Whether you’re launching a new business, or seeking to breathe life into a brand that’s lost its momentum, there are a few go-to strategies that can really help to bring your business up to date, and in line with today’s digital marketing strategies.
Of course, you already know the basics, but the tricks that enable your brand to make its mark on the industry are those that give it a personality and an identity of its own. Remember, you don’t need to please everyone. The real goal of digital branding is to zero in on your target audience, and create something that is expertly crafted to impress them. Never forget that your brand is the essence of your company and the main way in which your audience connects with your business.
This can sound like a serious ask, especially if you are just finding your feet in the world of digital marketing. However, there are a few simple steps that can set you on the right path, and help you hone your brand without having to waste resources on strategies that just won’t work for you.
Determine Your Ideal Brand Audience
In order to market successfully, it is essential to know where your message is aimed.
If you are building a brand from scratch, this will usually mean researching the viability of particular audiences, exploring potential niches, and building your business around your findings.
On the other hand, you might be attempting to improve an existing brand, or even weighing up the potential of an intended purchase. In this case, the niche may already be set, and there may be an existing audience whose needs you should take into account. Data capture, as well as old-fashioned surveys and meetings can help you breach the history gap.
Using tools such as Google Analytics, Search Console, and social media analytics, you can explore site metrics, search data, and social media stats to get a feel for the people who are already supporting your brand.
Is there a clear pattern of behavior here? Are there specific localities or user groups that you’re primarily attracting? Try to go beyond data to insights — why are these things happening? You might want to contrast traffic levels with the number of sales, or compare different traffic sources with each other.
But you should also exploit other tactics like competitive analysis and industry research to find out who you haven’t managed to engage (yet). Just focusing on internal data means you’ll miss out on a big part of the story.
Once you know who you will be marketing to, you can develop accurate buyer personas, and develop more accurate predictions regarding the type of brand your audience expects.
Embrace Social Media
Social media is not necessarily for everyone, but most brands would benefit from a more open social media strategy. Social media is the ideal place for customer research, and it’s also a positive breeding ground for consumer-brand interactions. Not having a social presence can make your brand seem ‘off’.
After all, having accounts on the platforms most used by your audience gives you a whole new means of contacting and engaging with them. It can also help you plug into the popular zeitgeist and have a more reactive relationship with your audience.
If there are existing accounts, take a look through past content and engagements to decide whether to keep them active, or start a fresh. Bear in mind that attempting to migrate an existing audience can be challenging, and there is a chance that you will lose a percentage of followers if you choose this option. However, if a brand has developed a negative reputation or toxic following, this can occasionally be positive outcome.
From there, you can begin to foster a productive dialogue with your audience and establish which platform best suits their needs. Keep them updated with your progress, ask for their feedback, and use social media as a platform to temper your newly-forged brand identity.
Top tips for brands on social:
- Have more fun with short form content like GIFs
- Comment and share more than you post
- Get into people’s Messenger apps
- Invest in low risk paid social ads to grow your following and retarget lapsed customers
- Set up social selling facilities to make the most of your content and help your customers shop more conveniently.
Spring Clean Your Content
This is especially important if you are building up a brand that you have purchased. Trawling through existing content gives you an idea of the sort of thing your audience has come to expect.
This, combined with the data detailing the success or failure of each piece of content, can then inform your future design decisions.
There may also be content that you can rehash and repurpose. Similarly, there could be items that you wish to remove, improve, or simply bring up-to-date.
Create a consistent, coherent aesthetic that you can use throughout your site, and your content. This will help to build familiarity with your brand, and get customers to recognize your content at a glance.
The style and tone of your content should reflect the personality you have shaped for your brand, and should be evident in all interactions with your audience.
Watch The Numbers
Analytics are all the rage these days, and with good reason. You can learn a huge amount from the various metrics tracking engagement, traffic, conversions, and pretty much anything else you might want to know about your brand’s performance.
Your onsite data can help you to identify what’s working, and where you need to refine your approach – it can provide valuable insights into the habits of your site visitors, such as when they tend to be active, and how long they stick around.
You can learn from more than just your on-site analytics. For example, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide a range of handy tools that allow you to learn more about specific demographics, size up your competitors, and monitor the performance of your social media content.
As well as native data, you can invest in sophisticated data capturing tools to find out even more about brand engagements.
The key thing here is to not get so bogged down and paralyzed by numbers that you feel like you’re in a straitjacket. Have fun with your brand, and don’t just stare at your dashboard. Being authentic and agile is preferred over being too PR-conscious. (I once heard that it took a bank 6 months to approve a tweet — and that’s no way to run a digital brand).
Revamping An Ailing Brand
If you want to really give yourself a branding challenge, why not purchase a website, or better yet, buy an ecommerce store, that needs a bit of love, and see whether you can take it to the next level? It’s often cheaper to buy an existing site, than it is to invest in the setup and development yourself. This could be your chance to make a killing thanks to your branding knowhow.
Your ‘turn a brand around’ checklist:
- Has it got serious profit potential?
- Is there an audience and a community I can tap into? Or do I need to build it myself?
- How can I improve the brand equity in 1, 3, and 6 months? Where will I be in one year?
- What investments will I need to make (design, copy, dev etc) to bring it up to scratch?
- Have I got the time to do this project justice right now? Do I need to hire a team?
- Do I really believe in this brand’s potential?
Keep Refining Your Approach
The final step is to simply keep on going. Once you’ve polished your digital brand, you will need to continue engaging with your audience, outputting valuable content, and adjusting your strategy as your business develops.
There will always be something else you can improve, or a new direction that’s worth exploring, so don’t allow your brand to stagnate.
Listen to customer feedback, and optimize each aspect of your branding strategy by methodically split-testing each feature that is not already essential to the brand itself.
The will enable you to boost your brand even further, by systematically optimizing every facet of your approach. These persistent and positive changes also serve to show that the brand is very much alive, and doing everything in its power to provide the perfect user experience for the audience you have so carefully nurtured.
The more you learn about the needs of your business, and your audience, the better you can steer your future branding initiatives. And the better you can steer your branding initiatives, the greater the chances are of your audience engaging with your brand and buying your products.