In a digital age, how people seek out your brand is their choice, not yours so you need a digital strategy that makes it natural and easy for people to find you given the purpose they have in mind.
Have you studied this yet? Have you measured how people have formed their strategies to find you by their recurring experiences as they seek brands, advice and offers out on the web? From conversations I have with marketers, it does not seem like this is adequately researched.
For example, research shows that a main motivator for liking a brand on Facebook is to be made aware of deals. Also, people will seek recommendations from friends. However, you can imagine that one would NOT turn first to Facebook for store hours and locations.
Consider a list of consumer tasks. Isn’t it likely that consumers might have these tasks in mind and would first turn to different digital places depending on purpose?
- Deals and offers
- Store locations and hours
- Planning meals or parties
- Customer service questions
- Community connection
- Finding a mobile app to download
- Making purchases
When you start thinking about your digital strategy from a consumer perspective, you also realize that people turn to third party sites, not just your owned media site or Facebook page. This needs to be part of your strategy.
Let’s focus on one of these tasks; finding deals and offers. There are a variety of entry points that consumers use. The obvious one is search and the trend in Google search shows an increase in searching for “coupons”. But, many more people just go to coupons.com (about 10MM per month, according to Compete). Furthermore, a number of women have created a presence across Twitter, Facebook, and their own website to become information and distribution centers regarding deals and coupons.
Moneysavingmom (Crystal Paine) has a big presence on Twitter, Facebook, and her own website. On Twitter, she has over 80,000 followers, is on over 1,000 lists, and tweets deals about 15 times per day. On Facebook, there are 143,000 who have liked her page. According to Quantcast, she has about half a million visitors and over one million visits each month. The deals that she lists on her website also serve as the content for her tweets and Facebook updates. She juxtaposes the best deals from different retailers via a page with all of the logos for different retailers that are clickable, taking you to deals she finds from their websites.
By comparison, Couponmom (Stephanie Nelson) has an even bigger monthly traffic profile (over 1MM visitors) and has been featured on Oprah and CNN. She has 147,000 people who have liked her on Facebook and 95,000 followers on Twitter.
Bottom line for retailers: these coupon-aggregating moms sites drive trips to stores!
With newspaper circulation declining, the future of promotional advertising will be shifting away from the printed page. Sites like these might very well be a big part of the digital future of how people “circular shop”.
How people seek out a community connection is also an interesting question. People seek out their friends on Facebook and “like” brands, but do they seek a community connection with brands there? Mystarbucksidea, dellideastorm, and Harley-Davidson show the power of building community in owned media.
The most important point to remember about creating a digital brand strategy is that you are not in control of how people will seek out your brand, consumers are. Consumers have been conditioned by all of the options that digital marketing provides and you can either make it easy for people to find your brand or hard. Consumers will reward the access and simplicity offered by a brand with a properly aligned digital presence.
The first step in developing an effectively integrated digital strategy is to measure patterns of how consumers digitally seek out you and your competitors for each purpose.