Branding is inseparable from running most kinds of small businesses today. Consumers aren’t only interested in purchasing the best product or service. They want one that they connect with companies on a deeper or more personal level. Of course, branding is also what makes people remember your organization over a competitor.
This is why it’s important for you to think about how to brand your company. Below are a few ways to improve your small business branding for more visibility.
Put Yourself in Your Client’s Shoes
It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you should be doing, while not actually doing the right things. This is especially true for small business owners. You have a vision for your organization. It feels good to make that vision come true. But not all of your ideas are going to be perfect. Even if your product is fantastic, you need to consider things from the client’s perspective.
This is easier said than done. You’re always going to harbor some degree of bias toward the way you want to do things. Here’s a unique approach to putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, put forward by Forbes contributor Pia Silva. Pretend you’re a client trying to obtain a product or service. Post an inquiry looking for leads. There will be a lot of telling information in the replies. By doing this, you’ll be able to see what kinds of actions are and aren’t effective.
You Need to Differentiate Your Brand
It’s always a good idea to check out your competition. When you’re new to an industry, or still in the process of figuring out your branding, it’s immensely helpful to look at the strategies of other companies. You’ll particularly want to eye the businesses that have built successful brands. But don’t fall into the pattern of simply copying what others have done before you. If you try to do too much of the same, you’re going to end up lost in a sea full of undifferentiated brands.
It’s still possible to be different even when you’re vying for a piece of a highly contested pie. In fact, it’s even more important for brands in a saturated market to set themselves apart from competitors. These are a couple ideas for distinguishing your brand:
- Use engaging language in all stages of branding. You aren’t going to attract customers by being dull and boring. Active, interesting verbiage that makes people think will go a long way in driving conversions. At the same time, don’t go too far. You don’t want customers to think you’re being pushy or unprofessional.
- Create a novel pricing structure. Most customers are going to care about costs when making a purchase. No matter your industry, you can come up with creative pricing incentives that will entice new clients.
Look at Your Branding Materials with Fresh Eyes
Customers are going to immediately pass on your company if your branding materials don’t project the right message. First, all aspects of your brand (including logos, images, your website, your tone, and anything else) need to be working together. Conflicting branding is an instant turn-off. If you’re a small business, you’re probably going to make your own website through a service like Yahoo Small Business. Choose a template that affords you enough customization to make it your own. No matter your industry, you don’t want your webpage or branding to be overstimulating. Everything should be clean and easy to use for all potential clients.
Use SEO and Content to Your Advantage
Once you’ve built your on-brand website, you’ll need to attract visitors. Search engine optimization (SEO) and content are both great ways to bring new people to your webpage. A well-executed strategy can bring in tons of fresh lead and sales on a recurring basis—all through organic search. Before doing anything in terms of research or execution, you need to define the niche of your content. Just like your business, your content strategy should find a strong intersection between specificity and utility. In other words, it shouldn’t be too broad—but also not so narrow that no one will be interested in it.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to start looking into keywords. Long-tail keywords are going to help you show up higher in organic search. Things like “gym shoes” are going to yield too many results for your post to have any relevance. However, “Best gym shoes for teenage volleyball players” might just yield you some impressions.
Go for a combination of evergreen and timely content—as each has its merits. Most importantly: Make your content useful. You’re just wasting your own time by posting something meaningless stuffed with a bunch of keywords. This sort of content doesn’t do well with modern search engine algorithms—for good reason.
Branding doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But it’s an essential part of being successful in today’s business world. Consider how these branding hacks can open new doors for your small business.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.