Everyone knows that in order to build a strong brand, you need to make an investment, however, does the amount of money invested translate into the strength of the brand? It depends. If you know what you’re doing, it’s possible to make a major saving even on a tight budget. This is due to the fact that you’ll know where it’s safe to cut corners and where paying a bit more gives you a lot more value. With that in mind and without further ado, here are six ways to brand your business on a budget.
1. Develop the identity of your business
The first objective that you have is to make your brand into more than a faceless entity. What you need to do is give it a human-like identity by assigning it with a lot of attributes that your audience can relate to. For instance, you can pick up a cause to stand for. This way, you’ll also break the stigma that you’re concerned with profit alone. Other than this, you need to understand that the way you treat your customers and your employees gets out. Keep in mind that what you do defines you more accurately than what you say.
As a brand, you’ll have your blog and your social media profiles (both of which we’ll discuss in more detail, later on). Now, your audience usually doesn’t see the person behind the statement or the post, especially if it’s published by your official account. So, what do they assume? Well, that it’s a formal statement of your brand, naturally. This is why it’s so important to show some consistency when it comes to the choice of jargon and terminology. Ideally, you would go for something suitable for your target audience. Something that they understand and relate to (something close to how they normally communicate).
2. Consistent social media presence
The next thing you need to focus on is the content that you share with your audience. Here, you have two major types of content – original content and other people’s content. You see, the original content is what you, as a business write, edit or produce on your own. The problem with this lies in the fact that you need a fresh topic, a moment of inspiration and enough time to write the content. This is far from easy, seeing as how an average piece of content takes about 3 hours and 57 minutes to write, while a lot of bloggers seem comfortable spending 6+ hours writing content.
It’s not just about having the right content, it’s also about having the place to upload the content in question to. In other words, you need to start a blog. Fortunately, doing this on a budget is really not that hard. Just keep in mind that the fact that you’re doing so on a budget doesn’t mean that you should try to get by with a free version. In reality, this is the course of action that will end up costing you more. With the majority of hosts, a starter plan costs merely several dollars, which won’t breach anyone’s budget.
Finally, we come to the topic of other people’s content. Why does this matter? Well, first of all, it earns you favors and encourages others to share your own content. Second, just because you aren’t the original author of the post, this doesn’t mean that people won’t notice that you’re the one who shared the content. In other words, you can use this as a constant reminder of your presence. The very fact that your audience encounters your brand’s logo (even if it’s in the form of a social media profile) is a way to stay in front of their eyes.
3. Offline marketing
The simplest way to earn favors with your audience is to generate value. Sometimes, you can do this by offering knowledge, sharing information or amusing/entertaining them, with your content. On the other hand, you can go for more traditional content and actually provide them with an item such as a branded T-shirt, umbrella, etc. The reason why this is cost-effective is due to the fact that, by printing in bulk, you get a great price-per-unit. Due to the fact that the cost-effectiveness of your marketing is determined based on a cost-per-conversion model, teaming up with a specialized printing agency like All-Star Graphics makes perfect sense (budget-wise).
Another benefit of digital marketing is the fact that it can help you bridge the gap between digital and traditional. How? Well, by thinking outside-of-the-box and using the same format both offline and online. For instance, an infographic can easily be turned into a brochure or a leaflet. Other than this, if you pay for a piece of street art, it won’t be long until it finds its way on social media, which will earn you tags, hashtags and various other forms of brand mentions. Above-listed printed items can be used as a reward for participation in social media contests. All in all, you have so many options and a way to boost your digital footprint by interacting with your audience in the real world.
4. Prioritize customer service
Putting an emphasis on customer experience (CX) is not really something that requires a massive investment. In fact, all it requires you to do is be as assertive and vigilant as possible. You can start by optimizing your website for performance. Responsiveness and intuitiveness are the first two things you need to try to achieve. From the moment they reach your website, they need to know where they need to go next. Your landing page needs to lead them straight to your e-store, show them your contact information, etc.
Also, you need to ensure that your customer support is unparalleled. Keep in mind that return customers make the majority of your profit, which is why you sometimes need to put making a good first impression in front of making some instant profit. For starters, you need to be honest with your pricing (add tax and delivery costs right away) and you need to avoid false advertising. Most importantly, you need to have a lenient return policy. This will help you avoid getting bad reviews caused by outraged customers.
5. White label digital marketing
Doing everything on your own can end up costing you far more than outsourcing. How? Well, because you’re not just looking at the cost of starting your own department but about what you’re getting for your money’s worth. Sure, starting a modest in-house marketing team can be quite frugal but how does their performance compare to that of a major digital marketing agency. How long will it take them to get the necessary knowledge and experience, not to mention contacts, tools, and practices that they’ll use?
With the help of practices like white label digital marketing, you’ll get so much more. You see, instead of having your marketing handled by one team, it will actually become a massive collaborative project. This way, every single task will be handled by a team of specialists, thus enabling you to get the most value for your money’s worth. Needless to say, you, as a business, won’t even feel the difference (from the administrative standpoint). All that you’ll notice are the results which are quite formidable.
6. Protect your IP
The very last thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that you need to take the issue of intellectual property (IP) protection very seriously as soon as possible. The reason behind this is simple – it saves you a lot of time and money. First of all, infringing on other people’s IP is bad for business, seeing as how it may cause some legal fees, force you to change the direction of your brand when you’ve already committed (financially) to it or just portray you like a copy instead of a real deal.
For this to work, you must start getting familiar with the concept of intellectual property, to begin with. For starters, you need to learn the distinction between copyright, trademark, and patent. Then, you need to work out which of your inventions goes under which category. Some of your IP (like a name or a brand) has automatic protection by the law, however, this doesn’t mean that no one will ever infringe on it or try to copy you. Your legal team needs to be ready for this scenario and you need to be ready to spring into action at any given moment. Building a brand is just one piece of the puzzle – protecting what you’ve created is just as important.
The very last thing you should keep in mind is that, sometimes, trying to save money ends up costing you more. Why? Well, because a redo or starting over are unnecessary expenses that you could have avoided if you’ve just done everything right the first time around. In other words, while some see paying less as a budget-friendly feature, what you should really be focusing on is paying less and getting more. The above-listed six methods are the best way for you to get the best of both worlds.