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Branding and marketing are crucial elements for businesses large and small. Creating an engaging brand and putting that brand in front of potential customers and clients is easier said than done.

For a small business, there likely isn’t an entire in-house team dedicated to developing and maintaining a cohesive brand. Outsourcing branding and marketing to a firm can be a pricey option, so many entrepreneurs choose to take the reins on branding and promoting their own business.

Here are a few tips for those thrifty business owners who want to create a professional-looking brand on a tight budget.

Don’t Rush the Timeline
In business branding, it can sometimes be tempting to skip steps in an effort to reach your goal faster. This is almost never a good idea. If you pay to promote your website before it’s fully ready for public eyes, that money will be wasted. You don’t want to direct your audience to anything that looks haphazardly thrown together or incomplete.

First, do research and take the time to establish your image. Once you know your target audience and goals, it’s easier to create a cohesive brand that’s reflective of your business’s voice, values and personality. Creating a logo and branded materials yourself is most cost-effective, but it might be worth having a professional assist because it will be a core part of your brand in the long-term.

Getting More Eyes on Your Brand
After your brand is fully developed, it’s time to display your hard work. Most people are active on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. This means a strong online presence is a great (and usually free) first step. The mistake many people make is marketing their business to the wrong audience. Find out where your audience spends most of their time online, and focus most of your efforts there.

Blogging is shown to be an extremely effective marketing tool. It’s a discreet way of building trust in your brand because you’re providing valuable information about topics that your customers are interested in. Having a blog page on your website and sharing those articles across various social media channels can increase the traffic to your site, thereby getting more people interested in your business. If you can partner with a social media influencer who has an existing audience you’re trying to target, that’s even better.

Once you’ve conquered a strong online brand, it may be time to dedicate a few marketing dollars to other efforts. Mediums like billboards, radio, and other traditional advertising techniques often get forgotten in the digital age, but they shouldn’t always be discounted altogether. Some strategic spending could go a long way, but make sure you stick to a pre-determined budget.

If you stay consistent in your brand and don’t spend money without knowing there’s strong ROI potential, you’ll be well on your way to having a strong brand without creating a huge dent in your budget.