Branding your online business is incredibly valuable. The investment is worth the overall positive effects and growth potential good branding can bring you. Whether you are just starting out or going through a rebrand, I strongly urge you to take a moment and reflect on what branding is and what it can do for your business. I don’t mean just choosing a color palette (and I certainly don’t mean just choosing your favorite colors), but the whole process of branding. From foundation, to strategy, to design, and so on, every piece of the puzzle fits together to form your business.
I talk about this a lot, but a HUGE benefit of proper branding is the foundation it will force you to create for your business. Good branding cannot exist if you haven’t taken time to analyze your target audience, develop a brand vision, and so on. Those formative steps are a part of any true branding experience.
Consider it a “Discovery Phase”. Designers need it to move forward and create effective visuals, but you, the business owner, benefit from it too. There are questions that come up during this time that you might be included to “figure out later” (spoiler alert: there is never a “later” in online business), but I promise you, taking the time now will help your business.
Without establishing a foundation for your branding (and business) you are going to fall into the trap of trying to “do all the things!” or feel so overwhelmed and unsure what to do that you might throw in the towel.
If you want an in-depth look at what it means to build a proper branding foundation (and business foundation) I recommend getting Branding 101: Building Your Base. This eBook contains worksheets and guides to help you answer the essential questions to create a foundation for your business that is strong, stable, and easy to grow on.
Everything we are doing out in the online world should be driving traffic back to our website (or potentially your store if you are brick and mortar). We want to constantly be building awareness of our business, so we can reach potential customers or clients. The point is: you can’t have a business without customers and you can’t get customers if they don’t know you exist!
Online, you will never have a customer stumble by your business and stop in “to check it out” so you have to bring them to you. Awareness is two-fold in the sense that I am not just talking about your social media graphics, but also your messaging and your brand vision. Both of these go hand in hand (and fall under the umbrella of branding).
Part of a great branding strategy includes how you will gain awareness (social media? Opt-ins? Guest blogging?) and should be figured out early on in your business. You can have the greatest idea, but if no one knows about it then you can’t grow a business.
Here is where your visuals come into play – being cohesive across all platforms and areas where your business might be found is essential. Branding creates that. A cohesive presence for your business builds trust, recognition, and shows that you are a professional.
The goal of cohesive branding is that when someone sees you on Instagram they recognize your graphics or messaging because it’s the same visual presence on Pinterest, or Twitter, or your newsletter, or your blog, etc. You use the same colors, talk about related content (i.e. you won’t find a blog post about what I ate last weekend because that has nothing to do with my brand vision), and just generally are promoting the same ideals across the board.
Creating a system for your branding so that you can quickly and efficiently put out visuals that represent your business (and look recognizably the same). Use templates so that each and every time you are being consistent. Outside of the technicalities of creating a cohesive presence, you also want to make sure that you’ve established a clear brand vision, to that any content you post (even if it’s a motivational quote) serves the overall goal of your business.
Support, or engagement, is a benefit of good branding. Once you create this cohesive presence and people begin to gain awareness about your business, you’ll start to generate a following of people who trust and support your business.
I don’t just mean financially support, though that’s necessary. I also mean support with sharing your content, introducing you to their audience, validating your ideas, and eventually potentially buying your service or product.
If you have a haphazard feeling, messaging that flies all over the place, and a general feeling of unprofessional vibes you will find that support can be hard to gain. I can attest my quick growth to the fact that I had a strong message, talk A LOT about branding, and a look that said, “I know what I am talking about, I am a professional” that was unified across all social media outlets.
Professional doesn’t have to mean stuffy – and thankfully, branding also gives room to include and showcase your personality. Your personality is important in your business, especially if you are strictly online. People want to buy from people – not big, huge corporations with no names. The connection you create with people, by using your personality, will often times be the deal closer (there are a lot of designers out there, a majority of my clients end up working with me because we connect on a personal level).
Good branding does that. It balances both the professional and the personal, appeals to your target client, and helps you to scale your business. When I work with clients, part of the foundational or discovery phase includes talking about why you stand out, or what makes you different from your competitors. Part of that will come down to your personality traits (as well as how you package your services and position yourself). You want to highlight facets of your personality that will stand out to your target client and make them excited to work with you.
I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!