Small Businesses and Solo Entrepreneurs need to build their brand identity just like the large companies. People are more likely to do business with you if they feel comfortable with you and feel like they already know you.
When you sneeze do you ask for a ‘Kleenex” or a tissue? Are you thirsty for a ‘Coke’ or a cola? Consumers buy these products just because they are familiar with them. When you’re a small business owner or solo entrepreneur the product/service is you. It is imperative that you build brand identity that creates familiarity of you within your ‘niche’ market. Building your identity is important because people support businesses and products that they are comfortably familiar with and avoid the unknowns.
Here are some successful strategic branding ideas.
Personal experience creates a strong bond between you and your customers. Your customer service needs to be extremely personal so it creates an viral cycle. The personal experience your customer receives will lead to ‘word of mouth’ publicity.
Create a consistent and repetitive association of you in your prospects mind. This can be achieved by using jingles in audio advertising mediums, and logos, photos, slogans and/or positioning statements in print advertising mediums, press releases, brochures and especially your business cards. Remember there is a back side to your business card and that is valuable space to be used for brand marketing. Be consistent in the look of your marketing/advertising so it brands you and your company. People will be acquainted with you based on that alone.
Get a professional web site with headers and footers that continues your business identity using the same logos, photos, slogans and/or positioning statements as you use in print.
Write articles with content that is educational and valuable for your customer. Put each article on your website and invite visits to your site through your resource box. Use your resource box to build brand identity.
Use article directories to publish your articles, with your resource box pointing back to your website, to build name recognition. This is absolutely FREE advertising and a must for branding your business and yourself. When you sign up as an author you have an opportunity to add your photo or logo in your profile. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity for increased identity branding.
Brand your business by associating with and complimenting other successful products to develop a quality reciprocal link and partnership brand strategy on the Internet. This will increase your exposure and business identity. There are products you can use for this such as Arelis (http://axandra.com/index.htm) and Zeus (http://www.cyber-robotics.com)
Build brand identity and stay in constant contact with your customers and prospects by using an auto responder service. Communicate frequently with your customers and prospects giving useful and personal information. Always use your same logos, photos, slogans and/or positioning statements.
Frequency is another branding strategy. As an example, create a postcard marketing campaign where you send out pertinent information about your market or how you go above and beyond the ‘typical’ customer service. These direct mail postcards should be sent out at least once per month, if not more, and have your photo and/or logo prominently placed.
Your brand is your promise. Make sure you, and anyone associated with your business, can stand behind what you have promised in your efforts and be able to deliver on that promise. If you don’t live up to it promises your customers and prospects will feel alienated from you and your company. This will damage your relationships and your overall brand.
A consistent look for everything you do will design your business identity. Successful small business owners and solo entrepreneurs know the importance of ing their identities into the consciousness of their niche. When they are ready to purchase they will already know you and are willing to buy your product or service. Never under estimate the power of branding.