Many small businesses make the mistake of not putting enough value into their brand. If you ask most large, successful, businesses about their brand, they would say that their brand is one of the most important aspects of their image. It is most likely interwoven into every aspect of their company. Why should small businesses and startups be any different different? When things like price and product are comparable between competitors, a successful brand image could make a huge difference in setting you apart.
This is all basic marketing stuff. Anyone that has taken a marketing class in school, or even done any research on marketing understands the importance of branding. But what about your online branding? Most small businesses do not do enough to establish their brand online. A company logo and email footer is not enough, especially if you want to increase your SEO.
Ever notice when you perform a Google search that the websites that reach the top are usually bigger more trusted brands, like Amazon and Wikipedia? This is because Google ranks trusted brands higher in results. Strong brands are great for growing a loyal customer base, and now they are also great for ranking well on search engines.
As a small business there is no better time to move ahead of the competition by establishing yourself as an authority. What distinguishes yourself from your competition? Instead of thinking ‘we sell X’, position your message to ‘we provide solutions to Y’.
Once you have your brand image sorted, it’s time to reflect this through your website. Earlier I mentioned that a logo on a webpage is not enough to promote your brand. When visiting your website, customers should be able to instantly recognize your brand.
Remember that design isn’t everything online. Functionality is important too. Focus on fast load times and responsive design. People like websites that are fast and work well. When a website loads slowly or doesn’t work well, people are less likely to return, and on the internet where there is a lot of competition, this can be devastating. Earlier this month I wrote a whole blog post talking about this exact concept.
Once your website is built, it’s time to promote it. Unfortunately, a website is not like Field of Dreams, just because you build it does not mean that people will come. This is where SEO comes into play. The SEO strategy you choose should be focused on your brand. The venues that you promote your site on should reflect your brand. Create blogs demonstrating your knowledge of your area of business. Promote them on sites related to that topic. Create social media accounts and link them to your website. These links will drive traffic to your website as well as help build your brand.