Over the years, we’ve written quite a few articles about branding. Branding is about getting people to relate to your company and products. It’s also about making your brand synonymous with a product or service. This can be a lengthy and hard project. It can potentially cost you all of your revenue. No wonder branding is often associated with investing lots of money in marketing and promotion. However, for many small business owners, the investment in branding will have to be made with a relatively small budget — especially during a crisis.
You might be a local bakery with ten employees or an industrial company employing up to 500 people. These all can be qualified as ‘small businesses’. All have the same main goal when they start: to establish a name in their field of expertise. There are multiple ways to do this without a huge budget. In this post, we’ll share our thoughts on how to go about your low-budget branding.
Define and communicate brand values
Branding with a limited budget starts with defining your company’s and your brand’s values. You need to think about what you, as a brand, want to communicate to the world. Doing this yourself won’t cost you, provided you are capable of doing this yourself. It’s a pretty hard task when you think of it. It’s about your mission, the things that make your brand into your brand. Brand values relate to Cialdini’s seventh principle, Unity.
Some of our favorite examples illustrate unity: outdoor brands like Patagonia and The North Face, which make you feel included in their business ‘family’. “We are all alike, and share the same values.” By being able to relate to these brands and their values, we are more enticed to buy their products. It’s a brand for us, outdoor people.
Take some time to define your brand values. That way, you can communicate your main message clearly and consistently. It makes your marketing all the easier. You’ll be able to create brand ambassadors, even on a budget.
Come up with a proper tagline
Once you have defined your brand values, it’s time to summarize them all into one single tagline. For example, WordPress’ mission is to “democratize publishing“. In your tagline, you formulate your values and make sure your added value for the customer, user, or visitor is also reflected. Again, be consistent. If you set a tagline, your actions and products should relate to that tagline, actually, even be based upon it. It summarizes your business.
Rethink your logo
Having a great logo is essential. When designing that logo, you’ll have to remember that it’s probably something you’ll have for years. It’s the main thing – besides yourself – that will trigger (brand) recognition. It’s not that you can never change your logo, but don’t ‘just’ add a logo. Consider how it stands out from other logos, for instance, on a local sponsor board.
Design that logo, print it, stick it on your fridge for a week or so, and see if anything about it starts to annoy you. If so, it’s back to the drawing board. Feel like you don’t relate to it in terms of business values or even personality? Back to the drawing board. Designing a great logo is probably your most expensive task when discussing low-budget branding.
Online low-budget branding
The online world is a great place to work on your low-budget branding. You need to establish a name in your field of expertise, and the surplus of social media can facilitate that by giving you a free platform.
People often say: “Social media takes too much time”. Changing your mindset about the costs and seeing the revenue social media can bring you might be wise. It is the easiest and probably one of the cheapest ways to promote your brand. The only cost is time investment (depending on how aggressively you want to use the medium). Finding a social media strategy and/or platform that works may take a while, so give it some time, and don’t just throw in the towel!
Social media helps you connect directly with your target audience and show your brand’s personality. Keeping things consistent, like using the same cool logo and colors across your social media profiles, will make your brand instantly recognizable and memorable.
But it’s not just about looking great. Engaging with your audience is key. Respond to comments, messages, and shares with genuine enthusiasm. Show them some love and build those relationships. Don’t forget to share some valuable and fun content — think of stunning images, inspiring videos, and helpful tips. Encourage your audience to get involved too! User-generated content is like pure gold for brand visibility.
And don’t forget to listen carefully to your audience. Social media is a treasure trove of valuable feedback! Take the time to respond, address concerns, and use your insights to refine your brand.
When you do have some budget, try paid advertising. It might sound like an investment, but it can be worth it. You can reach a wider audience that fits your business with targeted ads. Target folks based on their interests, demographics, and behaviors, and watch your brand shine even brighter.
Social media is about being consistent, engaging, and having a blast. Show off your brand’s personality, connect with your audience, collaborate with people, listen to feedback, and don’t be afraid to invest in paid ads when you have the budget.
Read more: Social media for small business owners »
Share your expertise
You can use Twitter to stay in touch with like-minded business owners. Discover the huge number of Facebook groups in your area and/or in your field of expertise. See what Reddit can do for you. Bond with people that share the same values. Feel free to answer questions in your business field and do this confidently. Position yourself as the go-to company for these questions. Help people that way and create brand ambassadors. You have to put some effort into establishing your position. It won’t happen overnight.
A bit of an extreme example: the founder of Yoast, Joost de Valk, was already sharing content/expertise and our open-source software before it became a business. He engaged actively in forum and social media discussions about WordPress and SEO. Commenting on other people’s blogs. Time before revenue: eight years. We’re not saying you must wait eight years before making money with your passion. But you should be able to write, comment and take a stand on topics that matter to you from the start.
Consistency is key
Building a memorable brand on a limited budget requires consistency across all aspects of your business. Maintaining consistency is crucial, from your brand logo and visual elements to your messaging and customer experience. Consistent branding creates a sense of familiarity and builds trust with your target audience. Ensure that your brand’s visual identity is cohesive and aligns with your brand’s values and messaging. Consistency should also extend to your customer interactions, whether online or offline. By delivering a consistent brand experience, you create a lasting impression without the need for extravagant expenses.
Make yourself visible
Eventually, it all comes back to business values. Everything you communicate should reflect these values. It’ll give you guidelines and ensure your message is always delivered similarly. Low-budget branding is about just that: making yourself visible in a consistent way. Our Local SEO plugin can help you by ensuring that Google gets the right information about your business, such as your location and opening hours.
Keep reading: The ultimate guide to small business SEO »
Coming up next!
- Event December 09, 2023 Team Yoast is at Attending, Organizing, Sponsoring WordCamp Ahmedabad 2023! Click through to see who will be there, what we will do, and more! See where you can find us next »
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