BRANDING FOR BEGINNERS

 

Branding refers to the style and experience of your business that makes it uniquely yours and not replicable by another business. 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

Your brand is a big part of what makes the first impression when someone visits your website (along with the design and optimization of your website).

Ask yourself this question "what do I want someone who lands on my site to experience?"  Trust?  Curiosity? 

Your logo, color, design, and text are branding tools that contribute to this first impression.

LOOK GOOD

Choose a logo that is bold, clear, and recognizable.  It is a good investment to hire a designer who has experience in branding from a site such as Upwork or Fiverr, which offers independent design services at a low price.  Once you have a logo you are satisfied with, try it on potential customers.

NAME

It is important to choose a name that your target audience will identify with.  Choosing a name is a trial and error process and is not an exact science.  Sometimes companies will rebrand themselves under a new name to try and identify with a broader target audience.  Here are some general rules for choosing a name.

  • Keep it super simple and quite short
  • Evoke some kind of picture or word association, even if it's not direct
  • Make sure it is not protected by copyright
  • Make sure the domain is available
  • Don't waste too much time brainstorming ideas for a cool name.  Apple is the most successful maker of phones and computers and their name has nothing to do with electronics

CHOOSE YOUR TARGET MARKET 

Your brand must be targeted to a specific niche.  Your brand will show whether it is competing in cost, quality, novelty or convenience.  It won't speak to all groups of people, and that's fine.  It is much easier to establish yourself as an authority figure in a small niche instead being a small fish in a large pond competing against established brands.  Tim Ferriss often talks about the importance of finding your loyal 1,000 customers who are always excited to buy the product or service you offer.

PRODUCT TESTING

Test your products to find out data about how the market values your product or service.  It is important to make decisions based on data collected vs assumptions of how your product will sell in the market.  If you don't have the time and resources to conduct large consumer surveys, try asking people in several of your circles about your product, measure interest, and find out if they are willing to pay.  Search among the most common online retailers and see what similar products are sold to (and how they are advertised). 

BUILDING CONSUMER TRUST IN YOUR BRAND

 

GET TESTIMONIALS OF YOUR PRODUCTS

People are much more likely to trust you if you're not the only one who says your products are excellent.  Previous customer testimonials are helpful.  You can add a feature to your Shopify store that allows customers to write reviews and you can collect testimonials in the testing phase of the product before its launch.

RESPOND TO PROBLEMS IMMEDIATELY

If you have a customer service problem and you don't get a response for several days after contacting a company, you feel quite uncomfortable about them.  Respond to your customers within 24 hours, even if it is just a matter of saying that you will examine the matter further and give them time to resolve it.

THANK YOUR CUSTOMERS

Send the message that your company is paying attention to your customers and appreciates them.  Your customers will appreciate this and are likely to remember your customer service.  Send your customers a thank you or follow-up after placing their order can go a long way toward building trust.

CONSISTENCY IS KING 

One of the most important aspects of branding is consistency.  Consistency comes in many forms, including:

  • How often you post blogs or launch new product lines
  • Spelling throughout the site and across all platforms
  • The way you conduct customer service
  • Aesthetics from one page of your website to another

Be consistent when representing your business online or in person.  Try scheduling publications and releases regularly, so your customers know what to expect.  Make your own style guide and make sure that anyone who publishes on behalf of your brand adheres to it.

PERSONAL BRANDING

One of the biggest trends of the last decade is the idea of personal branding.

People are selling their human capital instead of products.  As products come and go, their human capital only improves.  Whether you're a fitness trainer, a psychologist, an architect, a health professional or have any other service to offer based on your innate talents or long-term experience, your personal brand is a great foundation.  Personal branding is about communicating why you have skills that others do not have. 

Write guest articles, blog about any success stories you have, take pictures of yourself online and showcase your good work on as many social platforms as possible.  Remember, if you are branding yourself, each of your social platforms is part of the impression of your business.

What are you currently implementing to increase brand awareness in your business?  Comment below and let us know!

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