When communicating your brand through multiple channels, take time to understand each medium and your audience’s habits in that information channel. This includes what they look for and how they respond to marketing messages. Use each channel appropriately and as part of a cohesive overall strategy.
Consistency and Contrast
Strengthen your brand with a strong, clear, recognizable voice and presence that communicates consistent messages. Mass media – whether print, digital, broadcast – can lay the foundation, introducing your brand to a broad audience. Use each channel to help you get closer to your consumers, interact with them and build relationships and long-term loyalty. Understand the various supporting roles that each channel can play in an integrated marketing strategy, and use the unique benefits of each marketing medium to their best advantage.
Traditional (offline) Media
Print advertising still yields results. You can advertise in mass markets for the broadest reach and augment that with targeted ads in more specialized publications. Understand the readership demographics and how closely they match your target audience. Look for cross-promotional opportunities. For example, promote your website and your social media presence wherever possible to drive traffic to them for deeper engagement with your company.
Send messages directly to consumers via mail, catalogs and telephone, if appropriate. This more targeted direct approach can supplement general advertising and strengthen your branding. Use it to focus on particular demographics or to segment your market based on consumer buying habits. You can also use direct marketing to address your best customers and prospects and to build long-term customer loyalty. Direct marketing can be a great cross-promotional tool. For example, suggest that customers visit a particular site or landing page. This can allow you to measure the effectiveness of a particular campaign or strategy through the audience response rate.
Digital Media: Your Company Website
Your website is critically important, with a variety of purposes. Use it to cross-sell and upsell, and to inform customers and prospects of your company’s history, community involvement, and your corporate mission, values and core products and markets.
Your website can be a landing page where you lure customers from offline advertising and promotions. They can earn discounts and rewards to use on future purchases. You can promote a brand community to build further loyalty and a close connection with your customers. Update your website regularly with fresh, relevant content and people will keep returning.
You can build customer loyalty further by providing responsive customer service and by offering assistance after customers make purchases. Provide valued information that addresses areas of customer interest and that educates the public while building your brand through branded content.
Gather information on customers. Who are they? Where do they live? What do they look for in the brand? What do they seek from the website? Learn about customers through brief online surveys. Then use that information to tailor your website and provide relevant product information to address their information needs and preferences.
Use performance metrics to help you determine what you can do to make your website more effective and to test different messages and promotions to determine what really works.
Websites like Facebook and Twitter allow prospects and customers to “Follow” you and “Like” you. And they enable you to listen in on conversations about your company and your products and to address them directly or through product redesign or repositioning. Explore each social media site to understand its tone and the benefits to participants and to your business from engaging with them. Offer rewards for customers who follow or “Like” your company through social media. And look for ways to reward customer loyalty.
You can also create a social media component of your own website by building a brand community. This is a powerful tool that many businesses do not execute very well. For best results, embrace this as a business strategy, more than just a marketing tool. Focus on your members’ needs rather than your company’s needs. Encourage a dialogue about topical issues or things about which your customers are passionate. For example, Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign rallied “real women” together to fight beauty ideals imposed by the fashion industry. Sales soared as customers identified with “real women with real curves” rather than fashion models, and appreciated a company that encouraged them to feel more confident about their bodies.
The global trend is mobility. Smartphones, laptops and tablets have left desktop devices in the dust in terms of sales growth. And online users are accessing websites more and more while on the go. What does this mean for online marketing? Responsive web design. This allows all content to be available to all users easily and universally, whether they’re sitting at their office desk, on a commuter train, in a coffee shop, or anywhere.
Responsive design keeps things simple, easy and seamless for users of any device. And it can strengthen your brand while maintaining an ongoing connection with your audience, as they keep returning to your site at any time from any place. Of course, you still need to give them a reason to keep coming back.