the same time, working to manage the risks that are associated with investing in new and many times unproven business models.

Think of it in terms of the “Pareto Principal” that many of you are probably already familiar with in the same form.

Simply put, 20% of your efforts lead to 80% of your results. And the faster that you identify the inputs that you need to focus on, the better off you are in terms of the outcomes that you achieve.

This can be applied across many different areas of life and disciplines of business…

James Clear talks about this principal in terms of focus and productivity…
Michael Ellsberg also talks about how the 80/20 rule relates to content creation, coaching, and consulting…

Now if we go back to our venture investing example for a minute.

Let’s say you have $100m fund spread evenly across 10 investments that make up your portfolio of companies. Then, over the course of investing, growing, harvesting your returns throughout their duration and into scale (IPO, Sale, etc.), you’ll most likely seem something like 20% (or less) of the deals account for 80% (give or take) of the returns.

Now take that same philosophy and apply that into your brand’s digital strategy like Neil Patel over at quicksprout.com does…

Then, I want you to imagine for a second a place where you and a team make the commitment to continuously launch, track, and analyze 3–5 new content experiments over the course of a month’s time period.

Sound reasonable?

Let’s say for situational purposes so that you can see this in action that you goal is to grow email subscribers by X% for your chosen 30 day month.

Of which, some percentage of social conversations will convert into paying customers. But for the time being, let’s just focus on subscriber growth in terms of your content efforts.

If we’re just talking the social aspects of your brand’s digital footprint, let’s break down 5 easy experiments that ANY business owner or content team could run with little effort and minimal budget starting today to grow your email list…

Instagram — Post 1 new piece of photo content per day. Whether it’s a quote, customer shout out, product positioning, etc. This is an easy way to visually craft and share the story of your brand all while adding value to your community and creating engagement around your business. Just make sure you have clear CTA’s (calls to action) and the right link in the bio that leads people somewhere that they could opt-in your email list.
Instagram Stories — Since the stories go away after 24 hours, let’s say you just did 1 new story feature every couple days. That’s 2–3 stories per week adding value to your audience and building a deeper community connection all for free. And since it’s a newer feature in terms of it’s launch vs. the amount of people on the network, there’s a great opportunity to play the “attention arbitrage game” as Gary Vaynerchuk says as you capture leads and engage customers into buying opportunities via opt-in your email list.
Snapchat — Depending on your target audience demographic and what business niche you’re in, you could either share personal one off clips or even some more behind the scenes of your brand. Either way, Snapchat as a platform gets ridiculous engagement and the filters are always a great time. On top of that, you can always direct people with a CTA in terms of text on the screen that links back to your email list opt-in.
Facebook Live — Not only is Facebook Live another game-changing content medium, it’s also a great way to grow your page’s organic reach for free! Yes, you read that right. And my assumptions tell me that Facebook Ad targeting on these Live Streams is coming very soon. So if you have a smartphone, are a business owner with a Facebook Page, and you are not currently utilizing this… you’ll regret it if you don’t start now. And just like the above, you always have the opportunity to have a clear CTA within each live stream to join your opt-in.
YouTube — We’ll talk about this later, but Gary Vaynerchuk says “Document, don’t create”. What if once a week you highlighted a lesson just using your iPhone or did an interview over Skype that you then put up on your channel as a way to add value to your community? Either way, it’s a win-win strategy and in most cases is free, quick, and easy to create great content on the fly. And by using the bio portion of your videos, you can link people directly to your website to opt into your email list.

Now that might sound like a lot of time, effort, and out of pocket resources. But believe it or not, all those strategies are mostly free!

And while there is always an opportunity cost to think about when deciding on business strategies that best leverage and create growth, the fact is you’re better off betting on this type of evergreen lead generation strategy than most of the ways that people go about marketing and advertising their businesses.

I mean just think about it for a minute.

If you commit to running a bunch of small content experiments you are not only leveraging your time and effort, but you’re also increasing brand awareness, attracting more leads, and potentially converting more customers to your top line whether the results are a knock out of the park during the first phase of experimentation.

Continue this over time and I’m sure that the law of averages will ultimately lead to unlocking your own version of the Pathway to Unlimited Profits for your business.

Best part is that all of these content experiments I just shared as examples are available to you and your team for FREE or at least little to no costs.

All it takes is a little bit of planning, the committment to continuous experimentation, and a whole lot of execution. So don’t be afraid to get out there and try something new today!

Be proud of the fact that you shipped a bunch of small digital experiments during the next 30 days.

Then after you try these experiments out for a month and measure your expectations against your results, be sure to take an inventory as to which one had the highest ROI against your chosen growth metric.

In this case, we choose email list growth as the data point. Then after you have that measured, be sure to double down and watch how your results compound over time.

The best part is that you can always iterate and change your strategies or tactics based on real-time feedback and analytics…

Tip #2 — Document, don’t create.

I already shared this message from Gary Vaynerchuk in tip #1, but this video explains it all in more detail…

via Gary Vaynerchuk & DRock

This is something that I’ve struggled with and I know that many of my coaching clients have as well when it comes to their creative work.

For many of you, the idea of creating content seems daunting, intimidating, or even annoying if you’re really being honest with yourself.

Many times it’s because people don’t understand the power of leveraging attention and also how to properly assess their content marketing efforts by measuring the analytics and data behind the numbers.

But I want to take a minute and see if I can reframe this in your mind so that you can come to terms with a new way of viewing the true power and leverage behind content marketing.

Gary refers to it as his…

“Document, don’t create strategy.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

I like to refer to it as…

“Living, learning, and pass it on mantra.” — Kyle Musser

Now ask yourself real quick what could happen if you shifted your focus from one that’s ego-driven based on the fear or anxiety you have around putting your creative work out there… to one that’s focused on serving the needs, desires, and pains of your customers?

I believe that many of us have this false perception that our knowledge, expertise, and experience “isn’t good enough” to be shared with the world.

But I’m here to tell you that is complete bullshit and to share with you that you have something valuable to offer the world no matter what stage of business you’re in.

And whether what you create resonates with one person or a million people is besides the point. Especially for those of you that are just starting to share ideas whether it’s through blogging, podcasting, publishing a book, doing a video show, live streaming, etc.

There is a progressive journey that all creatives go through as you find your voice, perfect your work, and learn to create with your audience in mind.

Jeff Goins talks about this quite often over on his blog…

The point is that in this age of connectedness, we have this never before seen this amazing crowdsourced capacity to add value to others’ lives through any of today’s hottest digital mediums.

Circling back to tip #1, imagine that throughout the next month instead of creating content you just documented your journey of building your business…

Pat Flynn does this in his monthly income reports…
John Lee Dumas also does the same thing in his monthly income reports…

Whether it’s sharing the user journey and transformation of your customers, the evolution of your startup, or your life as a business leader and entrepreneur.

The fact is that all of us have something that we can learn from each other.

I’ll get more into this in a later tip. But for now, I just wanted to point out the beauty of the digital world and how connectedness is driving us forward in ways we never before would have imagined.

Dawn Gluskin talks about the power of story and how even after scaling a company from $0–3 Million, she finally realized what it’s really about…

I can speak from experience that there have been a few times in my own journey where I’ve moved from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur that I have thought about giving up on my dreams to build my own things.

But then partly because I sought out mentorship from friends like John Lee Dumas via his Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast or Lewis Howes on School of Greatness Podcast, I was able to put myself back into a mental state of clarity, focus, intention, and abundance that realigned my focus while renewing my resolve not to give up.

We all have stories to share that can inspire, encourage, and provide insight to others that are coming along with us.

The difference maker is you have to be willing to embrace vulnerability not as a weakness, but instead as a show of courage and leadership ability.

So if you’re up for a challenge, make a commitment each week to sharing just 1 story from your journey. Whether it’s on Medium, on your blog, via YouTube video, or on a Facebook Live.

Then, make a commitment like Nathan Barry shares to “teach everything you know”

via ConvertKit “Reach Podcast’

Tip #3 — Focus on building a brand, not just a business.

Maybe it’s just me and the way that I see the world, but I don’t believe that we need another business that’s sole focus is creating widgets on an assembly line somewhere just to make a buck.

Seriously guys, that’s so 20th century…

via giphy.com

What we need more of is entrepreneurs and founders that understand how to leverage their influence by building a content-driven brand that serves customers in a deeper way than just producing a sole product.

When I think about this philosophy and how it relates to Digital Conversion Labs, I’ll be transparent that there’ve been times where I’ve debated the types of clients that we ultimately choose to work and partner with.

Especially when first starting any business, cash is king and any deal that comes across your desk you have the inclination to take because you need the business to stay cash flow positive.

But when I really think about what it is that we represent and who we ultimately want to work with, this idea of the “ideal client” came to the forefront of my mind.

Since I know that our mission is to…

“Help Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Growing Brands Create $100m in brand equity in the next 5 years.” — Kyle Musser Founder and Chief Experiment Officer

I knew that starting a business just to become an entrepreneur was not the ultimate driving force behind the vision.

So instead, I choose to make it my mission daily to focus all of my time, effort, energy, and resources so that we work with clients that are doing purposeful work in the world.

And what I’ve learned is that by taking this route and sticking to our core values, we’ve not only grown as a business but also as a brand.

It’s my belief after having started and worked with for-purpose businesses for a few years now that a widget based business alone will never achieve the true purposeful mission that most entrepreneurs aspire to in terms of their overall body of work.

And when you decide to build a brand and not just a business, you allow the margin for your business to create a personal connection with your audience that’s focused on a long-term relationship business model vs. a short-term transactional business model.

Example…

Our story here at Digital Conversion Labs, which is still evolving and will continue to evolve as time moves on is that we believe in small business and the entrepreneurial dream.
And it’s our mission to serve our community of leaders by providing information, coaching, resources, and community that together helps you Turn Conversations Into Conversions.
Then because myself and my team know our mission, we have been able to have a craft a vision for how we are going to get there along with a Pathway to Unlimited Profits that allows us to serve more of you along the way.

So whether you realize it or not, the fact is you are never the hero to your customers. What you are (or should be) is the one who’s guiding and serving your customers along their transformational journey.

That said, what’s your Brand Labs Script?

If you’re not sure what the hell I’m talking about yet or even how to figure this out, check out the Story Brand podcast with Donal Miller and Dave Ramsey…

Tip #4 — Don’t be afraid to showcase the human side of your brand.

I decided to throw this one in the mix after reading this article over on Business 2 Community

More specifically, this idea from Adam Franklin,

“Every potential customer is on social media, the key is to be human, generous and connect with them.” — Author, speaker, and co-founder of Bluewire Media.

Right now I believe that we are at a very interesting point when it comes to the evolution of technology as it relates to the interconnectedness of the global economy.

Think about the last time that you were out and about. Let’s say you were at your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, sports game, etc.

Now look back and think about how many people either had their phone in their hands like it was an added appendage or were actively doing something like Snapchatting or playing Pokemon Go???

If you haven’t realized it yet, social media is no longer social media in terms of how it relates to human psychology. Over the last few years, it’s quickly an integral part of most everyone’s daily lives that has access to a smartphone and internet.

Let’s take Facebook for example.

I can speak personally that over the last few years of entrepreneurial journey, I’ve been able to curate my feed of close to 4k “friends” in a way that I see mostly only positive, uplifting, and beneficial content all sourced from specific business groups, paid masterminds, and fellow entrepreneurs.

So while most people complain about how much garbage or negative shit they see on social media, the fact is social media is about human to human connection.

Even at scale in terms of whatever network you want to focus on, the fact is people keep coming back day after day no matter what.

Technology has become and is becoming completely integrated into all of us as individuals and as it get’s more advanced will come the ability to truly curate your life inside a digital space that’s exactly what you want to see, where you want to see it, when you want to it, how you want to see it, and why it’s relevant to your interests.

So even if you’ve yet to realize it, every action you are putting out there into the digital world is creating a reaction in some way, shape, or form.

In fact, we’re now at a point where your social networks are not only used for connecting with like-minded people or family, but we have moved into an area where social has become the personalized portal to the online world for many people.

Just take this snippet from Slate where…

“More than 40 percent of American adults say they use Facebook not only for their news — but also entertainment, games, and yes, updates from friends and family.”

Thinking bigger and going deeper than that, what excites me about the digital economy is that it’s continuously breaking down the barriers to entrepreneurial success and brand-to-human connection.

People want and crave to see the human side of the brand’s they interact with because people is what business is really all about.

So going back to tip #1 that we referenced earlier.

Make the decision that when it comes to your overall brand and content strategy that you (and your team) will implement a mix of human into your brand’s digital campaigns.

Whether it’s highlighting your customers like Shopify does…
Giving your fans a shoutout on Instagram like Nike does…
via KISSMetrics Blog
Highlighting other brand culture’s on your blog like Buffer does …
Or attracting the best talent in the game by giving people behind the scenes of your business like Digital Telepathy does…

Whichever ways you and your team choose to utilize as a way to highlight the most important part of your brand which is your people. Just don’t forget to have fun and showcase the human side of your business!

Because if you’re not having fun, what’s the point anyway. 😉

Tip #5 — Be patient and put the reps in to build a great brand over time.

Don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but why the F$%# isn’t my business growing faster!?!?

Having worked through this as an entrepreneur and having to work through it constantly as a high achiever, I can attest that this is a dangerous place to be in for any entrepreneur.

Our friend Neil Patel, founder of KISSmetrics puts it like this…

“If you are looking to stand out in the social media world, you don’t have to come up with something unique or creative. You just have to be willing to put in the time over time.”

It’s easy in business to make decisions based on short-term thinking and results or lack there of.

I’m saying this because I’ve been there numerous times where I had a couple options. Either I could lead creation in a way that first creates value for our community vs. create in a way to first extracts value from our community here at Digital Conversion Labs.

Now while this is a short-term fix, it’s also one that has long-term repercussions that many times one doesn’t think about.

When you choose the latter, you are sacrificing your long-term brand equity by dipping into your social capital account today before you’ve fully built your trust and authority in your chosen niche.

See, content creation isn’t about making one of the most viral video’s of all time with the sole intent to have it go viral…

Instead what it’s about is consistently putting the reps in day after day, after day.

Or to put a number to it, focus on putting in your 10,000 hours in like Malcolm Gladwell shares in his book “Outliers”

Then and only then after you’ve committed to your own version of the iterative process that is creative product, can you truly evaluate your progress and look back on what you’ve created with clarity and objectivity as to it’s results.

Success in business or any endeavor for that matter doesn’t happen overnight.

In fact, I personally don’t believe that there’s such thing as an overnight success.

Make a commitment today to shift your focus on the long-term vision you have for your brand and your business. Do this, and you’ll be amazed how fun the process of creation actually becomes.

Tip #6 — Embrace change, or die (quickly).

If that currently sounds like you in terms of where you’re at in your entrepreneurial journey, there’s a good chance reason I know why…

“Change scares and intimidates most people.” — Kyle Musser

Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that the scariest part about change is not the process or the act for that matter. What you really should be scared of is the fact that the world is changing around you whether or not you and your business participate.

See whether you like it or not, technology is evolving and human behavior is evolving right along with it.

Our agency friends at VaynerMedia are a perfect example of this. As Madison Avenue clings onto their Madmen days of marketing and advertising…

Via Giphy.com

In came digital media, social, and new age of the mobile technology.

See where many agencies and brands for that matter still focus on things like print, television, radio, etc., the winning brands and businesses of today’s digital world understand that one of the biggest key’s to success is the flexibility and willingness to continuously experiment.

Platforms are changing each and every day, but that’s the nature of technology. It’s designed to be a disruptor, to evolve, and to mold into something greater.

As Peter Diamandis puts it,

“The only thing that’s constant is change.”

The market doesn’t care about the nostalgia that you have for how you used to do business.

So while platforms like Snapchat, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, etc., are winning right now here in 2016 as I type this, the reality is they might not be (as) relevant tomorrow.

But know that just because the vehicle through which your brand message is delivered is constantly changing, that doesn’t mean you have to change the principles by which you and your team go about sharing your story across the digital mediums that you deploy content on.

More importantly, take this idea and let it soak in that as you make decisions on how, what, and where to create conversations that you focus on these 2 things…

1 — Where your consumers currently are.
2 — The next place they could potentially be.

Change is happening whether you like or not, so always keep in mind content and context as you are finding new ways to add value to your prospects and your customers…

Gary Vaynerchuk
StephanieFrascoClegg

So that’s it for the 6 Tips to Help Your Brand Stand out in the Digital World. And for those of you that made it to the end, here’s a recap…

Tip #1 — Start and validate (more) small experiments.
Tip #2 — Document, don’t create.
Tip #3 — Focus on building a brand, not just a business.
Tip #4 — Don’t be afraid to showcase the human side of your brand.
Tip #5 — Be patient and put the reps in to build a great brand over time.
Tip #6 — Embrace change, or die (quickly).
QUESTION: Which one of these tips most resonates in helping your brand stand out in the digital world?
Be sure to leave your comments below and share it with a friend…
And if you’ve found this valuable, I’d be much appreciated if you could leave a HEART below… :-)

I’m Kyle Musser,

Founder and CEO (Chief Experiment Officer) of digitalconversionlabs.com. Come check out what we’re up to and be sure to check out our FREE RESOURCES by clicking on the link below the image…

via Digital Conversion Labs Design Labs

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