How to Use Digital Branding to Build Your Online Presence and Engage with Your Audience

Digital Branding

By Jessica Wong

Increasing internet penetration and easier access to digital devices continue to push American consumers of all ages online. Whether they are deliberately searching for products and services or engaging in other activities, these consumers have become valuable targets for advertising and marketing activities.

Brands across virtually every industry are putting a greater emphasis on connecting with consumers digitally. In 2023, senior marketers are planning to spend 80% of their marketing and advertising budget online. Social media marketing, digital videos, and paid searches are topping the leaderboard of digital marketing activities this year, but neither of them can be fully effective without digital branding.

Digital branding is the foundation on which leading brands build their online presence and engage with their audiences. Here is a closer look at how to build your brand online.

Understanding your Target Audience

The biggest difference between traditional and digital branding are the channels companies use to approach customers. Building a great digital brand begins with understanding who you are building that brand for.

In this context, digital marketers have an advantage compared to their predecessors from several decades ago. Most brands have access to consumer data that allows them to develop consumer personas that are based on rich information exceeding basic demographics. Based on these personas, digital marketers can craft compelling brand messages that resonate with their audiences.

Aside from micro-businesses, the majority of companies target more than one consumer persona. Customizing digital marketing messages to those personas and selecting the most suitable marketing channels for each sub-audience is far more realistic within digital branding than traditional forms.

Building Your Online Presence

Based on understanding your target audience, your marketing team will be able to select the most suitable digital marketing channels on which to build your presence.

The larger and more universally appealing your brand is, the more channels you may choose. For smaller businesses, it is often more important to home in on the most relevant channels and to concentrate brand-building activities there.

Beauty brand Glossier, for example, is focusing a lot of its effort on Instagram, building a community of more than 2.7 million followers to date. Mattress brand Casper is also using Instagram to connect directly to consumers. Rather than talking about the features of the company’s products, many of the posts use humor to connect with potential customers.

Social media marketing as well as influencer partnerships are excellent ways for brands on limited budgets to connect with their audiences. At the same time, it is worth exploring avenues like email marketing, especially if you are looking to reach an older target market.

In a recent interview with Deep Patel, founder of a grooming brand that achieved eight-figure success within two years, insights were shared on leveraging digital branding to enhance online presence and connect with audiences.

Engaging With Your Audience

Think of digital marketing channels as a two-way street. Traditional branding and advertising revolved around marketers distributing messages to potential customers but not expecting direct feedback.

Digital marketing is different. Leading channels like social media marketing and digital video lend themselves to conversations between a brand’s marketing team and consumers as well as among consumers themselves. Use this ability to build a community that is truly engaged with and feels a strong connection to your brand.

Email marketing is another great option to create a sense of exclusivity around the content and potential offers your company is sharing with subscribers only. Businesses like self-improvement consultants Farnam Street are offering different levels of their ‘Brainfood’ email newsletters, with a paid version providing more valuable information than the free version.

Measuring Success

Consistency is perhaps the most important building block of successful digital branding and online presence building. Put simply, consumers expect regular communications in exchange for their engagement.

Digital marketing channels are making it far easier for marketers to measure the success of their efforts. Email marketing opening rates and click-throughs allow you to judge the level of interest in your content, even before you measure conversions.

Social media engagement figures such as reactions and comments on posts, shares, and direct messages also allow you to judge the impact of your activity. Plus, do not forget about website traffic. Having access to real-time results like these makes it easy to tweak campaigns and adjust them to increase their success rate even further.

Best Practices

Working with different types and sizes of businesses, our team has found that following these best practices generates excellent results:

  • Consistency: being consistent not only matters for regular messaging. It is equally important to be consistent and recognizable across all channels your brand is using. Otherwise, audiences may become confused.
  • High-quality visuals: remember the saying that a picture says more than 1,000 words? Investing in quality visuals will drive engagement and build brand reputation.
  • Providing value: your audiences will only stay engaged if they feel that they are benefiting from the content you are sharing. Whether that means being entertained or gaining insights depends on the brand, but providing value is critical.

Case Studies

Dollar Shave Club is a grooming brand that is using social media marketing to change the way men think about shaving. The brand uses a combination of highly recognizable graphics, humor, and useful grooming tips to connect with its audience. The team also asks questions to stimulate conversations and grow engagement. 

Fitness brand Nike is generally used as an example of successful influencer partnerships and great audience engagement across digital marketing channels. However, its recent decision to use a transgender influencer to market products initially developed for female athletes has led to significant backlash from women and the transgender community. Brand representatives are still dealing with the fallout, but the controversy is a good example to demonstrate how carefully digital branding messages need to be crafted

Conclusion

Digital branding is becoming a non-negotiable for brands of any size as digital marketing continues to grow in importance. Focusing on understanding target audiences and finding ways to truly engage are the first steps toward building a strong online presence.

About the Author

Jessica-Wong

Jessica Wong is a digital marketing expert and experienced PR executive with over 20 years of success driving bottom-line results for clients through innovative programs aligned with emerging business strategies. Involved in developing a targeted customer persona and establishing a compelling communication framework to elicit favorable brand perception and messaging. The Women in IT Awards have named Jessica a finalist for the Digital Leader of the Year. MARsum USA has recognized her as one of the Top 100 Marketing & Advertising Leaders.

As a digital expert, Jessica was invited to join Forbes Communications Council and contribute insights to Forbes articles. She also provides business advice to millions of Entrepreneur.com readers. In addition to writing for European Business Review, The World Financial Review, and European Financial Review, she has been featured in many other premium media outlets.In recognition of her work with Valux Digital, Jessica has been awarded CEO of the Year by the Corporate America Today Annual Awards, Global100 Awards, AI Global Media Awards, as well as the M&A Today Global Awards.The Female CEO of the Year Awards recognized her as the Best Digital Marketing & PR Agency CEO. CEO Monthly Magazine Award have also named Jessica Most Influential CEO of the Year. Marketing and PR experts at Valux Digital offer brands around the world scalable and sustainable growth strategies. In its profound mission, the company provides high-quality digital marketing and technology solutions to businesses of all sizes and types.

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