Online Branding on a Budget

Online Branding on a Budget

Building a reputable and far-reaching brand requires a large marketing expenditure, right?!

Thankfully, it’s not always the case which is good news for the small to medium sized business. With so many other marketing and SEO related expenses, the thought of forking out on ‘brand building’ efforts can be daunting. But before you employ a brand specialist or enlist the costly services of an external marketing team, consider one of these top tips for branding on a budget. Sure, this will take up some of your precious time but it won’t leave you penniless.

Create buyer personas

Understanding your audience is key to proper and effective branding. This all starts with a simple brainstorming session to determine personas – fictional characters with the qualities of those you’re trying to engage.

Maybe it’s Jane, the 40 year old mum with a passion for cooking; or Jonathan, a student in his 20s that likes to spend time in the outdoors.

There may be up to 10 personas for any given business depending on your niche. Once you’ve created a character for each audience segment, you’ll have a much better idea at how to target them.

Make your voice heard

When it comes to the tone of your website copy, sitting on the fence and playing it safe just won’t do. Now you’ve created your personas, it’s time to consider how these people would appreciate being spoken (or written) too.

A more academic, factual based site may be well matched with a professional voice while a laidback travel blog might do better with a carefree tone. Either way, developing a strong voice that creates an impression is one of the quickest ways to make your brand memorable.

Be more social

The days of relying solely on your website are long gone. It’s not just the content found on site that’s important. Social presence is vital to success. Again, by using your personas you can determine how to reach these via social media. Try using online statistics such as Pew Research Center’s Demographics of Social Media Users.

From here, start generating the most engaging content possible which means a great mix of unique pictures, headlines and multimedia all linking back to your site. Get people talking and encourage your audience to ‘share’ ‘like’ and ‘retweet’. And most importantly, never stop scheduling! Leaving a gap of several weeks or months without a post just looks unprofessional.

Don’t underestimate blogging

For some, the idea of blogging seems redundant. If you’ve got an online shop that sells child clothing for example, is there any need for a blog section? But in almost any sector and niche, a daily blog article can do wonders. This form of inbound marketing not only gives the image of a company that cares but can be a way to provide vital information in your industry.

It doesn’t have to just concern those products that you’re selling, as long as it appeals to your personas. Using the above example, a child clothing website would most likely attract mothers. Therefore, why not start a blog covering all things parenting. It’s a great way to attract fresh and qualified visitors.

Make your customers the priority

You’d be surprised at how much business can be generated via referrals. And that’s usually way more prevalent in those businesses with great customer service. Make your company as approachable as possible. Answer customer queries across Facebook, Twitter and other major platforms.

Always include a contactable number and return emails within the day. It may be time consuming but another happy customer means another opportunity for referral business.

These quick and easy tips simply require a little added time and effort. It won’t break the bank but you’ll enjoy the added sales and conversions from being a trusted brand.

Author Gyles Seward

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