Most of us now engage with the world through our phone screens. So whether it’s your website, social media, online advertising or content marketing – these digital assets are where a lot of (if not most) of your customers first interact with your brand, Writes Shayne Tilley Head of Marketing at 99 Designs.
Tips for building a credible online brand
With more companies migrating online than ever before, competition is fierce for businesses taking the plunge for the first time. However, there are more customers shopping online than ever before too, so the opportunity is out there – if you have the brand to match.
With so much pressure to have a digital presence right now, it can be tempting to rush into things. However, this is where some of these common mistakes happen:
Mistake 1: Not prioritising your branding
Building a brand is a creative and strategic process that tells potential customers everything about who you are as a business. It encapsulates who you are, what you stand for, what you value and how you’re different from everyone else in your space.
Too often we see businesses, excited about the prospect of getting online, rushing to set up a digital presence that just doesn’t do them justice. Once you’ve developed your offering or product, building your brand identity should be your first priority.
Ultimately, consumers want to engage with and buy from established brands that they trust – and a professional, polished and eye-catching online presence plays a vital role in building a connection with your audience. This connection helps build loyalty and trust with potential customers – and trust is a must if you want your online brand to succeed.
Mistake 2: Underestimating the significance of the small things
Building a credible online brand is so much more than a great logo and a slick website. There are many elements that people will definitely notice if done badly. From your fonts and typography, graphics and imagery, right through to the tone of voice and colours you use.
Colour is an incredibly powerful tool in having an impact on your customers. In fact, there’s a whole science (and art!) in the meanings behind different colours and how they elicit different feelings, emotions and actions in consumers. Understanding the psychology of colour has the potential to be the difference in your customers choosing to interact with you, or not.
While these might seem like small insignificant factors that can be easily overlooked, together they form a powerful message about who you are as a brand – and will have more impact than you think.
Great branding takes into consideration all these small factors, pulls them together in one coherent and attractive package, and ensures there’s great consistency across all of your digital assets.
Mistake 3: Not putting the customer at the heart of your website design
Your website obviously plays an enormous role in how you are perceived online, but there are very few things that will turn potential customers away faster than one that is confusing or badly designed.
Websites that are successful are the ones that are easy to navigate, intuitively designed, and make the process of doing business with you hassle free and straightforward.
When you’re designing the layout and overall aesthetic of your website, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what you would need (and when) if you were visiting the site for the first time. Aim to make the process from first visit, to browse, to purchase as seamless as possible. The more elements on a page, the more likely you are to distract your customer, and nothing kills a sale faster than having to hunt through multiple menus to find what they are looking for.
Bad design can be costly for small businesses looking to stand out online, as the work will inevitably need redone in the end. From the core elements to the small details, every aspect of your online presence helps tell the story of what customers should expect from your brand. By making sure that your branding is well thought out and presented consistently online, you are reassuring people that they can trust your business to offer that same consistency in service and quality when operating offline too.
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