As a small business owner, one of the biggest growth barriers you must be deal with is financing.
Although the dollars you spend on branding will prove worthwhile in the long run, with careful planning and strategies, you can save yourself from expending large chunks of money on this process.
Here are 7 tips to help your brand steal the limelight without costing a fortune.
1. Know Your Personas
One of the most effective solutions to drive conversions is to get to know your buyer persona.
Your buyer persona is a research-informed representation of your perfect client, having a set of unique characteristics. When you create a buyer persona template, you help your entire brand understand both your current and prospective customers more clearly, increasing your chances of sales.
Study shows that 82% of companies with better value propositions also use buyer personas. Creating your buyer persona is the same as finding your ideal customer and peeking inside his or her diary. Buyer personas pinpoint where your perfect customers are, help you attract the “right people” and encourage them to engage with your company.
Most businesses have multiple business personas that they target, but you should avoid going overboard. As an SME, it is a good idea to create one buyer persona and then stretch as your company grows.
2. Create An Identity and A Voice
Once you become familiar with your buyer personas, your brand begins to take shape. Now it is about creating an identity for your brand and giving it a voice.
In order for your branding effort to be successful, you need to identify your company’s core philosophies, such as its values and mission statement, and develop your unique value proposition and messaging statements. In other words, try to delve deep into your brand’s story rather than simply discovering your target audience. Establish the look, feel, and voice of the brand that will be disseminated across all marketing channels and ensure that your business is an accurate reflection of you. You’ll be surprised when you build a brand identity tantamount to one that costs many companies millions.
If you speak in terms of visual identity, a new logo is the first element that you need for branding — that logo has to be placed on all the marketing materials you create, your website, social media accounts, compliment slips, letterheads, business cards, etc. Since as an SME you might be on a shoestring budget, you may hire an affordable logo design company to get a cheap but professional logo designed.
3. Put Social Media to Good Use
Knowing where your audience spends time and why is necessary to build your brand, especially when it is on social media. It is extremely important to reach people where they are already present.
As a matter of fact, the wonderful platforms of social media allow brands to connect to their audience and build loyalty. So make sure you have a profile on the five major social media platforms – Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
Conduct surveys and analyze the data closely to find out where your personas spend their time. A majority of your personas may be spending time on a single network. This, however, doesn’t mean that you ignore other media and stick to one network; you need to distribute your resources wisely.
A Facebook or an Instagram page, for instance, is an excellent way for brands to showcase their brand personality and increase follower engagement. In addition to that, you can run low-cost Facebook ads tailored for a specific demographic or hold a competition that encourages customers to share.
As an SME, you don’t need to expand your finances by hiring a social media manager; you can use online tools to plan, design and schedule posts to eliminate your day-to-day worries.
4. Curate Valuable Content
Articles, educational videos, guest blogs, ebooks and other long-form texts are different kinds of brushes that allow you to paint the canvas of your brand more beautifully, generating awareness in the process.
Besides, any content that you create is a long-term investment, and all it costs you is time. Creating content also gives you an excellent chance to collaborate with other companies and get exposure from their viewers as well.
The best part about good content is that it allows your target audience to look up to you; you can give them practical advice and answer their questions through educational videos and blogs. Moreover, the content you create can be used for your social media network, which indisputably is one of the easiest ways of branding on a budget.
Blogging, however, might be the cornerstone of inbound marketing because not only is it cost-effective, but it also helps you create the kind of content that will let you turn strangers into visitors and reach your ideal customers. In fact, most people view blogs as the third most credible source of information after family and friends. This is why you should make sure that the content you’re creating is optimized for those searches.
5. Develop Winning Email Marketing Campaigns
Another extremely effective digital marketing tactic for reaching and engaging new leads is email marketing.
Many email marketing platforms such as MailChimp, AWeber, Sendloop, GetResponse, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign cost next to nothing and can be used to get started. Start off by building an email list and inviting your customers to sign up for your email newsletter to remain up to date. You may even include a sign-up form directly on your website and also promote it on shipping notification emails through social media. However, it is important to maintain a balance – make sure you don’t bombard with them emails but don’t let them forget about your brand either.
In short, Email marketing is economical and provides the highest return on investment over many other digital marketing tactics. Plus, it is an easy way to run a promotion or sell a new product without expending much effort.
6. Build a Website
It goes without saying – if you want your brand to be taken seriously in the current era, you need to have a professional-looking website. Research shows that 87% of consumers search online for products and services, so it is essential to have a website that accurately represents your business.
For example, a Facebook page is a great platform to share your company’s latest updates. But most people won’t have much time on their hands to scroll through hundreds of posts to find the required information. In such a situation, the more user-friendly system of a website is what you need.
The good news, however, is that you no longer need to hire a developer to create a website for you. You may use an online website builder to construct a splendid website running in under a day using customizable templates. You may use some quality yet affordable website builders like Wix, Weebly, or Simbla to create a website that aligns with your brand identity.
This is a quick solution to get a website up and running, so you have more time to concentrate on building your brand.
7. Ask for Referrals
If done the right way, referral programs can prove to be very powerful. Referrals are one of the best cheap marketing ideas and can be used by any industry.
In order to encourage customer participation and increase referrals, you may reward customers with free services or products after they’ve referred a certain number of customers or you may even leverage their enthusiasm to leave you a positive review. Whatever you decide, you need to offer your customers something valuable if you want them to participate.
Loius Martin is a Creative Marketing Manager at Invictus Studio, a custom logo design company in Texas. He has been guest blogging for quite a long time about design, SEO and branding. You can follow him at @loiusmartin1