Branding is one of the most essential components of a winning marketing plan. Building a winning brand involves effectively building mind share among your target customer base and associating the right images and attributes with your brand in their minds.
Building a brand for your Web-based business involves the same basic principles as does branding for more traditional businesses. However, Web-based businesses - and those businesses with a strong Web presence - face some unique challenges as well.
Here are 5 tips to get you started in branding your Web-based business:
Tip #1: Make your value proposition is abundantly obvious: People are extremely click-happy today: here one minute, gone the next. Important! Make sure that new visitors to your Web site have a general idea of what product or service your company offers within 10 seconds of landing on your home page. Spell it out, draw them a picture, do whatever it takes. But, make sure they know the value you offer and whom you are targeting. This is a cornerstone of good branding.
Tip #2: Easy site navigation is paramount: With all of the excellent programming languages and software tricks available now, many Web site designers like to focus on form over function. Bzzzzz - wrong approach. The guiding rule in designing your site should be whether someone can easily get around your site and find what they want. Coming in second should be how good the site looks. (Looks are important, but function is king). Otherwise, it will reflect poorly on your brand.
Tip #3: Be sure your online logo works in all media: Even if you have a Web-based business, it is likely that you will be using your logo in other media in the future: on business cards, signs, flyers, etc. When designing your logo, be sure that it is one that can be reproduced easily in multiple media. If you are not sure, ask a professional graphic designer for her opinion. Good branding means being consistent in all customer-facing materials.
Tip #4: Make it easy to contact a real-live person: Your Web site should have a clear ‘Contact Us’ or similar call to action on every page. This functions like an escape button, so that if the customer is not finding the content they need at that moment they can click there rather than just giving up and leaving your site for good.
Tip #5: Aim for high-level customer experience: A good brand means not only logos and messaging, it is also reflected in the quality of experience that a customer has when they visit your Web site. As good as Web site technology is today, it is still far from perfect. Undoubtedly we collectively have a long way to go before Web sites are truly user-friendly. Until that day comes, put every resource you can into making sure that visitors enjoy your site, are comfortable there, and can find what they want fast. Your Web site might be their first or only impression of your company. Make it a good one!
Like some more friendly advice on branding your business? Find free branding information and tools at http://www.jedcjones.com