with Your Customers Online
By Heather Lutze
millions each year asking agencies and marketers to brand their
companies in order to reach more prospects.
But, how often do these same companies look carefully at the brand
that is already built for them by their loyal, current customers?
Like it or not, your “fan base” already has built your brand and
holds your company’s reputation in the palms of their hands through
an aggregate of blog posts, review sites, videos, and social media
platforms stating what they love and hate about your brand. In the
event that this is prominently positive, how do you get everyone to
collectively support your brand as a community of evangelists for
your company? The answer is to start loving your devotees, and to
give them what they want, a place to network, talk, share advice and
continue to preach about your brand. In end, this is what large
corporations pay the big bucks for- reverse marketing by and for
your already loyal customers, and it’s something you can do
Take for example a
small company in a predicament. Company founders had built a
tremendous brand and had a huge following, however, the brand was
fragmented and un-controlled online. For years the owners had been
known for their passion and love of their business, but they had
struggled to produce a web site that would support their loyal fans
as well as perpetuate a brand that would speak to new prospective
Their problems sat
with an incomplete vision of their online audience & potential
reach. Their website spoke to current brand enthusiasts, however
could not provide enough of forum for their fans to express their
devotion. As such, YouTube videos, blogs, un-official Facebook
fanpages, etc., were appearing across the web and were, in many
cases, pulling away from the core values and mission of their
business. Additionally, unless a prospect knew to search for their
specific company name or slogan they would not find any official
webpages in search results.
How do you build
and “feed” a community of loyal customers to continue to build your
brand from the inside out as well as open the market and build brand
awareness to new, valuable prospects? Sometimes you need to go big
or go home! So in an effort to establish your online brand,
sometimes you have to decided to redesign your web site, rewrite all
the content for SEO (search engine optimization) and start
aggressively utilizing social media to congregate followers! It can
be a big job with a big payoff.
Love Your Domain Name and Show the Search Engines You Care:
Select a Domain Name For Findability – It Matters! What is your
current domain name? Does it reflect who you are and what you do?
Does it reflect how your customers are trying to find you? Does it
include any of your key words for SEO?
Tip # 2:
Build New Web Site Look and Feel Consistent with Mission.
Does your old site lacked focus with too much going on? The example
company included over 60 “options” immediately of what the user
could do- so essentially the clear action for a user to take was “do
everything … now.” Also, their home page would be used as a
clearinghouse for products on sale, giving them the image of being
the Wal-Mart of their industry. People who came to the home page who
needed help with a specific subject would have to search over
several pages to find the answer. A very confusing messaging overall
and not consistent with their message.
Their new site has
cleared out the clutter and cuts to the chase. Four primary
conversion opportunities are presented on every page of the web
site. Additionally, their background is consistent with their other
product lines on the home page and every interior page. The goals is
to present a cohesive user experience that appeals to both the long
time devotee, as well as the first time visitor looking for
Setup Social Media for huge community of followers waiting for
your lead. Have you established a social media presence? Large
communities of devoted followers are building their own Facebook
pages and are looking for someone like your company who already has
a presence. Establish “the” credible, official place on social media
sites your followers can trust.
Taking the dive and
reinventing yourself or your business is scary, but even more scary
is the inability to adapt and change over time. The Internet is a
very fast paced environment and you must stay in touch with mistakes
you may have made in your branding and be willing to make it right.
Ultimately, you’ll see big payoffs and great findabilty for being
bold and taking a stand for who you are as a company.
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