Online Branding Secrets

By: Scott Lindsay

Brands grow in time. They appear over night but they can die as fast if you fail to address at least four of the crucial aspects of the branding process:

1. You need to understand your clients, their needs and the market. When you write about your products don't write something like "buy this product because it is good". Write "this product is good because..." and start naming its features. And ask yourself: is this product really necessary?

2. Reinforce your brand with online and offline communication tools: emails and newsletters (opt-in based, and not bought from who-knows-what traffic exchange firm). All aspects of the customer service should be branded: ask your employees to answer the phone by first providing the name of the company, then their own name. That works for "first-time" emails as well: always attach a signature, always write intelligent messages, and reaffirm your business statement.

3. If your slogan is "light and beauty" stress it in a newsletter by writing: to bring light and beauty in your lives we have created this product and link to the product. Beware: all your branding efforts mean nothing if the product you sell is inferior and if you don't keep your promises. All your promotional materials, the customer support and the products should be focused on creating customer loyalty.

4. Offline and external communications are vital. They add to the online branding efforts and should also be used to reinforce brands. Start designing your brochures and business cards. It's time to do some serious business here.

To deliver your message online you could use the following online branding tools:

A Website with a difference: it is a fact that users remember more visually than textual. So create a website that tunes with the likes of the targeted consumers: use distinctive colors, maybe pay to have an amazing website design created and a professional logo. Be different, be yourself.

You don't want visitors to leave without purchasing: make your products visible. Highlight special offers and discounts. Red is a great color for this purpose: a real attention grabber, perfect for your "hot sellers".

Surprise your visitors and don't let them forget you. Give them something even if just for visiting. Some shops give candy. You should give information: free articles, ebooks, software, etc.

Innovate, don't imitate! Web users don't like to see cheap copies of other websites when they land on your web pages.

Transmit your message consistently. Focus on a niche and address the consumers in this segment: clear and precisely.

Don't lie to your customers.

I cannot conclude without underlining the most important advantage of online branding: it doesn't need big budgets! Yes, it is your brand. Sure you "understand" it. But when you attract your clients by offering free jokes or other gimmicks just to increase traffic, are you sure you understand your brand right? Traffic is wonderful, but how is that going to expand customer loyalty?

So think relevant and use the real world to enhance your Web brand.

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