Branding is just as important for web developers as any other business. A brand is basically the perception of your business in the minds of your customers and it’s something you can control. Strong branding will not only help your customers identify, try and remember your business, but also trust it. If you think that brand marketing is for big companies only, this is not so. Even one-person businesses can use branding to grow.
In this article, we explain how any business owner can create a strong brand and run a brand marketing campaign for themselves.
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What branding is and how anyone can use it
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that only established big corporates are entitled to launching brand marketing campaigns.
Just like you are not just your name and your photo, a brand is also not just a name and a logo. A brand is:
- What you say
- How you say it
- Your values (quality of your work, level of skill, etc)
- How you make people feel when they interact with you
- How often you do what you say you’ll do
Taken together, these form the public personality of your business. It’s worth your effort to create a capable and trustworthy image, as it will help:
- Draw your ideal clients to you
- Set your services apart from your competitors
- Build trust and credibility
All web development businesses — from large agencies to freelancers — need these to thrive.
How to build a brand
So, how do you start brand marketing in your own business? Let’s break it down into three basic steps:
1. Create a strategy
Some business owners, eager to start attracting customers, jump straightaway to the implementation step. Don’t make this mistake.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. — Abraham Lincoln
To create a well chalked-out strategy, start by answering the following questions:
Who is your ideal customer?
Go deep. Create an empathy map that gives you an in-depth understanding of your potential customers’:
- Pain points
- Motivation factors
You will find that the brand image you create will be much more appealing to the clients you seek if you take the time to get to know them first.
Your value proposition
Once you know whom you want to work with, you must find out how you can help them. A value proposition is a message that highlights what benefits your business provides and why people should choose you over others who provide similar services.
Unbounce, a platform that optimises landing pages, uses the tagline “A/B testing without tech headaches”
It is obvious that Unbounce has spent time identifying the biggest problem for their target users: tech headaches. The tagline above promises a solution to this pain point.
For more inspiration, check out more value propositions here.
2. Find your “voice”
In communication, the two things that matter most are:
- What you say
- How you say it
The latter one is defined by the style and tone of your communications.
For example, you may want to sound technically competent, passionate about code or even quirky, depending on your target client. Regardless, the tone you use in your brand must be authentic to who you are.
3. Design your brand elements
Once you have identified your customer and found your voice, start working on the visual side of your brand. This includes selecting two or three appealing colours, a particular font, image style (illustrations, photography, etc.) and, of course, a strong logo.
But it does not stop here. You must list out details such as which words to capitalize, heading fonts to use, etc. in a document that everyone in your company can use when creating marketing materials. You can take inspiration from Skype’s detailed Brand Guideline.
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5 tactics that can skyrocket awareness of your business
Congratulations you’ve created a brand for your business! But how do you put the word out and actually do brand marketing?
Below are some of the best tactics to increase awareness of your web development services:
Start with social media
You don’t need to be active on every social media platform — choose the one or two where your customers spend the most time. Be sure to include a link to your website in every post.
- Twitter and LinkedIn are great platforms to target businesses and start-ups.
- Facebook groups are great places for building your authority. Just join a few and answer tech questions as they come up.
- Instagram and Pinterest are more suited for designers, as they can easily showcase their samples on these more visual platforms.
Client reviews or testimonials
Numerous studies suggest that positive client reviews increase others’ willingness to try your business.
Ask for reviews from your clients, posting the best on your website home page and social media accounts.
Positive testimonials develop trust in your brand — in fact, prospects are more likely to turn into customers if they see a lot of other happy customers.
Here’s more on how to ask for reviews from your current clients.
You can customize the message depending on the action you want them to take next (view your portfolio, request a quote, etc.). Retargeting ads are quite effective since you are not trying to appeal to a new audience that is unknown to you. Rather you are putting your message in front of someone who has already shown interest in what you offer.
Social media influencers
You are probably familiar with influencers such as Amanda Cerny and Adnaan Shaikh. Their followers look to them for tech recommendations and insight. Businesses often pay influencers like them — either in cash or by providing free services — to mention their products or services in their posts.
The most important part here is choosing the right influencer. The influencer should share your core values and have an audience that matches your target customer.
This is a “soft” lead generation tactic whereby you provide articles and videos that answer questions your target customers are searching for on Google. This helps you by:
- Establishing your authority in your niche
- Differentiating your services from those provided by other web developers
- Improving your ranking in search results
- Getting links and traffic coming in from other sources
I think you get the picture. Helpful and valuable content creates strong brand awareness and brand recall. You should start putting some effort into this.
Win more clients with brand marketing
Branding is not only for big companies. Small companies and freelancers can also work on brand creation and awareness to boost their growth.
Through brand marketing, your chances of bagging the next big assignment increases manifold. You can try one or several tactics mentioned in the article to achieve long-term results for bringing in new business while keeping the clients you have now.