This post was originally published on Feb. 12, 2018, and was updated on May 21, 2019.
While conversions and sales are important, branding your business is just as vital. A bad first impression is no impression at all, and poor branding is the equivalent of showing up for an important meeting in a T-shirt and cargo pants.
There should be no excuse for poorly implemented branding.
Defining your brand’s personality, conceptualizing your visuals (such as a logo), claiming social media handles and custom email addresses, and much more should all be on your checklist. The need to capture the very best leads and customers demands it.
With that in mind, we’ll spend this article talking about four key basics for branding your business that you’ll need to follow. First, however, let’s discuss why branding is so vital!
Why branding your business should be a primary concern
The term branding is bandied around a lot. Essentially, it means the visual presentation of your small business, including your logo, color scheme, “personality” and even your business name.
Given how all-encompassing this concept is, there are a wealth of reasons to make sure it’s at the forefront of all your business decisions. For example:
- Implemented correctly, branding can increase your perceived professionalism.
- It generates a unique “brand identity,” which potential customers will recognise regardless of where it appears.
- Branding offers consistency across all of your promotional channels, such as social media, newsletters, print media and wherever else you choose to advertise.
In short, branding is more than just a fancy logo — it’s how your company is perceived, what it stands for, and how business is conducted. All in all, working on your branding efforts is vital to success.
Start branding your business in 4 key steps
Fortunately, branding your small business isn’t complicated. The following four steps will go a long ways towards getting you started.
- Define your key goals.
- Understand your target audience.
- Conceptualize your brand’s personality and identity.
- Run consistent social media and marketing channels.
Now that you’re familiar with the importance of branding, let’s move through these four steps to ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing efforts.
1. Define your key goals
It’s a good idea to nail down your major goals early on. Doing this will give you a great foundation for any decisions you’ll make from here on out. If a potential idea doesn’t fit with your key goals, you’ll either need to refine it or scrap it.
To do this, you’ll need to ask yourself a few simple questions, such as:
- What do I want to achieve?
- What is the longevity of my business?
There’s much more you could work on here. Ultimately, however, you’ll want to determine some specific objectives for your business and note them down.
2. Understand your target audience
Just as with your business goals, you also need a firm grasp on your target audience when you’re branding your business. The answer to the question, “Who are you trying to sell to?” should not be “Everyone.”
Narrowing your potential customer base may sound counterintuitive to good business, but by knowing who to target, you’ll attract leads who will be more inclined to convert.
To begin, you’ll simply want to look at your current customers and those of your competitors, and start to generate an average customer persona.
Next, list the benefits of your products and services, and make sure they match this persona. The idea is to start thinking about what the customer needs from you before they’ll open their wallet. Once you understand that, you can move onto developing your communications.
3. Conceptualize your brand’s personality and identity
At this point in branding your business, it’s time to take what you already know about your company and customers and develop a specific personality and identity to match. It should be clear why this is important. When you project a persona that your audience can relate to, they’ll be more inclined to gravitate toward your products and services.
There are a number of elements to consider here, such as your logo, the tone you use when writing and even the format of your email address.
Your email, for example, will benefit from a strong username or “local-part” (such as hello or contact), and should always be attached to your website’s domain.
As for the visual elements, you’ll first need to consider what makes your business stand out, such as your mission statement, your brand “essence” and the promises you make to your customers.
Next, begin thinking about how those traits can guide the choices you make with regard to your typography, logo and color scheme. There’s more to consider down the line, but this is a solid first step to take.
Editor’s note: Part of having a consistent brand personality involves your business logo. Don't forget about creating a logo when planning your business identity!
4. Run consistent social media and marketing channels
Finally, you can begin to step away from your website and look to other direct marketing channels, such as social media. Forty-one percent of Americans think that having a strong social media presence is important for any business, so you need to give this due attention.
If you’re not already on social media, this is the perfect time to claim any available handles, even if you don’t plan on using them.
This will help you offer consistent social media branding and deter domain squatters from hijacking your efforts.
After that stage of branding your business, you need to start developing a strategy and then create your content. How you do this depends largely on your goals and audience. It might take some effort, but the work you do to brand your business will help you immensely in the long run.
Branding your business should be a pressing concern, especially those who haven’t previously considered it. In this post, we’ve discussed branding your business — more specifically what constitutes good branding — and how to achieve it. Let’s recap the four steps you’ll want to follow:
- Define your key goals to provide a foundation for your branding efforts.
- Hone in on a suitable target audience so you’ll know exactly who you’re aiming your brand at.
- Create a personality and identity related to your target audience and goals to homogenize your efforts.
- Make sure your marketing and social media is on point so you can start developing a strong conversion funnel.
Branding can have a direct impact on success, both in the short- and long-term. The fortunate news is that branding your business doesn’t have to be difficult. Use these steps to kickstart your marketing efforts and establish your company.