Creating a consistent brand identity is a vital part of convincing the people visiting your website that your business is trustworthy and reliable. If your site’s presentation is inconsistent with your brand’s approach and personality, it can result in a confusing message for customers.
These 5 tips will help you make sure your website content reflects your brand’s identity:
Use Your Own Voice
A consistent tone and choice of language is vital to ensuring your website visitors understand your business’s approach and are able to judge whether your business is the right fit for them. Your landing page, blog content and any other copy on your website should be written in a tone that matches your brand’s personality.
A mismatched or inconsistent tone of voice can leave your audience confused about what to expect from your business or even make them look elsewhere to find a business that sets clearer expectations.
Create a style guide that will allow you to easily check whether your copy is ticking the right boxes for your brand’s voice. This should cover not just how you want your brand to be perceived, but also what you want your writing to achieve for its readers.
Look at MailChimp’s public style guide:
The guide outlines the goal of their copy, tips on how to approach that goal, and the qualities their content should reflect regarding their business.
Keyword research helps you find more effective ways to describe your business to customers. The words and phrases you use to present your business may have additional associations and connotations for your audience. Choose wisely, as an improper selection of keywords could lead to giving the wrong impression about your brand’s identity.
Keyword research lets you build an understanding of what users are looking for when they use different search terms and what they think different keywords imply about your organization. One simple way to approach this is to survey your website users and ask them for words they associate with your brand.
Instead of targeting high competitive keywords that every business in your industry is focusing on, use more specific ‘long-tail’ keywords to improve your search rankings. They can also help establish your brand’s identity even before users visit your site, through search suggestions and questions.
Consistent Visual Branding
Your site needs a look that is memorable and instantly recognizable. Color scheme and page layout are vital parts of this.
An attention-grabbing layout will make your site more engaging and memorable, but that doesn’t mean you should do things differently just to stand out. Repetitive elements like navigation banners have become standardized because they are easy for users to interact with, even if they are a first-time visitor.
Establishing a consistent color scheme and a compact logo allows you to apply your visual branding even to these standardized conventional elements of the page. It is vital for your logo to be distinct and recognizable at any size, so you can use it consistently on any page.
Look at Deliveroo’s 2016 logo re-design:
The new design on the right uses a simple, bold shape and one color, making the logo identifiable even at a thumbnail size. At the same scale, the logo on the left will lose detail, becoming less recognizable.
Consistency should also apply to the way text and images are formatted. For a creative or design-focused business, a format of minimal text and a focus on communicating through images or video may be most effective, while a company developing business software or services may need to rely more on longer text and bullet points detailing the benefits of their product.
Ad banners and pop-ups can disrupt the visual design of your site. A switch in focus to native advertising content allows you to continue presenting a consistent brand image while educating your audience. Because it offers value to users, native advertising such as sponsored content achieves 20% to 60% more engagement.
Avoid Stock Images
Most visitors will be able to spot stock photographs immediately. Stock images are generic photos to be used and reused by individuals or businesses for use in marketing materials, websites, etc. That means they will almost never be able to reflect your brand or personality accurately.
Your website is supposed to show who you are as a business, so how can it do that using images that appear on hundreds of other sites?
There is no reason to use that generic picture of smiling people in suits leaning over a pie chart when you have an office full of real people you can show. The difference to visitors is clear, and puts a human face on your business instead of showing fake employees.
Even in the unlikely event that someone believes this image was taken in your office, what does it say to visitors, other than ‘We hold meetings’? It does not indicate your personality or why your brand is the right fit for any customer. Authenticity plays a major role in engagement with modern brands, so you can’t afford to use inauthentic stock images.
Ask for Feedback
One of the best ways to check whether your site is communicating the right message is to just ask. Requesting feedback surveys from customers and site visitors can provide valuable information about what the users expect based on your website content, and whether they felt this was accurate.
Some of the most useful feedback will come from new users, so send your survey a few weeks after a customer signs up or makes a purchase. In this timeframe, they will still remember the expectations set by your website, and most likely have already tested your product so they can decide whether it matched the image you presented.
Lapsed customers, particularly users who stopped visiting your site or using your services soon after starting, can tell you a lot about where your brandy identity is inconsistently or poorly represented.
For the best response rates, design your feedback surveys according to the strengths of their delivery method. For email surveys, you can ask open-ended questions such as what they feel the values and unique benefits of your brand are, and to describe your brand’s personality.
In an SMS survey, simpler multiple choice questions are more effective. For example, you could ask the participants to rate on a scale of 1-10 how well they think certain words describe you, or to show from a list of ready answers why they started or stopped being your customer.
Always use your brand’s voice to craft your content and reflect the personality you want your business to have. Research keywords not just to find the biggest audience, but to understand what those keywords mean to customers, and collect feedback to make sure your site is giving the right signals to visitors. Consistency and authenticity are critical to building a brand identity people will believe and trust.
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