It seems whenever you search for SEO or SEM, there are those key phrases that pop up like “brand identity” and “brand loyalty,” but what do those phrases actually mean? How can you take your business to the next level by developing that strong brand and utilizing it in internet marketing? Here are three tips to help get you started on your re-branding project or your first branding attempt:

Find your target audience

Don’t think in terms of, “My target audience is everyone! Everyone will love my product and I want to advertise to the general public.” It’s great to have goals for yourself and to strive to become the next amazon.com or Coca-Cola, but another part of being a business owner is basing your goals in reality. If you want your audience to be the entire world, you can get in line behind every other business who wants a household name but maybe hasn’t put enough thought into what target audience they are going to market to. Your target audience should be people who are going to buy your product and will be receptive your re-branding campaign. This will also help later on because you will be able to develop keywords specifically for your niche audience, as opposed to fighting for high bid keywords that are expensive and flooded with competition.

Think to yourself, “Who would read a blog about my products?,” or “Who would want a shirt with my logo on it?” Developing a strong brand encompasses all of these things because it creates a cohesive force that your intended public can get behind. For small businesses, it is important to develop a target audience that is realistic and well-planned. This is crucial to building up your brand image.

Set visual goals and boundaries

Set a clear path for your brand image visually. You want to focus your energy on a strong sense of color coordination and imagery, as opposed to having too many ideas and too many different themes. Budding businesses can either get too crazy with their design or they stay so conservative that they end up looking plain and generic. Do some research on what similar sites are doing and pick another color group or theme that will make you stand out.

Once you have developed your color story and design work, stick with it! There’s nothing worse that you can do for your young business than build an amazing visual brand and lose consistency with it. Give people something they can recognize and relate to when they are visiting your site. Remember that you can and should hire a design expert. We can all whip up a logo in Photoshop, but there is a reason people get paid to do design work. They are the pros and can do the work much more effectively and quickly than if you tried to do it by yourself. It can be the difference between a brand-worthy logo and clip art.

Be well-rounded

You’ve got your target audience and a strong visual presence, now it’s time to build a well-rounded campaign. Does your brand use SEO? Are you building links or using PPC to back up this new identity you’ve created for yourself? Develop a strategy for getting your brand from your website to the people who will shop with you. Create a Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with your fan-base. Maybe you have viral videos that will add to your brand by giving it a face and humanizing it. People love to relate to their favorite brands, so give them someone or something to relate to. A well-rounded brand will tackle this by conveying one message across different mediums. Create a blog space for yourself; give the customer content that they will find relevant. When they can trust you for good content, they will revisit your site again and again.