When it comes to branding your business, consistency matters. Gone are the days where people did all their shopping at a brick and mortar store and relied on the recommendation of friends to find what they were looking for. Now, people turn to the web first for research, which is why you need to create a cohesive brand online and off as a small business.
As a small and/or local business, people get to know you and what you offer through in-person engagements. But now, people head to the internet first to do their homework.
If someone is considering doing business with you, then you can count on them checking out your website, looking for online reviews or seeing what people say about your business and products on social media.
No matter how amazing of a brand you may have created, if your website isn’t consistent with your overall brand, you’re missing out on opportunities. You may have the most beautiful storefront or the best reputation, but if your website for your business website hasn’t been updated in years then you’re creating a major disconnect in your branding.
Consumers expect a level of flexibility that allows them to easily do business with you both offline and online so having a seamless transition between the two is key. And if they’re visiting an outdated website that doesn’t have the information they’re looking for, it doesn’t do much to inspire trust in your brand.
The key is to ensure your brand is cohesive and provides the best customer experience possible. This means building in ways to interact with your brand, and even self-service options if appropriate.
Here are our best strategies for creating a cohesive brand online and offline as a small business.
#1. Use Online Calls-to-Action on Your Offline Promotion Pieces
When creating any sort of print materials there’s an opportunity to drive people to your website.
Your goal is to create a specific reason for your audience to go to your website and take action. This serves two purposes:
- It creates an opportunity for them to provide their contact information, which can then be used for future promotions, newsletters, etc. Having a customer’s email gives you the opportunity to engage them outside of their normal transactions.
- It provides them with something of value or interest, which makes the experience more memorable.
The call-to-action can be as simple as entering a contest for a gift certificate or offering a free e-book. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The goal is to simply capture their email address, and provide them with a little something “extra” to keep them interested in your business.
#2. Encourage Selfies
Now, you might be wondering why you should care about someone taking a selfie with your product, or after using your service, but trust us, this is pure marketing gold.
First of all, user-generated content is king on the internet. Consumers love seeing content from real people. And there is no denying that social media is one of the best places for high user activity, so imagine creating a marketing campaign that combines the two.
You can use posters, event graphics, and other print media to encourage your audience to take selfies and use specific hashtags. This creates that user-generated content you’re looking for while also showing brand endorsement.
#3. Make Sure Your Website Matches Your Brand Values and Voice
One of the easiest ways to ensure your website is reflective of your offline business is through the use of visuals. Using consistent color schemes, font styles and iconography will automatically invoke a similar vibe to what you have created offline and will provide a sense of familiarity to site visitors.
This also works in reverse, when online customers visit your offline location and see what they’re accustomed to on your website.
Creating website content that reflects any promotional or informational copy you have offline takes this one step further, by ensuring the voice of your business stays the same.
More than anything, consistency here is critical. You want to provide an experience that looks and feels the same for your audience regardless of where they’re interacting with your business.
#4. Give Your Loyal Social Media Fans a Chance to Weigh In
If there’s one thing the internet has taught us, it’s that people have opinions and they definitely like to share. So why not get your audience involved in your business?
Let’s say you’re trying to decide on which image to use for an upcoming marketing campaign. Or you’re looking at adding a new product or service. What better way to engage people online about something happening offline than to ASK them?
Including your audience makes them feel like they’re part of your brand, which creates loyalty. Not only do you get to interact with your customers, but you also get real-time feedback from people who like your business and can feel confident that whatever you’re introducing is the best possible choice.
#5. Use Online Engagement to Drive Offline Campaigns
It’s pretty easy to see what is getting a lot of “likes” on your social media. So why not leverage that knowledge and translate that into something offline?
Let’s say you look at your business Facebook page and there’s an image that your audience has responded enthusiastically to. You know they like the image and it’s clearly the most popular on your Facebook page, so it makes perfect sense to move that into a print campaign or use for other promotional purposes.
Not only does this really solidify a cohesive brand experience, it also shows your audience you’re paying attention to what they like.
#6. Use Trackable Phone Numbers or URLs
One of the best things you can do for your marketing strategy is to figure out where your traffic is coming from. URLs and phone numbers can be set up and associated with a specific piece of print material, which means you can see some of the effectiveness. By tracking the number of times the URL is visited or the phone number is called, you can determine how successful your campaign is.
When trying to make a cohesive brand that functions well both online and offline, knowing what drives traffic to both spaces is key.
#7. Place Digital Contact Info on Business Cards
This one sounds simple, and it is! By including your website, email address and any relevant social media handles you’re encouraging people to expand the relationship from offline to online.
More people checking you out online also means an increase in possible engagement or spending.
No matter what methods you employ to help create a more cohesive brand, it all comes back to consistency.
Whether it’s your website, your marketing strategy, an in-person event or an online promotion, consistency is what will solidify your brand in the minds of your audience.
When consumers know they can expect the same thing from your local business no matter which channel they’re using, you’ve increased your know, like and trust factor. Reputation is everything for a local business, so every little bit counts!
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