Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How to Brand Your Small Business on a Budget

Small business owners and entrepreneurs need to wear a lot of hats. They may be called on to handle bookkeeping, sales, marketing, strategic planning, and custodial work over the course of a day, and we all know it’s not easy to cultivate expertise in all these areas.

We here to teach you powerful small business tips that can help fill gaps in your experience without costing hours out of a busy day.

In this article, we’ll cover a few highly effective but inexpensive branding options small businesses can use to improve their brand recognition, awareness, and customer loyalty on a limited budget.

Digital branding opportunities

There’s no shortage of available advice on this site and many others regarding how to take advantage of digital marketing tools to engage with customers and boost sales. But, from a branding perspective, one aspect of this vital piece of the marketing puzzle is often overlooked.

That has to do with consistency of your visual brand.

If your company has a website (perhaps a blog) and is active on several popular social media channels, you’re making an effort to produce content that’s going to attract customers to you. There are a number of ways you can either build or destroy your visual brand as you go about your online activities.

Your company’s visual brand

The first step is to choose a visual theme that effectively communicates your brand’s personality, mission, and target audience. This usually involves a logo of some sort along with a color scheme, and font selections.

You may already have that established with offline materials like your business card or signage, but it’s smart to take the time to create variations on that theme that are specifically designed to work well in various digital formats.

Applying the brand to your website and social channels

For example, with some simple image editing using free software, you can apply the same visual brand to a Twitter profile’s background image as you use on your website header and your YouTube channel art. You can also ensure that your company’s profile image or avatar on every channel is consistent.

The key is maintaining a visually recognizable look and feel across all digital channels so that fans, customers, and prospects alike will have no problem switching back and forth between any and all sections of your online footprint without losing track of who you are and why they’re there.

Canva’s Design School blog includes a lot of great insight on this kind of visual branding in the digital world.

Physical branding opportunities

While some may downplay their importance in the digital world, branding standbys like business cards, stationery, and signage can still do great things for a small business that relies on networking or local foot traffic.

Maintaining the visual brand

The same consistency described above for digital branding should extend to your physical branding efforts as well. This helps to tie the brand together and reduces confusion on the part of your customers and prospects who may run across either or both versions of your brand.

You should make a concerted effort to intertwine the two also. For instance, by printing your web address and select social media channels on your business card and signage, you can quickly convert real-world prospects into digital connections.

Start small and move up

While it’s possible to spend a fortune on exceptionally high-quality business cards and other similar tools, it’s not necessary to do so. A service like VistaPrint can offer professional materials for very little cost.

Rather than starting out purchasing 10,000 business cards, why not start with 250 and see where it goes. If you find them to be useful and beneficial, order some more.

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