Branding Your Online Business: 5 Reasons your Online Business is Different from a Traditional Business
Getting your online businesses services or products in front of people can be HARD! Especially when you are first starting out and have no client base, it can seem almost impossible. You are struggling to be seen and heard. You may feel like you are the smallest fish in the online entrepreneur sea!
To be able to compete with all the businesses that seem to do exactly what you do, you need to be able to understand how online businesses are different from the traditional sense of business - brick and mortar, or storefront businesses. The online world is forever young and constantly changing. Here are 5 reasons why your online business is different from traditional businesses and how to use this knowledge to brand your online business.
1. Online Businesses Have No Storefronts or Signage
Brick and mortar businesses seem to have a strict advantage right off of the bat, because they have a storefront. They literally have big signs that make it clear what they do and/or sell. They have marketing done in the background right from the get-go! Everybody who lives in the surrounding areas and drive by on routine basis have them in the forefront of their minds. When someone needs something that the particular store can offer them, they know exactly where to go!
Your online business has no big sign up front. Your marketing has to be strategically set in place to BE your sign for you. Nobody is “driving past” your website at any given moment unless you DIRECT traffic to your site. It is vital and absolutely crucial to have a well established brand and digital marketing strategies set up so you can guide people to your website.
2. Online Businesses Can Target Better
Because your online businesses has no signage upfront and requires digital marketing strategies, you can target the exact kinds of people that you want to be directed to your site! So you have way more control with who sees your products and services.
Brick and mortar businesses are almost left to chance with who chooses to walk into their store. Often times the “customers” that walk in are not even interested in the business's product. They may want to kill time before they meet their friend at the coffee shop across the street. We have all done this, right?
3. Online Businesses Have More Chances of Attracting their Ideal Client
Storefront businesses have no choice but to serve everyone that wants to just “kill time” and decides to walk into their business. The result is a lot of people who are not serious about being buyers.
However, as an online business owner, you can make sure that your blog posts, your FB Ads, your Social media posts, etc., are all marketing to your “ideal client,” or the people that you know are more likely to buy your product!
4. Online Businesses Have More Control Of Their Potential Buyer's Eyes
Online Businesses have the advantage in guiding the customers once they get to their site. You can ensure your website viewers see what you want them to see first, by guiding the customer through your website and leading them to the product or service page that you want to sell. (This can all be done with strategic web design and copywriting)
However, in storefronts, customers act as their own guides. They guide themselves around the store in no certain order because of all the variables at hand. There is some strategy that can be put into place with how the store is set up, but most of the time, the customer just goes to the parts of the store they want to see the most.
5. Online Businesses Have to Work Harder to Educate Potential Buyers
Brick and mortar businesses have the in-person customer experience advantage. Potential buyers that walk into the store can immediately see and feel the quality of the product they are inquiring of purchasing. They know the price of it by looking at the tag and they usually know right away if they want to buy or not. Sometimes feeling or holding the product is just the right amount of nudge for them to make the leap into purchasing it.
Potential buyers in storefronts can also have the option of getting face-to-face help and a personalized customer experience. This may be the biggest difference to remember about your online business. Potential buyers for online businesses cannot simply touch or feel your product. There is not as easily an immediate desire formed - like there is in a storefront business.
It is your job to educate them as best as you can about what they will be receiving if they chose to purchase your service or product. And you have to do it without all of the potential buyers' senses -- since it is all online! It’s extra effort on your part, but this is crucial to making sales.
Some online businesses insert videos on their website to build more of an authentic and personalized feel to their brand and products or services. FAQ pages are also nice when it comes to potential buyers who have questions. An easy place for them to be able to contact you with any special concerns or questions before buying can also put them at ease. Maybe you should even display a webpage that gives them the terms of conditions before they buy?
It does not matter really how you chose to do this as long as you do it to the best of your ability. Online business customer experience is all digital so you need to be active in creating an awesome and trusting experience online!
How to Brand Your Online Business
Now that we know the 5 ways your business is different from traditional businesses, one of the most important things you can do for your online business is to make sure that you have a strong brand that is unique! The 3 main elements of a brand are:
1. Visuals and graphics that are consistent
Remember your brand graphics and visuals portray the quality of your product or service, so get help from a professional designer if you are not strong in the design area.
2. An attractive, user-friendly website
It takes just a few quick seconds for someone to decide if they want to stay on your site or leave. If you don’t hook them in those first few seconds, you could miss a sale.
3. Copy that is strong, authentic and unique
All of these brand elements play together in the only experience customers get with your business. Use EVERY piece of your brand to educate, be memorable, stand out, and be unique.
After customers buy your product or service, the experience isn’t over, so make sure your brand experience carries through the entire customer process.