For small business owners, hearing something like, “your business cannot experience long term growth without branding,” can be pretty scary.
Many feel locked in an unfortunate conundrum - they’re dependent on long term success, but they can’t afford to pay an advertising or marketing agency to build their brand.
Fortunately, today’s small businesses don’t need to rely on traditional, expensive branding methods and can, instead, use creative grassroots techniques to build an identity that attracts attention and earns a loyal following.
Be Great at What You Do
To get the kind of digital word-of-mouth attention that puts your business in front of a wider audience, your goal should be to earn trust by consistently delivering outstanding quality. Resist the urge to spend time trying to find a catchy way to promote your brand, and focus instead on creating an exceptional product and a memorable customer experience.
People typically only share experiences that are positive or negative, and that’s because those are the ones they remember. If you ask a friend about her best and worst dining experiences, she will be able to tell you exactly where it happened. But if you ask her, “Hey, where have you had a really mediocre meal?” she won’t have a definitive answer.
You want your brand to stand out because of greatness, not blend in because of mediocrity.
Find and Encourage Your Evangelists
Today’s consumer trusts bloggers and other social influencers more than they trust branded advertising. This is bad news for ad agencies, but it’s great news for small businesses who need to brand on a budget.
After you’ve earned a reputation for delivering a great product and customer experience, look for social influencers in your industry and begin engaging with them through their websites and social media.
You also want to encourage your audience to spread the word about your brand, and you can do this by interacting with them as attentively as possible. If they tweet at you, tweet back. Provide answers to their questions. Show your personality. If you get the right people on your side, your reach could expand exponentially.
Bring Something to Share
Since most grassroots branding happens online through social media, you should create and share content that your audience will want to share with their networks.
Avoid frequent posts about your own products and services, and instead share information that your audience cares more about. They probably won’t be inclined to share a post about your upcoming sale, but they may feel compelled to share a how-to blog post, a link to a new study, or a relevant news article. The more often you provide shareable content, the faster your brand will grow.
While building a brand may seem like a daunting task, taking these simple steps can make a big difference. These methods may deviate from traditional branding techniques, but they will help your brand build credibility and gain exposure without busting your bottom line.