Did you know that your products are not the most important part of your business?
How can this be? Without products what kind of online shop are you running?
Well, of course, you do need products to sell, but they are not the only important factor in being a success. Today we’re going to cover 3 other crucial things to consider as you build your online empire. The important thing to remember is that it’s all about the branding, baby! And there are special considerations when you’re branding a product-based business.
1. You are not (completely) in control of your brand.
When we think of branding we usually think of a logo and maybe a certain color palette, but your brand extends way beyond these visual elements. In short, “your brand is what people are saying about you when you are not in the room.” (Jeff Bezos)
RELATED: What is Branding anyway?
What you do have control of is the image you are presenting that influences exactly what your customers are saying. How do you do this? It first comes down to knowing exactly what the core message of your brand is and what feelings you want your customers to experience when they interact with your brand.
Then you express this core message and personality in every single piece of your brand, from the imagery you use to the copy in your product descriptions to your return policy. Each and every tiny piece of your business that extends out into the world becomes a touchpoint that can either positively or negatively influence your customer’s perception of your brand.
And this is the heart of your business.
As entrepreneur Lisa Gansky says, “A brand is a voice & a product is a souvenir.”
So before you even really think about your specific products, you need to know exactly who your customer is, your brand’s identity and how the two can create an exchange. Then you see what kinds of new products or how your existing products can support this relationship.
2. Your customer’s experience is the lynchpin.
Beyond creating a beautiful brand image for your customers to aspire to, their experience with your brand will really tell the truth about whether your brand lives up to its name in your customer’s eyes. So go beyond the glossy photos and go deep into creating an enriching experience.
There are 2 key parts to this: your site’s user interface/experience and how you execute your customer service policies. This might not sound like fun stuff but it is what can make or break your brand.
Let’s talk about your site’s interface and user experience for a second. Right off the bat, if potential buyers come to your site and they have a hard time figuring out exactly how to make a purchase or find what they are looking for, your user experience is literally killing your sales. Think about that with each click that they may make and consider if you are creating the right pathways for the best possible outcome for both your customers & your sales revenue.
And then, there’s your customer service. There are lots of things to think about when it comes to customer service. For right now, let’s just play with the idea that you may be overlooking some staggering holes in your customer service experience. There could be a thousand things that could go wrong on a daily basis with the level of service you are providing your customers – it’s enough to make your head spin.
There are several levels to branding a product-based business. What I want you to remember first and most importantly is that you have had a lifetime of experiences yourself interacting with brands.
I’m sure some were amazing and some were horrendous. Take a peek back at some of those experiences, learn from them and think about how you can apply what you’ve learned to your business. Rule number 1, the customer IS (usually) always right. At least, they should be treated that way.
A couple of things you must have clearly explained on your website and with your orders is your return policy and customer service contact information. So get those up and running right away if you don’t have them.
3. There are 3 Layers to Branding Your Products.
Think: Product Design, Packaging & Styling
This is where things really get specific when you’re branding a product-based business. While service based-businesses rely mostly on branding their web presence alone, your products themselves must be branded.
Let’s go beyond your style guide, logo & color palette and get to the juicy part of branding those products. First, the actual design of your product whether it is a handmade item or a utility item designed with style or anything in between is key to the core of your brand and why people will choose your product. Design wisely.
Packaging is something that may be overlooked but is absolutely vital. Your product’s packaging just may be exactly what draws your customers in like honeybees to flowers. This is why makeup companies spend oodles of time and money designing their packaging. Take a note from the beauty industry and package those products up with style!
Finally, you not only want beautiful products and gorgeous packaging. You want to make them look good in photos too! This means clear shots with a white background for your product pages. As well as lifestyle shots of your products complete with props to provide context and tell your brand’s story. This loops back around to my first point. Create an image in your customer’s mind that influences their perception of your brand!
To wrap this up, considering these three areas of branding a product-based business can make a world of difference. Not only in attracting new customers but in turning them into raving, loyal fans. Which one will you focus on first as you build your brand?