15 years ago, selling online was a secondary thought for “real businesses” that operated offline. Now, online businesses are threatening the very existence of many offline businesses. For many new entrepreneurs, the thought of opening a store and getting distribution doesn’t make sense since online retail sales have reached $2.1 trillion in 2017.
Knowing this, if you have an idea for a business the best way to get sales is online. We at StartUp Mindset are big fans of Shopify. That’s why we became a partner because we’ve seen many new and seasoned entrepreneurs launch a venture quickly and see amazing results.
In this article, we’ll show you how to build your brand in order to increase the success of your online business.
Should you Build a Personal or Corporate Brand?
One of the big questions new entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs starting a new venture must answer is whether they should build around a personal or corporate brand. There is a lot of buzz (or noise, depending on how you view it) around personal branding. But corporate and company brands have some major advantages as well. So which one should you choose? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both.
Pros and Cons of Personal Branding
One of the major benefits of building a personal brand is ease of setup. Social sites like Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn entice users to put their personal brand where everyone can see. This makes it easy for entrepreneurs who are starting service businesses.
Personal brands are also more versatile in nature. Let’s say you have built a personal brand around your service business which you launched and grew. If that success leads to you being asked to be a consultant or speaking engagements, you could easily morph your personal brand from the service you initially launched into a media personality brand.
It would not be that difficult to do and since humans change, it is commonplace for our brand to change and evolve over time. Keep in mind that everyone has a brand. But because everyone essentially has a personal brand whether they like it or not, it becomes harder and harder to stand out.
Another challenge that comes with building a personal brand is that you are your business. This makes it harder to automate the business. Service businesses are harder to scale due to the fact that a one person branded business makes that person the business. And since one person cannot be everywhere at once, the business is limited by the owner’s time and location. One last drawback is that personal branded businesses are also much harder to sell.
Pros and Cons of Corporate Branding
Company branding has several advantages. One advantage of building a company brand is the ability establish legitimacy. When done right, you can appear more credible than a one-person business. Having a well-designed logo, website, and social profiles let your potential customers know that you are a serious business.
Another advantage of having a strong company brand is the ability to automate and implement systems that help run your business so that you are not doing everything. In a one person, personally branded business, customers expect that person to handle everything. In a well-branded company, customers don’t mind if they are not dealing directly with the owner of the business or any number of employees of the business. As long as they get great products and services, they aren’t concerned with who within the company delivers those things.
Exits with a company that has a great corporate brand are easier to do than a personally branded business. Having a strong corporate brand allows you to sell the business if you so desire. If you have a personally branded business where you are the face of the business which makes harder to sell since another business cannot buy you.
Company branding is, however, much harder to do. It takes more thought and planning to establish the reputation of a brand. You will also need to be thorough about the eliminates of your business plan and need to use more advertising and sponsorship in order get your brand exposure.
There is also a middle ground that you may want to implement. Launching a corporate brand will force you to develop a strong business plan and marketing strategies. At the same time you should build your personal brand on social media to promote your corporate brand.
Set up a blog for your brand and online store
Blogging is another great way to spread the word. This is a great way to have full descriptions of your product or service. There are a plethora of platforms for blogging. WordPress, blogger, and weebly are just a few. For blogging, WordPress is by far the best option. In 2015, it was reported that 25% of all websites in the world were built using WordPress. Believe it or not, larger media sites such as NBC Sports, CBS Radio, and CNN are built on WordPress.
For your online store, Shopify is your best choice. Shopify has built a platform to build, launch, and sell from your online store with easy and in minutes. They also include SEO tools, payment processing, and blogging platform for content creation.
Use social media that is best for you and your brand
Social media is one of the best ways to spread information about your brand and selling online. Make certain that you are choosing the best platform for what you are selling. According to Entrepreneur Facebook is one of the best platforms to promote your brand and to sell online. Facebook is good for almost any brand making it a great option for brand promotion.
Instagram is a great option for clothing or jewelry. Essentially, if your brand or items rely on clients looking at what you have to offer, Instagram is a great option. There are many social media options. Make certain you get a feel for what your audience is looking for before you pick a platform. This also allows you to speak directly to your followers, buyers, and audience.
Share content that appeals to your audience and your brand.
What you share on your business social media is as important as the product or service itself. You want to share content that appeals to your client base. If you share relevant content, your followers are more inclined to share it, thus spreading the word. You want to also ensure it is relevant and true to your product. Share information and content often.
- Informational-Sharing content that is relevant to your field, helpful to your audience, and answers questions will help establish your brand an authority. The key here is to share unique information that is hard to find. General information that can be found anywhere will not typically help you grow your audience or brand.
- Entertaining-There should be a certain level of lightheartedness in your posts if you are building a corporate brand. Sharing funny or entertaining images, videos and text should be a small part of your content sharing strategy.
- Heartfelt-Brands that are sensitive to the things that are important to their customers typically earn higher brand loyalty than the companies than the ones that are not. Sharing posts letting your customers know that you understand and care about the issues affecting them will help your brand connect with your audience on a personal level. Be careful not to try to pull on heartstrings or manipulate your audience. Your followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook will call you out if they feel as though you are being disingenuous.
Pick your logo carefully
When building a personal brand, display a personality is much easier than when building a corporate brand. With personal brands, displaying things like humor and professionalism can be done with pictures, words or video. But corporate brands have to utilize their logo to show personality. Make sure that your logo is not only ascetically pleasing but it truly represents your brand’s personality.
You should also show all side’s of your brand’s personality on social media as well. The side that cares about current issues affecting your community, as well as your brand’s humorous side, should be displayed in the post you share. Be very careful, however, because things like humor can be taken the wrong way. To be safe, make sure your humor is light and not malicious in any way. Check out our post on things you should avoid doing on social media for more.
Use influencers when you can
Try and use influencers also. Send out samples to influencers to try your product. Influencers main purpose is to spread information on social media. They often have large amounts of followers. If they like your product or service they will spread the word for you on social media.
This will get the word out to people you may not have thought of to market to. Make certain you are choosing influencers that are directly related to your market. You want to get your brand out to the best type of audience.