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Branding Your Online Business

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Learn how to use social media to brand your online business.

Learn how to use social media to brand your online business.

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  • 1. Branding Your Online Business By Shelley Graves, Online Business Solutions Specialist VirtualShelley.com
  • 2. NOTICE: You DO NOT Have the Right to Reprint or Resell this Report! You Also MAY NOT Give Away, Sell, or Share the Content Herein Copyright © 2012 VirtualShelley.comALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this report may be reproduced ortransmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, includingphotocopying, recording, or by any informational storage or retrievalsystem without express written, dated and signed permission from theauthor.DISCLAIMER AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: The information presented in thisreport represents the views of the publisher as of the date of publication.The publisher reserves the rights to alter and update their opinions basedon new conditions. This report is for informational purposes only. Theauthor and the publisher do not accept any responsibilities for anyliabilities resulting from the use of this information. While every attempthas been made to verify the information provided here, the author andthe publisher cannot assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies oromissions. Any similarities with people or facts are unintentional. Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 3. Branding is one of the most important aspects of building a successfulbusiness. Yet few people ever carefully sit down and dedicate time tofiguring out their branding strategy. Theres a reason that large multi-national corporations have teams of people dedicated just to managingbranding and nothing else.Branding is crucial, whether youre a solo-preneur or the CEO of a largecorporation. Your brand image can make you or break you.THE IMPORTANCE OF A GREAT BRANDHaving an intriguing and unique brand image will benefit you in severalways.First, it increases the chance that someone will buy your product. Forexample, imagine youre in the toiletries aisle at your local drug store.You noticed that Secret deodorant is selling for $4, next to it is Degreedeodorant for $3, next to it is a no-name brand for $2. Which do you pickup and why?The vast majority of people pick up one of the brands theyve heard of.They assume that because the company has a strong brand, the product isbetter and they have a higher chance of being satisfied with theirpurchase.This works the same way online business. If someone comes to your siteand recognizes your brand, theyre a lot more likely to buy from you thanif theyve never heard of you.Brand is one of the main reasons that Amazon.com can achieve 12%conversion rates. Theres practically no other retail website out therethat comes close - because they can’t match Amazons brand image.Second, having a strong brand also helps you land clients/customers.Whether you want purchase advertising for your business, participate in a Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 4. joint venture, or purchase another website, having a strong brand willmake a difference.Imagine that someone from Apple, Inc. called you to discuss a potentialpartnership opportunity. Would you pick up the phone? Now imagine thatJoe Smith, who youve never heard of before, calls you to discuss thesame thing. Who would you be more likely to accept a call from?Having a great brand also helps generate word of mouth traffic. Peopleare more hesitant to talk about a no-name brand than to talk about acredible and well known brand. After all, when someone recommendssomething, theyre putting their own credibility on the line.A great brand also helps you increase your type-in traffic. Type-intraffic is the traffic on your site from someone entering your website URLdirectly into their browser’s address bar. Brands like Zappos, Amazon,Borders, Toshiba, Apple, Microsoft, etc. get tons of type-in traffic.Brand leaders also get a huge boost in SEO. People link to strong, wellknown brands much more readily than no-name websites. This linkpreference translates to better rankings in the search engines, whichcould lead to more revenue.Finally, a strong brand helps boost your exit price. There may come aday when youll want to sell your website or business. Having a strongbrand will help you command a much higher price.An off brand website earning $100,000 a year might fetch $300,000 whereas a highly respected website with a strong brand image could easilyfetch $500,000, $800,000 or even more.Off brand websites are acquired for their revenue only. Strong brands areacquired by much larger companies for their strategic value.When Microsoft acquires Skype, when Amazon acquires Zappos or whenGoogle acquires Android, they dont pay based on revenue; they pay for Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 5. the brand and the strategy. This works on a smaller scale too. Build yourbrand today and you’ll likely multiply your payday tomorrow.WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS A GREAT BRAND?A great brand is made up of many things. It includes your business name,your logo, your colors, the emotions the brand elicits, your slogan, "theword" and the USP.Lets go over each of these brand components in more detail.The NameThere are a few different ways to decide on a name for your business.One way is to simply be practical. For example, "General Electric." Or"Good Housekeeping." "Entrepreneur Magazine." You’ll notice that thesenames are essentially descriptions of what the company does.The upside to this method is that anyone who hears the name instantlyknows what the brand is about. The downside is that theres no mystique.It doesnt make a big impression.Another way to build a brand is to make a new word, or use an existingword in a somewhat amusing way. EBay, Google, Yelp and Yahoo are allgood examples of this.The benefit of this is that if you can successfully brand it, youll have anextremely strong brand. In addition, youll very easily be able totrademark the name.You can also use a phrase or a regular name. For example, "AlexanderMann." Or "Londons Best Fishing Supplies." These can work, but from abranding perspective they are not easy to remember and also they dontcarry any mystique. Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 6. One final choice is to use a combination of a mysterious name and adescriptive name. For example, "The Facebook," later changed to just"Facebook," got its description from the college Facebook phenomenon.While its not really a descriptive phrase, people can somewhat guesswhat the site is about based on the name.Target EmotionsAs youre building the rest of your branding materials, ask yourself whatkind of emotions you want your brand to elicit.The emotions that a construction management consulting firm wouldwant to elicit are going to be very different from a law firms - and bothare going to be very different than those of a beauty salon or cateringcompany.Do you want someone to feel playful or serious? Should they feelintimidated by you, or should they feel like youre on their side? Shouldthey feel inspired? Should they feel calm, or should they feel excited?The answers to these questions will determine everything else about yourbrand.The LogoA lot of times, your logo is the first glimpse of your company that yourpotential clients/customers will see. That’s why you want to make sureit’s a clear representation of the emotions you want to elicit (see above).If you can afford to, I recommend hiring a few different graphic designersto do rough drafts of your logo. Or you could hire just one designer andhave them do a few different drafts. You can also use a service like99designs to create a design contest, which can easily get dozens ofsubmissions. An alternative and much less expensive option would be touse Fiverr to order a bunch of $5 logos and pick the one you like best. Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 7. Youd be surprised at the level of quality you can get through these low-cost outsourcing methods.No matter which way you go, you should evaluate the logos based ontheir ability to produce the emotions you want. Test them on your friendsand family to see which they like best.If youre running a medical site, you might ask yourself whether or not thelogo inspires trust and credibility. If youre running a toy store, you mightask yourself whether the logo creates a fun vibe.The ColorsYour logos colors and your business website should be the same or verysimilar.Ask yourself: What emotions do these colors bring out? Do they match mytarget emotion?Ideally, a logo should have just one or two colors. Its very rare that a logosucceeds with three or more colors.For example, Coca-Colas is red and white. Yahoos is just red. AT&Ts isjust blue. While you can definitely find exceptions, such as Googlesrainbow-colored lettering, successful logos tend to be either one color ortwo.The "Word"In the beginning stages of building your brand, some folks may have vagueassociations with your brand. Theyll remember your last ad campaign, ortheyll remember that YouTube video you were in recently.In time, however, your brand will be boiled down to just one word. Thatone word is what will describe your business. Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 8. Rolex is "quality." Verizon is "strong signal." Coca Cola is the "original"soda. So on and so forth.If you dont consciously identify what this word is for you, yourcustomers/clients will do it for you. Dont send confusing messages aboutwhat your "word" is. Take time to think about it. Then project it.The Slogan and USPUse a slogan or a tagline to express something thats unique about yourcompany. Something you provide that nobody else does.The worst way you can use a slogan or tagline is to use it generically, ormake it sound like every other slogan out there. For example, a sloganlike "The #1 in Customer Service" or "The Best X on the Web" is useless,unless thats truly your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).If Nordstrom made customer service their slogan, theyd get away with it,because thats their brand. If Macys did, it probably wouldnt work,because thats not what Macys is known for. What is your Unique Selling Proposition?Dominos slogan used to be "Hot pizza to your door in 30 minutes or itsfree." It clearly expressed the unique proposition that Dominos had tooffer.Rhythmic slogans like "We love to see you smile" (McDonalds) or "My heartto yours" (Pillsbury) work great for large companies. While you can alsodo this, usually a smaller business would benefit more from a USP-basedtagline than a tagline that just sounds good.Finally, stay on top of any events in the world that could affect yourbrand image.Take BP in the United States. No matter what kind of logo BP takes on, nomatter what slogan or what colors they use, theyll always be the Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 9. company that spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Thats what their "real"brand is, at least in the USA.Likewise, after "Supersize Me" McDonalds is going to have a very hardtime branding themselves as the place families go to bring their kids for afun, healthy meal. That used to be their primary branding tactic.However, because of events that shifted health awareness, that doesntwork anymore.Be aware of events that involve your company. If you try to ignore themand go on branding as if they werent there, youll commit brand suicide.HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR BRANDBuilding your brand is really all about consistently putting out the samemessage, again and again over time.The more ways you can share the message about your brand, the better.Use Facebook. Use Twitter. Use blogging. Use podcasting. Put out videoson YouTube. Participate in joint ventures. Submit guest blog posts on aregular basis. Do interviews. Appear on internet radio shows. Doeverything in your power to get your name and your brands name in frontof as many people as possible.Use your logo and your tagline everywhere you can. Put it on yourFacebook page and on your Twitter profile page. Use it on your websiteand at the bottom of emails.Any time youre being interviewed, introduce yourself with your websitename. For example, "Hi everyone, Im Shelley from VirtualShelley.com,today Im here to talk about ..."A brand isnt built overnight. A brand is not only a professional website ora fancy logo. Instead, a brand resides in the collective minds of yourtarget market. Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 10. What most of your target market thinks about your company is yourbrand. If most people think youre credible, you have a credible brand. Ifmost people think your products are affordable, then affordability is partof your brand.The best way to get your brand message out there is to consistentlyremind people of what your company stands for.Put some time into getting press attention. Landing yourself in the presscan be a huge plus for your business and your brand.It can be difficult in the beginning stages to get media attention. Justfocus on contacting reporters and journalists one by one, based on storiestheyve written before. Don’t spend a lot of time on press releases;instead focus on making direct contact.Contact journalists only when you have something you’re sure theyd trulybe interested in. Think about your business from their point of view:would what youre up to catch anyone’s attention? If so, you may have agood story angle.Finally, product quality makes a huge difference. You might be able to getsales in the short term with strong marketing and mediocre products, butin the long run thatll kill your business brand.Deliver top-notch products with great service. Your products and youroverall customer experience are a huge part of your brand.Building up a brand takes time. By the time you have a strong brand, youshould be able to walk into a room filled with people from your targetmarket, introduce yourself and have at least half of the people recognizeyour brand. They should know what your company stands for, and whatyour USP is compared to your competitors.If youre in a room full of people in your target market and nobody hasever heard of you, then your branding needs some work. Dont worry - Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 11. just consistently put your message out there, provide top-notch productsand great service and your brand will grow.LIVING UP TO YOUR BRANDThe initial process of building up your brand is, in a way, all aboutcreating expectations. A credible brand means people expect certainresults to be delivered, time after time. An affordable brand meanspeople expect a certain price. So on and so forth.One big mistake to avoid is going against your brands message, even ifyou think itd be good for business.Take Starbucks for example. Starbucks main value proposition is theservice and the atmosphere of the cafe. People go to Starbucks tosocialize with the baristas and to meet friends. The company was built onpeople first, coffee second.Then, Starbucks went through a period of extreme growth where a newstore was being opened just about every day. Instead of focusing onpeople, management focused on Wall Street. Customers werent having agood experience, yet nobody took responsibility for changing that.The brand quickly deteriorated and in a few years Starbucks started toflounder. Eventually, Starbucks hit crisis mode.Howard Shultz, Starbucks former CEO decided to step back into the fray.The first thing he did upon stepping back up to the plate was to reinstatecustomer service as the number one priority, not managing the stockprice.After a couple years, after many store shutdowns and after many newemployee programs, Starbucks got back on track, rebuilt their reputationfor creating a rich atmosphere and became profitable again.Branding isnt just about building a brand up from scratch. Its also aboutmaintaining and living up to your brand. Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 12. Be aware of what your customers expect from you and always providejust that.Never try to be something youre not. Coca-Cola is known for being theoriginal cola. One of the big reasons why "New Coke" failed was becausepeople simply didnt want Coke to be new and exciting - they wanted toknow what Coke tasted like, and they wanted it to taste the same withevery meal.Southwest Airlines brand is based on being the lowest fare airline. VirginAir on the other hand is based on providing a high quality flightexperience. The message coming out of these two companies and theirrespective marketing tactics are going to be very different.Southwest should never try to be Virgin and vice versa. This applies tohuge multi-nationals, as well as small online brands.It applies to people as well. If youre not naturally a jolly person, dont goon YouTube and put on a fake smile. Instead, learn to project your naturalpersonal brand, your natural personality.Weve covered a lot. Weve talked about what a brand is, how it canbenefit you and all the various components that make up a strong brand.Weve also talked about how to build a brand as well as how to maintain abrand once youve built it.The next step is for you to take this knowledge and turn it into anactionable branding plan. Write out your branding goals and create astep-by-step process for getting you and your business there. Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs
  • 13. Shelley is a Business Solutions Specialist who helps female entrepreneurs successfully build, maintain & promote their online business using unique social media and internet marketing strategies. As their Business Solutions Specialist, she also works with them to set up effective workflow processes that ultimately lead to more efficient business operations. Let’s Connect Online: Twitter Facebook Pinterest Google+ Get your free copy of my latest report, “Marketing Your Business withPinterest.” You’ll also receive a special BONUS just for requesting the Pinterest Report. CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY Copyright 2012 VirtualShelley.com ~ Online Busines Solutions for Female Entrepreneurs