It is said that you cannot have a business in this era without having some form of online presence. And with millions of people buying products or services on the web every day, businesses without an online presence are no doubt missing out.
However, the internet is a big place and reaching those potential customers can be harder than it is in the real world. Achieving online recognition relies on businesses taking a proactive approach to their online branding and bidding to ensure that they are seen wherever their potential customers are.
Internet marketing is multi-faceted by its very nature, and it can be daunting for those just about to dip their toes into the world of online promotion. But there are some easy steps you can take at the very beginning that will stand you in good stead as you begin to build your brand online.
1 . Create a Logo that is Both Attractive and Expressive
This step is number one on our list—and with good reason; for a logo is the very first thing that catches people’s eyes when they go to the company website. It should always be simple—consisting of few individual elements—and say something about what the company does.
Logo designs generally consist of a combination of words and images; only a few symbols are recognized without having a name to go with them.
Sometimes it can be a good idea to enlist the help of a logo design company, because such businesses are run by people who know how to get noticed, and may have a portfolio of samples that you can choose from.
Always use an existing logo especially if you have good brand recognition offline; but do take advice about adopting your existing design for the web – some designs simply do not work on computer screens!
2 . Include Basic SEO Techniques
This step includes making yourself visible, which involves search engine optimization (SEO)—that is, using certain keywords frequently in your website to increase its rankings on a search engine’s results list, and hence the chances of it being discovered by those who have never heard of the business.
Pay per click is another important part. Your goal is also to convince people to choose you over other similar businesses.
Guest posting is another good way of getting your business ‘out there’. This is a good link building tactic and by writing informative and interesting articles and getting them published on other people’s sites you will not only begin drawing attention to yourself from the search engines, but also from other audiences who maybe interested in what you have to offer.
3 . Be Interactive
This means you must interact with your customers. You cannot just sit back and wait for things to happen, once you have created your online presence. Any businessman must be able to empathize with his customers, for they, after all, are the very reason for him to be in business at all.
A large part of being interactive consists of networking, which for the purposes of this article will be considered a separate step (number 6).
Another thing is customer service: People want it to be friendly so they can get answers to their questions.
Good customer service is a big part of successful branding and as the internet provides a means of commenting anomalously through review sites and forums, you want to minimise the opportunities for bad press.
Stay in touch with what your customers want by conducting surveys to find out what they would like to see improved.
4 . Do Research on Your Target Audience
What do they like? Where on the web do they like to do their surfing?
It is the answers to these questions that will be the key factor in determining your marketing—where and how you market, as well as whom you will market to.
5 . Create a Voice for Yourself
Make sure that you communicate your business ideas in a way that stick in people’s minds.
One method is by putting together video ads, such as those that constantly appear on YouTube and elsewhere, so people can literally hear your voice. And do not just say what your customers want to hear; follow up on your promises.
6 . Make Social Media Part of Your Marketing Campaign
Some people like Facebook; others prefer Twitter or another network. By finding which your customers like, you can follow them there.
Social media has become a must have in online marketing and it is a great way to get your brand seen. Adopting a proactive social media campaign will help you connect with both existing and potential customers in a way that is fast and free!
You don’t need to be active on every social network but do try to maintain at least one social media account and update it regularly – every day if possible.
And don’t forget to add your business logo as well as product or service images to your profile pages.
7 . Build a Reputation for Yourself
Building a good online reputation can take time and you need to monitor it regularly to ensure you maintain it. Your reputation online can make or break you – many customers will hit the internet first to find out more about a business before they leap into a transaction.
Check out what people are saying about on a regular basis, reply to comments, tweets or questions asked on your site. Doing this shows there is a real face behind the business and in turn this helps to build trust.
Don’t be upset by bad reviews either, remember you cannot please all of the people all of the time; note what they say and aim to make improvements if possible.
Trust is a big factor in building brand awareness in any medium. Your brand needs to instil confidence and in the modern world the internet plays a major role in this.
Building brand awareness relies on your being seen everywhere your customers are through your company name, your logo and the products and services you have to offer.
About the Author
Georgina Clatworthy is currently a contributing writer for the creative folks at Logo Mojo through whom she has learnt much about the role branding plays when marketing products and services.