Having a website is no longer an option in today’s technology laden world. In fact, it has gone from optional to being an absolute necessity. Not only are you establishing yourself online, you are also opening up a whole new market. Creating a web presence does not have to be as intimidating as it may sound if you aren’t familiar with building websites. It can be incredibly simple, and does not cost much at all, now that options for web hosting have become more common and less expensive.
What benefits, exactly, come from creating a web presence for your business? A website puts you on the map, digitally speaking. When someone conducts a search for your business, or even businesses like yours, on the internet, you will show up. And instead of showing up because of a listing in the Super Pages, and not having a website? These prospective customers will find a website that showcases what your business has to offer.Making a web presence for yourself also <a href=”http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/08/5-benefits-smb-website.html”>shows authority</a> to prospective customers. You’ll be showing your customers that your business is one that stands apart from the competition with dedicated web presence. It gives your customers somewhere to turn when they have questions and tells them where they can go to get the answers. Which, of course, would be to you and your business.A website also offers you the chance to have a platform. Do you have information that you need to get out to your customers? You can get the word out to them through your website. You can even have people sign up for e-mail lists and send off newsletters, which are helpful to keep your company in the forefront of your customers’ minds.It does not matter whether your business consists of just you and your dog, or if it’s you and a group of your closest friends. Your small business needs a web presence. It will help to set you apart and lend you an extra bit of professionalism. And it will become the best, most economically efficient, marketing tool you have working for you.
Image is everything, and this is especially true for small businesses. Creating a public face for your business, then associating a logo with that face, is known as branding. The brand image that you build should not simply reflect ideals to which you aspire. Rather, it should reflect your business from the inside out. How does one go about building a brand image for a small business?
Know What You Want to Say
Building a brand image is a big priority for small businesses. It’s what will help you stand out from the competition. Branding is all about what you want to say to the public, which should be something you have clearly thought out. This is not to say if you have been in business for years that you can’t create a brand image or even re-brand your business. By all means, feel free. Before you get into choosing a witty tagline or a slick image, though, you should think about what you want to say. Here are some questions to get you started:What are the core values of your business?
What message are you trying to convey?
What are the main values or feelings you want people to associate with your business?You can, of course, jump off from here into longer lists, but these questions really get at the heart of what branding is all about. The brand image that you choose for your business should reflect your business philosophy.
Know Your Audience
Images are incredibly powerful. They are also always interpreted and many times misinterpreted. Ensure that when you choose a logo and even a tagline that you are choosing an image and words with which your <a href=”http://oneims.com/blog/2011/06/22/creating-a-powerful-brand-image/”>target audience</a> is going to easily relate and identify. In the most simplistic of examples, you wouldn’t use a skateboard to brand your business if your target audience is comprised of elderly folks. Knowing your target audience may also determine the colors that you choose.
Consistency is Key
Once you have chosen a brand logo, you want to maintain that logo. Coca-Cola hasn’t gotten anywhere by changing their image and branding every few months or even every few years. Everyone recognizes the Coca-Cola logo, because it hasn’t changed over the years. Even major tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Intel have maintained their brand images even when rebranding made them update the image just a bit.
Your small business’s brand image should reflect your business, both philosophy and target audience, all at once. It also needs to remain consistent in order for people to build up strong associations with that particular image or tagline. Which is why it is so important to take time to really think about what you are trying to convey before choosing images. Once you have that, you’ll be able to create a solid brand image to represent your small business.
When operating a business that heavily interacts with the public, it’s important to understand that your business, and the brand you craft to represent that business, is represented in a variety of ways. Of course, there are the advertisements that are put out about the brand, and these are carefully crafted in order to achieve sales and attract new customers or clients. However, your brand is represented through more than just advertisements; and if you have a uniform policy, the uniforms your employees wear can actually be your biggest marketing tool.
Especially if you are in an industry where your employees are interacting with customers and clients on a regular basis, a uniform is not only a possible advertising tool – it is a necessity. Having a dress code ensures that your company’s brand is presenting its best face to the public at all times. Purchasing uniforms for your employees takes it one step further. Not only are they then dressed to appropriately represent your brand, they are also wearing your logo. This will ensure that your employees are easily recognized and readily remembered later on, particularly when current clients are looking to make another purchase or when they are making recommendations to their colleagues.If you’re still not sure, <a href=”http://www.bizreport.com/2011/03/staff-uniforms-trump-internet-as-marketing-tool.html”>the numbers back up these claims</a>. Over three quarters of people surveyed in about 14 industries state that uniforms perform noticeably better than traditional forms of advertising such as radio, television, and the newspaper. When it comes to competing with internet advertising, the numbers are still very positive, with approximately 51% in favor of uniform effectiveness.
Uniform policies and preferences vary, and are largely dependent on the type of work your employees will be doing. You may decide to keep it simple and ask your employees to wear a polo shirt with the brand logo on it. Or you may prefer that your employees wear button-down dress shirts with the logo. You can also get jackets, which are great for colder weather, when your employees will need an extra layer on top of a shirt.
No matter what you decide on, the image you are presenting to the public has a huge impact on your marketing. It simply makes sense to take advantage of the opportunity uniforms present for both marketing and public company image.
The mark of a successful company is its brand. Consumers will remember companies by the way they have been branded, and that goes for both good and bad impressions. Smart companies know that imprinted promotional products can create strong brand recognition that sticks indefinitely in the minds of consumers.
Any business can develop a company persona, and promote their brand with imprinted items. The trick is to match the promotional theme to the company’s niche. For example, a business that sells running shoes might select promotional apparel items that promote the outdoor lifestyle. Items like imprinted sunglasses, caps and hats, or hooded jackets would make a good reminder of a company that loves sports.
Another sporty angle is imprinted gifts for golfers. The variety of golf related items is virtually endless, including handy divot tools, golf balls and tees, binoculars, golf bags, shirts, hats and many more. It’s easy to imprint just the right golf products to develop positive brand awareness, and create a lasting impression of a company that champions the sporting lifestyle.
Promotional products can also reflect a company’s humanity. For example, items can be imprinted with a pink ribbon to express solidarity in the fight against breast cancer, or a red ribbon for the fight against AIDS, and so on. There is even a foam stress ball keychain in a ribbon shape that comes in multiple color formats to correspond with any healthcare concern.
Another good branding angle is to go “green.” A company can develop an image of global consciousness by gifting recycled, bio-degradable, and eco-friendly promo items. Reusable items, like imprinted shopping totes, water bottles and coffee mugs, are good examples. To further increase green branding awareness, choose items that bear the universal sign for recycling.
Any company can reinforce its brand with imprinted promotional products. It just takes some imagination and thought. Look to the experts at Clayton Kendall Promotional Marketing for more branding ideas.