Most of us like to think we don’t “judge a book by it’s cover” when meeting someone new for the first time — but the truth is, we all use non-verbal cues to form snap decisions about people. It’s human nature. In the blink of an eye, we consciously and subconsciously asses people’s confidence, professionalism, honesty, attitude and success before they even have a chance to utter a single word. And just like with people, these same judgmental cues are subconsciously used by customers visiting your website.
What Is Small Business Branding?
Marketers like to call this concept of self-presentment of the emotional, non-verbal and less-tangible feelings and ideas about your business as your brand or brand image. If you’re still a bit confused, think about how the jocks, geeks and popular kids in high school each had a different style of dress, mannerisms and attitude. Each group of kids created a brand image of themselves that matched the social class they wanted to be a part of.
Small business marketing and online branding is very similar to those kids in high school. If you want your customers to see your products and services as luxurious, low cost, highest quality, or any other number of associations, you visually “dress” your business towards that goal. Your work towards that end is referred to as small business branding. With the end result of having created a persona, or brand image, to be used throughout your small business marketing and website brand that creates the customer’s perception of your business.
How Can Online Branding Help?
Smart, forward-thinking small business owners have learned that a website brand is a cost effective way to: increase profits, prescreen potential customers, attract higher-caliber customers, and encourage repeat purchases. When you consider that the average person visiting your website will judge the quality, professionalism, honesty and success of your business in just four seconds — it’s clear how important your website brand is to your small business marketing.
A Poor Website Brand Can Sink Your Ship
Just because money is tight or because your business is new, is not an excuse to look for shortcuts in small business marketing and online branding. A poorly crafted website brand can not only hurt you, but seriously damage your reputation. Just because your neighbor’s kid can paste together some free clipart, does not mean they have the appropriate marketing skills and small business branding experience to create a results-driven website. Your professional image and success are at stake!
Don’t even think about using an “el-cheapo” website template from a design mill. Website templates don’t create a distinct website brand for your small business marketing. Templates look cheap, outdated, uninspired and boring. And you’re not fooling anyone! Your customers can spot a website template from a mile away because they’ve seen them being used by other less-professional companies that don’t understand small business branding.
Don’t Be An Online Branding Lemming
Stand out from your competitors! It’s tough making the conscious decision to do things differently. Some customers won’t like your online branding. But the majority will — and they’ll find it refreshing that your business is unique. Force customers to see what you want them to see. Use your brand website as part of your small business marketing to project a high-level of quality, professionalism, honesty and success.