More and more new businesses are opening their shops online nowadays. And according to Statista, e-commerce sales are expected to reach $2.7 Trillion in 2018 and nearly $4.5 Trillion in 2021. So, if you’re thinking of opening a new e-commerce company in 2018, there are a few things you should do to stay ahead of the growing competition online. Branding your company is one of them.
Below are a few tips for branding your new e-commerce company to get you started.
Uncover and Fully Understand Your Target Audience
Your entire brand and its communications should be centered around your target audience—those individuals who will be most interested in and likely to buy your products. You shouldn’t attempt to do anything else first when branding your new e-commerce company.
According to a study conducted by Cintell, 71 percent of companies who _exceed _revenue and lead goals have documented customer personas versus 37 percent of companies that simply meet goals and 26 percent who miss them entirely. So, you’ll want to conduct a competitive market analysis that tells you more about the customers you’re trying to attract in your selected marketplace and what they care about. You’ll want to build buyer personas that list what your target audience is like and what they care about. Read How to Better Understand Your Target Market Online to learn more.
Build a Platform with a Unique Identity and Voice
Once you better understand your target market, you should build your entire branding platform around them. Therefore, you’ll want to build a platform that has a unique identity and voice.
When building your new platform, you should first appeal to your target market’s emotions with your branding to develop your brand’s unique voice. For example, consider this excerpt from BARK, a company that delivers boxes of toys and treats to your dogs at home on a subscription basis:
“At BARK, we know that dogs aren’t pets; they’re family. Our people, crazy dog people, believe that their dogs deserve the best. The best treats, the best toys, the best seat on the couch. Together, we’re driven to be the people our dogs think we are. Dog people get it.”
Second, you’ll want to find your mission and unique selling proposition so that you can clearly express your business’s values to its target audience. In the BARK example above, they express their need to give their dogs the best of everything because they think of them as family.
A unique selling proposition can also differentiate your products from your online competitors’. Do you use all-organic ingredients or handmade materials? Do you donate a portion of your sales to a humanitarian cause related to your business? Tell your e-commerce site visitors what makes your brand unique and special and why they should buy from you instead of your competition.
Third, you’ll need to tell your site visitors your story—how you decided to make and/or sell what you’re selling. Everyone loves to hear stories about how a company started with an idea sketched on a cocktail napkin. Such stories are a part of your brand.
And lastly, try selecting colors, themes, logos, and designs that match your brand’s unique identity and voice. For instance, you won’t want to use bright fluorescent colors for a luxury hotel. And you would want to use green and earthy tones for organic gardening supplies, as well as logos with leaves and other plant-related images.
Develop a Style Guide to Remain Constant
To ensure that you remain consistent with your unique brand platform and voice across marketing and communication mediums, you’ll want to develop a style guide that clearly outlines language and writing guidelines, as well as logo and design requirements. And, you’ll want to share this style guide with everyone who creates marketing materials or writes communications to your customers and partners. Otherwise, your branding will not stick, and your customers and partners may stop trusting you. Everything from social media posts to a high-level email should exhibit the same logos, voice, and branding.
Create Relevant and Consistent Content for Your Target Audience
After you build your branding platform around your target audience, you’ll want to create relevant content just for them that has a consistent voice. For example, customers who buy high-end technology hardware and gadgets from an e-commerce site will probably enjoy more in-depth white papers on the technology and emerging trends, while busy parents buying toys will appreciate reading shorter blog posts on how to maximize time with their children.
Understanding what type of content will appeal to your target audience is an ongoing process too. You’ll want to continually consult your website analytics and social media reports to see what type of content they enjoy the most. And, you’ll want to review user-generated content, such as customer reviews and social media posts, to see how your target audience evolves over time.
In addition, you’ll want to be sure to focus on your communications with your existing customers to ensure your branding sticks long-term. For example, a children’s toy company that is light-hearted and fun on their website, but always sends dull and boring marketing emails, and posts news stories about endangered children on their social media pages, isn’t being consistent with their voice and branding platform. This will prompt customers to question their authenticity, organizational abilities, and trustworthiness.
Overall, when branding your new e-commerce company, remember to remain consistent and always focus on your target audience and customers.