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Advisors, Private Equity

Are You Following These 4 Digital Marketing Rules?

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It’s a new year, and with the swapping of calendars comes a great opportunity to evaluate how you’re being perceived online.

Like it or not, digital branding has never been more important to dealmaking. Here are a few easy digital marketing rules to help make your brand as attractive as it can be online:

1. Know Your Audience

According to the US Census Bureau, internet users skew towards being younger, wealthier, more urban, and better educated than the average American. Your digital brand, therefore, will need to be able to attract the attention of that cohort.

Users with higher education levels will comparison shop, so avoid hard and fast sales tactics to attract attention. Those actions will also cheapen your brand, and within an affluent crowd, price is less likely to be a primary buying factor. Instead, focus on customer service and building evangelists for your firm. Favorable client testimonials are nice to reference offline, but online, they’re crucial. You have no credibility on the internet without clients who can testify to the positive experience they’ve had working with you.

2. Give to Get

With competitors’ websites no more than a few clicks away, it can be hard to distinguish yourself in the eyes of a potential client you have no relationship with. Fortunately, the internet offers tools and a distribution channel you can use to build beginner-level relationships en masse.

A great way to start a new relationship online is by giving away something for free. It doesn’t have to be a physical product – instead, consider sharing a digital asset that costs nothing to reproduce. Whitepapers, webinars, and industry insights not only provide value to these potential clients, but also serve as great digital icebreakers to begin interactions between them and your brand. As visitors show more interest in your content, you’ll learn more about them, and all of a sudden you’ll be “getting to know each other.” From there, your conversation is more likely to advance and blossom into new business.

3. Interact Consistently

Inbound dealflow is a sign of a strong digital brand, but that doesn’t happen without outbound interaction to match. As with any relationship, the one you build between potential clients and your digital brand cannot be a one-way street. In order to draw people in, you need to be willing to put yourself out there.

Reaching out to people proactively can also be a great way to gather feedback on your other brand-building efforts. For instance, if you meet someone new at a conference, use LinkedIn or Axial search to learn more about that person, follow up, and reinforce your in-person conversation using digital collateral. Additionally, use posts in places like LinkedIn or Axial as opportunities to test and refine your message. Not only will you begin to better understand what your target clients want to hear from you, but, perhaps even more importantly, you’ll begin to understand what they don’t want to hear from you.

4. Show Personality

People don’t identify with firms — they identify with personalities. As a result, if your digital brand is going to successfully foster relationships, it’s going to need a personality of its own.

In the spirit of authenticity (another internet must-have), develop a personality that is consistent with your corporate mission and values. Avoid any attempts to pander or placate, however — they’ll be sniffed out and will ultimately backfire. Instead, look for issues and news that matter to you, develop a perspective on them, and find thoughtful, creative ways to share that perspective. What you’ll find is that you’ll begin to attract like-minded individuals that form bonds with your brand because they agree with it. Those kinds of bonds become galvanized by dissenters, helping you to carve out a niche of thought-leadership. The people that see things the way you do should cost less time and fewer resources to turn into clients.

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