Branding allows any business to define the way the outside world sees them. You know why you started your company and what you stand for, and you want others to understand those same values and policies. However, when you have a shoestring budget, figuring out how to reach everyone you need is challenging.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), only one-third of companies survive until the 10-year mark. About half survive five years. One of the biggest issues firms face is cashflow.
You can still get the word out about your brand without spending a fortune. Here are seven simple ways to work on branding when you have a limited budget.
1. Study Your Audience
It’s difficult to effectively market to your customers if you don’t know who they are. Spend time digging into the analytics of your client base. Figure out the demographics and psychographics. Once you have a nice amount of information, create a mock person and name it. Give the buyer persona traits your typical customer has.
Anytime you market, keep your buyer persona in mind. What topics do they care about? What language works best with your target audience? The more personalized the experience, the better they’ll understand your company.
2. Use Consistent Colors
There is an entire science to color psychology. Shades such as red create excitement, while blue can bring a sense of calm and steadfastness. Think about your brand’s color palette and choose the hues conveying the message you want to send.
If you place signs outside your building, make sure you use the same colors each time. While it’s fine to change your accents, utilizing the same choices helps people remember your company better.
3. Find Your Voice
Think of your brand as a person. What does it sound like? Are there particular buzzwords used repeatedly? Think about the tone you want to set and strive for that attitude everywhere a customer might interact with you. Building a brand takes time and repeated efforts.
If a customer visits your store, they should have the same experience as if they land on your social media page. Chick-Fil-A is a good example of a brand using the same attitude across multiple stores. If you order from them and thank them, they will almost always say, “My pleasure.” That sums up their philosophy in serving customers, too.
4. Create Strong Content
Content is an excellent way of reaching people and also branding your business in the process. Creating new content only costs you time. Write an article about why you started your business. Create a video showcasing some of your latest products. Share industry information or host a question-and-answer session with potential customers.
Content will define who you are as a brand, and it can drive traffic to your site. You’ll have items you can share elsewhere on the web.
5. Utilize Social Media
In a report by Statista, researchers found there are 3.6 billion social media users, but the number will hit 4.41 billion by 2025. Social media is one of the least expensive ways of spreading the word about your brand.
Use live videos to share industry information. Post your content to Instagram and Facebook. Interact with your customers on a personal level, so they get to know who you are. Wendy’s does a great job presenting a snarky, humorous attitude on Twitter.
6. Collect Emails
People who land on your page may not buy anything at first, but they are valuable leads. Make sure you gather their information so you can continue promoting to them. Offer a free e-book or other perk if they share their email. Allow them to opt-in for the latest news. Use your mailing list to send out special offers and provide updates about your brand.
There are many different schools of thought about the number of emails you should send for maximum effectiveness, and even which day you should send them. Pay attention to your open rates and when customers respond best. Over time, you’ll learn when and what you should send for high amounts of conversions.
7. Embrace Co-Branding
You might have a small budget, and the complementary business around the corner does as well. What you both have, though, is the ability to share info about one another with your respective audiences. Co-branding is one of the least expensive ways of getting the word out about your company. You both send out notices to your mailing lists and give shoutouts on social media.
Look for a brand with similar values to yours that your target audience is likely to be interested in. For example, if you run a theater, you might team up with a local pizza parlor. Offer a deal where customers can bring in a pizza receipt for a discount on tickets or ticket stubs for a discount on pizza.
Both brands gain leverage, but the cost and effort are minimal. You’ll expand your reach. There is a chance you already share some customers, but you’ll still attract new ones and get your name out in the local community. The same idea works for online businesses just as well.
It isn’t easy to spread the word about your business when you don’t have a large marketing budget. You’ll need to rely on methods such as word-of-mouth. Figure out who your biggest fans are and enlist them to be part of your promotional team. Musicians have long used street teams to spread the word about their music, and there is no reason why businesses can’t do the same.