A brand is a pulse of a company and customers interact with it every day across print, media, online and social platforms. The ever growing mobile industry is changing the way customers interact with and purchase their favorite brand’s products. In this post I will provide three important suggestions to build your online brand.
Let’s start with a look at a June 2014 Inc. article about Lolly Wolly Doodle (LWD), a children’s clothing company. In 2010, CEO Brandi Temple tested new children’s wear designs on the LWD Facebook page and gauged fans response. If the sample tested well they would manufacture the clothing designs to meet those orders and ship to their customers. In the brand’s early days, the CEO interacted with her customers via Facebook and responded to customer wishes for colors and style variations. She grew the company slowly and her audience helped by also posting images of their children in the cute outfits from LWD. It all grew word of mouth by moms posting on Facebook. Now the company has over $10 million in sales and 946,462 likes on their Facebook page. Lolly Wolly Doodle has no brick and mortar store or online presence other than the Facebook page and the website.
This is a good story for the first suggestion:
1. Make sure you have a social presence. Expand your brand conversation online via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social platforms to connect your brand with your audience and listen and learn from their feedback. This takes time. Post some test messages targeted at one or more of your audience groups, learn from the response and adjust your posts. Also, use industry data to your advantage. For instance, we know that over 93% of the millennial generation have purchased a product after hearing about it from a family member or friend. And over 41% then talk about it online. So listen carefully to what is being said online – you want to have a conversation and be a resource for your customers. And make it easy for customers to do business with you by offering free shipping. Currently, 47% of online transactions use free-shipping to keep those customers coming back. 1
2. Participate in the mobile conversation. Studies show having a strong social relationship with your customers online is important but it’s also important that you keep in mind that your target audience may be viewing their social and internet pages via a mobile device rather than their desktop. According to a speech given by Mary Meeker of KPCB at the recent Internet Trends 2014 Code Conference, 19% of internet page views in North America (global web usage is at 25%) are initiated by a mobile device. It is also predicted that 50% of all online sales will come from social and mobile by 2015.2
3. Build a website that is mobile friendly. Now that you have engaged with your customers online and understood that each day, more users will be looking at your site via a tablet or Smartphone your company should have a mobile or responsive website. If a website is difficult to navigate, those viewers will go elsewhere. That adds up to lost opportunity and lost revenue. A good user experience – via any device – is key to expanding your brand, retaining users on your website and ultimately, converting those users into customers.
20% of mobile users are viewing with a screen resolution as small as 320 x 480 pixels. A responsive or mobile web site is needed for these smaller screen sizes and allows the user to have a better experience when navigating with their finger instead of their mouse.
Be social – Present your brand as contemporary and current. Study your social pages and respond to your customers online. If they are reaching out with questions or comments, build on that relationship.
Be mobile – Make adjustments to increase user interaction and keep them coming back to your site as a resource.
Be responsive -Analyze how users interact with your website. Review analytics to determine what types of devices are used to access your site and the pages they visit. If your audience is on-the-go and needs information quickly then it makes sense to make the move to a responsive or mobile site.
By staying on top of trends and listening to your customer your bottom line will respond.
1. Adweek, August 11, 2014 issue
2. Inc. June 2014 issue