With most small businesses, there are two things that are almost always going to run a little tight – time and money. Unfortunately those are the two things that usually help the most when trying to build a brand. The good news is that you can absolutely still build a strong brand and grow your business even if you have a miniscule budget. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Create a rock star logo
There is no way around it – your logo is the ultimate visual representation of your brand and having a great looking logo can easily help you get a little extra brand mileage. There are a lot of different ways to go about designing your logo – hire a professional, use a web service or purchase some premium software to help you design it yourself. Check out our guide for how to design a logo
as a good place to start.
- Put that logo everywhere
It’s one thing to have a great logo for your business, but it’s a completely different thing to really showcase that logo so people see it and recognize it. If your logo is your brand currency, you need to be spending it like it’s going out of style. An easy way to do this is with logo stickers or shopping bags. Make sure your logo is highly visible and you’ve got an instant walking advertisement.
- Set brand guidelines
As with most success stories, the devil is in the details and in the case of branding, consistency is the key. Large corporations have large budgets and staff who are paid to draft brand guidelines and police them well. For a small business, you control what you can and that means ensuring that you are using the same font, colors and aesthetic in all your marketing – email signatures, business cards, social media banners are all prime areas that if treated right can be a great extension of your brand.
- Start a blog
Blogging gives you a great outlet for your expertise and if you do it right will be a destination for both current and potential customers. Just a couple of tips: 1) Blog about what you know – you are the expert in your industry. Share that knowledge with your customers! 2) Be authentic – Most people can sniff out a phony from a mile away. Be yourself (but the best version of yourself) in your writing and your blog will start attracting a following in no time.
- Start an email newsletter
If you want your business to succeed, you’ve got to give them multiple ways to connect with you. While some people may way to come by and peruse your blog, others are email addicts and would prefer to have your information, discounts and news sent directly to their inbox. Email is an inexpensive and effective way to make sure that your brand is top of mind.
- Say thank you to top customers
One of the things that is pretty much universally lamented is the sorry decline in good old fashioned customer service. Be the exception to the rule and go the extra mile. There is nothing wrong with sending a personal, hand-written thank you note to a customer after a large purchase. It’s a small act that will go a long way towards building your brand.
- Embrace social media
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay and if you want your brand to thrive, you’ve got to get active socially. You don’t have to participate on every social channel, but every business needs at least one or two social channels to help build brand awareness. Choose the platforms that make the most sense for your business and really commit to making your presence known.
- Create a unique promotional aesthetic
Similar to your brand guidelines, your promotions will resonate better if they have a consistent look and feel. Maybe you choose to use a particular filter for all of your promotional photography or perhaps every sale message uses the same shapes and colors. There are a million ways to establish a promotional aesthetic – the important thing for building your brand is that you pick one and stick with it.
- Buddy up
Individuals and businesses who succeed alone are incredibly rare and it’s a safe bet that you’ll build a stronger brand and business if you develop a few strategic partnerships along the way. Whether your partner is another local business that you choose to cross-promote with or whether it’s a local charity that you publically take a stand for, you’ll find that having the right partner allows your brand to grow at a much faster rate.
There are lots of other things you can do to build your brand without breaking the bank. Let us know what works for you in the comments!