How to Create Brand Equity With Your Business Website

Your brand equity is customer perception of your products and services associated with your brand. Why is brand equity so important to companies? If your brand has high irreconcilability and desirability, you can charge more for your products, and people will want them.

Apple is an excellent example of a well-known and admired brand name. While they make tablets, computers and accessories, they are best known for their iPhones. Because their iPhones have brand equity, they have about 20% of the smartphone market share. They also charge premium prices for their products, with the latest models running more than $1,000.

If you want to improve the bond between you and your customers, you must enhance your brand’s equity. Many different elements come into play, and lots of them occur on your business website. Here are a few features you can add to enhance your brand’s appearance and desirability via your site.

1. Communicate Your Values

What does your brand mean to you as the owner? What does it mean to the employees? Do consumers see it in the same way? Your first step on your business website is showing site visitors your core values. You might have a purpose, such as donating to a specific charity. Maybe your goal is to make your customers’ lives easier.

You can communicate these values by telling your company story, sharing a mission statement or highlighting the causes you help. Just make sure the message is consistent each time you offer it.

Everlane promises radical transparency, and they follow through by sharing details about their sustainability initiatives and how they make their products ethically. You can rest assured you aren’t buying items made by children in a sweatshop overseas when purchasing something from this brand. They pride themselves on sharing who makes items and how.

2. Own Your Differences

How is your brand different than your competitors? Think about what makes you unique. Consider the benefits you offer to buyers. Once you know what makes you stand out, promote it. However, brand equity goes much deeper than merely communicating who you are.

You must consider if each product you sell matches your integrity as a company. If something doesn’t quite live up to the quality or standards you’ve set, then it’s time to replace it. Every interaction customers have with you or your products must match your core values, or your equity reduces.

3. Choose a Color Palette

The colors you use to showcase your brand say a lot about who you are. There is a psychology to different colors. You can convey excitement, reliability or youth all by the shades you choose for your website.

As with every other aspect of building your brand’s equity, you must be consistent. Once you choose a color palette, include the information in your style guide and use those same hues in all communications with customers.

Armstrong Flooring uses a deep cobalt blue, which reflects reliability and endurance, something users want in flooring. Note the accent colors contrasting beautifully with the blue, such as a splash of yellow or white for accent. The landing page design puts the full focus on the flooring and how it works with different decor. The hero images rotate, showing the variations in floor types and looks.

4. Reshape Negative Views

Every brand stumbles along the way as it finds its footing and learns the ins and outs of doing business. You may have a few anti-fans who enjoy bashing your name. When you can reshape those viewpoints into something more positive, you’ve re-identified yourself as a brand. Start by making a statement about your customer satisfaction guarantees.

Next, search for mentions online of your brand and make sure they are positive reviews and not poor ones. If you find a negative comment, reach out to the person and see what you can do to make it right. While they may or may not amend their harsh words, you’ll still win their respect and show you care about your customers’ opinions.

5. Ask for a Chance

Users may have never heard of you before. You’re asking them to trust you with their hard-earned dollars. Find ways to ask for a chance and offer them a lower investment point. If you sell a service, provide a free trial or a smaller version for a lower price point. If you sell products, have a variety of prices. Look for ways to give free shipping or discounts to first-time customers. Perhaps a money-back guarantee would make them feel more comfortable.

Birds & Blooms lists the benefits of subscribing to their magazine and then offer a 75% discount and free access to the digital version of the publication if you subscribe for two years instead of one. They’re asking you to take a leap of faith and invest in their magazine, but they’re providing a considerable discount when you do so.

6. Highlight Brand Loyalty

Brand equity builds over time as loyal customers tell others about your products. While you can’t completely control how others see your company, you can do things to improve your chances of making a positive impression.

Showcase testimonials on your page. Showing potential customers that others are happy with your brand proves you have excellent customer service. Encourage people to sign up for mailing lists, offer rewards for repeat orders and encourage referrals.

Build Equity Over Time

Building your brand equity isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes months of hard work and consistent effort. As more and more people learn how great your brand is and start to talk it up, you’ll gain traction simply by your name. People judge you based on their experience with your brand and what their friends say. To make your brand equity soar, guarantee each person walks away with a positive impression of your company.

Lexie is a digital nomad and web designer. When she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

8 Common Mistakes Designers Make When It Comes to CTAs

Web designers are human, like anyone else. Keeping up with rapidly changing technology and shifts in consumer behavior is a full-time job. It’s easy to miss an element here or there and kill your conversion rates.

One survey shows there are more than 261 million unique domain names on the internet. The number of websites rises and falls, but excellent design never goes out of style. Whether you’re working on a well-established site or creating one from scratch, certain principles lead to higher conversions and more success for your clients.

The calls-to-action (CTAs) working for one site might not perform as well on another. You might be making some errors and not even realize it. Check for these eight common CTA design mistakes.

1. Forgetting About Mobile

Designers typically work on computers, so it’s easy to forget you must also design for mobile devices with much smaller screens. If page elements aren’t responsive to the user’s view, you wind up with a version so large or small it becomes unreadable. Consumers will have a hard time interacting with clickable elements.

Fix this issue by testing everything on both desktop and mobile screens. While it’s not necessary to create two separate sites, you should make sure your coding allows for resizing and the images scale correctly.

Spotify invites people to take part in their listen parties by sharing playlists with family and friends. Note how the mobile and the desktop versions look alike. The mobile CTA button scales down but is still readable and clickable. The focus on the button with little else on the page is a perfect example of a site responsive to mobile browsers.

2. Asking Too Soon

People first landing on your site may have never heard of the company before. You wouldn’t ask someone you met two minutes ago to be your best friend.

When you place a CTA on a page, you’re requesting a relationship with the consumer. You must first present the reasons why they should do business with you. Don’t focus so much on the action that you forget to convince them to take it in the first place. Your conversion rates will suffer if you don’t offer enough proof for why they should click.

3. Not Knowing Your Audience

You’ve likely heard the advice that you must know your target audience. User experience (UX) design dictates knowing who your user is and how they’ll respond to different options. However, many designers stick with a template for their CTAs and never think about the end-user. They put the button in the same spot or use a specific color. However, the buyer persona for one company may be quite different than for another.

Note how Best Overhead Door uses several CTAs to meet the various needs of their users. They know two types of customers land on their site — those wanting a new door and those needing repairs. At the top of the page, they offer CTAs reflecting this with “Request Estimate” and “Request Service.” The hero slider also showcases the potential types of clients landing on their page. They offer more information for homeowners or commercial locations.

4. Using the Same Wording

If you use the same wording on every CTA, your viewers will begin to ignore them, and they will lose any power they have to convince people to click. If you keep seeing the phrase “Read More,” you likely do the same thing.

Just because the wording on one CTA button converts high doesn’t mean you should use the same phrase on 15 other landing pages. Think about the specific buyer for each page and adjust your wording to match their interests and behaviors. Vary what you say, and people are more likely to listen.

5. Cluttering Things Up

It’s tempting to add every little bit of information a user needs to make a decision, but doing so may create a cluttered look. Too many elements on a page draw the attention away from the CTA. The user may feel overwhelmed and not even know where to find the next step in the journey. Make sure you keep enough white space around elements so that users can scan your page and find them easily.

My Better Normal is a digital time capsule where you can send a note to yourself in the future about things you’re experiencing now or goals you hope to accomplish. When you land on their page, there is very little to distract from the purpose, which is getting started on your message. Even the colors are basic black and white.

6. Designing Ugly Buttons

Design today is more streamlined. Clunky button graphics looking like a kindergartener cut them out of a magazine won’t work. Your buttons should blend nicely with elements on the page while contrasting with the other colors. Stay away from shadows and rounded corners unless they create a modern look or have a transparent background.

7. Ignoring Other Elements

Images and graphics can help point the way to your CTA and increase conversions. An arrow pointed toward a CTA draws users’ attention and guides consumers on where to travel next on your page. A photo of a person looking toward the CTA draws the eye down. Use the different elements on your page to push the user toward the action you want them to take.

Gucci has a mascara hunt game on their website. Their goal for the landing page is getting you to click on “Play.” They use animated graphics to draw user attention. Notice how the mascara wands and bottles come up and point toward the CTA as they go past. The user immediately notices the button upon page load.

8. Sizing Down Your Button

You don’t want to make your button too obnoxiously large, but you also don’t want the button so small that it fades away. There is a happy balance between the size of the button and drawing user attention. If you aren’t sure which size to use, conduct split testing and see which performs best with your users.

CTAs Are the Gateways to Sales

Think of your CTA buttons as a gateway to converting people into leads. The other elements on your page must highlight the next step of the journey. Test your CTAs to find the perfect combination for your users. As a result, your conversion rates will thank you.

Lexie is a digital nomad and web designer. When she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.


10 Unique Strategies for Finding New Customers

Growing your business requires a combination of keeping current customers and finding new ones. Retain existing clients by meeting their needs, providing excellent service, and connecting with them on an emotional level. Seeking new prospects requires a bit more creativity and finesse. You have to meet them where they hang out and gain their trust.

Salesforce did a bit of research on the top characteristics of successful business owners. It found about 33% had good communication skills, giving them an edge when reaching out to new customers. If you’re not up to par, make improvements by taking courses, reading articles and trying new tactics until you become an excellent communicator. Once you’ve done your research about who your target audience is, it’s time to try some new strategies to gain their interest.

1. Create Brand Awareness

Making them aware of your brand is the first step in the new acquisitions game. Start by choosing a strong message for your company. What do you stand for and care most about? Your mission should tie into the reason you started your business in the first place. How does your organization help your clients? Why are you passionate about making a change in the world?
Once you’ve perfected your message, share it on social media, at local events and in advertising. Be consistent with your mission, and you’ll begin developing a name in the industry.

2. Add Signage

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, signage helps create awareness in the community. Passersby see a sign about your grand opening or other events and stop in. They’re also useful inside your store to guide users to a specific area or showcase new arrivals. Your signage should match the rest of your style, using brand colors and sticking to a basic style customers see anywhere they interact with your brand.

3. Get Social

Going on social media isn’t anything new, but you can seek new customers on some of the more recent platforms, such as Tik Tok. Look at who your audience is and if you can reach any new people through emerging apps and platforms. If you’re one of the first businesses on a medium, it’s much more likely you’ll develop a strong following. You’re competing with less noise in the early days.

4. Attend Local Events

The best place to find new customers is often close to home. Set up a small booth at a local art festival or street fair. Join in on local chamber of commerce events to network with other business owners. Interact in the local community and get your name out there. Even sponsoring a team at the local Little League park has the potential to bring in new customers you otherwise wouldn’t have connected with.

5. Send Unique Mailers

Come up with a fun campaign and send mailers to people within your target audience. You might do a series including corny jokes related to your industry, leading up to an invitation to a fun event. You could offer something free, such as consultation for homeowners. Think about the typical mailers coming to your home and make yours different. You can send a postcard that is a little larger than average, use eye-popping colors or create a story in booklet form.

6. Attend Trade Shows

Finding a trade show with attendees who fall into your customer profile is an excellent way to expand your reach. If you an afford booth space, set up an exhibit and sign up new customers on the spot. However, if a booth isn’t yet in your budget, don’t let it deter you from attending the conference. You can still make connections just by going to workshops at the event and reaching out to people on the floor.

7. Schedule Radio Interviews

Get in touch with local radio personalities and offer to share your expertise in your industry. For example, if you run a secondhand store, you might talk on a show about saving money or fashion sense. Look at local shows first and reach out to those hosts. Next, expand to national and online broadcasts.

8. Write a Book

Most business owners get into a new endeavor because they have a lot of experience in the industry. Think about the unique knowledge you have and how you could put it into a book. You can either offer it for free in exchange for the person’s email or sell it. You can even give speeches to various groups and sell the book on the side. Once you’re published, you also become more recognizable as an authority.

9. Create a Podcast

Podcasts are quite popular with a broad audience. In the United States, around 75% of people are familiar with them. The number of people familiar with the medium grows each year. A podcast gives you a chance to have a platform and fully promote your company above any others. Decide on a topic and the way you’ll serve up the presentation. For example, you might choose to release it on iTunes.

10. Start a Referral Program

Your current customers are your best word-of-mouth marketing tool. Sometimes they’re just waiting for a chance to tell other people how much they love you. Start a referral program where you reward them for sharing information with others and bringing you new business. If you gain a new customer from a referral, you could offer them a discount off their next purchase, for example.
Another idea is giving them 25% off coupons to hand out to those they know. If the recipient uses the discount, they get the same benefit. Referrals help your business grow exponentially with very minimal additional effort from you.

Pay Attention

Spend time online looking at promotions other companies both inside and outside your industry offer. What creative endeavors make the most sense for your business? Look for ways to introduce your company to new people, and don’t be afraid to try something no one else has before. The key to continual growth is creativity and determination.

Author Bio:
Lexie is a digital nomad and web designer. When she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

Can My Business Survive a Cyberattack Today?

Could your company survive a cyberattack? Small businesses may be particularly at risk because the cost of battling a hacking incident may exceed their budgets. Executives may be brilliant at building new companies and reaching out to leads, but lack a bit of IT knowledge. Without the full-time technical staff a larger operation has, they are also quite vulnerable to an attack.

Around 43% of cyberattacks are against small businesses. Hackers have different intentions. One is to knock you offline by overwhelming your system, and the other is to gain access to sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or customer contact info. Either way, you need to take steps now to protect your business and your patrons.

Six basic steps will ensure you can withstand a cyberattack. Some of these protect data and your website, while others prepare you for a breach even when you’ve done everything you can to avoid one.

1. Invest in Cloud-Based Computing

Going with a cloud service gives you the same security measures more prominent companies use. Smaller brands can’t afford expensive software or security teams on their own. However, you can use a company that has these systems in place and store your essential files on their servers. Switching to the cloud improved safety for about 94% of business owners.

A cloud-based system also allows your staff to access files from anywhere, so you’ll need to decide if you want to enable remote access or not. There are some additional security measures you’ll need to take and training your employees will need to complete if you choose to access files off-site.

2. Avoid Ransomware

In some attacks, hackers take over your computer and demand money to release it. Attacks such as WannaCry target outdated software on your system — particularly Microsoft. To avoid someone taking over your computers and either stealing the files on them or locking them up, complete all updates immediately. You may want to set your system to update each night automatically.

If you are the victim of ransomware, never give the hackers money. It only encourages more attacks in the future. Instead, work with a digital security expert to restore your files and secure your computers. There is almost always something you can do to get the malware off your computer without rewarding criminals for bad behavior.

3. Choose a VPN

There are two aspects to virtual private networks (VPN you can utilize to protect your business. First, shared hosting is a cheap way to get your business website online, but it comes with problems you may not want. Not only can a hacker take out an account and attack you on the backend, but you may also find there is a drag at times, and your site doesn’t perform as well as you’d like. A VPN gives you several advantages without costing as much as a dedicated server.

Another aspect of VPNs is that you can use one for online browsing. Since most companies keep a database of dangerous sites, you’ll get a notification to avoid potential hazards. Emails will be encrypted, and the network will prevent you from stumbling onto a website you shouldn’t and inadvertently downloading malware.

4. Backup Daily

If you aren’t already backing up your data daily, you need to implement a plan. Companies such as iDrive and DropBox allow you to automate backups from your systems. If you wind up with a ransomware attack, you would merely return to the nearest point before the attack, for example. If your system crashes and you lose everything, the information is stored. Pay attention to the security on the site you hire to back up your files.

Some companies also use an external hard drive, but it’s important to have files stored in a separate location in case of a natural disaster. A cloud-based system is your best choice for backing up off-site, but that shouldn’t be the only place you keep files. The remote server could also crash, so never make one source your only file backup.

5. Train Employees

One of the ways hackers gain access to information is by tricking people into sharing logins or sensitive information. Thieves are quite savvy and will send an email that looks like it is from a reputable company or even the person’s manager. Conduct regular internet safety awareness training so your employees know what information they can and can’t share, as well as how to recognize a phishing email.

6. Plan for the Worst

Create a plan for what you’ll do if you are the victim of a cyberattack. Let’s say the worst happens, and sensitive information leaks out. You are required by regulations in some areas to inform your customers and let them know what you’ve done to fix the issue. Yes, people are going to be angry, so the faster you can rectify the problem and reassure them, the better you’ll mitigate the damage.

Never try to cover up a hacking situation where sensitive information was compromised. Immediately inform those affected so people can take measures to protect their credit card numbers or credit.

Protect Your Business

Keeping your business safe from the nefarious intentions of others should be one of your top priorities. When you make digital security a vital part of your routine, you’ll reduce the chances of losing money due to an attack. Take the steps needed to guard your assets, and you’ll have one less worry in running your business.

Author’s Bio:

Lexie is a digital nomad and web designer. When she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.