Today we have an exciting guest post from Sarah Henderson about maintaining brand consistency throughout your online marketing efforts.
The rise of digital marketing has made cultivating an effective brand image more important to businesses than ever before. Whether you are funneling content across social media outlets or participating in PPC advertising, online marketing puts you face to face with expansive pools of potential clients, making it essential to deliver a consistently positive impression. In order to tap into the full potential of your campaign, consider these five steps for ensuring your brand image is supported by your marketing, while your marketing supports your brand.
1. Define Your Mission
It’s nearly impossible to send a persistent marketing message without a core understanding of your company’s identity. Sit down with your brain trust (if you haven’t already) to extract the essence of what your business is about, keeping your conclusions central to building out branding points. Include your communications and marketing/sales department in the process, working as a team to cultivate a message that hits the sweet spot with your demographic. Creating a code of consistency that details protocol for all communications, including online content and advertising, will provide effective guidance in establishing and maintaining the right tone for your public voice.
2. Bring Your Plan Into Focus
What are the goals of your marketing campaign? Who do you want to reach? What do you want to say and how can you say it in a way that emanates from your branding? These questions must be asked when drawing up a game plan on how to proceed with your online marketing efforts. Having the answers before you take action will help you make efficient use of resources, and guide decision-making to keep your actions in line with long-term goals. In the end, it’s all about serving the customer. So review your plan from the user’s perspective to better understand how your actions stand to impact your image.
3. Carefully Choose Outlets
The methods to marketing your business online are too numerous to mention, making it all the more important to only select avenues that closely serve your needs. Be choosy about the social media outlets you engage, the types of advertising you invest in, and how and where you market your content. Not all PR is good PR, especially on the Internet, so whether you are working with a blogger/reviewer or driving traffic via affiliates, use care in establishing relationships that allow you to adhere to standards, manage risks, and maintain control. Through a balanced approach you’ll best be able to canvas the market, expand your reach, and avoid over-saturation.
4. Brand Content by Design
Truly iconic companies, such as Apple and Coke, achieve an image that resonates infinitely deeper than a memorable logo or slogan by painstakingly cultivating a supportive visual landscape and message. Whether you are publishing a white paper or press release, putting up a Facebook page or running paid advertisements, make the effort to apply an element of design and brand-supportive content that’s unique to your organization. Call on leaders and experts from within your ranks that are fluent in your communication standards to create relevant material, and keep asking yourself if the marketing collateral you produce genuinely expresses your brand.
5. Test and Adjust
A primary advantage of engaging customers in an online setting is the ability to collect useful data that can be strategically analyzed. Perfecting online marketing efforts is an ongoing process requiring continuous evaluation and reaction. Use everything from your web analytics to consumer feedback to identify what about your message is working, and that which is less successful. Consider the overall response to your visual branding and content, paying close attention to each step of the user experience as it proceeds to the end result. By learning from how your audience perceives your message, you can more precisely adjust your tone to optimize effectiveness.
Marketing to an online audience provides businesses the opportunity to build brand recognition, a positive reputation, and consumer loyalty and respect. By realizing your core identity and thoughtfully cultivating a marketing campaign that speaks to your brand and keeps your mission fundamental to the message, you can achieve your goals and grow your business.