Low-Budget Branding Tips for Small Businesses

When starting a new business, it’s critical to know how to market yourself to new customers. Unfortunately, as a small enterprise, you likely lack substantial funds to spend on branding. However, even if money is tight right now, you can still take advantage of these low-budget branding tips.

Why is branding so valuable? Not only can it help you stand out from the competition, but it can also build better recognition and customer loyalty. Simply put, with the right branding strategy in place, you can position your business for success. So, with that in mind, here are the top five ways to build a strong brand presence without lots of startup capital.

 

Cultivate a Strong Brand Identity

 

Although branding is valuable, it’s virtually impossible to succeed if you don’t have the proper foundation. So, cultivating a strong brand identity can help you focus your efforts and whatever budget you have. Otherwise, you might waste time and money on branding strategies that fizzle out and go nowhere.

 

But, how do you create a brand identity? Here are three ways:

 

Know Your Audience – Who is your target demographic? When answering this question, it’s best to be as specific as possible. For example, if you’re selling camera equipment, you don’t want to sell to men ages 18 to 40. Instead, you should sell to full-time freelance photographers that go on 10+ gigs per month. The more detailed your description, the easier it is to appeal to your audience. While you might sell to a wide array of people, it’s still best to narrow your branding to appeal to a specific user persona.

 

Develop a Brand Personality – Your brand personality is how you choose to represent your company in marketing materials. For example, if you’re writing a blog post for your website, do you want it to sound professional or casual? Some examples of brand personalities include authoritative, innovative, whimsical, and scientific. Depending on your business model, you should choose a personality that fits your company’s aesthetic. Here’s also where knowing your audience can come in handy. Do they want to buy from a fun company or an authority within the industry? Appeal to their preference, and you should be good.

Craft Your Brand Story – One way to think about your brand’s story is to imagine what you’d put on your website’s “about us” page. A brand story is both the history and inspiration for the brand and your mission statement. What do you hope to achieve with your business? What does success look like to you, and how will you reach your destination? Again, knowing your audience helps you focus your attention on the values they appreciate the most.

 

Harness Online Reviews

Another way to leverage your customers for branding is to encourage them to leave online reviews. Data illustrates that customers value these reviews almost as much as recommendations from friends and family. As a rule, people research a business by looking at its reviews before making a purchase.

But, how can you get reviewed as a new business? Here are a few tactics:

Incentivize Customers – While you can’t reward positive reviews, you can give rewards to customers for filling out any kind of review – good or bad.

Ask Everyone – No matter the sale, ask all your customers to post a review. Let’s say you get a five-percent capture rate. So, if you ask 100 people, you’ll get five reviews. If you ask 20 people, you’ll only get one.

Respond to Reviews – Responding to your online reviews shows you pay attention. Customers like it when businesses are proactive about their needs, so more people will be encouraged to post.

 

Design a Logo That Resonates

 

A logo is the foundation for of your brand identity, so it’s crucial to get it right. A good logo will help make a connection between your brand and your audience. It will also help people recall your brand and business. However, to do this you need to design a logo that resonates.

 

Here are some tips on how to design a killer logo on a budget:

 

Choose the Right Fonts – Your font choice can make or break your logo. Consider your brand personality and how you want your logo to represent your business. For example, script fonts work well for classy and elegant brands, such as those selling cosmetics or fashion accessories. Heavy, serif fonts work best for brands that want to build trust, such as a bank or mentoring service. Try out a few fonts to see what resonates the most.

 

Use Colors That Match Your Personality – If you’re trying to be an authority, you should use muted tones like black, gray, and brown. If you’re trying to be fun and exciting, you can use orange, yellow, and red. Innovative brands often use blue, white, or green to signify progress. Think of the emotions that each color exudes and figure out the best options for your brand.

 

Keep Your Design Simple – The best way to envision your logo is to think about how it’ll look on a social media profile on your phone. When it’s that small, can you still read and understand it? If not, your logo may be too complex. Try to stick to the essential elements, such as your company’s name and a graphic or two.

 

Armed with these tips you can create your own DIY logo that won’t cost a fortune. You can also use budget friendly logo maker tools, which are a great option for people who want a professional logo but with the professional price.

 

 

Use Social Media to Engage Your Audience

Now that social media is part of everyone’s lives, it’s never been easier to leverage these platforms to find and engage with new customers. Best of all, setting up a business account is totally free. While you should eventually set a budget for paid advertising, you can focus your attention on growing your audience organically. Although this process takes time, it’s very budget-friendly and can build long-term results.

 

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your social profiles:

 

Post Regularly – Unfortunately, there’s no magic number of times you should post on each site. It seems to be different for every business, so there’s a bit of trial and error involved. However, as a rule, you should aim to post once a day on each profile. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose momentum and followers because they’re not seeing your content.

Use Social Calendar Apps – Sites like Hootsuite allow you to consolidate all your profiles in one place. Better yet, schedule posts ahead of time so that you’re not on social media all the time. Since managing multiple profiles can quickly become a full-time job, these tools are worth every penny, even with a limited budget.

Engage With Your Followers – When you’re starting, you’ll have to be a bit more proactive. Over time, your followers will start commenting and sharing your posts. Start by replying to any comments and liking content from your audience. You can also try commenting on posts from similar businesses to capture your audience’s attention. Remember that social media is a two-way street.

Adapt Your Content to Fit Each Platform – As you may know, Instagram is built for photos, TikTok works for videos, and Twitter is best for article links. So, you need to customize your content to make it more appealing to users on each app. While doing this can take time, it will yield better dividends later on.

 

Leverage the Power of Your Customers

 

Did you know that it’s between five and 25 times more expensive to find new customers than to retain your current ones? So, while lead generation can help you grow your audience, don’t neglect the people who are already buying from your brand.

Fortunately, customers can be some of the most effective brand ambassadors when you leverage marketing options like:

Rewards Programs – The simplest reward program is a “buy X number of products and get one free.” However, you can customize your rewards to fit your specific business model. For example, discounts on a customer’s birthday or anniversary.

Referral Programs – Companies like Dropbox and Hotmail illustrate the power of incentivizing referral programs. With Dropbox, users would get free storage for recommending friends and family. With Hotmail, each message had a link for users to set up their own accounts. The better the rewards, the faster the growth. Ideally, you can experience exponential growth as new customers refer others and the chain continues.

Branded Packaging – While customized branded packaging can be expensive, a low-cost workaround is to buy tons of stickers with your company logo and place them on generic packages. This way, as customers walk around with your products, they act as mobile billboards.

Encourage Reviews – Review are kind today, and as a business you should be working hard to build your online reviews. This is a simple but powerful branding method that won’t cost you anything. To get started register your business on popular review platforms and encourage your customers to leave reviews – you can encourage customers by directly asking them, or through email or cards placed in product packaging.

 

As you can see, branding is not reserved for large companies with lots of cash on hand. These tips can help you graduate to the next stage, no matter where you’re at right now.

Compare listings

Compare