Since its creation and mass adoption, the internet has emerged as one of the most powerful forces for enabling commerce in history. These days, new businesses flock to the internet in droves and it’s considered standard practice for many industries to seek to build an online presence for their brand. However, building an effective online brand can be easier said than done, especially given how flooded the market can be. To help our readers succeed in this area, we’ve collected information from a variety of sources, including eCommerce entrepreneur Jesse Willms. The below insights from the business leader and elsewhere make for a great jumping-off point for those seeking to build an online brand.
Leverage smart tools
The internet isn’t a monolith, instead, it’s a patchwork of websites, web applications, and other online tools. Selecting which tools to use to help build your brand can be one of the most important decisions you make to get your message out into the world. Well-made tools that lend themselves to large audiences can be a great way to amplify your brand. Spend too much energy on tools with limited reach, however, and you may find your efforts running out of gas before they reach critical mass.
Of course, one key set of tools in this regard is social media. Regardless of the specific network to which you gravitate — and each has its perks — it’s become fairly indisputable these days that social media can play a central role in building an online brand. The technology provides business leaders with nearly unprecedented direct access to their customers via direct messaging, public forums, and other forms of engagement. These tools can also help businesses polish their online image through the creation of intentional content. When done correctly, these efforts can serve to give upward momentum to some of the internet’s savviest brands.
The work of Jesse Willms has provided a great example of the benefits that can come from intentionally selecting a set of online tools. Some of his biggest successes to date as an entrepreneur have come through the use of targeted marketing to help provide customers with more relevant access to online products. This was accomplished through the use of marketing programs available in conjunction with search engines. The business leader opted to dive into the use of these programs when they were still novel additions to search engine offerings, showcasing his ability to single out a new tool for usage even when it didn’t necessarily have an extensive track record.
Create a firm foundation
Creating an online brand can, in many ways, be reminiscent of traditional efforts to create a brand in the days before the internet. That’s because many of these efforts revolved around the foundation of the business in question, rather than the methods used to promote it. Creating a rock-solid mission and value statement for your endeavor can help you understand what your brand identity is and what you’re seeking to accomplish in the world. Far from merely being window dressing, this type of understanding of the foundation of your business can work to inform practically everything you do in your work, providing a consistent through-line that can be appreciated by your customer base.
To find evidence for this idea, we need look no further than some of the most popular brands that lead the field of business today. When you think about these brands, it’s often clear to see that they have a strong underlying concept that guides all of their offerings. That consistency allows customers to intuitively know what they’ll be receiving when they purchase a product by that company, helping to build loyalty and overall product awareness.
Focus on your customer
When building out an online brand, many businesses spend untold amounts of energy and resources directed at understanding and promoting their own efforts. While this can be helpful to a degree, it can be detrimental if it comes at the expense of what should be the biggest focus of any business — the customer. Since businesses are, at their core, always striving to solve problems for their customers, it makes sense that this is where they should place much of their focus. This can result in customers feeling more cared for and can, in turn, promote the brand’s standing online.
We can again see this process play out through the eCommerce entrepreneur’s latest project — a network of vehicle history websites. This latest business idea was developed after the business professional dived into an examination of the pre-owned vehicle purchasing process. In doing so, he not only saw the toll that a lack of information could take on consumers, but also the expense of existing vehicle reporting services on the market. Seeing an opportunity to innovate, he worked to create a service that could provide these reports free of charge to consumers to aid them in the vehicle purchasing process.
At the end of the day, one of the things consumers most respond to is authenticity. It can be tempting to look to this guide or others like it and try to reverse engineer a premium online brand. Such surface-level efforts often fail even though business owners feel they’re hitting all the right notes. This can be due to a lack of authenticity in the branding process. Keep this in mind as you go about your branding efforts. While customers have many needs and desires in the modern market, one of their overriding desires is often to deal with a brand that is above board and interacts with them in an honest and integrity-driven fashion.
While the internet has now been around for quite some time and has earned a reputation for being an integral part of modern commerce, building a successful online brand is still no easy task. The above look at some of the key points to consider in this pursuit is pulled from a range of sources, including the work of eCommerce entrepreneur Jesse Willms. By leveraging tools, building a foundation, focusing on the customer, and maintaining authenticity, online brands can begin the difficult work of creating a customer-facing image that can contribute to their business efforts. Consider ways in which you can apply these lessons to your work and see if they can serve to help you build your own online brand.