An expert shares seven tips to create an engaging website and digital presence.
Whether you’re transitioning from a side hustle or launching a brand new venture, a strong digital brand will help you succeed.
A digital brand tells a visual and written story about who you are and what people can expect from you. And, it can be a valuable asset— a consistent brand presence across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%, according to the “State of Brand Consistency” report, published by Lucidpress.
“Particularly in this day and age, your digital brand will be the first contact people have with your business,” says Rachel Ritchie, Principal, Creative Services at Portland, OR-based digital marketing and design agency Good & Gold. “If a business aims to grow, scale, and create an audience of engaged clients that remember them and come back, their digital brand needs to be a meaningful priority.”
Ready to get started? Ritchie shares seven things you need to focus on to create a strong digital brand.
1. Devise your positioning
Start by thinking about your brand and what it needs to convey. Focus on why someone would want what you have to offer by considering what impact it has on the lives of the people who use it. And, consider your target audience, including who they are and why they are drawn to you. From there, you can build out a collection of words and images that work to communicate your essence.
Keep in mind that when you’re trying to stand out, a compelling part of your story may be something other than what you offer, like where you source materials. Or, it might be the experience people have with your business. User experience is predicted to be the number one brand differentiator in 2020.
“If people recommend something, it won’t be because of the formulation or the legacy of the business,” Ritchie says. “It’ll be because the product was great and the experience was easy. Experience is a huge piece of the puzzle.”
2. Choose a brand voice
The process of finding the right brand voice and tone will vary for every business, depending on the market you serve and your own personality. “Find out what feels authentic and real for you,” Ritchie says.
Brand voice should be consistent across all digital outlets, as well as any offline channels like direct mail, print, point of sale, or presences at in-person events such as festivals or trade shows.
A consistent tone will make your brand feel more credible and reliable to users, giving them a distinct sense of your core values. Think about how you want to be perceived— your tone can help convey honesty, knowledgeability, reliability, friendliness— all kinds of human values.
Brand voice can evolve over time, Ritchie notes. See what people respond to in different channels. Evaluate where you’re connecting with your audience, and don’t be afraid to tweak the approach to improve your reach.
3. Craft a timeless style
The visual elements of your digital brand are one of the first things a visitor will notice. Your choices of color, font, and other style elements should feel fresh, but not too trendy. Once you decide on a color palette and fonts, create a style guide to give every steward of your brand clear direction and a shared language to express your message visually. Ritchie notes that there isn’t one “right” choice of color and style. “Everyone is different, and everybody has their own feelings about color and typefaces.”
“You want to reference what’s out there— for example, high-contrast colors or color blocking,” Ritchie continues. “But you want to stay away from typefaces or color schemes that feel too trendy, so you don’t look like every other site.”
“Think about how things can spin off in different directions across time,” Ritchie says. “The last thing you want is to need to redesign your website six months from now because it looks dated.”