A lot of small businesses start off with scribbles on a notepad, or maybe even a brilliant idea written down on a napkin. That sort of analog charm often continues into the early days of the business, with a local store, print advertising, and a brand design firmly rooted in the tangible.
But often, for a small business to survive and thrive, it takes more than just an offline presence. Digital marketing is increasingly effective, even for small businesses that are largely focused on their immediate area.
After all, there are billions of internet users worldwide. And there are over three billion active social media users.
Reaching the people where they are is the smart way to build your business. But making the change to a digital brand involves more than just setting up your company website.
Digital Brand Strategies vs. Offline Brand Strategies
On the face of it, it may seem very simple. To make a digital transformation, all you have to do is put your information on the internet. Right?
Digital brand design requires a ground-up approach. It’s wise to take your existing brand into account. After all, you don’t want to completely jettison your current customer base.
So digitizing your brand may require keeping your offline brand strategy going while you also create and run your digital strategy at the same time.
Your offline brand strategy may include print ads, mailers, and appearances at community events.
Your digital strategy, though, requires some different aspects.
Features of a Digital Brand Transformation
There are any number of different branding and marketing opportunities, depending on your market and circumstances. But here are a few that will contribute to your digital brand design, regardless of what your small business is:
- Update your company logo and other visuals. This doesn’t mean that you need a complete re-design, per se. But making the switch to digital is a great opportunity to smooth out any rough edges and make sure your visuals are accessible, understandable, and on-message for your brand.
- Design an effective, useful, appealing company website. Pay attention to the overall user experience, and make sure that your site is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Create a blog and update it with regular content. Blogs are some of the best ways to get interest, link backs, mentions, and shares. Well-written, informative, helpful, and entertaining blog content also helps to build the reputation and personality of your brand.
- Construct brief videos to augment content. One of the two most popular activities for an internet user is watching videos. Video content is so effective and prevalent, it’s almost expected for any given site to include at least a few short videos.
- Set up company profiles on social media platforms. The other most popular activity online is to use social media. And statistics show that more and more people are turning to social media to find out about companies, brands, and products. Your social media accounts are one of the best opportunities to truly digitize your brand personality by letting you showcase different aspects of your company or product, and it’s a great way to start conversations with your customers.
- Gather customer leads through your website, and write marketing content, newsletters, and updates to send out via email. Email leads are the gift that keep on giving, because there are so many opportunities to offer information and invite engagement through your customer’s inbox. Generate content for upcoming sales or deals, announcements, employee profiles, and helpful tips.
Your Digital Brand Transformation
If you’re used to strictly offline marketing and branding, don’t worry. There are more tools available now than ever before to help with making the jump to digital.
Above all, it’s important to remember that your digital brand is still your offline brand. It has new features and can reach more people, but the overall personality of your brand can remain the same.
This can be especially important for small businesses in small communities, who often establish their reputation offline first before making the switch to digital.
Designing a digital brand can seem overwhelming at first glance. But with the proper attention to staying true to the brand you’ve already established, plus the help of available tools and design help, your digital brand design doesn’t have to be a chore.
Bill Watson is a digital strategist whose passion is to promote startups and small businesses via online media. He loves creative tattoo designs, dogs and lots of coffee. Connect with him here.