Branding tips to help your business stand out among your competition.

Your business needs a brand. There’s no ifs or buts about it. Think about some of the most popular businesses out there. You will recognize them from their logos, slogans, and colors right away. When people see your logo and colors, they need to know it’s you. This is your online brand. Here’s a look at some top tips for branding your online business, from logo to the best brandable business names.

1. Know the Views of Your Audience

Your brand isn’t what you view yourself or your business as. The branding needs to connect with your audience, so you need to find out what your target audience views you as. Don’t just ask close friends or relatives. While they can help initially, they’re not necessarily your ideal client. You need to narrow down your target audience, find where they are, and ask them directly. Questionnaires and focus groups are an excellent place to start, although people will want something in return to help with this. You can also find out through research. Put in your business name in a search engine and see what comes up. People will leave reviews on social media or their own blogs giving you an idea of who and what they see you as. A business coach could also take a look at your site and share what they think an ideal client will view you as. Once you have an idea of what others see you as, you can create a brand around that. Think about catchy domains and slogans that work for that branding.

2. Know the Personas of Your Business

You can’t do the first step if you don’t know who your target audience is. Before you even think about branding your social media and setting up your catchy and short domain names, you need to know who you’re marketing and writing to. Set up business personas. These are profiles of your ideal clients. They will have made up names and images, but the details will match the type of people you want to target. You’ll need to know their personalities, their interests, their likes and dislikes, and the type of content they need from you. If you’re not sure about the personas, take the time to do your research. Look at your closest competitors and find out who their ideal clients are. Get a rough idea of audience and then use forums and focus groups on fleshing out those personas completely. Whenever you do anything for your business, it needs to be for those persons. This includes naming your business, creating your slogans, and setting up brandable domain names.

3. Keep Everything the Same

Your blog/website name needs to match your Facebook page. They both then need to match your Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and everywhere else you’re responsive and available. Your Google Places page and Yelp page need to match all branding if you’re using them for a local business. People will expect to see the same brand. This helps to create uninformed opinions and experiences. When they see a different name on Twitter compared to Facebook, they’ll question if they have the right person. If they can’t figure that out, they’ll walk away and look for someone they’re more comfortable buying through or following. There are a few ways that you can create this brand connection. Use the same logo or profile picture across the board. Make sure the usernames are the same (or at least extremely close connections if you don’t have enough characters). Include the same slogan at the top of your pages and make sure the color schemes match. Then incorporate that brand offline. This isn’t just about your marketing materials, but about you as a person. You need to be the image someone has created from your website or social media presence. If you’ve developed a high-end brand, people will expect you to dress and appear that way in person. Don’t forget about your short domain names. Make sure they match your social media names.

4. Don’t Attempt to Please Absolutely Everyone

Businesses tend to focus on the people they can’t please. It’s easy to feel like losing one person is the end of the world, but you need to remember the 10+ people who do follow your brand and love what you do. Don’t focus on pleasing absolutely everyone who finds you. There will certainly be some people who hate your brand and don’t understand why you focus on what you do. That’s not your problem. They’re not your ideal client. Grow your brand for the people who love you and are happy with the direction you’re taking. Sure, listen to them for feedback and find out what you can do better, but listen to the majority. At the same time, be yourself. You are your brand. If your business says one thing and your personality says another, you’ll find it hard to remain uniform at speaking or networking events.

5. Harness Content Marketing to Your Advantage

Grow your branding through your email list, blog posts on your own site, and guest blogs elsewhere. You need to send the same message about who you are and what you do. This isn’t just in the color schemes but in the layout and the wording. Your voice should be uniform across all areas you harness content marketing. This can be difficult if you outsource your blogging, so make sure you find someone who has the ability to learn your exact voice. When people see you at speaking events, they want to know what to expect in terms of phrasing and statements. If you don’t match that voice they’re used to using in blog posts, they will question your authenticity to your brand. It becomes harder to be memorable. Setting up an online business isn’t just about creating something that you like. People won’t just turn up because you’re in the web space. You need to create a brand that they accept and follow. That brand is everything about your business and you’ll need it when it comes to social media profiles and creating catchy domains for your website.