The very place your potential clients will look for their first impression could very well be your greatest weakness.
In the sea of visual stimulation that is our modern society, your brand must stand out if you want to grab the market’s attention. The importance of these type detail decisions often get underestimated, but in actuality these are some of my favorite parts of being in business for myself! I get to dream up of all of the creative details that define the business my dreams are made of. No matter if you are picking out your name, your merchandise, or simply the font in your logo, you get you throw in every ounce of creativity you have into the mission of your dream. You have been given the freedom go all in and all out dear maker!
In today's market, before potential clients ever speak with you or step foot in your store, they will look to see what your web presence is like. Your website is the visual representation of who you are & what you are aiming to bring to your clients. Think of your web presence as your 24-hour digital marketing platform. Your social media accounts and website are accessible at all times. Not only do these platforms give you credibility, but are give your audience personal access even when you aren't available. The process of establishing your name, logo, aesthetic, website and branding needs to be one of the most thought out pieces of work to date!
Once ‘Amy Howard at Home’ was declared the name of my mission, I knew I needed to call in the professionals. I spent $14,000 on my initial logo and website design. Wow, was that ever a hefty bill to pay. Like you, I was just starting my journey and honestly didn’t own enough substantial residual income to back up that grand of an investment. I knew, however, that if I wanted to grow the way I had dreamed, a top notch website wasn’t an option...it was a necessity!
To some, taking the plunge to hire a professional web design team isn't an option just yet. To these creatives, I say there are still a great many options you can utilize. Website services with ready-made templates are available everywhere now. Most of these services come with personalizing options such as blog pages, merchandising capabilities, and email links. This option is great if you need a little more saving time before hiring a web design team.
One piece of advice I would offer no matter if your are going at this task alone or are ready to enlist the help of a professional: Always tailor your design choices to your target audience rather than your own taste.
Before you begin the branding process, take a look at other business that draws you in. Look at your number one competitor's site. What is it about the font, the colors, the link placements and the general “feel” that captured you? What areas have room for improvement and need to be revised? Now think about how your branding. How does your business compare? Can you allow some of these choices to influence your branding? What can you do better? How can you learn from their choices and where can you stand out?
As you begin to make your branding choices, think about your aesthetic. How can you ensure your media accounts and branding represent you well? Is your brand clean modern, bright eclectic, or perhaps rustic farmhouse? Defining your business aesthetic or “vibe” allows all of your branding decisions to be streamlined. From your typography to your logo and photography, simplifying the aesthetic you wish to attain will streamline your branding process greatly. What your clients see on your website, social media posts and business cards defines who they see you be. You are your brand. Likewise, every visual representation you offer viewers needs to be purposeful and well curated! Every display has to draw people in and keep them there!
Simple. Accessible. Engaging.
If you do decide to spearhead your branding process alone, I recommend enlisting the guidance of a branding professional. Hiring an expert to review and assess your decisions is not only an affordable approach, but a savvy one at that. Sometimes all you need is a little guidance to raise that figurative bar ten notches!
Last and not least by any means, make sure you are telling your story dear maker. We’ve discussed this before, but I never want you to forget...your story is the part of you that no one can replicate or replace. Your story defines you. As such, your branding, web presence, logo, business cards and the like should not only represent that very best part of you but tell the story as well.
Some simple rules for the road:
Keep all of your contact names and web handles under the same name. This guarantees your clients will be able to find you easily no matter where they are looking.
Your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and blog posts should all feed into your one central hub: your website!
Think of the main bullet points you want your clients to retain when they visit your website and make those the first and most visual components of your homepage.
Easy navigation tools and well-placed links will keep your viewers coming back time & time again!
More in-depth advice from my own journey and hard learned lessons can be found in A Maker’s Guide! Grab your copy here.
Until next time,
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