Things to Keep in Mind if You Want Your Brand to Dominate the Digital Space
So you want your brand to stand out? If you aren’t starting to conform to the necessities of today’s digital world, you could be left in the dust. Below, we’ll summarize some of the heavy-hitting factors any discerning digital-focused brand should be making a part of their overall strategy.
#1 – Have a Killer Website
Your brands image in the digital space begins with your website. That website should reflect the personality of your brand. At the same time, it should meld with your niche while remaining accessible to the world.
First, that means leveraging the right aesthetically pleasing design that fits with your industry. Second, it’s important that you balance out that beauty with the correct SEO elements and responsive framework.
#2 – Make Your Website Accessible
Google recently removed right-hand side text-based advertisements across their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). In doing so, they increased the number of text ads positioned both above and below organic content on the first page for commercial keywords.
Translation? Organic content for commercial keywords isn’t even visible until at least halfway down the first page of search results!
Long story short – if you’re not running paid ads, your content had better be stellar and optimized. If it isn’t, you’re not going to get noticed.
#3 – Have a Good Value Proposition
Are you conveying to your potential customers how your product or service will benefit them? If a visitor arrives at your site and can’t figure out how you can offer value to their lifestyle or business within 5 seconds, your value proposition deserves a second look. This is critical no matter what niche your business is in. Below, you’ll find a few examples of some of the most effective value propositions on the web today. Some of these services we use ourselves. Be like them. We can help you.
Squarespace, Mailchimp and Airbnb have mastered the art of the digital value proposition. What do these three brands have in common? They immediately convey their value to potential customers as they land on the homepage of their site.
#4 – Responsive Design
This should be a no-brainer. With almost 60% of web traffic being driven through some form of mobile device, it’s never been more critical for your website to be responsive. In fact, aside from a better user experience, Google is now ranking mobile-optimized websites higher in their search results.
Is your site mobile friendly? Take Google’s test to find out. If it isn’t, ask our cutting-edge designers to craft a beautifully designed responsive website for you.
#5 – Consider Creating an App
Does your business offer a product or service that could potentially be sold or called upon on a mobile device? Consider creating an application. Applications are a great resource for both businesses and consumers due to their accessibility. Once downloaded, they’re always in the pocket of the user. It also opens up another potential revenue stream when you can put a price on the app in and of itself.
#6 – Create Shareable Content
One of the most valuable resources a brand can utilize today is content development. If you can offer unique insight into a particular facet of your industry — or if you’ve come up with an innovative product or service – it’s important to get the word out there.
Great content exists all over the internet. At the same time, there’s also terrible, inaccurate rubbish that can drown you out. Don’t be the latter. Instead, create great content (yes, it can even be curated!), and include eye-catching featured images that your visitors can’t help but share.
In-depth, long form or list-based (like this article) content that offers value to your readership is some of the easiest to share. Any marketer can create content. Effective marketers create great content. You can begin to do that by leveraging conversion-minded headlines, in conjunction with content loaded with ‘power words.’
Power words are impactful words or short phrases that give off a sense of emotion, urgency or curiosity.
Which sounds better?
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#7 – Become More Visual
The internet is no longer predominantly text-based. Content tends to retain a lower bounce rate and becomes more shareable when more visual and interactive elements are incorporated.
High-resolution, featured images should accompany individual pages or blog posts. When able, video is becoming an increasingly popular medium online, and should be included around relevant content to support the main message.
If you’re an advertiser — interactive, expandable and aesthetically pleasing banners will attract a more profitable CTR (Click-Through-Rate).
Also worth noting is the power of the millennial consumer in this regard. If your target audience includes millennials, marketers are going to need to find more unique ways to reach them. It’s been found that they have one of the shortest attention spans when compared to any other demographic and that millennials rarely let advertising influence a buying decision.
That means you’ll need to capture their attention with compelling, engaging visual content and step outside traditional imagery. Forbes recently noted that over 33% of the millennial demographic relies on blog sites for product and service reviews before making a purchase decision. That says a lot, and considering that millennials comprise over $200 billion dollars in annual buying power, they’re probably an audience you should be looking into.
#8 – Invest in Every Medium and Device That Makes Sense for Your Target Audience
An integrated yet broad digital presence on multiple platforms helps to showcase your influence. It shows off the innovation of your brand and tells both current and potential customers that you’re not afraid to think outside of the box.
Better still, some brands resonate better on certain mediums. For instance, a production company could find success with Snapchat’s new advertising models. Conversely, a pharmaceutical brand selling prescriptions to mothers with young children may find success on mobile devices through Pinterest and Facebook.
In order to determine what devices and mediums may work for your brand, attempt to answer the following questions.
- Where is your target audience hiding out?
- What type of content are they consuming?
- What is their demographic?
Depending on your answers to the above, begin to incorporate content around both devices and media platforms that fit with your target audience’s habits.
#9 – Capture Leads
What’s the goal of your website? Are you trying to drive traffic to an eCommerce store? Are you attempting to build a community around your brand? Are you attempting to educate your customer base about your product, disease state or industry in general?
In any case, you should be capturing leads. But it’s important to first distinguish whether the products or services you offer need to be bought or sold. For instance, buying a sleep aid online requires less of a sales pitch, but selling a digital marketing strategy typically comes after someone requests a proposal.
Regardless of whether or not your business speaks to the consumer or to another business — you’ve worked hard for your traffic, don’t let it go to waste. Expand your understanding of your category. Where does a potential customer start? Are you fulfilling a need or solving a problem? Once that’s determined, design a lead form and attempt to capture each unique visitor and turn him or her into a potential sale. Even if that sale occurs later on, you can start the sales cycle right now.
#10 – Nurture Your Leads — Send the Right Emails
Okay, so you’ve started capturing some leads. Now it’s time to escort your leads down the sales funnel. One very effective way to do this is to send out a series of emails designed to get them comfortable with your brand. Not every visitor is going to become an instantaneous sale.
Lead nurturing typically begins with a “Welcome Email” and is followed up by a “What to Expect” email. The welcome email introduces you or your company, and the what to expect email typically denotes how often you’ll send emails and what information they’ll contain. Both of these emails offer an opportunity to request that your new leads “whitelist” your email address so they’ll always see future copy. There are over a dozen styles of email that can be sent following your initial welcome and expectation content, and we’ll dive into those further on a later post.
#11 – Dominate Social Media
With new methods to effectively target consumers and businesses across social media, it’s essential for any brand to engage with whichever social platforms are most relevant to your target audience. For B2B marketers, that angle may be Linkedin. B2C marketers have more flexibility in terms of social platform. In fact, it’s better that you implement a cross-platform strategy if you want to truly be effective at reaching consumers.
Popular social platforms today include, but are not limited to:
- FourSquare (Swarm)
#12 – A/B Test! Test! Test!
Split testing, otherwise known as A/B testing is a great way to gauge how a variety of digital initiatives are performing. In this day and age, it’s essential. Whether we’re running a new Google AdWords campaign for a client, or testing a call to action for an email signup form, A/B testing is occurring behind the scenes.
At its most basic description, A/B Testing is the process by which two or more different pages, calls to action, copy or visual elements are tested simultaneously to see which leads to a desired outcome more efficiently. Testing can be complex, in that two or more different variants may only differentiate by the color of a particular button, photo or single word. The most effective A/B tests will utilize variants that don’t differentiate drastically. Otherwise it’s difficult to tell what particular component had the greatest effect. Start small, by changing either one word, one picture or button and then expand from there.
That’s not all folks…
Are there other digital elements besides the above that can also be leveraged? Of course. The digital word is expanding exponentially, with new technologies and services appearing every day. What makes bfw Advertising special is that we’re able to adapt to the changing digital world. We’ve always looked long term and consider the above formula before initiating any project.
No matter what long-term integrated media strategy you end up running with, the above digital elements are the current industry-recognized best practices. They’ll help put you on track towards success. At the same time, these elements leave the door open for bigger and better things as technologies continue to evolve.
Greig Santos-Buch is the Digital Services Strategist at bfw Advertising+Interactive in Boca Raton, Florida. bfw is a tight knit collection of writers, artists, designers, technologists and thinkers who share a common passion for doing great work that makes things happen. For more information call (561) 962-3300 or visit www.gobfw.com.