Your online presence is a vital component of your brand’s image. A consistent and recognizable business attracts new customers and shows your current ones you’re serious about growing your company. However, in the early days of a business, it’s easy to make mistakes and harm your reputation or keep it from ever becoming mainstream. Bettering your company’s image is the first step to gaining new clients.
According to Seagate’s Digitization of the World report, around 67% of CEOs around the world plan to implement digital methods for improving the customer experience (CX). One of the best ways to develop a positive reputation online is by giving your customers an experience way beyond what your competitors offer.
Whether you run a small, local business or a large online store, developing a personality online is a crucial part of finding new leads. You’ll need all the tips below to find success with your online marketing efforts:
1. Create a Strategy
Creating a consistent presence starts with knowing who you are as a brand. Your next step is figuring out how to communicate your brand image to your target audience. Remember, it doesn’t matter how you see yourself. Your reputation ties into how others see you.
Your plan should encompass social media, your website, digital marketing, a newsletter and anywhere else you have a presence online. Make sure your branding is consistent across all channels, both in aesthetics and messaging. If you run a campaign on social media, create a landing page on your site to direct audience segments. Think through each step of your promotions so everything ties together.
Some brands present their image consistently no matter where you encounter them. For example, if you reach out to Wendy’s on Twitter, you’re likely to get a funny response. They have a similar presence on Facebook and the same fun vibe on their website.
2. Show You Care
Spend time figuring out what pain points your customers face. Why do they come to your site in the first place? Be aware of trends, world events, tragedies and the ways people cope with difficult times so you can show them you understand and are trying to help. Show consideration for your consumers and offer them regular updates on things like your in-store hours and safety procedures.
Once you understand the problems customers face, it’s easier to tap into their emotions. If you cater to young parents, they may feel overwhelmed with work and responsibilities. How can you address their fears?
Don’t just pretend to care, though. It’s essential to be authentic. You must genuinely care about your customers and feel empathy for their situations. Anything less comes across as fake and may harm your reputation more than help it.
3. Know Your Target Audience
You’ve likely heard that you must know your target audience. Once you create buyer personas and fully understand their demographics and behaviors, make sure your branding aligns with their wants and needs.
Your best source for demographics and behaviors starts with the information you already have about your customers. Sort through your internal data and analyze your consumer’s locations, ages and buying habits. You can also poll them to find out more specific information. Tell them you want this data so you can better serve their needs. Secondary sources such as reports from the U.S. Census Bureau can also provide information.
Once you’ve gathered all the information you can, create your buyer persona based on it. You may have more than one customer type, so create enough characters to mirror them all. Any branding you do should then run through the buyer persona you’d like to reach. Will the campaign speak to the individual?
4. Respond to Negative Reviews
Every company gets negative reviews at some point in its existence. Now is an excellent time to decide how you’ll respond, so you aren’t caught unprepared when it happens. Think about the tone you want to take with an unhappy customer. Remember anyone who reads your response will form an immediate impression of your business practices. Be ready to develop creative ways to rectify problems and respond rapidly to avoid an escalation in negative comments.
If you lack reviews because your company is new or customers simply haven’t left them, you can encourage positive comments by asking for them. Contact consumers who buy from you often and ask them to share their experiences with others. Established clients likely love your brand and will be happy to help.
5. Present a Consistent Image
Imagine a company giving off a casual quality one day and coming across as serious the next. Perhaps their logos or company colors change from one platform to another. Such differentiation makes it difficult to gain attention, and your followers may wonder just what your business stands for.
Avoid erratic presentations by creating a style guide. A guide teaches anyone working on your branding how to present your company. For example, you can share a company color palette, logo rules and preferred tone for articles and headlines.
Your brand’s personality should shine through on every medium you appear on. Some brands particularly adept at this include Coca-Cola and Nike. They use their logos in the same style, colors and positions. Their tones remain similar no matter where you encounter them.
6. Go Above and Beyond
Some companies are known for going out of their way to help customers. Trader Joe’s has an intense focus on customer experience and trains its employees to be friendly and recommend products. As a result, customers are loyal to the chain. Harley-Davidson considers consumers a part of their “family” and invites them to join a members-only group.
People expect a basic level of customer service, but when you go above and beyond, you stand out from your competition. Over-deliver on your company’s promises whenever possible.
Creating the best CX imaginable starts by studying what other companies do right. Think about who your favorite brands are and why you’re loyal to them. Can you adopt any of their practices? Ask your customers for feedback. How can you improve? Be aware of problems before they arise so you can avoid them in the first place.
Become Known to the Right People
You don’t need to have a brand presence the entire world knows about. The only people who truly need to know about you are the ones most likely to turn into customers. Remain consistent and keep a good reputation with your target audience, and your business should grow year after year.
Author Credit: Lexie is a digital nomad and UX designer. She enjoys hiking with her goldendoodle and creating new cookie recipes. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.