Your company’s brand image is the strongest sales tool you have—no matter what business you’re in. Your business image affects the way others perceive your company (and your team) because your online image is directly tied to your brand. Your company brand is made up of the thoughts that immediately arise when someone relates words, actions, images, experience, ideas, and emotions with your business.
The connection your company has with your prospects online carries such weight because you have to connect virtually—through your website, your marketing message, your blog, your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or through video and audio. In every facet of the Internet where your company is present, it’s your brand image that will attract your target audience and help convert prospects to clients.
Think of it this way: your online presence is an extension of who you are and who your company is. The tone, the design, the message, and the images you use must reflect your company’s brand personality and a professional image and be reflected in all your marketing online.
When a prospect comes to your website, you have seconds to grab their attention, hook them, and keep them surfing your site. If you make the wrong impression, rarely do you have a second chance to make another impression online. Once they are gone, they’re usually gone for good.
Your company website tells prospects who you are, what you do, and whom you serve. While your website is the easiest and fastest way to advertise and sell your services or product and has the potential to be an unlimited source of revenue, it will prove a waste of your energy unless you invest your time and effort to ensure it reflects your brand personality, or the image you want to portray.
How can you make prospects feel a stronger connection to your brand through your online business image? With a clear and emotionally engaging business message, your targeted website visitors will understand the language and tone of the web copy, and the client will feel a stronger connection to your brand. Once this bond is established, the customers will be more inclined to take action and purchase from you.
The customer wants to feel compatible with all your company stands for. For example, if your brand image is high-end and you clearly convey this image through content, graphics, and design, a high-end client will be attracted and comfortable with this image and, in turn, will want to buy from you. But if your image is high-end and your site is gaudy and the message is focused on the company and crammed into paragraphs of copy, I can guarantee the prospect won’t bother reading your message or returning to your site.
It’s not just your website that needs to showcase and celebrate your brand image. You must keep in mind your brand personality when you decide where to advertise online or which blogs to post comments on, which social networking sites to belong to, which sites to link to, etc. In whatever you do online, remember that first impressions are everything when it comes to the World Wide Web.
If we go back to the example of having a company that services a high-end clientele, you wouldn’t want to participate on a site such as MySpace. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to post photos on your Facebook page that show you passed out at a party or post comments that reflect negatively on your brand image.
Action Tip: Write out a list of 3-5 adjectives you’d like prospects to think of when they visit your website or hear your company name. Post that list in front of your computer, and go over every page of your website, blog, and even your social media sites. Objectively evaluate to see if those adjectives are reflective of your online presence. Also, consider asking colleagues or team members to come up with a list of adjectives they think of when they visit your blog, Facebook page, or website.
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