When deciding to start a website and make money online the first thing people worry about is receiving targeted website traffic. If you search Google for ‘muffin pans’ the only difference between the first site listed and the site listed on page 2,000,135 is that one website site owner has put more attention into brand awareness and internet marketing.
So before I begin, lets make sure we have a clear understanding of what brand awareness means.
Brand awareness is a marketing concept that measures consumers’ knowledge of a brand’s existence. At the aggregate (brand) level, it refers to the proportion of consumers who know of the brand.
This basically means, marketing your product so that it’s recognizable everywhere, like Coke, Mc Donald’s and Walmart. Take into consideration that these multi-million dollar companies (maybe even billions) spend a fortune on advertising every year to maintain their brand awareness in order to build loyalty for their customers. But for the everyday person starting an internet business this may seem almost impossible.
Brand recognition takes time and effort, so I have provided a few internet marketing ideas which will help you create a successful brand.
1. Sell Yourself First. Brand building can be as simple as being yourself. I can’t count how many times I have been undecided about purchasing a product, the final decision was between two very similar choices and I chose a the product based on a the fact I liked one company (or business owner) more than the other. Building a brand isn’t just about the product you’re selling, but it’s about brand perception. Do people like you? Do people speak highly of your business? Because if they do, they are more likely to purchase from you and tell their friends.
2. Use the Product Yourself. As a small business without much start-up capital brand development can start by simply using your own product! You would be amazed at how simple this marketing concept is, but sometimes overlooked. Every small business should have an online marketing strategy which includes multimedia (videos, images, audio, etc.) of the owner using their products. Allowing a potential customers to see the owner stand behind their products’ quality and is passionate about it’s value will convert into potential sales.
3. Follow Up and Stay Accessible. Brand advertising and development is on going. Most people rarely purchase a product the first time they see it online. Potential customers will bookmark the product, come back, get outside opinions and then make a decision after careful consideration. Your direct marketing strategy should always include following up with a prospect, since it usually takes 6-7 exposures to a product before someone actually buys something. Always take every opportunity to answer questions, respond to emails and phone calls because this can mean the difference between making the sale or not.
4. Article Marketing. Writing articles will help you build credibility and brand visibility on the internet. This marketing strategy is easy, time consuming, but extremely effective in branding your website. By writing short 400-500 hundred word articles and submitting them to the top article directories, your search engine rankings will increase and people will begin to find your site in popular search engines more easily.
5. Smaller Niche Markets. Brand awareness isn’t just for larger companies who can afford to hire top dollar marketing consultants. There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses thriving online by narrowing down their niche to be more specific. So instead of concentrating on building a brand around ‘poodle grooming supplies’, it might be more profitable to concentrate on ‘pink poodle dye and nail polish’. Successful brands realize the importance of starting small while building brand loyalty.
6. Social Media. Since the emergence of social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, branding experts have come to realize that these free social outlets can greatly contribute to brand development and potential sales. Social media marketing strategies can include building a following for your customers to stay informed, offering coupons and incentives and providing direct one-on-one contact with your customers. Social media is critical to building brand awareness for small businesses with limited funds and brand experience.
7. Make a Bang with Multimedia. Every day start-ups are looking for the biggest bang for their buck and the best way to create a buzz around your brand is with multimedia – specifically video. One of the biggest explosions of internet marketing is online video. Once a company starts creating real videos, with real people along with unique content, they become more accessible to the consumer. Because know matter how many brand development techniques you implement, the reality is, people want to deal with real people. Not companies.
8. Build an Email List. List building is one of the most important online marketing strategies available today. An email list is when you offer visitors to your website something free (coupons, discounts or exclusive content) by having them sign up for your weekly newsletter or mailing list. If you have an email list, then you will essentially have direct marketing access to people who are interested in your products. So when there are new additions to the website or a special insider sale, you can reach your customers directly and potentially make more sales.
9. Send Regular Emails. Brand creation doesn’t end once you have captured a long list of names and emails. Brand loyalty occurs whens when you keep in constant contact with your subscribers. As an entrepreneur, you should be sending emails regularly, around once a week (you don’t want to be annoying). These emails should include additional information about your products, news and articles during the week they may have missed.
10. Research Keywords. Keywords are the specific words people input into Google (yes, or BING or Yahoo) search in order to locate information on the internet. For example, if I am looking for Karate classes in Richmond Virginia, I may go to Google and type in ‘Karate class Richmond Virginia’ and the most popular options will show up first. If you are the owner of a karate class in Richmond Virgina you would make sure you use the keywords ‘Karate’, ‘class’, ‘Richmond’ and ‘Virginia’ were appear on your website (within the page title and body text) and perhaps even in some article titles for article marketing.
The brand building process is on-going. Even after you have implemented these internet marketing strategies, there is always more that can be done. Becoming successful online is a lot easier that most people think. All you need is time, energy and knowledge while keeping people’s best interests in mind.