In a super competitive industry, the right approach to your digital brand can make the difference between creating a memorable customer experience – or being forgotten about. It’s not enough to look pretty: today it’s all about diving deep into your customer profiles, understanding their motivation, discovering your own purpose and maximizing every chance you have to make an impact. The best digital brand is one that understands the need to put their customers first, and to really make the most of every channel available to them. Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself before you leap into action.
Where do I begin?
Before you spend too much time turning your business into a brand, it’s important to investigate who your target customers are. After all, it is to them that your branding should appeal. Consider the following: who are your primary customers, and what can you offer them that is better than anything else on the market?
A good way to start is to build out your customer profiles. A customer profile outlines all the relevant character traits of a particular niche audience. To do this, you will need some idea of who your potential (or existing) customers are. If your products or services appeal to a wider market, you may need to build out several customer profiles. Doing so is increasingly important, as only brands who become good at identifying and targeting their ideal audience can hope to succeed in the increasingly competitive digital landscape.
These buyer profiles are simply fictional characters that will help you to get a firmer grasp of your customers’ mindset and buying habits. They usually include basic information such as age, location and income, as well as their general interests and reasons for purchasing. Don’t get carried away with creating your brand until you really know your customers – then build the brand to accommodate their needs.
Who is your enemy?
This is important. It’s not so much about having a physical enemy, as knowing that your brand has a purpose. What are you trying to change? What are you fighting for? And why should others want to get involved?
Understanding your brand purpose will give you a clearer sense of how your brand should act, what it should sound like, and what its perspective is. It will ultimately become the motivation behind your business decisions – which events you should attend, who you interact with on social media and what you write about on your blog. Know your enemy – and you will soon find others who share that common cause (your potential customers).
Are you getting personal enough?
Think back to a time when you ordered a product online and received an incredible experience, from the ordering process to receiving the product, and the quality of the product itself. In all likelihood, this company did its research and deliberately created a customer service experience that it knew would delight its audience.
Personalized customer experience is the new way to go. If you don’t embrace it, chances are you will fall behind. Let’s say you want to order a new raincoat. You’re looking for quality – something that will last – but you also want style. You look online and come across a brand that makes high quality raincoats in a range of sizes and colors. After purchasing your raincoat, it arrives beautifully packaged with a handwritten thank you note. Following the purchase, you occasionally receive news about similar, related products you might be interested in from the same company. This is an example of a good personalized customer experience.
How can you do the same? Here are 4 more examples for inspiration.
Are you making the most of your packaging?
Following on from the above point, if you’re not making a statement with your product packaging, then you could be missing a trick. There’s nothing exciting or fancy about a boring brown box.
Great packaging all helps to create a positive and lasting impression of your brand, even if it’s just some nice, professionally designed labels. Hire a graphic designer and get them to craft a bespoke, branded box that will really light up your customers’ day when they receive their delivery. Here’s a great example of simple branded packaging from Sesame Gifts.
Do you have a multichannel strategy?
The word ‘multichannel’ gets bandied around a lot. On the one hand, it means more sales. On the other, it means being prepared to take on more admin. Having a multichannel strategy is important if you want your online business to evolve and scale. In essence, it’s about spreading your presence more widely online, so you can meet customers on their preferred platforms – and ultimately reach more of them.
Before you start, make sure you’ve researched which channels will be worth pursuing for your business. Depending on your products and branding, some channels will likely be a better fit than others. Choosing the wrong one not only wastes time and energy, but could also damage your image.
Ultimately, you want to give your customers a consistently good experience, wherever they choose to shop with you. From the outset, try to capture as much data as you can. Including a ‘wish list’ function keeps things flexible if the customer wants to keep tabs on the products they’re interested in.
If you move into marketplaces, be aware that they operate very differently to running your own ecommerce store. They don’t allow you to collect customer data and it’s hard to build up your brand equity in the same way. Use them, but don’t rely on them.
Hopefully this article has given you some useful guidance around creating a lasting and memorable digital brand that will appeal to your target customers. Got anything you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Patrick Foster is an eCommerce Coach and Branding Consultant. He is hugely passionate about all things eCommerce, and loves helping others to make the most of their digital businesses. His writing is published on a variety of digital marketing sites around the world, and on EcommerceTips.org.