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Getting Onboard: Branding Your Business Online

With millions of people around the world going online to shop and learn more about the products/services they want to purchase, setting up your business on the Internet sounds like a pretty good idea. However, actually getting even the tiniest portion of online shoppers to buy what you’re offering isn’t as simple as putting up a website.

You will be competing against many businesses that have long since established themselves on the Internet as the go-to e-retailers, with other start-ups and mid-tier companies to also contend with. This is where branding needs to come into play.

Building Awareness

Even if you believe that you are selling a product that is better than any of what the rest of the market is offering, it won’t matter at all if no one actually knows about it. Branding jumpstarts awareness for your online business by attaching a message to your product/s that will be immediately recognizable to people. Once they take notice, more opportunities to draw them in to your company start to open.

For your brand to stick to people’s minds, you will need to be consistent in your messaging and how you deliver that message. Everything from your logo to your site’s content to the platforms you use to market the business has to all come together to reinforce your brand’s message. Whether you’re going for a no-frills professional image or a fun-loving youth-oriented one, you better commit to it fully.

Setting Differentiation

Unless you are introducing a product that has never before been sold on the Internet, you will be entering the online industry with a distinct disadvantage of selling something that another more well-known company is already offering. Branding will help your business stand out from the rest of the competition with a unique and memorable identity.

Think of who comprises your target audience. Are they yuppies with money to spend looking for experiences? Are they stay-at-home moms hunting for deals and discounts? Whoever they are, develop your brand in such a way that they can identify with its messaging so that they seek you out instead of competitors.

Adding Value

Once you’ve established your online presence, good branding will also help your content attract more people. Remember how having a superior product won’t matter if it’s not known? The reverse is also true and can work in your favor, as having your brand imprinted onto your target audience’s memory will push them to check out your content over those created by relatively unknown competitors due to your content’s perceived value.

An example would be having a link to your content show up lower than that of a competitor’s in Google’s search results page for a particular keyword. People who recognize your brand will have a better perception of your content and choose to click on it instead of the higher-ranked link from a business they don’t know.

Forging Loyalty

When you’ve already attracted a decent number of people to visit your website, consume your content and engage with your business, you will have demonstrated the value you can bring to their lives. This in turn proves to them the truth in your branding, creating a relationship that is built on trust. Once your customers trust you, they will be much more likely to stay loyal to your business. Even if competitors appeal to reason with specific advantages their products have, a genuine emotional connection with your business can win out to keep those customers from switching sides.

Creating Advocates

Word-of-mouth travels far and fast on the Internet. This is largely in part to social media giving the average person a platform to speak his/her mind about anything. This includes the quality of a product/service and their experience with businesses in general. The great byproduct of having loyal customers is that they are also ready to recommend your company to their social networks.

They will do so by sharing your content, linking to your site and bringing up your brand when engaging in discussions online or offline. Over time, you can accumulate enough brand advocates to the point where you can reduce some of your marketing costs and use your resources elsewhere to improve your business.

The power of branding manifests in major ways; setting up a roadmap for your marketing strategy, establishing your online presence, and influencing your target audience. Make your mark now by investing in brand development, and reap the benefits of being at the top of consumers’ minds.

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