Branding Your Business On a Budget

Every business needs to have an identity, so that customers know and remember what the business is about. The process of creating and communicating this identity is called branding, and it’s key in ensuring a company’s success. Branding your small business is all about creating a recognizable look, and a memorable one, that your customers can identify with.

This article is published in partnership with DesignBro, the world’s highest quality and affordable design service.

But branding can be costly. There’s a lot that goes into it, from designing a logo to marketing, and when you start adding it all up, you can end up with a six-figure number that can have you squirming in your seat. So, how can you brand on a budget? The key is putting in time, where big businesses put in money, and using the tools you already have.

We’ve compiled some different ways you could work towards branding your business, without blowing your budget.

Before you start

Before getting into the specifics of what you can do, make sure you have a clear message you’re sending, and that you know who you’re sending it to. Do your research, and spend some time in figuring out your story, what your brand is like, and what message you want to transmit.

You might also want to research your target audience. They’re the ones that need to care, so find out what makes them interested in certain things, and what doesn’t catch their eye. This way, you know what to do, and what not to do.

Another good idea is to check up on your competitors and learn a little about your industry. This might give you some ideas as to what you could do, while shedding light on what everyone else should be doing, but isn’t. That way, you can fill in that gap.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this research, just take some time to do it yourself, and look up the best ways to locate this information. The resources online are endless, it’s just a matter of digging in.

Get the right look (logo, brand identity)

Everything associated with your company should be identifiable. This means that people should know when something comes from your company, based solely on how it looks. This is why you need a great logo, and a coherent and consistent brand identity.

There are a lot of different options for getting a logo made. The key is in finding the balance between quality and cost. Free online logo makers are best avoided as often they can lead to copyright issues and lack in quality.

If you know a freelance designer likely to give you great quality for a good deal, that’s probably the direction you should go in. But it might be a risky choice, since you’ll be fully dependent on the individual.

If you don’t know a freelancer, design contest sites offer a cheap, and quality, alternative, when done right. Design contests offer you the opportunity to receive work from designers all around the world, give feedback, receive updated versions, and take home your favorite. Just do your research and make sure you end up with a platform that is sure to give you quality. Consider DesignBro, since they invest considerably in quality control, and maintain the same price as other similar sites.

Remember to take your target audience, your competitors and your brand’s story into consideration when developing, or choosing, a logo. It should communicate your brand’s message effectively to the people you want to pull in.

Once you’ve gotten the right logo for your brand, invest some time in developing brand identity guidelines. Brand identity guidelines are where you set out the requirements for how anything coming from your business should look. In it, you should probably include:

  1. Overview of your brand identity – include a couple of words to describe your brand, and perhaps a philosophy to give employees an idea of what your company stands for. This is where you ensure everyone knows what your brand stands for, and what message should be communicated.
  2. Logo specifics, styles, and practices – when to use which variation of the logo, what size, etc. If you use sites like DesignBro, they can help you determine the different variations of your logos.
  3. Typeface details – which font should you use for what? What should header 1’s look like, versus header 2’s?
  4. Color specifications – what’s your brand’s color palette, and are there any specific times when some colors should be used instead of others?
  5. Image style – what kind of images should be used on the website, or online? Think whether the images should be minimalist and with light colors, or darker and blurred? Consider adding a sort of “mood board” to inspire your employees as to your brand’s overall look.
  6. Consider including corporate stationery, so your employees know when to use which stationery.

After you’ve finished up with your brand identity guidelines, you are ready to get going.

Social Media

We mentioned that the key is putting in time, and using the tools at your disposal. It’s 2018, and luckily a huge tool, social media, is free for your use. All you need to do is put in time. Create content that your target audience would like, and be consistent with your updates. Doing so will allow people to get a better idea of what your company stands for, what makes your brand different, and why they should care. The type of content you post says a lot your brand, so choose wisely. Social media marketing is a great way of getting your name out there, so invest the time and do it well, and it’s likely people will become familiar with your company.

Content Marketing / Blog

While you’re going about using social media, you might want to consider starting your own “blog” section in your website, and writing some relevant content. Write what you think your readers will be interested in, and write well. Content marketing is all about providing useful content for your audience. If it’s done well, it can create a very loyal base for your brand.

It’s also a great way to improve your position in search engines, which is likely to get you pop up on your audience’s screen. It can be time consuming, but it’s free, and if you’re consistent and producing quality content, it’s likely to reap rewards.

Email marketing

Although social media has created a storm of new marketing techniques, going a more traditional route, like email marketing isn’t a bad choice. With email marketing, you’re not subject to the influence of any algorithm, and you speak directly to your customer. Consider a newsletter, or sending articles via email from time to time. You might be surprised with the results.

Ebook

The eBook is a powerful tool in the realm of content marketing. If you combine the most useful content you’ve created, into a sort of guide, your audience is likely to be appreciative. Creating templates or worksheets to help them achieve their goals, is likely to catch their attention. Consider using this to up your email marketing techniques, by having people put in their emails to access the content.

Once again, the eBook can be really effective, and it can be free – as long as you put in the time to make it a reality.

Customer service

Great customer service is often how you keep your customers coming back. If you invest in this wisely, your customers are more likely to help you get the word out about your business by telling their friends, or giving good reviews. Plus, speaking directly with your customers is a great opportunity to better understand where you can, and should, improve and what they especially love about what you’ve created. If you prioritize customer service, you’re likely to be investing in creating the best possible reputation for your brand.

All of these different ways of branding your business were time-consuming, but completely affordable. It’s up to you to decide how you want to invest your time, but make sure you don’t underestimate the power of branding your business.

This article is published in partnership with DesignBro, the world’s highest quality and affordable design service.