It’s funny how you can remember things so clearly from your childhood. I remember being in 7th grade and begging my mom for a pair of floral printed jeans like the other girls were wearing. She asked me why I wanted them, to which I replied that everyone else was wearing them. In true mom fashion, she came back with the always-popular saying “if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?” Being a precocious, but sensible, thirteen-year old I replied “no of course not.” My mom took the time to explain to me that, though at thirteen all I cared about was being like everyone else, it was the things that made me different that made me special. She taught me to find styles and make them my own. To this day, when it comes to fashion I still follow that lesson.
In terms of marketing online, and especially in building websites, this is an important conversation. The web is changing and there are many styles of websites and many cookie-cutter designs. In a world where first digital impressions matter, it is important to find a way to stand out and be YOU.
Tip 1: Be Clear About Your Style
Before you start to design a website or look at your competition’s websites, you need to be clear about who your business is; the personality and style of your firm. Own your style and be confident in your individuality. Here at TTG I always want us to be professional, approachable and a little silly. My logo and our communications have been built around that idea. If you do not like these 3 qualities, then we’re not the firm for you, and that’s okay. Business is about people, and the look and personality you portray when you first meet will connect them to you. You need to own who you are so you can attract the right kind of customer.
Tip 2: Understand Your Customer’s Style
The people you want to work with value style too. Do you know their style entails? Take the time to understand what matters to your customers and what makes them unique. Be realistic in what you provide and how it lines up with your potential clients. Clients want to see themselves in you. For example, if you have identified a particular type of client that you know you want to work with, then be sure you understand their style and values and play up elements of your style that align with theirs.
A few years back we had been contracted to create a logo, communication materials and website for a start-up NY construction firm. We took the time to get to know them and talk about their customers. It turned out that they wanted to focus on relationship with Architects. Knowing this, we focused on different ideas and visuals making sure that the firm looked professional, but also stood out from the crowd of firms. We accomplished this through color choices, layouts and imagery that would all appeal to the client.
Tip 3:Make Trends Your Own
From your website to your social media strategies, it is important to know what is going on today’s digital world. Your marketing, brand and technology are always evolving. You should never stop working on who you are in business. Due to the evolutionary nature of our world, company logos get re-styled and websites re-built. It is important to as they say “change with the times.” However, there are ways to change while retaining the essence of your style and appealing to that of your audience. One of the biggest trends right now is to provide a mobile experience to your clients. You can plugin a template to your website that will make you mobile or make it your own. Talking to your customers about what they need when they are on their tablets and phones can help you create an experience that will keep your customers coming back to you.
Growing up, Mom taught me to embrace who I was and to be comfortable with being an original. In business, we always talk about what makes us unique to our customers; now more than ever it’s time to show our clients we mean it through our digital style.