3 Easy to Follow Steps to Effective Online Branding

Some might think that Online Branding and getting noticed online is an easy task to hurdle these days since billions of people have access to the internet and at any time of they day… this cannot be further from the truth. Anyone building a website for a product he or she is selling needs to develop an effective method of Online Branding if they wish to sell their product. There are hundreds of different tips that can be found for effective Online Branding but I can sum everything up into 3 easy steps which are; defining your brand, articulating your brand, and communicating your brand.

Step 1: Defining your Brand

Defining your brand could be the most important step to do when developing your Online Branding strategy, get this wrong at the start and you get a toppling domino effect for everything else that you do. One can define their brand by identifying or clarifying what it is that they are selling or offering to their customers. You must always make sure that you are clear about what your brand is and what it represents, or you will fail to achieve the desired association or value perception you want to develop in a consumer. There are three key questions that need to be answered when defining your brand effectively and they are; what sort of value or benefit you offer, who the potential customers are, and how you use the internet to reach your customers.

Determine and use a unique selling proposition with your brand, and do so consistently. Your brand should separate your company from your competitors so that your customers remember the company and the product offered. Knowing what customers you serve guides you in choosing your wording to use. Since we are discussing Online Branding, your obvious medium is the internet, which means you can use email newsletters, online advertising, article marketing and forum posting to reach your clientele.

Step 2: Articulating your Brand

Articulating your brand is not the easiest part of an effective Online Branding campaign because choosing your words wisely can be extremely difficult to do. Your words will appear on your website, in press releases, in emails, in newsletters, on online advertisements like banner ads or pay per click ads, in articles and a lot of other places across the World Wide Web. Once you have chosen your words wisely, you can begin to put together a campaign for Online Branding. When developing an online brand it is important for you to become repetitive for the purpose of getting your point across to your customers. You can be repetitive with your slogan, your target keywords in your articles, and much more.

In order to articulate your brand properly, ask yourself these 3 questions: what should I be saying, what other things should I be talking about or writing about that is going to be of interest to my audience, how can I encourage my audience to take action.

“What should I be saying?”

Two things; your brand and benefits or your unique selling proposition (USP).

“What other things should I be talking about or writing about that is going to be of interest to my audience?”

This is where online keyword and market research comes in. Here are the steps.

1. Do Keyword Research; to identify specific words used by search engine users to find information

  • go the Google keyword tool
  • type in a word or phrase that relates to your brand or offer
  • the results will show you what keywords people are using on Google, and the average monthly searches for each… online markets are defined by keywords used and quantified by occurrence or the number of times a word or phrase was used in a search query

So how does this knowledge help you?

  • the words and phrases you find will guide you in creating more content on your website, pages specifically discussing topics that you find would be of interest to your potential customers
  • some of these keywords will be good to use as part of your press releases where you announce new benefits, dated promotions, company or organizational news
  • keywords you find will help you write and structure your broadcast messages for your mailing list or newsletter
  • this will also help you develop the right words and phrases to use in your banner campaigns
  • if you plan to advertise on Google AdWords, you have an idea what keywords to bid on, and include in your campaigns

2. Do market research; to verify topics of interest as popularly discussed

  • go to social sites like forums and bulletins, networking sites like Facebook, help websites like Yahoo answers, and blog sites like WordPress or Blogger; and see if the keywords you found above that relate to your brand or offer are often mentioned in conversations or threads
  • what makes a keyword even more valuable is if you find that a keyword is used in a specific problem situation discussed on these sites, this would be good material to use for article marketing, where you can write articles that include the target keywords and discuss how a much talked about problem or issue can be solved, and connect it to your product or service…and have a link on that article that points to your product website

How can I encourage my audience to take action?”

Always end an article, ad, press release¬† or any form of communication with a call to action, whether it be a number they can call or a link they can click to go your website. Use this with a motivating factor that further prompts them to take action.¬† Ever notice those ads which end like “call within the next 30 minutes to receive a FREE whatever….”. Whether they call or click a link, the next step for them; whether someone answering their call, or a web page they land on should also mention that special quick bonus AND reinforce the USP in order to make the prospect even more warm to perform the conversion you expect.

Step 3: Communicating your Brand

Communication is part of almost any business transaction. If you cannot communicate your brand effectively, your product will not sell. Strong online communication includes the construction of a website, operating a blog or multiple blogs, participating in forums not on your website and using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Communication also involves online advertising.

This last step is so important because it combines takes all the tips in Steps 1 and 2, and puts them into action. The most difficult aspect of communicating your brand is to gauge the customers’ interest and then sustaining that interest so the customer will take action and purchase your product or service. Even if your website has a forum on it, you should join other online forums or communities to join so that you can reach out to other customers by talking about their problems and how to solve them and then suggest trying your product. Do not hard-sell to other people on forums because you will get shut out, or even banned, people hate ads, but people love valuable and helpful advise from someone who knows what he is talking about, and has a product or service that is borne out of his expertise on the topic. A blog, separate from your website, is important because here you can post content you typically would not see on a business website. This content includes reviews of your products from customers, press releases, articles about the products, videos featuring the products, audio podcasts and other information about the company. When used with the correct Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies, communicating your brand to your audiences will be a lot easier and more effective because of the visibility SEO can give you on the search engines.

Facebook and Twitter are two social networking sites that should be used when creating an online brand. Facebook gives businesses the opportunity to create a page on their network that is dedicated to your company. This is where you can post breaking news, product reviews, link to your website and interact with fans of your company. Twitter is another social networking site that has really taken off in the business world. Twitter allows for individuals and companies to post short messages, 140 characters in length, about their products and services. Just like Facebook, you can post status messages and build a following. Twitter also allows you to post links to your website for customers to click.

Follow the steps enumerated above, and take the tips to heart and you will be on our way to crafting an effective Online Branding strategy that would ensure that what your customers perceive your brand, service or offer to be is exactly similar to how you perceive it to be. “If you sell shovels that can dig a 3 foot hole in 3 minutes, your audience should know that can be able to dig a 3 foot hole in 3 minutes with your shovels and only your shovels alone.”

If you have questions or comments about Online Branding

, please post them in the space provided below. You can also send me questions about online branding or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Reputation Management through the .

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