Online branding sounds pretty simple. Throw up a website, choose where you want to promote, have a message, and get the word out. The reality, however, is tons of noise from millions of businesses trying to grab consumer attention. In this post we go over the hidden challenges you may face and brilliant ways you can brand your business online.
According to the Small Business Administration, there are 31.7 million small businesses in the United States. The pandemic forced many businesses online to reach consumers who stayed at home for months on end. While not everyone is your direct competition, when it comes to grabbing the interest of customers, you are competing against a lot of other marketing.
You’re likely already aware of some of the challenges to brand your business the most effectively, such as reaching the correct target audience. However, there are numerous hidden challenges you must navigate as well. Here are the top ones we’ve identified and how to conquer your online promotions.
1. Grab Attention to Brand Your Business
The average online shopper spends approximately 15 seconds on your website. If you don’t stand out as unique and have what the user wants, they’ll bounce away and likely never return. You must grab their attention from the first millisecond they land on your page.
Perfect everything from the color palette to the headlines. Your page must meet user expectations while presenting your unique value proposition (UVP). Tweak, test, and refine until your conversion rates excel.
2. Develop a Social Media Strategy
You can throw a lot of effort at social media marketing and gain zero results. You must develop a smart strategy based on analytical evidence and proven results. Start by creating a buyer persona. Know who your customer is and what they care most about.
Decide which platforms are worth your time investment. Carefully track results and return on investment (ROI) to ensure you’re spending marketing dollars wisely.
When something works, rinse and repeat. There isn’t a need to reinvent the wheel. Just keep the promotions that drive results and replace the ones that do not.
3. Address Clients Directly
Professionals encourage the use of the word “you” when talking to prospective clients. It’s a simple, ordinary word, but it is personal and effective. People love to talk about themselves and hear how something will change their lives. They don’t really care as much about your story.
While storytelling is essential to brand your business it’s also vital to establishing your trust factors.
This is a far more important way of letting the client know your focus is on them.
4. Be Transparent When Branding Your Business
You only have so much control over how others perceive you online. People can leave reviews on third-party websites, share their dissatisfaction on social media and drive your reputation in the ground.
Your first line of defense against a negative image online is to be transparent about your policies. If you make a mistake, own up to it and work to prevent it in future. If someone leaves you a bad review, reach out to them and ask how you can make things right.
Your website needs to list your return policy and any guarantees you offer. Keep contact information handy. People may get in touch with you directly rather than lodging a complaint online where others see it.
5. Choose Fonts Carefully
There are four types of fonts and each family and style has a personality. Part of your brand building must include consistency. If you don’t already have a style guide outlining what fonts to use, how your logo gets placed and your color palette, you need one today.
Think about the personality of your brand and which fonts send the message you want potential clients to remember. You can set the tone for a fun time, show your serious side, or put the focus on the headline rather than the font.
The key is to present consistent imagery every time a potential client encounters your brand. It may take several impressions before someone decides to do business with you.
6. Use Multiple Touchpoints to Brand Your Business
Just having a website or a social media presence isn’t enough. If you want to brand your business online and reach people, you must have multiple ways for them to interact with your company.
At a minimum, you should have a website, list a toll-free number, have a social media presence and offer live chat or SMS services. If you also run a brick-and-mortar store, you must incorporate what you do online and what you offer in your physical building.
For example, if someone sees a special discount online and come into your store, be ready to provide the same offer or place the order for them. Think through each scenario you might run into and how you can best meet your customers’ needs no matter where and how they interact with your brand.
7. Prioritize Mobile
Each year, more and more people use their smartphones to access information online. Dial into mobile devices as a way to reach your target audience where they spend the most time. Think about most settings today and how people always have a phone in their hands. Optimize your website for mobile.
Create a new app users can download. Find ways to reach out to the millions of smartphone users.
Improve the Customer Experience (CX)
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do to brand your business online is create an excellent CX. The happier customers are, the more likely they’ll share what you do.
Word-of-mouth marketing is much more effective than any other type of online promotions. People tend to trust the recommendations of their peers. Stay consistent in all your branding efforts and offer the best products and services possible to take advantage of every opportunity to brand your business and get the word out!
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About the Author
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.