Stay consistent – Top 3 reasons why you have to stay branded online
Today’s consumer is elaborate, quick, unimpressed and on to the next deal or site within seconds. If we step out of our roles of trying to capture the consumer’s business and become the consumer, which of course we often are, we can have a better understanding of why consistent branding online is so crucial. Because, as consumers, we are so easily distracted online—ads and marketing efforts are everywhere, they clog up our newsfeed, our email and jump in front of us on our favorite sites. So, how do you reach new customers and catch their attention?
As a business marketing to potential customers and clients online, you have to be engaging, and you have to be accessible on a range of platforms the consumer might run in to you. Most importantly, you have to be consistent.
The Age of Data
We have access to so much data about the online consumer today. We can see how many clicked your ad, and how many people visited your site. We can see how long they stayed and what page they left from. We can tell you if they came from social media, how old they are, what region of the city/state/country they’re in, and we are getting close to telling you what they had for breakfast and what they’ll want for dinner. OK, maybe that’s a stretch—or is it?
We can tell you best practices from all this data: where to place the phone number, what time to send a tweet, what keywords to use and which campaigns are winning. But, we cannot tell you the exact moment the consumer is going to convert or exactly why they did. However, we can tell you that one of the most important components to growing your business is consistency.
1. Stay branded or lose customers
You cannot be Joeplumbing.com on a nice clean website, but then @Fred42cleanpipes on Twitter. You can’t have unbranded Facebook pages that even your most loyal customers don’t recognize, and you can’t have multiple slogans, trademarks, icons and logos all over the Internet. This confuses the consumer. They don’t recognize you. They don’t know who you are, and as soon as they think they know you’re the same business in their area, you throw them off with a different looking logo.
You have to stay branded on every landing page, website, email, social media site, blog, video and collateral you distribute online. Every platform should have the same logo you use offline or in your store. You should have a consistent online phone number that’s tracked. You have to use the same colors, same fonts and same recognizable image you created on each marketing outlet. That way, when a potential customer comes across one of your efforts online, they know who you are and how great your business is.
2. Consistent messaging, not personal opinion
Social media platforms are designed to engage and build a sense of community online. Conversations, debates, friendships and relationships are created on these platforms. As a business, you want to be in the conversation. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have created a digital-word-of-mouth marketplace where your business and products can grow rapidly through community sharing. However, you can also stick your foot in your mouth and lose a substantial amount of business.
You have to keep your opinions to yourself: no politics, no crazy conspiracy theories, don’t bad mouth the competition, don’t argue with a customer in the comments, and keep the bad jokes and foul language offline. Everything you say and do online is forever. Every single post, even if deleted, can be found or brought back up at any given time. This is not only important for a business to practice, but also its employees and those seeking a job. We often forget that social media is a very public environment, and sometimes the smallest views or words can turn loyal customers away.
3. Be available
One of the most important conversations we try to convey to our clients is the benefits of having a detailed and strategic marketing mix. We wrote an informative guide on this topic titled, “How Integrated Marketing Can Save Your Budget and Your Mind.” In that guide, we discuss how to combine your offline and online marketing efforts to reach the widest audience possible. Not only do we talk about how to reach a large audience, but we talk about targeting customers who are looking for you and your business.
Today, your business has to be available, consistent and in front of consumers who are on their way to work, searching on their mobile phones and tablets on the go, at home watching TV, or browsing the Internet throughout their day. Years ago, marketing and advertising was easy. You put an ad in the paper, on the radio or on TV, a few days later more customers walked in the store or called you on the phone—success. However, today the consumer is all over the map. They’re online comparing prices and in stores comparing prices; they’re getting deals in their email, cutting coupons out of the paper, watching TV commercials, and they are on social media talking with friends and family about products or services they’re about to purchase.
The most important marketing and advertising effort a business can make today is to be available and consistent through multiple channels. From billboards and newspapers to optimized websites and email marketing campaigns, the business with the right marketing mix and the most consistent branding is the most successful at converting consumers into customers.
To learn more about integrated marketing, take a look at our free guide, and if you’d like to talk to a GannettLocal marketing specialist about how we can target and convert new opportunities for your business—contact us today.