Many small businesses make the mistake of believing that online marketing is all about the blog, the social media presence, the landing pages or whatever other marketing tactics they’re using. In reality, these are all pieces of the larger picture. Online marketing is all about branding.
What is branding, you say? It’s why we call adhesive bandages “Band-Aids,” and it’s why so many people refer to cling wrap as “Saran wrap.” These companies made such a huge impression that their names – their brands – are now synonymous with the product, even if that product was produced by a competitor.
It’s tough for a small business to reach that iconic level of branding, but it’s relatively easy to achieve recognition on a local or regional scale. At its core, branding is about humanizing your company. Use these tips to help give your business a character that your audience can identify with and appreciate!
- Authenticity: Let’s say you’re in the business of making beer. The stereotypical ad campaign featuring girls with brimming steins isn’t going to do it for your brand. Instead, head off on a marketing campaign that reflects a little bit of you: your company’s culture, your own personality or why you love the business that you’re in.
- Creating Branded Content: Branded content is essential – both in print and online. Don’t think you can get away with basic blogs, product descriptions or brochures. If you really want to make a name for yourself, get the word out in as many ways as possible. Hire press release writers when you have a new product, put together some whitepapers or offer to write guest posts on the industry’s leading blogs.
- Define Your Company’s Voice: Is your company a quirky young startup that spent a few years operating out of your mom’s garage? Do you deal in high-end luxury products? Is your business geared towards 20-somethings or 80-somethings? Take an honest look at your company’s values and your target market to create a voice that resonates with your audience.
- Mingle with Industry Influencers: One of the best ways to build a brand is to get in front of people. Show up at conferences, email the biggest names in the business – in short, do whatever it takes to make people remember you.
- Be Passionate: When you care about your company and your products, you’ll inspire others to care as well.
If it helps, think of your company as a person. What would he or she need to do in order to make friends among your target audience? Write down everything that comes to mind and use these ideas to create your brand.
Branding is the first step to developing an online presence. Once you’ve identified your brand, you’ll be able to use it throughout your website, on social media and wherever else your marketing ventures take you. It’s the uniqueness of your company’s personality that will set you apart from everyone else.
Amber K loves to find each client’s unique voice. She uses it to create informative, engaging and personable branded content.