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Get Branded OR Die Trying

With being a branding and marketing strategist, I am a little biased BUT it still doesn’t change the fact that if you’re in business you need to have a branded email address that matches your website. Gone are the days you can get by using yourcompanyname@gmail.com, it’s unprofessional and let’s face it who’s going to take you serious?

If you’re in business at the end of the day act like it. If you’re running a legitimate business (Branding 101) you should most definitely be organized enough to have a website and have a matching email address.

I come across so many people “doing business” who are using their gmail or yahoo accounts to handle business and you know what I think when I see that? I think your small time, I think you are trying to turn your hobby into a business and you just aren’t that committed or serious yet. Don’t take offense if this is you. There is nothing wrong with working with solopreneurs, entrepreneurs or small business owners but it’s another thing to be small time and don’t care enough about your business to invest in your business to show up and appear professional.

Just the other day I had an individual reach out to me on Instagram. He wanted me to look at their affiliate marketing services/program and if you know me I’m always down to make a few extra coins especially if it’s in-line with my business vision/products and services. The first turn off was the website being a free Wix.com site. (That is so early 2000, come on man!) So I see the ad across the top and on the bottom so you know what I do? I exited stage left… why? Because how do you want me to invest or even waste my time looking at what you have to offer and you haven’t even invested in your website at all.

I get it. Trust me I do. We’ve all done the DIY stuff to save a few bucks but when you’re ready to make serious money and play with the big dogs you don’t send people to a free website hosted by wix with ads all over it and make millions. It doesn’t happen like that. None of this happens like that.

So here please take these 5 tips to heart and if you are playing small please level up as soon as possible. I promise you, you will thank me later!

First Impressions make lasting impressions 

So, remember the individual I just mentioned with the wix site? Yeah I won’t be entertaining him or his products or services, at all. Having a branded website and email address tells the world that you and the company you represent are established and professional. Your customers, clients, fans and followers will feel much better knowing and thinking you are a valid company and that you mean business, that you are serious.

Go Big or Go Home 

Are you just running a business or are you building a brand? Ask yourself that question, it’s valid. Everybody doesn’t want or have the desire to build a brand and that’s ok. But if you are you don’t want people to get the impression that this is a hobby for you. Create that corporate image from the gate. And if your business has different segments don’t be afraid to create different email accounts to make it easier for people to get in touch with you (i.e. support@xyz.com, sales@xyz.com info@xyz.com and so on.)

Did you also know that some free websites will not let you mask your domain?

Domain masking or URL masking is the act of hiding the actual domain name of a website from the URL field of a user’s web browser in favor of another name. There are many ways to do this, including the following examples.

Yep free sites don’t allow you to do that… but with your own branded site you can use any domain and/or sub domains and mask just about anything.

Did you also know that with these free sites that these companies can re-purpose your content in any way they wish, they can sell your information to other companies… how else will they make money? Think about it. They will also have irrelevant ads on your site, the bandwidth can be small so your website takes forever to load. And last but certainly not least no customer service or help and this is important is you run into an issue or problem.

Build that like, know, trust factor 

There are too many shady people doing business at the end of the day. Don’t give people the impression you are one of them, and trust me it doesn’t take much. At the end of the day provide your potential clients and customers with a sense of security and reassurance right off the bat, that your business is legitimate.

It’s Affordable 

We’ve all been new business owners at one point. Some of us are still new and things seem to be overwhelming right; with all the other things, you have going on. Things seems to get expensive and everything seems to be coming at you at once. It may seem like money is going out faster than coming in, trust me I know. Therefore it is important to get help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself, ask for help. Get connected with an expert to help walk you through the process if you insist on doing it yourself. Doing so will allow you to discuss your needs and have them point you in the right direction so that you aren’t buying things you don’t need. Don’t spin your wheels any longer going nowhere fast. These type of products – hosting with matching email should cost you no more than $250 for the year and that is on the high end.

Promote Brand Awareness 

When you are out at a networking event, meeting with potential clients and someone asks you what’s your web site address its so much easier to say mycompany.com instead of wix.com/12367/mycompany. The best thing about being branded is every time you use your branded email address and website you are promoting your business, not wix, not weebly, not gmail, not Hotmail. At the end of the day you are building your brand and having these branded assets are both valuable and cost-effective in the long run.

In closing, these tips won’t work for those individuals who are just running businesses and not building a brand. You might be confused on what the difference is, let me break it down for you.

A business becomes a brand when it transcends its category of origin. It takes an existing core equity, or a philosophy and it infuses the idea into everything it does, furthering its reputation of world view one product, service, or line extension at a time.

Branding is no longer set aside for major corporations it is readily available for business owners just like you. You are never too small to start building your brand. Get started today. Get branded or die trying.

Teanna LaNise is a Branding and Marketing Strategist, the BrandSlayer behind Kreative Eye Design and the Author of The Branding Experience among many other ebooks. Teanna helps Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners who can’t figure out how to brand and market their business.

Through her bad ass branding expertise, marketing genius and get it done strategies she’s here to teach, inspire and shake up your approach to creating and marketing a brand you love.

When she’s not using her creative super-powers, you can find her curled up reading a book, at Starbucks enjoying a Carmel Macchiato or spending time with her children.

Meet Teanna, and get ready to take your brand to the next level @www.TeannaLanise.com