10 Ways to Create an Effective Online Brand

If you are a struggling solopreneur working from home, you may think branding has little to do with your business. You probably see business branding as something only major corporations with big ad budgets can afford to do. Think again.

If you’re not actively branding your business, you are passing on a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your online position — especially in your niche. And this is a major point that some small businesses don’t get. But before you can create your brand you need a uniform goal and plan to help you keep your  business branding efforts on target.

Here are at least 10 different ways you can help your brand stand out.

1.  Identify your brand clearly. People should be able to tell at a glance what your business is all about the moment they land on your website. Show (don’t just tell) your visitors:

  • What you do
  • Who you are
  • how you can help or even just entertain them

Letting people know what they can expect from you and your business and what they can trust you to deliver , as celebrity Jackie Chan demonstrates here, is what branding is all about.

Business Branding forCelebrity Jackie Chan

2. Pay Attention to Voice. No, we’re not back in your high school English class. And Yes, your business needs to have a clear and distinctive voice for your branding to work. “Voice” is the personality you project across all your websites, social media and other forms of contact.

You control the voice you want to project, but it should fit your mission and your target market consistently, like a favorite pair of slippers.

One of my favorite examples is Nicole Dean, who quickly establishes her humorous voice on her website and doesn’t disappoint later.

Nicole Dean

3.  Know when to get help.  Using the right help at the right time can actually improve your branding. Trying to do it all yourself leads to overload and overwhelm. You’re too close to it which can cause you to lose track of your business and your brand.

As a true CEO, you should build the type of support that will leave you free to focus on customers, clients and your branding.

4.  Manage your Online Reputation.  One negative comment – deserved or not – can really affect your online reputation. Check comments and feedback regularly to see what people are saying about you.

An easy way to do this is to set up a Google Alert for your name and business name. More important than monitoring your reputation online, is making sure you don’t give people a reason to badmouth you in the first place. Stay in touch with your clients and notify them when there are glitches or problems. Process refunds promptly when asked and thank people who do you favors or submit work.

5.  Tell your Brand’s Story. Use your online footprint to let people get to know your brand by showing them where you’ve been, your mission and where you are headed. Your “About Page” is a great place to provide a brief history of your business. What inspired you to start your business? How old is your company? How did it look in the beginning? How has it evolved and how do you serve your customers?

You can all share your brand’s story in your newsletters and press releases but keep in mind that everything you do should be geared to your customer — to help them connect better with you and your business.

6-burts-bees-multi-media-platforms as an example of consistent business branding6.  Consistency is the key to business branding. Interact regularly and consistently:

  • Across all your social platforms
  • In the type of material you share – flyers, surveys, prizes, emails, newsletters, etc.
  • With your unique voice

7.  Use Templates. One way to make it easy to create consistency across all of your marketing venues is to use:

  • Email templates featuring your colors, logo, headshot and signature
  • Flyer templates
  • HTML templates for your newsletter
  • Html templates for your landing and sales pages
  • MS Word templates for business correspondence
  • And for anything else you reuse frequently.

With a template, you don’t have to second-guess things like what your exact shade of sub-head red was. Templates save time and help you instantly brand your business without effort.

8.  Go Visual. What were the hottest trends in 2012? Pinterest and Instagram. I admit that I haven’t done this yet, but be sure to put creating a profile on these two sites on your to-do-list.

To do this effectively:

  • Create more than one pinboard
  • Check out your competitors
  • Develop an overall plan for how you will include these social sites into your marketing
  • Make your pinboards interesting and visually dramatic
  • Trigger emotion when possible
  • Remember to reflect your branding consistently and pin customer content that fits your brand onto your boards as well.

QR code created by Unitag qr code creator9.  Don’t Ignore Mobile. 2011 saw the introduction of QR codes to the western world. Now they’re everywhere because at least one-third of all web viewers are accessing the Internet from a mobile unit. When customers use your QR code, reward them with coupons, discounts or even just great photographs they can share.

Don’t just use a plain, generated QR code:  Have a custom QR code designed containing or incorporating graphics such as your logo – one that makes people instantly think of your business.

10.  Optimize our Signature. Don’t miss the opportunity to make the most of your signature. Include anchor text to your blog or website as well as your tagline. Here’s a good example. . .

QR code created by Unitag qr code creator

I have to admit that I’m not doing all of these things yet, so join me as we continue to fine-tune our business branding online. Leave a comment below to share how you have implemented one of these ideas.

Here’s to your online branding success,

Marcia Ming

One Response to “10 Ways to Create an Effective Online Brand”

  1. I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site?