Guide to Building a Brand Voice

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Overview

Your brand is much more than a product or service— it is a combination of your loyal customers, the dedication of your team, an overall feeling, a mission, and a community built over time. The question that arises in ecommerce marketing is this: how do you convey your brand’s mission and tone to resonate with an audience that grows with your company? In this guide, you will learn how to build a brand voice and attract like-minded customers to join your community.

Get to Know Your Brand

Not only are customer personas important to understand, but so is understanding who you are as a brand. Consider building out your mission statement to find your brand voice. Put yourself in your customers' shoes and envision how you sound to them. Think of words and phrases that you want to describe your brand and keep those top-of-mind when developing customer-facing content.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want to say to people?
  • How do you want them to perceive you?
  • What is your brand’s style and personality?
  • What do you value the most?
  • How do you best serve your customers?
  • What makes your brand unique?

Get to Know Your Audience

Through Personas

A persona is a type of person or group of like-minded individuals within your audience. Their differences may pertain to age, gender, interest, motivation, income, familiarity with your product, etc. and you likely have a variety of personas to account for as a result.

For example, an online plant store may have an audience of avid gardeners looking for their next project, individuals purchasing flowers for a significant other, or newcomers searching for a hobby. These individuals may come from multiple regions, have varied experience levels, and are likely different ages. A great way to conceptualize who will engage with your brand is to build out potential personas that you can target with more applicable messaging.

How do you build out personas? Download and complete this chart to get to know your audience. Create at least three target personas, and consider building out a few casual and non-user personas as well. For more information, head to How to Identify the Audience for Your Ecommerce Store.

Through Research

Once you create personas, research the specifics of your audience to develop your content. Get to know your audience by walking in their shoes and understanding their daily routines.

Consider the following questions:

  • What are they thinking and feeling day-to-day?
  • What conversations do they have with friends and family?
  • What information are they receiving from the media? Where do they get their news?
  • How do they spend their time?
  • What do they value most?

Build Your Voice

Be Polished

Beyond being CTA-oriented when designing your content, it's also important to pay attention to copywriting when finding your voice. Spelling and grammar go a long way when creating content, and subscribers will notice sloppy messaging, which detracts from your brand voice. Include fonts, color schemes, graphics, etc. that align with these content decisions.

In general, use active voice to guide customer actions and instill a sense of urgency for customers to interact with your brand. Instead of titling a URL button: “click here if you want to shop our collection” Be assertive— say something along the lines of: “Shop now.”

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When building a brand voice it is also vital to stay consistent and genuine in your copy. Use slang or jargon deliberately or not at all, depending on if it matches the overall tone that you want to put forth to your audience. People will remember your voice and style over time, so if you change this up too often it will only cause confusion for recipients.

Have a Clear Call-to-Action

The core message of all of your content should always center around a call to action, or CTA. A CTA should be directed towards your target audience urging them to do something and/or communicating a direct, compelling message.

If you do not include a clear CTA in your messaging, this will likely frustrate audiences or cause them to do nothing after viewing your content. If your emails don't provide value to your recipients, you risk subscribers not take your marketing seriously and unsubscribing or failing to open future emails.

Personalize Your Messaging

Make your messages personal and authentic; this shows that there are humans behind your brand. Three ways to communicate this are through naming your brand community, introducing yourself, and using your Klaviyo toolset to get to know your audience.

Introduce Yourself

Part of building your brand voice is allowing the human side of your brand to shine. That begins by introducing yourself. Send messages from you, or your team, rather than just your brand.

Consider sending a text-based email to your customers from a CEO, founder, and/or team, and be sure to include photographs or signatures where you see fit. This text-based format makes an email feel very personal as it is likely different from the emails you typically send and feels less brand-heavy and more personal. They usually have the highest open rates as well.

If you want your brand voice to encourage customers to share information and build a community with you, then you should expect to do the same for customers.

Build A Brand Community

Your brand community reaches beyond the brand itself, and may even have its own name. Having a community where customers interact and contribute to the brand, gives customers a sense of ownership over this community the products they purchase, knowing that their voice counts

For example, if you run a bookstore called The Book Exchanger, you may call your brand community The Book Exchanger Club, allowing customers to feel as though they are a part of something bigger— something that goes beyond just one purchase.

Your voice will vary depending on what you are trying to portray in your brand image, but as a general rule of thumb, communicate with your customers as you would a friend and show that you want to get to know them as much as they want to know you. This starts by welcoming them into your community.

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Moreover, consider building out a VIP audience that has a different name as well. You can create a special hashtag and exclusive deals to build momentum in this group and encourage others to join through loyal shopping habits.

Say your Book Exchanger Club had a VIP group—you may name it the VIP Book Club, and send them a personalized email as shown below.

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Continue to Get to Know your Audience

Use segmentation to get to know the people in your account. When you understand the individuals in your account, and send them content that is actually applicable to them, this makes your voice seem valid and trustworthy.

For example, say you are an apparel company with customers all around the US. As March approaches, certain areas of the country are experiencing seasonal changes. You may run a campaign targeting Massachusetts-based shoppers, as shown in the segment below. Use your brand voice to relate with your customers.

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For example, you can send content in a friendly tone, building off of their excitement over warmer weather and emphasizing the experiences and vernacular that they may relate to. If your voice takes on an empathetic tone, you are likely to strike a chord with your shoppers, showing that you understand them.

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If you are new to segmentation, head to our article on getting started with segments; if you're ready to get into the nitty-gritty, check out our advanced segmentation guide.

Ask Customers for Feedback

Your brand voice will likewise feel more trustworthy if you choose to ask your customers for feedback post-purchase. Consider building this into a post-purchase flow to show that you value their opinions.

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Showing customers that you care about their customer journey is key in building a supportive brand voice. Consider incentivizing customers to refer a friend or write a review if they enjoyed their purchase. If they did not, prioritize their opinion by asking what went wrong in the customer journey and how you as a brand can improve next time. These may seem small to you when considering your overall voice, but will prove big to customers who will value the support and empathy.

Stay Consistent Across Owned Channels

Consistency is key, especially when generating content across channels— like email, SMS, push notifications, web content, and signup forms. To make sure your voice is heard, you have to communicate effectively on the platforms that you own and control. If your voice varies throughout each, then your brand will confuse customers and lack cohesion.

This is why it's important to develop a strong brand voice and make sure that voice remains consistent across your Klaviyo account and beyond. Your voice will stand out strongest when you're communicating with your customers through multiple channels.

Key ways to show off your brand’s style, tone, and content are the following:

  • Have key flows live to support new and existing customers:
    • Welcome series
    • Post-purchase
    • Browse abandonment
    • Abandoned cart
    • Winback
    • Sunset
    • Anniversary/Birthday Flows
      Let’s say your brand is a bit unconventional, and part of your voice involves surprising your customers with the unexpected. You could consider creating a half birthday flow, rather than a happy birthday flow. Alternatively, if you want customers to feel as though they develop a true relationship with your brand, emphasize the importance of the anniversary of their first purchase with a special deal just for them. It’s the little details of these flows that will shine.
  • Standardize your graphics, logos, fonts, color schemes, etc.
    Consistency does not simply rely on copy; rather, the images, fonts, and colors you choose to include in messages are also important to building out your brand. Have a logo in place that customers recognize as your own. Moreover, only include graphics that align with the style and tone of your content. Keep color schemes, fonts, etc. professional and standardized throughout your owned channels.
  • Create a sending schedule and/or customer engagement tiers 
    Sending too much or too little can lead to customer disengagement over time. Creating sending schedules or engagement tiers can help you manage your content calendar.
  • Get creative with forms
    Forms are a great way to engage customers who navigate to your website, beyond just encouraging them to subscribe. Consider also informing existing profiles of deals, products they would be interested in, and more, making use of this channel to communicate further.
  • Set up SMS or push notifications
    Add channels alongside your email marketing to engage email subscribers in new ways and allow your voice to travel beyond the inbox.

Combine Owned Channels with Social

Combining your owned marketing channels with your social media strategy is a great way to expand upon and leverage your brand voice. Owned channels are channels— such as email, SMS, push notifications, websites, and forms— where you own the customer experience and the data collected about your shoppers. However, although your marketing on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are not entirely in your control, you can still use owned data to draw insights to target customers with personalized ad content.

To start, integrate your Facebook accounts and other third-party platforms into Klaviyo. Then create custom audiences and lead ads to target your top Klaviyo profiles on this social channel as well. For more information on how to do so, head to our Guide to Integrating Owned Marketing with Your Facebook Ad Strategy.

Some ideas to consider when using your voice on social:

  • Remain consistent
    Stay consistent in tone and vibe, while connecting with your audiences.
  • Create a cross-channel segment 
    A cross-channel segment allows you to target customers with content that reflects the messages you send via owned channels in Klaviyo but who have not acted upon your CTA yet.
  • Host social media events and takeovers
    This gives you easy access to show off your brand voice and to spotlight customers, allowing them to use their voices to build your brand as well.
  • Create meaningful hashtags
    Hashtags let customers share their passion for your products across social media, and will help grow your brand community.
  • Encourage customer interaction
    Ask questions on social to provide a voice behind your brand that values customer opinions. Consider creating a community forum for avid brand enthusiasts to interact with one another as well.

Keep Up The Momentum

Once you have established your voice and built a brand community, don’t slow down progress by getting too comfortable. Rather, pick up the pace and try new things!

Reach out to customers in new ways and through new channels. If you find your groove in one avenue, test out another as well to reach new people. Be careful not to let that take away from what is already succeeding, but if you have the capacity and momentum to explore ideas, don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Always consider new ways to expand the reach of your voice to progress your brand further. Continuing outreach to gain new brand enthusiasts will allow your voice to carry far and wide.

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