Developing, building and promoting your business brand are essential steps in any small business’ success. The good news: Building a strong brand doesn’t have to drain your business bank account.
Here are some ways to build your brand on a budget.
1. Choose your business name wisely
When you don’t have a big budget for marketing, it’s important that your business name be memorable and distinctive. Brainstorm to come up with a name that conveys what your business does, the benefit to customers and the emotions your business evokes. For branding purposes, you want your name to stand out in any visual format — whether that’s a giant sign outside your store or a tiny thumbnail photo on your social media profile. Your name should also be one that’s easy to remember and type when searching online, and your website domain name should be as close as possible to your business name.
2. Develop a logo
Once you’re satisfied with your business name and have done a trademark search to make sure no one else owns it, the next step is developing a logo. If you have graphic design skills, consider creating your own logo. If you don’t, investigate services that provide templates you can use to create your own logo. Remember, the logo will be the foundation of your brand’s visual identity, so if you’re not confident in your design choices, work with a graphic designer to get a unique logo designed — it can be quite affordable.
3. Trademark your logo
Before you start building your brand, protect it with a trademark. It’s easy to do this yourself: Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website, and you can search a database of trademarks, file a trademark application and get updates on your application status.
4. Develop a consistent visual identity
Your logo is the basis of your brand identity; now build on it. Carry the same design elements and colors into all the visual aspects of your brand, including your business website, business cards, employee uniforms, business stationery, signage, print marketing materials and more. If needed, enlist the services of a graphic designer here.
5. Build a business website
Every business needs a website. Your requirements may range from a simple, one- or two-page website to a fully functional ecommerce site. Look for a website design company that provides the level of service you need—whether that’s templates you can use to develop your own website, or custom design services if your needs are more complex.
6. Make your mark
Use your business logo everywhere you can — at the end of your email signature, on your invoices and product spec sheets, on your menu or shopping bags and, of course, on your business cards. Basically, any communication that potential customers see should have your logo on it.
7. Connect with your customers
Stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis to get feedback about how well your business is meeting their needs, what new products or services they are interested in, and how you can serve them better. Talking to customers consistently, both in person and online, not only gives you valuable information that can help grow your business, but also keeps your brand top-of-mind.