Believe it or not you have a brand. Yes, even the smallest of businesses, have a look & feel and some values that represent them.
If you’re a small business owner you know how you want to be seen – many businesses integrate certain values or standards into the way they work.
For example, honesty, integrity, professionalism, efficiency, speed of delivery and friendliness could all be part of your brand – you can use these to help create your tone of voice, or in other words the way you write about yourself on your website, social media and marketing materials.
You’ll also have a look that represents you to the outside world, even if it’s just a logo and a colour you predominantly use. So, if you’re building your first website it’s important to make sure you use those colours and the logo that your customers are already used to.
The final piece of the branding jigsaw is your target audience. Whether you’re a new or established business you’ll know who the people are that you want to buy your products or services.
If you know your customers and the people you want to attract you can talk to them in a tone of voice they’ll find attractive, because ultimately your brand is all about getting people to buy from you.
How you use your brand is important
Big corporates like to talk about their branding and how everything that emerges from the organsiation follows the same format, it’s always consistent.
Smaller businesses might not talk the same language but should behave no differently; no matter what platform you’re using, your messaging and branding should be consistent too.
In many cases the first engagement a new customer has with you is through your website. It is of the utmost importance that your site looks good, is consistent throughout and reflects the professionalism you want to convey.
Your site therefore has to be well designed and simple to navigate. It's easy to be tempted by the offers of the template driven site builders such as Wix and Squarespace, and they can be useful but I know from bitter experience just how time consuming and what a steep learning curve they can be. I'd always recommend a good local web design company as a first port of call, but make sure to look at their past work and to get testimonials from other customers.
Remember too that your site must tell people exactly what it is you do in easy-to-understand language. You’d be amazed how many sites fail this simple task.
It is also true of your digital marketing, the fact is you’re sharing with people how you can solve a problem, but they don’t necessarily need to know the intricate details, just that you’re the right person to help, in fact sharing too much detail can be off-putting!
And remember visitors consume content on websites by scanning pages, they don’t always read your carefully crafted descriptions in full like they would in a brochure, so keep it short and simple.
Visitors don’t linger on pages either; if they haven’t found what they’re looking for quickly they move on. Sites must therefore have a logical flow and obvious navigation markers to help visitors discover the next level of information, just like the sites we help create.
Don’t be tempted by novelty
We talked earlier about your logo and the colours you use, you may favour a particular font too, all of these make up your brand identity. Customers associate that identity with your business, so don’t be tempted to do something new and novel on your website.
As an example, consider a brand we all know, Coca Cola whose basic brand identity - the curly typeface - was created in the early 1900’s with the red detailing arriving in 1950. There has been very little change ever since because Coke knows the power of their brand.
Remember your Digital Marketing
Carry your brand consistency through into your digital marketing. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can all play a crucial role in attracting new business and reminding existing customers of your services.
Imagine if the messages you put out on each social media platform looked different and had a different tone of voice. Would it inspire confidence in your business? If one of those messages inspired a click through to your website which was then hard to navigate or had a completely different look, would that make you seem credible?
Luckily, it’s easy to be consistent across your website and social media platforms with some forethought and planning and, by being consistent you inspire confidence and gain credibility.
Consistency helps you up the rankings
Consistency works for you in more ways than just image and credibility, it helps to keep your website high in search engine rankings. This is especially true if you include links to your social media on all the pages of your site.
You may not have a social media strategy, but you should consider it - it’s a simple method for engaging with potential and existing customers, increases visitors to your site and keeps the site refreshed when you post regular content.
Consistency is the key
Keeping your branding consistent is crucial to making the best of your online presence. It’s simple enough to do especially with the head start you can get with the simple templates henleywebdesign.com provides. But if you’re going to compete, gain market share and grow as a business you need to make sure you follow through consistently into all your other marketing too.