Digital branding allows a business to establish its presence in the digital space through image, content and interactions that appeal to its target market. With digital marketing becoming increasingly sophisticated, it helps to use a combination of strategies to stand out. We curated a list of expert digital branding tips to help business owners create unique digital branding strategies in the digital world.
Here are 28 of the most effective digital branding tips from the pros.
1. Emphasize One Significant Trait That Makes Your Business Memorable
Ben Sibley, Founder, Compete Themes
If you want your brand to stand out, you need a hook that is both significant and meaningful to your target audience. If possible, try sticking to one very specific difference that sets you apart from the competition. This will make your brand more memorable.
With your primary differentiation in place, you can reinforce this idea with design. Designs assets like your logo and color palette can help drive your message home and create staying power in the mind of the consumer.
2. Identify Your Core Values and Work Toward Them
Shrad Rao, CEO, Wagepoint
If you want to optimize and create an engaging digital brand, being real and staying consistent are your highest priorities. You’ve got to identify your core values and then organize your business around them. For Wagepoint, we call ourselves, “small business payroll backed by the world’s friendliest team,” which means we want every interaction with us to feel like you’re interacting with a friend. That’s how we hire and train everyone from customer service to finance to our execs.
3. Focus on Creating Content That Adds Value
Valerie Turgeon, Content Marketing Manager, Brandpoint
Gone are the days of posting a large number of blog posts to increase your “content footprint.” Now, more marketers are focusing their time on creating fewer posts with more details and visuals that provides a greater use to their audience. If you can provide one place for your audience to learn about a topic related to your business, they will perceive your brand as an expert and will stay on the page longer and possibly continue to browse your site. These positive actions are a signal to Google that people find your content valuable.
4. Develop a Winning Personality for Your Company
Ben M Roberts, Head of Marketing, Talkative
To create an engaging digital brand, your company has to have personality. You have to make sure that your content, literature and website speak to your customers but not at them. You have to empower your employees to write in a way that isn’t stuffy and provides value. That’s how you want your brand to be known and remembered. If you can do that consistently across all your mediums, you will create a digital brand that will keep customers coming back for more.
5. Promote Your Content Through Social Media
Jitendra Vaswani, Affiliate Marketer & Founder, BloggersIdeas
Platforms like Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads are invaluable tools for content promotion. Both allow you to reach a large, highly targeted audience of people likely to respond positively to your brand. Using Facebook Ads, you can target people who like similar products and companies to your own, helping you reach a highly responsive audience. Search retargeting enables your brand to reach those who are already seeking out a certain product or service. This can be achieved in a couple of different ways. Marketers may target interest-based keywords to connect with their target via relevant interests or trait-based keywords to emphasize the unique traits of their brand.
6. Always Test Everything
Micheal Brennan, Marketing Manager, Design Wizard
In my personal opinion, design is the be-all and end-all. If you want someone to remember your brand, then you should start with an amazing design for your website, clean design, soft colors, beautiful user experience and all of the trimmings. I absolutely love Stripe’s homepage, and it’s a perfect example of great digital branding. But, then, as an internet marketer, I often see people driving paid traffic to brutal-looking Clickfunnels landing pages where they’ve put a headline, an autoplay video and a call-to-action button. The pages often look primitive and are very simple, but trust me when I tell you that Clickfunnels landing pages can convert.
What I’m trying to say is this: when trying to build a brand online, test everything. If you’re a plumber, all your customer cares about is if you can fix their leak, so maybe a Clickfunnels-type page with a simple headline and a video of you showing how you fix leaks will convert better than a beautifully designed page with plumbing graphics and everything else included. But, test them both — see what wins out.
7. Promote a Strong Commitment to Your Brand’s Persona
Jeff Weisbein, Founder & CEO, BestTechie
It’s critical that your brand has a consistent personality behind it that your audience and customers can recognize and like engaging with. To establish a brand persona, you need to look inward at your company and the team and work to understand how you want to present your brand: how people should feel when interacting with it, how it looks, how it sounds, what quirks (if any) does it have and so on. Once you have identified the brand persona, everyone at the company who manages external communications needs to follow it, so it’s best to set up a branding document that explains everything your brand is and isn’t.
A good brand can make or break a company, so take your time when developing its personality.
8. Strike the Right Balance Between Content and Visuals
Rafayel Begoyan, Digital Marketing Specialist, Renderforest
Nowadays, creating a digital brand identity is essential for any business or professional. In my opinion, the most important factor of a digital brand is the style that I believe consists of two key points: the content and the visuals. While creating great content is the primary concern, using the right visuals to deliver it is what creates a unique style. This may sound very subjective, but I think that currently, videos are the most effective visuals. Combined with different promotion techniques, they will help you or your business to get noticed.
9. Understand Your Market
Dr. Fabricio Pamplona, Co-founder, Mind the Graph
We created our product starting from deep behavioral research with potential users. As the founder, I understood that an infographic maker would be something very useful for authors in life science and health. Our main effort was to understand how people use Mind the Graph truly and then to be empathic in all and every interaction. We “stepped on the client shoes” to create an infographic maker that naturally fit their needs — simple as that.
10. Tell a Story in Your Customer Emails
Jeff Moriarty, Digital Marketing Manager, Best Price Nutrition
Our company decided to take a different approach to all of its email signups, promotions and follow-ups. From the moment you place your order to the shipping confirmation to the follow-up emails, it doesn’t use the normal subject lines and tries to include a funny story about what is happening at the office. Each email is unique and not the norm. Customers have loved these story-based emails so much that we get at least two or three comments to our customer service team each day about them. The branding as gone so far that many of the reviews that customers do on our products are more funny-unique to match our sense of humor in the communication we have with them.
For example, instead of an abandoned cart email with the normal subject line, we use “Did Your Boss Catch You Shopping for Supplements?” as a way to get their attention. Then, of course, a unique story within the email about us saving their cart for them. Never thought we would get such a positive response.
11. Start with a Mood Board on Pinterest
Celeste Perez, Creative Director, Well Fed
Whether you’re a five-star hotel or a small coffee shop, building a great digital brand starts with a mood board. Because the most popular media outlets and social media platforms are primarily visual, we always start by asking ourselves the question, “How do we want to look?” With your brand values in mind, gather any photos, videos, textures, fabrics and quotes and put them together on a mood board. A great mood board helps us curate the media we’d like to feature on our own brand accounts and also inspires the design of our spaces and products. Building boards on Pinterest is a great place to start, and Invision also does a great job of organizing media from different sources.
12. Make Sure Your Content is Protected Legally
Chelsie Spencer, Attorney, Ritter Spencer PLLC
The most important tool for creating recognizable digital content is to protect it through federal copyright and trademark registration. In this digital age, the market is very saturated and, unfortunately, competing businesses often steal content and present it as their own. Your business will not stand out if you cannot prevent this and, to do so, it is important to register the copyright for digital content like photographs and videos. At this time, copyright registration is a prerequisite for instituting a lawsuit and for obtaining statutory damages.
As for your brand name, it is of tantamount importance to register your brand name as a federal trademark. This helps consumers to distinguish your brand from others in the marketplace as your brand accumulates goodwill and provides certain benefits, such as nationwide priority and constructive notice of your right to that mark.
13. Choose an Effective Brand Name
Devon Thomas Treadwell, Founder & Creative Director, Pollywog
Remember that your brand name is more important than your domain name, so avoid naming your business with a nonsense word to get the matching dot-com. Instead, come up with a great brand name using natural words that connect to the benefits of what you offer or to what differentiates you from your competitors. If you can’t get the matching dot-com name, that’s OK. Use a keyword after your brand name like acmewidgets.com instead of acme.com. Your customers will still be able to find you, and your brand name will be easier to remember and travel better by word of mouth and social media.
Later, when your business is hugely successful, you can purchase the matching dot-com domain name because then you’ll be able to afford it.
14. Entertain Your Target Customers
Chris White, Co-Founder and CEO, Shinesty
For Shinesty, the key to building a memorable digital brand is not necessarily our products, although they are awesome, it’s our mission to entertain first and sell second. In a landscape where anything can be bought on the internet, we wanted to set ourselves apart with an authentic and memorable brand personality. Our customers are typically in their 20s and 30s, and they’re very savvy users of the internet. They’ve been sold to online since their childhood.
These users want to receive real value online that they can enjoy and share with their friends. So, the lens we hold up to all of our digital marketing efforts is “Does this entertain our target customers even if they never buy our product?” To ensure our digital content entertains:
- We use top top-notch merchandising, photography, videography and copywriters
- We engage in social media conversation daily with loyal customers and trolls to find out what they think of our content
- We poke fun at our business objective, which is, of course, to get our customers to purchase our products
15. Establish Relationships to Build Credibility
Cassie Gonzalez, Community and Brand Manager, OnePitch
One tip for creating an engaging brand is to establish credibility within a space. Small businesses can do this by building relationships with publications and incorporating earned media placements into their overall digital strategy. According to a recent article by Inc., when viewers watch their favorite reporter interview someone or read an interesting article about them in a respected publication, that someone’s credibility rises through association with such favored media outlets. You can also use a tool like OnePitch that democratizes this PR process and makes it easy for tech-specific brands to connect with their most ideal media contact.
16. Don’t Be Afraid to Start with a Little Ambiguity
Zack West, Director of Marketing, Novomotus
One thing I’ve found time and time again to be common among the most successful branding campaigns is ambiguity. Names like Zillow, Pepsi, Nike and even Audi could be selling anything with their names. Having an ambiguous starting point in one’s branding allows for more granular targeting down the road. If Nike were a new company, not having already burned themselves into the minds of consumers as an athletic gear brand, they could have pivoted easily into fitness equipment-or even chemical processing for that matter. I’ve never regretted starting a campaign with enough ambiguity for it to pivot in response to market conditions but have been burned several times when starting out too specific.
17. Develop a Branding Guide
Juan Pablo Madrid, Design Director, Online Optimism
From a design perspective, I would advise having a branding guide that considers digital needs. You might already have a branding guide that was either created a long time ago or valued print over digital, or you might be starting from scratch. But, you need to have a branding guide that contains the following:
- Logo files in appropriate web formats
- Color scheme that considers wider color gamuts, difference in color management across browsers and accessibility needs
- Fonts that are legible on the web
These design decisions will not only voice your brand in the digital world but also influence how people interact with your brand. Additionally, it’s important this is all made accessible to your team members so that in designing all your company materials, you keep your branding consistent. Everything from your company proposals to social media posts should reference your branding guide.
18. Regularly Test Your Digital Communication Channels
Nela Dunato, Author, “The Human Centered Brand”
Businesses today use different digital channels and tools to connect with their audience and keep adding new ones over time, so we sometimes lose track of all of them. What this means is that often we’re not aware of what our customers and clients see when they sign up for a new account, subscribe to a newsletter, buy an old product or book their consultation call.
I recommend that you schedule a regular yearly review of all your digital communication channels and test them as if you were a new customer. While you’re going through that process, note any design glitches, default text snippets that don’t reflect your brand voice and anything else that may be making a poor first impression. Update all of these digital touch points so that they’re consistent with your brand. Look for opportunities for customization and placing Easter eggs that will delight your audience and show there’s a real human being behind those web pages and emails.
19. Develop a Visual Content Series
Joe Goldstein, Lead SEO & Operations Manager, Contractor Calls
One of the best ways to build your digital brand also doubles as great content marketing. Just develop a list of 100-plus tips or facts about your industry, product or target market that and turn them into digital cards that reflect your brand’s visual identity, just like Water Use It Wisely’s 100+ Ways to Conserve Water or TrailBlazer SEO’s Cannabis Facts. Use a tool like Buffer to schedule them on all of your social media channels and embed them throughout your content.
Soon, your audience should start sharing them and embedding them in their content, which helps spread your brand by extension. In time, this tactic can help position your brand as an authority with minimal proactive outreach. This approach works best when your audience will want to share your content for their own reasons, which could range from personal branding to a political agenda.
20. Create a Community and Engage Regularly
Rosa Camero, CEO and Founder, Rossscammm Films & Marketing
My one tip for an engaging digital brand is to create community since the beginning. This means to have an email list and Facebook groups where people can interact with you. People need to know that is human beings behind the brand. The content plus the community make the brand complete, and this is the formula to get an amazing audience because they will interact with you, your content and, in the end, they will talk about you. This is the goal of any brand. How do you make people talk about your brand? Engagement, you need to talk to them and be bold, be honest, you have to be out there and share content with them, nobody is going to do it better than you.
As I always say when I meet someone new, “It doesn’t matter if you are not part of the industry I work for as long you remember me next time you meet a person who I can be of help to.”
21. Include Influencer Marketing in Your Campaign
Arya Bina, Founder and CEO, Kobe Digital Marketing Agency
There’s no time like now to execute a new digital marketing campaign, and this would include the use of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is the hottest form of digital marketing right now. It has the potential to build a strong bond between the consumer and business almost immediately. Instead of nurturing prospects along the sales funnel, influencers can create an instant relationship between you and them that makes them want to opt-in or buy right now. This saves time and money — at least in the long run. So, just how valuable is influencer marketing? Approximately 81 percent of United States consumers are more trustworthy of high-authority blogs than any other form of digital media.
One can even have influencers to mention your brand for free by giving freebies, getting their attention through mentions or discount codes exclusive to the influencer.
22. Stay True to Your Brand
Jake Mastrandrea, Head of Marketing, Checkbook
If there is one meta-concept that needs to be interwoven into your branding initiatives, it is authenticity; Whether for personal branding or your business. If you’re going to separate yourself from the crowd, it starts by literally separating yourself from the crowd. Social and digital, in general, are noisy. Distance yourself through a well-rounded content strategy. One of the most difficult components is, in fact, creating a content strategy that serves the audience you intend to capture and simultaneously helps to personify you for that intended audience. It’s a balance. First, start by thinking about the people who you want to listen to the stories and messages you broadcast. Second, through your voice, tell stories and share messages that align with the type of interests and values that resonates with your following.
Branding requires a high level of self-actualization. It’s important to know yourself and your company. Want people to engage? Choose a channel you can produce the most organic/ natural content on and start there. Once you begin to build an engaged following, cross-pollinate with your other socials to increase your digital footprint.
23. Make Use of Inexpensive Social Media Tools to Engage Your Audience
Christopher Cedars DC, Chiropractor and Owner, Life Chiropractic
It’s cheap to engage digitally. Create a Facebook Live video every Friday unscripted explaining a common mistake you see people making relating to what you do. Take a screenshot of the Facebook Live on your computer. Create a page on your website dedicated as a sales page for this one event and place Facebook Live photo at the top. Promote your offer on this page showing social engagement from your Facebook Live photo. Take a screenshot of this new web page you made and use an app called PicPlayPost to show your screenshot on one side and create a short 30-second video talking about that one mistake from your Facebook Live, then upload on the other side within PicPlayPost as a split-screen post. Export to Instagram with five very common hashtags and five unique hashtags to your business.
24. Create a Lasting Impression with a Unique Logo
Maggie Aland, Editor, Fit Small Business
Notice how big businesses are recognized even without their name? Your brand’s first impression is your professional logo so make sure that it’s well designed and clearly defines your brand. Using an online branding tool like Tailor Brands to help you create one that’s memorable and authentic will help make your business stand out from your competitors. Visit Tailor Brands, and start automating your branding strategy today.
25. Show Passion for Your Industry by Writing About What You Know
Joe Robison, Founder, Green Flag Digital
For small businesses, doing an all-out paid advertising assault to support their brand is too expensive to show the return on investment early. That’s why I recommend writing down everything you know — with passion. What this does for your digital branding is exposes your unique personality, knowledge and passion for your industry and improves your distribution. First, everything that you know about your brand, every detail that you uses in your sales pitch should be uploaded onto your website. Every service you offer should have a detailed sales page on your site with all the media and content you can provide. Other FAQs and common discussions that arise between you and your customers should be all throughout your site. By filling up your site with this juicy, helpful content, you’re making it easier for yourself and your customers to find what they need fast.
Second, take the content that you publish that starts doing well in organic search — check your Google Analytics — and make it a little more beautiful, perhaps adding on a helpful video or infographic. Then, take this new page and pitch it to 50 websites in your industry that would want to publish this infographic on their site. You’ll now get links and traffic and can repeat the process over and over.
26. Show Your Customers the People Behind the Business
Shea Keats, Strategic Business Coach, Shea Keats.com
When creating an online digital brand, it can be tempting to showcase only your best products and the front of the house. Remember, people buy from people, not corporations. Showcase all your wonderful projects or products and beautifully branded photos, but don’t forget that your potential customers want, especially on social media, to see the person behind all that gorgeousness. Share your triumphs and your struggles. This builds a relationship with your audience that engages them on a deeper level. Especially if you are selling luxury or luxury-adjacent goods and services, customers will be more likely to make the investment if they feel they are also investing in a person who shares their values and aesthetic.
At least one-third of your business’s social marketing and branded web page should be personal and candid.
27. Interact to Evoke the Right Emotion from Your Target Market
Stephanie Wubben, Digital Strategist, Blue Compass
What feelings do you want people to walk away with after they interact with your brand online? Do you want to instill curiosity? Put them at ease? Get them excited? Put them in a thoughtful state of mind? Get them worried about a current situation? Make them feel risky? Make them feel confident, content or apprehensive? Every interaction with a brand leaves us a little better or worse off — pick how you want your audience to feel and run with it. They may not remember exactly what you said, but they’ll remember how they feel about your brand and, if they’re your target customer, they’ll come back wanting more.
Emotions define humanity and experience, so keep your brand engaging by keeping your core brand feelings at the center of what you say, share and like. Pick three to five emotions, organize them around your logo and describe how to use them. Pin this front and center in your digital employees’ offices. This practice will also remind your marketing team that those likes, followers and website users are human too.
28. Create a Memorable Brand That Intrigues Your Audience
Brittany Armour, Director of Marketing, Kibii
It’s difficult to create an engaging digital brand in today’s noisy marketplace. The key is creating a memorable brand that intrigues your target audience. To do this, you need to make a connection with your audience and appeal to their values. Years ago, people would see a brand name and be able to identify exactly what they offered. Brands would highlight the features of their offering, which leads to overselling. Now, people hate to be sold to and want to explore a new brand on their terms. This is why content marketing, such as starting a blog, submitting guest blogs and email marketing, are so powerful.
Pushing the benefits of your product doesn’t work anymore, particularly for a younger demographic. In fact, people dislike being sold so much that it may have the opposite effect and repel your prospects. You need to build trust with people, and they will become brand advocates if you’re addressing a pain point they’re having.
Over to You
There are many digital branding strategies that it’s easy to lose sight of what your business truly needs. Remember these expert tips to keep you focused on your goals and let your authenticity help you stand out from the crowd.
Did we miss out on your go-to digital branding ideas? Share them with us in the comments.