are three business activities that people often get confused.
The key to success is to think of branding, marketing and sales as three key layers of an overall customer building pyramid for your organisation.
Branding is about defining what your unique business identity is and why it exists. Your brand forms the foundation of your business. Its function is to communicate what people can expect from your business, your beliefs, culture and individual character. Done properly, your potential clients/customers, will assess your brand messages to see if you are a right fit for them, and you will be able to use your brand to build competitive advantage in the market amongst your competitors. Done poorly it can positively drive them away.
Marketing is a highly general term but in its simplest form it embraces the promotion of your products and services, and the interactions you have with potential customers about these. These interactions are marketing opportunities and often take the form of stories you communicate through your media and advertising channels. And of course your website is the most important of these channels!
Sales is not just about meeting financial targets, it is all about creating and nurturing relationships. Every new sale, to new and existing customers, is making or strengthening a relationship. When you do see your sales as relationships rather than numbers, then you come to value the personal trust that forms between you and the customer and understand the need for the ongoing effort needed to nurture that bond.
So to summarise this, Branding lays the building blocks for people to understand your businesses unique qualities. Marketing builds on the foundation of that strong brand identity and becomes more efficient and effective as conversations build up. The Sales that then follow through building relationships with customers comes more easily when the branding foundation supports the marketing activities.
And how does this translate into an online business?
Branding. You need a strong brand identity in place to form the basis for the website creative design by giving a strong direction on colours, logo and fonts along with tie lines, tone of voice and messages to be woven into the content.
Marketing. Along with well written and SEO friendly text and image content on your website to communicate what you do, both to site visitors and Search Engines, you need to make sure there are several other ways of sustaining conversations through channels like blogs and other social media.
Sales. you need to make sure you build a good sales funnel to move potential customers along the sales process and integrate calls to action so that if visitors to your site want to buy or make a booking this is made as intuitive and easy as possible, especially for e-commerce shopping sites. Make sure there are no barriers to buying your goods or services. And once you have gained a new customer make sure you keep in regular touch with newsletters or tailored emails, offer them something special from time to time and get them to spread recommendations about you to all their contacts!