Monday, May 12, 2014

Online Brand Managers: 3 Keys to Growing Your Brand Online

For online brand managers, attracting and maintaining consumer attention through effective digital strategy is crucial. As a Northwestern University student studying integrated marketing communications, my research online has lead me to two articles that directly address some of these strategies.

One article, "Online Marketing Tips That Won't Break The Bank," by Helen Scheuerer, details a variety of online marketing tactics that can improve visitor experience and increase engagement significantly and are accessible to anyone trying to grow their brand online, from small startups with no budget to large corporations. Scheuerer's first recommendation is to optimize your client's shopping experience to make purchases as quick and easy as possible through thoughtful design and a carefully planned navigation structure.  The article also stresses the importance of keeping contact information up to date and easy to find, so that site visitors can get what they need in a satisfactory and timely manner. Scheuerer further suggests adding a funky error message to add some character and relatability to  your site, and using as many keywords as possible to enhance search  engine optimization.




Another article, “Beyond Web Analytics: 5 Types of Online Data You Should Be Tracking,” by Joanna Lord, highlights the importance of tracking the behavior of your website’s visitors in order to gain insights about your site’s functionality and your visitors’ interactions with your brand. First, the article suggests tracking funnel analytics, which analyze how a visitor got to your site, as well as engagement analytics, which display visitor behavior within your site. For additional visitor data, Lord suggests customer analytics, which aggregate customer feedback, and lifecycle analytics, which consolidate data on customer interaction with a website or brand. Finally, the article suggests using marketing analytics, which measure data from across multiple marketing channels, allowing a manager to compare the effectiveness of various tools and platforms.

Based on these two articles and my own experience, I’ve come up with three keys to building your brand online

1. Spend Time on Analytics: While data can be tricky, and compiling analytics can take time, tracking important web analytics is crucial for a successful website. Drawing insights from analytics data will show you how your consumer is behaving on your website, what is working well, and what needs to be changed.

2. Put Yourself in Your Consumers’ Shoes: Pretend you’re the consumer. How easy is it to navigate your site? How many clicks does it take to get to a final purchase or service? It’s easy to get caught up in your own vision for your website and forget about what’s best for user experience.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative: Consumers appreciate a personal touch here and there. Entertain them! Throw in a quirky error message or a clever wording. It will give your brand personality and make your consumer feel connected with your brand.

With these three components, your brand can go beyond that first step from just "having a website" to fostering a platform for engagement and nurturing loyal consumers online.



Kim Eyers studies integrated marketing communications and journalism at Northwestern University. She has worked in the marketing services department at Morningstar, Inc. for over a year. Kim is particularly interested in online marketing and branding.

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