It’s a real conundrum. Startups need brand recognition to fuel growth yet they’re short on what it takes to get the job done. So entrepreneurs pour all of their resources into running the business, thinking that just creating a great product will help them to stand out.
Being lean isn’t an excuse for ignoring your brand. Even if you’re a one-man shop running on a shoestring budget, there are a lot of no- or low-cost ways to raise visibility, and you don’t have to break a sweat doing it. Start with these:
Don’t have a six-figure marketing budget? Don’t let that stop you. Content is the great equalizer, allowing brands to connect and engage with their audiences for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. Start by putting together a plan to guide your activities. Focus on quality and variety, creating different types of content like blog posts, emails and videos to correspond to where your customers are in their buyer’s journey.
Keep it current.
There’s nothing worse than visiting a website or blog and coming across material that is hopelessly out of date. If it’s a sweltering 90 degrees outside and your last blog post references a nor’easter, you’re in trouble. Keep a close eye on all the touchpoints where you engage with your stakeholders, including your website (especially the news page), blog, and social media channels. Use your best judgement but keep it consistent. If you decide to write one blog post a week, hold firm to that number. You want your audience to see you as trustworthy, a brand that they can consistently rely on for the latest news and information.
You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to have an eye-catching brand. To start, create a basic style guide. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The goal is to ensure that your brand identifiers, like logo and color palette, are accurately represented in all communications. And consider the intangibles: How you want people to think and feel about your brand—the emotion—which will inform elements like imagery and iconography.
Follow the news.
If you’re an untested brand, getting media to cover you is no easy feat. But if you can find a news hook or timely trend, your chances will rise exponentially. Is there an upcoming holiday or big event that relates to what you do? When pitching, it’s a good idea to help reporters round out their story, offering related businesses, customers or third-party experts along with your own spokespeople. The more you can make the story come to life, the better your chance of scoring a media hit. And remember: Relationship-building doesn’t happen overnight. You have to put in the time.
Invest as you grow.
Building a brand is a process. Businesses that want to successfully sell their products and services will invest in their communications like they do the infrastructure of their companies. The Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8% of revenues on marketing. If your margins are below 10 to 12% or you’re in an especially competitive industry, you should spend even more. In the end, you have to know when to call in the cavalry—PR and marketing pros—if you want to take your brand to the next level and avoid becoming another small business casualty.
6 Ways to Unwind This Holiday Season
It’s Never Too Soon to Start Estate Planning
Fiduciary and Best Interest Are Not Synonyms
7 Ways to Avoid Arguments During the Holiday Season
The Biggest Risk for Business Owners
A New Wrinkle in the U.S. — China Trade Dispute
Want To Make An Impact? Lead With Humble Pie
How to Go One Step Further with Your 2019 Strategic Plan
Can Verizon Overcome the Acquisition of Aol and Yahoo – That Never Made Sense
What Makes a Great Whitepaper?
Development23 hours ago
Building an RIA Firm for Maximum Value from an Investment Banker’s Perspective
Development24 hours ago
Good? Fast? or Cheap? What Sort of Advice Is It Going to Be?
Financial Podcasts24 hours ago
MarketCounsel Summit Series: The Most Important Data Questions Advisors Are Not Asking—with George Svagera
Financial Podcasts2 days ago
MarketCounsel Summit Series: Turn Fearful Clients into Fearless Investors with Aaron Klein
Research2 days ago
What Brexit and the Ongoing Problems in the European Union Mean For Investors
Building Smarter Portfolios2 days ago
Merger Arbitration Strategies and Protection
Advisor3 days ago
How to Budget for the Holidays
Social Selling3 days ago
As a Salesman I Taught Myself to Market … and You Should Too!