Your brand is your business. And when you’re a small-to-medium-sized business working with a limited budget and resources, getting smart with your digital branding strategy is key to seeing positive outcomes online.
You may not have a large budget to work with a branding agency, outsource content creation, or hire a design and development team to brainstorm a new logo or website design. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot accomplished when left to your own devices.
Moreover, focusing on branding — particularly branding in the digital realm — will help your SMB cut through the noise and stand out with your target audience. Defined brands are ones that exhibit long-term viability and success, and they’re universally recognized by their audience. Of course, though, how you approach digital branding matters and can greatly affect your performance.
We’ve put together seven tips on how to get digital branding right so you can earn recognition and establish a presence with your audience and beyond.
1. Keep It Consistent
Your brand strategy and identity should be consistent from platform to platform. Digital branding should be an omnichannel approach that ensures consumers get the same brand experience wherever they find you. This helps you stick in the minds of those interacting with your brand and sets the foundation for building trust.
In addition to building trust, a consistent brand identity also nurtures more sales — in one study of more than 450 brand management experts, consistency was found to be associated with a 10% to 20% increase in revenue. This makes sense, doesn’t it? If you’re able to rely on a brand’s consistency, you can certainly trust it, and if you can trust it, you’re more inclined to want to build on that relationship.
2. Think of Your Brand as a First Impression
In business, as in life, there’s no underestimating the power of a first impression. Digital branding encompasses everything from how your website looks to people’s experience when interacting with it online. All of those things have the potential to be someone’s first impression of your business, and so all of those need to be optimized. There’s little time to waste, too; first impressions of your website alone are made in just 50 milliseconds.
If you make a bad first impression or one that is lackluster, you’ll be playing catch-up in other areas. If your audience isn’t impressed right away, they won’t take the time to explore your website, and if they don’t explore your website, there’s very little chance they’ll convert to a lead or subscribe to your email marketing.
3. Be Authentic
When it comes to effective company branding, quite a lot of it has to be humanized. Consumers have been conditioned not to trust big brands, fearing they have hidden agendas and will do anything to get a sale. Therefore, consumers prefer and have come to expect authenticity from the brands they decide to support. Brands that can successfully be authentic are rewarded with engagement and sales. Even if you’re worried about revealing too much, lead with transparency when it comes to your practices, processes, how you service your customers, and what your company values. If you don’t, your target audience will just look for another brand that does.
4. Use Color to Your Advantage
Tone and voice are critical to digital branding, but there’s also a strong visual element. Create and maintain a brand-specific color palette, and ensure it’s represented in all your marketing materials. The use of a signature color alone can increase brand recognition by 80%. So, arguably, color is one of the most important branding components you can decide on.
5. Join the Conversation
Two-thirds of global consumers say they would either buy from or boycott a brand based on their support (or lack of support) for a social or political issue. Your brand has a voice, but using your platform wisely is important. There’s an increase in consumer advocacy for brands that take a particular stand on social issues, and while there’s a strong tendency to equate a brand with the movements they stand behind, not every brand finds it necessary to make its stance public.
If your brand decides to be the type of brand that aligns itself with certain stances on social issues, just make sure that you heed tip number three – be authentic. Make sure that what you’re supporting rings true at your brand’s core. And, if it doesn’t, outline actionable, specific steps you’ll be taking to ensure it will.
6. Create Lots of Content
Original content should be a huge part of any SMB’s digital branding strategy. Creating content that exhibits your company’s tone and voice optimized for SEO puts your brand front and center when your audience searches online for solutions. It also serves as an identifying link from platform to platform. Invest in creating new content and optimizing your existing content so that you can be sure you’re the one telling the story about your brand online.
7. Provide Great Customer Service
Customers might not always remember a positive customer service experience, but they’ll definitely remember a negative one. Prioritize your business’s customer service efforts so that everyone walks away knowing that your brand cares and you’ll have much happier customers. You’ll also have more customers in general, with 73% of consumers reporting that customer service is a deciding factor in their purchasing decisions.
We hope the tips above help you lay the groundwork for establishing a strong SMB digital brand. Make sure you give these efforts the focus they need, and over time, you’ll build a consistent brand that your audience can rely on and turn to.