If you’re not a marketer, the term ‘branding’ can be confusing. What is it? And is it expensive?
Actually, branding your business doesn’t have to be expensive. It does take an investment of your time, though.
Here are some simple steps to help you brand your business.
Know your audience
Every small business should take the time to create personas. These are semi-fictional ‘characters’ that have all the qualities of the actual customers you are trying to reach.
Knowing your personas will aid you in figuring out the goals, needs, and behaviors of your potential customers. This information will make it easier for you to talk to them about your products or services. You will also discover what kind of social media your personas are using, how they like to be communicated to, and what motivates them.
Hubspot has a free tool, MakeMyPersona,( http://www.makemypersona.com/), that will guide you through some easy and quick questions to figure out the ideal person you want to reach.
Create your brand identity and voice
Once you have identified your potential customers, it’s time for you to create your brand identity and your voice. Your brand identity consists of the things that make people aware of what your brand it and the voice is the tone you will use in your website content, any marketing materials and social media.
Now is the time to think about what your company’s values are, what it represents and what you want people to say about your company. It’s the ‘know, like, trust’ factor. More homework for you!
Be consistent on social media
Now that you have a clear picture of your potential customers, you have to figure out where they are spending their time on social media. Remember, it’s most cost effective for you to reach potential and current customers where they already.
Check out the Pew Research Centers’ Demographics of Social Media Users (http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/the-demographics-of-social-media-users/). This report profiles the users of the five major social media platforms – Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
When looking at this report, you should be able to see where your personas spend most of their time online. This will help you narrow down the long list of social media platforms to use to promote your business.
Once you’ve narrowed down the social media platforms you want to use, remember to post to them on a regular basis. Your fans will expect it.
I’ve written about the importance of blogging before. You are the expert in your field so start writing about what you know. Share your knowledge.
Blogging allows you to share the information that your personas are looking for. It will turn strangers into regular visitors to your website. Research has shown that after friends and family, blogs are the third most trusted source of information about a company.
Be customer focused
Make customer service a priority. Create a great, fun, sharable experience for your visitors. Once your customers have had a great experience with you, they will talk about it. Let customers post on your pages. Ask satisfied customers for testimonials and use them on your website and in your social media posts.
A great way to co-brand your business is to partner with an existing business that has similar values as yours. Align yourself with a brand that will help grow your business, that you can partner with in business ventures and that you can bring a broader audience to. It’s a win-win for both businesses. You just have to be smart about who you partner with.
Have fun branding your business. Use the tools I’ve mentioned above to get your small business branded in a few easy steps.