It’s guest post week again. Today we have some advice from Jessica Bowler of Printsome on how to boost your branding. Here’s Jessica:
What small business wouldn’t like a major branding boost? Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who has this branding thing all figured out, but chances are that you wouldn’t be opposed to having a little helping hand.
And in this case, we really do mean “little”. We’re sharing some of our favourite little tips that you can use instantly or nearly instantly to give your brand a boost. Use all of them, and you’ll be skyrocketing towards the big time in no time.
- Don’t be afraid to have a personality, but do make it authentic.
There is so much advice out there right now about creating a unique personality for your brand. That’s why we’re starting with this tip. Don’t get too caught up in establishing a quirky tone of voice or creating a friendly cartoon animal mascot if that just doesn’t fit with your brand.
There is definitely a time and place for brands that are more straightforward. If being very informal isn’t a good fit for your brand, don’t do it. Stick to what’s authentically great about your company – not your next door neighbour’s company.
- Define what you want your brand to stand for.
Let’s refer back to our first point for a second. We were just saying you should figure out what’s authentically great about your company. Sit down and think about your brand’s strong points.
Maybe your product doesn’t have as many features as the competition, but it’s a lot more streamlined and simple to use. In other words, You’re all about doing the essentials well rather than attempting to provide every service at once.
- Encourage your existing customers to join in the conversation.
These people already love (or at least like) your product, so reach out to them and try to get them involved. The fancy term for this is “user generated content”, and it can be really powerful.
If you can get other people to say positive things about your business, it’s much more powerful than if you say it yourself. Think about it – if I say I’m awesome, it might be true or it might not be. But I imagine you’re more likely to believe it if somebody else says it about me.
That works exactly the same for your business.
- Buddy up with another local business for an event.
Teamwork can boost your brand by exposing it to people who haven’t seen it before. If you partner up with another local business for a special event, you might be able to access potential customers who haven’t heard of your business before.
There are lots of different ways you can work with them. You could sponsor a part of a networking event, provide refreshments at a conference or even create your own event with the two of your businesses as the leaders.
Think about what sorts of businesses might pair well with yours.
- Use work uniforms
Your work uniform doesn’t have to mean something stiff and formal. There’s a trend towards more informal work uniforms right now in places like the startup world. They may be comfortable and casual, but they’re still uniforms.
A nice uniform can go a long way to really solidifying your branding. Check out some great work uniform examples to get inspired!
You may not have heard of this term before. It’s to do with internet advertising, and it means showing your ads to people who have visited your website before but didn’t buy something right then and there. This is what cookies are used for.
Have you ever checked out a brand’s website and then seen ads for that brand pop up everywhere else you visited online? That’s remarketing, and it’s a powerful tool to keep your brand in potential customers’ minds.
- Pinpoint who exactly you want to buy your services or product.
Most business would be thrilled if everyone on the planet wanted to buy their product. Unfortunately, that’s not especially likely. So, your branding is going to be more effective if you aim it at the people who really love your product.
Figure out who they are, what they want and what messages they like to hear. And then, talk to them!
It will also make it easier to decide what you want to say once you know who you are saying it to.
Have you ever noticed a brand because they were offering a giveaway you were interested in? We definitely have! Giveaways can be a fun way to spread the word about your brand.
Of course, you’ll have to give away something people actually want. It’s also a sensible idea to make it fit with what your business sells. You can give away your own product, bundle your stuff with a mix of some things from other people or just give away something you think is cool and relevant.
- Give your customers an incentive to refer other people to your brand.
One really good example of this is Uber. When you sign up, you get a free ride (up to a certain limit). If you refer a friend, you can get another free ride. And let’s be real, who doesn’t like free stuff?
You could also offer them discounts or enter them into a raffle. Whatever it is, the easy test for whether it’s a good idea or not is to as yourself – would I want this? Step 2: Would my friends want this?
- Reevaluate your logo and graphic content.
Your graphic material is key to establishing your brand identity. Take a long, cold look at what your existing logo and graphic content are like. Is it saying what you want it to?
Keep in mind that a lot of the world’s top brands have simple logos that are instantly recognisable. Is yours easy to work out what it is?
- Focus just on a few social media networks.
Social media can be really overwhelming. And for a small business, it can be an easy time suck.
Rather than trying to tackle everything at once, stick to the channels that are a good fit for your needs. LinkedIn is the place to go for more professional stuff, while Pinterest is great for visually appealing products.
- If need be, pay for social media.
Whether that’s hiring somebody to take over your social media for you or paying for extra promotion, it may be worth your time to splash out some cash on social media channels. Especially with Facebook, it’s hard to get anywhere unless you pay these days.
- Remember, social media is a conversation.
When your customers or followers contact you, it’s important that you respond. Ask questions, reply to comments and suggestions and talk to your customers one-to-one.
- Spread the word by guest posting and commenting on other blogs.
Part of the “social media is a conversation” idea is that sometimes, you need to introduce yourself. A good way to do that is by leaving comments on blogs you enjoy reading that fit within your business’s niche.
If you are using blogging as part of your branding strategy, you can also try guest posting on other blogs. Just get in touch and ask the blog owners if they’d be interested in having a post from you. It’s a good idea to be clear about what sorts of topics you’d like to write about.
- Quality over quantity.
No matter what sort of stuff you’re putting out there to boost your branding, quality really does matter. You’ll only hurt your brand by throwing out a bunch of junk stuff, whether that’s papering local businesses with tacky ads or sending out spam tweets online.
Make sure that everything you put out there is something you can be proud of.
- Every once in a while, throw in something fun that isn’t aimed at the pure sell.
Nobody wants to listen to a radio station that is all advertising all the time. With your branding, it’s the same thing. Don’t just promote endlessly. Sometimes, have something that’s just for fun or simply silly. This can help your brand seem more personal to people, so it actually does serve a purpose, too!
- Help your employees understand your branding.
Your employees can be a fantastic resource to reinforce your branding. Train them using lots of examples. Then, they’ll be able to help you transmit the brand in their daily work, such as interacting with customers in the right way.
- Remember to be consistent.
Have one unified brand voice and stick to it. You don’t want to be extremely formal on all your brochures, but then crack endless jokes on Twitter. Keep things consistent across channels. This doesn’t have to mean being exactly the same, but it should be at least identifiable as the same brand.
- If you’re doing social media or blogging, create content that is easy to share and useful.
One of the best types of content to create is content that is useful for readers or customers. If you can help them to solve a problem, even a small one, you’ve already positioned your brand as a good one.
You’ll also want to make whatever content you produce easy to share. Add buttons to your website to share on social media channels, for instance. You can even include a call-to-action that further encourages them to share more.
- Don’t just say it – tell a story!
In all of this, one of the best tools you can have in your kit as a small business owner when it comes to branding is to remember to tell a story. People love stories and find them more memorable. Use the different tips we’ve talked about here to create the story that you want your brand to tell. Then, get out there and tell it!
That rounds out our list of 20 tips you can use to skyrocket your small business branding. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and have learned something new! Let us know in the comments if there are any tips we’ve missed, along with which of these ones you liked the best.
Jessica’s worked on everything from a celebrity gossip website to projects in corporate communication and PR. In her spare time you can find her – well, you might have a hard time finding her, as she’s usually off travelling somewhere. You can read about her adventures at the Printsome Blog.