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It seems that most times when I work with entrepreneurs or solo-preneurs and I ask the question – “what do you believe is your unique selling point “USP”?, I often get very similar answers. The most common answer is quality or service or the willingness to do what it takes. While I agree that these are all necessary in business and especially if you are to build a lasting business, the key to understanding your USP is that you must pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors. And if you’re not able to do this, you truly cannot target your sales efforts successfully. The simplest way to determine your USP is know with great certainty what makes your customers loyal customers.

If there’s one complaint about digital marketing that I hear more than any other, it’s got to be “I just don’t have the time.” I get it: you’re busy. But if your competitors are making the time to market themselves or their business online and you aren’t, then you’re going to be left in the dust before you can say, “What’s my Twitter password?”

If you’ve spent any time online in the past couple of years, you’ve almost certainly noticed that video is taking over. Businesses large and small across Houston and beyond are producing marketing videos to boost brand awareness, build social followings, and drive engagement and sales. Thanks to widespread, high-speed Internet connections and mobile devices, digital video has become one of the most versatile and profitable digital marketing tools out there—and best of all, video marketing is now affordable on any budget.

When it comes to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising online, one name stands out above the rest: Google AdWords. If you’ve ever seen the paid results at the top of the page when you run a Google search or seen a rotating banner ad on your favorite website, congratulations, you have experience with Google ads! For years and years, Google AdWords has dominated the PPC advertising business, giving businesses previously unprecedented opportunities to reach highly targeted audiences online. Google was unchallenged in its PPC supremacy. In recent years, however, a new contender has arrived.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs have been relatively slow to adopt Instagram as part of their social media marketing plan. It’s a missed opportunity, because there are a lot of potential customers on Instagram—more than 800 million, by last count. Some entrepreneurs skip Insta because they believe its user demographic is too young. More than half of all Instagram users are under 30, it’s true. But I’ve got news: Millennials have money, too. And if you aren’t reaching those users today, someone else is, shaping purchasing habits and choices that could last for years.

There’s no denying it: Video is taking over the Internet. Forgive me if I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but if you’re serious about marketing your brand online, video has got to be a big part of your social strategy. That doesn’t mean you have to have movie-star looks or charm to succeed, but it does mean that it’s time to get smart about the kind of marketing content you’re posting.

Even the word “analytics” can seem scary at first. Sometimes digital marketers have a tendency to avoid this territory, but if you aren’t studying the analytics and ROI of your digital marketing efforts, your results are going to plateau. Google Analytics can provide the transparency necessary to clearly see what’s working, what isn’t, and what changes need to be made to your strategies.

Even as the CEO at a marketing agency that focuses on digital content, I would never go as far as to say that print is dead. In 2017, this is a hot topic of conversation. Newspapers are losing business, magazines are going digital, and social media has seemingly taken over many efforts of outreach. However, there is a balance between these new and traditional forms of marketing that can be leveraged to any brand’s advantage.

With 500 million users, LinkedIn should be any professional’s go-to digital networking platform. On LinkedIn, users have the ability to connect with other professionals in or outside of their industries, find new jobs, get scouted for new jobs, join interest groups, and much more. To be effective on LinkedIn, you must have a strong profile and presence, so don’t be shy and feel free to showcase yourself in a manner worth getting noticed by other leaders on the site.

In the digital age, we sometimes forget about the more traditional forms of marketing, but press releases are still a necessary component of ensuring your successes are made known to the right audiences through different channels you don’t have direct access to. They are key to earned media.