What sets you apart from your competitors? When someone googles your product, are they going to find a bland website that looks like everyone else’s—or, will you dazzle them with your difference?
In our Internet age, your website is the first place many customers are likely to encounter your brand. If you come across as awkward, inconsistent or just downright boring then it can be huge turn off.
First impressions last—so make sure you get it right!
Here are seven tips for effective website branding that will give you an edge over your competitors…
1. Avoid Boring Content
With an unfathomable amount of content being produced every second of the day, it’s easy for your brand to get lost in the noise. When it comes to creating content for your website, there is one major sin to avoid at all costs:
DON’T BE BORING!
Content that is fun and engaging will not only attract eyeballs, it will differentiate you from competitors who play it safe.
People want to interact with brands that give them something beyond sales pitches and humdrum ads. They want exciting content that makes them laugh or gives them useful information. If you can offer a little something extra with your content then people will connect with your brand on a deeper level.
For example, why not create a podcast where you interview interesting characters that relate to your business? Or, run a scavenger hunt or competition on your Instagram rather than simply posting photos.
Think outside the box, and your customers will reward you!
2. Start a Blog
Starting a blog may not sound that exciting, but it has many benefits, including boosting traffic to your website and developing stronger relationships with your customers.
They key to success with a blog is creativity and consistency. That means dedicating the time and the resources to create at least one interesting post per week.
Forget about dry, boring posts like company news or messages from the CEO. You can still incorporate these, but focus on creating useful material or entertaining clickbait-style articles and developing an authentic voice.
Say you have a specific industry niche like “bike accessories.” You can publish articles about bike maintenance, racing, health and fitness, and great bike trails across the country. It only needs to be tangentially related to your product to keep it relevant.
What about the opposite situation? What if you are in a highly saturated industry with tons of blogs on blogs, like fashion or food. How do you differentiate yourself?
Refine that huge, lofty industry into something that is specifically true to you. You’re not a food blogger, you’re that great sarcastic vegetarian food blogger. Suddenly, you’re memorable!
3. Use Relatable Images
Although stock photos can guarantee to please the masses, they aren’t going to differentiate you from competitors who are most likely using similar imagery. Looking just like your competitors is a quick way to bore site viewers and make you seem uncreative. Instead, think about hiring a photographer for edgy new photos, incorporate images of real customers, and spend the money on the premium site design if it looks great.
4. Connect Your Brand to a Bigger Idea
All the best and most memorable brands don’t just promote a product for their users—they promote a lifestyle and a way of being.
For example, Apple has established itself as the go-to tech provider for the maverick and the free thinker. It doesn’t just sell computers; Apple’s products send the message that you “think different.”
If you’re selling something that isn’t a B2C product, does branding really matter?
It does more than you might think. Forbes did a survey of several different fields, and found the brand accounted on average for an 18% share of buyers’ decision-making.
5. Have the Best User Experience
Your site might be amazingly colorful and dazzling. But if users can’t figure it out, they aren’t going to convert—or even want to come back.
Even if it isn’t dazzling, if they have an incredibly easy time getting what they want, they’ll find value in returning.
One great way of doing this is evaluating your site’s efficiency by measuring task completion. This goes a step beyond conversion rates by addressing the different possible reasons that a user could enter the site.
It could be to buy, but it could also be for product research, for entertainment, to browse, or a number of other purposes. To find out, just set up a questionnaire that is triggered upon clicking out of the site that asks, “Did you accomplish what you came to the site to do?” The higher number of “yes” answers, the more successful your site will be at drawing in return visitors and pleasing new visitors.
6. Steer Away From Industry Jargon
By now, we all know (hopefully!) that industry jargon makes people’s eyes glaze over. Consumers recognize it immediately, and it gives them the impression that you are not geniune.
People can’t connect to flowery sentences that obscure actual meaning in favor of some idealistic, blurred vision or aim. Not to mention business jargon has become clichéd, which in its very nature makes you seem like “one of the rest”.
Instead, invest in quality copy. Don’t obscure your company’s aim—just tell it like it is!
What are you going to do for them? How is it going to improve their life? Your customers will not only have less questions, they’ll respect you for it.
7. Create a Catchy Tagline
A succinct, clever tag line that clearly conveys your company’s values can be amazingly effective.
Just think of Nike’s “Just Do It” or Maybelline’s “Maybe It’s Maybelline”. They say it all in just a few words.
When creating a tagline, you must focus on making sure that the audience will associate it with your brand. You want to avoid situations where consumers remember the tagline, but not the brand that it came from.
Steer clear of jargon words like “excellence” or “quality” in your tagline as they will cheapen your message. Aim for something that is powerful and unique, but also encapsulates your mission and the mood of your brand.
The current state of the business environment means that if you aren’t differentiating your business from the countless sea of competitors, you’re going to fail. Competition is hard, but that’s the part of business that actually does great work for customers. The higher the competition, the greater likelihood that someone is going to create something truly fantastic.
For more awesome tips on branding, check out my interview with brand guru Joana Galvao on the Marketing Speak podcast.
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