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Think of your eCommerce brand and its color scheme or its symbols in your logo. Now, ask a few of your closest friends what comes to mind when they see that color or that symbol.

Is it your brand? Is it another brand?

Thanks to the digital landscape, we have seen the rise of the eCommerce industry. Ecommerce sales represented 51.9% of all retail sales growth in the United States last 2018. As a result, it is getting harder and harder for eCommerce brand owners to get noticed in the bustling digital world.

Building your brand can be a challenge, but it’s something that you shouldn’t neglect. Branding is a must. It is what connects your business to the consumer and vice versa. It’s what will set your eCommerce business apart.

It doesn’t matter if you’re managing a general eCommerce store, your own private label, or even your own dropshipping business. Branding will help you get your business to where you want it to be.

So how do you build your eCommerce brand?

You have to make use of online resources and tools to go where your target market is. Since eCommerce businesses are based online, you can reach target consumers using a combination of social media, digital advertisements, and email marketing.

Social media

Did you know that 95% of online adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are most likely to follow a brand via social media? Social media is all about connecting and engaging, and 83% of marketers say that social media is important for their businesses.

Social media is very interactive. It’s very easy for customers to leave feedback that others can also see, and this can affect your brand image.

Some eCommerce brands establish themselves as funny, and they regularly engage in friendly banter with social media users. Others brand themselves as experts and often share tidbits of helpful information.

Check out how Fitbit presents itself as a fitspiration community. The whole page encourages supporting one another.

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Digital advertising

A lot of brands invest in paid online ads to drive conversions and sales. In fact, digital ad spending reached a record-high $88 billion last year in the United States alone!

Digital advertisements help drive traffic directly to your eCommerce brand. There are a number of ways to run ads online. Some examples are search ads, display ads, and even social ads.

The great thing about online advertising is that you can actually target the ads according to location, demographics, or interests of target customers.

Take a look at some examples of Dropbox’s banner ads which have been recognized for their effectivity.

Dropbox banner ads

Email marketing

Email marketing is probably the most ancient of these brand-building strategies. But don’t underestimate it!

Email marketing is actually the most powerful tool for building your eCommerce online.

Like social media, it can help increase relationships. In fact, email is a very personal medium. You’re delivering private messages directly to your market’s inbox after all.

Like digital ads, emails can also be targeted depending on segments that you decide on.

Email also has a higher conversion rate compared to both search and social media. Plus, a survey showed that 72% of the respondents preferred email when it comes to communicating with brands.

In reality, you can use a combination of social media, ads, and email marketing to make the most of your online presence. However, email marketing has the highest ROI and it is also cost-effective. That’s why it’s a very powerful tool that can take your eCommerce brand to greater heights.

How important is email marketing for building your eCommerce brand?

Let’s take a deeper look into the importance of email marketing when it comes to brand building. These are just a few of the reasons that explain the value that email marketing can add to your eCommerce brand.

It improves brand recognition

Basically, ‘brand recognition’ is how easily the general public or your target market can identify your brand just by seeing your attributes. Attributes can be your logo, your colors, or any other visual elements related to your brand.

When marketers integrate brand attributes in the emails, this helps the readers be more familiar with your brand. This translates to an increase in awareness, and eventually an increase in sales. After all, if two brands sell similar products, you can bet that the customer will pick the one sold by a brand they recognize.

Blue Apron’s emails feature their logo at the top and middle portion of their emails. They also use their signature colors to help subscribers think of their brand whenever they see this particular shade of blue.

Blue Apron Sample Emails

It increases retention

According to Emarsys, 80% of small businesses rely on email for customer retention. Who wouldn’t want to have repeat customers and loyal fans, right?

A great email marketing strategy can help you retain customers. All it takes is regular communication and engaging content. When you have loyal customers, they sometimes take the initiative to market your brand as well.

Duolingo does a great job when it comes to their techniques for retention. They regularly send personalized updates and reminders of how your lessons are, prompting you to continue where you left off.

Duolingo email

It helps you establishing authority as an online presence

Marketers use email marketing to show people what they have already achieved. They do this by sending regular newsletters. By doing so, subscribers can get to know your brand as a leading expert in your industry.

Sharing content, valuable advice, and relevant information via email marketing can help build a sense of authority around your eCommerce brand. When a brand is seen to be an authority figure, credibility and trust also increase.

InVision positions itself as a source for informative content by emailing relevant content.

It boosts relationships

Email marketing also helps in the relationship department. Different kinds of emails have different goals, but most of these can contribute to strengthening the bond between the brand and the consumers.

Because emails can be personalized and segmented, it’s easy to send messages that speak directly to the customer. In fact, recipients are 75% more likely to click on segmented campaigns.

Whether there’s a new subscriber, a first-time customer, or a repeat buyer, emails can definitely help foster relationships. Allrecipes’ welcome email is a great example. As part of a warm welcome to new subscribers, the email also asks for the reader to send their preferences. That way, the succeeding content he or she will receive are already curated especially for them.

It increases brand equity

Brand equity refers to a brand’s value as perceived by customers. Basically, the more positive experiences customers have with your brand, your brand equity increases. On the other hand, a negative incident can set your brand equity back a number of steps.

Positive brand equity can be maintained by having loyal customers, regular positive feedback, and by being recognizable. By using email marketing, you can constantly deliver awesome customer experiences that will result in an increase in brand equity.

So how do you build your brand using email marketing?

Here are some action steps you can take to use email marketing for building your eCommerce brand.

Grow your list

Email marketing is all about delivering content to the right audience. It won’t matter how amazing your content is if you are not able to send it to your target customers.

You can’t build your brand if there’s no one to wow. Develop opt-ins that your target customers can’t resist. Do this by knowing your audience enough to find out what tickles them.

It may sound basic, but some brands still forget to ask people to verify that they opted into their email lists. Remember, you must always get their permission so you don’t risk your brand reputation.

After establishing your opt-in processes, make sure you set up some welcome automation flows. This is your opportunity to make a great first impression that will make a mark.

Who can resist a free cheeseburger? A lead magnet like this will grow your list in no time!

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Establish a personality and voice

Develop your brand’s personality and let it shine through each email sent. Your voice is your brand’s personality in one word. Are you fun, thoughtful, or serious?

Take time to develop your brand’s voice. Klaviyo outlines a step by step process to do this.

  1. Review your purpose.
  2. Visualize your brand as a person.
  3. Develop your tone. Choose the words that you will use and those you will avoid.
  4. Zero in on language. What words will you commonly use? Do you have some quirky expressions?
  5. Establish your do’s and don’ts in communication.

Take a look at an example from Indigo & Cotton. Their tone of voice is witty, punchy, and provocative. They are anything but boring. Instead, they come across as edgy and interesting.

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Create unique content

Content that is yours and yours alone will make your brand stand out. Remember, when your subscribers love your content, there is a chance that they will share it with others as well.

Unique content complements products and services. It provides a gateway for customers to form an emotional attachment with the brand. When customers are invested in your brand, they will help you continue building it even more.

Unique content is also largely based on segmentation. Make sure that you produce personalized content for your list’s segments. This doesn’t only pertain to recommendations and reminders.

You can also provide bonus materials such as how-to videos, printable posters, or even user-generated content.

Speaking of user-generated content….

Curate stories

You can’t get any more unique than selecting real-life stories from various resources. The Internet is a very big place. You will definitely find some stories that speak to your audience on a whole different level.

Another thing you can do is to request stories from your pool of customers and loyal fans. How has the brand helped them? What makes them come back? Tug at your customers’ heartstrings and you can establish your brand all the more.

Build a competent team of copywriters and graphic designers

Getting your brand message across will only be possible with the help of a solid team of copywriters and designers.

With the right people, your brand can have some really compelling content when it comes to both the copy and the graphics.

Having your own dedicated team for this will give you more time to focus on other business functions.

Reminders for building your brand

  1. Be consistent. Establish the frequency of emails.  Make sure that the design, voice, tone, and even the look and feel of the emails are on-brand.
  2. Use call to actions. Never forget your CTA. This will give your readers clarity on what you want them to do next. It’s important for one email to have one CTA so they are not confused.
  3. Always get permission. Again, this cannot be stressed enough! Do not engage in list buying and do something to tamper your brand’s reputation.
  4. Focus on your target market. Put the spotlight on your market and see what they want.  What are their feelings, their interests, and even their pain points? Use these as the basis for your engagement with them.

See how the experts do it

Here are just some visual examples to provide you with inspiration.

Autopilot keeps it clean and simple with a professional tone and easy to understand copy.

Workout guru Kayla Itsines uses her signature colors in her email templates so you know at a glance that it’s from her.

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Jet Blue’s Valentine’s message is unique because it didn’t use red or pink. Instead, it used the brand’s signature hue.

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Remember, email marketing is a powerful tool. With a little creativity and strategizing, you can use it to establish your brand’s online presence.

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