These days there is no more powerful and practical tool to build your brand than the Internet. It allows you to quickly and easily expand your reach and grow your business with practically the click of a button. That being said, there are certain techniques and methods that you can apply to help you establish your brand online. Here are 5 simple steps that will help you claim a place for your brand on the Internet.
Use Your Business Name as Your Domain Name
Your domain name is simply your website address. When you’re establishing a web presence for your brand, the most important thing is to use your business name (or some variation of it) in your domain name (think “www.yourbusinessname.com”).
If you’re just starting out and haven’t officially named your business yet, it’s a good idea to check if there are any available domain names that match your potential business names before you decide. You can purchase a domain name for a relatively low rate – typically around $10 per month. As soon as you decide on a domain name, be sure to purchase it right away so it doesn’t get claimed by someone else.
Use Your Domain Name as Your Email Address
Chances are you already have one or more email addresses, either from your internet provider or from various free online services, such as MSN or Gmail. When it comes to your business, however, it’s important to present a professional, branded image. So, for instance, if your website address is www.yourbusiness.com, your business email should be firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only does this create consistency, but it also increases brand awareness because it repeatedly reinforces your business name, making it more memorable.
Use a Branded Signature in All of Your Email Communications
This simple little thing will serve as a mini advertisement for your business every time you send an email. Include your phone number, a short description of your business and/or what you do, your website address and any current promotions you may be offering. Be creative, but keep it brief. Email signatures are especially effective if you happen to be on any email lists, because they allow you to reach a variety of potential customers who may be interested in your products or services. If you participate in any online groups or forums, you can also include your branded signature there as well to increase your exposure.
Have Your Website Professionally Designed and Developed
Having a website for your business is a requirement in today’s day and age. Not just any website will do, however. Because your website will serve as the hub of your online presence, it must effectively communicate what your business is, what it does, and how it can help potential customers in a professional way. Many small business owners put off having a website designed because they simply don’t know where to begin or what information to include. The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. A professional web developer can work with you to capture the message you want delivered and design a customized website that effectively represents your business and your brand.
While you can certainly start with a one page website about your business, we recommend eventually expanding to include at least five to six pages (more if you plan on conducting sales through your website). This will allow you to include more information in a more attractive, less crowded way. If you already have a website, but you’re not sure if it’s getting the results you want, check out our recent article to determine the common Signs That it May Be Time to Redesign Your Website.
Include Your Website and Email Address on All Printed Marketing Materials
Your website won’t do you any good if you don’t promote it. Let your existing customers and your prospects know where they can go to find more information about your business, or that they can easily contact you via email by including this information on all of your printed marketing materials. Make sure your email address and URL are on everything from your business cards to your letterhead to your brochures and postcards. Just avoid including such information on your envelopes or mailing labels, as it may cause a problem with some postal meters.
The Internet presents an incredible opportunity for businesses today. By putting these five simple steps into action, you can effectively harness the power of the web to establish your brand, expand your reach and grow your business.