I have been focusing on the branding component of my marketing efforts like a madman this year.
It’s always important to keep consistent branding, from your products to your customer service responses. This goes far beyond throwing your logo on everything.
Many of us get lost in the numbers and forget the importance of making a good first impression. The most important part of your customer’s experience is the first impression, followed by your effort to continue that experience through the course of their buying journey.
I’m going to take you through some digital branding trends that are making an impact so that you can test them out for yourself. These trends will keep your brand relevant in the digital space.
Let’s get into it.
FOCUS ON THE NEWER GENERATION
The newest generation, “Generation Z,” is born between the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s, and they make up over 25% of the US population. The oldest members of this generation are now in their early 20’s and have begun their first jobs.
Ultimately, this means their buying power will only increase from this point forward. Your brand will need to shift strategies in order to accommodate this demographic.
Not only is this generation the most up-to-date with current trends and internet lingo, but they are the first generation born into the digital age that we grew into. They are more knowledgeable when it comes to navigating and buying from online retailers.
BUILD CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE
With the ever-growing stories of hacked iCloud accounts and online scams via fake accounts and offers, it’s more important than ever to reassure your customer base that you are a legitimate business.
Anything you can do to comfort them at the very beginning can lead to a more enjoyable buying experience for them, as well as a more profitable outcome for you. Potential customers are constantly looking for any signs of dishonesty or any clues that may undermine your legitimacy as a trusted retailer.
What may cause your visitors alarm? Your sales copy, ad design, and even the quality of the image or video you use to promote your products are all possible suspects. Along with these components, visitors also look at customer feedback, ratings, and the frequency with which you engage with your customers on social media.
Confidence used to only matter at the point of sale and the purchasing experience. Nowadays, customers can provide their feedback in real-time. You need to address any concerns the moment they arise.
BE TRANSPARENT AND HONEST
Fake news floods Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram daily. There are endless articles with clickbait headlines and ads that state “free shipping” when in reality the shipping cost gets added at the last minute.
This noise has trained users to be increasingly unresponsive to anything they deem too good to be true. Successful brands have taken notice, and have begun implementing branding and marketing tactics that humanize their brand. They speak to customers like friends instead of clients, responding to their messages with enthusiasm and kindness.
You must be prepared to deliver exactly what your customers expect based on what your offer promised. Be honest about what you’re providing and don’t hide any details when you tell them what you need from them in order to put it in their hands.
CONTENT OVER COMMERCE
Back to what I was saying about the noise in your newsfeed; it takes a lot more than a product image and a few emojis to make your offer stand out.
Many brands have started posting visually stunning content for their offer, going so far as to forgo the product itself. In Gary Vee’s book The Thank You Economy, he stresses the importance of front-end value enough: nobody likes being sold to, but everyone loves buying.
An example of this is how most social media influencers market themselves and their offers. If you follow a photography page on Instagram, you will see a feed of beautiful images. 90% of these profiles are filled with breathtaking photos to captivate the viewer and gain their following. The visitor doesn’t necessarily convert because of the photographer or the locations of the portraits. Rather, it’s because of the overall consistency of the page’s content.
The account provides 90% value and only makes a sell or an ask 10% of the time. This builds rapport with followers and creates opportunities for future asks to be well-received.When you do something for someone else and don’t ask for anything in return, they will more happily return the favor down the line.
For example, the YouTube channel BeardBrand provides value first. They post daily videos on personal care and health maintenance tips. Only then do they suggest that you check out their store to apply the tips they’ve provided in the video. At the end of each video, they tell you that if you don’t want to check out the store, you should still feel free to watch more of their free content to learn.
BUILD A COMMUNITY
I’m happy to say that I have been practicing this with my brands since around 2014, but it’s just now catching on as the thing to do when launching a successful brand.
Most of the consumers you’re going to reach are ones searching for a product to help them solve an issue or improve upon a certain area in their life.
Normally, the sale ends with us providing the solution. The best we can hope for is that we’ve provided a good enough experience for the customer to come back. If we’re lucky, they’ll even leave a positive review on our Facebook page. Nowadays, many brands aren’t willing to end the relationship there.
It’s industry knowledge that returning customers are easier to convert than new prospects; that brand awareness removes most of the hesitation a buyer has when purchasing a new item; and that knowledge about the product can help solidify their “need” to acquire it.
So why not roll all of that into one place where buyers, new and old, can come together to help one another? Where can they make friends with those who have similar interests and are able to interact with the brand they love directly? The answer is a community.
Starting Facebook groups for your verified buyers, or even those who haven’t bought, allows your brand to establish itself as an authority in your niche.
Having moderators in the group who can answer questions in real time builds trust as well as an emotional connection to your brand. Allowing customers to have a place that they can exchange information and tips on how to better use your product creates a community—a family hosted by your brand name.
The best marketing a company can have is positive organic feedback from a verified customer. Word-of-mouth can make or break a business, so provide everyone with the best customer experience they’ve ever had.
Most of these trends have been used to some extent for years by companies outside of ecommerce, and are only now catching on with retailers.
Take what you’ve learned here and build your brand into the caring and knowledgeable brand you know it to be. Your customers will appreciate the extra effort and repay you for doing so.