How a fully branded online presence will elevate your business
Have you just started your own business? Or perhaps you’ve had a brilliant idea and you’re busy planning how you can take the step towards launching it to the world? There’s nothing more exciting than knowing exactly how your business will change people’s lives and help them but it can be daunting too. I know what that feels like because I’ve been there and done it myself.
I built my business around my newborn with very little money in my pocket and it’s been quite a journey with a lot of ups and downs. I realised the power of collaboration, finding connections and other small businesses to help. Now, there is nothing I love more than to help others in a similar position, who just need a little guidance and support to get off the ground. In this blog I’m going to be looking at why an online presence and branding is essential for all businesses, big and small, in today’s world.
Why online matters for everyone
How do you search for information and services? Do you pick up your smartphone or tablet and head to Google or check a hashtag on Pinterest or Instagram? If you're sitting at your desk, the chances are you open a browser on your laptop or PC and type a few words into a search engine or look for a Facebook page? If so, you’re acting in the same way as most other people - your first thought is to look online. Online search has replaced the printed directories, noticeboards and word of mouth? which used to connect people with businesses. So, an online presence is essential.
Can social media work on its own?
A quick and virtually free way to do that is to create a social media presence. There are some businesses that manage just fine selling only on social media, but there are risks. You are entirely at the mercy of that social media company - you don’t own your page, they do. There’s no guarantee they will keep operating as they do now in the future. Instagram often gets accused of ‘tweaking the algorithm’ and making it harder for small accounts to be seen, but they really have made some high-impact changes recently. News feeds are full of promoted content, while reach and interactions are falling off a cliff for some accounts. Having a website and a presence on at least two social media networks (the ones where your customers are most likely to be) is a very wise move.
There’s another reason why having a website alongside your social media presence is a wise idea. The younger someone is, the more likely they are to buy products and services via social media. BUT most customers of any age will check out a business’s website before they purchase. Customers are suspicious of being ripped off or unsure of the quality of what they are buying, and a website is a great way to boost brand trust. Especially when you have a cohesive brand running through all your online touchpoints. Which brings me onto my next point…
The business boost from great branding
First impressions count. Our brains process images and colours far more quickly and easily than words, and so your branding is important. Branding encompasses your logo, the colours you have on your website and social media banners and the images and fonts you use. Having consistent branding across all your marketing channels is key for building trust online and helping to share key messages for your business. Your branding should be full of your business personality and reflect what makes it brilliant and unique. Is your business serious and trustworthy, offering professional services such as legal advice or accounting? Maybe you are fun and approachable, offering party planning? Just think about the tone you want to set and the image you want to project! Research the way colours make people feel and pick your brand colour palate based on that.
Which comes first?
No, I'm not trying to solve the age-old brainteaser and I have no idea whether the chicken or the egg came first! But I can tell you that it’s always better to get your branding ready before you have your website built. Your website will look so much more professional with a branding package including a logo, colour scheme and complementary fonts and images to bring it all together. You can do some work to prepare for your website (thinking about page structure and writing copy) before you have branding, but ideally the branding arrives before the build begins.
What holds people back from a website and branding?
Taking you all the way back to the start of this blog, you might have a brand-new idea or have just launched a business, so thinking about branding and websites might not be top of our list. People are often worried for the following reasons:
● They don’t feel confident with technology and websites
● They fear it will be prohibitively expensive
● They don’t know where to start with branding or web design.
The good news is that I have a package which includes a full branding workup by our professional graphic designer and a shiny new website included. We will guide you through the process so that both a true reflection of your business, working hard to help it grow and thrive. I also guide people through how to use and update their website AND the ongoing costs for hosting are minimal.
You can have an online presence and start building brand trust in no time at all - just drop me a line to get started!