Tips For Marketing Your Brand Online
Our clients and partners often ask us for general marketing guidance online so we thought it would be helpful to share with everyone our thinking. Here are some of the strategies and tactics for managing marketing campaigns to get more online traffic, convert visitors, retarget your audience, measure what is working and interact strategies over time.
When embarking on a marketing campaign it is helpful to focus on 4 main areas:
1. Your Brand. Your brand is made up of your story, your symbols and your strategy. Having this consistent across all online and offline campaigns is important. Your brand has a clear voice but one that keeps things fresh and interesting.
2. Your Audiences. This is key to targeting your possible online customers and growing your audience.
3. Your Campaigns. We will build an online store for you and manage it. You own the website. This includes building the template, adding all products, tracking all sales and customer accounts and shipping all items.
4. Building On What Works. Measurement and Iteration. Conversion to Conversation. This is key to targeting your possible online customers and growing your audience.
The story of the brand isn’t just how you position and present your value to customers, it’s also how those customers are expected to be elevated by supporting your brand. How do they move from the discovery of the brand and its products or services, become a customer and through that achieve some unrealized aspiration? The story is about the customer in the end and how, through interaction with your brand, they solved a problem or had a need met or feel better than before the customer experience.
Your Name. The unique name of your brand is important overall for standing out but also for helping with the position and tone of the brand.
Your Brand Position. The position of the brand is focused on differentiation and how you wish customers to relate to what you offer them. The more emotional the connection the more effective the marketing and easier the sell to support and share the brand.
The Brand Promise. Each brand is judged by how well it follows through on the promise it makes to the customer. Packages always on time? Better make sure you follow through. Your promise is core to the brand’s value.
Your Brand’s Personality. This is your tone of voice, your look, and feel, the music in the space, how you speak to then the customer and how you talk about your product/service.
Your Audience. You can’t be everything for everyone, so focusing on your core audience helps to not only manage your marketing but also your brand’s offerings. Knowing your audience better stems from knowing your competition, who you already service and imagining their personas. Imagined profiles of the ideal customers you can target.
The Storyboard. With the customer as the hero of the story, the storyboard for your brand takes a persona of an audience member and walks them from who they were to who they have become because of your customer experience.
NAMES & HANDLES
The unique name of your brand is important overall for standing out but also for helping with the position and tone of the brand.
In regards to online marketing it is important we own the .COM and any other domains linked to the brand name. We will also want to claim ownership of all social media accounts that are available using the brand name.
If all web domains and social handles are already taken the name might not be unique enough. If the name is not able to be changed we find the closest version we can claim.
Once you have reserved all domains and social accounts, we recommend reserving Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, you should save the logins to all accounts in Password software like 1Password.com. Protect the accounts from loss of a password or losing a password to hackers.
From your brand name and it’s popular taglines you can create #hashtags you can use often to own mind-share on social media. Uses of hashtags for all social media posts that are popular in your industry or region is also helpful for content discovery by users on those platforms.
BRAND POSITION & VOICE
The brand will need a unique position in the market. This can be local like a restaurant or national like a retail brand. The position of the brand is focused on differentiation and how you wish customers to relate to what you offer them. The more emotional the connection the more effective the marketing and easier the sell to support and share the brand.
What the customer needs and how they want to feel determines how they make a decision to support a brand and its products or services. It is the core of the “Why” they support your brand. There is a portion of the market you focus upon and make a promise of the experience they will have.
In regards to marketing, when you deliver and present content in the form of ads, offers or events, the tone of voice is always consistent and with your audience in mind.
IMAGERY & TEMPLATES
Your brand should have guidelines for uses of typography and color. Working from those guidelines you will begin to create templates for your ads for campaigns. We recommend if you don’t use Adobe software like Photoshop or Illustrator for graphics to use online tools like Canva.com. You can create templates for your ads using your own photos or stock imagery. The goal is to create a look and feel that is on brand and consistent.
Photos: Ads are a visual medium, luckily cameras are now easier to use via mobile phones with better lenses and software. We recommend creating a stock library of your own images for easy access for all your ads online and e-letters.
Type: While some fonts are web-safe most are not. If you choose to create a very specific type in your ads and headlines in ads or e-letters we recommend creating a library of these for later use. Fonts for the brand can also be shared with your team.
Organization: If you are using a tool like Canva.com you can store all your ad artwork there. If you are using other programs we recommend organizing and sharing with your team using tools like Dropbox or Google Drive.
You want to segment your marketing campaigns into planning, building, running, measuring success and then iterating future campaigns from what was learned. Before putting anything into play as a marketing campaign you should know what the expectations are for how success is measured. Here are a few ways to measure campaign success:
ROAS: The simplest way to judge a campaign’s success is money in, money out. “Return on Ad Spend” can be calculated easily via online tools like Facebook and Google. By tracking the below “returns” on the campaign cost you can judge the success of a campaign.
Impressions: The most basic metric to track for a campaign are impressions. These can be times an ad or content is viewed over time. You might also track the frequency in which an ad or content is viewed on average by each audience member. Most customers don’t act on a campaign until they have seen in multiple times.
Engagement: When an audience member chooses to not just look at your content, tracked as a view, but interact with the content. Types of engagement are comments and likes.
Amplification: One step beyond Engagement is the amplifying of your content by your audience to their audience. This can be measured by how many users share your content via reposting, retweeting or mentioning other users.
Audience Growth: Campaigns can lead to audience growth or that can be the intention of the campaign. New followers/fans can be tracked over the course of a campaign. Some campaigns also target new customers “Leads.”
Conversions: If an ad or promoted content has a link to purchase an item, the campaign software can track, using a tracking pixel, if the ad is leading to conversions. A conversion is a customer making it to checkout and purchase.
BUILD & LAUNCH
There are many tools that can be used in Shopify for creating ads for a campaign. We recommend using either the Marketing channel built into Shopify as it can link to your Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads accounts. You can also use tools like Shoelace, Hunch or KitCRM for retargeting customers as well.
Audience Segments: When you set up your campaign and targeting a new audience you want to use the tools built into platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google to direct your ads to that specific group. There are many ways to target an audience including some of the most common: Gender, Age, Location, Interests, Education, Marital Status, Buying Patterns.
Keywords: If you are using a service like Google you will target your ads to your audience’s search behavior. Using keywords and phrases you can choose to pay-per-click or PPC for those who choose to visit your ad’s destination.
Artwork/Content: Unless banner ads, most systems like Facebook and Instagram have constraints on the artwork that can be used for the ads. It is best to focus on great product images, descriptions and catching headlines for your ads. Some of the copy can emphasize discounts, free shipping or perks to grab attention.
Budget: When setting a campaign budget it is best to start small and then measure the ROAS (return on ad spend). You can pay for impressions of a certain ad over time, ex. $50 over 10 days at $5 per day. You can also pay for clicks on the ad itself over time and set a daily cap on ad spend once those clicks have been met.
Retargeting: Tools like Shoelace, Hunch, Criteo and KitCRM can be used to retarget those who have visited your site over time. Most retargeting campaigns will space out over time the the ads to your site visitors and customers.
MEASURE & ITERATE
While a campaign is active or in the end, you can use the dashboard view of the platform you are using to measure if it was successful. Usually a ROAS of 4x is considered optimal. For every dollar spent on an ad, you received 4 dollars in value either through a tracked transaction or your own valuation. If a campaign has done well it is helpful to examine why. It could be the artwork, the headline, the offering, the audience you targeted or a combination of all components. If the campaign does not do well you can make small changes to the components of the ad campaign and try it again. Possibly change the offer or target a different audience.
TOOLS & TACTICS
There are many applications and marketing tactics that can be tested to see if it helps with gaining more traction with audience attention, engagement, conversions and keeping customers. Here are a few to try:
Loyalty Programs: We recommend using a tool like Smile.io to offer your customers an area to create an account and earn perks for referring friends to your site or from previous purchases. You can establish the perks you offer and it tracks everything automatically. Another option is to create a physical tool for offering repeat business. The most widely used is the punch card but that is not tracked digitally. Another approach is using a coin or token that any holder can use for a perk. Items like this should be given to VIP customers.
Upselling / Cross Selling: There are applications that can be built into your Shopify site that promote products to site visitors based on the products they are actively looking at or items they have added to their cart. Bundling is also an option making it easy for a customer who looks to buy one item gets a discount if they choose to also buy another. Another option is the volume discounts. This is when you offer a discount based on how many items or how much they might spend.
Retargeting: There are a few different applications that can be built into Shopify to retarget those who bought from you before but have not recently, those who never converted and abandoned their cart. These campaigns can be set up and run automatically. After you track the ROAS you can make adjustments to the offer, imagery and the products you promote.
Talk To Your Customers: One of the best ways to stand out is to go beyond your competitors. Thank You Emails can be sent automatically to first and second-time customers. You can collect valuable post-purchase feedback on how they found out about your brand and how they like the items they have purchased.
E-letter Updates: A well-branded Eletter theme and regular publishing schedule are a great and fairly on the expensive way to keep everyone up to date.
Subscribe Incentives: Collecting email addresses to your email list is crucial to the growth of your audience and one of the easiest ways to keep everyone up to date. You can use a pop-up with an incentive to subscribe and get a discount to build the list. When folks subscribe to send them an automatic thank you email with code on their next purchase.
Subscriber Segmentation: There are ways to link Shopify to popular e-letter platforms and segment your subscribers by potential shopping intent, discount usage or bargain buyers, by city and state and their activity on your list. You can focus content in your e-letters to these segments so it is more contextual.
Shopping Instagram: Probably the most visual of the social media channels out there, Instagram is great for tagging products that link directly to Shopify for purchase. You can do this in Stories and the Feed.
User-Generated Content: You can set up and use hashtags you create yourself and try to own as part of your marketing. Look to find your customers/audience re-posting your content or sharing items from your brand on their profiles. Message them through the platform and ask to repost the content with credit. Always reward engagement with your audience. Send perks for sharing.
Contests/Giveaways: One of the easiest ways to gain new followers/fans and build your audience online is through giveaways. This can as simple as a product or product bundle and asking those who wish to “enter to win” the items to follow you and tag friends in the post. You can also host more collect contests where you collect items from partners and collect emails and leads through a quick to fill out the form. Pick one winner but reward everyone who signs up with a perk for taking part.
Community Collaborations: In tandem with contests is one of the easiest, most fun and a sure-fire way to expand your brand's reach, working with other brands. By brands, we don’t just mean companies but also non-profits, community groups or influencers who are each a brand of their own. Look for partners whose audiences have some overlap with yours and build off each other’s circle of influence.
Pre-Sales: Not sure if an item will sell or don’t wish to sit on unsold inventory? Try a pre-sale using a simple countdown clock and window to sell, print and ship an item. Great for creating a sense of FOMO and to help test new ideas.
Testimonials / Reviews: As you communicate with customers be sure to collect the feedback, good or bad, that you receive and distill from it lessons on what can be done better and what is working well. Helpful for staff morale as well to “share the love” when positive feedback is shared. Online reviews can be a slippery slope as it opens you to criticism you can’t reply to or manage but review do create a social trust for your brand, products, and services. Someone shares with the world how great you are? Send them something.
Tell Your Story: If your audience has taken the time to follow you via E-letter or social platform, chances are they don’t mind if you share what is new or what is in the works. Give them a look under the hood at operations. Share insight into the company and team. Post this content to social, to your blog and E-letter.
Private Club or Lists: You have your general email list and social accounts, but possibly offer a more VIP list for anyone to join or ask to join or offer as a perk through long term support. Share insider info about the brand and releases it there. Garner feedback. Collect ideas.
Chat Apps: There are many tools on the market to offer live or future support for customers via chat. Facebook Messenger is easy to install on Facebook and has a large community of users. Other chat tools are native to the application and can offer not only live support but also access to frequently asked questions. Some chat tools are bots you can program to walk a user through if/then statements and give them advice or send them to the right department after a few simple questions.
Community Discounts: Military, teachers or supporters of community non-profits, whatever your audience supports, chances are you should support them too. Offer a discount to someone who is an important member of the community or someone who volunteers or supports community organizations. Make it clear these perks exist and you support the local community.
Find The Right Influencers: It is now an industry with mixed results, but if you find the right person to work with and share your content or collaborate on a project you can gain a wider audience piggybacking on their followers.
Own Your Hashtags: When setting up the brand it is helpful to think about the words you can or should try to own. These can be common search terms for your site already or totally original #hashtags you make up. Use them consistently and at times ask your followers to do the same.
Have a Voice: You need to find your own authentic space where you can share content with a clearly defined audience. If you choose to be funny or serious or sentimental, make sure you say it with your own brand voice.