Marketers today especially the direct response marketers are obsessed with making the sale and generating the leads. The attitude of has great effect so to even exclude the value of investing in online branding. But research suggests that even for marketers who live by the motto of by their performance, it could be a mistake to neglect not investing in a brand. Let us look at why should you invest in a brand online.
Understanding the Value of Investing in a Brand
Contrary to the beliefs of direct response marketers, investing in a brand is not just about blowing up one’s resources on the brand. Instead, it is about building an entity that bridges the trust and understanding of your customers and keeping them to come back again and again even when there are no attractive deal or promotion to invite them. The advantage of building a brand online is to boost awareness and build your reputation. The number of people invested in your brand allows them to actively seek out and remain loyal to the brand. It is important for direct response marketers to recognize that online branding should be a priority as it helps to achieve your goals by driving incremental revenue for the business. In other words, if you want to grow your business first you should grow your brand.
Christopher Wallace, a Client Services Director says, “Recently, I witnessed a new direct response player stumble in the online marketplace. The company spent a year building up its business, developing its product mix, adding staff, growing relationships with key partners in the industry and investing in a website to attract its target audience. But when the company launched its site, nothing happened. It netted zero leads. In fact, the only traffic to its site was coming from internal IP addresses. Three weeks later things weren’t much better—the site had generated fewer than 10 leads.”
So what can we learn from this? Yes, this company Christopher is talking about had taken the time to build its business before launching its site, but instead didn’t invest in building its brand online. Because the company had figured that since it was a direct response entity, driving lead generation is a priority than investing time on brand online. Unfortunately, they were proved wrong. One cannot drive leads without a brand. To sustain in the marketplace without a reputation, one needs to stand apart with a strong online presence or an effective media strategy behind their brand with as many potential audiences.
He says, ‘the company was able to turn the situation around, but it took a carefully crafted online brand building campaign, including a creative strategy, media plan, and an online reputation building effort. But the value speaks for itself. Not only did the campaign help grow brand equity with a strong awareness of the company, it also produced real business leads. Today the site generates more than 200 qualified leads per month.’
So here are 5 key strategies to consider before launching your online brand
#1 Research About Your Audience
Whether you are going to build a brand, website, survey or anything for the matter that involves a set of audience, you need to have a clear understanding to them before creating any content strategies or communication plans. There are no fewer tools in the market for you to know about your target audience, such as comScore, Nielsen, Google, and Compete. Tools such as these allow you to learn more about your audience, including gender, age, marital status, household income, and locale.
#2 Create a Voice to Your Brand
Based on your findings and research determine what does your audience want to hear and what message you want to put forth. This will help you in assisting the foundation of brand’s voice. Here are three points to keep in mind while doing so
- Consider all the possibilities and having an open mind helps you to experiment with all the resources. Ex: Imagine Geico‘s reaction when its creative team first suggested using a lizard as their brand voice
- Create content in a way which acts as a conversation. Do not speak to the audiences rather speak with them. People respond to conversation that relates and engages with them.
- Consistency is important because customers look for the consistency in your brand and it’s voice.
#3 Balancing Online Media Mix
Building your brand through multiple channels helps in balancing your media mix. Make use of the power of repetition by using display and content networks to build your brand. Use behavioral targeting, site-specific targeting and re-messaging to get your ads out in front of your target audience. In your organic search, make sure that your brand name and messaging is consistent with your title tags and in your meta descriptions. In addition, be sure that your message is consistent with your brand voice throughout your various channels, including paid search. By creating consistent messaging throughout the buying cycle, you allow consumers to continually recognize and recall your brand. This will make you the clear choice when customers are ready to make a purchase.
#4 Plan Your Social Media Integration
What do you want your brand or business to do? What kind of interactions do you want your customers to have with your business? Is Facebook right from me? Or Twitter? Or Medium? While you may not necessarily have answers to all of your questions, some time in researching will help you understand who is your target audience?, where is your target audience?, and how to interact with them? Start by noticing and listening to people who are talking about your brand. If you don’t find anyone talking about your brand, you initiate the conversation. Kindly remember you cannot force your message to consumers through this conversation but only make the means to interact. You can rest assured to grow your online presence in no time if you treat social media as a conversation.
#5 Create a Reputation Online for Your Brand
Building a reputation online can consume a lot of time and it is not easy. It is as difficult as creating your network pool. Clearly outline your strategy to reach your audience. Then identify the tactics that will involve in the process of building your brand. For instance, be sure to leverage any existing offline partnerships you have in order to grow your reputation online. This, in turn, helps you in organic search ranking and to build links pointing back to your website. The more prominence you gain about your brand in the minds of reputable peers, the chances your brand reputation grows two folds.