When you have a small business, you are most likely not expecting to be able to reach several markets or to be able to advertise to people a hundred miles away.
Well, that has changed with the advent of the digital revolution. Now, a brand is not restricted to just one place as digital brands keep popping up.
The digital brand, or digital branding, is a process or technique that allows companies and organizations to put all their branding material online, including customer points of interaction. It is not only cost effective, but also empowering for small businesses as they leverage the power of a large potential market while also being able to be on top of trends.
Now, the digital brand and digital branding are synonymous with marketing and advertisement efforts for large organizations and small businesses alike. Both Multinational Businesses (MNBs) and Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) are now pushing towards a digital brand that is all done online to be able to capitalize on all things that the Internet of Things has bought about.
Creating a Digital Brand for Your Small Business
Being a small business owner is not just difficult, it can also be quite stressful in the long-term, particularly because the odds are not exactly in your favor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, pens that almost half of the businesses that get started do not survive their first five years. That means in about five years, 50% of all businesses shut down or get bankrupt by the end.
That is why cutting costs and maximizing business opportunities is so crucial for any business to not just survive, but succeed, and that is where a digital brand comes in.
Adapting to the New Age
A digital brand is still something that is quite new, even though digital branding has become synonymous with regular branding. Nowadays, almost any company needs to have a digital, online presence to be deemed as a real company, or else customers might regard it as shady or not worth it. One of the key reasons that almost half of the small businesses tend to fail is that they don’t realize the importance of the now, the market trends that are dominating the space, and the necessity of integrating them into their own business model.
A digital brand makes the process of doing so much easier, because everything is in a platform that is designed to be almost infinitely tweakable and changeable on the fly and does not have any—or has very limited—physical presence.
A vast majority of people visit online channels to find out about a store, company, or brand well before they visit the brick-and-mortar store locations that they have. This is a very large market considering that with an online presence and a digital brand, your small business could gain almost 75% of the consumers it will miss out on without an online presence.
What Constitutes as a Digital Brand?
A digital brand includes:
- A website.
- Brand message or messages.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Social media presence and posts.
- Online advertising.
- Content creation and marketing.
- Influencer marketing.
- Affiliate marketing.
- Customer interaction points.
Almost any online interaction a potential customer could have is able to be part of the online digital brand.
The Importance of a Digital Brand Today
We are all familiar with the brand messages that we have been following from large companies.
- Nike: Just do it!
- Subway: Eat Fresh!
- Apple: Think Different
The same has to apply to the digital brand online. Digital branding is used to maintain a competitive edge and ensure that your business or brand is on everyone’s feed, mind, and online profiles.
The importance of an online presence can be better summed up by what customers do if you don’t have an online, digital brand. Customers cannot find a way to connect to your brand through official channels.
- Customers expect that if a brand does not exist online, it does not exist, period.
- Customers lost trust of a brand that has an outdated online state.
- Customers lost trust if a brand is not responsive to comments or queries online.
A digital brand allows for addressing all these concerns, and can be especially useful for small businesses, who have a competitive edge in providing a better customer service. Notice how none of these are product-centric, and are all based on customer experience, and small business have shown to provide better customer experience overall.
Creating a Digital Brand
To get started with creating a digital brand, you need to follow these steps.
1: Identify Your Customer Persona
You need to first identify the type of customers that will be interacting with your brand. Ask questions such as:
- Who are your customers in terms of demographics?
- Who are your customers in terms of psychographics?
- What are your customer’s needs?
- What needs are you fulfilling?
- Where are your customers?
- How will your customers engage with your brand online?
- How will your customers engage with your brand if not online?
- How will your customers purchase your product or service?
- What are the purchasing habits of your customers?
- What is the ideal time of purchase based on both customers and products/services offered?
From the start to the end, you must map your customer’s journey and create a persona based on their activity with regards to your digital brand.
2: Website and Logo Design
Of course, these are some basic aspects of any brand, but they need to now be considered for online use. Think of how your website will look, and how your logo will look online.
Choose logo colors based on your business, brand image and personality, the audience, and the online sector your digital brand will operate in. Note: certain colors change their representation in different sectors, such as green is nature in lifestyle, sickness in healthcare, and sustainability in environment-related business practices or products.
Your website will also need to be made in accordance with your business. Make it simple, easy to navigate, and add some brand flair to it.
3: Don’t Forget SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), keyword ranking, and content is a large part of what makes your business be the first to appear. Your business is now more accessible, but it also means it has gained more competition and potential for others to one up your brand. Keep your digital brand up by staying up to date with SEO best-practices.
4: Social Media is Your Best Communication Method
Social media is simply too important to ignore. A lot of people get most of their information from social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Whether we like it or not, people use more social media than they will look at the news or at ads, and that is where your business must be most active.
It also gives the advent of adding value to customers. Customers have their own interests and analytics available. Do some research on what your customer base likes and be proactive with your products and marketing campaigns. A digital brand can change in a short while, so take advantage of that fact.
5: Online Ads and Influencer Marketing Is Your Digital Brand’s Bread and Butter
People notice ads. Most of the time, it is not the ad itself that prompts a customer to buy your product, but by who is promoting it in the first place.
Almost all brands, whether they are digital brands or less so, now make use of influencer marketing and online ads for a majority of their customer base. Not only that, it is an opportunity to influence a large audience while also benefiting the affiliate influencer through sponsorship deals.
There are plenty of influencers that prefer being unique and focus on lesser-known digital brands, which is extremely beneficial for a small business like yours! Influencers these days are getting a lot of popularity. In fact, brands are paying them to share reviews about the products with their followers. That’s more important, and due to this factor, a lot of people have stepped into the influencer marketing domain to earn more just by sitting at home.
Conclusion | Building Your Digital Brand For Small Businesses
Creating a digital brand and taking part in digital branding is not just recommended for small businesses, it is most likely a necessity where it is extremely essential that they partake in everything they can to be known online. Almost every business today, whether it is a small one or a multi-billion-dollar business, needs to run ads and market themselves online, so it is important to join the race now.
Digital brands also have different expectations from their audience. Trust and consistency is very much favored, unsurprisingly, and most customers often go the route of better service for a higher price than for a lesser service and a cheaper price.
Nevertheless, here we have given you the necessary info to get your own digital brand underway, so good luck for your future small business! Own your ideas, and build a team of potential brand strategists who’re confident with what they’re selling, and know very well how to conquer the digital abyss with unique offerings. Any questions? Feel free to share in the comments section.