Today’s post is a guest post by Diana Ratliff and expert in website marketing. Her contact info is at the end of the article.
Make It Easy for Someone to Buy from You – Develop a Brand
By Diana Ratliff
If you want your products to stand out in the marketplace, you need three things.
1. to be discovered – prospects need to know you exist;
2. to be selling – the folks who find you need to buy; and
3. to be remembered – for repeat business and referrals.
Branding makes the third one easier.
Entrepreneur magazine defines branding as “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. Simply put, your brand is your promise to your client. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it distinguishes your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”
Note that it is more than just your name and logo!
Having someone remember your brand in a positive way makes it easier for them to buy from you. Brands give us shortcuts – they save us from having to think too much or do too much work when deciding what to buy, because we know what to expect – that’s called a “brand promise.”
Consider a few successful brands.
Starbucks: They’re as much about lifestyle as they are about coffee, and they have intense brand loyalty. Starbucks is seen as a comfortable place to sip your favorite brew while chatting with a business connection or surfing the Internet.
Lexus: Lexus is the luxury car division of Toyota. The cars share engineering, the chassis, and design elements. Certainly the cars differ, but more important the brand differs. You see it in the way their salespeople are dressed and the way they treat you. The upscale showrooms and squeaky-clean service departments foster that impression of class and luxury. People pay a premium price for that.
McDonald’s: Fast service and consistency in taste, quality and pricing are the hallmarks of the McDonald’s brand. You know what you’ll get when you go into a McDonald’s restaurant, and we’re reassured by that.
Okay, so you’re not McDonald’s or Starbucks – let’s look at this in another way.
Your brand is your value proposition. It’s a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide, who you do it for, and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the problem you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives. Very often, it’s described in your tagline or slogan.
Branding is the glue that binds various products together in your customer’s mind, and the dazzle that makes your products stand out above your competitors.
How though, to create a brand, especially if you’re offering products that others can sell too? Maybe you’re buying at wholesale or private-labeling products that others can also locate.
You need to find a way to make your product unique or better. Here’s what one client did.
He was buying lawn care items at wholesale and struggling to compete. There was no reason for someone to buy from him rather than anyone else, and he didn’t want to compete on price.
What he ultimately did was bundle them as a “recommended products kit” under his own brand. He added a DVD he made on how to use them.
No one else was bundling or adding the DVD, and few were targeting the market he chose, which is people who do not want to use certain types of products on their yard because they have younger children and pets.
He also created his own brand website. Though Amazon fulfilled the orders, the brand site allowed him to collect email addresses, set re-targeting cookies, and further educate prospects on the benefits of his product line.
You need to do something similar for the products you sell. You must either develop a product/line that is clearly different or better, or position it so that it’s perceived that way by your target audience.
Then wherever and whenever you market that product online, be consistent in the way you present it and talk about it, so that your brand becomes synonymous with a benefit to your prospect.
To sum up: Want to make it easy for someone to buy from you? Then focus less on “selling products” and start “promoting a brand.”
Diana Ratliff is an experienced online marketing consultant whose company, YourFriendontheWeb.com, specializes in e-commerce strategy, design and marketing. She’s also an Amazon and eBay seller.
She’s working on a special report, Secrets to eCommerce Income: What Sellers Must Know Before Starting an Online Store. If you have stories, anecdotes or advice to contribute, email her at [email protected]
If you’d like to be notified when the book is published, please sign her list at http://bit.ly/ecombook