Any form of branding essentially means being recognized. A positive website brand image means that your potential customers will recognize your brand and begin to associate that brand with a particular product or range of products. In achieving this, those same customers will begin to turn to your brand when they need the product you sell or require information that you provide.
Branding Is More Than A Pretty Logo
A lot of websites and website owners mistakenly believe that creating a brand means a compelling and relevant name, and well designed logos and web pages. While these are a part of website branding, they are far from being the whole story. In fact, every aspect of your website and online business needs to convey your brand image. This includes design, narrative voice, advertising, and marketing. Customer communication is equally as important, and provides the opportuníty to strengthen your brand even further.
Your Target Market
Branding needs to concentrate on the target market you are aiming to attract. Market research and some competitor analysis will usually garner you with relevant information regarding the people you are aiming to attract. What products and services are they looking for? What information do they want access to? Do they expect to be able to interact with you or other members of your online community? These are all important questions that you not only need to ask but answer as well.
The most effective branding will also consider the demographics of a target market. Age, sex, nationality, religion, and disposable income bracket are important factors. Again, the savvy online business owner should have at least a reasonable understanding of their target market demographics. Knowing this information ensures that you not only create a brand, but that you create a relevant and powerful brand that is attractive to the right people.
What's In A Name? Everything
The first aspect of your brand is your company or website name. It doesn't necessarily have to portray the products you sell, but it does need to be memorable. Brands like Google and Ebay relay little about the service they provide but they are short, catchy, and easy to remember. You can consider other aspects of branding when choosing a name – PayPal clearly conveys the fact that the service is related to paying and payments, while the addition of the word Pal implies that the service is user friendly and intuitive. It still sticks to the format of being short and memorable; the use of alliteration making the name roll off the tongue even easier.
Once you've determined a brand name and ensured that domain names and company names are available, it's time to register domaíns. .com domaíns are the most effective because they are the ones that we, as surfers, generally remember. We may remember a company name and forget the domain extension. Nine times out of ten we would add .com as the extension and hope to find the right site. It will pay, in the long run, to purchase a number of domains including regional domains (.eu, .co.uk, etc...) and others. Some potential customers like to deal with local firms and these customers will use local extensions.
Headers And Logos
Many websites now utilize a header rather than a true logo. Whichever option you plump for, it is usually a good idea to have your graphic designed by a professional. This design can cost $100 upwards but the results should be more than worth it. A logo will appear on all communication you send to customers, every page of your website, every newsletter, brochure, and virtually any other form of communication or promotional material. It needs to be strong and instantly memorable to prove effective.
Providing The Brand Your Market Wants
The design of your website and other online media needs to be attractive, but it needs to provide the level of usability and functionality that your target market expect. Website design, in particular, needs to be easy on the eye, give simple guidance to the most important parts of the page, and appear professional. It should also cater to your target market. A younger audience will gladly appreciate a more modern design, while the older generations may prefer a classic and more simple design.
Bringing all aspects of design together in all of your media is important. If you intend to use video marketing as a tool to drive traffic and promote your brand, then you need to try and include your logo and a link to your website within that video. Emails, newsletters, faxes, and invoices should largely match the design of your site and should certainly include any logo you have.
Website Content And Narrative Voice
Narrative voice is another important facet of website branding. The main reason that we go online and search for certain terms is to find out more about that term, and not usually to directly purchase a product. As such, website content should provide the information that your visitors are looking for and throughout your website and other media you need to convey the same type of voice.
Websites that are geared towards individual consumers can adopt a more friendly and personable style. This conveys an image that you and your brand are equally friendly and personable – an attractive perception to most consumers. B2B websites can approach content in a more formal and businesslike manner. CEOs and other business executives prefer to know that their budget is being spent on a professional service that will deliver, rather than push an amicable brand.
Giveaways To Promote Brand Awareness
Offering free newsletters or promotional giveaways is an excellent way to kick start your website's popularity. It provides visitors with the information they crave and it provides you with an opportuníty to further enhance your new brand. Blogs, forums, and web applications provide similar advantages and they convince visitors to bookmark your pages and visit more frequently. This, in turn, helps to improve brand awareness and makes your brand much more memorable to your visitors.
Start creating content for use outside of your site. Articles, videos, blog posts, and news stories are all good material that can be branded effectively and distributed in various areas of the Internet. This extra push will help to improve your brand image because it will begin to convey you as being an expert within your field. It will give you and your brand greater exposure and will also help drive traffic to your website.
About The Author
Matt Jackson is a web content writer with WebWiseWords. He understands the importance of web content to the success of your business and the promotíon of your brand.