Branding is essential for any business. It’s about the face you present to your customers, how you communicate with them, and how they view you. But what if you don’t have a large budget? No problem! Many branding tasks, including some of the most important, don’t cost a lot — some cost nothing at all.
Here are some techniques to get you started with branding on a budget.
This post is written by guest blogger, Victoria Greene, a branding consultant & freelance writer for VictoriaEcommerce.
Be clear about how you are different
This stage is free, but it’s not easy. It is, however, essential, and it is where your branding should begin.
What exactly makes you unique? What do you do that others do not? You need to develop a USP that sets you apart from your competitors. Think long and hard about this because it will become the foundation of your branding.
Is it a family-run business where you and your kids all work together? Or do you source your product materials from sustainable resources? Be authentic with your USP and you will quickly build trust in your brand.
Also decide who your customers are. It sounds obvious, but who are they really? What is their age, income, gender? What challenges do they face? When you know this, you will be clearer about how your brand should feel and what it should look like.
Get a Little Help
Psst! Marianne here with a couple of resources to help you get on your way to getting clear on how you are different…
- Business Plan Perfection Workshop: Complete Your Business Plan in 7 Easy Steps* by Lesley Clavijo
- Plan Your Perfect Website: Expert Advice for Online Success* by Carrie Green
Both of these resources and the rest of the resources listed below are available as part of the 77-product bundle, known as The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit* that is only available now through Monday, October 15th @ 11:59pm ET. Read on for more info.
This post includes affiliate links denoted by a *
Create a mission statement
This also falls into the “free but difficult” category. Creating your mission statement is easier when you know what makes you unique and who your customers are.
It doesn’t need to be extensive. It could be just a few short sentences, or even just one sentence that captures the essence of who you are and what you do.
You can use this on your website, or just keep it to yourself. Then use it as your guide for your marketing and future branding activities.
Get a Little Help
This guide and workbook is super useful in helping you write your mission statement as well as figuring out your USP:
- The WordPress Website Discovery Guide and Workbook* by Marta Goertzen
Create a logo
Designing your logo is the first thing that will actually cost you any money, but it is essential. You have to prioritize when you only have a small budget, but a logo should be at the top of the list.
You can get a logo designed for very little, but it’s worth getting it done professionally. This will become the face of your business. When people see your logo, they will recognize your brand, and it will become a visual representation of your business.
At the same time, try to define your overall visual identity, including the colors you use, the fonts, and more. Create some consistency so you are instantly recognizable, and over time this will help you to build a stronger brand.
Become an authority using content marketing
Content marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies online, and the good news is that it does not have to cost much (or anything at all). It is also an effective way to build your brand by establishing your authority and developing your voice.
By publishing valuable content that provides help, advice, tips, and information that solves a problem for your audience, you can become a respected resource — all important for your branding.
The more content you create, the more you will naturally develop your voice. Sometimes it is difficult to sit down and decide what your brand voice should be. But as you create more content, this will develop naturally.
Create written blog posts, videos, infographics, or podcasts — the type of content you create will depend on what you do and who you are targeting. Create content that will appeal to your target customer. Publish guides, ebooks, and mini-courses and give them away for free, ensuring you always provide value.
Grow your email list and use it to send valuable content to your subscribers. Reply to their emails, be friendly and approachable, and build a relationship. Again, all of this is possible on a budget.
Get a Little Help
Create better content and grow your email list using these resources:
- The One Hour Content Plan: The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 60 Minutes and Creating Content That Sells and Hooks* by Meera Kothand
- Write Well* by Rachelle Rea Cobb
- Email Growth & Marketing Bootcamp*
- Igniting Your List Incentive* by Sue Dunlevie
Develop your social presence
You can (and should) develop your brand on social media. Social can be completely free, unless you hire someone to help you or you use paid advertising — but even with advertising, you don’t have to spend a lot.
Start by building your social presence. If you are creating content, share it on your social channels, post images to Pinterest and Instagram of your products in use, and add comments and captions using your unique voice.
Post images that match your brand style, and give every update a branded look. Use a tool like Canva to help you.
Social media is all about engaging, talking to your customers, answering questions, coming across as friendly and approachable, and showing the human side of your business. Keep it fresh, update it all the time, and be consistent to enjoy social success.
Get a Little Help
Here are a couple of invaluable resources to help you plan, develop and execute your social media strategy:
- Social Media and the Law* by Shahara Wright
- Grow Your Email List Using Pinterest* by Kate Ahl
- Facebook Live Strategies Masterclass* by Crystal Paine
- Streamline Your Social: How to Make the Most of Your Time on Social Media* by Tonia Kendrick
- Pinning for Profit: Profit from your Passion* by Jennifer Dawn
Provide amazing customer service
Finally, focus on providing incredible customer service. It is one of the most effective ways to boost your branding, and you will get known as a business that cares about its customers. Provide many channels for your customer service, including live chat, email, social media, and telephone.
The key to good customer service though is speed: always reply quickly, and always try to solve problems as soon as possible. This is a simple and affordable way to grow your reputation, and with the availability of affordable AI chatbots, it’s doable too.
Most online businesses use a chatbot plugin to automate their customer service to quickly deal with customer queries, from blogs to online stores. Indeed, look at any of the self-build ecommerce stores online and you’ll find that virtually all of them use some form of automated customer service widget to expedite queries. It goes a long way to letting your customers know that you’re a brand that cares, and it’s a worthwhile investment.
Associate your brand with customer service excellence to build trust, and more people will want to buy from you.
Get a Little Help
Another way to provide great service is to make the time to do so. These courses below will help you streamline your workflows so that you actually have more time to take care of your readers and customers:
Branding does not need to be expensive
By now, you should have a good idea about branding your business on a budget. It really does not have to be expensive, but it will involve a lot of work. Creating a brand from scratch is hard and takes time, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
(Marianne here with one last quick message…)
That’s Why I Recommend Grabbing The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
Worth $5,867.88, it includes 41 eCourses, 15 eBooks, 9 printable packs & workbooks, 5 templates, 5 stock photo packs, and 2 membership sites – ALL for only $97. That’s it!
In addition to including all the resources listed above, I’m proud to say that my course, Crush CSS: Code School for Bloggers, is also part of the bundle so you’ll be getting it for 48% off the usual cost plus get a ton of other products to go with it.
Ok back to Victoria…
The tips above are enough to get started with, but it’s only the start of your journey to perfect branding. For example, you could give away small and affordable branded products for free, network with influencers and get on their radars, or even become an industry speaker. So be creative, work hard, and build your brand from scratch (without spending a lot of money).
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