Whether you are selling your own label or branded products, you will need a business identity. While many online businesses, especially marketplace sellers, will trade under a generic name (e.g., XYZ trading), it is best to invest in developing a brand that identifies your business and helps build customer loyalty.
Whilst a brand is usually considered to be formed of a name and a visual identity (i.e., a logo), it also more broadly refers to the experience a customer has when dealing with a business as a shopper, customer or social media follower.
Why Do I Need a Brand?
Branding is a factor for consumers when they make a purchase decision. 60% of shoppers actively buy from brands they know, and 21% purchase products because they like the brand (Source: Nielsen).
Strong brand identity also acts as a unifying factor across all the channels through which a customer could interact with your company online. The same customer might buy from your company through Amazon, eBay or your website, depending on their customer journey. Here is an example of a company using the same identity across multiple platforms:
- Website: www.hellobabydirect.com
- eBay: www.ebay.co.uk/str/hellobabydirect
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/hellobabydirect
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/hellobabydirect
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/hellobabyonline
- Amazon: Hello Baby
Branded Amazon profile
Developing Your Brand
Good branding will lead to awareness, recognition, trust, and revenue. If your brand does not connect with your audience, it will not achieve these goals. Before developing your brand, ask the following questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your product niche?
- What makes you unique?
There are probably a lots competitors in your industry and niche. Think about what makes you different. What values, benefits, and qualities make your company unique? How do your products or services improve lives and contribute to success?
Choosing a Name and URL
When launching an online business, it will be necessary to select a URL for your website and usernames for marketplaces and Social Media accounts.
When choosing a name, select a different name from other companies in your space, which will help with your findability online. With the proliferation of online businesses, this is becoming more difficult but keep trying until you succeed. Here are some general pointers for selecting a name and a URL for your business:
- Keep it short. Long and complicated names are easy to forget. Choose something which rolls off the tongue.
- Easy to interpret. Ideally, someone can look at your name or URL and quickly guess what your company does.
- Target broad keywords. Including keywords in your domain can help with your natural search engine performance, but do not keyword stuff.
- Make the URL and name easy to say and remember. Avoid any difficult to say words and foreign words. Avoid number and punctuation like dashes.
In terms of your domain name, .com is preferable for commercial sites as this is seen as broadly territory neutral, which will help if you are offering your products overseas.
Create Your Visual Identify
It is best to employ a professional graphic designer to develop a professional-looking logo and visual identity. Take some time to build a set of brand guidelines (or a brand style guide) to govern your visual assets’ composition and use. This will ensure your branding is applied accurately and consistently.
Put Your Branding to Work
Aim for consistent implementation of your brand across your business, including all customer touchpoints. This should include:
- Your website
- Marketplace accounts
- Social Media accounts
- Marketing communications, e.g., email, flyers
- Customer service communication, e.g., support emails
- Packaging and package inserts
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