Your customers expect you to be online, so having a digital presence for your small business is a must. People often research businesses and products online before decided to make purchases or work with them. This means that having an engaging digital brand is crucial.
If the idea of branding your business is overwhelming because you have a small budget, there is some good news.
You can build awareness and increase exposure for your digital brand without a massive budget. If you know where to post, and a few strategic ways to interact with an audience online, you can do a lot even with the smallest of budgets.
Here are three tips to help you build your digital brand on a small budget.
1. List your business.
If your business is not listed in online directories, you could be missing out on opportunities to attract new customers. Listing your business is an easy way to increase your chance of getting found online.
Local Search: To increase your local search visibility, try listing your business on Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local Listing through Yext. You can add helpful information for customers looking for your product or service. For example, this can include company name, address, and contact information.
Social Media: If you haven’t already, be sure to claim your company page on Facebook and LinkedIn. There are many social media sites to choose from, but which you focus on should depend on what will benefit your brand most. For example, a travel brand might want to use Instagram to showcase pictures of destinations, trips, and packages they offer. However, a law firm might benefit most from a stronger Facebook or Twitter presence.
Review Sites: Yelp and Angie’s List can enhance both your local visibility and credibility with public ratings and reviews. Consumers often trust each other and read both positive and negative reviews before making purchasing decisions. Reviews make your company seem more accessible and honest. Be sure to respond to even negative reviews in a professional way, if you choose to. Always maintain professionalism online.
Industry Specific Directories: Competing brands will be listed in industry-specific directories so you want to make sure your business is present as well. List your business in these directories to stay visible and relevant. If you are not listed, you will not exist to potential customers who use them as resources.
2. Collect and distribute user generated content.
If you want great content created without breaking your budget, user-generated content is a simple solution.
UGC can create social buzz for your business and drive brand awareness. One of the easiest ways to invite customers to create UGC is through a contest. Follow this 5 step process for an effective contest:
- Identify your content goal. What type of content do you want to be created? Customer videos? Photos? Tweets?
- Pick a prize and make sure it is enticing enough to attract people to submit content.
- Create a unique hashtag to easily monitor fan submissions and the conversation around your contest.
- Announce your contest. Also. make sure to clearly articulate rules and selection criteria. Many brands require a company mention or tag in addition to a hashtag.
- Select winners and share their submissions on your brand profile with their permission.
Here is an example of a past Instagram contest hosted by Pink Lime Salon And Spa:
This is how, even with only a little money, you can start a conversation around your brand. It doesn’t cost anything to let your customers know you’re listening and want to interact with them. They will appreciate this and it will make your brand stand out.
Also, user-generated content offers numerous benefits. For one, brands often struggle to come up with new content on their own. So much new content is needed all the time. So, the pressure to create new content constantly can lead to burnout.
Using user-generated content can relieve some of that stress. Also, it takes none of your time, money, energy, or resources to create UGC.
3. Collaborate with a partner.
Collaborating with a partner is an efficient way to build your brand on a budget. This is because it allows you to pull resources. Creating co-branded content is a low-cost way to establish a partnership. Business is all about relationships. It allows you to build one with a new business and a new audience.
One of the major benefits of co-branding content is its ability to expand your reach. You accomplish this by accessing your partner’s audience. You provide a valuable new resource to your audience. Also, you expose a new audience to your brand.
Divide And Conquer
With co-branded content, you can also divide and conquer to save both time and money. It is rare that you will find one person, organization, or brand that can handle everything on their own perfectly. A partnership allows both entities to hone their strengths. Also, they can get help with their weaker points.
For example, one partner may be able to more efficiently produce graphics and video. However, the other may have a stronger ability to create compelling copy. Identify individual strengths. Then combine them for a mutually beneficial partnership.
Building A Big Digital Brand On A Small Budget
So there you have it. It’s possible to build a digital brand for your small business even on a small budget. You can do this by taking advantage of free resources, social media, partnerships, and low-cost opportunities to enhance your brand visibility.
While it can seem like an overwhelming process, with these tools, and maybe the guidance of digital branding services, you are more than ready to take on the process of building a powerhouse digital brand. And you don’t need to break the bank.
Again, simply throwing a lot of money around is not enough. You want to build important relationships with other digital brands. Also, you need to cultivate awareness and trust with an audience. You want to have an active and strategic digital brand that customers can interact with. It is more about working smart than simply spending a lot.
What do you think is most important when it comes to building a digital brand on a small budget?