If your business already has a logo, make sure that you have it in a few versions that you may need online, such as in a .png file and a file with a transparent background. If you do not have a logo, there are many online tools that can help you to create a logo for free. Canva is a great free design app that helps you to design your logo.
2. Brand Board
Once you have developed your logo, you will find it very helpful to develop a brand board. You can easily develop a brand board in Canva. A brand board is basically a one-sheet document where you put your main brand colors, brand fonts, logos and perhaps photography style if you have one. One of the most important steps in creating a brand board is to define to two or three main colors of your brand. By looking up the HEX value of these colors, you can change the colors for your website and all your social media profiles to the exact same shade of your brand colors. This gives your brand a very coordinated and professional look. A brand board will also help you decide on your brand fonts or typography, as well as the different versions of you logo and when to use them. Creating a brand board first, will save you some steps when completed the next steps steps, as you will need items from your brand board to complete your various profiles professionally. See here for some great examples of a brand board.
3. Branded Cover Photo
Once you have developed your logo, and decided on the main colors and fonts of your brand, you may find it helpful to get a photoshoot. This can be a professional shoot, or a friend that is great with cameras. However, you will need a professional, high quality headshot and banner shot for most of your profiles. Getting a photoshoot right of the bat, is a great way to start your business. If you cannot afford a photoshoot, or if a personal photo is not relevant to your business type, you can consider buying a stock photo. Be sure to read the license agreements when purchasing this stock photo, as many sites limit the use of stock photos when it comes to representing a brand. You will often have to buy additional rights or exclusive rights when using a stock photo to represent your brand. Some great stockphoto sites are iStockphoto, Pexels, or Shutterstock, depending on your budget.
4. Google Business Profile
Once you have your logo, brand colors and a great photo, you are ready to start created professional and coordinated profiles that support your brand and build a consistent image. The first profile you absolutely need is an up-to-date Google profile. This allows your business to easily be found on Google. More importantly, when customer try to find directions to your business on Google Maps, they will find your correct location and opening hours. To do this, visit https://www.google.com/business/ and create an account. You will need a logo and preferable a brand related cover photo (that photoshoot comes in handy!). To be able to respond to your customers, Google asks that verify your business by mailing a post card to you, which you return to them verifying your business address.
5. Facebook Business Page
Social Media continues to grow in popularity, and especially in small communities people turn to Facebook to find businesses in the area. Do not run your business with a Facebook profile, instead create a professional Facebook Business page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/creation/). This page is public, while your profile is for friends and contacts only. You will need a logo or profile picture and a (branded) or brand related cover picture. See all that homework pays off!
Twitter is a great social media platform to increase your following by reaching out to a new audience using #hashtags. It can help you to reach a wider audience that Facebook. Twitter is great for posting news articles or tidbits that are relevant to your business. (www.twitter.com)
Aside from this being a great tool for building your professional network, employees that currently or have previously worked at your business may want to add their work experience to their LinkedIn profiles. To do that, they can create a profile your business if they can’t find you. Creating a company profile on LinkedIn, let’s you manage the image of your business on Linkedin (https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/linkedin-pages). A company profile also allows you to advertise on LinkedIn, which may be very interesting if you are trying to reach a professional audience.
If your are in the tourism or hospitality business or own a retail store, you should definitely create a profile on TripAdvisor (https://www.tripadvisor.com/GetListedNew). If not, customers may create one for you and leave reviews about your business without your knowledge. Make sure to search for your business on TripAdvisor and see if it already has a profile. You can then claim your profile. Your profile allows you to update your profile, add pictures, opening hours and manage your reviews.
9.0 Google Analytics
Before you start any online Marketing activities, be sure that you have analytics software installed on all of your tools. This includes your website and blog. If you do want to do any online marketing activities in the future, your analytics will tell you if they have been successful, showing your the number of visitors and visits. Even if you’re not sure whether you will need Analytics, install it to start collecting data. Every day that you don’t have it installed, you are missing valuable customer data that you may need in the future to make marketing decisions. To create a Google Analytics account, go to (https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/). If you need help installing the code on your website, ask your web developer to help.
If you’re a small business or just starting out, you may wondering if investing in a website is the best use of your time and money. Developing a great website can be time consuming. A website is however, a great home base for your company. Many of your marketing activities will need to you like back to a web page, and a branded website is a great way to make a professional first impression. If someone Googles your business, a website will also help to establish credibility. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. If you can’t afford a professional website, start with a free web page on Wix (www.wix.com).
If you need help with any of these steps, or a more in-depth conversation on how to get started with Digital Marketing and creating your Digital presence, contact us.