Start Here for Great Odds at Small Business Branding Success
By: Jim McKinley
Launching a small business is exciting, and there’s a lot to consider. One of the most important building blocks toward small business success is your branding. Follow these best practices to get a jump on your small business branding and delight customers.
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Know Branding Basics
Branding is a confusing term because it encompasses multiple elements. Your logo, the company tagline, color schemes, and brand wording tie into marketing efforts. But according to WebFX, branding is your company’s image and identity, while marketing refers to how you promote the company. The two are intertwined, but branding will come first as you navigate creating a brand and building the business.
Address a Target Market
Though attracting customers is a priority, not just any customer will do. Focusing on a specific target market increases the odds of making a sale because you’re selling what those consumers want. Therefore, your branding should center on a niche audience and their needs. Demographics play an important part in branding and marketing, and it’s wise to utilize marketing efforts specific to your audience.
Frame Branding Around Consumers
Most small business owners see their companies (and branding) as an extension of themselves. That type of ownership is beneficial for motivation and getting things done, but it doesn’t cater to the customer. Framing branding around what your audience favors addresses consumers’ needs and wants. The right brand identity helps nurture emotional connections with your audience and speaks to their pain points. A sense of personalization can improve the brand experience and generate long-term loyalty in customers.
Identify Your Competition
Mailchimp recommends that business owners complete a competitive analysis while working on branding. Looking at competitors highlights your brand’s strengths and areas where you can improve. You might not compete directly with similar brands, but you may overlap in serving customer needs or appealing to a specific demographic. Taking a cue from competitors might mean less trial and error in branding attempts. Copying competitors directly is, of course, a bad idea and could land you in legal trouble.
Establish a Brand Voice
Every recognizable brand has a unique voice, and developing yours is an essential branding best practice for reaching your desired customer base. Defining a company voice starts with outlining core values and extends to nuances like brand message architecture and even vocabulary guidelines. When you (or your staff) interact with customers, the voice should be consistent, proactive, and reflect the company values.
Outsource Expert Help
It’s possible to DIY everything in your small business, including your branding. Yet there are some things you may want to outsource. For example, hiring a web designer to create and set up your website might be the most effective for saving time. Or, you may hire a graphic artist to design your logo and blog or social media images. Outsourcing might mean a higher branding budget, so calculate your expenses carefully at this stage.
Engage on Social Media
In modern commerce, social media is the biggest branding avenue available. Companies can engage with customers on social media to reinforce branding efforts and market products. Through engaging posts, businesses have the opportunity to showcase their personality while connecting with current and potential customers. If you want to make sure people remember your brand, actively engaging on different social media channels is a great way to start.
Choose Marketing Channels
Social media might be the frontrunner in digital marketing, but it isn’t the only option for promoting your brand. Digital marketing also encompasses methods like brand partnerships, search engine marketing, email efforts, and digital advertisements. Traditional marketing may also be a good fit if your budget allows for expenses like print materials, billboards, and postal mailers. No matter which method you choose, keep your branding elements front and center for the best odds at developing brand recognition.
Small business ownership is an exciting journey, often with a steep learning curve. But these branding tips for small business success will give you a head start toward building a relatable brand that caters to your consumer base and encourages brand loyalty long-term.
For more content from Jim McKinley go to Money with Jim
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