Businesses today have more ways than ever to connect with customers, but that doesn’t mean that creating an influential brand is any easier. Figuring out how to identify your market and connect with your audience are the first steps in the right direction. Starting here is essential to getting your brand to stand out. Here are four tips for building a brand for your business:

Tip #1: Find a niche market

While it may seem like appealing to the largest amount of people possible would bring in more sales and customers, it could actually have the opposite effect. If potential customers can’t figure out what your segment of expertise is, you can easily lose them among the crowd. Identifying who your target market is and understanding what’s important to them can help you provide more value. Drybar is a great example of a brand that’s embraced a niche market. Drybar doesn’t offer cuts or colors, just affordable, quality blowouts. Although their service offering it’s very vast, Drybar has become an industry leader in the blowout market. If people know that they can depend on you to provide one specific item, product, or service, then you can quickly become their go-to.

Tip #2: Develop a clear persona

Once you know what your target market is, developing a persona that they can identify with will help shape your brand. Humanizing your persona is the secret sauce to building a relatable strategy to better connect with your target market. As consumers are moving more towards wanting to have a personal connection with companies, relatability is becoming a crucial part of branding. American Eagle Outfitters’ has leveraged the persona of their lingerie brand, Aerie, as a method to drive sales and growth over the past few years, in the midst of a brutal retail market. Aerie’s persona as “real girls” was brought to life in its #AerieReal campaign which featured unairbrushed models. The campaign helped the brand connect with women who didn’t feel represented in traditional lingerie ads. Aerie’s sales increased by 32% in Q1 of 2016 – nearly 20% increase over sales in 2015 – which goes to show how effective developing a persona can be.

Tip #3: Create an authentic voice

Having an authentic voice that speaks to what your brand is all about will be key in communicating with your market and audience. For example, if your audience is primarily made up of Millennials, then having a casual, conversational tone of voice may help form connections. On the contrary, if your audience is comprised of Baby Boomers, they may prefer a more authoritative and informational tone. Once your voice is established, you want to remember to keep it consistent. These days most businesses use various media to connect with their audience, ranging from social media to blog posts to emails. Establishing a relatable and appropriate tone of voice that is translatable across every platform will help your brand to remain identifiable and trusted among your market.

Tip #4: Build relationships

Last, but certainly not least, forging genuine relationships with your market also plays a large role in building an influential brand. Engaging your audience on social media can help open the door for relationship building. Asking open-ended questions, sharing valuable and quality content, and just being yourself are all ways to open online dialogues with your market and gain insight into your community. Identifying influencers in your market can also help your brand to connect with your online audience. By becoming an approachable and trusted source, your brand can stand out among competitors in your industry.

Simply having a large number of followers or customers, doesn’t necessarily mean success. Building an influential brand can help establish longevity for your brand. Standing out from the crowd and becoming a go-to in your industry can move the needle on your business and take you from being just a successful brand to being an influential brand with staying power.