[This article appeared on the World WIde Creative monthly newsletter - click here to joiin the mailing list on the World Wide Creative website]
There are many facets to your marketing strategy. These facets should build your brand and, ultimately, create profitable relationships between your brand and your target audience. So, how to do this online?
We have spent the past 2 years looking at various case studies on how this is being done effectively. Here are some of the things that you should be doing:
Keep your message consistent with your overall brand message
This is marketing 101. Something thats probably the easiest to apply, yet maybe the most ignored. Anything that is inconsistent will erode the trust that your customer has in your brand. We all know someone whose stories are not always consistent. Think of your impression of a person like that how much do you trust him or her? The effect on your customer is the same.
Use your website to close the loop
You have many opportunities to send out your brand message. Think of all the marketing materials your produce. Business cards. Letters. Brochures. Adverts. Even invoices and statements. Think of your vehicles how many people see your vehicle(s) on a daily basis? And emails? An estimated 85% of your communication is via electronic communication. There is a saying in e-marketing: Hurl the URL this basically means Put your website address on everything! Think how much easier it is to remember a one word website address than a 10 digit telephone number. Displaying your website address gives potential customers a non-threatening access point to your offering. This is closing the loop. Your website allows your audience to access your company at anytime from anywhere with internet access as long as they know your website address.
Once your target audience is on your website, there needs to be a value exchange quickly! Research shows us that visitors tend to leave after a couple of seconds. So, you need to figure out your brand message, and then convert that message into a value exchange. There are various ways of doing this, and it will differ depending on who youre speaking to. Here are some examples:
- A free E-book on your service or product. Seth Godin, the marketing consultant, author and speaker, has done this well in the past. His book Unleashing the Ideavirus was released as a free download and is the most downloaded e-book of all time. An extreme example, sure, but you dont have to be Seth Godin to create a pdf from prospectus.
- A client of ours, an office project management company, recently briefed World Wide Creative to create a free space calculator on their site. This will enable customers can work out how much space they need when they move.
- A free monthly newsletter. Sometimes called opt-in marketing, this works well if youre a writer, or have a skilled writer in your team. A double benefit of this is that you are kept top-of-mind in your target audience by appearing in their inbox once a month. It is a great way to build relationships with your client base.
- Make things easy. Sometimes value lies in simplicity. Consider a visitor to your website who merely wants to find out what you do, or maybe wants to source your phone number. Now, imagine if he or she pops onto your home page, then fumbles through a couple of clicks trying to find something that should be immediately accessible. Make it easy, and you will subconsciously strengthen the relationship with your brand.
Get seen on other sites
Once you have a kickass website, you need to start working the crowd. The rise of social media has seen online content become the new frontier of marketing. Some examples of where you can get seen:
- Blogs (e.g. Ideate, Cherryflava, Seth Godin. Read these and leave a comment. This is a great way to get seen.)
- Online forums (e.g. Business Warriors, Biz Community. Subscribe to the newsletter, read the website and submit comments or even write an article)
- Directories (e.g. Muti. Make this a favourite, submit articles and comment on others choices)
Maintain your content
The biggest no-no in online brand building is if your website (or blog if you have one) is out of date. This subconsciously gives the message that your brand is tired and the company staid. Keep your site up-to-date. If you have a Content Management System on your site, use it! Get writing. In your business, you are a leader in your niche. (If you dont believe that, you should be looking at why not! but thats another discussion.) One prime example of this is World Wide Creatives own blog Ideate (in tandem with Live Alchemy) which is receiving 1900 page uploads a day. The content on this site is driving more and more people to our various sites, and is going a long way to building our World Wide Creative brand online.