Marketing can make or break a company, especially a small locally owned business. Often the owners of these companies are wearing the hat of many positions. Often they get in business due to a love or interest in whatever their business specializes in. Be it law, electrical, or plumbing they often aren’t interested or savvy in internet marketing or branding. We find that small businesses often don’t position their company or use the web as effectively as they could. While this is partially due to the time and resource crunch small business owners feel, it’s also because, beyond building a website, they don’t know where to begin.
Here are some of the steps we take here at Build Your Online to help your company grow.
- Define the brand
A number of companies we have worked with did not have a brand. Some would have a name, some wouldn’t. The same goes for a logo, or even a small website. What they all had in common however, was that the did not stand for anything. Take Apple for example, what do you think of? Innovative and well designed products, right? So many small businesses are built from an individual wanting to work for themselves or because they see an opportunity to improve on an existing product. They figure, build a website and they will come.
If you look at history, the companies that remain year after year have a brand, something that makes them different then their competition. It is something that people connect with, and when coupled with a good product and customer service, drives people to keep coming back.
You’re probably thinking thinking, “Well that’s all fine and good, but I don’t know how you go about building a brand.” Which is fine and honestly expected. There are people who make careers out of building brands you could contact, market research surveys you could pass out, and focus groups you could run, but, realistically, small businesses don’t usually have the financial resources to invest in these strategies. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a brand though. We often run through the following lightweight brand building exercise with our new clients.
- Think about your origin story
Think about why you started the company, what drove you to go into business for yourself. We often find that what drove you to start your company is also what makes you unique.
- Talk to your customers
Find out from your customers “What do you like about our company? What don’t you like? Why did you choose us over our competitors? What are your pain points?” When you listen to customers talk about your business, you’ll have a better understanding of the parts of your company that resonate with people and what should be reflected in your brand messaging.
- Do competitor research
Find your competition and then analyze. Take a look at your competitors’ websites. Ask yourself: “What are they doing well? What aren’t they doing well? How do they talk about their company?” You’re looking for holes in your industry, a way to make your company different than your competitors.
- Compile information and develop your brand
You’re now ready to start building your brand. Look back at your answers. What from your origin story and customer conversations stood out and got you excited? How can you talk about those things in a way your competitors haven’t? Once you have that figured out, you have a brand position.
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