Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tips for Branding Your Online Business

A lot of us started our handmade businesses from humble beginnings of creating items for ourselves, family, and friends. After much encouragement from this group, we took the plunge into the world of online selling.

With so many handmade/supplies/vintage selling venues available today, it is no wonder that we might be watering down our own brand and not even know it. We should not brand our business with the name of the venue where our products are at this time. This can change over the years.

Why have a brand? Why protect that brand? Branding a business is one of the most important strategic marketing tasks that you can do.

A brand is your reputation, your recognition, and the soul of your company. It is that split-second understanding of who you are and what you do. It matters not if your business is "just" a hobby business - if you are selling online, you will benefit from a brand.

A brand can consist of the name of your business, a logo, and/or a byline motto, slogan, tag line. As your business grows, your brand becomes your reputation.Your brand can be known for excelling customer service or stellar quality. A brand is more than a logo. It can be the essence of your business practices.

The most important thing with growing your brand, is consistent use of your brand at all times and in all ways.

Here are some tips for you about branding your handmade business:
  • Create a visual that resonates with your business name and/or product. This can be your business name in fancy fonts, iconic logos, or a tag line that you consistently use.
  • Once you create your visual - use it everywhere, such as on your online banners for your shops, banners for your networking pages, business cards, avatar, blog headers, packaging, invoices, signs at craft shows, etc...
  • If you choose to use a tag line, use it always when you use your business name. An example, would be "Susie's Pet Apparel - for Stylish Pets Everywhere!"
  • If you send out press releases on new products or other business news, be sure to be consistent with your brand decisions.
  • Purchase a domain name with your brand name and point it to your venue shop. This is very important to use YOUR domain name in all your branding efforts and not the links to the venue shop. 
  • Use YOUR custom domain link in all your materials, online, and business cards. 
  • Another tip is to create your domain name with words that tells us what you are all about. An example of what not to do is my domain (LOL) - - I need to change this because it tells us nothing. It would be better as instead. 
  •  If you have your own website, utilized consistency with your strategic brand decisions.
I read a lot of forums on several of the most popular handmade selling venues. I always see that some sellers are branding the venue and not their shop. Your venue shop is just a rental space and is not "yours." You want people to search for YOU and not just find you accidentally through the venue. Your business is who you are and what you do, so brand your business - not the venue.

These tips just scratch the surface of branding your business but is the most basic start to a good relationship with your business!

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