It’s a competitive world out there, with more and more start-ups popping up daily. How do you set yourself apart? Branding.
The process will distinguish your company from the competition and communicate your values to your target audience, so it’s best to get started right away.
Your funds are often at their lowest when you’re starting up, and branding can involve lots of time and money. However, if you get it right the first time, it will pay off in the long term. That’s why we’ve assembled a short list of affordable branding techniques to help your business stand out.
1) Create your own content
Creating your own content and posting this on your website will help you establish yourself in your industry. Content often comes in the form of a blog or videos that explain your offering or share information. Potential customers want to see that you are passionate about your business and what product/service you offer, so let this shine through in your content.
2) Get a logo
Branding at its most basic (and most essential) form is your company’s logo. At the very least, you need an identifier to put onto branding materials like business cards as well as your website and social media accounts.
Crowdsourcing your logo design is a cheaper option during this step of the branding process, provided you are able and willing to put a bit of time into the process. Crowdsourcing comes in the form of running a contest for creatives to try their hand at designing a memorable logo for you. 99designs is an example of a crowdsourcing site that can assist companies with their design needs in the earliest stages.
3) Provide customer support
Many start ups rely on word-of-mouth as their biggest marketing tool. This means it’s important that you make every user’s experience share-worthy. Timely responses to customer queries are a must, as is easy-to-find contact info.
When things go wrong for your customers, it’s an opportunity for you to show off how much you value their custom and to show off your willingness to help them. It’s situations like these that give your customers an experience to write home about. This can provide testimonials to use on your website too.
In order to brand yourself on a budget, you’ll have to do it through connecting with your customers and building trust amongst those in your community. You can do this by establishing yourself as a company that values its customers and engages with them. They will tell people they know and this can lead to more customers in the future.
4) Build social media accounts
Social networks are a place a customer looks to ensure a company’s validity. If you want to build a trustworthy brand, you’ve got to start building a social media following. If you have limited resources, start small with a Twitter or Facebook account.
Build a following by sharing content that’s relevant to your industry (whether or not it’s your own) and tweet to thought-leaders (trusted experts and specialists) in your industry. Promote your social media profiles in whatever ways you can; make sure they have a prominent position on your website. Social media allows you to share content and updates from your website, and can be very efficient for answering support-related questions.
In part contributed by guest blogger Kelly Inglis, 99design