Branding tips

4 Hot Branding Tips for Business Owners on a Budget

Branding is an important part of business marketing…but what are you supposed to do when you’re just starting out and don’t have the capital to put behind a killer branding campaign?

The good news is that you don’t have to be a business bigwig to create branding that really sings. The Internet has especially made branding easier than ever, and marketing yourself online is now cheap and easy thanks to these tools.

I can offer a million budget branding tips, but let’s start out with these four important pieces of advice:

  1. Newsletters

One thing I always say about branding is that the time you invest will always be more important than the money you spend. A consistent brand is one that works hard to create and maintain their image and personality. Sending out newsletters to an email list may not seem like the best way to brand in the short term, but the long term effects are certainly worth it.

You already have someone on the hook with your company. Even if they ignore a lot of your newsletters, it’s sometimes enough to regularly show up in a consumer’s inbox. This keeps you familiar to them, and those who do click regularly will get a taste of your consistent branding every time.

  1. Customer Insights

Sometimes the best branding opportunities don’t even come from you directly. Customers you have that are happy with your services will gladly say so, and this is something you can leverage.

Whether through user generated content or testimonials, customers showcase how they feel about your brand in a positive way. This kind of human feedback creates credibility among other potential customers online. A credible brand is a brand that succeeds because they’ve proven their value to not just the customers they already have, but to the world at large.

  1. Social Media

This should go without saying, but social media will always be your easiest and most inexpensive format for branding. Many associate market with social media more than they do branding, but brand identity and social media go hand in hand.

We can define marketing as purposefully trying to attract customers, while branding is something that is more subtle and subconscious. A brand is an identity, not an action – more aptly, it is the intention behind that action and what that action means. Things like personality and values can be communicated through interacting and posting on social media with a brand’s voice as the vehicle.

  1. Work with Amateur Freelancers

Freelance graphic designers just starting out are looking to fill up their resumes with work in order to get bigger clients and show their areas of expertise. If you’re looking for a logo or something related to web design, amateur freelancers are out there, ready and willing to give you decent work at an incredible price.

You don’t have to spend big to get a nice, simple logo produced. It’s also possible to refurbish your branding later on down the line when you have more capital to invest.

The Most Common Branding Challenges New Entrepreneurs Face

Branding isn’t easy. Some assume that it’s just slapping a logo onto a product and calling it a day, but so much more goes into creating a brand. A brand is a company or a person’s personality made marketable and/or tangible. When you create a new business and need to work on branding, you’re crafting a very human aspect of a business and then figuring out how that human aspect appeals to an audience.

Because branding takes experience to truly get right, new entrepreneurs can easily fall into branding traps and make rookie mistakes. Seasoned entrepreneurs can easily make branding mistakes, so how can newbies avoid these pratfalls?

The key to avoiding mistakes is knowing what they are. While branding holds a lot of mistakes specific to the brand in question, there are a variety of general mistakes that they should know about and avoid.

Going Over the Top

New entrepreneurs and small business owners have a tendency to want to go big or go home. Remember that when you’re first starting out with a business, this is your most vulnerable time — especially financially. It’s a good idea to be willing to invest a generous amount into your branding, but there’s a difference between spending a lot and creatively coming up with a lot.

A brand shouldn’t be complicated. Going all out and creating complicated branding schemas can be very detrimental to brand success, especially when the business in question is newer. Spend money, but spend money on something you think will work.

Non-Digital Integration

Some businesses have a very online presence, and that’s where they perform best. Online marketing and branding are very popular because they reach larger audiences and are often cheaper than non-digital options. However, this doesn’t mean non-digital options should be ignored.

If you have a business that has the potential to exist outside of the Internet, don’t let this possibility pass you by. Even if it’s something as simple as buying business cards with your business URL on them, invest in some sort of tangible, “IRL” branding mechanism.

Taking the Next Step

Many brands start out with a bang but end with a fizzle. Branding isn’t something that’s a one and done operation — it takes maintenance. Many early businesses make the mistake of considering branding to be something they do once and sprinkle throughout their marketing strategies, but this is completely inaccurate. Make sure to keep working with your branding, even after the initial brand launch.

Not Paying Attention to Analytics

Online branding is something that should be paid attention to in the context of analytics. If you send out a tweet that’s relevant to your branding strategy, assess how well that tweet is doing. How many interactions does it have? What’s the retweet to interaction ratio?

Paying attention to branding analytics is one of the easiest ways to tell whether or not what you’re doing is succeeding or failing miserably, or even somewhere in between. Whether you use free analytics resources provided by social media and Google, or you pay for your analytics tools, one thing is for certain — analytic data is necessary for branding success.

Is Your Brand Messaging Reaching Your Target Audience? Here’s How to Find Out

brandingtips You’ve spent a lot of time building your brand messaging stock…but is it actually doing anything for you? If you aren’t putting attention on what your target audience is and if your branding is actually reaching them. Branding and marketing can’t be created and just tossed out onto the Internet as a catch all — extra work needs to be put in to ensure that the content reaches who it will actually appeal to.

There are two obvious steps to making sure that your branding efforts aren’t in vain: deciphering who your target audience is, then using analytics to ensure that they’re being accurately reached.

Establishing Target Audiences

The first step in establishing your target audiences is to simply sit down and see what makes the most sense. What audience does it make sense for your brand to reach out to? A specific gender? Age group? Niche audience? Profession? The more specific you can be, the better.

Demographics aren’t the only area to explore, though. Sometimes you need to appeal to how someone thinks instead of who they are, and this is called a psychographic. This is marketing and branding strategies that appeal to someone on a more mental level than an obvious category. Areas like a person’s values or interests fall into this category.

Sometimes a target audience is more abstract than a specific subset of people. This means that your brand identity is more vague — it’s not like there’s a specific subset of people that Coca Cola or Walmart advertise to. While an individual ad might have a target audience in mind, the brand itself doesn’t have one set demographic.

Establishing a Brand Connection

Once you’ve established what your target demographic is, it’s time to reach out to them. Depending on who your demographics are, how you reach out to them and build that connection may drastically change. Many key demographics can be reached via social media, but which sites? Do you have a target demographic in mind that isn’t so Internet savvy, like the elderly?

Analyzing the Outcome

The best way to understand if your brand is actually connecting with an audience is to analyze the data involved with your branding and marketing to see if it’s working the way you want it to. Many social sites and blogging platforms like Twitter and WordPress have built in analytics tools that you can use for free or at a very low price. These are great resources! However, it never hurts to spend a little money on tried and true analytics software.

Analytics is how you determine if your plans are actually succeeding. Without analytics, you push branding content out into the world blind. How will you know if it’s successful? Is it failing? Is it succeeding?

The great thing about analytics is that it can get into specifics. If you do a branding overhaul and see your sales go up, your plan worked — but why? How can you execute this same plan again and again to better ensure future success? Analytics is worth paying for, and it’s worth paying very close attention to too.

Tips on Creating Effective Product Messaging


Focus on delivering the whole nine yards

In the age of multiple social media websites and opportunities for people to review you, there are a few cautions for the entrepreneur that could mistakenly drift into a bad message channel. For instance, if there is a promotion that you are running involving freebies or giveaways, don’t follow one commonly followed path.

A lot of new brands want to create hype and in doing so they create gimmicky events that have carefully created fine print. They assume that people will be beating down the door and excited to see a new place, and maybe with the state of the economy, that they will in turn not worry about you not making good on your offer. Don’t follow this path! Even if a few customers stick around and don’t mind what you did, the ones that were looking forward to the event or giveaway will vent about it. There are brands with massive potential that go this route and ruin the future for themselves; especially in the domains involving travel and music merchandising.

Incorporate lots of examples

When you are first involved in the process of conveying a message, there are many consumers who may not believe your claims right away. When you make moves like including graphs and other visuals that may appeal to their emotion, their analytical side can kick in and make a last minute decision for them to buy your product. It has also been widely proven in the world of successful advertising that if you have a point to make in the world of branding and marketing, make it in three’s. It has been said many times that even with a stellar product, the most important motive is to not have the main message put people to sleep. In essence, creating a sense of urgency could be the hardest work involved in creating your message.

The art of really knowing your buyer

In some cases the persona and entire culture of a buyer must really be examined. Of course demographic research is the most traditional way to do this, but even logging on to some social media sites and checking out a product’s following can clue you in. If you truly are going to deliver a message that will resonate for a long period of time, there are a lot of attributes you have to figure out. When dealing with a company like VW or a hip sneaker brand, figuring out what your target market’s buttons are can take you across the finish line in the final hour.

In a well-known technology company that now has a large share of market sales’ research, at the very last minute before a new commercial dropped on the web and on air, it was learned that the target buyer had a bit more competitive edge than previously thought. With not a whole lot of time to spare, a spot was tailored for them that involved two alpha type males playing a game against each other, instead of a typical product pitch. In the end, it really paid off; even though the two guys’ competitive edge was a bit quirky, the audience recognized the call to action and really lined up to purchase the product.

Another attribute of great strength is fully understanding your target market’s next choice down the line. Whether you are in the business of outsourcing, coaching, or perfecting a product line, when it comes to creating a message, there is much more to be done than just offering a quick peek at your strong points. Sometimes in the line of insurance and service providers, the most important part of the message is voicing what “They” AKA the “competitor” can or cannot fulfill compared to your product. Part of a product message is clarity and strength building, and your product or service may really be able to spread its’ wings when sized up against another that offers the same thing with a few pitfalls.

Brand Building, A Motivational Outlook


I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily as good for the gander. In an ever-changing world full of uncertainty and evolution, the one-size fits all theory, simply doesn’t exist. And yet, you can apply the same concepts and ideas as the next person however, it’s the individuality behind that idea that ultimately prevails. I just recently had a conversation with a great friend of mine who insisted, “no one can do it like you do it,” and this is especially true. And the same phrase needs to auto repeat in your mind when brand building. Yes, the competition is always fierce and will stay that way but a couple things to remember: 1. be unique, the competition is not you (vice versa) 2. the competition doesn’t have your game plan, strategies, capabilities, connections or drive. So forget playing the comparison game and continue right along. In the end, the sole purpose of building a brand is to stand somewhere away from those areas already flooded with the same type of people, and their ideas.