~by Kara Masterson~
Branding is the first step when it comes to marketing your business. It is the backbone of all future marketing. However, in the early stages of a business when branding really needs to be pushed, there is often little to no marketing budget. It doesn’t have to be expensive though. There are ways to brand your business on a budget. This is especially true with all that is available in the way of technology in today’s business world.
Using these tools can help you brand your business without spending an arm and a leg.
1. Play to the People
People love a story. We feel like we need to really know the people behind the products and services we buy. Women love to know their jewelry was hand made by women in a third world country to help move them out of poverty, and that their purchases go to help fund adoptions. We want to know our chickens and vegetables came from local farmers. People also want to be able to talk to real people! That is why companies such as bpo outsourcing can be extremely useful. Places like this can help provide your business with real people for your clients. People crave a sense of connection with the products and services they purchase. That is why it is so important for you to find that connection and to let people know about it.
2. Social Media
There is perhaps no better or more affordable platform from which to shout your story than social media. The cost is negligible to free, and the time necessary is well worth the return if handled properly. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, among others, can skyrocket any story that the people deem interesting enough into the viral web-o-sphere. Of course, there is some skill involved with this. Content has to stay fresh. Comments and questions need to be acknowledged. Even a full-time social media guru will be worth the cost considering the coverage social media can give you quickly and affordably.
3. Use Video
In addition to a story, people also love to be entertained. YouTube has long been the video king, but other social media platforms, specifically Periscope and Facebook’s newer instant video capabilities, have become an increasingly popular way to interact with audiences. Those watching feel that connection they crave, and when they are entertained at the same time, marketing magic happens.
4. Make Up Your Face
Getting the word out on social media is a great start, but you cannot neglect the essence of your brand, which is the face of your business. This is what is going to come to mind when people think of your business. Your logo and your tagline, or catchphrase, are your face, and they need to be stellar. However, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are some very talented freelancers out there who will do a great job. Try freelance sites like Fiverr.com to start. You may find a great designer for very little money compared to the larger graphic design firms.
5. Get Local
Being involved in your local community is a great way to solidify your brand. Host, or at least attend and participate in, local events. Put up your banner at the little league fields, sponsor a contestant in the local pageant, or host a business after hours in conjunction with the local chamber of commerce. Whatever events you participate in, be sure to get your logo and tagline out there. Bring pamphlets, business cards, pencils, or whatever else you can that people will keep, look at, and remember.
6. Be Generous
Along with a good story, people love free stuff. Logo pencils, pens, and other trinkets are cheap. Free samples are not as cheap, but they generally will not break the bank either. Giving away something is a great way to get attention for your brand and make it stick in the minds of those who will want what you have.
Building a brand is not easy, and it can certainly be very costly. It doesn’t have to be, however. Utilize these tools and tips to help you build your brand while staying within budget.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.