Digital Marketing 101: Strategies for a Successful Online Brand Awareness
Promoting your brand has never been easier with the constant rise of internet users, online shoppers, and people desperately trying to identify with a brand. Just smash a picture of a cat hugging a cute puppy on your Facebook page, place your logo somewhere on the image, and zim-zam-zoom, you are an internet sensation. And that's it. That's all you need to know about Digital Marketing and brand awareness.
Oh, OK, there is more to it.
With more and more people turning to the internet to purchase even everyday products and the pandemic, which forced many places of business into the digital world, a company can't survive without a good digital marketing strategy. Hence brand awareness is no longer a physical brochure, filled with deadly germs, billboards that no one will ever see, or a TV commercial. For the readers on the younger side, a TV is this thing that old folks used to do before YouTube and Netflix. Brand awareness these days is a mix of several Digital marketing strategies like social media presence, SEO, email marketing, to mention a few.
What is Digital Marketing
The textbook definition of Digital marketing is just as boring as a text definition can be. And just as any textbook definition says something really simple in a complicated manner, so it would sound pretentious, and people would want to quote it to feel snobbish. We won't enable such behavior, so we will give you a simpler, easier-to-understand definition. Digital Marketing is a mixture of different marketing strategies intended for internet users.
There are several core Digital Marketing strategies that prove to be successful in establishing your brand and validating it on the chosen market. A perk of this deviation in advertising methods is the eminently better reach than the traditional offline ad campaigns. While in the old days you were able to reach customers in a small community, or at best a country, now with one ad you can get to billions worldwide. But that's not even the best part. With Digital Marketing, you can easily target more niche audiences. Furthermore, thanks to the all-so-hated cookies and the disturbing total lack of privacy on the internet, your ad will always find a potential customer. Thus searching through cold audiences isn't like looking for a good M. Night Shyamalan movie anymore.
Every one of the Digital Marketing Strategies has its strengths and weaknesses. A healthy mix of several or all will guarantee your brand a top spot in your market niche. Let's take a look.
In the past, for a person to make an informed decision, there were many barriers. Firstly the product needed to be available in a local store, people needed to seek information in articles or recommendations by friends. As a last resort, they trusted the TV and what they heard of the product, and even its package's looks. Needless to say, research for the client was as hard as losing weight over the Christmas holidays. Advertising, however, was even more challenging for a brand.
Today all of the research is done through the internet. It literally takes 20 seconds to write some keywords in Google, and the search engine will bring you several thousand articles, websites, and anything you'd want to know about the product. As one might expect, people are extremely lazy, and rarely anyone goes past the third page on Google searching for a product or information. More than half of the people never go to the second page, while around 11% drop off there. Finally, 8% of people cease their search on page three. Thus more than 2/3 of your potential clients will drop off before page 4.
Every search engine tries to bring forward the most relevant information, and since there isn't a sad, sad real person who reads through all the bullshit anyone writes, a robot (or, more accurately, a crawler) does this job. It ranks the pages based on several hundred factors, among which the most important are your website's relevance, speed, how many people shared your page (backlinks), how many people were unable to reach your website (bounce rates), and what was the user’s overall experience on your site (engagement). To say it lightly - the more people visit your website and share it, the more search engine-friendly your site is.
There are three basic types of SEO - on-page, off-page and technical. The first one is related to the creative design and how many cats you have published on your website. The latter one being, of course, an obvious (we hope) lie. However, your content and its relevance to the searched keyword is one of the most essential factors for your SEO score. The second one is related to how others see your website. This includes whether other web pages mention your website and share a link as a referral (backlinks), comments, and shares. Finally, the technical part is related to how your website has been built (web development), is your hosting company fast and reliable, and maintenance. Using a crawler-friendly website, fast servers to keep your webpage on (hosting), and keeping your website always intact is the first step to improving your organic reach.
Web Development and its Importance
Your website is crucial for your online success and organic reach. As mentioned above, if the backbone of your website is not crawler-friendly, search engines will deem it unworthy for the first page, no matter how good your content is. This means that you should always use title tags, header tags, images alt tags, meta headlines, and descriptions. If you place the correct keywords in these tags, you will be on the fast track to page one.
However, front-end web development is just as important. Keep in mind that your website is practically equivalent to your physical shop. If it's untidy, messy, and hard to navigate, you will lose the customer faster than an empty paper bag in a hurricane. Never forget that a customer has 10-15 tabs opened while searching for a product or service. Dressing up like a clown videotaping yourself juggling nine chainsaws will definitely keep them on your tab, but so will a good, easily navigable, and comprehensive website. So if you are not so keen on the circus arts, we suggest investing in some excellent web design. Using a creative design is vital for keeping the customer entertained and on your tab. Researches have shown that a person spends roughly 10 seconds on a website before deciding whether to continue or close it. A creative design is the difference between a closed tab and an open one.
Content Marketing is the art of keeping people entertained while feeding them essential information about your product or service. Using articles, videos, memes, podcasts, and other creative methods, you can easily keep your potential customer on your website and point them in the right direction with a carefully placed Call To Action (CTA). Great content (like the one you're reading at the moment) will help you enlarge your audience and website traffic, which in terms will broaden your reach to new potential customers. The easiest way to have great content on your website is by having a blog. Businesses with blogs get 67% more leads than other companies. In addition, about half of the clients who end up buying something will read 3-5 articles before hitting the "buy" button. Of course, it goes without saying that if these articles are on your blog, the stacks will be heavily in your favor.
Having a lot of free traffic is great, but increasing your sales immensely sounds even better. Having outstanding conversion copywriting skills will definitely help you achieve the latter. Conversion copywriting will not just engage your audience, but it will persuade them to purchase without hesitation or remorse. Good conversion copywriting does not rely simply on nice wording but rather on tons of research and data that tells you how people react to specific phrasing and what to say, so they will instantly buy. Yes, using data to construct a text is the most boring thing you will ever have to do. It sucks all the fun out of writing, kills all imagination, and stamps over everything beautiful in our language. However, you can still make it fun for yourself by making fun of it all, and with careful wordplay, you can actually make fun of this whole absurd situation.
Social Media Marketing
Social media accounts are a must-have for any brand. Trying brand awareness without Social Media presence is like riding a bike without a seat. You will surely go the distance, but it sure as hell won't be easy, and in the end, your butt will hurt more than it needs to. With more than 3 billion people using different social media daily, skipping on social media marketing is equivalent to having your shop open only during working hours and closing it during lunch break. Actually, this is precisely how public services work, so it must tell you a lot about how customer-friendly they are.
Each of the social media platforms has its own unique groups. For example, Facebook is a gathering place for end customers, while Linked In and Twitter are more for business connections and high-end customers. TikTok is for the young and impulsive buyers, while Reddit is for the most demanding customers. Actually, if you manage to sell anything on Reddit, you are either a Digital Marketing God, and this article is not for you, or you are a magnificent cat photographer. The point is that you have limited time and resources and you should know where it’s most profitable to invest them. Don’t go for all social media platforms, but select just one or two.
Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses and having a suitable social media marketing strategy is key to reaching your preferred audience. These platforms are the perfect place where your brand will gain personality and be more than just a faceless corporation, which tries to sell some stuff, but rather a person who is passionate about different things and can offer something of value... and sell some pointless future trash in the meantime. Not because that's your primary goal, but because you need to survive, you know. As a result, you will connect with your potential clients, and they will have a simple way to communicate with you, which will elevate your trustworthiness.
Emailing is THE way to increase your brand awareness. Thus having an email list is a must for any company, which doesn't want to be dependent on other platforms to reach its customers. Email Marketing is probably the most efficient way to keep in touch with your former, current, and future customers. Whether it's for cold emailing, a warm reminder, or a hot sale, email marketing is the preferred way to remind your target audience who you are and what you offer.
Unlike Social Media, Emails are personal and very targeted. They connect you with the customer directly and, if written well, are hard to ignore. The best part is that if someone willingly gives their email to you, they are interested in what you have to offer. It's the equivalent of getting a wink at the bar. You simply must act on it. So no matter if you will get a response or not, take a note from the Nigerian Prince, who desperately tries to find someone to help him get his inheritance and split it with, just write an email. The worst that can happen is to get ignored.
The real trick in Email Marketing is obtaining the customer's email. The easiest way to do this is with a purchase. However, if you are new on the market, don't go out asking people for their emails with a knife, at least not yet. There is a much easier way, which doesn't include breaking several federal laws. The easiest one is with a beautifully constructed website email subscription CTA. After receiving one's email, you should keep it cool. Don't start flooding their inbox with countless "special offers'' or chain letters that will "bring you luck if you send them to 25 people." Instead, learn more about their interests and message them with an intended purpose. Share with them something they might be interested in. After all, when it comes to email marketing, your strategy, unlike the "Fast and furious" franchise, should be slow and level headed (and with way less Vin Diesel and preaching about family).
Video advertising is not a new concept, but it has changed a lot thanks to the digital era we live in. While in the 1990s, marketers were struggling to fit as much information and subliminal messaging in 30 seconds of TV advertising, nowadays, the attention span of an average person is about 10 seconds. Yes, the average customer now is a glorified goldfish with a credit card. To make this even more effortless for our braindead society, most platforms offer 5-second slots, after which the user may skip the 3-second video they wanted to watch, and another 2 seconds after that, they would have forgotten all about it. This makes your job even harder. Not only do you have to put all the information within a 5-second video, but you need to make it entertaining enough for people to remember it. Maybe it's time to rethink whether dressing up as a clown and juggling with nine chainsaws is such a bad idea after all. With the ever-shortening free time, people value information that is given to them fast and efficiently. A great video marketing strategy includes mixing emotion, practicality, urgency, and more in just two sentences, several frames of an image, and a few music chords. It's like writing the perfect copy, but with visual help.
And when it comes to the visual aid, the new trends avoid reality like a female actor avoids working with Harvey Weinstein. 2D/3D animations defy the physical limitations to mix the whole visual message into a few frames and capture your brand's essence. Moreover, it's the most efficient way to communicate your ideas to the general public. Studies have shown that 64% of people are more likely to act upon the relayed message in an animated video. Also, it's entertaining and far more likely to be remembered or shared. Thus animated videos boost both your traffic and conversion rate.
YouTube and its paid ads are probably the go-to places for such advertisers, and it's a magnificent place to start your brand awareness campaign. After all, you can target specific audiences more efficiently and run your ad on particular videos that interest your target audiences. Furthermore, YouTube guarantees you 5 seconds of screen time, and if you manage to produce your video correctly, your brand's message will enjoy hundreds of thousands of views per day. And who knows, maybe a dozen or so won't be zombies who just skip from video to video.
However, paid ads are not as cost-efficient as unpaid ones. Shocking, we know. Various platforms like Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, and others offer you the opportunity to hide marketing messages behind otherwise entertaining videos, complimenting your brand's online personality. And while Tiktok is somewhat new with a little under 20% of the global market (most of which are probably not old enough actually to buy anything), FB and IG stories are definitely worth taking time to do, if not daily, then at least every two days or so.
A somewhat new strategy in the rainbow of Digital Marketing tools. It takes the best concept of using celebrities to endorse your brand and twists it through today's madness of the internet. Unlike stars, influencers are far more cooperative, less prickly, and actively seek sponsors. They are often not even celebrities, but small-time entertainers on Youtube, Tiktok, Facebook, or most often - Instagram.
Using influencers to mix your brand into their content is a valuable social media marketing strategy, which can swiftly make your brand awareness go through the roof. Just avoid the urge to enlist the help of those guys and girls who depend not on their content but rather on their looks , and actually do the research to know what your customers are interested in and which influencer covers your niche. This will be far more effective than getting your product in front of tens of thousands of people, who are just there to look at gorgeous people. .A better strategy is to seek for like minded people, who are interested in topics related to your product.
Another strategy is to offer a piece of the action to the influencer as an incentive to promote your products more aggressively. Also known as affiliate marketing, you give a percentage of your winnings from anyone the influencer sends. It's a risk-free strategy, where you pay only when you get paid.
Finally, we come to what all those social media platforms were really made for - paid advertising. Every social media gathers a ton of information about its users. This makes investing money in platforms like Google AdSense and Facebook Ads a must for any brand. The best part is the niche targeting they offer, so much so that you can target specific people by interests, hobbies, or even online behavior. It's truly the best place to spend your money if you want to boost your brand awareness. The platforms even offer different types of ads, which compliment your goals and strategy. Used correctly paid ads are definitely not spending, but rather an investment with an excellent potential for a high ROI.
In today's digital world brand awareness was never so easy to make, but at the same time, the competition is genuinely tremendous. This makes professional digital marketing a must for any brand that wants to be noted and subsequently succeed in becoming a titan in their market niche. The best part is that you can still be a trendy dude and preach how Social Media and the digital world ruined how society used to be, but still use it to forward your goals and sell your stuff. Ain't this the dream?