Advertising was much easier 30 years ago, when the trifecta of TV, radio and newspaper were enough to promote your brand among your customers. But times have changed, and how! The marketing game has shifted its paradigms drastically in the past few years, from social media presence to native advertising. The development is mass media technology and that in psychology have together impacted advertising so that it has become as confusing and overwhelming a field as any other in today’s time.
It is obvious how giants like Flipkart and Amazon are bleeding money when it comes to advertising. In fact, Flipkart posted a loss of Rs. 2000 crore in the previous fiscal year, owing to the ongoing discount war between online retail giants. The fact the online retail companies are ready to suffer massive losses in the process of making their brand more and more visible is very telling. For online sellers, it should highlight the importance of visibility in the competitive market. At the same time, we do not advise you to run at a loss so that you can feed your marketing budget. Instead, we are going to give you a few innovative branding ideas that both you and your customers would enjoy. Here are a few things you need to do.
Branding for Online Retail Sellers
1. Recognise Your Customer Base
Before we even get into the specifics of which product you are selling, we must realise that as an online seller, your customer base is people who have access to the internet. Only 34.8% of the population in India has internet access, but this population generally resides in tier 1 to 3 cities. It is good if you can do a demographic analysis of your customer base – what age group do they belong to, are your customers mostly male or female, what time are they expected to be online, etc. This is valuable data for your organisation. The idea is to build an image of your customer – where would they live, what would they wear, what would they buy apart from your product, etc. Now you are ready for the next step.
2. Sharpen Your Social Media Game (Or Hire an Expert)
If you haven’t already, you should subscribe to a social media management tool like HootSuite, which allows you to access all your social media accounts from one dashboard and provides insightful analysis of the data that it collects in the process. If you post images of your product on social media, please make sure that you post attractive, good quality images. Promote your pages, share them with friends, but don’t spam. It would be great if you could promote your product on a 3rd party website – this will earn you a lot of brownie points. Show your customers that you are always available on social media and try to make it into your primary channel of communication.
3. Involve Your Customer in the Process
A key difference between a dead social media page and an active one is the interaction. A thriving social media account is always active, but the activity comes from both sides – just regularly posting content doesn’t do much. Start a conversation with your customer. Ask them how they like your product if they want something to change. Involve them in online discounts, events, competitions, etc. Let them get to know the brand.
4. Make Your Customer Your Brand Ambassador
You can see this on Instagram all the time. The best advertisement you are ever going to get is your customer promoting your product. Find a creative way to incite your customer to proclaim on social media that they bought your product and love it. For example, the online clothing store Black Milk has built an enviable brand presence by involving their customers and letting them tell their stories. The brand owners actively encourage their customers to share images while wearing Black Milk apparel, with appropriate hashtags to seal the deal.
Not just that, but they invite customers to send their images and upload them on the official Black Milk social media accounts. Just type #blackmilkclothing next time you are on Instagram and see for yourself. With over 920,000 followers on Instagram and 650,000 followers on Facebook, maybe we should take their marketing strategies a little more seriously.
This is what we have on involving customers in your branding process.