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Prep Your Brand For 2017 With These 5 Seriously Smart Actions

  |   Business Tips, Classy Marketing, Customer Service   |   4 Comments

Prepare your brand for 2017 by taking these smart steps to improve your social media profiles, audit your website, deliver better customer service, and more!


No matter what kind of business we run or blog we have, there is one universal truth among all of us: we all want more people to swoon over our brand.


Whether that means more social media followers or just more sales (though it’s likely both!), we can spend a crazy number of hours searching for “the latest and greatest” way to market ourselves and make ourselves attractive to people. I’ve definitely done it, and I’m willing to hazard a guess that you have, too.


The problem is, “the latest and greatest” isn’t always the best. And sometimes the info we get can be awfully flashy, skeazy, or downright ineffective.


Today I’d like to share with you 5 solid tips from my own experience in online business that will immediately have a positive impact on your brand for the upcoming year. These tips are simple, and yet will help you look more professional and be more likeable — so that you can achieve more of your brand goals in 2017.


(For you maybe that means making more money, reducing customer churn, obtaining more speaking opportunities, winning more recognition, making more relationships, or _________. Whatever it is, doing all of the following can seriously, and perhaps surprisingly, impact what you achieve this year.)


I invite you to try them out!




A current, professional-sounding website = a likeable, trustworthy brand. There is no better time than the new year to review + spruce up your web presence (I’ll be doing this myself in the coming week!), paying careful attention to anything that makes you sound snooty or smarmy.

__ Check for + fix misspellings, punctuation, grammar mistakes, and broken links on your:



Sales Page(s)

Product Descriptions

About or Start Here Page

8-10 most popular Blog posts

Contact Page

__ Remove/fix the following on all sales pages (including your course site, shop, etc.):


Inconsistent prices

Discontinued products/services

Language that over-promises

Language that sounds arrogant

Complicated or confusing purchase requirements

Unflattering photos/graphics (i.e. they look grainy, blurry, dark…)

“Thin” or non-existent FAQ

Hostile return/refund policies

__ Verify that the following is current for 2017:


Terms & Conditions

Privacy Policy

Copyright date in your footer

Email addresses/physical addresses/phone numbers

Client + Customer Support hours

Social media URLs

Any reference to # of years you’ve been in business

Affiliate links/images





People swoon over other interesting people (not boring business entities). The more you can reveal a sparkle of personality in everything you do online, the better success you’ll have in attracting admiring fans, ideal clients, and excited customers!


Rather than a generic social media profile that says, “Social media strategist for creative entrepreneurs” or “Personal trainer. Dog lover. Wife.”, help yourself stand out and make a connection by writing something unique + compelling. You’d be surprised the impact something this “small” has on your success.


Use these irresistible profiles for inspiration:







This same principle goes for your social media posts. Have you ever visited a social media account that was no more than a string of links to the person’s latest blog posts or product listings? Frankly, it’s a grueling uphill battle to gain a following and entice people to engage + buy from you that way.


Spice things up by regularly injecting tidbits of your personality and worldview:









Inflicting intrusive, unwanted solicitations on your potential clients + customers is an internet marketing gimmick that kills trust and likeability. It’s time to make the madness stop.

In reference to pop-ups (which has earned the #1 spot for “Most Hated Advertising Technique” in studies), the Nielsen Norman Group published an article in May 2015 that noted:

“Sometimes these notifications contain critical information that actually justifies the interruption, but more often these types of overlays are deliberate attempts to entice the user to take some action that benefits the organization (such as subscribing to a newsletter). Many web marketers seem to operate under the ‘ends justify the means’ principle, and believe that the benefit of increasing your subscriber base outweighs the negative consequences of annoying your users.”



The fact is that people still don’t like pop-ups, they still cast a bad light on your brand, and it’s debatable that they’re as effective as they’re imagined to be.


Instead, try one of these classier methods, all highly effective in building your email list with engaged and interested people:

1: A subscription box that spans the top of your website, below your header image or as a part of your header image. (Melyssa Griffin’s site is one beautiful example. I also do it on this blog.)

2: A subscription call-to-action bar that spans the top of your website, above your header image or at the bottom of the screen. (Try the Hello Bar for this! It’s free.)

3: Quality content upgrades within blog posts. (I like that my email program, ConvertKit, makes this easy. You might also want to search for some tutorials on how to set this up in Mailchimp.)

4: A subscription form at the top of your sidebar.

5: A subscription form in your footer.

6: A subscription form near the top/middle of your Homepage and About Page.

Pssst. If you’re still 100% convinced you need a subscription pop-up, then please:


  • disable it entirely on mobile,
  • think about it appearing as a delayed “slide up” in the corner of the screen (instead of a POP up),
  • and remove ALL manipulative language. Try levity — it’s so much nicer:






Most small biz owners, entrepreneurs, and business-minded bloggers don’t have a background in customer service, yet having delightful customer service skills is among the top indicators for biz success. This means it’s crucial to self-educate + seek training on a consistent basis!


To improve your service savvy this year, here are some excellent blog posts + books to get you started:


Blog Posts:


Why Tone of Voice Matters In Customer Service, Especially Online on Groove

We’re Losing the “Service” In Our Service-Based Businesses on Mallie Rydzik

30 Top Tips For Making Your Clients + Customers Love Your Biz on Olyvia

6 Ways To Engage Customers Via Their Receipts on WP Mayor

How To Deliver Kickass Customer Service on byRosanna

The “Secret” Trick To Delivering Consistent Customer Service Online on Olyvia

A Simple Change in Perspective That Will Win You Loyal Customers For Life on Groove

How To Handle Negative Comments Online (Like A Pro) on Olyvia

Customer Support Is A Feature on Medium

How To Get Clients To Pay (For Sensitive Biz Owners) on Olyvia

5 Non-Obvious Apps That Can Help You Deliver Better Customer Service on Groove


Books + Ebooks:


How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Customer Support Handbook by Sarah Hatter

Delight: The Digital Biz Owner’s Guide To Creating A Pro Client + Customer Service Plan by me

Hug Your Haters: How To Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer

Pre-Scripted: The Small Biz Owner’s Mini-Guide To Building A Customer Service Script Database by me


I’ll also be releasing a course this spring called Service School: Business Essentials. It will be specifically tailored toward online customer service fundamentals for small biz owners (creatives, freelancers, VAs, coaches, etc.) and solo or small team entrepreneurs. 


Service School: Business Essentials by Erika Madden of


I’ll be sharing more information in the coming months via email. You’re welcome to subscribe at the top of the page if you’d like to stay connected and know more!





Blog posts, podcasts, courses, content upgrades, videos, e-books… these all say something really important about your brand. Is your content telling people that you’re committed to quality, value, and generally being an awesomely helpful person?


You’ll win the hearts + pocketbooks of people online if you create better experiences for them. Here are some tips + resources to do this:


1: Add more video, audio, + other multimedia to your blog or course (23 ideas from byRegina)


2: How to write heroic blog posts (also applicable for content upgrades or course material!)


3: Use better photos! (Here’s my massive, regularly updated collection of 50+ beautiful free stock photo sites.)


4: Brush up on your DIY design or photography skills. You might want to begin by checking out the articles I’ve curated on Pinterest:






Did you find this post useful? Will you do one or all of these things this month? I’d like to know your thoughts + plans. 🙂


To 2017!


Erika Madden

(Chief Olyvia)





* This post includes referral links. Earnings go toward the development of Thank you for supporting this blog!

Main blog graphic: photo (c) Shay Cochrane, SC Stockshop - edited by moi


  • Such a great to do list for every bloger. Now I know what I am going to do this weekend. A really good way to start the year and orginize everything

  • Elissa Igleheart Bertot

    This was awesome, Erika! I recently disabled my pop-up. Even if it converted, it just didn’t feel right to me to use a tactic that I personally hate being on the receiving end of. Thanks for validating that decision! ❤

  • Great post, Erika. I’m putting a website audit on my to-do list for the next few weeks. There’s a few things lurking in the back of my mind that’ve been bugging me for ageeeees, so chunking it off into a whole afternoon activity with your steps as a guide is a great idea. Thanks 🙂