Tuesday, February 6, 2007

How to take your online brand image to another level.

Your online brand. It's a heady challenge. Many small companies do not take their web presence as serious as they should. Many view that presence in the simplest of terms. It is just a digital representation of their printed brochure. No matter what industry you are doing business in, if you choose to ignore the web's potential you are agreeing to leave money on the table.

A printed brochure by it's very nature is limited in it's scope. It's message is expensive to present. Content is set in a fixed time frame and distribution is expensive in labour and the cost to implement. It's main benefit is as a tangible marketing tool in a big box of tools we use to get our messages in the hands of potential customers. But today the not so subtle message on your printed materials should be the drive to the website. While your printed materials are considered successful to grab a 4 - 6% response rate in direct marketing the web can deliver far greater numbers. Online surveys enjoy healthy results.

It is critical that all brand materials across all media present a highly professional, consistent brand message and image. Your company really is open to the world and they are watching. I use StatCounter® to track useage. I am regularly visited by people from all the industrialized nations. StatCounter® is a free service, but it gives me plenty of information. Make your website a tool for your customers and resource to your industry. Offer a FREE newsletter to push out advice and other news your market will benefit from. A terrific brand building vehicle. If you are in retail, you can't find a better avenue for promotions and collecting data on customers who sign-up for a better experience from you.

Look at what Coca-Cola Canada is doing. Blogging - what you are actively doing now cranks your web presense up a notch. My opinions here and comments left out at other blogs, increase my brand presence every day. I get several visits each day directly from other blogs that I have visited. A number of them, I am aware of their visits simply because of my tracking and awareness of their brands. Today, millions of potential customers search for help for their businesses. Give them every opportunity to find the benefit of your business.

If you have publications to offer, the web gives you the opportunity to sell it cheaply to an immense web audience as opposed to a higher price point BUT in an expensive distribution cycle from a bricks and mortar store with a regional audience. Long Tail thinking. With every element you add to your site, you raise the level of your online brand. I will admit it is very time consuming, but think of it as a highly sophisticated form of networking with world-wide potential.

Once you have a professional online presence, the only real expense is effort. If you can't afford the time, delegate. Make the web work for you, the rewards come will a highly polished corporate brand image. For more on this topic check out this blog: ewritings.

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