With the average small business spending over $75,000 a year on just digital marketing, it’s important that every dollar goes to making your business thrive. Many small businesses will overspend without realizing how much of their branding could be done inexpensively or even for free. Using the right branding tools will allow you to build a strong place for your brand in the public consciousness.
Most small businesses overlook marketing or waste time and money on the wrong tactics. Knowing what works in print, on the web, or via social media takes the experience of professionals. Thankfully, there are some tactics that can be done in-house.
Here are 5 important branding tools that you need to take advantage of this year.
1. Create A Blog
When people search online, they’re looking for one of two things. They’re either looking for a specific product or they’re looking for the answer to a question. Writing a great blog allows you to cover both bases at the same time.
You can use your blog to help people find answers to common questions about the kinds of products and services you provide. You can showcase your products as answers to common solutions and use it to help expand the power of your brand. Your business will gain a reputation as a leader in your industry via the strength of your blog.
A blog also helps you to rank highly on search engines. When you add lots of strong content and use your keywords liberally, you’ll end up in lots of search results.
Create a list of potential blog posts by creating a list of frequently asked questions. Answer each one in detail, with as many relevant images of your products as possible. By offering useful content, you’ll end up having your blog posts shared widely, and draw lots of people into your sales funnel with this low-cost marketing tactic.
2. Use Social Media Stories
Social media channels are implementing a new way of sharing images and videos with followers. The new “stories” function allows you to create a few short instructional videos, add before and after photos, or launch a new series of products.
This new narrative function has a lot of possibilities. You can usually see who has looked at your stories to get an idea of how well they’re doing with your audience. Capture this data to start making a list to see which stories have higher hit rates, who your repeat viewers are, and which followers you’re not capturing.
Stories usually expire in 24 hours, so this is a great way to let customers know about promotions or to create a flash sale. You can experiment with your promotions via a low-cost and low-risk deployment through stories.
3. Create Short Videos
In the next few years, video will account for over 80% of all internet traffic. When people are on social media or searching for information, they prefer to watch videos. Videos consistently get the longest engagement times and lead to the most high-impact visits to company websites.
Creating a set of high-quality videos to promote your products helps to see them in real time. Showing off what your services can do is much more impactful than simply describing them. Videos give you the opportunity to clearly explain how your products can help improve people’s lives.
If you’ve got a lot of creative people on your marketing team, you can use them to come up with ideas for promotional videos. With a clever enough marketing plan, you can write and produce short commercials that get lots of engagement quickly. By working in-house, you can lower your cost of producing and distributing them.
Add subtitle tracks to get more traffic from search engines. Search engines will look through more than just the text on your site surrounding your videos. They’ll also search through the subtitle file you attach to your videos.
4. Claim Business Listings
Google My Business, Yelp, and Yahoo! Local all offer great opportunities for companies to market to their clients. They offer the option to list short-term promotions and add coupons to your listings. You can engage with customers and update your offerings as often as you’d like.
You need to start by making sure that you claim every listing for your company. While you might already have listings on these sites, it’s because someone else put the information in for you. Be sure that you claim the listings so that you can add your own information and correct any incorrect data.
You should also make sure that all of the information listed is consistent. One wrong piece of information could get you confused with another business and start attracting all the negative feedback of that other company.
Take advantage of business listings before you hire a marketing consultant to make their job easier and your money go further.
5. Great Signage
A strong logo and great signage help you to market your business to new customers. A good logo will share what your company is about before customers have the opportunity to engage with your products. You can get clients excited or squeeze into your niche with font choices or colors.
To make sure your signage and logo communicate what your company is all about, be sure to hire a professional marketing company. While you might want to have total creative control over your own image, it’s important to get the help of an experienced specialist. They’ll know what works for your industry, what doesn’t, and how you can keep yourself from reinventing the wheel.
Look at the kinds of services a company offers to get an idea of what your marketing company should be offering to you.
The Branding Tools Are In Your Hands
Don’t waste time and energy on the wrong branding tools. While making great business cards, direct mailers, or email campaigns can be important, you need to first assess whether or not those will work for your market. With the marketing world changing rapidly, not every tool is going to work in every context.
If you’re embracing technology in your work environment, check out our guide on how it can improve productivity around your office.