Any business in the modern age needs an online branding presence. Why? Because that is where your customers are. Ignoring this aspect of your business means passing up potential customers and leaving yourself vulnerable to inaccurate information that may be floating around about you. In fact, research has found that 97% of people turn to the internet to learn about local businesses. This basically makes online branding invaluable.
Armed with that information, it is clear that no matter how big or small your business, it is critical that you turn your focus to online branding to continue to grow in 2019 and beyond.
Online Branding Defined
What exactly is online branding? It’s the digital extension of your business, encompassing all the tools and channels that represent you online. This includes:
- Social media profiles
Your brand’s online identity includes anything that you put out there for your customers to find as well as content created by others. The latter can create a lot of difficulty for some businesses because the perception of others might not reflect how you want your brand portrayed. However, you have likely heard the old adage, perception is reality, so any and all online content will have some impact on your brand.
It’s on You
If someone has written about a bad experience with your brand or there is inaccurate information somewhere online, it is your responsibility to take action and bring it into alignment with your brand’s identity. Online branding is your opportunity to control the narrative of your business and create the image you want to embody your brand.
It’s Value to Your Business
It can be hard to see the true value of branding for your business if you haven’t focused on digital marketing up to this point. However, every business needs to make this a priority. For example, it might seem like your heating and air business would benefit most from interacting with the community — and that might be true — but thoughtful online HVAC branding is also critical to growing your customer base.
You Only Get One First Impression
For many potential customers, online branding is your first impression — whether it’s customer reviews, your Facebook profile, or a display ad that takes them to your website. Additionally, this impression, good or bad, will likely determine whether they choose to become a customer. If you think about the big picture, the more people who interact with your business online, the larger the effect on your business. Simply put, online branding is something you can no longer ignore.
Establish Brand Loyalty
However, it is more than just an opportunity to introduce customers to your brand, this is your chance to establish loyalty. The key is resonating with your audience so that even if they are not ready to make a purchase yet, they will come back to you instead of your competitors when they are ready.
Well-executed branding can set you apart from your competition and help you create a relationship with your current and future customers. Since it’s so important to your business, it is essential that you learn how to implement online branding correctly.
The Core Components of Good Online Branding
Online branding may seem like a complex concept but if you break it down, it is really about harnessing the power of the internet to make your brand stronger and more successful. Here is a quick run-down on how to do that by keeping these key factors top of mind:
Consistent branding is how you ensure your customers always recognize you — even from the smallest details like a 2×2 icon of your logo. This can range from writing your brand name exactly the same way on every social media profile to identifying and using a specific hex color code for every visual representation of your brand.
To ensure consistency online or otherwise, you should create a brand style guide.
Choosing the Right Platforms
It is understandable that your resources are limited. To start, choose a few platforms to put your focus on. You can expand later as you have more help. Depending on your audience, this could be mean choosing between Twitter or Instagram, deciding whether to invest in video development for YouTube, as well as narrowing down the blogs you guest write for.
Optimizing Your Website
If your website is outdated or hard to navigate, your brand is in trouble. A high-quality website that accurately reflects your brand is the foundation of all your online branding efforts. Everything you do online should tie back to your website as the most reliable source for information about your products or services. Plus, it is a critical component of your organic SEO. That being said, one place you do not skimp is website development and maintenance.
This is a great place to start for your business’s online branding. Once you have established the essentials, you should always be expanding and improving your online presence to help your business grow.