For many businesses and organizations around the world, the salad days are over. If we’ve learned anything over the past two years, it’s that there is no “normal”. Our environments are in a constant state of flux and we must learn to adapt. While it’s impossible to prepare for every eventuality, a solid business foundation will help you stay prepared for whatever’s lurking around the corner. Here are four actionable steps for solidifying your business strategy and keeping you on track:
- Build a strong brand
- Elevate your website
- Create relevant content
- Upgrade your digital marketing channels
After all, action is eloquence.
Build a strong brand
Name a brand, any brand. What was the first one that popped into your mind? Maybe it was a famous carbonated drink with strong ties to Santa Claus, a French luxury brand or a tech company. Whatever your answer was, they all have one thing in common: they are recognizable and (most likely) everywhere. A distinctive brand means that businesses are able to stand out from the competition, and being omnipresent has the advantage of staying top-of-mind when it comes to purchasing decisions. Let’s not forget that the simple act of showing up regularly and being present is enough for brands to become trusted by their consumers.
But building a brand identity is a continuous process that goes beyond creating a logo, choosing font colors and even defining your company values. Today, it has ballooned to include consistency and being intentional.
Why is consistency important in branding?
It signals to customers (both current and potential) that your business is reliable and trustworthy. The more time and effort you spend in maintaining your brand, the more it shows how dependable your business is – and people want to support trustworthy businesses!
Why is being intentional important?
A study reported in Business Insider notes that the majority of today’s global consumers (73%) expect brands to do good, including for society as a whole and the planet. This means that while in the past, looking after people’s functional and personal needs were enough, these days, customers expect businesses to go above and beyond. They need to be proactive in making positive changes to the world around us and will be rewarded for it – 53% say that they are willing to pay more for a brand that takes a stand. But companies need to be careful about making claims — any false impressions of their environmental impacts (“greenwashing”), for example, will lead to backlash and lower consumer trust. So, if your business is making a claim about its positive impact in the world, you need to have the receipts to show it.
Your high-level branding checklist:
- Does your branding stand out from the crowd, and show its unique personality and values?
- Is your branding consistent (on all online and offline assets)?
- Does your company make a positive contribution to the community and the planet?
Elevate your website
In the US, over half of the population (62%) shops online. For a business, this means that having an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly website, that is optimized for any web or mobile device, is a must. Given that it only takes 0.05 seconds for consumers to have an opinion about a website, you certainly want to ensure that their first impression of your brand meets their expectations.
Take product or service descriptions, for example, they need to explicitly explain what you’re offering and who it’s for. You can develop your strategy further by adding relevant keywords in the copy, thereby enabling search engines to understand and categorize your content accordingly. This means that the people looking for your product or service can find you online.
In addition, diversify your product images to include detailed shots that show key elements or features, as well as lifestyle shots that demonstrate it in use. You want to make it as easy as possible for a customer to see how your product will fit into their lives. A UCLA study has illustrated that increasing a customer’s psychological sense of product ownership can drive sales. So as an online representation of your business, your website should entice customers to visit your business IRL or head to the checkout.
But what if you don’t sell a product or service? All of the above still applies. Think about a website as a window for consumers to look through so that they can understand what you are offering and how you can help them. An online presence also increases awareness of your business as consumers who are just passively browsing will be able to find it.
Your website checklist:
- Is your website easy to navigate and accessible on both web and mobile?
- Do your product or service descriptions clearly communicate what you are offering?
- If you have product images, are there photos showing the item from different angles?
Create relevant content
There’s so much content for our eyes to feast on. On Instagram alone, a total of 95 million photos and videos are shared every day. On Twitter, 500 million tweets are sent each day. Whether it’s rehashing old content or making something new, businesses can cut through the noise and evoke interest by creating material that adds value to their consumers’ lives.
What do you read, my lord?
Words, words, words. Regardless of whether your business is B2C or B2B, long-form blogs continue to be a big driving force in purchasing decisions – and the stats don’t lie. 82% of B2C companies report positive ROI from their blogs and similarly, B2B marketers say that their blogs generate 67% more leads compared to other forms of written content. Long, informational posts have incredible benefits as they not only allow businesses to show their insights and solutions, but are also able to align their products or services to their customer’s pain points.
And what types of content are the best performers? How-to blogs (77%), followed by listicles (57%), and news and trends (47%) lead the way. So we recommend featuring a mixture of all three to keep your audience engaged.
Of course, it goes without saying that it will be useful to do some SEO keyword research too, so you can pepper your writing with popular search terms and bring traffic to your website. When blog posts generate nine times more leads than short-form content, it should be an essential part of any marketing strategy.
One man in his time plays many parts
We’ve written about the importance of video marketing and will continue to sing its praises. As social media platforms are becoming more video-focused (see Instagram updating its homepage to replicate TikTok), businesses also need to follow suit.
The power of video is such that 84% of customers say that they’ve been persuaded to purchase a product or service after watching a video from a brand. So, what makes a great video? It should cover the customer’s pain points, suggest the solution, and ultimately, drive conversion. Similarly to blog posts, the most viewed type of video content are tutorials and how-to videos, followed by product demos and user-generated videos.
Your content checklist:
- Does your content follow your brand tone and voice?
- Do you have a blog that’s up-to-date?
- Do you have video content on your website and social media?
Upgrade your digital marketing channels
For businesses, it is becoming increasingly challenging to collect data from their customers that would help them make informed decisions and develop their brand. We’ve previously written about the different data types and how to effectively leverage it, now we want to introduce you to a new data type: “zero-party”. This means collecting the information that the consumer has intentionally shared with the business. What kind of data? This can range from personal context, age, location to different preferences. The more you understand your customer’s behaviors, likes and dislikes, the more you can ensure that you create content that will interest them and ultimately, drive them to support your brand.
And how do you collect zero-party data? By driving users to register (for events or newsletters) or to owned-channels (such as an online community), where they would need to fill in some basic information before accessing more content from your business. Once you have this data, you can think about creating and sharing content that would meet their needs.
All the world’s a stage
There is no better place for brands to promote their goods or services, as well as connect with their audience, for free. Yes, we’re talking about social media marketing. When over half of the global population has social accounts, businesses should be able to reach all corners of the world.
The added benefits of being able to answer customer questions directly, personalize content and be more accessible means that social media should never be overlooked. Read more about the advantages of social media on our blog and how to develop a solid strategy.
She speaks poniards, and every word stabs
An effective SEO strategy allows you to increase your website traffic organically, without spending any money on advertising. And the good news is that you don’t need to be churning out content left, right and center, you can just update your website. Refreshing old blog posts, for example, can optimize the number of impressions by 106%, so make sure that every word counts!
Do keyword research. This helps you gather the exact search terms that consumers are using when searching for your business or those that are similar to yours. You can create content based on popular and trending keywords, but don’t “overstuff” as search engines can pick this up!
Use specific keywords to boost the visibility of individual pages of your website. This includes updating your title tags, alt text and other web copy.
Search engines love websites that are properly indexed and fast to load. Similarly, their algorithm also looks for strong website architecture, working internal and external links. Make sure you have all of this covered.
Enter a Messenger
With weekly newsletters, abandoned shopping cart and product promotions, email marketing offers one of the best ROIs. According to HubSpot, for every $1 spent, $42 is generated from email marketing.
It’s not always about attracting new customers either. Maintaining a good relationship with current clients and keeping them engaged is just as important (perhaps even more so). A statistic shows that loyal customers spend 67% more than new clients, so it’s key that businesses are able to re-engage with their customers after their product or service has been sold.
Your email should follow your brand tone and voice, is SEO-friendly (yes, even SEO applies to email marketing), and is visually pleasing for the reader.
Your digital channels checklist:
- Do you have the appropriate social media accounts for your business?
- Is your website SEO-friendly?
- Do you have an email marketing strategy?
All’s well that ends well
Nothing will come of nothing, so we encourage businesses to be proactive in building a solid framework that will stand the test of time.
Our social media, email marketing and digital paid advertising services help grow your digital footprint without breaking the bank. Plus if you need help creating a consistent and cohesive brand that stands apart from the crowd, don’t forget that we offer brand development and design services too.