When you begin marketing your company … branding your business, personal brand, business brand, brand story, brand collateral all begin to pop up in your vocabulary. Whether a noun or verb, creating your brand is important and it does take an investment. And that investment if not monetary, is measured in time.
6-Step Guide to Branding Your Business on a Budget
1) Client Persona
82% of companies with better value propositions use buyer personas. Those semi-fictional “people” that encompass the qualities of your ideal client are important because they help you determine the kind of media your ideal customer may be consuming, what motivates them, and where they can be found. In short, personas help you reach the right people when branding your business.
A great way to get started is with a free MakeMyPersona tool by Hubspot. This tools guides you through a series of questions meant to get you thinking about how you want to be seen and the traits of the ideal person you want to reach. When completing the tool, focus on accuracy rather than speed; so take your time to thoughtfully answer the questions.
2) Identity and Voice
Once you know who you will be talking to, you can begin creating your brand identity. Your brand identity is not only what your logo or website looks like, but it’s your voice. The tone you use in any copy or public communication conveys your voice when you address your ideal client.
What does your company voice sound like? Figuring this out follows a similar process to the one that determined your client personas. Instead of thinking about this from the client’s viewpoint, however, you’re answering questions that are a bit more introspective to your brand. Ask yourself questions such as what does your company stand for and what you want people to say about you. Check out this handy SlideShare for more on brand voice.
If you’ve been in business for a while, don’t skip over this process, you may benefit from revamping or developing a stronger brand voice. Recent rebranding efforts of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation saw a 343% boost in its overall online presence and 63% boost in website traffic alone. Now who doesn’t need that!
3) Social Media
So, you now know who your client personas are. And, you know what to say to them and how to say it. But where are they?
Check out Pew Research Center’s Demographics of Social Media Users. Pew profiles the users of five major social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Pay close attention to Pew’s data. You may find that the majority of your client personas spend most of their time on one network. This should give you an idea of where you want to dedicate the most resources. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other social media platforms.
Once you begin posting on social media keep up a regular pattern and don’t stop. You can avoid lags in social media posts by diligently planning and scheduling like you would with any other marketing calendar when branding your business. Two tips here, stay relevant to your audience and share information that is relevant to a given time of year.
Blogging is the key to “attracting” strangers to your website which can turn into potential clients.
In fact, blogging might just be the most basic step of inbound marketing and in branding your business. Sharing relevant and informative information helps you reach qualified customers. Make sure the content is optimized to be found by using key words that are most likely to be used in searches.
If you write, they will come. Blogs are the third most trusted source of information just behind family and friends. Plus, that content will also serve as material to populate your social media networks, and we’ve already covered what a crucial part that plays in branding your business on a budget.
Just like planning your social media presence, keep an editorial calendar for your blog which will be helpful in maintaining fresh content and consistent timing while branding your business and beyond.
5) Customer Service
The goal to a thriving business is to create a delightful, shareable experience. When you make the client’s experience a priority, it shouldn’t cost you much for them to talk about it.
Why is that so important? Zappos, an online retailer, made excellent customer service the cornerstone of its brand. By doing so it saved money on marketing and advertising because it created a word-of-mouth campaign among existing and potential customers. This recognition your brand enjoys is earned, not paid for, from people talking about your top-notch service.
When you begin branding your business, you most likely will not have great reach like a larger, more established company. You can take the steps to build it, but you’ll quickly find out it takes time. One way to jump start this process is to partner with a brand that has a broader audience.
The brand you partner with should be aligned with yours and it must make sense in the minds of your audience. What should you look for in a co-brand:
- Audience. Would your co-brand’s audience be interested in your brand? Would it be difficult for you to reach this audience without this partnership? How well does the audience trust your co-brand? People generally don’t trust traditional advertisements anymore. Make sure your co-brand reaches its audience in a way that instills confidence, not doubt.
- Benefit. What do you have that your co-brand does not have? The end experience should be a win-win-win: for you, your co-brand, and the consumer.
On the surface branding your business might seem like a huge and expensive undertaking. As we’ve outlined, there are many economical ways to get started and go forward with branding efforts.
What were some of the first ways you started branding your business or rebranding your business on a budget? Let us know in the comments below.