Want to give your brand a lift with an online presence but not sure where to begin? These handy tips will get you off to a flying start.
Most business owners I talk to now recognize that online branding is an important and essential part of their identity.
Branding is the crucial stepping stone to greater audience interaction, helping brands establish that pivotal emotional connection with their customers. In turn, successful branding and promotion should lead to more customers, more exposure and, of course, more sales.
But if you’re new to the online branding game, where to begin? Here I talk through some easy ways you can build your brand on the web, reaping the rewards in the process.
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1. Develop a Mission Statement
Who are you and why do you matter? Whether you sell car tires, HR services or make pin badges from home, you matter and you need to tell people you matter. Start building your online brand by developing a mission statement. Ask yourself:
- Why do we exist?
- How do we help people?
- Where do we want to go?
Answer these questions to get a better understanding of who you are as a business. Here is a marketing mission statement you might find useful for inspiration.
2. Set Up a Blog
Creating a blog through which you regularly publish content is a very effective way of building your online presence - it makes you look authoritative, relevant and on-the-pulse and helps you connect with customers old and new.
Use a blog to talk about:
- Your products and services.
- Your thoughts on your industry.
- Who you are as a company.
3. Go Social
If you’re not yet using social media, you should be. It’s free, simple and is a surefire way to develop relationships and promote your brand. It’s a good idea to set up accounts with the three biggies, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and use them to promote your business and speak to customers.
Harnessing social networks is a great way to connect with customers old and new, leveraging a social audience in a positive way. It’s also a great way to make money online.
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4. Work With a Mentor
When it comes to brand promotion, there’s always something new to learn. Consider seeking out an experienced mentor to help guide you along as you enter the online world. They’ll talk to you about how they succeeded and how they learned from their mistakes. Search a list of available mentors close to you.
5. Go Into Video Marketing
Video marketing is almost certainly the future. It's set to account for 69 percent of all Internet traffic by next year. With 64 percent of marketers planning to make video a central plank of their marketing and branding strategies, harnessing it is a no-brainer. Consumers like the easy-to-digest video format it’s something they can watch quickly before getting on with other things.
A well-made video, designed to keep an audience’s attention, can carry a strong, positive brand message and work wonders for your business. There are tons of video platforms YouTube, Vimeo and Vine to name a few - plus the video facilities that are now built-in to social platforms like Facebook.
6. Speak in a Consistent Tone of Voice
Developing a consistent tone of voice that you use across all your communications is extremely important. It helps you define your brand, reinforce your identity and help you be clear about your product offering.
Use the same language, character, and tone on your website as well as all the other kinds of comms you do - be it email marketing, social media updates or whatever else. Drinks maker Innocent is often cited as one of the best brands to have developed and maintained a consistent tone of voice.
7. Don’t Copy Others
Developing your brand is about developing yourself. It’s about being authentic and original. So it’s unlikely that copying or mimicking another brand’s style, which plenty of companies have done - is going to do you any good. It makes you look lazy and devoid of ideas. Go back to your mission statement, remind yourself of why you exist and what you want to be as a brand - then use that to carve your own distinct identity.
8. Think Long-Term
Starting thinking of the bigger picture as you develop your online branding strategy. Align your strategy with your business goals. How can all the branding and promotion you’re doing help you meet your longer-term, overarching aims?
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Ask yourself questions like:
- What new branding tools do we want to be using in the next five years?
- What do we want our social media strategy to look like next year?
- How can our branding efforts contribute to our profit targets?
Short-termism in branding rarely works. Ensure you’re always looking to next month, the next quarter and the next year and factor it into your branding planning.
Do you have any of your own tips for brand-building?