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Official Guide to Building an Online Presence for Your Local Business

7 Chapters

When you create an online presence for your local business, you are essentially designing a digital “storefront.” Just like getting ready to open a traditional brick-and-mortar location, some preparation is required to really make an impact.
In Chapter 1 of this guide, we’ll help you lay the groundwork for your brand, goals, and digital marketing strategy with answers to questions like:

  • What is a brand?
  • How can I create a logo for my business?
  • What are some tips for writing descriptions of my business for online profiles?
  • What information should I have ready to create a digital presence?

How do I create a brand?
The word “branding” is used a lot online. Generally, it refers to the things that contribute to a person’s impression of your business – what they see, hear, and feel about who you are and what you can offer.
For the sake of your local business’ online image, the most important three elements of your brand to develop are messaging, visual identity, and customer service.

How do I create a visual identity or “brand look & feel” for my local business?
A visual identity usually comprises of the following elements:

  • The color palette (also known as a “color scheme”) that you want to use. This article breaks down a few ways to go about creating your own.
  • 1-3 fonts you want to use. A “font” is a set of type where the letters all have the same appearance. This article offers some tips on picking brand fonts.
  • Some images of your staff, your location, and your product/service. Stock images may also be useful depending on your business type.
  • A logo that you love

Can I create my own logo?
Involving a professional graphic designer and/or brand strategist is a good idea before building your digital presence, but DIY options are available for those with a good eye. Free online tools, like Canva, allow users to access to free fonts and shapes that can be used to create a logo in the absence of a graphic designer. Other branding images, such as social media banners and infographics, can also be developed this way.

If you wish to create your own logo and have limited graphic design experience, it’s a good idea to create one that is text-only. The images and icons you may find online that are often licensed. You don’t want to build your whole brand look & feel around an image you don’t legally own!
What is “brand messaging”?
Before getting started with your digital presence, it’s a good idea to prepare a written “sales pitch.” Most people know that websites require a lot of crafty copy, but are caught off-guard when they realize their first couple online profiles on social media or directory sites also require a brief description of their business. Spend some time crafting a brief but engaging description to help prepare you for the work ahead.

What information should I have ready to create my digital presence?
In the online world, the first “customer service” experience someone has with your brand may not involve direct contact with you at all! If you make it difficult for a potential customer to find key information about your business, they might pass you over for a competitor that offers more information and a better user experience online.

Consistency is key here: make sure your contact information, hours of operation, pricing details, and special offers are available and consistent across all your digital entities.
The #1 Way to Prepare for Creating Your Online Presence
My #1 tip for creating your online presence is this: Before getting started, create a document with all your business and branding details. Include the colors and fonts you have chosen for your brand, images of your logo, and some pre-approved copy with your company history and business description. This will speed up the setup for future accounts (copy & paste, my friends!). You can also save your profile links and passwords here, so everything is in one place.

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