This article is sponsored by Verisign as part of the Enterprise Nation Go and Grow Online campaign which encourages more businesses to get online and supports existing internet traders to grow.

For a small business, a strong brand can be incredibly important. A brand is how your business is perceived by the world, and can be a great benefit, or hindrance, depending on how you go about building it. 

A strong online brand can help lead to greater success for your business. If your business is perceived as offering customers an excellent experience, or it sells products that are of high quality and value for money, your business' reputation can improve and, as a result, may appeal to more consumers. 

The experts at Verisign share some tips for how you can build a strong brand for your company. 

Establishing a strong online presence

Establishing an online presence for your small business can offer a range of benefits, whether it's helping you better communicate with your target audience or extending your reach.

A positive online presence can also help strengthen your brand, and the right domain name can be key to this. 

A first step when choosing your domain name is selecting your domain extension. A domain extension (the part after the domain name: .com, or .net, for example) can tell people a lot about your company, so it's important to get it right.

As an established domain extension, millions of individuals and businesses around the world trust .com for their online presence [1].

Once you've selected your domain extension, it's time to look at your domain name.

Your domain name is often a customer's first impression of your company online, and is how your company can be reached on the internet.

With this in mind, your domain name should accurately represent your company and its brand. If it doesn't, there is a risk that customers searching for your products may struggle to find you online.

If possible, your domain name should be registered at the same time as your brand name is chosen, so that you can ensure the two match.

Another good option is to use keywords relevant to your business in your domain name. If you sell hammers, for example, using the word 'tools' or, indeed, 'hammers', should make you easier to find for potential customers, and can also make your domain name more memorable.

Create a consistent brand identity

In order to create a memorable brand, your company should have its own distinct personality and identity. Excellent products are important in building a strong reputation and brand for your company, but a unique, interesting brand identity can help set your business apart.

So, you need to ask yourself: what is your company's personality?

If you're selling engagement rings, or other expensive goods, it makes sense to project a serious brand identity; one that can be trusted when making significant, possibly life-changing purchases.

You'd be unlikely to buy a house, for example, from a company that doesn't take itself seriously.

If you sell quirky, lower-cost items, then it may be appropriate for your business to reflect this in its identity.

You can tailor your business's web content, from product descriptions to FAQ pages, and marketing materials so that they appear more humorous or light-hearted, projecting to customers that your brand is fun.

And while a memorable brand is important, it's equally important for your company’s tone in messaging to remain consistent across the board, whether it's social media or in person.

So, if your company has a serious brand personality, it may not be a good idea to tweet jokes, or share cat videos on Facebook.

Indeed, offering customers a positive online experience, in keeping with your company's values, is one of the most important aspects of building a brand.

If somebody contacts you with a query on social media, for example, it's important that you treat this with the same urgency as you would if somebody walked into a brick and mortar store, asking for help.

If you leave a social media query unanswered, you'll likely gain a reputation for ignoring or neglecting customers, a reputation that could seriously damage your brand, and make other customers think twice about working with you.

Ensuring your website offers your customers the appropriate tools and information they need, when they need it, can increase chances your brand is seen as helpful and user-friendly. Providing FAQ pages, chatbots, and contact details for online customers can all help your customer have an enjoyable, consistent experience of your brand.

By establishing a strong online presence and maintaining an interesting, consistent identity, your brand can grow stronger and could see your business thrive as a result.  

With the right domain name, anything is possible. Get inspired with Verisign’s NameStudio

We currently have a great offer that allows to secure a .com domain for only 99p! 

Enterprise Nation is running free workshops across the UK providing expert advice on how to grow a great business online. Book your place here.

[1] The Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief Q3 2017

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