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13 Apr 2017

5 clever digital wins for small brands

As small brands enter the market and attempt to win business from larger retailers, it can feel rather daunting. With limited resources, experience and money, attempting to own a digital space both vast and ever-changing poses a challenge for many akin to conquering Everest. BUT never fear. With experience of working with both larger and smaller brands for over 13 years, Rosie Freshwater from Leapfrogg Digital Marketing know the secret victories that are well within reach of small brands and retailers looking for growth.

1. Be different

It may sound like a cliche but small brands that really have a point of differentiation can absolutely compete in the digital space with larger brands. Do you have a product you can't buy anywhere else? Do you offer a shopping experience no-one else can? Do you make a real difference?

If you can't answer yes to any of the above questions then you may well struggle and need to develop that one thing that IS different.

Brands like Dollar Shave Club and Gym Shark have grown exponentially with little initial investment as they have found a new way of selling or a product niche that really resonates. If you have something different worth talking about it REALLY makes online engagement easier. It creates buzz, throws up ideas for engaging content and encourages sharing. All of these are crucial in growing brand awareness online without large marketing budgets.

2. Start small

Of course you need to start small I hear you say, you are a smaller brand. What I mean here is not to have small ambition, but to really focus down your marketing activity into an initial set of tactics that you can really concentrate on making work before you try and spread budget and resource wider.

For example, a small interiors retail brand may decide to start by focusing all activity around Pinterest to drive initial awareness within the right community. If you have a visually appealing product and know your brand, Pinterest can create high levels of engagement and drive traffic to a website ready to buy. Take a bit of time to really research where your target audience are hanging out online and focus on trying to create awareness there. It may be to begin with that you focus on a few key influencers within your space and use your limited budget to work with them to create content and open up awareness of your brand within their community.

3. Get your email right from the start!

All too often I come across brands with good exposure and a great website who are missing out on so much business as they are not capturing potential customers when they visit their site and communicating with them ongoing. They may have a sign up pop up or form on their site but are giving no incentive to sign up (either by stating the benefits of signing up, or having an offer). Then, once people have signed up they don't put them into a nurture or welcome program to introduce them to the brand. Most cheap email platforms offer the ability to set up welcome programs so take advantage of them!

4. Social advertising

Google AdWords campaigns are often out of reach for smaller budgets these days. However, social advertising on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest is still totally affordable if set up correctly. Setting up similar audiences or running campaigns for top selling products can really boost your social following or drive traffic to your site for a fraction of the price of Google.

5. Plan your customer journey

Make sure whatever marketing you are doing you have mapped out what you think it will do and what action your potential customers might make. Then ensure you have the right mechanism in place to move them further down the conversion chain.

For example, if you are carrying out Instagram activity that focuses on a particular product range with the view of driving traffic to that area on your site make sure both Instagram and your site are set up to help. Ensure the link in your bio on Instagram points directly to the relevant area on your site. Once customers get to that area on your site make they can view clearly the products you are talking about. If you have directed them to a product category page ensure the intro to the category is relevant, and try and make sure the products you really want to push are at the top of the category listings. If you are directing people straight through to a particular product page make sure that product page has great product imagery that matches the imagery they have seen on Instagram and there is good product information with a clear call to action to add to basket.

Just putting some thought int what will happen next for any marketing activity will help you to gain the maximum benefit from the tactics you are employing.

None of the above tips cost large amounts of money. Successful growing brands take the time to step back and think about what they are doing and what impact it might have. Thinking time doesn't cost money but can mean the difference between growth and wasted spend for any size brand.

Rosie Freshwater - Managing Director of Leapfrogg Digital Marketing