Many cleaning contractors are now successfully marketing their services using digital marketing techniques. However, they may be overlooking something just as important—maybe even more important—and that is digitally branding their companies.
I can already see some eyebrows going up. Aren’t digital marketing and digital branding the same? Although many people may believe this, the answer is no. They each have different purposes and objectives.
Marketing versus branding
Digital marketing is all about finding new customers, sometimes for short-term gain. Many carpet cleaning companies, for instance, use digital marketing to promote a holiday carpet-cleaning sale. When the holiday is over, so is the sale, and so are the digital marketing efforts.
Digital branding, on the other hand, is long term. Digital branding is about establishing an online identity and cultivating positive feelings about a company. Instead of encouraging people to make a one-time purchase, digital branding encourages them to become loyal customers for years to come.
Digital branding also helps accomplish the following:
- It makes current and prospective customers feel like you and your company are speaking directly to them. This is particularly true if you are engaging with them, as if they were family or friends, on different social media sites.
- It presents your company as being personable, authentic, and credible. This can also happen through different forms of social media engagement. Another technique that can prove effective is to install chat box technology (also known as chatbot technology) on your website. If prospective clients are considering contacting your company for an estimate, for example, they may first want to chat online with someone to get a feel for you and your brand.
- It allows you to discuss the views and values of your brand. Videos are an especially effective way to do this. In a 2017 content trends survey by HubSpot, a content and digital marketing company, researchers found that 54% of people want to see more video content from marketers. One caveat: These videos must be personable, authentic, and credible. They should not be sales focused or promotional. Younger people today are very attuned to authenticity, and for them, this can make or break the message you are trying to convey.
Making it happen
Now that you have the gist of what digital branding is all about, how can you put it into action? In other words, how can you turn your company into a brand that is well respected in the local community, across the nation, or even worldwide?
Your digital branding strategy should include the following four components.
Think Disney and you think of mouse ears. Think Apple and you instantly visualize an apple with a bite taken out of it. For a logo to be effective in digital branding, it needs to be simple but also memorable enough to leave a lasting impression on a prospective customer. See more on how to create and effective company logo here.
2. Brand messaging
Have you ever visited a website and been confused as to what that organization was all about? That should never happen. A digital branding strategy should always answer these three questions:
- What does your company do?
- What does it stand for?
- Why does it matter?
If you are a cleaning contractor, your answers will be along the lines of the following:
- We provide cleaning and maintenance services to ensure your facility is clean, safe, healthy, and attractive.
- We stand for quality service provided by a professionally trained cleaning staff.
- We matter because we help improve your staff’s productivity, reduce absenteeism, and provide a welcoming environment for building users, visitors, and customers.
3. Selecting the right social media platforms
Most cleaning contractors are B2B, business-to-business, or B2C, business-to-consumer. Sites such as Facebook can prove useful for accomplishing your digital branding goals in the consumer market.
But what if your company specializes in industrial cleaning, health care, or education? Social media sites such as LinkedIn, which is more B2B focused, may be a more productive choice. Knowing where your target customers spend their time online will help you to get the most out of your digital branding efforts.
4. Search engine optimization
No matter how focused your company is on digital branding, without effective search engine optimization (SEO), it may go nowhere. Work with an SEO company that effectively promotes both your company and your brand, successfully spreading your brand message all over the internet.
There is one more way to help promote positive associations with a brand, and it has nothing to do with the internet. Getting involved in community events, such as sponsoring a local activity or taking part in a street fair, creates brand awareness and accomplishes everything you are trying to do with digital branding: giving current and potential customers a reason to feel good about your company.