Every company director or marketing manager would love to boost their corporate profile simply by throwing sacks of cash at online advertising. However, few companies have the cash reserves to fuel an ad-spend extravaganza, meaning that more creative promotional methods are required in today’s congested marketplace.
Branding is critical in defining an identity and establishing a cohesive narrative throughout any public communications. Deciding how to brand your business online relies on many factors, starting with understanding the brand and its key appeal to audiences. What does your company excel at, and where can it outperform competitors? If your roofing firm dabbles in gutter cleaning, the latter should never take priority over the former. Decide at the outset what your brand’s key attributes and services are, and focus on those.
Knowing how to brand your business effectively means standardising every customer-facing element. From proprietary email signatures to answerphone messages, and from mission statements to press releases, everything should sound cohesive. Use logos wherever possible for visual recall, and get one person to manage every social media account for a consistent tone of voice. Unless your business relies exclusively on your own personal expertise, it’s best to focus on the brand rather than the individual; Bill Gates may be the world’s richest man, but his personal brand has always been secondary to Microsoft’s.
The reference to social media in the previous paragraph leads onto the crucial importance of exploiting these diverse (and free) platforms. It’s hard to know how to brand your business nowadays without utilising Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to spark and maintain regular dialogue about new content/services/offers/announcements. YouTube remains the default platform for video content, while LinkedIn is great for building connections and reinforcing working relationships. Consumers are increasingly choosing to contact businesses through social media, expecting rapid responses and resolutions to their complaints or enquiries.
As you begin to build up a roster of (hopefully) satisfied customers, it may be advantageous to collect testimonials for your website or promotional materials. Some marketing experts suggest that knowing how to brand your business involves being able to allay concerns among prospective customers. In today’s post-truth market, comments from real people are very useful for encouraging wavering audiences to take the plunge and give your company their business. In an ideal world, testimonials should have a name and thumbnail photo attached for added authenticity. This also applies to self-penned staff bios on About Us webpages, helping to personalise the brand and cement trust in key team members.
Another very personal trait involves blogging, which is why companies around the world are increasingly uploading regular blogs to celebrate awards or promote new client accounts. A core benefit of producing daily or weekly blogs is the scope it offers for incorporating search engine terms and long tail keywords, boosting ranking results. Don’t forget search engine optimisation for core online content, now that Google and Bing have replaced the Yellow Pages as go-to platforms for finding experts in a particular field.