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Strategy for leveraging the digital space in 8 easy to follow steps.
Our 8-step Digital Leverage System strategy explains how we will help you leverage your digital appearance. You can also use it as a guidance if you’d like to do it yourself.
Our proven methods will help you establish a strong brand in a digital world, which is crucial nowadays. The BRAN’DIG system will also help you improve your current marketing efforts by setting a strong position of your business within the industry you operate in.
It all starts from developing your customer profiles. There are 2 personas that should be considered–your current client and ideal client. Define who are they to understand their needs.
Let’s be honest developing a customer profile might be a difficult process sometimes, but we have to understand that it is one of the most important elements for our business success. The successful companies understand that their offer has to be a proven value for their customers. No-one will buy whatever you sell if it won’t be valuable.
How otherwise we would like to generate sales when we don’t know who our clients are? If we don’t know what our clients are looking for? What they struggle with? What goals and needs they have?
Defining target audience is a good starting point, but it won’t bring us deeper understanding of who we serve with our products or services. We need to get closer to our customers. How? By defining 2 customer profiles: a Current Customer and an Ideal Customer.
Read this article to learn about the customer profile creation process.
It is a much deeper process than just knowing where do they live or work. The more we know about each customer (aka profile here) the easier it will be for us to understand what they think and how to attract them to our offer.
The easiest way to understand why do we need so many details is following:
Try to think about hanging out with your friends. You watch a sport game. It would be harder to figure out what beverage or snack they’d like to get, if we won’t know them deeply. As we know, in details, each member of our family, we know how will they behave in certain situations. We know what they like and don’t like. We know which trends they follow. What do they do in a free time. It is easier for us to pick a gift for their birthday or Christmas.
Get a free copy of our Customer Profile Template and uncover your business pain points. Understand your customers and prepare your product, service, branding or marketing strategy to meet their expectations.
The worksheet includes:
Customer Profile Template (.pdf file)
Customer Profile Example (.pdf file)
Easy to print
Easy to fill in (using Adobe Acrobat Reader)
You shouldn’t move forward to creating any part of your brand identity or visual language without deeper understanding of your own business, it’s culture and core attributes.
When working on your brand identity and digital appearance it is crucial to be sure you understand your business properly. It might sound awkward we know. „It’s obvious I understand my own business” you might think. But are you really? (No offence).
A brainstorm within your company stakeholders or team members might bring extraordinary results and reveal things about your business you never thought about before. Try to conduct an 45-60 minutes exercise which goal will be putting as many adjectives as possible split to below listed categories.
After doing so, try to spend 2-3 minutes to choose 5 top crucial ones and another 1 minute do decide about the Top 1. This will allow you to understand what makes your company special and bring focus to further work on it’s visual aspects and growth strategy.
Try to find proper adjectives answering above listed questions. It is the easiest way to describe your brand.
Creating a visual representation of your business which should identify it not describe is pretty difficult. A lot of thoughts happen in our and later our customers and prospects subconscious part of the mind. That’s why it is important to focus on collecting adjectives describing our brand Look & Feel.
What would you like your customers to see in your brand? How would you like them to feel about it?
The same applies to the Voice & Tone your company communicates with the audience. You can compare it to the voice and tone people use during conversation. Is it calming? Welcoming? Maybe you feel that someone is very confident about what they say?
Your brand should be treated as a person. Describe it deeply to understand how should it be represented.
Download our Ultimate Brand Strategy Worksheet and be sure you won’t miss a thing while determining the shape of your brand. Be ready to build quality and attract your audience to join your tribe and experience something extraordinary. Grow your business from within!
The worksheet includes:
18 pages of core data regarding brand strategy
step by step guide with questions to answer to be sure you’re on the right trajectory
print ready and Adobe Reader Editable .pdf file
Creating functional brand identity and visual language to help people understand what your company stands for and represent is a hard nut to crack. But with a proper strategy set and ready, it should be much easier to do.
Your trademark is the most prominent part of your identity, which identifies and differentiates your business upon another. It should not explain your professional activity but rather represent it.
A good logo is „different”. A good logo reflects your core attributes. A good logo helps you position your brand as a unique, not another of a kind.
When it comes to creating functional identity, put away your personal preferences when it comes to how will it look like. Focus on your customers. Focus on their needs. What are they looking for? Strong partner? Luxury goods vendor? Cheap solution for their problems?
The trademark isn’t the only asset of your brand identity. At the beginning of your business existence, it is the most prominent element allowing people to recognise it, that’s true. Although the longer you exist, the more active you are, people will start recognising your brand by colors, icons or typography you use.
Start from the colors. Look around, check the brands around you, what color the Starbucks uses? Chase bank? Color choice is a very important step. You can learn about it here ().
The message you spread is crucial, but the way it looks and feels also matters. Imagine reading serious quote written using fancy typeface. Something feels odd, isn’t it?
Don’t hesitate to check the results we brought to our clients, either to see what we can do for you, or if you’re looking for an inspiration.
Remember that whatever you create, it is much better to have something to identify your business rather than nothing. You might always improve it or change in the future. Don’t be afraid of trying! If it won’t work, gets too much time to complete or you feel overwhelmed by the load of work that has to be done, get in touch with us!
If you cannot afford working with a designer or branding agency at this stage of your business, create a solid word mark as a main element of your identity.
Copying a stock image to create your logo symbol, or using free online software might result in finding something similar in the closest future. Customers might put you into the same bucket with other companies. We don’t want that!
If you’re just another company in the industry, you might only compete with others with lowering your prices, offering huge discounts or bringing extraordinary product quality. Still, the last wouldn’t attract more customers as they need to test your product or service first, to know it’s value.
Follow big fishes, create a word mark. Many big companies use word marks as main element of their brand identity. Why? Cause they know, that they don’t have to explain a thing about what they do. They know that it’s all about expression.
You can do it yourself if you have enough knowledge and design taste. Think about different fonts and their characteristics. Serif fonts are more classic and bring more vintage, heritage and history vibes, while sans serif fonts are more modern, highlight simplicity, straightforward approach and so on.
Popular brands word marks. All signs presented on those images are used for the wordmark examples presentation purposes only and the copyrights belongs to each of the represented company. (The image source: https://www.jessicajonesdesign.com/types-of-logos)
Now it’s time to implement all that has been created as a representation of your business into applications you use. Digital business cards, e-mail signature, banners and social media posts.
Despite business cards and letterheads being one of the most „standard” business assets, it is important nowadays to keep your digital ones also up to date. In the era where most of the business happens online, remember to implement your new/or refreshed brand identity into an email signature as well as put all necessary documents on a company paper.
All contracts, invoices or other documentation you sent via email should have your brand identity elements included. Header and footer of your documents should have your logo and contact details. Remember to hyperlink your website and email address for easy accessibility.
Canva is an awesome free online tool if you cannot afford a professional graphic software. It allows you to create any type of social media images in variety of sizes. It might be also useful to create different print ready files such as business documents, posters, even business cards. Canva includes many free templates for easy customisation as well as some stock icons and pictures. If that’s not enough you might also purchase other templates or images within the tool.
You can check it here.
In the digital world your website has a role of your virtual office. It is a place where you explain your offer. It is a place where you answer the most frequent questions and present your products or services. Almost like in a brick and mortar office.
There are tons of different ways of building a website, as well as there are multiple tools for doing so. We in Brandman Design Co. use both WordPress and Webflow for website development. Although there are many free tools for this purpose. No matter which one you choose there are steps you have to take to be sure your website will be functional and will work on your behalf, not against it.
The crucial steps that has to be taken to be sure the UX (user experience) on our website is pleasant are:
1. Creating a content plan—a list of content that will be placed on the website such as: product/services list and details, testimonials, information about your company and team members and so on.
2. Building site architecture—either on paper or using software. You shall list all pages that are important for end user to build a website menu and link structure.
3. Website wireframes—a raw sketch (either on paper or software) of all sections for each page. It is important to do so before designing the final website layout as it prevents us from doing unnecessary work when something goes wrong or we focus too much on aesthetic details forgetting about the users. Wireframes are usually blocks of dull copy and image placeholders allowing us to see how the whole UI (User interface) will look like and do initial interface tests.
4. Website design and development—the last steps initiating the final look of the site and turning the layout into the code to place on the domain.
We highly suggest creating a CMS website, which means the site including easy content management system. Why is that? Simply because, like in the real office, you don’t do it once and keep it forever.
Every single website, no matter how good, has to be adjusted to your customers needs during time. It also need to have the most updated product/services offer.
I bet you don’t want to call the developer every time your business wants to add or subtract something.
Content management systems allow you to update your website anytime you want, without a need of changing the design or code manually.
That’s why Webflow is so popular right now. That’s why most of the businesses choose it or WordPress as their website environment.
There is no right or wrong tool. All you have to to is try either one and decide. Follow our recommendation or use other available.
NOTE: We are an affiliate partner with Webflow, so we would appreciate using our partnership link if you’re willing to use this tool. Still, we use it not because of this, but because it is a really great and easy to use tool.
You can check an example of website created with it here. (There are only 2 pages, home and projects).
First of all you don’t need to know a thing about coding. Yes, no knowledge necessary, it is still good to know how it works, but you don’t need to spend a minute learning CSS or HTML coding to create a descant website.
The whole Webflow environment is very intuitive and easy to learn. It uses modern Drag&Drop system having all necessary editing tools on the side bars. What we love about Webflow the most is that after publishing your website you might use „Editor” to change the copy, images or other parts of your website without destroying the created site layout. Soo easy, soo quick. After developing and using CMS collections for your products, services, projects or whatever you use you can simply add a new elements using previously created form and by filling specified details and a new pages will be created automatically as well as your collection carousels or tables updated on all subpages.
The Webflow team created tons of tutorials and teaching videos to let you understand the software and use whole environment capabilities quick. You can check it here, before you jump to your site creation or in the meantime working on it. All of the videos are very clear and funny in the same time so the learning process is very pleasant.
After preparing your virtual office, don’t forget about connecting it to your CRM*, adding necessary forms allowing users to contact you easily and providing you with data (such as names, phone numbers and/or emails) that could be use in further marketing strategies and advertising.
We recommend using HubSpot or Mailchimp for this purpose. Both tools have free and paid versions, so choose the one that suits your business. Free tools aren’t too limited and are enough for the beginning and even longer usage if you’re running a small business.
You can use them to create forms and embed those on your site as well as for preparing and sending marketing email campaigns like blasts, single emails, newsletters etc.
Hubspot has a huge functionality and allows you to personalise both emails and even your website experience (the second one in paid version). Enough selling! Wait a minute, forgot to mention, there are tons of great videos about how to use HubSpot and integrate it with your website as well as they have created a free courses to allow others to learn marketing, completely for free.
*Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.
No matter which one you choose, your Social Media profiles should look very similar. We’re not saying „the same” on purpose here. Each platform is different, each plaftorm has different audiences. You have to adjust, although still use your brand strategy and identity to allow viewers to identify your business.
No matter which platform you choose as your „base” you should adapt it to your needs and use your identity no matter what. What we mean by that? Even though you (as a person) might use different profile picture on different platforms—more official on LinkedIn, more fun on Facebook; your company has to be identified by the same assets. Use your trademark/logo as a profile picture. It will shorten the way of understanding who’s profile people are looking at. Create a banner to use as a cover/background image—and here you might have some fun. It should be based on the foundation set in your brand strategy, but be customised to each of the social media platforms.
One of the ideas might be using:
– LinkedIn to talk business, provide value based on sharing your company expertise with others,
– Facebook to provide your audience with most crucial news from the industry,
– Twitter to provide quick and easy customer service and answer the most frequent questions.
That’s just an idea. Think about it when crafting your Social Media Marketing strategy.
LinkedIn is the top online site for professional, social and career networking. The site functions as an online directory of individual professionals and organizations, and facilitates the process of professional networking without having to leave your office.
As of 2020, LinkedIn had more 660 million members in more than 200 countries, including executives from all of the Fortune 500 companies.
While individuals use LinkedIn for professional networking, connecting, and job searching, companies use it for recruiting and for sharing company information with prospective employees.
Why Use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn offers useful resources for job seekers, providing information, acting as a billboard to highlight your unique value proposition, and making your information public for recruiters who may be looking for what you have to offer.
But that’s not it. It also allows you to share your expertise positioning you as a thought leader as well as connect with other professionals within your industry and reach both your target audience and influencers from every single industry. LinkedIn also have an Advertising tools incorporated and even though those are pretty expensive, comparing to other available (like Facebook or AdWords) the targeting is very accurate so the results from your campaigns could also be.
According to techcrunch, if you haven’t been paying attention to TikTok, you haven’t been paying attention at all. The short-form video app had its biggest month ever (January 2019) with the addition of 75 million new users in December — a 275 percent increase from the 20 million it added in December 2017, according a recent report from Sensor Tower. Imagine what is happening there now in 2020.
It is 100% worth trying, even though many say it is a platform for young audience or kids. There is no other social media platform allowing you to reach such a huge audience without big followers count.
Yes, the Facebook’s golden era is far behind us, still even though the engagement there drops down drastically, many of us check it daily. A lot of people check if a company has a Facebook page just before they search it on Google.
For many Facebook is a main index of company existence. If your business doesn’t at least have an account there, many might think it doesn’t exist at all. Pretty controversial, still true.
Additionaly to be able to use and leverage Facebook Advertising tool you need to have a business account registered there. Facebook Ads are still pretty underpriced if we compare them to LinkedIn and Google AdWords.
Depending on the industry you operate in you might consider other platforms too. For designers, architects, construction companies and other industries using projects that could be showcased visually we recommend Behance—a great „portfolio” site with thousands of daily views.
If you run a restaurant, brewery, sell food or beverage products Instagram might be a choice for you as this platform is focused mostly on images and videos. The stories functionality is a very interesting way of gathering audiences around your brand.
Posting on social media without a plan makes almost no sense. The clutter you generate won’t bring you trusted followers and won’t showcase you as a leader in the industry. You should also spend 80% of your time on the LinkedIn and 20% testing other platforms.
In business, it is all about building trust. People do business with you because they know you, like you and trust you. There is no other way to get into their hearts. You have to impress them and bring them value. And how do we know that? Cause every human being acts this way without thinking about this. Social Media and modern Marketing follow the same rules. Do not strictly focus on what products or services you are offering via social media. That sounds „salesy” and will definitely push your audience away, as we all know sales people aren’t treated with a big doses of trust. Focusing too much on what you offer has zero value for someone to connect with you.
An 80/20 strategy could be used for variety of situations. Both in email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, advertising and other parts of your business activity. What is this about? It’s about putting 80% of your effort on one thing and additional 20% to the rest. Those numbers appear very often and apply too many different disciplines.
It has been said and confirmed by many successful entrepreneurs that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your actions. The same applies to using Social Media platforms. You can expect much better results spending 80% of your time using your main platform (we recommend LinkedIn) and 20% on testing and using other ones. It is obvious that we shouldn’t focus on 1 only. The more people see us the better it is for our brand awareness building process. But spending to much time on platforms we don’t know how to use or don’t understand yet is worthless. So…
The 80% of your social media activity should revolve around INSPIRING and ENTERTAINING your followers. Use your main Social Media of choice for building customer trust through entertainment, inspiration, and learning practices. Brands tend to do best with their social media marketing when they focus on creating valuable content. Content focused on helping others not on the company offer.
Let people see the human side of you, your company and the team you work with. People hate to be sold to, but they love to buy. People hate being treated with automation but love to connect with other people. That’s why they also love to talk about the matters they care about rather than about what you want to.
Focusing our efforts on one platform doesn’t mean we are limiting our marketing efforts or missing opportunities. It’s all about being good at one thing and building community around our brand mainly in one place. When we’re everywhere, most of the times we are truly nowhere.
Focus 80% of your daily scheduled Social Media time on LinkedIn. Build trust and authority within other business owners, or individual clients (if that’s your targeted audience). Only when you have focus, you can reach real results, build huge followings and show people that you actually care. It doesn’t mean you should not create profiles on other Social Media, or delete your accounts if you have. It means learning everything about LinkedIn and while being active there, you should still learn how to behave on other channels and test different types of activities there.
If you feel LiknedIn isn’t really your place, either because your audience isn’t to active there, or you are much better at creating different type of content (maybe more entertaining, maybe you leverage images or videos only) then pick other channel. But still, focus 80% of your time and efforts on this one!
NOTE: If you run a bigger organisation and you have a marketing team, you can split the efforts on different platforms allocating each person or small team to specific media.
As everything in life, same applies in business—you cannot do something once and expect endless results. Setting KPI’s, tracking them and adjusting your marketing efforts is the way to succeed.
A KPI or Key Performance Indicator is a measurement that evaluates the performance of a business activity. It measures the success of a company at reaching its operational and strategic goals on different performance aspects. Read more about KPI’s
There are many typical KPI’s, but it fully depends on you at which ones you’d like to focus. Both because of the industry you work in as well as the stage your business is at.
You would want to focus on different KPI’s at the Awareness Building stage, different at Sales Elevating stage, and no matter how long your business operates and what goals you have you should focus on different indicators. It’s obvious that the ultimate goal is to drive more revenue to the business, but we have to understand first where are we at this road. You shouldn’t focus to much on Conversion Rates or CTR (Click Through Rate) of your emails when not many knows about your business and just received a first email from you. The same applies to tracking Cost per Acquisition right after launching a business, give yourself some space and focus on building an awareness first.
Tracking KPI manually might take a huge amounts of time. Why not to leverage some smart tools? There are plenty, for every type of KPI, but there are a few we recommend using:
HubSpot—using it as your CRM and marketing/sales tool allows you also to track many different KPI’s. We check our email marketing performance as well as data about the forms on our website.
DataBox—amazing tool to create dashboards with different KPI’s. It has built-in creator so you can easily pick the core KPI and set them together on a single dashboard, or create a few. Setting goals is also easy in DataBox. A good thing about it is, that you can set a notifications to check if you’ll hit your monthly/quarterly goals and receive those to your smartphone.
Social Media Tools—we have tested a few and it is very hard to choose „the best one”. We liked SproutSocial, Zoho Social and Hootsuite. The free versions are time limited, so before you decide, try all of them to be sure you pick the one that suits your needs.
The KPI’s could be split by Function, Industry or Social Media platform. There are different types of KPI’s and some matters for us more some less. It all depends on our organisation. At the first stage we recommend choosing a few 5-8, saving those numbers and tracking the performance within monthly/quarterly periods. Why? Cause how otherwise will we know if our marketing efforts bring results or not. There’s always place for adjustments and improvements, it is a key to know what and when to change.
A few examples:
Check our capabilities and pricing and let’s talk about how we can help your company leverage digital space.
Now that you have read what steps you have to take to leverage digital space, start with the execution. Do it one step at a time to prevent work overload.
It’s true that it takes a huge amount of effort and time, that’s why we are here whenever you need.
Contact us to get help! But please remember, no matter at which part you are now, to be sure we provide you with a quality service and won’t miss a thing, we would have to start from the beginning. From things which you cannot start moving forward without, so step 1,2 and 3. We truly believe that branding is the key and you should have a solid base to build on.