Thursday, June 25, 2009

Small Business Branding Online

Guest Blogger Series Part 3: Dane Carlson's Business Opportunities Weblog is the premier blog of ideas and opportunities for small business entrepreneurs and is one of the most widely read business blogs.

by Dane Carlson

As a small businesses, your brand isn't a fancy logo or a special typeface. It's not a special smell, or a radio jingle. It's you.

You, the small business owner are your own brand. How you act and what you say has a direct impact on how others view your business. You are able to humanize your business in a way that corporate brand marketers could only dream about. When your customers call or visit your business they're able to have a real interaction with the real person behind the business. They don't need someone to align their expectations or to create impressions or other big company marketing magic.

As you develop an online presence, don't try to make your business appear larger or more "professional" than it really is. Don't try to create an intangible brand to replace you the owner as your business's image. In your community there are probably a hundred businesses that do basically what you do; but, they don't have you. That's what makes your business special. Highlight that.

Increasingly consumers research their problems online before contacting a local business service. If your website can answer their question or describe how you'd solve their problem, they'll be sold on hiring you before they even call. So, don't build a website full of stock photos of actors dressed like business people. Include photos of you, your employees, and your products and services. Show you and your business in action. Use photos and video to document your business processes. Describe in your own words what you do and why you do it. Don't try to include the popular buzzwords just because. If you can't write, record yourself explaining the business to someone else, and then transcribe that audio. Describe your typical day and answer the common questions that your customers ask.

Thanks, Dane.

MerchantCircle makes it easy to upload pictures and videos to your business listing. Also, you can use your own voice to write a blog through your MerchantCircle listing - click here.


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