This is why it’s vital for brands to build a positive online presence

Customer experiences of your brand are more easily shared than ever, so it's essential to make those experiences positive

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Building a positive brand is absolutely vital for small and medium sized businesses. A brand is how your business is presented to the world, and is based on peoples’ experience and perception of your company. Thanks to the web, these experiences are now more easily shared than ever.

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A recent study found that about 63% of small and medium businesses owners stated that an online presence could improve the image of a business. Indeed, a strong online brand can offer significant benefits to your small business; along with with positive word of mouth, these are powerful tools in helping with the success of your business.

Take a restaurant, for example. If somebody visits a restaurant and leaves a review online stating that the food was cold, such a review may have a negative impact on the restaurant. On the flip side, if a lot of people post on social media about the wonderful experience they had at a restaurant, the reputation and perception of said restaurant can grow more positive, and could improve business.

Your brand exists the moment your company springs into life and is made publicly available, so it’s incredibly important to have a plan for maximising any opportunity to enhance this brand.

We take a look at some steps you can take to help strengthen your company’s brand.

Domain name registration

In terms of building your brand, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Chances are, if you’re starting a company, you could well be thinking of taking it online. This makes sense – an online presence, from a website to social media, can help your company realise a number of benefits, from extending its reach, to helping you better communicate with your target audience.

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If you’re thinking of starting a business, you should consider both your brand name and your domain name (web address) very early on. Your domain name will be the name of your business’ representation online and may be a customer’s first impression of your company, so it should reflect your brand name.

If your web address is very different to your brand name, customers may struggle to find you online.

This is why you should register your domain name (web address) at the same time as choosing your brand name. If you find it isn’t possible to register the same web address as your brand name, a good alternative is to use keywords that are relevant for your business.

Thankfully, setting up a domain name is both easy and cost effective.

First, you should opt for a .com domain extension, which can offer international recognition, and is seen around the world as trustworthy and reliable. This can help position your company’s brand as one that is established and could see it appeal to a wider audience. Then, it’s up to you to find the perfect online name for your company – and this tool can help you do just that. Type your web address and get access to a preferred list of registrars to register your domain name.

Offer consistent experience

Once you’re online, it’s important to offer customers a consistent experience across the board. Everything your company does online is represented by your brand, which is why it’s important to get it right.

If your brand is attached to something that isn’t considered perfect or ideal, it could damage your brand and drive away potential customers. This applies to both your services and the way you interact with customers. If your business has a social media presence, you should consider having someone on-hand to respond to a tweet, Facebook message or anything else, as soon as possible.

If you neglect to do this, social media users may believe that you are unresponsive and, as a result, you could seem unhelpful to customers. This is unlikely to inspire other users to trust in your company and its brand.

A website, too, should be equipped with as many helpful details as possible to ensure that users have exactly what they need at all times. This can include general information on your business and its products and services, contact information, organic customer testimonies and brand guide compliant social media icons and links. Bear in mind, however, that whatever you post must be compliant with all applicable laws and regulations – company trademarks, in particular, should be paid close attention to.

Frequently asked question (FAQ) pages can also help customers find useful information without having to contact your business, while including e-commerce capabilities on your site can allow you to provide customer support while taking orders and processing payments. All of these features can play a key part in offering a consistent, positive online experience to customers.

Through careful planning and consistency, and by making a .com website a fundamental part of your online presence, you can help your brand which, in turn, can help your business.