Taking care of your business’ digital brand to attract new customers
Before 2020 got turned on its head, your business’ brand message might have looked different than it does today. People are going out less, networking less, experiencing less face-to-face interaction and attending fewer social events.
How does your brand and “store-front” attract new business in this era?
Maybe you already have a loyal following, a database of people who you stay connected with, but how to attract new business? If digital marketing was low on the list of strategy priorities prior to the pandemic, it’s likely not the case anymore.
First, what is digital marketing? According to branding expert, 99designs, Michelle Robertson, digital marketing is “all about new customers and generating sales.”
99designs contributor, Anna Lundberg lists content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), display advertising, social media marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, etc. as some of the ways to execute on a digital marketing strategy.
There can be a cross pollination of these types of marketing—for example, content can be repurposed for different channels of communication with your audiences.
Where to begin with your digital marketing strategy?
Start with your website. This is your storefront. Where your words, your greeting and your sales pitch make it or break it.
When was it last updated? Spending some TLC on the messaging, videos, words that convey your brand is always a worthwhile exercise. Is your message and logo front and centre, or would a new customer have to dig and take a wild guess about whether or not your services or products meet their need?Your website’s landing page is your signage, your store-front. If it looks weathered, cluttered, and out of date it might be time for a re-fresh.
Review your brand message. It should answer in clear and concise language, what do you do, what do you stand for, and why you do what you do.
If you are a home improvement store, do you sell paint, or do you sell the inspiration to transform a living space? If you are an electrician, do you service electrical panel boxes, or do you help clients get the most out of their living space by providing safe electrical home improvements? If you are a photographer, do you take pictures, or help clients capture a precious moment? If new customers are not sure what they are looking for, offer them some inspiration.
Decide what kind of marketing best fits your business. For Content Marketing Lundberg suggests settling on 4-5 themes to support your strategy.
“Focus on what your ideal customer wants and needs on the one hand and what your brand wants to communicate on the other.”Then, choose the format that will best deliver the message and the channels where that information will appear—website, social media, podcast, audio, articles, blogs, etc.
Get with the times. Do you ever search a business’ website on your phone and get a bunch of empty boxes and an image that only fits on half your screen?
If you don’t have Mobile Marketing in your strategy, it’s long-past time. Whether your audience is of a younger generation (who spend all their time on their phones) or part of an older demographic, website messaging needs to be accessible and coherent on mobile devices or it will get ignored. Lundberg suggests, “Keep things short and simple, use clear text and big buttons; put captions on videos in case people don’t have sound.”
Have a plan for your business’ social media presence. Content, content content. It’s how to get a following on social media. The best traction and the best way to hold your audience’s attention is to post something original, but also post with some regularity. If it’s once a day, once a week, once a month, be able to commit to that.
99designs contributor, Michelle Robertson gives the example of workout clothing brand, Outdoor Voices and their social media hashtag #DoingThings. “#DoingThings is the difference between blind consumption of a product and feeling like you’re a part of a group or lifestyle. When you buy leggings or a sports bra from them, you’re purchasing admission into a massive digital club,” she says. “If your customers are on social media, your brand should be there, too.”
Don’t forget to look after your existing customers. While email has its limitations for reaching new customers, it is a way of taking care and connecting with your existing loyal customers, not to mention, helps in keeping everyone up to date during a time when the rules are changing sometimes weekly or monthly with the pandemic. This kind of engagement can lead to referrals, and some conversation with and inquiry from existing client base.
Robertson advises, “Before you send a mass email, clearly identify what you hope to achieve with it: Boosted engagement? Nurturing existing relationships? Announcing a new product? Your goal should drive everything from the subject line to your image selection.” She also suggests to send targeted emails to a specific market segment.
Some of the other ways companies approach digital marketing is Search Engine Marketing (think your name in the spotlight at the top of the list on Google), tapping into Influencer Marketing (this is all about finding the people who will spread the word for you—Remember! People are more than willing at this time to support local!), and Affiliate Marketing (often involves reaching out to companies who can help you market for a commission).