Building an Online Brand Strategy

At this point, we have a good understanding of our business, but now we need to understand who our customers are and where we'll find them. With our customer strategy, we're trying to do three things.

1. The first is to reach the correct audience. It would be a waste of time and advertising spend to pursue the wrong audience. The right audience will have the best return on investment.

2. The second is to understand that audience—what it is that motivates them, as it relates to our objectives.

3. Finally, we want to understand where we'll find that audience—more specifically, what marketing channel we can leverage to connect with them.

When we talk about our online marketing audience, we aren't referring to some special class of consumer. The truth is, the customers who look for property by walking in the streets and going to your office are the same people who search online. The major difference, however, is that the digital customer is in control. They're able to drill into a landscape that is more niche and personalized than ever before. This means that when you go to identify this audience, you're blessed and cursed at the same time. You have to be specific with who you're targeting. There's no street traffic to market to broadly with open house signs. Each view costs you time and money, but because your audience expects niche, you're able to seek each ultra-fine prospect out with ease, unlike traditional marketing efforts of the past.

Now just as we did with our business strategy, we can build a simple table to outline our target audience. I set up three columns, but you can expand on that, and you might need to, since being too specific is better than being too broad. I'm going to put my efforts into three different audiences: males age 24 to 35 who are interested in sports; females age 24 to 35 who are interested in fitness; and 40 to 55 year olds who are interested in wellness. We could get even more specific if we needed to, but this is a solid starting point.

Next, we need to put ourselves in the mind of the target audience. What are their goals? What are they looking to accomplish? List each goal for that audience below it. I've outlined that our first audience is interested in performing better. Our second is interested in seeing fitness results faster, and our last audience has a goal of feeling healthier and energized. The idea is that if you bumped into someone on the street, and they said, "I'm doing yoga every day, but I'd love to see faster results," you could provide them with your elevator pitch and be fairly confident that you'll land the sale.

But we're not going to bump into them on the street. Instead, we're going to find them somewhere online, and that's where this final row comes in, the Audience Technology Section. Here you want to identify what mediums this audience is using. Is it social? If so, what network? Is it a blog? Are they likely to be searching on Google or visiting a particular website? I've filled out some examples, but as you continue through this course, I encourage you to take note of which channels resonate most with your audience.

From here, we need to drill in and understand our goals for each audience. I'll be referring to these as our customer segment. We'll end up creating a new table to explore these segments in detail. For each segment, we need to understand four things. First, what is our business goal for this segment? These goals are likely a more granular version of our overall business objective. Second, what is the shared value for this segment? If you recall, shared value is when the goals of your customer overlap with the goals of your business. Next, we'll look at the key performance indicators. These are what you'll be measuring. It could be how many units you sell, or how many people visit your website. Last, we want to create a target. This target will be directly related to our key performance indicator.

Let's take a look at how we can fill this out for the H+ brand. One of our customer segments was the 24 to 35 year old female who is interested in fitness. This segment's objective is to see results faster. We'll start with this segment, but you'll want to build this information for each of your audiences. From there, we'll identify our business goals. For this segment, we want to sell a supplement, obtain organic reach, and gain them as followers on our blog. Next, what we need to identify is how our business goals line up with the goals of our consumer. So under each goal, list why the customer is likely to see shared value. For H+, we know that this audience is primarily interested in seeing results faster, and our product can handle that. Therefore, it's a clear shared value. Continue to fill this out for each business goal.

Next, I'll indicate how the business goal is measured. In the first example, my key performance indicator is related to how many supplements are sold. Just as we did with our shared value, we'll identify the KPI for each column. Then let's create a target. What are you trying to achieve? For H+, we'll say we want to sell 1,000 units in three months. Your target is directly related to your KPI. So take your time and think through your core demographic, the goals for each, and what your final target is.

In the next post, we'll take that information and build a marketing strategy around it.