For a company to become well known in the online world, you might think that they would have to spend a large amount of money. While marketing budgets of leading companies are extensive, many effective online branding strategies can easily be achieved with nothing more than creativity and determination.
You have a good brand if people can recall your product or service from memory. You want them to trust you and think of you and your website before they think about any competitors. Branding isn’t just for big businesses; small businesses, especially those with an online presence, can’t afford not to start some kind of brand awareness campaign.
There is no shortcut to branding success. If you take a look at some of the sales promises made today, you would think that all you need to do to make millions is to launch a website and use free search engine submission services. These snake oil salesmen are not telling you the whole truth.
Brand awareness, or brandcasting, is a strategy that will define a company, show how it is unique, while creating a comfort level in the potential customer. A large part of branding is being consistent in everything about your company. This includes the company’s message and vision, the website, the employees, and even the packaging. Who are you and what are your values? All this takes time and vision.
Before even starting to get your brand out there, you should develop a winning slogan and logo. These will be the first things remembered by the public. If you hear the word McDonald’s, you will see the Golden Arches in your mind; if you hear KFC, the Colonel will present himself, if MSN is mentioned, it is reasonable to see the fluttering of a butterfly. Defining a simple, two or three tone image that can be inexorably linked with your company can be extremely powerful.
While this is fundamental to both successful offline and online branding strategies, it is important not to forget the actual development of your brand. You might have an excellent logo, but consistent failure in delivery of customer service can take its toll. Your brand and your message should focus on your clients and not on you. Customer benefits that are consistent with your marketing message will get you increased sales.
Your website should be an integral part of your brand as well. It should incorporate the promise you are making to your customers. Remember that customers make their decisions to purchase based on friend and family recommendations, advertising and experience. Building a brand is like building a reputation. Companies interested in long-term success must invest in creating a targeted brand experience for their customers.
While providing great customer service will help your reputation, customer service does not always have to be in the form of responding well to queries. Be proactive; FAQs and well-targeted, well-researched help guides on your website are immensely powerful in garnering a strong reputation. Use article marketing to its fullest advantage to leverage your position as an expert in your field.
Beware of online gimmicks, though. Many companies have seen a surge in business through competitions and contests. But these numbers are impossible to maintain once the offer is over. Use them sparingly, and tie them in with press releases and long lasting deals.
Whether large or small, local or global, social networking can be your key to the successful implementation of online branding strategies. If you have something to say, be it a product launch or exciting development, put a teaser on your social page. People will take the bait.
In much the same way, you can create a blog for your company. Twitter can also be a great way to use a short, snappy sentence to announce a new online initiative.
Many companies have made the mistake of trying to differentiate between their online marketing campaigns, and their offline equivalents. This couldn’t be more wrong. Your customers exist in the Real World. Use the reliable marketing double-hitter (where online and offline branding strategies are in complete unison). Indeed, offline advertising can drive your online commerce significantly, if tailored well.
Long before the economic crash of late 2008 hit us; competition in the world of e-commerce was becoming ever more ruthless. However, as a result of the global recession, many companies are looking to the net to not only push forward, but also to survive the storm. Online shopping is actually on the increase, as people rein themselves in and limit their impulse purchases. They do this by not visiting the malls, and keeping away from temptation. Take advantage of this by creating an online brandcasting strategy so you can see more traffic on your website.