Here’s a tough pill to swallow: Your brand does not exist unless it has presence.
Think of all the things in the world that go unnoticed because they never make headline news: certain countries, species, rules of law and natural phenomena like lenticular clouds (go ahead, they’re worth a Google) draw blank stares because they don’t exist in the minds of the unacquainted.
That doesn’t mean your brand needs to do something drastic to garner attention or make itself known. But you do need to leave more than a trail of breadcrumbs to make it easier for customers and prospects to find you. Rest assured, there are a number of measures you can take to add a little punch to your presence.
What follow are some points to keep in mind as you establish marketing goals and strengthen your online footprint.
Name and brand recognition only go so far to put your company on the map.
This holds true for brands that have been around for decades as well as up-and-coming brands that are riding the waves of a pop culture trend. Some companies can get by on word-of-mouth advertising, but every company benefits from a solid website. Any business that wants visibility should have one.
Now, before this is dismissed as elementary advice, allow me to say that not all websites are created equal. There are many terrible websites out there, replete with flashing graphics, clashing colors and text that covers the page from corner to corner. You don’t want your brand website to resemble a Jackson Pollock painting, so as you develop it, ask yourself a few key questions:
1. What trends, topics and keywords are shoppers searching for?
2. Does my website engage visitors with product reviews, contact information and social media?
3. Does my website provide an easy way for visitors to contact me?
4. Does my website align with my brand’s style?
Even if your brand is a household name, it should be supported by a website that satisfies the questions above. Let’s examine in more detail how each one can ground your position online and help you achieve your marketing goals.
Capitalize on trends, topics and keywords that are relevant to your brand.
Many search engines have tools that allow you to look up popular search terms. A few include Google Trends, Yahoo Buzz Log and Bing Trends. These tools come in handy if you’re trying to determine whether “car,” “vehicle” or “automobile” is a better choice for your marketing communications. You want to be sure that you speak your customers’ language, so incorporate terms they relate to.
If you want to go a step further and really show your expertise on a topic and expand your marketing reach, include a blog on your website that features articles with useful information for visitors to your site. If, for example, your company provides electric generation for large businesses, you might consider writing a few articles on how to lower consumption in favor of “greener” practices, or ways to cut down on energy costs.
Engage customers with relevant content marketing.
Your website is the perfect place to host content marketing materials. Content marketing supplies customers with useful information—that is, valuable, product-specific information they’re looking for.
A company blog can cover a lot of ground because you’ll likely always have something engaging to write about, including relevant industry trends and insights. Other opportunities for content marketing are possible through white papers, newsletters, video demos, podcasts, social media and more. Relevant content marketing makes it possible for customers to find you and pushes your brand closer to the top of a search results list.
Customers shouldn’t have to pass through Dante’s Inferno in order to find your contact information.
You don’t want to inspire feelings of anger and limbo in your customers. I’m not just talking about customer service contact information. I’m also talking about phone numbers, email and street addresses. Don’t bury them in a tiny nook of your site.
That said, you might also consider featuring Google Maps in your contact information to pinpoint your location. If you’re in retail or provide a service that requires customers to come to you (computer repairs, etc.), facilitating their journey to your location is key. Google Maps provides directions between locations, so customers can find you without a problem.
Your brand’s style should be consistent across all marketing platforms.
Certain brands demand a certain style. Whatever your marketing goals and however you choose to represent your brand online, make sure that the style aligns verbally and visually with your other marketing materials.
It’s not uncommon for two completely different companies to share the same name. Without performing a Google search to confirm it, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that there’s more than one business with “McDonald” in the name. So in order to distinguish your brand from a hardware store or grocer, your website should look familiar to those familiar with your brand. Whether you decide to use colors generally associated with your brand or other design elements that recall it, aim for consistency.
Despite the vastness of the online universe, your company can still score map-pin visibility by developing your website with the suggestions above. For more information on achieving your marketing goals and extending your marketing reach, check out our article, “How SEO impacts content marketing and what every website owner should know.”