Small businesses often dive into a website build or redesign without stepping back to think about their brand identity and how it will influence every aspect of their website. All too often they think about the look and features of the website, without pausing to consider if it fits in with their brand or not. In most cases, a website build or redesign should also come hand-in-hand with a new brand strategy and identity so the two can work together to create an experience your ideal client truly adores.
If you’re reading this before embarking on a new website build, you’ve found this post at just the right time. Make sure you tick off all the things on this list before you start thinking about the intricacies of your website and what you want your website designer to create for or with you.
8 Things You Need to Know About Your Brand Before You Build Your Website
#1 Your Why
You need to have a clear “why” statement that defines why you do everything you do. You can have a personal why, such as to give your kids a high quality of life and to have the freedom to take days off whenever you please, but this why should be about why you serve your customers in the way you do. Dig deep – what impact to you want to have on the world and the lives of your clients? Write a short statement about why you founded your business and what makes your business unique in the marketplace.
#2 Your Mission + Vision Statement
This is a paragraph or two that explains why your business exists and what impact you envision it having on the world and your business’s stakeholders.
#3 Your Goals
Your goals are more concrete and time-sensitive than the purpose you outlined above, in your why, and in your mission and vision statement. Think about what you want to achieve in the next year or 5 years and the impact you want to have on the world.
#4 Your Brand Bio
Your brand bio tells the story of your brand; it’s what you promise to offer your ideal customer and include why they emotionally connect with your brand, and not another. This is usually placed on your About Page, but it should also be used to guide decisions you make for your business.
#5 Your Brand Values
This is usually a list of 3-6 values your brand stands for; if you were to stray from these values your brand would be unfamiliar to your ideal customer. Generally, you need to choose 3-6 words and write a short statement about what each of those values means to you. Some examples of brand values are integrity, sustainability, inclusion, enthusiasm, responsibility, evolution.
#6 Your Brand Positioning
This is a statement that describes where you sit in the market and, more importantly, in the mind of your target customer. It is all about owning the unique space you want to carve out in the market and how you want your ideal customer to feel about you.
#7 Your Audience Persona
You may have heard this called an ICA (ideal customer avatar) or another term in the past, but regardless of what you call it, defining your audience persona is a crucial step before designing a website. We often think about websites in terms of what they can do for us, but the truth is the website is just as much (if not more so) for our ideal customer, and so you need to know everything about them before you start developing your website or putting content out into the world.
Your audience persona should go beyond demographics and get into the nitty-gritty of who they are: who do they spend time with? How do they relax? What are their fears? What motivates them to buy?
#8 Your Customer Journey
Your customer journey is all the stepping stones they take from becoming aware of your business for the first time to becoming a paid customer (ideally again and again, depending on your product or service). You should map this out before you start working with your website designer so the customer journey, once they’re on your site, is streamlined. You need to remember that people have a very short tolerance for confusion, especially online. If they feel like something is taking too long or doesn’t make logical sense to them, they’ll seek what they need from a competitor.
When you have all these elements defined, you can easily work with other professionals and make sure they also understand what your brand stands for. You’ll be able to better plan and design your website because you’ll know exactly what it needs to do. You’ll be able to create a website that speaks to your ideal customer on a fundamental level, helping grow trust and loyalty from the moment they land on your site.
I know this can all seem quite overwhelming, which is why I include a brand strategy session in my Brand Identity Experience. In this session, I help my clients gain the clarity necessary to create a brand identity that truly represents them and what they want to achieve in the world. If you want to learn more about my Brand Identity Experience or my Brand + Website package, click here. If you’re not ready for that yet but want a full checklist on what you need to create a strong brand identity, make sure you grab my FREE master checklist here.