Branding is the process of establishing and proclaiming your company identity to the online public. Unless you know who you are and understand how to communicate that identity to your target audience, Google won’t know how to distribute your message either.
Google’s algorithm caters to high quality websites with defined, clear messages that are going to be the most valuable to its searchers. Because its goal is to be the best search engine available, it will do everything in its power to deliver up the best sites on its SERPs. Part of your SEO strategy for 2015 should be to establish the brand (identity) you desire for your company.
Here are a few must-haves for small businesses to begin building their brands this year.
- Branded swag
- Industry participation
- Social media presence
- Emotional connection
Don’t have a logo yet? What are you waiting for? Logos are the instant visual identifiers for your brand. Contract with a professional designer to design your logo. A well designed logo is like a trust badge. Even an untrained eye can perceive quality or the lack thereof when reviewing your logo.
There’s a reason why swag is one of the main draws of conventions—the more creative and useful, the better. It’s because people love free stuff, and because when that free stuff is branded, that brand sticks to memory much more easily. A study conducted by marketingsherpa.com found that at least 76% of consumers claim to remember the name of businesses that had given them a branded promotional item within the recent year, as opposed to only 53% who could recall a TV or print ad from the previous month. Also worth noting, only 27% could recall the brands represented in online ads they had seen. The conclusion of this study? Swag works! People also feel a subconscious loyalty to companies that give them free stuff, which is an advantage that shouldn’t be taken lightly as you’re trying to get your name out and build a reputation.
If you’re a company with a local market, this is key to getting your name recognized in your community. Locate or create opportunities to participate in charitable events. As a sponsor at an event, your brand will be plastered all over event materials and you will have the opportunity to create brand exposure in the best light possible—as a positive, altruistic contributor to your community.
Social Media Presence
Without a social media presence, your brand may as well be mute. Being mute, others will do your talking for you and you can’t control what they’re saying. When executed well, maintaining a presence on social media will allow you to:
- Showcase your expertise (link to blog posts, guest posts, press releases, etc.)
- Participate in community conversations and events
- Conduct invaluable market research on your demographic
- Network with colleagues and potential clients
- Engage with followers and fans of your brand
Does your product or service have a nostalgic element that you can tap into? If it does, you have the opportunity to forge an emotional connection with your target audience. Your customers don’t want to buy your product or service; they want to buy what it does for them, how it makes them feel. They want to buy the benefits. Create this emotional connection for them, communicate the benefits, and watch the conversions roll in.
Remember these 5 must-have keys of brand-building and you’ll successfully establish the reputation you’re looking to create. What have you done so far this year to cultivate your brand online?
Stetzer, Adam. “5 Ways Small Businesses Can Build Their Brands in 2015.” http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2388727/5-ways-small-businesses-can-build-their-brands-in-2015?utm_term=&utm_content=5%20Ways%20Small%20Businesses%20Can%20Build%20Their%20Brands%20in%202015&utm_campaign=SEW.Daily.EU.A.U&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=SEW.DCM.Editors_Updates. (January 16, 2015.)
Hopkins, Hope. “Research on the $16.9 Billion Promo Products Industry: Why T-Shirts & Pens Can Outdo TV & Internet.” http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/how-to/why-tshirts-pens-can-outdo. (January 19, 2015.)