A five-part series on online branding for businesses by Ryan Chaffin
1. What’s in a Name? Everything
2. SEO: Marketing in the New Millennium
3. PPC as a Model of Smart Advertising
4. Social Media: Highly Accessible Advertising
5. Freshening Up: Maintaining Your Brand Image
New business owners, take heed! You are embarking on an adventure that may take you to unexpected places. The life of a business owner can be chaotic but it is, ultimately, satisfying when you can look at your body of work and see a job well done. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. All good business ventures begin with an idea, one little spark of inspiration that leads down a road of discovery and invention. Chances are, if you have recognized an untapped product idea, that you have also recognized the need for properly branding your company online. You may have a great product, but the success of your business rests solely on the branding of your services. It is as simple as that.
Say, for example, that you specialize in Spokane carpet cleaning. What is there to differentiate your carpet cleaning business from any of the other number of like-minded ventures in the same geographical area? True, you may offer lower prices or higher quality services, but how are people going to know about them? Easy: through online company branding. The internet is a vast space and it is easy to get lost in the void, spending your resources in the vain attempt to magically conjure up new customers and create a glossy image of your company that attracts customers. But there is a science to the madness, and it all begins with coming up with an online branding strategy.
To return to our previous Spokane carpet cleaning example, what would be the most effective first steps in creating a positive online brand for this company? First, you must develop a snappy brand name that is easily recognized as yours, and only yours, and then protect it. Make sure that another company doesn’t take your brand name, or a similar name, and soil it with their poor services. Be original, be creative, and be protective, those are the first principles of safe, fool-proof online branding.
Next, you should determine just exactly how you want to develop and accentuate your online branding venture. There are a number of roads you can take, such as SEO services, PPC, or a whole host of social media options. Each is viable in its own way; it is simply up to you to determine what would work best for your company.
For the sake of example, say that all of this jargon, such as “PPC” and “SEO” sounds like a foreign language. If this is the case, it may be in your best interest to seek the assistance of a company properly trained in the art of PPC or SEO. Unfamiliarity with these skills is common and it takes years to produce the kinds of results that these services can provide. If in doubt, hire a company that can assist you; the monetary investment will be more than worth it once you see how these professionals can enhance your brand online.
The first step of branding your company online is to develop a brand name that is memorable and original. Then protect it with all your company’s power. A good product will draw in customers through word-of-mouth; and the intrinsic high quality of your services, with the aid of a properly placed online branding strategy, will yield incredible results that your business simply would not get any other way.
Ryan Chaffin is currently a college student majoring in Business Marketing. He loves anything technology, internet, and social media related along with sports and health & wellness. Ryan currently specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, and social media and believes in achieving your fullest potential on and off the web. You can also find Ryan on Twitter (@ryanchaffin).