Friday, August 26, 2011
How To Build Your Brand
If you want to move from a hobby to a business you'll need to build your brand. A brand helps to set you and your shop apart from everyone else. Branding your shop is far easier to do from the very beginning than in the middle of the game. It is never too late to start building your brand.
Choose your name carefully. Pick something easy to remember and easy to spell. Cute variations of a word or a made up word can really make it difficult to find. Be sure to check the availability not only for your Etsy Shop or your ArtFire Studio. Check to see if the Gmail name is available, check for the Twitter username, check Facebook and by all means check to see if the website name is available. You may also want to check for Blogger as well.
Even if you are not ready to move forward with Twitter or a website, register all of them anyway. It is a lot easier to put up a "Coming Soon" sign than it is to try and buy the domain from someone else. The amount of consistency between the different places you will potentially be found will help to build a solid brand. Register as many other social media networks that you can all at once. Including Flickr and even MySpace if you think it will get the word out.
Try to tie in your logo and/or banner with everything that you do. If you have trouble with graphic arts there are plenty of people around that can help out like Curious Crow Creative. She made all of my banners and avatars for my Shop on Etsy and my Studio on ArtFire. She has both pre-made sets and she does custom work. You want a visitor to recognize that they are on one of your pages by the look and feel. Make sure you use the same color schemes and fonts on all sites that allow for customization.
Even if you do not think that you are going to become a full time business it is still important and profitable to have consistency throughout all your sites and pages. You never know when you will change your mind to become full time. Social media changes a lot too so when a new, potentially useful social media starts, go register your username there, even if you end up never using it, no one will be able to have your username and pretend to be you.
Starting your branding in the middle of the game isn't impossible but you may have to be creative. If your username is already taken or the web address is taken or any of the places you want to brand do not have your name available you can try adding words or using initials. Say for instance if MarketMyShop wasn't available for Twitter I could have used EricMMS or MMShop or the like. I would still maintain consistency to a degree. Fortunately I did a lot of research before I chose my name and made the final choice based on the availability on all platforms I chose to use.
One final note, some search engines are now adding parsed web addresses to their search algorithm. Meaning that if someone were to search "How to market my shop" I would have a slight advantage in any web address "marketmyshop" in it. Parsing is the computers ability to read words without there being spaces in them. Be sure when picking a name that it is easy to figure out by looking at the words without spacing. Make sure that they do not spell multiple words as it will be difficult for a computer to parse. I tend to try and make it even easier for people as well, by always writing it out with capitalization on multiwords like this: http://MarketMyShop.blogspot.com or http://www.TangledMetal.com That is just one more way to make your sites easier to be found by both computers and users alike.
Questions or comments or suggestions? Please leave them in the comments below and be sure to check out all of my other articles.