13 Top Tips For Building Your Brand Online In 2020
Building a brand online can prove difficult, even for the world’s biggest retailers, and it’s never been harder than in 2020. With new brands popping up in every sector there’s more competition than ever, meaning your brand needs to be stand out and be industry leading to make its mark. Furthermore, with 59% (68% in emerging markets) of consumers preferring to purchase a product from a brand they are familiar with (Neilsen), establishing your brand is more important than ever.
This begs the question – how do you stand out in an oversaturated online retail space in 2020? We’ve compiled a list of advice from trusted eCommerce sources across the web to bring you 13 Top Tips For Building Your Brand Online In 2020.
1. Establish a Solid Brand Identity
While building a brand takes years, online retailers have a slight advantage thanks to Social Media. Leverage the power of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and more to establish your brand identity and aesthetics. Outline your philosophy, what your brand stands for and ensure this is reflected in all your customer communication, on and off site, even including your brand logo (The Next Scoop). This is the most important ingredient in building your brand. If you don’t know your own identity, how can you expect a customer to buy in to your brand and products? Things to consider include:
- Core Purpose
- Brand Attributes
- Value Proposition
- Target Audience
- Market Positioning & Competition
2. Know Your Target Market
Research tools from top industry experts such as Neilsen, ComScore, Google (Trends, AdWords, Analytics) and Organic Search tools (such as SEMrush and Moz) can help you gauge interest and know your customer prior to starting any marketing. Over time, data from 3rd party tools such as Google Analytics can help you refine this further, ensuring you target a highly engaged audience and attract new customers to your brand.
- Tip – when marketing directly to customers remember to bear in mind international time zones. Sending a marketing to US customers at 9am UK time is not likely to be overly effective considering the US is at least 5 hours behind the UK.
- Tip – Reddit can be a great place to gauge interest in a particular brand or product as well as trending topics (Shopify).
3. Create Captivating Content
With so many brands it’s easy to copy your competitor’s activity. The result? More of the same. It’s important to not only share high quality imagery but to use a consistent theme that makes you stand out. This is best seen in the Instagram accounts of large beauty retailers like Estée Lauder who post in a consistent pattern and use the same filter on every shot. Consistency of content is not just for social media, however. It’s key that you put across the same tone of voice to each of your customers regardless of whether they are scrolling through Facebook, opening an email newsletter or have simply stumbled upon your site through Google Search.
- We recommend creating a Brand Style Guide which outlines the font sizes, colours etc. to use when communicating the brand & ensure the whole team sticks to these to create a consistent tone of voice for your brand.
- Tip – know which content works for each marketing channel. In general social is moving towards video is its format of choice with more and more brands opting for GIF and video content to help them stand out in a saturated market. Try AB testing different ad copy, visuals etc. to understand what works best for your customer.
- Tip – encourage the sharing of user-generated content to boost your ‘Social Proof’, build trust and create a community online.
- Tip – having a tagline that sits just below your brand logo helps a customer understand what your brand is about the minute they land on your site or see your ads.
4. Invest in the Future of Your Brand
It’s no secret that building a brand online can be expensive so it’s important to outline where you want to invest and see growth. Set clear budgets of ROAS targets with clear and measurable data points in order to track your growth. Remember to divide your budget in to brand awareness and conversion focused spends to attract more new customers to your site and convert in-market customers. Furthermore, don’t be alarmed if your brand awareness spend returns little revenue. This type of marketing activity is for getting your brand out there, much like a newspaper or radio ad, so you are likely to see less direct return. Instead measure the increase in monthly search volume for your brand and top own-branded products on search engines using a tool such as SEMrush.
- In the early stages, getting your brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible is key. Explore traffic campaigns on Facebook, display campaigns on Google Adwords and target the top of the funnel to understand which customers may be interested in your brand.
5. Know Your Strengths, Weaknesses & Opportunities
Understanding your brand offering in comparison to the rest of the market can help you outmanoeuvre your competition and find your unique selling points (USPs). For example, a strength may be that you are the only online retailer of a specific brand or hold an exclusive colour/design of trainer. Leverage your strengths to help you stand out on and off site. Conversely, knowing your weaknesses compared to your competition can help you put in place an action plan to improve your own offering, targeting key areas where improvements will drive results. For example, if your competitors all offer free next day delivery it would be worth understanding how this service could improve your own offering and the business implications involved such as personnel impact, cost of delivering the service etc.
- Tip – we recommend drawing up a list of your top competitors based on organic research and industry knowledge. Once compiled you should walk the competitor site at least once a month (although ideally once a week & more in key promotional periods) taking down key promotions, unique selling points and adding opportunities to your brand action plan.
6. Data Capture, Marketing & Remarketing
Whether you are capturing an email address by offering 10% off for new customers, capturing cookie information using Google Analytics tracking code, or using a refer a friend service, ensure you get the most out of your data by building a robust cross-channel marketing and remarketing strategy that enables you to effectively communicate your brand message. Take full advantage of this data by sharing your consenting customer lists across 3rd party marketing tools such as Facebook and Google AdWords to ensure you capture the right audience.
- Tip – to reduce your marketing spend split your targeting by purchase habbit e.g. Facebook purchaser, purchased an ironing board, spent over £50 etc. This will help you target customers with the right message for their needs.
7. Use Social Proof to Boost Your Brand
Using reviews & comments from social media in your marketing and on site helps to give your brand a personal feel, validated by real customers. This creates confidence in the potential purchaser and is a real conversion driver.
8. Get Blogging
Good content is key to keeping your audience interested. Whether you’re writing about hiking trails in the Lake District or whipping up the latest Swiss Roll recipe, ensure your content is image rich, engaging & most of all useful for your customer base, adding value outside simple ecommerce transactions. Check out Brian Dean’s ‘Content Marketing Hub‘ on Backlinko for the best end-to-end content marketing guide online today.
- Tip – research great blog topics using tools such as Answer The Public, QuestionDB and SEMrush Keyword Analysis.
9. SEO is Key
Core to building a brand online is ensuring your site ranks against key branded and non-branded terms. Using a tool such as SEMrush will enable you to build an SEO strategy, track valuable keyword terms and ensure your brand ranks highly for high-value keywords. Strong site SEO can also significantly reduce the need for paid marketing and improve your quality score on Google, resulting in less marketing spend and increased return. With 12 organic listing clicks for every 1 paid listing, it pays to invest in SEO (Search Engine Land).
10. Engage with your Customers & Resolve Problems
There are now more ways than ever to connect with your brand from Facebook Messenger and Instagram Comments, to Email and Live Chat on your site. Ensure you quickly and effectively handle customer’s queries and complains to ensure you receiving glowing reviews. Turn negatives in to positives by going the extra mile for customers who have had bad experiences and encourage those who’ve had positive brand experiences to share them post-purchase with their social followers. Despite all the new marketing channels and innovations online, word of mouth is still one of the strongest marketing tools you can have in your arsenal.
11. Leverage the Power of Social Media
To make a mark online you need to be active on social media and posting content daily to continuously engage your customers and followers. Post frequency and recency can really affect engagement rate on social but most major brands post 1.5 times a day, according to ‘Social Buddy‘.
- Tip – use the business insights tools available on most social platforms to understand your customer demographic, including when they are most active, so you can tailor and schedule your content to suit your audience. These tools will also help you get more results from post and story boosts on Facebook & Instagram with the ability to save audiences for future use.
- Tip – Like, Share and Tag giveaways perform extremely well on social and can be a great way to build your following. Consider running a weekly giveaway to boost your audience on core social channels such as Facebook and Instagram.
- Tip – spread the word with social media influencers and use their highly engaged audiences to get your brand recognised. Tools such as Social Blade can help identify the best influencers to work with.
12. Constantly Analyse Your Data
Customer habits & engagement constantly changes making it important to regularly review your key customer demographics through analytics tools such as Google Analytics. Understanding your customer better will ensure you continue to see success.
13. Online Marketing Is Not Enough
To ensure your brand succeeds online you need to engage your customers at all possible touchpoint including traditional forms of media like TV, radio and print.