The short answer is YES! Regardless of the size of your business, it is vitally important that your customers recognize your branding, particularly in the increasingly competitive website marketing culture. This can be anything from your color scheme and images to your company logo and tagline. Having a consistent look and feel to your website, brochures, newsletters, emails and so on, creates an identity that customers and potentials gradually associate with you and your business.
Many new business owners often underestimate or spend far too little time on this aspect of their business development. Large corporate organizations with big marketing budgets frequently spend astronomical amounts of money on creating a strong corporate identity. So how does the small business owner compete? Well, you do not need to! You can just as easily create your own logo using software such as Adobe Photoshop or similar (or get a professional graphic designer to do it for you from about £ 150.00), then keep a consistent color scheme, fonts and styles along with some carefully selected images throughout all resources, marketing materials and your website. It is all about customer perception and although there will always be competing businesses, your branding and how well it penetrates into the customers psyche is the true identifier of a successful business.
While many logos and color schemes work well on printed materials, quite often these do not translate as well for the web so you should consider whether the size and style of logo and color scheme will work on a website too. Make sure your logo is scalable or can be disassociated with the business name so it can stand alone to represent your business as your brand is established. Choose color schemes that can be adapted to use for the web taking into consideration element such as background colors or heading styles.
If you have a specific logo, which is often an abstract design, initially this alone may not be sufficient to create a strong enough identity or web presence. Introducing a strapline or tagline that reinforces and explains what your business does or what it sells, makes a significant difference to customers. Customers simply do not want to waste time looking at a website only to discover that it does not actually provide the product or service they are seeking.
If you envisage that in the future your business may evolve, it is important that the branding can encompass each new area or can easily be rebranded to do so. You do not want to spend a fortune on designer fees for your whole company branding only to recreate it a few years down the line. This may also result in losing customer confidence in your brand.
Simply going through this process often helps business owners focus on what direction they want their business to take and hone down the best marketing techniques to achieve it.
When a good web designer creates you a website they should always start with questions about branding, colors schemes and styles that are either already used in your business or that you like about other businesses. If you already have suitable branding then that can be extended through to your website. If you do not have a branding, then suitable color schemes, layouts and styles that compliment your business type can be recommended that re-enforces your identity to create a strong web presence. This is one important element to get right ensuring your website attracts the right audience, ie prospects AND turns them into paying clients.