Add a grain of salt to the conventional wisdom that says web sites with the lowest prices win the battle for online shoppers. To truly prosper online, you need to create trust in your brand name.
That's why you shouldn't aim to compete online on price alone. Many customers will pay more for brands that they recognize. In fact, 51% of online shoppers in an MIT survey said they paid more for a product online last year simply because it had a better-known brand name.
To boost your brand's visibility online, follow these four steps:
1. Create a short, punchy brand identity statement that explains your product or service, how it differs from what competitors offer and its unique benefits.
Here are some examples from the book, Branding Yourself Online: A design firm uses "Hard-hitting design, done right the first time." A copywriter dubs himself "The Letter Doctor." Repeat versions of your statement on every web page, on banner ads and in e-mails to customers.
2. Don't promise what you can't deliver. To believe in your brand, customers must receive exactly what they ordered, undamaged and on time. If it takes a week to deliver, say so. Don't hedge optimistically by saying five to seven days.
3. Use "rational branding" to describe practical benefits to customers. Example: "I used to dread paying bills. Then, I developed my own software program to make the process easier. Now, I'd like to share this program with you." Wrong approach: "My amazing software program will erase your bill-paying worries overnight."
4. Use testimonials. Strategically placed testimonials on your site help overcome skepticism. For more brand-building tips, go to www.brandingyourselfonline.com.