Sunday, April 11, 2021

Create || Branding Tips For Small Businesses

Create - Collaborative post

Whatever size business you run, having the right branding in place is really important. Not just for a professional look, but also to be instantly recognised by customers and potential clients, as well as reflecting both your personality and style of business. Seeing certain colours, logos or tag lines will help your business stand out, as well as pulling your customers in to see what you have to offer. Branding doesn't have to be expensive and it's not all just about the perfect logo, it's a way of speaking to your customers and sometimes telling people about your business before they've read a single word you have to say. This can be a great thing, but if done badly it can also put people off, so where do we start?

Do your research

Whatever you do for business, you need to know your target customers inside and out. Research is really important, from getting the right name, image, message and knowing what businesses you admire do that have worked so well. Looking to other businesses for inspiration can be really helpful. Knowing what you like, what makes you cringe, what draws you in and most importantly, what encourages you to buy. You need to learn the average ages of the people you want to reach, what they like, where they hang out and what other brands they love. Once you understand your customer, you'll be able to build the perfect branding to reflect what you do whilst appealing to the right people. 

Get the right image for you

Whatever product or service you offer, it's important to send out a consistent message, as well as tying all your visual components together with the same branding colours, logos and branded stationary such as compliment slips, stickers and business cards that really show you are offering a professional service and adds to that magic of being instantly recognisable, from something as simple as a logo on an envelope matching that seen on socials.

For help with branding, sites like UKPrint can work with you to get exactly what you need to make your business truly reflect you and your brand. As well as giving off the image that suits you, think about what will appeal to your customers too, if it's an eco brand let that show, if it's colourful art work you sell, have a vibrant logo and branding that reflects that. If you'll be photographing your products yourself, look into the best ways to do this too, how to set up your shots, how you'll bring them together with the rest of your branding and what you want the end result to look like. Bad photos talk a thousand words and you could have the best product in the world, but if your photos aren't clear or appealing, this can be really off putting. 

Be unique

Although it can be hard to find your 'brand' from the off, by finding a way to stand out with your brand message as well as image, you can really get a good grip of the market you're aiming for. Although looks aren't everything, giving off the right image to compliment you and what you do is key to reaching the right people and appealing to them. To find your unique selling point (USP) think about what you offer that's slightly different to the norm. You may be a personal trainer with a key focus on 'positive body image whatever your size', or a baker that specialises in 'local delivery of the city's best kids cakes'. Finding a slightly more niche focus can be really handy when brand building, as well as when you're sourcing the right customers for your products. You need to tell people your story, why they should buy from you and why you're the best choice for them, without always using lots of words!

Grow your community

Once you have a good idea of what your USP is and the kind of person you'll ultimately be selling to, it's time to reach those people by building a community, which can be done in many ways. One good way is to connect with other local businesses. All small business owners know the struggle and are quite often the most supportive, meaning they can be really helpful in getting referrals as well as direct business. Just make sure they aren't rivals! Another way is to set up a group or 'gang' on socials, focusing on the kind of people that you can direct to your page or site. You may want to set up a 'new mums' group if you offer crochet baby toys, a cake lovers page to run alongside your bakery business etc. Getting to know the person behind the brand is a really good way of building trust and people are far more likely to buy from someone they trust! You may want to direct people to a blog on your shop site for advice for a gentler approach or even suggest products, promote gift guides or find product testers etc. 

Branding is really important and it's often something we learn along the way, but if you can do it from the off, it'll be much easier to grow your business and build a loyal customer base. Branding doesn't have to be expensive, but it is a worthy investment so it's worth considering putting budget aside for extra help with branding if needed or promotional materials. There is a world of help out there to get you started and if you simply don't have the time, it's well worth taking on an expert to help you pull everything together. Good luck!