In the early days of the internet, businesses used to treat their websites as online brochures. They posted some information about their business and waited for new clients to pour in. Those days are long gone. Your website is frequently the first impression that your audience gets from your company. Studies show that consumers will judge your website in less than 50 milliseconds! In this post, we’ll show you how branding your website will help to grab your target audience’s attention quickly.
The best way to ensure quick recognition is by developing a brand strategy for your small business website. I’ve put together a list of 5 Pro tips that will help to create a website that connects with the right audience, conveys your value proposition, and helps to reinforce your brand identity.
PRO TIP #1
Define your target audience
Frequently when you ask small business owners who their target market is, they reply that it’s anyone who needs their product. It’s understandable, we don’t want to exclude people who could purchase from us, but it is also inefficient. By choosing a specific target market, small businesses can compete with the larger ones by choosing specific markets that are often overlooked. If you can address their needs better than your competitors, they will trust you and recommend you to friends.
Affordability is another factor. When your message is geared to a particular group, you are more likely to get higher quality leads that will eventually convert to sales. Mass advertising, on the other hand, is expensive and can result in a large number of poor matches for your business.
Not sure who to target? Take a look at the current customer base – look for commonalities among them.
Look at who your competition is targeting, but don’t target the same market. Look for a group that may be overlooked.
Consider other elements such as demographics or psychographics to find groups that are more likely to purchase your product or service. (For a step-by-step breakdown on finding your target market, please download my free Brand Clarity Workbook).
Once you know your target market, you can focus on the right combination of brand elements that will most effectively reach your target market.
PRO TIP #2
Have a clear goal for your website
Why are you creating a website? If your answer is to have an online presence, you may need to dig a bit further. In other words, what do you want your site visitors to do when they land on your website? Do you want them to contact you for a free consultation (generate leads)? Do you want to display video demonstrations of your product and offer product guarantees (improve conversion)? Or maybe you just want to build awareness of your brand?
When you’re branding your website, you need to provide people with a reason to visit your site, so it’s important to keep your end goal in sight.
PRO TIP #3
Be consistent with your brand colors and fonts
Your brand colors are one of the first things a visitor to your site will notice. Your brand colors become associated with your business and brand consistency is key. Your customers will expect to see those colors on your website (if not, they may think they’ve landed on the wrong site!). Your brand colors are easy to remember and should reflect the personality of your business (click here for a more detailed post on brand colors). Using these colors consistently throughout your small business website will help build familiarity and trust with your brand.
Building familiarity is an important factor in branding your website. There is a psychological principle that states that people develop a preference for things merely because there are familiar with them. So once you become familiar to your audience, they are more likely to purchase from you merely because they know of you.
Fonts also play a role in building trust among your target audience when used consistently. The typeface used on your website should also reflect your brand personality.
Some things to consider when you are building your small business website:
• Consider using up to 2-3 different typefaces. I normally use 2 typefaces. This will allow your visitor to easily differentiate headings, labels, and titles. This makes it easy for them to quickly categorize the information you give them (remember our brains like simple and easy).
• Make sure paragraph fonts are easy-to-read (you may want to avoid script or other “fancy” fonts here).
• Ensure that your font matches your brand identity (for more on choosing typefaces for your brand, check out this post).
PRO TIP #4
Create a coherent look for brand photos and graphics
To help develop brand consistency, photos and graphics should be displayed in a consistent manner on your small business website. This will present a unified appearance to your audience. Make sure to choose only high-quality photos and graphics.
If you look at well-designed websites, you’ll notice that the photographs all have a similar appearance. To achieve this, consider using stock photos from the same photographer or use photo treatments to attain similar lighting and appearance. Also, try to pair your photos with the same or similar color schemes. If your first picture has a orange color in it, try to find photos that also pick up that orange color (or colors that pair well with orange).
Also, make sure that your photos and graphics don’t clash with your brand identity. For example, if you went to a website for financial services, you would probably be very confused if they used a floral background or cartoonish graphics. Again, brand consistency is key.
PRO TIP #5
Write in your brand voice
The writing on your website should reflect your value proposition (or what makes you unique in your industry). How do you want your audience to view you? Fun and casual? You can inject a little humor in your writing. Maybe you’d rather appear more professional and informative? Then your writing style can be more formal. This becomes your brand voice and your audience will associate that writing style with you.
Once you settle on your brand voice, keep it consistent throughout all of your content. Your landing page, blog posts, and about us page should all use that same brand voice. This helps to develop your brand consistency.
• Keep it simple. People don’t like to have to work to figure out your message. Remember, you don’t have much time to grab their attention. Make it easy for them.
• Be personal. People deal with computers and machines all day; they crave connections with other people. The more personal you can be with them through your small business website, the more they will trust you.
• Be consistent. I’ve mentioned it throughout this blog, but it is so important, it bears repeating. Brand consistency is essential.
Not sure where to start? If you find yourself getting overwhelmed with all of the different elements that go into branding your website, we can help you with that. We can guide you through the process and create a site that will connect with your target audience. Contact us to get started.