Small business owners generally fall into the category of single-minded people. They’ve chosen a path, honed their craft and put their heart and soul into making a living relying on nothing but their own two hands.
That’s probably the reason why many small business owners and entrepreneurs approach advertising with a bit of insecurity, even fear, which comes from a lack of understanding of how it all works.
After all, marketing is loaded with big words that convey mythical powers and abilities to make the public surrender its unquestioned loyalty to your product or your service. Isn’t it, therefore, smart to put your trust into the hands of a trained magician… err, professional?
In reality, healthy logic and a bit of common sense can go a long way. With everyone working with limited means, paying an advertising agency to come up with a comprehensive marketing strategy might be too much for many.
However, modern technology and the general availability of information allow you to do a lot of the work on your own. You will still have to pay for something, but not for everything. In short, you can be your own marketing strategist and build a foundation towards building a successful brand. Here are five steps you need to take into consideration.
Before you get down to promoting what you do, you need to put your business in front of the proverbial mirror and identify the qualities and values you’d want associated to it.
Try to find the few keywords that best describe the way you want your business to be perceived (quality, reliability, promptness, innovation, etc.). Once you do, you’re already halfway towards achieving your branding goal.
This one is easy, since by now we are all aware of the significance of the visual aspect of the message you’re sending out to the public. When designing a logo, make it striking. When devising a slogan, make it catchy.
The hard part is hitting it just right, so don’t just go for the first thing that pops into your head. Put some time and thought into it, and don’t settle for anything less than perfect. Utilize your own creative skills or the talents of your friends, or hire a professional if all else fails.
There are two groups you need to focus on – your competition and your desired client base. Look at what your competitors are doing and try to think of a way to distinguish yourself. The success of a marketing campaign is often not about what you’re doing right, but what the others are doing wrong.
Understanding the market in which you operate and knowing your (future) clientele is essential for the success of your promotional efforts (and the overall success of your business venture). Research your market and learn the habits, the needs and the values of the people who constitute it.
The part that calls for some investing is getting your message across. Of course, you can save up on promotional efforts by utilizing various online platforms that cost you next to nothing and devising creative ways to engage the public, and you can also get plenty of nice publicity by supporting a charitable or a social cause.
Still, to make sure your message reaches your entire desired client base, you will need to employ various promotional channels. Knowing the market will help you choose the best channels for the greatest effect.
Ideally, your logo should be omnipresent. That’s not going to happen on its own. Invest some money into promotional goods bearing your logo, because that is still a very effective way for people to familiarize themselves with your brand.
Devote some thought to choosing promotional items that both catch the eye and have an actual purpose. At least in this day and age you’re not lacking in options. Heck, even water bottles can be promotional goods. Your choice of promotional items also sends a message about your business, so make sure it’s the right one.
Final words about Building a Successful Brand
Finally, always keep in mind that the one most important thing to building a healthy brand is the quality of your product or your service. After all, advertising can trick people into giving your business a try, but it can’t trick them into coming back if the quality is lacking. Do your job the best you can, and good things will follow.