According to a study conducted by Oberlo, in 2020, there were an estimated 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S., making up nearly 99.9% of the U.S. businesses, driving the nation’s economy by providing jobs for more than half of the nation's workforce.
Of these small businesses, it is the ones who have a strong and loyal following that understand that their brand goes far beyond the logo. Their brand is represented in everything from the language on their websites, social channels and marketing, their products and services, their competitive advantage and what sets them apart from their competition and finally the visual representation of their brand… their logos, colors, fonts, packaging, etc… that sets them apart and makes all the difference.
Today, it’s easier than ever to start a small business, and in this digital world of brands bombarding our every move, people are craving authentic, unique and impactful experiences that align with their values, mission and interests more than ever. Which is why, it’s more important than ever to develop a data-driven brand strategy that will attract your dream audience and help you stand apart from the competition.
How to develop a data-driven brand strategy
#1. GIVE YOURSELF A BRAND AUDIT.
To start developing your branding, you need to analyze and audit your brand as it stands today. Auditing your branding will give you the opportunity to look at your business as a whole and see where you are getting it right and missing your mark, and will allow you to evaluate any inconsistencies.
Just what is a “brand audit”? A brand audit is a detailed analysis of your brand that shows how your brand is performing across all of it’s touchpoints. From your social media profiles to your website and email marketing, performing a brand audit allows you to analyze all the data side-by-side, see what’s working and what’s not, and get some insight into what you need to adjust.
When working with my clients, I usually suggest doing a brand audit once a year to see if all of your marketing and branding efforts are bringing you closer to your goals and setting you apart from your competition. To audit your brand, follow these steps:
Clarify your brand’s mission, vision, personality and messaging.. Are you clearly stating your brand’s mission and vision and living that out across all platforms? Are you being consistent in your messaging? Do you have a distinct and definitive brand personality that resonates with a specific niche or group?
Assess your visual branding. Are your colors, fonts, logo, imagery and patterns consistent on all platforms? Do you have a specific set of icons that use to signify specific items, packages or objects? If the only thing someone saw was a simplified version of your logo or watermark, would they know it was you?
Review your website’s analytics. You should have Google Analytics attached to your website. (If not, run, don’t walk, and install it now.) Review your vital web analytics, most viewed pages, common drop off points and your conversion rates to see where you are getting it right and need some improvement. Information like your website's speed or load time, how relevant your website is to your audience and keywords you are ranking for (or not) are markers that you can use to improve your website's analytics.
Review your social media insights. Are you consistently posting? How many new followers and likes are you getting per post? Are there certain days or times that your audience seems to be more engaged? Certain posts that got more attention than the others? What platform is your audience the most engaged on? Are you getting more interaction with your Instagram posts vs. stories vs. reels? Get down and dirty with your social media profile.
Review your sales data. How consistent are your sales? Are you getting sales daily, weekly, monthly or at random? Are they higher at certain times of the year? Are you getting any feedback that is helping or hurting your sales? What is your average sale? What is the average # of items purchased per sale? Are there ways to drive those numbers up?
Survey your past clients and gather what they’re saying about your brand. This goes back to reviewing your sales data, but setting up a way to encourage and capture feedback on your products, services and processes is super valuable information to help you to improve your overall sales.
Review your email marketing analytics. Do you have an email list? Are you regularly sending out emails to your list? Have you set up any email automations like a welcome sequence or sales sequence? Are you tagging your list and dropping them in buckets that resonate with why they chose to be on your list? What is the conversion rate of how many people actually engage with your emails? Have you set up a way to allow people to unsubscribe if they aren’t engaging?
From here, you can use this information to build a cohesive brand message and make sure that you are staying consistent and true to your brand across all touchpoints. Building a cohesive brand message can increase your overall revenue by upwards of 23% according to a recent study by Forbes magazine, so performing this first step is crucial to developing your brand strategy.
#2. TRANSFORM YOUR INFORMATION INTO BRAND INSIGHTS
Once you have performed your brand audit across all of your platforms, you can start to analyze all of the trends and patterns and uncover ways to help you drive growth. Pay attention to areas that your audience doesn’t seem to be as engaged, or areas where your message may not be as clear or consistent. You may need to pivot, meaning you may need to make some minor tweaks or adjustments to bring more traffic from these areas - or you may need to drop them and put more of your time, effort and resources into the areas that are performing and driving your audience. Focusing on improving your areas of weakness, doing more of what is currently working and understanding your analytics across all avenues will help you to craft a better marketing plan and move your brand forward.
#3. TAKE ACTION
This goes without saying, but the biggest key to data-driven branding is putting the data to work for you. Data is only as good as what you do with it, so once you have analyzed your data, researched the gaps in the market and understand where you need to be focusing your attention, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION.
A few ways to help you start taking action is to:
Write down all of the platforms your brand is currently on.
Write down what is working and not working on those platforms.
Set yourself SMART goals to improve your branding and marketing.
Create a calendar or schedule to help you to stay on task.
Don’t be afraid to make adjustments, pivot and change your strategy as you go. An authentic, sustainable and long-term brand strategy will grow as you grow, so continuously assess the data and make strategic decisions to help move your brand forward.
Making business decisions backed by data will help differentiate you from your competition, attract your ideal audience and loyal customers ready and willing to buy everything you’re selling and set your brand up for long-term, sustainable success.
Need help getting started? Download our free Brand Personality Guide (linked here) to help you get crystal clear in your brand messaging and personality.