Branding Your Online Experience
How-to advice from a website marketer to help infuse your brand into your digital platforms.
At 5 by 5 Design we believe it’s possible to change the world by posing the right questions, listening to the honest answers, and following the path that emerges from the dialogue. Today’s discussion highlights the importance of connecting your brand to your online marketing efforts.
Joelle Dodson is a project manager with Mighty in the Midwest and a creative director of Lavender Sage Photography. Her background in project management, marketing, and psychology informs her mindful approach to working with individuals and her team. She has a passion for understanding the nuances of communication and entrepreneurship and loves to apply what she learns for small business success. We’ve asked Joelle five questions about branding the online experience for customers. Here’s what she had to share.
1. What do you think are the key elements of a good online experience for customers?
In today’s day and age, it’s important to have engaging information in your online space and show your personality to create a complete experience for customers. Specifically, showing your face(s), having a strong brand identity infused, and educating your audience along the way, will help lead your customers to the action you want them to take.
2. How does the online experience help or hinder a brand?
Having an online experience is a requirement to do business, especially after all that happened in 2020! It’s important to have a good online experience via website and other platforms with a clear brand identity and story. If you don’t have any online presence or your presence seems scattered and without a strong brand identity, it creates a poor first impression and reduces trust in your product or service.
3. What is your process for helping organizations think through and plan for a purposeful and successful website?
This is a great question! With new clients, I ask a few important questions before diving into any content creation or writing.
- What is your marketing strategy and/or goals? (Beyond just a desired sales figure.)
- What actions are you looking for people to take when they interact with you online? Contact page submissions? Visiting your physical location?
- Do you have a strong understanding of the problem your business can solve for your potential clients?
If an organization can’t answer these questions confidently, I let them know we need to do that first, before we can really get into the creation of their website. Without answers to these questions, you can’t build a website, identify its purpose, or measure its effectiveness.
4. Are there any new trends that can support a brand experience online?
The trends I encourage leaning into are video and being transparent. We have such short attention spans these days, especially in the online space. Video is the most likely type of content to hold someone’s attention. Using video wisely across your online platforms can be a game-changer. Transparency and personality help people discover the who and why behind the organization they are engaging with. Showing your face and talking about yourself in a way that builds rapport is important. Most people expect to be sold nowadays, but they don’t like it to feel salesy. You want to build what’s called a “like, know, trust” experience for your customer, and the best way to do that is to show who you are and talk about why you do want you’re doing!
5. Are there any best practices, tools, or techniques companies should consider when trying to create a positive online experience?
I always recommend getting feedback and often! Ask others to go through your online experience and tell you what they enjoyed and what they didn’t like. Sending follow-up communication to recent customers asking for feedback is helpful, too.
You can also use third-party software that collects impressions in the form of a quick quiz from people who are hired to click through websites and give feedback. Another tool, like Hotjar, can give you insight into where your customers are clicking on your site and where you might be losing them. Tools like Hotjar don’t capture audience emotions as they engage with your site; so, pairing it with user feedback is optimal.
Grammarly is another tool I recommend. Using Grammarly, helps you see errors right away and helps with things like clarity and tone.
And don’t forgot to avoid common mistakes when creating your online experience. The biggest miss I see is not having a goal for your website. You can have great photos, clever words, and the latest tools and technique, but without a defined purpose or goal driving the content on your site, it’s not going to help your business grow. Once your goal is defined, continually evaluate your site and make sure it’s keeping up with the current technology that your users expect!