Mastering the art of an online presence can be a challenging task. Churning out new ideas and finding ways to reach your audience can feel like a never-ending process. However, the following steps are essential for every small business to build a strong brand online.
In this blog, we discuss 10 proven strategies that will revolutionize your brand’s presence and increase your online traffic tenfold:
Identifying Your Target Market
Before we identify the target audience, it’s important to understand what a target market is. Essentially, it’s a group of people or customers whose specific needs are best suited for your products or services. Target audiences are usually categorized by their behaviour patterns, locations, and demographics.
Identifying your target audience and their personality profile can be done by:
- Compiling data from your existing customer base (age, interests, pain points)
- Conducting thorough market research for industry trends and demands
- Knowing your competitors well and who they are selling their products/services to
- Creating your ideal customer persona, to help gain clarity on the type of individuals your business wants to attract
- Knowing what type of audience you don’t want
- Using Google Analytics to gather insights on the traffic coming to your website, and what kind of content they are interacting with.
Your customers will change as you make changes in your products/services, so you will want to review your persona each year. When creating content, consider:
- Your online content should educate customers about what your business can help them with and why they need you
- Sharing interesting content with your persona, and ensuring it appeals to their needs
- Focusing on addressing your persona’s pain points, motivations and desires.
- Communicating your story with authenticity allows your customers to create a sense of connection between them and your brand.
Don’t know where to start? We at picnic offer marketing roadmap services, that help you create a target profile and customer journey map on how to reach your ideal market.
Building Your Business’ Brand
Once you have identified the audience that resonates the most with your brand, you now have to build that brand to attract them. People are attracted to personalities that reflect some of their likes and interests, so creating a personality for your brand can make a lot of difference.
Branding adds a lot of value to any company’s online presence. A report found that 86% of consumers/audiences are more inclined towards brands that have an authentic image and recognition.
You may be wondering what value does branding add to you and your small business? Some of the benefits would be:
- Recognition among your target market
- Trust and credibility from your consumers
- Ability to attract more loyal customers
- Increase in the business’s overall equity
How can you achieve these benefits?
- Create a mood board that draws inspiration for your business in terms of design and visual identities
- Brainstorm a logo design and colour palette that best suits you and your business
- Making sure your website becomes the “storefront” of your business and aligns well with your brand’s identity and products
- Over the years, continue testing varying designs of your website, social media posts, and packaging. As the world changes, so does your audience. You will find your brand must adapt to those changes as well.
Need to get started on your own brand? Connect with Picnic to seek consultation on how we can help elevate your brand to a whole new level!
Telling Your Brand’s Story
By evoking emotion in your identified target audience, you are using a story to build your brand’s identity. People love to know the story behind a brand or product, as it appeals to your customers’ emotions and creates a deeper connection. For instance, the burger chain, Wendy’s mascot, the red-haired girl on their logo, was drawn by the founder Dave Thomas’, replicating his daughter, Melinda “Wendy” Thomas. The iconic logo has been immortalized and is used to add to the homemade appeal Wendy’s seeks to portray.
To build your own brand’s story, begin by considering:
- How you started and why
- Your business’ values and principles
- Goals that your business wants to achieve through its products or services
- Where do you see your business in the next 1 to 5 years?
- What value does your business add to your customer’s day-to-day life?
All of the above can be achieved by creating and planning engaging content that will keep your audience invested and wanting more each week.
Mastering Your SEO Game
Once you’ve laid out the foundation of who your brand is and what it wants to do, it’s time to start thinking about positioning your brand’s visibility on search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), aims at expanding your company’s online reach through organic search results. The way in which SEO works is that it takes into account:
- A search engine’s function of crawling, indexing, and ranking (like Google)
- Researching your audience, keywords and competitors
- Creating and implementing new content that matches the keywords you want to rank high for
You are probably wondering what keywords are. These are terms that people enter in their search engines when looking for a particular product, service or information. SEO is an integral part of most brands and their websites. It allows your website, and the contents within it, to rank top on search engines, when particular keywords are utilized. Ensure your business ranks on the first page of search engines by having long tail keywords that have a high search volume. If there are local aspects of your brand, then include them to grow regionally.
SEO serves as a way for brands to uniquely place themselves online in comparison to their competitors, and determine potential keywords your target audience might look up. Tools like UberSuggest, Moz, and Semrush can help you achieve wider online visibility, suggest new keywords, and even generate content related to your brand. These SEO tools give you access to millions of keywords, track the ranking of keywords, competitor SEO analysis, creation of title tags, hashtags, and headers for your pages.
Owning a Well-Designed Website
While SEO provides your business with a structure for ranking on Google with high-demand content, your website is the first impression many of your potential customers will see when they click your business name online.
Websites are a very crucial part of your brand’s identity and serve as a hub of what your business sells. We recommend that you buy a website domain that is unique to you and with the help of website builders such as Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress.
Your first website should meet these criteria:
- Clean look
- Easy-to-navigate user interface
- Low loading time
- Interfaces for mobile and desktop settings
- Client testimonials and reviews
A well-designed website is important for small businesses as it helps to create a great first impression, better sales, and improved accessibility.
Keeping the above points in mind, you can view our website which highlights who we are as an agency, what services we offer, and how we plan on meeting customer expectations. Picnic Social’s website reflects the agency’s core personality, and values, and provides a smooth online journey to potential small business owners – like you – who are seeking digital marketing services.
Marketing On Social Media
To attract traffic to your website, social media plays a significant role in directing leads to your website. But first, it’s important to understand where your target market likes to socialize, as each social media channel varies in terms of what it can offer. For instance:
- LinkedIn is used for making professional connections, networking with people in your industry or other business owners. Use this platform if you are a professional service, or looking to recruit talent.
- Facebook offers many handy resources, such as Groups, Marketplace, Ads, and Blogging, opportunities to connect with customers (predominantly families). Family-oriented content works best for this social media channel.
- Instagram is popular among millennials and Gen Z. Businesses in industries such as beauty and wellness, fitness, and hospitality have achieved great levels of success and followership from Instagram. Instagram gives you the opportunity to create content that is visually attractive and highly engaging through stickers, video, audio, and editing tools. You can use Instacart, influencer content, and boosted or partnered content to create monetary opportunities.
- Pinterest is a visual platform focused on generating high-quality content. Their categories are great for SEO purposes. If you are going to use this platform, test out different pin formats (images and videos) to keep content interesting. While Pinterest predominantly attracts women, an upward trend of Gen Z men are starting to use the platform too.
- TikTok is a very visually stimulating tool where influencer engagements and creation of organic content has the potential to go viral. Audiences you can expect to find here would most likely be Gen Z’s. You can use TikTok to build engaging communities, receive feedback, and even provide direct customer service. Another feature you can use would be TikTok business, it gives you the ability to add information about your brand, access real-time metrics and even audience insights.
- Twitter can be used for content in real-time and can be read in a matter of seconds, but also consists of visual aspects to attract attention. This is a great social platform for businesses that are in media or require providing information at a fast pace. It also creates great community-building initiatives, such as hubs for public chats (maybe for a popular show, podcast, or event). The audience demographic you can expect here would be millennials, and individuals between the ages of 25 years to 45 years. Ready to take it on? You can grow your Twitter audience by responding to popular trends and sharing witty content.
- Pro-tip: avoid linking to posts, rather insert images/videos directly, and interact daily with your followers.
- YouTube allows you to create content that demonstrates how your products and services can be used in real-life situations. Used by almost every demographic because of its search engine capabilities, but predominantly a blend of Gen-Z and Millenials, this platform is perfect for how-to videos if you have a product to sell. To grow your fan base, try live video streaming to engage with consumers and promote your YouTube channel on other platforms. You can also collaborate with influencers to leverage their subscribers.
- Reddit has been growing in popularity recently, as a small business owner you can use several new features that Reddit has introduced. Subreddits allow business owners to discuss specific topics and create communities of a niche target audience. It’s a great place to find out what people are talking about, and that can provide content pegs for the future.
While it’s important to utilize multiple platforms to reach different communities, it’s also okay to limit the number of social media channels to your capacity & time restraints. Instead, begin by focusing on channels where your target audience spends the most amount of time. If maintaining multiple platforms is overwhelming to you, utilize social media management tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and Loomly to help schedule your posts in advance. This gives you additional time to monitor and manage your social media pages.
Starting A Google Business Profile
Google Business is a free business listing service where you can add photos and details about your products and services. Google Business requires a physical location to be added, hence small businesses that have a brick and mortar can use this profile to their advantage.
Manage your Google Business profile by consistently posting as this impacts your overall online presence and visibility. This provides you an opportunity to list your business at a better rank on Google searches. Also make use of Google Reviews by requesting happy customers to leave a review. Optimize your account by including photos and adding promos exclusive to Google Business users.
Building A Subscriber List
Staying in touch and keeping your customers updated about your business can be done with help of email and SMS marketing.
When we talk about subscriber lists, it usually refers to the list of emails or phone numbers that your business has gathered from existing or potential customers. These lists are usually created when customers voluntarily submit their contact information to receive content from your business. This can be done by offering incentives through your website or social media, such as a free webinar, event, download, or newsletter pop-up, to collect the user’s contact information.
Email marketing and SMS marketing
Email marketing is an effective way to interact with and advertise to your audience. Through monthly or biweekly newsletters, you can share ongoing updates about your brand, upcoming events, and promotions. Email newsletter analytics also allows you to gather crucial data about your customers that can help identify which content they find most engaging.
SMS marketing is essentially sending marketing related messages to customers who have subscribed to your contact list with their phone number. Short, infrequent personalized promotions are best suited for this tactic.
Platforms like CampaignMonitor, Bloomreach and Trumpia make email and SMS marketing easy to navigate. Features such as audience segmentation (personalization of emails), scheduling, keeping track of bouncebacks, opening rates, and CTR are essential to a successful email and SMS marketing campaign.
Investing in Online Advertising
Organic reach through social media and email marketing can bring considerable leads to your website, however, online advertising helps to broaden your brand to consumers that wouldn’t otherwise see your business. Tools like PPC and paid social can result in a significant increase in visibility, impressions and reach, helping to make better decisions for your marketing plan, budget, SEO and ROI.
PPC search ads
These online ads, usually by Google Ads, help to enhance your SEO strategies. By incorporating keywords into your ads, it allows your audience to view those ads whenever they type in those keywords.
Here’s how you can use Google Ads for SEO:
- Test your SEO strategies potential, the ad should be able to rank the page by fulfilling two of the three goals: customer acquisition, lead generation and brand awareness
- Google helps you gather campaign insights like bounce rates as it affects how well your content ranks
- The first thing people see is your page’s title and meta description, in a paid ad its important to test these to see how much traffic it drives in
These are paid advertisements that you can see on social media platforms. Their intent is to bring focus onto the audience’s likes and interests.
Facebook: Use the targeted ads that are offered here, there is a bidding system in place that will help you bid for a certain number of ads. A great resource, Facebook helps business owners by providing free consultations with tips on how to improve the success of your ad.
Instagram: To run ads here you need to set up a business account for your company, which also lets you set up an e-commerce store. Since Instagram is owned by Meta, all the ads running are done through Facebook. Ads Manager. You can add value into your ad campaign as per your need and timeline can be decided by you as well.
TikTok: Ads here run in a similar manner as Facebook, you can pay for video ads by entering the bidding model. You determine what you’d like to pay for and which goal would you like to optimize (likes, conversions, impressions)
Building A Strong Media Presence
Have you done numbers 1 -9? Then Public Relations is a great last step to promote your business after all the work you’ve done.
To get in the press, you must monitor ongoing trends and events and determine where your brand can contribute or get featured. One way your brand can receive organic coverage and build local connections is by sponsoring local events. If your brand is product-based, you can also send PR packages (personalized hampers that showcase your products and information about your brand) to key media publications or influencers. Pro Tip: A hand-written note is a nice touch!
Get Ready to Shine Online!
By following these 10 proven strategies, your business will create a strong online brand that will weather any storm coming its way. Begin with the basics, like researching your target audience and building your story, and the next steps will become easier, because you’ve already built a solid foundation that matters to you and your audience.
Are you ready to build your online presence? Let’s start!
If you need support in building a robust online presence, then picnic social strategies can help you. We’ll provide a visual profile of your industry, competitors, customers and market position, so you can build a solid online presence. Visit our services page to learn which package is best for you. Have more questions? Book a FREE consultation with us!