Branding and marketing go hand in hand. The way others see your company may not always be the message you want to send. Ensuring your business site shows who you are is a vital part of the equation.
Statista projects U.S. online buyers will surge to 278.33 million by 2024. Brands not only need a website but must ensure they have a solid strategy for retaining those who land on their page and converting them into customers.
Several key factors help your site stand out from the competition. We’ll look at which elements are musts, as well as a few examples of small businesses doing the online presence thing exceptionally well.
1. Choose a Color Palette
If you’ve been in business for a while, you likely already have a brand color palette. Most companies use a primary color in their logo and then select complementary shades to balance things out.
Once you’ve chosen a color palette, don’t be afraid to add a pop of color for a call to action (CTA) or to underscore sections of your website you want to draw attention to.
Keep in mind colors evoke emotions in people. If you want to garner excitement, try adding a splash of orange or red. If you want users to see you as reliable, go with a dark blue.
Scherbius chooses a deep blue and medium green color palette. Other hues are limited to whites, grays and neutral tones. Note how they overlay a transparent blue tint to the hero photo. The green shows up as you mouse over the navigation bar and scroll down the page.
2. Know Your Voice
It’s hard to show the world who you are until you have a firm grasp of the voice you’d like to present. Take the time to consider why you started your company in the first place. What are your overarching objectives?
It also pays to know your audience. Do they prefer a casual tone or something more formal? The ideal personality for your brand shows your core values but also embraces the preferences of your customers.
3. List Simple Steps
People respond best to businesses that are transparent and authentic. If you want to attract new customers and have current ones recommend you to others, keep things simple and to the point. List the steps involved in placing an order. Cut them down to three or four options so people don’t feel overwhelmed.
Look for ways to move the buyer through the sales funnel while still telling them who you are and what benefits you offer them. A good reputation starts with authenticity.
Tribeca Printworks lists simple steps to get started with beautiful frames for your home or office. They feature a CTA button that reads, “Let’s Get Started!” When you click on the button, you see four steps from start to finish and get details such as styles available and how to collect your custom art. Everything is listed clearly for the user, so there are no surprises.
4. Check Your Headings
What do the words you use say about you as a brand? Words such as “easy” and “simple” may mean roughly the same thing but hold additional connotations for various audiences. Look for stronger words to drive your message home in shorter phrases.
Your headings should include action words, concrete descriptions and say a lot with a little bit of text.
5. Utilize Relevant Photos
Images have a powerful impact on consumers. People say a picture is worth 1,000 words. The human brain processes photos much more efficiently than text alone. Whatever visuals you add to your site must have a purpose and drive home the brand message you want to put out there.
Think about how users respond to people in your photos, shots of your products and even the colors used in images.
Robson Furniture needs to highlight its products, but the elegant pieces require a luxury setting for their images. Although they use numerous different photos in their slideshow, the one above shows how one might place a table and chairs for maximum effect. Note the luxury surroundings and how everything meshes for a high fashion look.
6. Test Results
One significant indicator of whether you are on target with your branding goals is how well your website performs. Pay attention to key performance indicators such as how many people bounce away from your page versus how many convert.
Run A/B split tests, adjusting headings, messaging, images and more. See how well different options perform with your customer base. Survey your regular clients and ask what they’d like to see change about your site. Question them about anything that doesn’t seem to fit your brand image.
7. Use Trending Technology
Show you haven’t just thrown up a website and forgotten it exists. Pay attention to trending design methods and implement changes as needed. Add exciting content that aligns with your brand voice and mission as a company.
Pay attention to the way people interact online and how it changes with time. Incorporate voice search, social media interaction and augmented reality.
Google Local Guides allows people to share local area expertise with others in exchange for rewards. They use a minimalist design with some animated features showing some of the tips you might offer as a guide. The site looks current and frequently updated.
Who You Are as a Brand
At the core of creating a business site that matches your branding goals is knowing who you are and what your core values represent. You may attract a few clients by pretending to be what they want, but you’ll only keep them if you’re authentic and genuine to yourself. Know who you are and take every opportunity to show it to your audience.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.