9 Essentials for Building a Dominant Digital Brand
The internet has forever changed humanity. It might just be the best thing since sliced bread. From a business perspective particularly, it has absolutely revolutionized the way brands do business. Over 67% of consumers are inclined to purchase a product or service on a mobile device. 1 out of 5 people in Africa use the internet today. The millennial generation operates and communicates primarily through a mobile device. (Source: SmartInsights.com).
The interweb is the place where every brand needs to be. Ok, but you already know that. Chances are your brand already has a website. Perhaps even exploring other marketing channels to help you amplify your brand’s potential. Realistically speaking, in today’s modern digital age, it takes a lot more to capture the attention of potential customers. An average consumer absorbs approximately 1,500 different marketing messages per day. They may take interest in about 1%-2% of those by actually buying a product or service.
So, what does it take to build a strong digital brand?
Strong Web Presence
Having a web presence in the form of a company website is certainly still of utmost importance. Do you treat it as your #1 salesperson? A lot of companies are failing at this endeavor though. Your brand’s website should clearly convey the products or services that you offer. It should also address your individual buyer personas. From an engagement perspective, you should focus on the emotional connection. What is it specifically that your target audience seeks? Is it a need or a want? How does it connect with them on an emotional level?
Today’s sophisticated consumer is far more savvy than ever before. Especially millennials, who practically live and breathe technology. When it comes to constructing a well crafted website, consider strongly the following areas.
- Does your website have clear navigation for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices? Ensure that your visitors can find the right information within 1-2 clicks from entering the website.
- Is the overall website presence inviting? Flat design has taken on new heights over last several years. It is a great way to showcase added value proposition on your company website. Remember that you have to have user appeal.
- Is the typography legible and easy to follow? Your visitors should have no issues with readability on your brand’s website.
- Are there strong CTAs positioned within the site? If you don’t invoke a possible action by a visitor than chances are they will not attempt to take one willingly.
- Is your contact information clear, front, and center? This includes a phone number with Click2Call capability and easily accessible contact form. Don’t make your visitors hunt for it. Make it prominent and easily discoverable.
- Does the default page of your website load quickly? Keep in mind the 2-3 second rule. Visitors will most likely bounce from your website if it takes longer to load the default page. Regardless of what device or platform they are using to access the site.
- Is your sales funnel clearly defined? A lot of brands struggle with creating a succinct path to inquiry on their website. Make sure that you have an internal matrix mapped out. This is a path that you would want your ideal customer to follow throughout the website.
There are many other elements that play a factorial role in designing a well-crafted web presence. You can follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines as a reference point. Since Google dominates over 70% of search market share, chances are this is where you will receive majority of your inbound traffic. Therefore adhering to Google’s guidelines will ensure that your site is well-rounded and optimized. These very principles are also applicable on other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo.
In a previous article here on Curatti regarding On-Page SEO potential, I referenced “needs” and “wants”. Engagement with today’s consumer entails in an emotional connection between a brand and an individual. Regardless of B2B or B2C approach. The modern consumer has the power to impact a brand in more ways than one. I am referring to their expression towards a brand’s experience through social media, reviews and forums. In essence, it’s imperative to strongly consider an emotional connection with a consumer from a B2B or B2C approach.
A modern digital brand is capable of establishing such emotional connection with their potential customers. Some of these methods include the following tactics and/or marketing channels.
- Social media.
- Loyalty programs.
- Storytelling and blogging.
- Promotions and special events.
As an agile digital brand, you should be capable of connecting with your customers on a personal level. Think of them as friends or family. How would you treat your friends or family members? Consider the same mentality with your customers. An emotional connection with customers will translate into business longevity. It can also help attribute to referral-based business.
Valuable Content & Storytelling
In the earlier days of the internet, brands treated a website presence as a brochure. Those days are long gone. If you are brand who still has such mentality, then I would highly recommend a revamp of your marketing approach. The modern day and age of SoLoMo requires an emphasis on content and storytelling. A lot of brands are still failing to grasp the potential behind blogging, content curation and storytelling. Principally, it’s actually a quite simple methodology.
Sharing content on the web provides value to your potential customers. Let’s call this the added value proposition. Such content, typically crafted in the form of a blog post, offers something of value to your customers. Something that helps them solve a problem or address a need they have. Of course, over the last several years, content marketing and blogging has become quite saturated. Mainly due to the fact that many brands have attempted to adapt such an approach. A modern digital brand should be capable of crafting targeted, engaging and informative content. This should be context that captures interest and draws attention.
Paired with good content marketing it’s imperative to also explore storytelling. From a fundamentals standpoint, every product or service we purchase has a story behind it. Great content, in unison with creative storytelling, helps win new business. On average, a modern consumer will peruse through five pieces of content before making a decision. This could be your blog post, internal website page, tweet, Facebook status update, or even an Instagram photo.
The modern digital brand should be creative and agile in content generation. And prolific too!
Proactive Social Media
Social media plays a key role in consumer decision making. The vast majority of your potential customers will turn to social platforms prior to buying a product or service. This is where their community resides, including friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. There is an established trust factor between your potential customer and their social media community. It is more probable that your customers will entrust their social community over your brand. Each one of them will seek feedback and experience validation from their social media community.
For instance, Twitter search can provide a plethora of information about a brand’s reputation. The modern digital brand needs to strongly take into consideration brand advocates. These are individuals who had an experience with your brand. A positive reputation amongst pre-existing brand advocates can invoke new business opportunities. What others are saying about your brand on social media has huge merit on your business reputation.
In order to make the most of your social media endeavors, consider some of the following recommendations:
- Proactive social media monitoring. Keep a close eye on what others are saying about your brand.
- A cohesive social media plan. This includes an engagement and content strategy.
- Crisis management. If shit hits the fan, you need to be prepared for it. The @ChryslerAutos F bomb scenario a few years ago is a good example of crisis management.
- Responsiveness. It’s imperative that you account for adequate response time. On Twitter it should be within 2.5 minutes. That is the average lifespan of a tweet. On Facebook, the life span of a comment to a status update is about 15 minutes. Same principles are applicable on other social platforms.
The constant upkeep and monitoring of your social media presence will ensure a positive reputation. It can also help invoke new conversations, community development and chances for new business.
Paid Media Advertising
Organic reach will get you only so far these days. For instance, Facebook’s organic reach is approximately 7%. A clear indication that a paid media approach is essential to more brand visibility and awareness. Like it or not, today’s modern digital brand needs to adopt digital advertising tactics. In order to level out the playing field and increase exposure you should strongly consider paid advertising across all digital marketing channels.
These are some of the digital/social marketing channels I would strongly recommend that you invest in.
- Facebook – utilize boosted posts, dark posts, and hyperfocused PPC-based advertising. With over 1.6 billion people on the social platform, it still offers plenty of untapped potential.
- Twitter – take strong initiative behind sponsored and promoted tweets. Twitter is full of clutter and saturation these days. You need to stand out from everyone else to be recognized.
- Google AdWords/Bing Ads – counterbalanced search visibility in Google, Bing and Yahoo is imperative for any brand. Especially when Google holds over 70% of the search market share. Not to mention the fact that paid ads occupy everything above the fold on individual SERPs. Strongly consider running ads on product or services that you offer for added market visibility.
- Instagram – there are over 70 million users who now use the image-based platform. Visualization can be a key ingredient for consumer engagement. Explore Instagram ads for boosted market visibility and potential new business opportunities.
- LinkedIn – a targeted professional presence is essential for any modern digital brand. Running LinkedIn ads can help your brand reach key decision makers interested in your products or services.
The above mentioned are essential platforms a modern digital brand should leverage. With the steady decline of organic reach, paid media is taking on a stronger role for consumer engagement. Devising a digital advertising plan may also be a viable method of being more proactive and systematic with your endeavors. It is something that I would also strongly recommend that your brand explores.
This particular area remains heavily misconstrued for a lot of modern brands. A mobile-responsive/responsive design website does not automatically equate to optimal mobile presence. The mobile screen presents a limited view for the end user. Most responsive websites are designed for just that. It responds to the viewport size of whatever device the end user is viewing it on. And that’s just it really. There is not additional mobile optimization that establishes a cohesive user experience. The average attention span of a mobile user is about 5 seconds. That’s shorter than a blowfish. Sad but true.
How do you maximize potential in a 5 second window? The short answer is that it’s extremely hard and challenging.
The modern digital brand needs to put forth a strong emphasis on mobile optimization. Especially if over 67% of consumers are inclined to purchase a product or service on a mobile device. Particularly true with millennials. Mobile optimization for optimal brand visibility definitely does not come with a ‘How To Manual’. However there are certain fundamentals that you can follow to increase your chances of mobile engagement.
- Less is more. Simple is effective.
- Ensure typography is prominent and easy to read.
- Your navigation should be succinct. Think of your sales funnel and the way you want your visitors to flow on a mobile device.
- Individual pages particularly the default one should load fast.
- Get to the point, quickly. Highlight the added value proposition for your potential customers.
- Avoid clutter. You may have to focus on UX/UI to declutter and simplify the experience.
Mobile optimization is a bit of a science paired with some fundamentals. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Guide is an excellent resource for cross-referencing your mobile compliance. This is a great starting point for any brand seeking to digitize their online presence.
Target Audience & Buyer Personas
Every brand should have a thorough understanding of who their target audience is and how to engage with them. Identifying your buyer personas though is a slightly different story. For some brands, perhaps yours there might be a variety of buyer personas. Development of buyer personas is critical for business success. It is imperative from a marketing perspective so that you can create personalized and target content. By doing so you have a better chance of converting prospects to actual customers. Also, correctly defined buyer personas greatly increase any business’s ability to drive potential prospects through their sales funnel. This is an essential ingredient for business development purposes.
Establishing your possible buyer personas can be accomplished through a variety of different ways. As a modern digital brand, you should strongly consider following some of these methods to help increase your business potential.
- Sift through your contacts to identify certain trends and patterns about the way they absorb your content. This can be your LinkedIn connections or people on your e-mail list.
- Craft your website forms to your specific buyer personas. For instance, incorporating a field that requests a job title, company size or specific needs, may further pre-qualify inquiries.
- Evaluate sales data and factor in information regarding those particular prospects. You can identify specific buyer personas by leveraging such information.
The above mentioned are a few ways that a modern digital brand can identify buyer personas. Exercise them the next time you are attempting to pinpoint your buyer personas. Doing so will bring you closer to a segmented target audience.
Tailored Business Strategy
A game plan is imperative in today’s competitive and saturated digital marketplace. You need to have a strategic approach towards the building of a solid foundation for your modern digital brand. Ideas are great but tactical implementation and strategic execution are keys to business success. In order to build a solid digital brand, you will need the help of other resources and skill sets. The singular mentality of building a digital brand on your own will surely lead to a dead end. Strongly consider tapping into other individuals and resources to help you build a strong digital foundation for your brand.
The 5 W’s are extremely valuable. At least a method that I have used in the past when working on my own or other brands.
- Who – are you trying to target? Who is your target audience?
- What – are you trying to sell? Is it a product or service or both?
- Where – does your target audience reside? Are they local, regional, national or perhaps international?
- When – are you going to market/sell to your target audience? Is your business perhaps seasonal? If not, when will you engage with your target audience?
- Why – are you putting together a business strategy? Is there specific intent, purpose or direction?
The above mentioned are simply questions you should ask yourself about your brand. Answer each one of them thoroughly and you will be able to construct a basic foundation for a solid business strategy.
Out-of-the Box Mentality & Creativity
As a modern digital brand, you need to think out-of-the box. It’s important to have a good creative approach. You need to get used to stepping outside of your comfort zone. Today’s digital marketplace changes on the spin of a dime. In some instances you need to have a quick response time and adaptation. If a new trend or pattern emerges, you should strongly consider fully embracing it. For instance, Snapchat is all the chatter on the internet. It has been a lot more abuzz especially over last couple of years. As an innovative modern digital brand, you should fully explore Snapchat as part of your marketing toolbox.
The brands which have an optimistic outlook and forward thinking are the ones that will build up longevity. Be the one to lead and innovate with forward thinking and technical agility.
Do you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.
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