There are seemingly limitless different options for creating brand recognition and effectively marketing your business.
While some branding and marketing strategies are very specific to certain industry niches and wouldn’t work well in others, there are a few ideas that are more universally effective, easily crossing market and speciality boundaries. Similarly, some marketing tactics can cost a lot of money, but others are inexpensive yet still effective.
Here are four tried-and-true branding strategies that won’t break the bank but will accomplish your goal of spreading the word about your business:
1. Memorable, distinct design
With all the possible options available for creating your own website, business cards, emails, and every other type of communication you can think of, it’s easy to get carried away and vary your look on every channel you utilize.
Although hiring a professional graphic designer to create a logo, develop a color scheme, and update your image across all digital and real-world channels sounds ideal, there is cost involved, which may be prohibitive if the budget is tight.
With some planning, effort, and the use of a few free or inexpensive tools, however, you can accomplish the same goal on your own with beautiful results.
For example, Canva is a powerful web-based graphic design tool that’s free to use and charges nothing to very little (even just $1) for pro-quality photographs and graphics to supplement the huge library of free templates and fonts it makes available. By simply creating a logo/brand design combination you’re happy with, then applying that design to the multiple templates on their site, you can develop consistent branding for your website, all your social media channels, business cards, print marketing materials, and much more, all for little or no cost.
2. Consistent voice and tone in content
Although the idea of “branding” tends to make us think about logos and visual elements that we associate with a business, the voice and tone of a company’s marketing content is just as much a part of that brand as the logo is.
Again, hiring a professional writer to create your website, social media, and other marketing content can have excellent results, there’s usually a significant cost involved. That’s why most mompreneurs running their own small businesses tend to handle this aspect of their marketing themselves.
Just as with the graphic design elements noted above, making a concerted effort to develop your own personal voice and tone in content, and maintaining that consistently across all channels, will have a unifying and trust-building effect. A consistent content tone makes customers and visitors get to know you more easily, and inspires them to join in the conversation as they feel a part of your community.
3. Developing a “social brand”
Social media is such an ingrained part of our personal and professional lives today, it comes second nature to many of us. However, learning to benefit from social media for your business is very different than sharing news or pictures with friends and family. Social media for business requires a strategy, which will help you meet goals and grow your business. Without a plan in place for determining the channels where your audience is, the type of content that will interest them, and the frequency at which they want to hear from you, you could likely waste valuable time and resources, which as a small business owner, you don’t have to spare.
Fortunately, there are many resources that can help you focus on social media for business best practices and how to develop targeted how-to information, including the site you’re on right now. Focus on separating your personal and professional social media activity (without losing the personality that your customers have come to expect from you) so you can maintain the consistent voice and tone described above across all the social channels you choose to use for your business.
As an added benefit, this strategy frees you up to be yourself on your personal Facebook or Instagram accounts without second-guessing every status update, worried your customers may take exception to what you say.
4. Personalized gifts and giveaways
One excellent option with great creative possibilities involves using custom personalized gifts and giveaways that include your business name, logo, contact information, or another branded message. Whether you’re an independent service professional, the owner of a manufacturing company, an Etsy-based eCommerce entrepreneur, restaurant owner, or high level business consultant, personalized branded gifts and promotional items can easily fit into your marketing strategy.
A few ideas think about:
Branded T-shirts, sweatshirts and other apparel
Personalized office supplies
Custom branded drinkware
Custom branded magnets
… and so much more.
These gifts are inexpensive, useful, memorable, and can be customized to perfectly reflect your company’s personality. The list of possibilities above barely scratches the surface, so don’t assume any other fantastic giveaway ideas won’t work for you and your Mom-owned business!
As a small business owner, always be on the lookout for new and creative ways to market your business, improve brand recognition, and spark interest in your prospects and customers alike. While there’s value in investing in this type of marketing, there’s plenty of valuable work you can do on a very tight budget as well.