By now you probably have seen that your website is the main channel for connecting prospective customers with your brand. However, you cannot rely on the “If You Build It, They Will Come” strategy any longer. The sophistication of both technology and consumers means you’ve got to cover all the bases and meet your customers in more places than just your website. Here’s how to accomplish this:
- Develop your brand message for the web.What makes your brand stand out against the competition? How is your product or service special? Why do your customers need your brand? And maybe most importantly, what problem does your product or service solve for the customer? This is fairly basic stuff for branding strategy, but you’ve got to find out how to connect it to your customers online. Obviously on your website you have a captive audience, but you need to think beyond your site to other places customers can find your plan.
- Build your online footprint. Once your website is up and running and you’ve followed protocol for SEO and content creation, you need to create the secondary locations for customers to find your brand: Social Media. It may seem elementary, but make sure to claim the space for your company. If you don’t do it, your competitors will. Find as many places to place your company profile as you can. The obvious networks are Facebook, Twitter and your company Blog, but, in addition, create a Tumblr blog, Google+ page, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc. Don’t just think about flat media like written content, think video, photos, infographics – the more varied the better. And, once you’ve claimed the space, you need a strong content strategy. Don’t just rehash what’s on your website.
- Become an authority in your field. You’re the expert, so strut your stuff. To begin, you can pick up on hot topics or news that is taking place in your industry. Develop content on your new network that shows your authority. However, an even better strategy is to create your own insights. Post polls on your website, or ask your customers through e-mail lists about topics that are big in your industry. It may take a while to develop the base of customer contacts to do this, but in the end it will set your brand apart.
- Measure your results. Look for increased traffic to your main website. More engagement on your site through longer time-per-visit or more pages-per-visit. Track more interaction with social media, more likes, shares, impressions, downloads and video views. Everything that keeps your brand top-of-mind helps to increase customer engagement. Track the amount of increased traffic your social sites send to your main website, and put your efforts into the social channels that work the best.