Branding is a term often used in marketing, but some businesses fail to understand what it entails and how crucial it is to their success. Yes, it can be expensive, but there are some inexpensive and resourceful ways to brand a business and set it apart from competitors while staying on budget.
If you’re looking to brand your business on a budget, check out these four simple ways to build recognition and awareness online.
How to Brand Your Business on a Budget
Create Customer Personas
To build a brand people will know and recognize, you must first put your company in the shoes of your customers.
- How do they shop online?
- What challenges do they face and how can your products or services solve the problem?
- What social media platforms do they use?
You can find this out by creating customer personas – templates that highlight the ideal customer’s wants, attitudes, and behaviors.
Once you have these customer personas created, you’ll know more about who’s interested in what you’re selling and can thus develop a brand that resonates with them.
In addition to customer personas, you can also create negative personas. These are the people you aren’t targeting through marketing. For example, if you sell women’s perfume, you obviously don’t want to develop a brand targeted towards men. With these negative personas, your marketing and branding efforts will be more efficient – saving your company a lot of money in the long run.
Stay Active on Social Media
Social media has revolutionized the way people and companies communicate. Millions of users around the world use these platforms, giving your company the perfect opportunity to engage with these users and build a brand in the process. You don’t have to shell out thousands, either. A lot of times, building a brand can be done for free as long as you stay active on social media.
Your first priority should be creating business profiles on the social media platforms your target audience uses. Make sure the image profile resonates with your audience and is distinct. Your goal is to make an impression on potential customers as soon as they click on your company profile. Your company profile should also include:
- Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
- Website Link
- Company Description (when applicable)
- Contact Information (when applicable)
Each social media platform is different, so be sure to create a spreadsheet with all of this information so you can plug in where necessary.
Now that your company profiles are set up, your job isn’t done. You still need to engage in conversations with your target audience, as well as stay active. Start posting articles on social media platforms that get users thinking, or provide them with valuable information that they need to know. You can throw in some product highlights and marketing now and then, but you want your posts to come off as genuine.
If you don’t have time to manage your social media accounts, it’s paramount to hire a social media agency that can. Hire someone who can respond to customer inquiries and share engaging posts that help your company separate itself from the competition.
Need to build a social media plan on a budget? Check out this blog post.
Start a Blog
In addition to using social media, your company should seriously consider starting a blog. You can create one for free and still have access to some fantastic tools and resources. You don’t just want to blog about anything, though. Ideally, your content should revolve around your target audience and provide a solution to a challenge they may be facing. Just like social media, you need to remain active on your blog. Ideally, create a blog post at least once a week. Slowly but surely, you’ll create a brand known for helping customers – not one strictly designed to generate profits.
Be sure to focus on the design of your blog too. Sending your audience to a blog that appears to have been designed in 1998 isn’t going to keep them coming back. You want it to be visually appealing and easy-to-read. Depending on the blog platform you use, there are templates you can select that range in price. Make sure you choose one is user-friendly and easy to customize to your brand, i.e., font, colors, etc. Also, consider incorporating white space on your blog to help elements breathe better and provide online users with convenient breaks.
Want to create engaging blog content? Check out the must-have content creation tools.
Prioritize Customer Service
How your brand is received by consumers is largely dependent on your company’s customer service. Luckily, improving your customer service doesn’t require spending a ton of money. You just need to establish the right company culture and hire employees who go above and beyond when providing services to your customers.
Emphasizing expert customer satisfaction and training your employees to respond to customers in a friendly manner, answer their questions quickly and effectively, and add some personalization into their responses goes a long way in building a culture of great customer service. For example, when your staff addresses customers by their first name, this helps break the ice and makes customers feel like they matter. These customers – knowing that you genuinely care about their problems – are then more likely to spread their positive experiences to their friends and family. This positive word-of-mouth is critical for developing a brand quickly, and one that people trust.
And if you know you’ve done an amazing job, don’t be afraid to ask for positive reviews. Guide your customers to leave a review on Google+, Facebook and/or Yelp to help spread the word and get the attention of potential customers. Noticing a great review, or many great reviews, is one of the easiest ways to convince a new customer to choose your business and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Want to learn more about the impact of online reviews to your brand? Check out this blog post.
As you can see, building a brand doesn’t always require spending a ton of money. There are quick and inexpensive methods which produce results; you just need to spend the time to do it right. Take the time today to begin researching your audience and determining how you’re going to connect with them online.