As a small business owner, one of the most exciting milestones you can reach is launching a website for your business.
Having your own website is no small feat. Most businesses invest in a website once they achieve moderate success and are now ready to take things to the next level. A website also signals that you take your business seriously and are ready to compete with others in your market.
Simply put, having a website for your business is a great thing. But, that said, a website isn’t something you should rush into. Not only can it be a significant investment for your business financially but more importantly, if not done right, it can be a wasted opportunity.
I often get inquiries from potential clients looking for a custom-built website for their small business. While on the one hand, it’s great to see so many fellow entrepreneurs ready to invest in their business, one thing I’ve noticed is that some of the women I speak to are missing a crucial element of their brand development.
Now, I don’t usually give away the kicker so early in these posts but because this is a topic that I’m so passionate about, I’m going to give you my key message up front: investing in a website without having a strategy for your brand is like buying a kayak with no paddles—you’re not going to get anywhere other than where the tide takes you!
But if you’re serious about having a website that will help your business reach its long-term goals, well, this post is for you.
What is brand strategy?
In the world of branding and marketing, “strategy” is a word that tends to get thrown around a lot. I’ll be the first to admit that as brand strategists and marketers, we don’t always do the greatest job of actually explaining what strategy is.
So, let’s take a step back.
At its core, strategy in branding refers to the overall experience and feeling that you leave your customers with after they’ve engaged with your service or product. Contrary to popular (and very wrong) belief, a brand isn’t the sum of its logo and colours. Instead, it’s the result of a clearly communicated mission, vision, values and personality, as well as an understanding of a target audience. A well-developed brand strategy outlines what you do, how you do it, why you do it and who you do it for. When there’s clarity around these three things, businesses can reach their audience and convert them into paying customers.
Brand strategy should never be thought of as a nice-to-have or a fancy upsell. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Strategy is a non-starter and a must-have for any small business with long-term goals.
Strategy vs tactics
When it comes to marketing your business, it’s important to understand that a website isn’t a strategy – it’s a tactic. These are two very different things and shouldn’t ever be confused. Strategy, on the one hand, describes a goal and how you’ll achieve it. Tactics, on the other hand, are specific actions that you take along the way to meet that goal.
Let’s look at a real-world example.
Say you operate a yoga and fitness studio. Unlike your competitors, though, you’re focused on body positivity and creating an atmosphere that’s inclusive and welcoming of everyone. In the world of branding, we call this your UVP or unique value proposition. It’s what differentiates you from your competitors and makes you stand out from the crowd. (Think of it as your secret sauce!)
The goal of your brand strategy might be to embrace all bodies, regardless of their appearance. In terms of tactics – how you celebrate all bodies – as one example, you might hire a team of instructors that represents a range of body types.
Applying brand strategy to your website
Now that we’ve broken down what a brand strategy is, why it’s a must-have and how it differs from tactics, it’s time to circle back on the original point of this post: why it’s crucial to invest in strategy before a website.
Let’s think back to our example of the yoga and fitness studio. Seeing that this business has already done the work to discover its UVP and build a strategy around it, the purpose of its website would be clear. And with a clear purpose, building a website that supports this purpose would be straightforward. For example, all the website’s copy would be written using inclusive language, the photos and icons across the site would reflect a range of body types, and the call-to-actions would speak directly to people who also value body positivity.
Now, on the other hand, had the studio not invested in a brand strategy, they most likely would have ended up with a generic website that looked and felt just like its competitors’. Its unique value proposition wouldn’t have been clear and a value opportunity to reach its target audience (and turn them into paying customers) would have been missed.
Having a website for your business is a great way to take ownership of your brand and build its credibility. But investing in a website is about more than just looking good; it’s about supporting your strategy and helping your business meet its long-term goals, too.
If you’re serious about building a website for your business that’s led by strategy and focused on meeting your long-term goals, I’m here to help and my inbox is always open.
…and one more thing!
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