If you want people to flock to your business, you need to work on perfecting your brand. It’s that simple. It’s really no different than trying to make new friends at a new school. You need to represent yourself in the best light to get all of those new people to like you.
But as a small business, building your brand is a bit more difficult than making friends in grade school. There are several factors to consider. So what can you do to make your audience fall in love with your brand?
Perfect Your Website
Your website is your digital storefront and the face of your online persona. Because of these things, it’s important that you make it as attractive and inviting as possible.
Think about brands like Starbucks or an Apple store. When you step into one of those establishments, it becomes evident pretty quickly that they are interested in much more than just selling their product. They are also selling you their brand. In the case of Starbucks, there are coffee mugs, coffee blends, household items, and even CDs that they play in the stores for sale.
They want you to go home with a firm understanding of who they are. If you buy something, great; but they really want to sell you on their brand. In the long run, it is your opinion of their brand that matters.
You need to approach the design and layout of your website the same way. In the same way that physical storefronts try to lure customers in with colors, slogans and approachability, your website needs to have similar features. Your site should be modern and implement colors that reflect your brand. In terms of all text on your site, it should be written in a way that reflects your personality. If it is filled with buzzwords and over-inflated with fluffy language, your audience is going to see tight through it.
On the other hand, if your site if loaded with intriguing content, your audience will keep coming back time and time again.
Chances are good that your computer—as long as it was made in the last three years or so—is equipped with a video camera. The same can be said for your phone, too. Make use of this accessible technology and make videos which you can then post to YouTube or on your site.
Year after year, more and more people are relying on videos for marketing purposes. Why? Well, for starters, it’s a great way to get up close and personal with a business. You get a better sense of the company’s attitude and personality.
So your excuse about how video camera are expensive and that you just don’t have the time is now invalid. Film a few videos, choose the one you think represents you company the best and put it online. You’ll be surprised at how fin it can be and how much attention they can attract when done well.
Anyone that has ever created a Twitter account knows just how hard and frustrating it can be to build your number of followers. But it is crucial that you stick with it and keep tweeting away.
Twitter has become the go-to conversation starter in the world of social media. While it may still not be as popular as Facebook, your chances for increased visibility are much better on Twitter. On Twitter, you have a much better chance of a post going viral—a post with a link to your sit in it, perhaps—than on Facebook.
With Twitter, if you can get the right person to Re-Tweet (RT) you, you’ll see your followers jump significantly, often as little time as 72 hours.
Of course, getting the audience is only part of the problem. You also need to know how to conduct yourself on Twitter (and any other social media platforms for that matter). Ask people questions and share useful information that you feel your audience will want to know. No one cares what you had for lunch…but they probably want to know about you feelings related to a news event that is relevant to your industry.
Keep it smart, but keep it fun…and watch your number of followers grow.
Don’t Ignore Traditional Media
It’s easy to get wrapped up in social media and mobile marketing…and that’s a good thing, as that is obviously where the industry is headed. Still, don’t make the mistake of abandoning traditional media altogether. It can still be an effective part of your brand-building in several ways.
First and foremost, think about business cards. They are still a traditional staple of nearly any meeting with new clients. And even with smartphones in everyone’s pocket or purse, business cards are still one of the primary tools people use to retrieve your contact information.
Beyond that there, are also ways that you can merge traditional media and digital media. QR codes (those black and white pixelated squares you see everywhere) can be paced on traditional media such as flyers and business cards; those codes are then scanned by smartphone devices with the appropriate apps and taken to a landing page of your choice.
The plain and simple fact is that in some circles, traditional print media is still being used effectively. As long as it is working to some degree, it is in your best interest to sue it in any way you can. The more forms of advertisement you have in front of your audience’s eyes, the better chance you have of being discovered.
As a small business owner, you have enough on your plate as it is. Still, if you can’t keep up with recent trends, you need to hire someone that can. This is also where being active on social media pays off. You need to stay abreast of any industry news, changes, or announcements. In a world where everyone is getting accustomed to getting information at the speed of light, it does not bode well for you if you are getting up-to-date information later than everyone else.
Staying well-informed will also help you to keep your website filled with fresh, current, and relevant information that your audience is going to want to see. If you can do this with precision on a regular basis, you can actually become their go-to source for cutting-edge industry news.
A few ways to ensure that you stay up to date include:
• Following top names within your industry on Twitter and Facebook
• Subscribing to industry newsletters
• Attending conferences and other events
If you can manage to handle all of these things, your audience will start to recognize your brand as a leader within your industry. Make sure you always seek to promote your brand over the selling point of your business to get the maximum effect.
Consumers are smart and know the real thing when they see it. What do they see when they see you? Is the brand image they are seeing the one that you set out to produce when you first started your business?
If not, what can you do in regards to these five items to change that?