Key Elements For Building Your Business and Brand
If you have decided to build and promote your business online, there are key factors to consider when it comes to building your brand identity. Becoming an online marketer means you have the added weight of trying to connect with your target audience in an often faceless and nameless environment.
Many consumers assume it is no more than choosing a domain name and creating a website to show their product or service, but if you can go the extra mile and build a brand and a connection to your customer, you’ll easily be able to dominate in your chosen niche or business sector.
There are basically seven elements you can incorporate into your brand building strategy. I’m going to discuss all of them and then you can analyze your own efforts and see where you’re doing things right and where you may need to step up your game.
Your Identity Is In The Name
The first one is an important one as when you are online you walk a fine line between developing a catchy name and one that’s easily findable and recognizable. By recognizable, we mean a name where the online surfer instantly knows what your business is all about.
For example, look at the comparison of these domain or business names and see which one you feel may be the better option for online marketing:
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- YelpHelp.com versus StopDogBarking.com – First of all, who uses the word “yelp” these days? Secondly, dog barking is a more common phrase than yelping, so your search traffic volume might be a bit higher. At the very least, people won’t have to wonder what the website is about.
- BillowOfBad.com versus SmokingDangers.com – The first name is vague and odd. Billowing usually describes smoke, but the whole domain name is confusing at a first glance. The second one is blunt and obvious to the consumer.
Does this mean you can’t have a catchy, non-obvious name? Not at all! Look at Google. Who even knew ‘what or who’ a ‘Google’ was once?! Their branding and marketing was and is incredible, as almost everyone has heard of Google. So if you decide to go that route and choose something where it’s not obvious about what or who you are, then you need to be prepared to increase your branding and marketing strategies even more so that people associate your name with what you want to have them know you are about.
Ideally, you’re going to want your domain name to be the same as your business name – so you want to keep it as short as possible. The more opportunities for mistakes that there are, the higher the chance someone will make a typo and not be able to get to your site.
Your name doesn’t always have to be a company name either. You can use your personal name and brand that if you want to. Many marketers do that online – and it works very well. Actors and actresses are perfect examples of that.
Your Website Design
Of course I am going to discuss this one. If I design a website I ask what colours will depict your brand. Your online design will say a lot about who you are as a company and a brand. The design and layout of your website tells a lot about your intentions and this is where a web designer can help you so that your website looks professional and gives your potential customer a feeling of being helped rather than being scammed.
You want your design to be obviously related to your niche, just like you’ve done with your brand name and domain. So if you are an accountant you would have an elegant looking site, whereas if you are a female blogger talking about cooking recipes, you may have a feminine design with lots of flair and colour!
It is also good practice to make sure that everything you use design-wise matches, so that you’re branding across the board. That includes:
- Your website design, membership, affiliate banners and squeeze pages
- Your Facebook cover
- Your Twitter background and profile header
- Your Google Plus profile
- Your LinkedIn personal and company page
- Other social media platforms you may desire to use. (Instagram, Pinterest etc.)
Think about how you want your brand to come across. Do you want to be serious and professional or the funny profile that makes everyone laugh? Your design and graphics should and can reflect that.
Your Business Tagline
A tagline is your business motto, for want of a better explanation. It’s what you want to be known for. It’s typically worked into your website description so that search engines pick it up, but it also can be integrated into your graphic design or logo.
For example, your header image or logo can include your tagline, as can your Twitter profile’s background or your Facebook cover image. So what should your tagline say?
It should be a reflection of what values you hold or what your business or products will provide to the customer. It’s how you act and how they should perceive you.
Here are some examples of taglines:
- Nike – Just Do It – No excuses. This company is all about serious athletes, not part-time procrastinators.
- L’Oreal – Because I’m Worth It. Gives off an air of upscale indulgence.
- Hooker’s – Thank you Mr Hooker. A little girl is even happy with the results they provide.
Not everyone has a tagline. Google is another example. They don’t have a tagline saying, ‘Simply The Best Search Engine In The World’. Actually ‘Simply The Best’ reminds me of Tina Turner. Do you see where I am going here?
Think of a tagline, the shorter the better, that you can use everywhere online to help brand your business. It’s okay if you don’t cater to everyone – in fact, it’s better to weed out your non-audience. You want to attract the right people to your brand. If you want to be sarcastic, you want to attract people who appreciate that – not people who will constantly complain about that to everyone who isn’t.
What Will Your Voice Say About Your Brand?
Your ‘voice’ will say a lot to the public online about what your brand and you are all about. You’ll be creating conversational content online.
- Will you be argumentative?
- Will you discuss others or your competitors negatively and put them down at every opportunity?
- Will you be gentle and motivational? Show that you are willing to help others in your niche?
- Maybe you will be a mix of the 2 in subtle ways.
- Determine what you want your voice to be like online.
This may mean you have to tone down your personality. For example, if you’re usually sarcastic offline, it may come across as rude online and if you don’t want that, then you can change it. Or conversely you might have to boost up your personality a bit if you’re typically shy and reserved.
Secure Your Brand Socially
If you don’t brand yourself online, someone else will brand you. You never, ever want to leave that up to chance because people are actually more likely to speak up when they have a negative experience than when they have a positive one.
- There are many areas where you can socialize your brand online, starting with your website. If you have a blog where you allow comments, you can have your blog readers leave comments and you can respond to each one.
- In your niche’s forums you can brand yourself. First, do it by posting and commenting with very valuable, helpful commentary. Don’t post a lot of “me too” posts just to get your post count up.
- Make sure you use a signature file with your site links and your tagline, so people instantly know who or what you are about.
- Get a Twitter account for branding purposes. Twitter allows you to brand in several ways – with your 140-character Tweets, where you can share your voice and message – but also with your background image and header profile graphic on your Twitter page.
- Facebook is another one. Facebook can send you a lot of traffic – and you can interact directly with your audience and let them share your branding message with their own contacts. Many businesses benefit from a ‘Group’ page in Facebook too.
- Media marketing, such as with YouTube is excellent for branding purposes – or any video platform for that matter, but YouTube is the most popular one. You can get on camera (or at the very least use screen captures and record your computer screen while you talk and give them audio of you). Podcasts are another way of branding your voice online.
- Sometimes, hearing your voice and seeing your mannerisms can say a lot about your branding – things that plain text on a computer screen just can’t convey. It works both ways though – if you’re monotone and boring, then it might damage your brand, so make sure you practice, or hire someone to do your media marketing for you.
- Google Plus is a platform perfect for branding and of course Google loves it! You can post exactly the same as you do in Facebook. You can also do live hangouts with your prospects and customers and let them interact with you in a live video setting, such as you would in a webinar.
Branding Through Email Marketing
Email marketing is a tool that your customers allow you to use to brand yourself to them. They’re giving you permission to access their lives on a regular basis, rather than you having to wait for them to contact you.
You want to stay in touch often enough that they don’t forget you, but not several times a day where you become an annoyance. Email them whenever you have something worth sharing.
It helps if you position yourself as a marketer who is always on the cutting edge of your niche. It’s very easy to do – you just keep an ear to the ground and know what’s coming out about your topic.
- Sign up for Google Alerts for keywords in your niche. Check on Google daily to see what is hot and happening! Type in your niche keyword and then click on the News category and maybe the blog category, too – to see what’s being said that day.
You can then use a news story or other blog as curated content (where you take a snippet, link back to the original article, and add your own commentary about it).
Branding campaigns are on-going efforts – not something you’ll set up once and then abandon once it’s done. You want to evolve with whatever social websites get launched and remain aware of where your target audience can be found.
Once your brand is built online, keep building and grow!