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The Importance of Building Your Brand Online

My name is Holly and I run a small foodie business in Devon called Nice Rice; selling homemade rice pudding made with local ingredients and a selection of pretty scrumptious toppings. Alongside Emily Fleur Photography & Marketing, I provide a selection of services for other small businesses like mine, helping them to get their brand looking good online. Whether you’re just starting out on your street food adventure, have been serving up your food to happy faces for years or just want to know more before you get going; my aim is to show you the power of marketing.

What is marketing?

Google it and the answer is ‘the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.’ But let’s break that down. Marketing is connecting with your customers, building business relationships, finding new customers or platforms and creating a buzz around your business. All good things. By building your brand online, whether it’s through social media or your website, you can reach people that may have never heard of you elsewhere. It’s an invaluable tool in this day and age, where everyone has access to being online all of the time. You can achieve great things by spending a little time on social media.

Why do I need to connect with people online when I see my customers everyday?

I hate to use the C word so early on, but talking to customers and finding contacts online has become more important than ever since Covid (sorry) and the lockdowns. Businesses have had to adapt to this new way of building or developing their customer base without having face-to-face interactions. By being present online, you’re able to create a community around your business, your product, who you are and what you do. You’re able to reach new faces and connect with the people who are already big fans of yours. People will often travel to find you! And it’s all quite simple. Once you’re up and running, reply to comments on Facebook, share stories on Instagram, post regular and engaging (delicious-looking) content and you’ll see a buzz start to grow around you. It’s pretty exciting. Having an up to date website with powerful imagery is also a brilliant way of showing what you do to potential customers. Your website can be as simple as required with just photography, a small write-up and some contact details, or you can offer an online shop or ordering system for takeaways, deliveries and collections. The ease of ordering online is not something to be underestimated!

How will this affect my business?

The beauty of it is, it’s all positive. It will take up very little time in your day to day, you can even reply to people and share content while you’re eating your cornflakes (or mashed avo on toast, bacon sarnie, eggs benedict, other brekkies are available) and yet the results are huge. It’s also a highly-effective tool in developing your business in itself. Asking for feedback, collecting reviews and starting conversations with your customer base is key to growing as a brand. A lot of marketing companies (including us!) will want to help you, so ping them an email and they’ll be able to offer feedback and where to improve for free. Then you can choose to make the improvements yourself, or ask for help.

How do I know if what I’m doing is working?

You will start to see an increase in interaction on your social media, more new faces popping up, bookings coming in if that’s what you offer and overall more hype around your business. It will take time, so be prepared to work at it for a couple of months before seeing the results. There are also ways to track how many people visit your website, how many conversions come through social media and more, so you can choose to put more time into posting on social media, develop the website further or where you feel it’s beneficial.

Where and when do I start?

Here and now! The sooner the better. If you need help or advice starting from scratch, you can pop me a message or if you’re happy going solo I would recommend getting yourself out there as soon as you can. You’ve already done the tricky bit of creating your business and product, so really you’re halfway there. If you’ve already got the branding looking tip top and the social media channels but people still aren’t connecting with you, that’s okay too! There’s a few simple things you can do like join local groups on Facebook, team up with a complimentary brand on Instagram or if something still isn’t quite right, please feel free to get in touch. Equally, if you just have the beginnings of an idea that you’d like to build into a real-life brand one day, we’d be happy to chat about what you can do next.

 

All images taken by Emily Fleur Photography & Marketing.


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