What’s Your Brand?

How Do I Get Noticed?

Many of our clients have downright awesome business models. We have noticed that many of their top customers do as well. I’m continually impressed by some of what I am seeing these days.

Of course, selling products and making use of effective online marketing strategies are both important endeavors. As part of our research we make sure that our clients’ social and mobile marketing pushes reflect and exceed their industry’s standards. In other words, we are paying attention!

However, if our clients’ branding was not also effective this would never be enough. Sure, you can sell water to a fish if you have the right personality and perseverance, but who can sustain the type of pace required for this to be a good, sole long-term strategy? It is exhausting!

For those who are new to the concept of branding, this is where the magic of customer trust comes in. If you have a memorable image you have solved a huge percentage of the marketing battle.

But how do you create a brand? Well, we are here to help!

How Do I Make My Business Memorable?

If you have spent any time on this site you will notice the theme pretty quickly. The climbing/Colorado/outdoorsy image of the company speaks pretty loudly. It is on our website, our business cards, our emails and our social profiles. It is to the point where after working with us for a short time I get clients asking me questions about new climbing routes near Denver. Our image does leave an impression.

How does your logo look to you, and what does it say about your business? If you are not sure ask a few friends or neural third parties to make a list of 10 adjectives/verbs to describe your company logo. Things like “Bold” or “Angry” or even “Ocean”. Do their responses fit the image you are trying to convey to your clients?

Does My Message Fit My Brand?

In addition to your company logo do you have a tagline? If not, what would you say to a prospective client about what it is that you do or sell? This goes for freelancers as well as business owners. The size of your company doesn’t matter. Prospectives will be interested in what you sell.

Coming up with something catchy and memorable isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but we recommend taking a look at the image you are conveying with your logo. How can you tie this into your message?

What Comes Across in My Marketing Materials?

If you were paying attention in the last decade you may remember the Geek Squad’s fleet of VW Bugs roaming the roads. They used their cars to create an image that was incredibly memorable. They drive around in Prius now, fitting the times better, and helping the environment. But the initial image did wonders for their image and ultimately bottom line.

Do you have an every day item you use that can be doubled in your marketing efforts? And I am not talking about ordering envelopes with your company logo. that should probably exist by default if it is in your budget. Seriously, try it. Come up with 5 items you use every day that could conceivably be used to market your services. Then cut all but one of them. All of us have a lot of bad ideas before coming up with some good ones. This is perfectly fine!

Branding Help

We would love to give you a free consultation if you are looking for that neutral third party to assess your brand. Feel free to schedule a meeting with us and we would love to meet with you to learn more about your business! We will even buy you some coffee 😉

Why Pay for a Website?

Are Free Web-Builder Alternatives a Good Idea?

If you have spent any significant time researching free or extremely low-cost easy business website builders you have probably heard of Wix. You can actually create a website for free without much, if any, help from a web designer. WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) allows this as well, and there are dozens of other do-it-yourself site builder tools available to you as fast as you can Google for them.

The advent of do-it-yourself website creation tools appears to be heading into it’s prime. The tools available on some of these site builders are powerful – it isn’t difficult to upload images, add text and create a passable business site before you head out to the gym before lunch. If you know a little bit about how to use a computer you can learn how content management systems work.

Given the above, how is it that web designers and developers are still in business? And more importantly, why would you even utilize the services of them to help build your online business presence?

In Praise of the Professional

Let’s go down the list of reasons why you might want to think twice before putting your livelihood in the hands of Squarespace, or showcasing your favorite Wix creation to potential clients:

1. Your Clients Can Tell

This is probably the single most important reason why hiring a professional to build a professional online presence is important, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The truth is, just about everyone can tell if you used a free template-builder to construct your website. This is even true of many WordPress themes, which is why we recommend working with a professional designer to create a theme to be programmed into your content management system of choice, rather than the other way around.

For example, if you have fallen in love with WordPress’ popular Twenty Twelve theme, you are not alone in your love-affair with the mobile-responsive dynamo. There are over 300,000+ active installs of the theme! (As of 2/27/17)

If you build your business site with this theme and perform the usual “site-bulider” level customizations to the design, the chances are very high that one of your clients will stumble upon a very similar-looking site and think “wait – wasn’t my attorney using that same site? Did he rip off another designers’ work?”

You do not want this to happen.

2. Branding is a Thing

Many of the most successful companies are successful because of their brand. Long after the products they continue to produce have fallen into the eyes of public scrutiny their image still shines brightly in our conciousness. The famous Nike swoop commands confidence and athleticism. This, even though Nike finished a distant fifth in this 2015 study of athletic footwear comfort.

If you choose to work your brand into your design and merge it with your social media channels you are going to showcase a much better business image than if you log in to a site-builder and change the color and font of the text at the top-left corner of the editor. This is a promise.

3. Your Website will Probably Look Cheap

We are not making this claim to state that Wix puts out a shoddy product or that Doodlekit’s templates are not up to snuff. This simply isn’t true. Their design teams build templates that have a very clean aesthetic and with many customization options. Their websites are coded with all today’s standards and requirements to get ranked in Google and to convey the message you would want to convey.

The issue is that to the average web-savvy customer, they are going to be able to tell that the site is a template. That is, the basic layout is similar not matter what colors, fonts, and themes you may choose. Many of these templates just look blocky and simple. This type of resource good for a simple website where you may want to start a blog for fun or put up a location for your local company bake-sale.

Free website builders are not meant to be the online centerpiece of your business. They are informational and fun. It’s ok for these sites to look cheaper not impress your audience with professionalism. This type of site is not passable as a stand-in for the vehicle that will drive your business growth and income.

Budgeting Your Future

Of course, we do need to mention that a small budget for your business will not stop us from wanting to help you! We would love to work with you, even if you do not have five figures to throw down, or angel investors from the corporate heavens watching your startup. We can still help you create your brand, and we can certainly provide you with a free consultation.

The truth is, even though the world of the web design template appears to have progressed tremendously in recent years, so has the world of professional web design. As the old adage goes – you still get what you pay for (even in 2017!)