How To: 6 Easy Ways To Brand Your Business
In 2016, I redesigned my website. Well, I rebranded it actually. As a service-based business, I am my own brand. If you're an introvert like me, you'll probably find this concept somewhat uncomfortable. Believe me, I get it! But it is absolutely essential for digital businesses.
I realised that I needed to put my mark on all of my digital products - my website, social media, blog posts, profiles... everything. I had been doing that here and there for a while but in order to make a recognisable brand, I needed to be completely, no-buts-about-it consistent.
So, I pulled everything together to create my brand.
Branding is simply a collection of colours, fonts and images that you blanket across all your communication mediums on repeat. The fun part is picking which ones you like. The harder part is implementing all of it, especially across existing platforms. But believe me, it's well worth the effort. Creating a recognisable brand is how online businesses attract and engage clients.
So, here's my formula to creating a consistent services brand:
1. Write out a 1-2 line snapshot of you and your business
This is a big one - you need to have a really specific, straightforward spiel about what you do. It's fundamental to to your business. This is mine:
I am a freelance writer, content writer, blogger and web designer. I help freelancers and small businesses to grow their online presence.
It's simple, direct and there's no room for confusion. Your turn! What's yours?
2. Get a professional headshot
If you owned an ice cream shop, you'd have photos galore of cherry-topped gelatos to reel in your customers, but as a service-based brand, you're marketing yourself. Yourself as a professional, grown up person capable of building a website or upholstering a chair or whatever service you're selling.
One of the fundamentals of service businesses is trust. People want to see the person they're buying a service from; they want to know you before they hand over their hard earned cash. And that means a professional photo with good lighting and a clear smiling face that exudes confidence and personality. No iPhone selfies!
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3. Pick your colours and fonts
This can be a pretty fun process but can also take an age if you're indecisive in the face of overwhelming choice (like me). You can hire a professional branding person or graphic designer to help you this or have fun taking the DIY path (like me again!) I used Coloors, a free colour matching site to help me.
Basically, you need to pick 3-5 colours that work well together and that you like. You're going to be using them a lot. Also pick 2-3 fonts that you want to use for your logo, and heading and text on your website.
4. Create custom blog post graphics and social media banners
Have you heard of Canva? It's an awesome free website that lets anyone become a graphic designer with minimal amount of fuss. Use their easy social media templates to create some headers for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc using your new branding.
While the social media headers are one offs, you’ll need blog post graphics on a more regular basis. So, develop some templates and then you can just drop in graphics, change text and switch between your brand colours each time.
Go one step further and do up some business cards while you're about it. I designed mine in Canva and then uploaded the PDF file to Moo, based in the UK, which prints the most gorgeous quality business cards. But you can use any printing company.
5. Update all your social media
Once you have the above 3 steps sorted, it's time to update all of your professional social media platforms with your headshot, spiel and branding.
Consistency is the key here - you want to leave your audience and target customers in no doubt about who you are and what you do. And if you're linking to your social media accounts in your website and blog posts, consistent branding shows that you're professional and business-like.
Every time you post anything online, use your branding and soon, people will start to associate it with your business and remember you.
6. Focus on your niche and ideal reader
Last one - we're almost done and give yourself a round of applause if you're still with me!
If you haven't done so already, have a good think about your ideal reader/client. Who are they? What do they like? My ideal reader, for example, is a small business owner or a freelancer, age 28-50, (most likely) female, creative, and wants to learn to decipher the complexities of growing their business online.
How about you? Decide on your ideal audience and then start providing useful content to those people.
Think about these awesome people when posting on social media, emailing and writing blog posts. Post interesting and relevant content that these readers will like. It's time to get consistent.
Sounds boring? It doesn't have to be! It's great to show your personality and opinions, and even your cat, but relate it to what you do. This is how to you create client confidence and position yourself as an expert in your field.
And there you have it! Follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to branding your service business in the digital world!
About the author: Lilani Goonesena is an Australian freelance writer, Squarespace web designer and blogger currently based in Vientiane, Laos. She loves helping freelancers and small businesses get online with web design and content, blogging and her awesome weekly newsletter on digital marketing, social media, content, SEO, web design and "all that online stuff". She also writes food and travel articles for businesses and magazines, and blogs at the delectable Eat Drink Laos, just for fun.