You’ve opened your doors, hung out your shingle, now what? Your business is a go, but how do you attract those quality customers to come knocking? One of the first things is to get the word out. How? Here are 4 steps to building your brand, even on a budget.
What do Nike, McDonald’s and Apple all have in common? They each have a very recognizable logo. Who would have thought that the Nike Swoosh, the Golden Arches or an apple with a bite could evoke their brand, even when their name isn’t visible? Now you are saying, “but I don’t have the budget that these big boys do”. That’s very true. But what you do have is a passion for your business. Work with a talented freelancer, a small graphic design firm or even an intern from a local art or technical school to create a memorable logo that speaks volumes for your business without saying a word. For a fraction of what the big boys pay, you can have a professional looking logo to kickstart your branding efforts. Make sure you leverage it across all of your marketing collateral, both print and online, to create the cohesive brand view.
And if you are artistically inclined, you may want to check out these top 10 programs for 2015. http://graphic-design-software-review.toptenreviews.com. Just make sure you have someone else vet the design as you may be biased by your own talent.
Go Delight your Customers and Attract New Ones
One of the best ways to build your brand is by delighting your customers. Ensure that each interaction with your customer or client brings value to them. They can become your biggest sales people when they share with people they know how special you have made them feel. It’s an old adage that people do business with people they know, like and trust. An endorsement or testimonial by a customer can go a long way in helping to build your brand. If your business is brick and mortar, consider a customer loyalty card tied to purchases, giving them a discount or free item after 10 visits.
In this age of technology driven interaction, there is still a place for meeting face to face. Join a local Chamber, check out business networking groups on Meet-up, ask colleagues for groups that they would recommend you attend. Some networking groups are category specific, meaning only one member per profession, while others are open to anyone who wants to join. Polish your elevator speech, maybe even create a tagline that reinforces your brand and go forth and conquer. Be prepared for some fundamental rule of networking – listen more than you speak, have meaningful conversations and s/he who walks away with the most business cards does not win.
Social Media outlets are outpacing traditional forms of marketing in getting the word out about new businesses. Yes, creating company pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is the first step. Make sure you use your design elements to reinforce your brand, including the logo and colors. Then, you need to build your audiences (connections, friends, followers). Initially, you can invite your contacts. But you also need to engage the audience with quality content. Share news about the business, offer discounts or a contest, give them a glimpse into the person or team behind the business. You don’t have to spend all day every day on it, but do carve out at least an hour a week to post. And if an hour is even too much to commit, consider outsourcing the execution of the posts.
Building your brand with a professional logo and design elements, incorporating it into all of your marketing materials and reinforcing it through Social Media and Networking will go a long way to making you and your business known . . . even on a budget.