A website designer/builder should do all of the hard work, don’t worry!
Options are available for all sorts of budgets, with small funds you might want to explore options of looking at ‘build your own’ type sites by using WordPress templates, or Wix.com, but for businesses who rely heavily on their website, start to consider the reasons why people will be visiting your website and what sort of functionality it needs to have. For example, will it be a simple website that will show off an image portfolio or will it need to be an eCommerce site where people can buy goods or services directly?
The more complex the functionality of the website, the bigger the budget you’ll need. You can also consider what functionality you need straight away, and then roadmap the extras for further down the line. Look at designers and builders with a track record in the type of site you’re creating, research into their previous clients, and make sure you actually like the sites they’ve built!
The key to a marketing strategy is to have everyone on board, and lay out your goals from the beginning; making them quantifiable as much as you can. ‘We want 100 additional followers on Facebook by the end of quarter one’ – Why? Who? How? There’s no point having 60 people who aren’t going to support your business – 10 quality followers with a keen interest in what you’re selling would be far better.
Here are our top tips to get you started:
This is really common, you’re not alone! We would recommend ensuring everyone that uses the brand is aware of your expectations – creating brand guidelines as a document that can be referred back to by all of your colleagues is a great starting point – this should demonstrate which logo, font, strapline and colour schemes to be used on literature, social media and anything else published. These can be as detailed as you like.
Another top tip is to empty out *that* folder on your server with all the old logos that are now outdated, feature straplines that you don’t use anymore and have been stretched and skewed by anybody and everyone! Software such as Brandkeeper can be an excellent way to streamline everything and ensure it’s all in one place. (*Disclaimer* It was developed by Blumilk so we know it’s good!). You could also have a meeting and explain your expectations of how you’d like your brand communicated going forward and all start on a fresh page.
Starting a new business can be an exciting time, but also a challenging time in which businesses need a little helping hand in the right direction. The best way, we believe, is to try and keep it as simple as possible. Those who are starting from scratch need to first establish a few key elements, who you are, what you do and how you have an advantage over your competitors. This begins to formulate the focus for the creation of your company identity, the brand. Your brand is a set of visual and written elements that is the most valuable commodity to your business, it’s your window to the world and what is going to really put you on the map. Create your core brand tool kit for now, and add to it as you grow and expand. If you have this covered, your next steps should be thinking about your website. In the digital era, your website will form one of the most important assets for your brand at its launch and into the future. A well-designed, responsive and search engine optimised website should be where you direct most of your attention during the early days. As well as that, think about your overall launch campaign, your social presence and marketing strategy to ensure your brand reaches your target audience.
Businesses, both large and small, often do not have their own in-house marketing and design team. And so, the obvious solution is to reach out to an agency to manage your campaigns and projects for you. The most common issue that businesses face when working with an agency is selecting an agency who tend to be a jack of all industries and a master of none. Research is key. Take a look at previous clients and the work they’ve had created to get a feel for the agency’s style and to ensure you like it. Ask as many questions as you like. The agency is going to create your vision so it’s important that the partnership feels absolutely right. Questions about who will manage your project and account should be first on your list – a decent account manager should feel like an extension to your team. Questions around how the agency works, including what methods are used for proofing artwork, whether amendments are included in the costs, how do they communicate with you, what is their turnaround time, will they jump on something urgently if you need it? All of these questions will help you to form the right decision on which agency is right for your brand.
It’s easy for companies to forget that their most valuable asset is their people. Positioned on the front-line, your brand’s long-term success rests on the quality and the loyalty of your staff.
The first step in finding and retaining the best staff is to take a look at your current employer brand and what you offer as an employer, this is more commonly known as your employer value proposition (or EVP for short). A strong EVP will encompass your culture, ethos and values as an employer and communicate that to current and prospective employees within everything you do.
Consider your EVP as the golden thread that runs through your business. From recruitment to retention, getting your guys onboard and invested through well thought out marketing and engaging internal communications will mean your staff become the strongest ambassadors and advocates for your brand.
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