As a small business, you have to work hard to promote your brand to find new customers. With so much competition out there, it’s challenging to get noticed. But, it’s not impossible. In fact, there are five branding strategies you can use to market your company more effectively.
If you’re unfamiliar with a branding strategy, it’s a comprehensive outline of developing and promoting your business’s brand. Basically, what do you want customers to think when they see your brand? How do you want them to connect to your company and its values? A branding strategy answers these questions and provides a long-term marketing roadmap.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the five different ways you can brand your business.
1. Build a Unique Visual Brand
One of the first steps you should take when starting a new marketing strategy is researching the competition. Look at other similar companies and see what they’re doing and what they have to offer. From there, it’s much easier to determine the elements that set you apart (your unique value proposition). The same process works well for visual elements, such as your logo and color scheme.
If you were to take logos from all your competitors and line them up, would they each look unique, or are they all derivative of each other? When crafting a unique visual brand, you have to develop a signature style that customers will associate with your business and no others. Here are some tips on how to make your visual brand stand out:
- Make it Fun – Most brands these days try to look modern and “professional.” While there’s nothing wrong with that aesthetic, it can seem a bit too “corporate” and inauthentic. Instead, you can add some fun and clever visual elements to differentiate your brand. Think of Nickelodeon in the 90s – its products and offerings were always unique and memorable.
- Use Handcrafted Elements – While generic icons and graphics can work for landing pages, you should create something from scratch for your core marketing materials (i.e., logo). In this case, you can work with a graphic designer to develop something unique.
- Understand Your Audience – What does your audience value the most? Which visual elements will speak to those values? For example, if your customers want a trustworthy and reliable partner, your fonts and color choices should reflect that. You can also get feedback on different designs to see which ones resonate the most.
While these tips can help you craft a unique visual brand, which elements should be part of your branding strategy? The essential components include:
- Logo – Make a logo that looks good everywhere, including product packaging, storefronts, and your website.
- Color Scheme – Pick the colors that reflect your business best, and utilize them for various marketing materials and landing pages.
- Photos and Images – What emotions do you want to convey with your marketing images? Build a library of content that works for various situations and marketing campaigns.
Fortunately, it’s never been easier to develop these materials. Online platforms like Tailor Brands allow you to create your visual assets easily and without needing prior design experience. Utilizing a one-stop-shop like these ensures that you’re on the right path.
2. Establish Yourself as an Expert
One of the easiest ways to build an audience is to bring new customers to you. Inbound marketing is a powerful tool because it puts less pressure on your marketing and sales teams to deliver results. Instead of going out and searching for new leads, your sales staff is fielding incoming calls and inquiries. If you’re a retail operation, inbound marketing can drive more online sales, particularly for niche products that appeal to a knowledgeable audience. Think about brands like HubSpot, which dominate their field.
But, how can you be successful at inbound marketing? The simplest method is to establish yourself as an authority within your industry. By sharing insight and expertise, customers will come to you for advice (and products) to solve their specific problems. Fortunately, there are many ways to promote your experience and expert-level knowledge, including:
- Blog Posts – Write articles that appeal to both customers and industry insiders. You want to connect with the latter so that they’re more likely to recommend your blog to others.
- Webinars – You can either post these webinars on your website or sell them as digital products. Live webinars are an excellent way to engage with customers and answer questions directly.
- Tutorials – Video content is much more engaging than photos and text, so use that to your advantage. You can produce how-to videos related to your industry, or they can simply show customers how to use your products more effectively.
- FAQ Pages – Your customers have questions, and you have answers. You can also solicit questions from your followers on social media or incorporate questions into feedback reviews.
3. Look for Partnerships
Why should you handle all of your marketing by yourself? In many cases, it’s much better to partner with another company that doesn’t compete for the same customers. Partnerships offer mutual benefits because each side helps build the other, creating a stronger whole.
The best way to understand how a business marketing partnership works is to see a few examples in action, such as:
- Red Bull and GoPro – Since its debut, Red Bull has billed itself as the official sponsor of extreme sports and competitions. The company hosts various events, such as car racing, surfing, flying, skydiving, and more. GoPro also appeals to extreme-sport lovers, so it makes perfect sense that both brands would work together. The athletes wear Red Bull gear while performing, and they strap GoPro cameras to themselves to show off their point of view. It’s a win-win.
- Uber and Spotify – Uber has practically replaced the traditional taxi service thanks to its easy-to-use interface. One way to make rides more enjoyable is to play music, which is where Spotify comes in. Uber drivers can play their favorite songs via Spotify, all without having to leave the Uber app. Not only does Spotify get more brand awareness, but Uber passengers get a better ride.
- Apple and Mastercard – Apple is one of the biggest tech companies in the world, and Mastercard is accepted practically everywhere. When Apple wanted an easy way for its customers to shop online or in-person (using their iPhones), they reached out to Mastercard. Apple Pay enables users to have a digital wallet, and the more people who sign up, the more customers for both companies.
As you can see, forming a business partnership can yield some incredible results. Ideally, you can start by looking at your core demographics and seeing what other products they like. From there, you can reach out to non-competitors to forge a deal. A partnership can be a one-time thing to accompany a specific marketing campaign or an ongoing collaboration with no exact end date. Look for resources that will help you to build co-sell partnerships better.
4. Winning Customer Service
These days, consumers are much savvier than ever, so they expect businesses to cater to their needs. So, focusing your attention on high-quality customer service can not only drive new sales but build better brand loyalty. In fact, did you know that it’s up to 25 times more expensive to find a new client than it is to retain a current one?
Thankfully, technology has made it easy to engage customers across various channels. Here are some examples of how you can develop a winning customer service brand model:
- Chatbots – When people visit your site, they’ll likely have questions about your business. Chatbots allow you to engage with these visitors without hiring a human. These bots can answer simple queries (i.e., hours of operation) or connect users with a real person. In some cases, companies use conversational AI chatbots which are precisely programmed for different customer-engagement scenarios like simulating human communications and provide instant, custom-made responses.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software – When people work with your business, you want to create a long-term relationship. CRM software helps nurture this relationship by providing data about your interactions and the customer’s purchase history. This information helps your sales team connect more easily, ensuring long-lasting loyalty. While these programs have a bit of a learning curve, they’re worth the investment.
- Rewards and Incentives – Who doesn’t love getting rewarded for shopping? Customer loyalty programs are an excellent way to retain clients and keep them coming back for more. You can either use a system (i.e., points for every purchase) or reward customers at specific milestones (i.e., birthdays or every tenth purchase). Even better, you can promote these rewards and incentivize new customers to sign up.
5. Build Your Social Media Presence
The most successful modern brands are highly active on social media. These platforms allow you to connect with customers directly, and they’re an easy way to promote new content and brand awareness. That said, the secret to successful social media marketing is consistency, which can be challenging for small businesses. It’s hard to post daily or weekly when you have so many other tasks on your to-do list.
Fortunately, programs like Hootsuite can help you manage your social media accounts and plan posts in advance. This way, you can stay consistent with your messaging without having to log in and engage for hours every day. With these programs, you can plan your marketing campaign weeks or months ahead of time and maintain momentum more efficiently. As your social media presence grows, this software empowers you to stay ahead of the curve.
Now that you know the top five ways to build a branding strategy for your business, success should be within reach. Also, feel free to mix and match different methods to create a more substantial audience. Happy marketing!