When you enter a room, people notice you. You have a style and a presence. You have something to say, and people listen.
Your brand is much the same way. It has its personality, appearance, and tone. And when you implement a digital branding strategy, you help your brand get noticed and make a bold impression.
Whether you own a business, run a personal blog, or are just getting started with a side hustle, having a digital brand strategy in place is more important than ever.
What is Digital Brand Strategy?
A comprehensive plan that helps you communicate your company's identity to consumers online to increase customer loyalty and sales.
A digital brand strategy also defines how your organization wishes to be perceived by consumers. What makes it unique? What do you want people to think about your product or service? By creating guidelines for your brand, you can ensure every interaction with consumers remains consistent.
Digital Branding vs. Digital Marketing
It is a common misconception to confuse digital marketing and digital branding. While you may think that these phrases are interchangeable, there is a distinct difference.
Here's a quick rundown of what each stands for:
- Digital Branding – Creating your brand image through logo, website design, and social media design to produce a solid brand identity through digital platforms.
- Digital Marketing – Promoting your existing brand image through content marketing and advertising techniques to impact consumers.
How Do You Create an Effective Digital Brand Strategy?
Creating an effective digital brand takes time, effort, and due diligence. It's not as simple as making a logo, showing up with a few dozen hashtags, and calling it a day.
According to Nxtbook Media, there are eight essential steps to creating a successful digital branding strategy.
Let's dive into the roadmap for building a digital brand strategy with a few detailed examples.
1. Determine your brand’s mission and vision
Your mission and vision are the cornerstones of your digital brand strategy. They're both broader concepts that give you a direction rather than a process.
Your mission is what you do and who you serve, while your vision is where you're going in the long term.
So when figuring out how to create a digital brand strategy, these two things need to be at the heart of it all.
It is wise to share your vision and mission on your website (commonly shared on the "About" page), providing full transparency to your consumers.
2. Understand your audience
The more you know about your audience, the better you can connect with them.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and accurate data surrounding your existing customers.
To create buyer personas, start segmenting your audience by demographic and psychographic data — such as gender, age, marital status, and interests.
Many businesses have a "Loyal Lola" buyer persona. This customer is someone who buys from your brand every year and will continue to do so for as long as it keeps meeting their expectations.
The following tools are great resources for exacting real-time data to help build out your buyer personas:
- Google Analytics (demographics and psychographics)
- Facebook Audience Insights (demographics and behavior patterns)
- Social Mention (behavior patterns)
3. Know your sales funnel
It's essential to know your sales funnel, which is the path that leads a potential customer to purchase. A digital brand strategy should be aligned with your sales funnel to help customers move towards making that final purchasing decision.
Awareness (top of the funnel)
Awareness involves introducing your brand to people who would qualify as potential customers. The goal is to make sure that they know you exist and are familiar with your products or services.
Interest and Decision (middle of the funnel)
In this stage, you want to build interest among potential customers so that they begin considering whether or not your product or service is right for them. At this stage, you should show them how you can solve their problems and meet their needs and why your offering should be on their shortlist of options. Take Samsara as an example. They describe all the features and benefits of their government fleet management software on their page, along with images of their product and customer testimonials. This kind of content might help prospects decide if what you are offering is in fact the right solution for them.
Action (bottom of the funnel)
The final stage of your sales funnels is where customers decide whether or not to purchase from you. Your digital brand strategy should give them all the information they need to make an informed decision — and nudge them toward saying yes.
In summary, the sales funnel has four stages:
- Awareness: Create an ad that leads people from Facebook to your landing page.
- Interest: Provide something of value to your visitors, such as an ebook or a free report, in exchange for their email addresses.
- Decision: Supply information to educate your audience and guide them on making a purchase.
- Action: Offer coupons your leads love, and then we contact them again to reignite their interest.
4. Leverage market opportunities and competitive positioning
In today's highly competitive marketplace, it is imperative to analyze your competitors' strengths and weaknesses to improve your position in the market.
- Know your brand's strengths and weaknesses: You should understand how the company is doing today and what you can improve.
- Know your competitors' strengths and weaknesses: The best way to know where to focus your strategy is to understand your competition fully. It's vital to investigate and measure the success of your competitors by analyzing their branding strategies, product lines, distribution channels, market opportunities, and customer engagement levels.
- Know your target audience: It's essential to identify who you want to connect with most as a brand, how they use social media platforms, what language they speak, who influences them online (and off), how often they shop online, which platforms to trust most for reviews of products/services/brands/businesses/etc., which brands they currently follow on social media (and why), and any other pertinent information that will help determine if this group can become customers.
Stack's Spatial Browser is an example of a product that has leveraged the weakness of its competitors to strengthen its digital brand strategy. The browser is the primary tool we use to access the internet. Its job has never been anything more than providing access to the Web. And it is the most boring software ever created.
However, Stack is about to change that. What if a browser was a virtual organizer of all things internet instead of only providing access to the Web?
Never stop thinking outside the box and building on the "boring" products today.
5. Create a cohesive design for your brand
One of the most important things to remember when developing a brand strategy is to create a cohesive design for your brand. Your logo, colors, and fonts must be consistent across all platforms. What good does it do for you to have an awesome-looking website if your Facebook page looks completely different?
If graphic design is not your forte, you may want to consider outsourcing some of the branding process. For example, when creating your logo you may want to consider utilizing a logo maker app for a stress free experience and easy to use experience. There are several online resources that can help meet your digital branding needs.
Also, make sure your website is responsive to different device sizes and screens. When someone views your site on their phone, they want a seamless experience. If they can't read the text or navigate the site easily on their phone, they may leave quickly and won't return. Using a cloud-based web development solution, such as a drag and drop website builder, might be a good idea to help you with this kind of issue.
6. Publish quality content
The easiest way to generate traffic and increase brand awareness is by publishing content that people love. By creating a blog that offers practical advice on topics your customers are interested in, you will begin to build an audience of loyal readers who will keep coming back for more.
Creating unique content (especially at high volumes) can seem daunting. But don't let this stage of forming a digital brand strategy intimate you. With the help of CopyAI, content creation is easier than ever. You can write a full-length blog post in under 4 minutes using the First Draft Wizard.
Content is the ideal platform to develop meaningful relationships with your customers. Be sure that when someone has a question about your products or services, you're there to answer them helpful and timely. This tactic will enable you to learn what's important to the customer so that in the future, you can target them with more relevant offerings and messages.
Mos, a leader in student banking, does an excellent job of understanding the needs of its audience. They've identified their target audience's pain points (student debt, bank fees, scholarships, saving for college, etc.) and created articles and resources around these topics to help students learn more information while gaining credibility in the industry.
Take this piece on finding the best bank for college students as an example; Mos includes the top features to look out for when choosing a bank. They also outline several different banks, including their offerings, to inform students which banks offer the best services to meet their needs.
7. Choose the right digital publishing platform
There's a wide range of digital publishing platforms, and they offer different things. What platform to choose depends on what kind of content you want to create and how you want to publish it.
For example, do you want a centralized platform where everything stays behind a log-in wall? Or would you rather have an open publishing space for your readers that doesn't require them to sign up for anything?
Blogs: This is an excellent place to start. They're simple and easy to set up, even if you don't know much about web development. Bloggers can easily cross-promote their content on social media, essential for getting people interested in your content.
Home & Jet, a digital magazine for the modern era, features topics on all things home and travel. Instead of requiring a paywall like most significant publications, they chose to utilize a free blog website platform to engage as many readers as possible and avoid interruption.
Social networks: Encourage your marketing team to create content and engage with followers who share similar interests or goals. Sharing content on social media platforms has the potential to go viral and be seen by millions of people around the world. Since these networks often prioritize organic reach (i.e., showing your posts in other users' feeds), it's easy for your businesses to get their message across without paying advertising fees.
8. Perform brand audits
A brand audit is necessary to understand how your brand is currently performing and how it has grown over time. A complete audit considers every aspect of your digital presence, including website traffic, social media interactions, reviews and ratings for products and services, and blog engagement.
An audit gives you a complete picture of customer satisfaction by looking at search engine rankings and email campaigns. It allows you to identify weak points in your marketing approach and develop a strategy to address them.
You should conduct brand quarterly audits to ensure that all parts of your digital strategy work together to promote your goals. Conducting an audit will also allow you to see which areas need improvement; perhaps your Twitter presence is strong, but Facebook is falling behind, or vice versa.
Once you have conducted a thorough audit and identified areas for improvement, the next step is developing goals for each team member responsible for managing these items for attention.
A digital brand strategy is essential for establishing a robust online presence to increase your product or service awareness, capture high-quality leads, and convert them into sales.
It's not just about increasing sales but also creating loyal customers who will continue to spend money with you and recommend you to their friends and family.
Digital branding is more than just creating a website and hoping people will find it—it's about creating a consistent image that inspires trust in potential customers by solving their problems and generating value that outshines your competition.