No matter the shape or size of your e-business, your success will depend on your ability to identify and engage your target audience effectively. As an entrepreneur, you have probably spent countless hours trawling through guides to online marketing and following all of the time-honoured mantras of SEO, SMO, and the rest.
However, while SEO is certainly important, it is not enough to launch a successful brand that is able to engage with the people you are trying to target. In 2021, digital branding and marketing are more competitive than ever before, with a sea-change occurring in how people consume online content that necessitates a different approach. With that in mind, read on to find out the digital branding strategies that actually have an impact in 2021.
1. Transparent Branding
One thing that is clear is that no matter the industry you are in, your customers are savvier and more value-focused than ever before. Research from Falcon.io has shown that brands that are seen to be purposeful and honest with their customers grew twice as fast as those brands that were not perceived in the same way. This means having a clear mission statement, making your values clear, and being transparent with your customers is essential for success.
2. Hybrid Campaigns
It is no longer enough to go it alone. One of the cornerstones of brand marketing in 2021 and beyond will be the use of hybrid campaigns involving collaboration with other brands. Recent examples where this has been successful are almost too numerous to count. Think the sellout Gucci x North Face campaign, or the Kith x BMW campaign from Christmas 2020, or the brand collaboration between the uber-chic perfume retailer Byredo and the furniture giant Ikea. The list goes on.
3. Authoritative Reviews
Customers now spend more time researching brands and trying to determine whether they offer value for money. This means having your company listed on an authoritative review site, rather than just having a good Google reviews score, is crucial. Let’s look at the example of online real-money gaming, one of the fastest-growing tech entertainment sectors in the world. Customers are more likely to consult an expert review site that is owned by impartial industry insiders such as Vegas Slots Online, which reveals the discounts, offers, game offerings, and user experience of all major casino brands. Having a good review on a relevant site such as this will do wonders for your brand.
4. Cross-Platform Micro-Influencing
The age of the mega-influencer has well and truly come to an end. Successful brands now realize that investing $100,000 in an Instagram post from a celebrity no longer pays off in the same way that it used to. It is clear that micro-influencers and nano-influencers (with less than 25K followers) have much higher engagement rates and a more loyal following than large-scale profiles. Successful user campaigns of the future will consist of cross-platform, hyper-targeted posts involving a series of micro-influencers, something that Amazon’s Audible service has done with great success in the past year.
5. Add That Chatbot
You will already have read countless articles about the importance of automating as much of your time-consuming marketing and branding processes as possible. However, you do not need to re-invent the wheel here. Rather, you just need to stick to the well-established tools that have a proven track record of success. Chief among these is the humble chatbot. Research has shown that as much as 90% of all online queries will be handled by chatbots by 2022. Invest in a smart chatbot that will answer the questions your target audience will have, and keep them engaged.
6. UGC Never Went Away
Finally, it bears emphasising the importance of user-generated content is here to stay. USG has been consistently proven to outperform brand content in terms of reach, engagement, and leads. This trend has been reinforced by emerging platforms such as Tik Tok, which is being leveraged by brands to great effect. If you can encourage a user-generated trend on an app such as Tik Tok, this will do much more for your brand than any ad campaign could ever do.
Business success depends on being able to stay ahead of the curve. By following these essential brand strategies, you will be able to rise above the competition and grow your business in the year ahead.