Branding has always been an important factor for businesses; however, it is even more important today. Recent research has found that nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer to purchase products from brands that are familiar to them. For small businesses, competing against the major companies means identifying ways to get your brand known by your customers. Let’s take a look at some tips that will help you best build your brand online.
Research the Competition
While your brand is about your products and services, a good first step is to understand the branding of the competition. After all, one of the most important ways to stand out is to differentiate yourself from other products out there. One of the key methods of how to build your brand online involves articulating what makes you different from all the other options.
Conduct research and jot down notes about what your major competitors do. Specifically, note things like:
- Their message
- Their visuals
- Marketing campaigns
- Quality of products
This will provide you with some information that shows how your brand stacks up against theirs and better help position your ideas to create your branding efforts.
Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience is key to success. Who is going to be drawn to your products? Think in a detailed nature here. Don’t just assume that your app will be favored by “tech people” but rather “early adopters of trendy new technology.” Maybe your tutoring company does not aim to help “college students” but rather “college students who are underprepared in STEM fields.” Being more specific is a key strategy for enabling you to more effectively market your brand.
Once you’ve identified your audience, the next step is to learn about them. What are their typical purchasing trends? How do they prefer to engage with companies? There are many resources for data on consumer behavior. Reading up about your audience can inform your efforts to effectively target them.
Create Your Brand Voice
When you think about companies, they tend to have a theme in the way they interact with others. Nike is often inspirational. Apple is stylish yet friendly. Determining your brands’ voice is key for shaping your future branding efforts. If you own a landscaping service, you may decide you want your brand voice to be friendly and informative. If you operate a fitness service, you may want your brand voice to be that of an approachable expert.
The reality is that there are many ways to frame your brand voice; however, the voice you decide upon should stay consistent throughout your marketing efforts. This will help create a consistent brand that resonates with customers. Again, things like understanding your audience and their needs are important here. You may even create a few messages in different voices and ask which one resonates better with a focus group to try to get a sense of your ideal brand voice.
One of the easiest ways to build your online brand is to let your customers speak for you. Encouraging customers to share their experience on sites like Yelp can be an effective way to help enhance these efforts. Consider linking to your reviews on your website. This helps future customers build trust in your company.
Most people today will go look at reviews before deciding upon a service to take part in or a company to purchase from. Dissatisfied customers will go out of their way to find a way to leave a review. Thus, making it easier for satisfied customers to leave reviews with little effort is a critical step in helping cultivate your online brand.
Create a Blog
One of the easiest ways to engage your audience online is to create a blog on your website. This allows you to share information with customers. Depending upon your business, your blog may take several different shapes. Typically, you will want to use your blog not to directly sell your service; rather, you want to post informative stories that help educate customers, providing an important service.
When writing your blogs, ensure that you are speaking in the brand voice that you have decided upon. This is one of the best ways to leverage that voice in a way that can resonate with customers. Blogs are also important as an extra method of drawing people to your website. Good search engine optimization with blogs will increase your website’s overall visibility.
Connect with Your Audience
One of the most effective ways to establish a positive online brand is to engage with your audience. The most effective way to do this is through social media. Engaging with your audience does not just mean posting interesting content. It also means responding to your audience’s comments and questions. These are important things that can quickly be done to help enhance your brand.
Additionally, more and more organizations are turning to periodic interactive things like YouTube and Facebook Live to enhance their engagement. If you have a fitness company, consider offering a monthly live workout for free to anyone interested. If you have a mechanic business, consider creating videos that show how to complete small maintenance tasks. These are strategies that can greatly harness overall engagement and create an effective online brand.
Learning how to build your brand online can be a difficult situation for many people. After all, branding is not something we typically spend a lot of time thinking about. However, branding is an incredibly critical aspect of success, particularly for small businesses. Your branding strategy largely begins with understanding your audience and their needs. This is an important step for framing your future exploits.
Once you know your target audience, building an effective brand online means helping your company stand out from competitors while engaging with your audience. This can take the form of creating standardized representations of your company (i.e. colors, logo, brand voice) to creating content that your audience will value and tune in for. Following these suggestions will help give you a leg up as you strive to build your brand online.