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Image Matters

Image matters. In fact, sometimes it isn’t even the best idea that wins in the marketplace, but the idea that is told in the most compelling way and reaches the right people. For entrepreneurs or small-business owners, it’s impossible to have expertise in every area of your business — legal, human resources, finance, marketing. And frequently, you don’t have the budget to hire those experts full time at the start of your journey.

So here’s a quick list of what you should have in place before you officially launch or rebrand your business — and some common mistakes to avoid:

Your logo conveys your brand in an instant.

Make sure it expresses what you want viewers to understand.

Courtesy image

Logo

Your logo conveys your brand in an instant. Avoid:

•Trendy type destined to be outdated

•Similarity to other existing logos

•Symbols that are complicated

•Symbols that are vague and hard to understand

•Colors that signal the wrong brand attribute or don’t work digitally

•Amateur or dated fonts

•Logos that don’t work in both very small and very large applications

Website

You have microseconds to win your viewer. Any of these can signal a reason to abandon your site:

•No clear promise

•Complex navigation

•Poor pictures

•Inadequate call to action

•Cluttered layout

•Too little white space

•Wrong vibe for the product/service

•Too many colors

•Too many typefaces

•Lack of a clear design grid that makes it easy for the eye to navigate

•Type fonts that aren’t web friendly

•No strategic hierarchy of information (most important should be largest)

•Not deploying responsive design that runs smoothly on all platforms

•Bad design

•Auto-playing music

•Long load times

•Broken links

•Poor photos

•Not using video to increase engagement

Here are more tips to making sure your website is reaching and engaging your audience:

Visual brand

Besides needing a logo, you’ll need to have a look that applies to all of your visuals, from signs to apparel to stationery, so avoid these common mistakes that signal amateur:

•Color that doesn’t convey the right brand attributes. Colors should be chosen based on color theory, not merely on what you like.

•No font standards. Use a consistent family of type for everything related to your company.

•No graphic standards. Preserving a consistent use of your logo, colors and fonts ensures your customers begin to recognize your brand over time

Social media

The most common social media sites being used by businesses are Yelp, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Focus on the ones your clients are frequenting, and pick only as many as you can manage well. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

•Languishing channels. It takes consistent work and time to create an effective social media channel, so limit yours to ones you can do well. Users won’t engage with you on a channel that doesn’t have a continuous flow of content they like.

•No strategy. Understand what your followers want and why they follow you and stick to a consistent strategy.

•Ignoring your data. It will tell you where success and failure lies. Use it to continually refine your posts to fit what your audience is looking for.

•Content that doesn’t fit your channel. Instagram, for example, is all about strong visuals. Twitter, on the other hand, thrives on sound bites.

•Overselling. There’s an unwritten rule that people don’t want to be sold to, so give value without a hard sell.

•Not engaging with others. Liking, re-sharing and commenting on other businesses is essential to growing your following.

•Lack of patience. This is a long haul, so be willing to stay with it while you build a following.

•Incongruent visuals. Make sure all of your channels have the same visual look and congruent messaging as you build your brand.

Digital presence

If you’re not getting found on the internet, you’re losing business. Here are three missteps that are common:

•No SEO. Search engine optimization is about making your website get found by Google. Make sure you have had someone knowledgeable in SEO involved in your web development, or you could have a beautiful website that no one sees. It’s a complex and constantly changing field that will cost you if left to amateurs.

•No method of driving traffic to your site. It takes a while to show up in search results, but one shortcut while you’re building that is to create a digital advertising campaign that puts you at the top of the search results page. Even once you’re established on page one of search results, digital advertising can be vital for driving traffic.

•No Google My Business address. Nectafy says 28 percent of consumers who search for a type of local business on mobile call or go to that business within 24 hours. So if your My Business address is not set up, you’re likely losing business.

Of course, this is just the starting point, but crossing the finish line on these things can position you as credible, help you get found online and turn visitors into prospects — and that’s the first step to creating the sales that grow your business.

By DeLona Lang Bell

DeLona Lang Bell is president and founder of CMBell, a communication firm in the Walla Walla Valley. More information on effective branding, including what different color families signal, can be found on the company’s website.

Source: http://www.union-bulletin.com


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