5 Branding Essentials for a Successful Online Store
Branding your online store successfully is all about bringing your brand to life in words, images, and actions to make it relevant for your ideal buyers. That means you first have to know how to determine what your brand is and who those ideal buyers are. Then you can put things in place to attract them to you. In the online world, that means a heavy focus on search and user experience. Use these 5 branding essentials for a successful online store to get started.
Know your brand in words
Let’s say you’re David’s Auto Parts using a web address, www.davidsautoparts.com, when a user in your geographic region does an online search for ‘auto parts’ you already have an advantage of being found. On the other hand, if you’re David’s AutoZone and you sell auto parts, it may be harder for your business to be found for that same search term. But you could commit to finding more relevant search terms. Since David’s AutoZone communicates an experience, unpick that into simple, clear messages about who you are, what you do, and for whom. For example, you might say “David’s AutoZone takes the best care of Korean-made automobiles from parts replacements, to repairs, to accessories”. Then split that single brand statement into three specific key messages.
David’s Autozone is:
the leading repair shop for Korean vehicles in [geographic region]
the leading retailer of accessories for Korean made vehicles in [geographic region]
the leading supplier of parts for Korean-made vehicles in [geographic region]
Each of these offers a start point for more relevant search terms than “auto parts” for David’s AutoZone. Words and meaning play a big part in how to optimise your online store for organic search (search engine optimisation - see point 5).
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Create content that converts by knowing your buyer personas
Define who your ideal customers are and why they need your brand by creating buyer personas. Then develop specific content targeting those customers. A good place to start with defining buyer personas is with current customers. Gather information about their demographics (age, gender, education, etc.) and psychographics (buying behaviours, lifestyle, aspirations, etc.). More importantly, identify the specific challenges that they looked to your brand to solve. Group customers with similar characteristics together, giving each group a name based on a chosen trait that led them to your brand. For example, David’s AutoZone may have a buyer persona called “Wait too late Annie”, a typical female customer who waits too long before repairing her Korean vehicle and ends up having to replace a part. David’s AutoZone could use this information to create a blog post for its online store’s website about what to do when you’ve waited too late to repair the [name the part] of your Korean made car. The post could then include a link to replacement part sales listings. That post could be picked up through search by a user with that problem who then clicks the link to the listing.
Rev up your brand appeal
People connect with brands that they perceive match or complement their own personality and style and meet their rational needs. You don’t need award-winning website design but your content should at least be easily understood and feel coherent to your buyer persona(s). Start by having a logo, brand colours, and fonts and using these in a standardised, consistent way on every page. Define your brand’s personality and reflect it in your headlines, subheads, body copy and banner images. Don’t forget good product photography with views of different angles (where necessary), uncluttered display, and inclusion of product price, specifications, care, and warranty periods.
Prioritise customer service
There’s no better way of communicating your brand than through genuinely helping your customer through the decision-making, buying and after-sales service process (buyer journey). It’s entirely worthwhile considering a live chat feature for your online store to assist users on the spot. If you can afford live chat agents they should be meticulously trained to understand and reflect the tenets and values of your brand. Alternatively, explore chatbots and see if that’s something that could work for you.
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Enlist an SEO specialist
Search engines, especially Google, are getting better at assessing a user’s intent by the search terms he/she uses, rather than just trying to match those specific terms to existing websites. As you saw from points 1 and 2, knowing your brand and knowing your buyer personas can go a long way in helping to identify some of your relevant keywords and keyword phrases and in discovering similar search terms. However, SEO is constantly evolving and unless you’re an SEO specialist yourself, it would be wise to enlist one’s to help you optimise your online store for organic search.
Do you have any tips or questions on branding essentials for a successful online store? Share them in the comments below.