Here at DigitalThing, we always start by asking clients about their DigitalMark. It’s a term we penned to describe how a person, business or brand want to make their impression online.
So, exactly what kind of mark do you want to leave in the digital world?
In order to leave a mark online, you really need to know where the business is now and where you want it to be. We generally do this by conducting thorough research, such as evaluating current markets, exploring potential markets, analysing competitors, values, culture and then use all this information to develop a strategy.
Below we’ve taken the time to discuss some of the ways you and your business can build a meaningful brand online. We want to teach you how to establish a unique voice and know how to use it effectively.
How do you establish a brand?
A brand isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes careful planning and evolves over time. Your branding should be apparent in every facet of your business, from the stationary you use, to the culture in your workplace. It’s reflected in your logo and strengthened by your values.
A brand represents the personality of your business. Is it fun? Is it serious? Is it doing something good for humanity? The type of brand you want to create is entirely up to you.
Once you’ve settled on the type of brand you’d like to establish, you need to build the framework to get you there. If your brand is very corporate-orientated, then your logo and the colour scheme of your website need to match – so probably avoid posting photos of your pet cat (unless it’s wearing a funny tie, of course).
The best way to ensure all business activity remains in-line with your branding is to build a corporate branding guide. This should include everything an employee or stakeholder needs to know about maintaining the image of the company, whether online or during a meeting.
Online PR & message optimisation
People always talk about search engine optimisation, but what about the optimisation of the actual message and the language used to relay it?
The term “Online PR” is used a lot, and it’s quite fitting. Traditional public relations was predominantly about resolving problems quickly, boosting public image and improving brand loyalty. The same objectives are now extremely valuable online.
If you can establish a personal connection with customers, it’s expected they will interact with your brand, spend more time exploring your website or social media channels, and more likely to share with their own friends and family.
The way to achieve this is by optimising your message and the language you use. If you are targeting businessmen then keep it professional, if you are targeting students then keep it casual, etc.
Don’t just tell a story, sell a story
People don’t just buy products anymore; they buy the image the product creates. People buy cars to feel important, they buy clothes to look a certain way, and they buy foods just because of where or how they were made.
For example, consumers no longer want an apple; they want an apple from the most exotic and underdeveloped location, grown using all-organic methods, packaged in gold and delivered to the supermarket by carrier pigeon.
No matter the product or service you are trying to sell, you need to think long and hard about why customers should purchase it from you – and not your competitors. Determine what makes you special and utilise it.
SEO is still very important
There’s no denying search engine optimisation (SEO) is still one of the most valuable services we offer. No matter what industry you represent, there is always someone else in the world trying to compete for your business online.
Sure, you can have the most interesting content on your website – but without effective SEO, no one will even know it’s there.
SEO not only helps you get noticed, it ensures you’re noticed by the right people. It brings in potential customers who will be more open to what you’re trying to say or sell. This is the balance of quantity and quality of traffic – and is key to an effective SEO campaign.
Pairing your brand with the right technology
This step is one of the most important. There are so many different tools and channels available for communication these days, it’s important to focus your attention and resources on the ones that will provide the best results.
Luckily there are also many tools available for identifying exactly where and how your desired audience is receiving information. Google Analytics allows you to determine what device people are using to look at your website and also where they came from – whether search engine, email, social media or somewhere else entirely.
Even after you’ve created and executed an online strategy, your job is not entirely done. As we already mentioned, branding is a gradual process that continually evolves over time.
To create a truly great brand, you need to ensure every customer experience and transaction is a positive one.
Building a brand online is no different to the way it’s done in physical stores – in fact, it’s probably more difficult. Consumers still need to feel loved by the brands they are buying from, and they need to know their concerns and questions are being answered.
With the introduction of social media and other two-way communication channels, consumers and brands can now interact and connect like never before. This can be great for finding out more about your customers, but it also means you have to be accountable for every piece of communication and marketing material you use.