Building a brand isn’t easy. It takes time, money and effort. But there are certain basic things any online brand builder has to get to grips with if they have any hope of becoming a well-known name across the web. Here are some of the most important dos and don’ts to bear in mind as you start your brand building journey.
Do think carefully about your domain name
What do huge internet brands like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter have in common? Their domain names are short, easy to remember and difficult to confuse for anything else. They pass something known as the radio test which means if someone was to hear “Amazon.com” spoken on the radio they’d know exactly what to type. If your domain name features an odd spelling, a number instead of a word (eg 2 and not to) then it fails the radio test, increasing the chances that people will confuse your site with one belonging to someone else. That’s no way to build a brand.
Don’t think a good domain name really means anything
Although a good domain name is the starting point of online brand building, it won’t catapult you to overnight success. The only domain names which build an instant brand are ones such as carinsurance.com and they’re all long gone. No one is interested in a company’s name, they’re interested in what it does.
Do understand your target audience
You need to be clear of the benefits your product or service offers, and who stands to benefit from it most. By doing this, you can direct your marketing and advertising efforts at the right people. You’ll get a better return on your investment, and you’re more likely to attract loyal customers – the building blocks of any brand.
Do generate buzz prior to launching your site
Don’t expect people to visit your site just because it’s there. Use tools such as Followerwonk and Buzzstream to find bloggers, journalists and social media users who have influence in the sector you’re targeting and try to get them to promote your site.
They won’t do it out of the goodness of their heart, but if you can demonstrate you have something to offer then they’ll be more than happy to spread the word. Product reviews and trials are an excellent way to go and should help you attract paying customers at the same time as building a name for yourself.
Don’t forget about good design
No matter how good your product is, if your website looks terrible then people aren’t going to stay around long enough to find out what you’ve got to offer. Quality design with a consistent theme across all your media presences is vital if you want to build a lasting brand.
Do go mobile
If you can, make sure you’re catering for people who use mobile devices such as phones and tablets. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on potential customers. For a website, you can either build a separate mobile version or go for responsive design. There are pros and cons with both. You should also consider whether an app can offer extra value for your customers.
Do develop a company ethos
These days, people want more from a brand than just goods and services. They want to buy into an ethos because they want to know they’re doing business with people they can trust. Developing a set of guidelines like this isn’t easy, but it is important and it can help you get a good handle the direction you want to head as a company. Two relatively young firms that have done well in this area are SEOMoz and Distilled.
Don’t be afraid to be different
You’re not going to launch a successful brand if you’re just looking to mimic those who have gone before you. By all means, learn from the best so you can get to where you want to go, but don’t become a pale imitation of them. Successful brands stand out from the crowd not just because they offer a great service, but because they’re different from their rivals.
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Article by Will Stevens
Guest article written by Will Stevens of 123-reg.co.uk. The company is the UK’s largest provider of domain names.