How to Brand Your Website for Your Target Audience
Thursday, June 7, 2018
By D. Channing Muller
Having an effective brand is the most important marketing tool you’ve got. After all, you can’t have a logo and business card that look like a law firm if you’re actually a wedding planning company. You need to create a brand that both represents who your company is and also resonates with your target audience.
When thinking of a company brand, you probably think of those items I just mentioned — a logo and business card — but there are five other important elements that need to be considered when creating a website for your company:
- Color choices (and where colors should be used in your graphics)
- Photography style
- Company values
- Tone of voice
- Personal presentation
Each of these items reflects aspects of your brand to the person you have yet to meet face-to-face and affects the overall user experience on your website and social media profiles.
At the highest level, you need to think about the colors that truly represent who and what your company is all about and what your target clientele will like. Let’s stick with the wedding planning example: Your goal is to attract a bride that wants a Martha Stewart-style wedding with lots of flowers, pinks and feminine details throughout her decor and invitations.
Website A has a white background with gray body copy, gold headings and pink buttons on it. Website B has a navy background with darker reds headlines, black copy and hunter green buttons. Which planner do you think she’s going to contact?
The reason she contacts the planner on Website A is because it displays the aesthetic she wants to create for her wedding. That website says (both literally and figuratively), “I understand a Martha Stewart-esque feminine style of wedding design.”
Think about the colors that will both catch the attention of your target client and make them want to stay on your website. Apply those to your buttons, body copy, headline copy, bullets and numbering, navigation and custom graphics.
The types of imagery you choose are key. After all, the event industry is extremely visual, and clients oftentimes will scroll through tons of photos rather than read lengthy copy to determine if you are the right company for them to work with. (That’s not to say copy isn’t important, but we’ll cover that next.)
Even if you are a solo entrepreneur, you need to have company or brand values. These don’t necessarily need to be displayed publicly on your website — though that is a solid option for your “About Us” section — but they should be documented. The reason is quite simple: People want to work with people and companies they like whose values align with theirs.
The clearer you (and your employees) are about what your brand stands for, the easier it will be to write marketing copy that conveys those values and eliminate potential time-wasting leads whose interests don’t align.
Tone of Voice
Now that you know what’s important to your company, it’s time to talk about how you convey that. Are you a cocky, “We’re bad a** at what we do, and we know it,” kind of company? Are you constant jokesters who consider clients your friends and therefore use a lot of puns and wit in your communications? Are you trying to target the CEO of big corporations, so more formal and direct language is needed?
Even in a visually creative industry, words still matter, and the way you write those can be the difference between attracting your ideal client and leaving thousands of dollars on the table due to a miscommunication. They also can serve as your biggest alley when it comes to pre-qualifying leads and reducing the time you need to spend further qualifying them via phone calls and in-person meetings before drafting a proposal that may never close.
Even on digital platforms, your personal presentation matters. “But Channing, they can’t see what I’m wearing on my website!” Well, they should. Video marketing is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have,” and the way you look, speak and present yourself in that video is crucial. After all, when you or your employees jump on a video, they are the living embodiment of your brand. What do you want your viewers to be thinking?
If your brand is about elegance, sophistication and experience, then the clothes and accessories you wear have to reflect that. Think: tie-pocket square combos, nice dresses, slacks, blazers, polished accessories and styled hair and makeup.
Does your business offer a more relaxed, hip and funky kind of style? Then graphic tees, jeans and big accessories (think hats, scarves, and multiple colors) would be great way to convey that vibe through the visuals in your video. You have to look the part if you want to get the part.
Attracting people to your website and keeping them there has a lot to do with whether they like what they see when first confronted with your brand via search engines, referrals from friends or social media. Then once they land on your website, you want them to stick around. Give them a reason to do just that.
Make your digital presence the embodiment of what working with you will be like, and you’ll not only attract your ideal client, you’ll no longer spend time on calls and email exchanges with those prospects who’ll never close and only suck away your sanity.
D. Channing Muller is the principal and founder of DCM Communications, a marketing consulting firm based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. She works primarily with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses through one-on-one and group coaching. She has over 15 years of experience in the communications industry, serving in top roles within marketing, magazine and web editorial, advertising and business development for a variety of media, software and PR companies in the United States and internationally. Follow her on Instagram @ChanningMuller.