In marketing, it seems like the word “brand” is used a lot — the leading brand, off-brand, personal brand … you get the picture.
But there’s often confusion around its meaning in business. What does it entail? Do I need to hire an expert? Branding is expensive, right?
To that very last phase, it doesn’t have to be. As it turns out, there are some fairly creative ways to brand your business without a ton of cash. And while it can require an investment of day, the ROI won’t run unnoticed — in some cases, it can actually help you save money, while also growing your business.
Building your brand is a crucial part of developing your business. As you’ll see below, it’s the foundation of giving your organization a voice, identity, value, and awareness among consumers. And, thanks to the plentiful number of resources, tools, and platforms available today — a brand construct might not be as burdensome( or costly) as you think.
So read on, and see how you can use the following six steps as a guide for your brand build.
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The 6-Step Brand Build to Grow Your Business on a Budget
1) Know your personas.
Itas no coincidence that 82% of companies with better value propositions also use buyer personas — the semi-fictional acharactersa that encompass the qualities of who youare trying to reach.
The requires, aims, and behaviour of your potential customers dictate how you give your product or service. Understanding those things helps you ascertain what kind of media your personas are devouring, what motivates them, and where they alivea online. You can see why having that info helps develop a compelling, effective brand — it helps you reach the right people.
Figuring that out doesnat have to come at a price. A great way to get started is with our free MakeMyPersona tool, which guides you through a series of questions about the ideal person you want to reach. Take your time with it. The questions are meant to get you thinking about how you want to be perceived and by whom — and that shouldn’t has become a quick process.
2) Develop an identity and a voice.
Once youave identified your buyer personas, your brand can start to take shape. That involves creating a brand identity — the things that make people aware of what your brand is — and its voice, which is the tone you use in any transcript or public communication.
As a writer, I’m particularly interested in the voice aspect — but what does that like for you? Figuring that out follows a process not unlike the one thatas used to determine your persona. But instead of answering questions about your target audience, youare answering questions that are a bit more introspective to your brand. What are its values? What does it represent? How do you want people to talk about you?
Even if youare not starting from scratch, establishing a strong( er) brand voice can be valuable. Just take the instance of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation — during its recent rebrand, seeing its voice was a top priority. The results? Its overall online presence increased during 343%, with website traffic alone insuring a 63% boost.
3) Have a consistent social media presence.
So, we know who your personas are. And now, we know what to say to them — and how to say it. But where are they?
Since you might have a clear picture of the different pieces of your audience, itas important to figure out where theyare spending the most hour, especially on social media. Weave talked before how effective it is to reach people where they’re already present — that includes their online behavior, too.
We recommend checking out Pew Research Centeras Demographics of Social Media Users, which profiles the users of five major social media platforms — Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Pay attention close attention to the data. Maybe the majority of your personas expend most of their hour on one network. While that doesnat mean you should dismiss the others, it does give you an idea of where to dedicate the most resources.
And once you do been demonstrated that presence, maintain it. How many times have you gone to a brandas Facebook Page only to find that nothing has been posted in the past three months? Chances are, it didn’t have a positive impact on your perception.
That can be avoided by diligently scheming and scheduling social media posts like you would with any other marketing calendar. Something like our free Social Media Content Calendar going to be able to, and get you thinking about things like the seasonality of what you post. Thatas a huge part of remaining relevant to your audience — by sharing content that pertains to what theyare likely thinking about at a given time of year.
Weave encompassed the importance of blogging before, and we really canat emphasize it enough. Itas a core part of our Inbound Methodology, especially the aattracta stage — the one that turns strangers into visitors to your website.
In fact, blogging might be the most fundamental step of inbound marketing. It helps you reach qualified clients, like your persona, by creating the informative content that matches the information theyare searching for. Thatas why itas so important to make it relevant to this audience — when youare writing, make sure the content is optimized for those searches.
Believe us — your personas are definitely looking for the information that youare able to provide — if you write about it. After friends and family, blogs are the third most trusted source of information. Plus, that content will also serve as material to populate your social media networks, and weave already covered what a crucial part that plays in branding on a budget.
While blogging is fiscally inexpensive, one of the biggest struggles we hear about is the cost of spending day on it. For that, we reference the gag about a doctor asking his patient, aWould you rather work out one hour per day, or be dead 24 hours worked per day? a The inbound marketing version of that topic would ask, “Would you rather blog for one hour each day, or always have insufficient content to draw in visitors? “
Like scheming your social media presence, having an editorial calendar for your blog can be helpful in maintaining consistent timing and fresh content. Thatas why we put together a free blog editorial calendar template, complete with instructions and content management tips.
5) Make customer service a priority.
When we hear the name aZappos, a the majority of members of us immediately guess, aunparalleled customer service.a The online apparel retailer constructed this level of service into its core approach to doing business — and into its core values.
Why is that so important? For Zappos, inducing excellent customer service the cornerstone of its brand actually saved money on marketing and advertising. Thatas because it made word-of-mouth among existing and potential customers, which is what we call earned media — the recognition that your brand has earned , not pay money, from people talking about something remarkable you did.( Psst — U.S. industries, as a whole, lose about $41 billion dollars each year because of bad customer service .)
Whether youare serving customers or clients, the goal is to create a delightful, sharable experience. And when the customer or client experience is a priority, it shouldnat cost you much for them to talk about it — remember, your work earned it.
But that revisits the importance of your identity and voice. As you go through these brand-building steps, think about the values that you want to be resonated in those things. Is excellent service one of them? Those values are what shape the brandas culture, and that influences the voice you project to an audience.
6) Take advantage of co-branding.
Iall never forget what my colleague, Lisa Toner, told me when I asked her about negotiating co-branding agreements.
“Larger companies may have a large reaching, a she said, abut what do they not have? “
When youare just starting to build a brand, you might not have the reach that Toneras talking about. You can take the steps to build it, like weave described in so far, but that takes time. Until then, one style to get your name in front of a broader audience is to partner with a brand that has one.
But donat just pick any old brand to work with. Make sure itas one thatas aligned with yours — the partnership has to make sense in the minds of your audience. Hereas what we recommend in trying a co-brand 😛 TAGEND Consider your partneras audience. Would it be interested in your brand? Is it that difficult for you to reach without this partnership? How well does it trust your co-brand? Thatas crucial to getting them to listen to you, too — people donat trust traditional advertisings anymore. So make sure your partner reaches the audience in such a way that instills confidence , not doubt. Have something to offer your co-brand. Just like Toner asked, awhat do they not have? a The experience should be a win-win-win: for you, your co-brand, and the consumer. have? a The experience should be a win-win-win: for you, your co-brand, and the consumer. Consider selecting a well-known and respected nonprofit as a co-brand. More and more peopleas buying decisions are based on a brandas social responsibility — in fact, 85% of millennials say that induces them more willing to recommend a brand.