I love working with my clients to help them build a visual brand. We go through lots of iterations of ideas until we get everything just right and seeing the final product is so rewarding! It's a collaboration - I bring the design knowledge and skills and they bring their personality, business vision, and passion - and we combine all those things into a beautiful brand and website that attracts people and helps their business grow.
But design isn't the only step in the process. Just having a great looking website isn't enough - you have to have the other pieces in place to back up the design.
Copy (the words you use) are almost more important than the design, especially if your audience is more text oriented. Design will be what catches someone's attention, but copy is what really sells your service or product. This includes the big things like your About page and Sales page, but it also goes into the smallest detail - your Welcome Packet, your bio, your Instagram captions. Each piece is like part of a puzzle and it all has to work together to make a bigger picture that connects with your audience.
Copy is something that I struggle with at times. I'd much rather put together a fun graphic than update my services list, but I know that it's important. When I was updating my website for 2016, I worked with a copywriter to help me craft my copy and tailor it to my audience (she was also awesome at finding all my misspellings). A copywriter can work in a few ways - they can either simply edit the copy you've already written, or they can take what you tell them and write it for you using your voice. There are also some awesome copy coaches out there who can teach you how to write better copy.
Some people may see this as just another element of design, but I consider it a separate section (mostly because my photography skills aren't up to par with professional photographers). I've used photographers to help me build up my image library for my website and social media feeds. You can see many of those throughout my website (with more coming soon), including my banner images, the images used in my blog post templates, and my new headshots.
Each photographer has an individual style and may focus on something specific - product photography, headshots, or stock photos - and you may find that you need all types of images for your brand. My advice is to find a photographer that you connect with and whose style matches the feeling you want for your brand - trying to use images that are dark and moody won't work for a bright and colorful website.
I think video is going to be huge for business owners and there are some very talented videographers out there. This doesn't just apply to the short tutorial videos you make for your blog posts, but also for an intro video for your clients. This is one way to communicate your personality, show people what it's like to work with you, and add something new and fun to your brand.
Again, any videos you use should fit with your overall brand - you want everything to fit together with no weird pieces from some other puzzle trying to make their way in to the unique brand you're building. Your videographer should be able to help you put together a great outfit, make sure you're comfortable on camera, and edit together a video that's something other than you simply talking into the lens.
I've mentioned social media briefly when talking about copy and photography, but there's more to it than that. You need to know where your audience is, how to reach them, and what's going to catch their interest. It's not just about how often you post, but also what and where. Social media experts are great at this - you can hire someone to schedule your posts and respond to comments or you can get someone to train you in the best ways to use social media to promote your business.
This one is so important, but is often put on the back-burner because it isn't part of the face of your brand. Business systems include everything from how you interact with clients to how you send emails. It's how you schedule your day, how you automate tasks, and how you combine systems and software to create a business that runs smoothly for yourself and your clients.
Ideally, you can customize each platform your client encounters to match your brand - the scheduling software, the email responses, the final product delivery. In order to do this, you have to think through every step a client goes through in order to find you, hire you, work with you, and then get their product. And you need to make your own tasks simpler by having systems in place for those as well. You can find some amazing people who can help you lay out your system and make them as simple and automated as possible while still keeping them in line with your overall brand.
Other Aspects of your brand
Depending on your business and your clients, there are other things you have to think about as a part of your brand as well. These might include:
- Welcome gifts
- Email newsletters
- Physical location
- Guest posting
- In-person services
- Virtual or on-site meetings
- Networking events
- Advertising (online and in print)
- Promotional and launch events
- Video lessons
- Book covers
This isn't a comprehensive list - just some of the things my past clients have had to think about as they're building their business and their brand.
That's a lot right?
If all of these pieces - or even just a few of them - seem overwhelming, don't worry. We've all been there. It can be tough to try and keep all of the aspects of your business in mind all the time and you'll probably forget something every once in a while. That's okay. And that's why there are professionals out there who want to help you. If you can think of something you need help with or that you don't want to spend your valuable time on anymore, you can find someone who can do it for you. Don't be afraid to hire them - it doesn't mean you're losing control, but that you're growing and ready to move to the next step.
But even when you're ready to start delegating and hiring people to help you get your business and brand running smoothly, I know that it can be hard to find the right people and manage them all. That's why I'm working on a program that brings together all of these things - design, copy, photography, videography, social media, business systems, and more - in one place so you don't have to go hunt down someone for each aspect of your business when you'd rather be spending time working with your clients and creating awesome new stuff to share with the world. I'll be sharing more details as they come together, so make sure to check back in!
What aspects of your brand and business could you use help with?
P.S. Check out the amazing new headshots I have after working with Amber Kay Photography (including some of our dog, Gambit).
Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family. I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.