Strategic Planning – Your Brand, Your Online Presence, and Long-Term Recognition

Strategic Planning - Your Brand, Your Online Presence, and Long-Term Recognition

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A strategic plan for marketing your brand begins with your online presence.

Your core virtual real estate can be a website with a home page, a contact page, and additional pages that contain descriptions of products and services, or a minimalist one-page mini-site. Consider a one-page website as a simple online presence reminiscent of a 19th century aristocrat's calling card; this is who I am, please leave a message! Your core virtual real estate should have an identifiable URL or domain name that you plan to maintain for as long as possible. A good URL is like an easy-to-remember telephone number; for example, 1-800-RedRose or 1-800-GoodFood. The choice of a domain name should resonant with you, your product or your services; consider it as the sign that hangs outside your virtual space in the Global Village. Consider graphic images or a logo that reflects the URL name and can simply become your brand or trade mark. Thus, a single ruby-red rose could serve as logo on your webpages and mark you posted comments on a forum. Consider for example, calling yourself Flower Frederick or Fred the Florist if you are an online florist. Use your name and the rose logo to identify every tweet you post on Twitter, as a signature graphic on your Facebook page, and your brand icon or mark wherever you browse.

Select your core virtual real estate carefully; for example, consider a domain name like redrose.zzz (this is an imaginary website!) if you are a florist. Brand marketing begins with thoughtful selection of your chosen domain name, keyword identifiers and distinguishing graphic assets. These elements, identified in your business plan, are your specifically selected brand attributes; specific keywords, a customized color, a graphic, a specific motif, a particular font style. A recognizable or clever trade mark helps to subliminally build brand recognition, online presence and your long-term online reputation. So, a link in FlowerFrederick's tweet about a special discounted price offering this coming Wednesday at redrose.zzz works with a little ruby-red rose avatar. You want to consistently use these key identifiers when building your core virtual real estate, that is, your traditional HTML website, your blog, your forum, or your vlog. Consider also using these same brand attributes when you leave comments, post tweets, water-mark your videos, or post simple banner ads. Consistent and systematic repetition of your brand marking is the rule; repetition over time will organically build your online recognition and reputation.

Your core virtual real estate, your domain name, and graphic assets should work together to easily identify "what you are".

A brief biographical description box in the top panel of your one-page "mini-site", an About Us webpage on your website, or a description in the heading section of your blog articulates your Mission Statement and what benefits or "point of view "you provide your visitors in terms of general services, opinion, or products. The Internet is not exclusively about business and promoting goods. If you are a "not-for-profit" and provide information as a community service or want to publish your own "personal" space about "You", proudly tell your visitors about your intentions in the Mission Statement. Grab your visitor's attention; make them pause, read and maybe follow your "call to action" whether it is clicking a link to another second page, opting-in to your mailing list, buying a product or service, or just reading what you have to say.

Build a marketing plan that consistently and systematically uses your brand attributes including your name, logo, graphics, the shades of color, the font style, and keywords that include your URL, etc. Contrary to what many people do, consider using social media venues like Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook alternately as "pointers" to your online presence, your core virtual real estate like a webpage or website. Having your own domain (that is, URL and webpage or website) is like owning a house (since the term "virtual real estate") rather than renting an apartment (on, for example, Facebook or MySpace) in the Global Village.

There are advantages and disadvantages to either choice; decide based on your personal circumstances. Whatever your decision, consider increasing the recognition of your brand attributes by using your personal "marks" on venues outside your core virtual real estate. So, when a Twitter follower clicks the link in Flower Frederick's tweet, they jump to the Special Discounted products page at redrose.zzz that echoes the floral motif with the ruby-red color, the Gothic font style, and the single rose logo in the upper left corner of every webpage.

Building your online presence requires careful strategic choices, a thoughtful marketing plan, and consistent and systematic implementation; organic growth of your brand recognition will follow. A well-designed online presence will not only increase your visitor traffic today but help you grow your online reputation tomorrow and for a long time in the future.

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Consider Town Press Media for these and other digital marketing services. Contact us today!