The decisions you make about branding are some of the most important you will make when laying the foundation for your expertise, offerings, services and programs. This cheat sheet will help you identify how to structure your brand for your customers and provide a complete list of factors to consider when sharing your brand with the world.
Leads are the lifeblood of every brand — even if you aren’t selling services or products, leads are essential to building a brand that opens doors and converts for your short – and long – term goals.
Creating loyal leads – or customers – who share the brand with their tribe is a strategic process.
Over 80% of customers will research a brand online before making a purchase — if you’re not showing up in a consistent fashion while they’re researching, you could lose a sale. And even if you do capture their attention, the moment you stray could mean you’ve lost them forever.
How Do You Build a Loyal Base
You must consider brand voice, tone and aesthetic as well as customer interaction cadence (ex: how many times you connect with the brand digitally and in traditional media) before building a base.
Define Your Client Personas
When you’re just starting out, it is easier to figure out who you want to attract. You have a fresh slate to get started and that allows you to really dive into all the “ideal” personas without any digital baggage.
But what if you’re looking to rebrand? Or shift the conversation away from a base that has gone sour for one reason or another? Or simply trying to re-engage an audience that has become stagnant?
Many times, when brands create their digital brands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms, they target the wrong audience in order to get cheaper click through or conversion rates. This is definitely something that will hurt you in the long run.
To turn the tide, consider which client will convert — either by themselves or by bringing a tribe of committed buyers to your digital shores. That way, you’ll know the money, time and creative energy you’re investing in this brand building will convert to dollars and cents at some point in the future.
One of the most effective strategies for my clients – brands, entrepreneurs and influencers alike — is to think about the 5 W’s and an H when it comes to who their audience is, what the audience is looking for, when they want to engage with the brand, where they’ll connect, why they are seeking you out in the first place and how you’ll get them to do what YOU want, which could be anything from buying your product or service, to signing up for a newsletter for CRM sequence engagement, to liking your brand pages for brand awareness, and so much more.
Is Your Brand a Person or a Collective?
Every person is a brand but not every brand is a person. Every single person in your company has a role to play in building a loyal customer base — in their 1:1 interactions, their digital representation of themselves as stewards of your company and in the way they connect with customers in all phases of the sales process. But the way your brand as a whole speaks to your customer base can either be as an individual or representation of your collective ideals.
There is no one size fits all here — look at companies like Amazon, Delta and United. They are often lambasted for the actions of one, single employee and then their customer service team (a variety of individuals who often sign their initials at the end of the tweets or messages) must troubleshoot. This is a great way to deal with the authenticity angle while still maintaining a collective brand voice.
Building a Customer Base that Continues to Convert
The true measure of success for any brand is how often, quickly, efficiently your ideal client base converts. When I use the word conversion, I not only refer to a sale, I also mean conversion to newsletter lists, followers and engaged users. These elements will contribute to your success in online and traditional media formats as your brand grows.
In order to convert customers you must:
- Create a consistent look and feel across all brand profiles — colors, fonts, images, graphics: Every time your client comes across your brand, no matter what environment they’re in, the brand should feel the same at a quick (3 seconds!) glance.
- Engage without annoying your customer — sending an email every hour of every day can be a challenge and annoying for customers. It is best to create a series of tests in a 6-8-week flight period to determine what days yield the highest open rates for YOUR audience segments and how you can then use those dates in your marketing calendar
- Manage an editorial calendar — planning is key to maintaining a loyal customer base. Take a note from the publishers, if you’re not 3 months ahead, you’re a year behind. Consider when you’ll share sales, what emails will accompany them, what paid media objectives will follow and how SEO content will fit into your overall strategy.
- Free information is necessary, but don’t give it all away: making sure that you’re engaging your audience with something for their efforts is an essential part of the process, but if you give away all of the secrets in one quick burst, there won’t be anything for them to come back to.
- Consistent Content Converts: build your editorial calendar around themes so that your audience becomes trained to understand when and why they should engage with you on a given day, week or month. Allow them to understand your marketing initiatives without getting too technical — you’re not completely lifting the curtain and showing them the back office, you’re simply helping them remember that you’re someone they should follow on a regular basis for the engagement they’ve come to know and love.
The One Thing You Need to Know
If you read nothing else, this line is the most important — consistency converts. The ultimate branding cheat sheet is truly one simple fact with many parts. Every time your audience engages with you, they must be able to identify your brand as yours and become engaged in the same way, every single time.
Creativity is key to avoid fatigue, but making sure that they know what they’re getting, why they’re connecting with you and how often you’ll engage? That is what creates a loyal customer base that continues to come back to you for days, months and years.