branding for small businesses

Maybe you are one of those constantly searching for topics like ” branding your business online”, “how to grow your business online”, “business branding”, and “small business branding”.

You probably realized that your business is only as powerful as your branding is. 

As a small business owner, your brand can scale faster if you work on your branding strategy. 

Branding your small business online is the first step, way before you start thinking of spreading the word about your business.

Most people skip this process and then they start thinking there is a problem with their business.

But the problem is not with the business, it is with their small business branding- or lack of it.

 

We all know that without customers, there can be no sales and without sales, there can be no business.

Period.

Branding for small businesses

Now, branding may seem like a very big term.

You may be used to seeing bigger corporations talk about it or make use of it.

It is also likely that you understand the meaning but do not know how to grow your business online. 

Branding is the art of differentiation.

How are you setting yourself apart with the content you put out there?

Branding is the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.

Similarly, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

At this stage, you’re probably wondering,

“How do I  brand my small business”?branding aspects

Before you start, there are a few things you will have to define.

We really wish there is a shortcut to this, but these steps are inevitable.

This model has been in use for a long time and it is an essential part of business branding.

If possible, get a pen and paper and write down these questions and your answers.

Whatever you write could serve as a strategy document for branding your business online.

Before you start, you will have to define these:

1. What kind of products or services do you offer?

Knowing the kind of value you provide is the first step in learning how to grow your business online. 

What you offer helps you identify your industry and niche and the categories of people that respond to it.

Now, if you do not know your products or services, how do you expect to convince others to buy?

2. What problem(s) does it solve?

If your product or service is not solving somebody’s problem, then it isn’t worth having.

Period!

People don’t want to buy products, they want to buy solutions!

They have pain points, and unless your product is doing justice to that, you’ll make no sale whatsoever.

Every waking moment births a problem and everyone has needs that they expect to be fulfilled.

Your product or service could be solving a problem of:Customer Identity

  • Time
  • Comfort /Ease
  • Accessibility
  • Finance
  • Hunger
  • Health
  • Beauty
  • Lifestyle
  • Business

…and the list goes on and on.

Therefore, it is up to you to recognize the problem and define a solution around your products or services.

People learn more about a solution before asking questions about the business.

Do not sell a mattress, sell a good night’s sleep

Using this analogy quoted above, I hope you understand how important it is to your business branding.

Let’s move on…

3. Who are your Ideal customers?

You might have read somewhere about the importance of knowing and identifying your ideal customers.

We call them your “Target Audience”

There are certain parameters that govern the type of people who are looking for solutions; solutions provided by your business. These parameters include:

  • Gender
  • Class
  • Age
  • Location
  • Income level
  • Lifestyle
  • Interests
  • Social habits
  • Aspirations
  • Places they spend the most time
  • etc.

Your business can NEVER be for everyone.

If it is for everyone, then it better be oxygen!

Even oxygen is sold only to the categories of people whose lives are at critical points in hospitals.

I hope the analogy makes sense.

Marketing to everybody is equivalent to marketing to nobody

Knowing your audience helps you communicate better with them. The tone of youths is quite different from that of the aged in society.

Do you get?

Now that you have these parameters defined, let’s focus on the real branding steps.

A. Brand Identity

Your identity is defined, not by what you think your brand is, but by how successful you engrave it in the consciousness of your customers.

There are various components that come together to form a solid brand identity. These are:brand identity

  • Brand name
  • Brand logo
  • Color
  • Brand voice/tone

Brand Name

Contrary to what people think about names having a significant attachment to the business, it doesn’t always have to be.

From experience, this is not always true.

Your brand name should resonate with what you stand for, it’s true.

But, do you know that it is whatever meaning you attach to your brand name that your audience learns to associate it with?

Relax, I’ll explain with an example.

Facebook literally bear no meaning until it’s owners defined it as a social media platform. That is simply business branding!

And in a similar vein, Jumia literally didn’t exist in our dictionaries until the founders defined it as an online shopping website. That’s a good example of how to brand your business online.

I hope this made it clearer.

But the truth remains that your name should be uniquely associated and recognized with your business. It could be an acronym, a homonym or a combination of two elements of nature. 

Simply carve something uniquely meaningful to you, this is an essential part of your small business branding.

brand logoIf you ask a good graphic designer what certain logos represents, they will be able to tell you how every stroke, alignment and illustration matter.

A brand logo represents the business branding and as such should communicate what the business is about.

At the same time, it should stand out uniquely. So that your potential customers will identify this logo with your business.

A good logo communicates your business in your absence.

You just have to leave the work to a good graphics designer.

Makes sense? bet it does.

Brand Color

A lot of things can be said about colors. Colors have a way of passing a message across.

When choosing a brand color, you should select one that resonates with your target audience.

Colors that represent what your potential customers love to interact with, this contributes to how to grow your business online.

You will agree that the colors that males prefer are quite different from those of the females, and while old people may prefer more relaxed colors, the younger ones may prefer something cool and ‘shouty’.

If your products are meant for children, then you may want to stick to pink and blue.

You don’t want to select a color that will repel your audience rather than attract them to your business branding.

Consumer behavior has shown us that some audience does not patronize a business simply because of its colors.

Another point worthy of note is CONSISTENCY.

Yes, your brand colors have to be consistent across all marketing channels. Whether offline or online.

Consistent use of colors has the ability to ingrain your business branding into the hearts and minds of your potential customers.

Brand Voice

This is the next step in branding your business online.

A brand voice can be defined as your business tone. It also depends on the language of your audience.

After identifying your target audience, it is important to note their choice of words and tone, most importantly the language they speak.

You can not speak Spanish if your potential customers are English speakers, the same way you should not speak French to an audience of Latinos.

You also need to note your business voice. Your business may sound cool, trendy, casual or professional and uptight. These all depend on knowing who you are communicating with.

That is why it is essential to do the homework on knowing your target audience, as stated earlier.

 

B) Website

branding website

An essential aspect of business branding is owning a website.

In this age, digital media has taken over and buyers are no longer wandering, looking for where to get your services.

I know you know this already, so why not utilize this opportunity!?

It could be a one-page website or an e-commerce store with just 50/less product listings, you still need to own a website.

It is like claiming your rightful space on the web. It is one of the ways on how to grow your business online and an integral part of branding your business online.

You may need to read this guide about awesome reasons why your business should have a website.

With the fortification of smartphones, buyers now go online to search for products and services before making an actual decision to purchase.

Google and other search engines provide results based on websites that are available.

Imagine having your product or services displayed on a website that you own.

Small business branding now involves the creation of a website.

This will position your business in front of your customers, thereby making you more sales.

In the smartest way too.

You may also read up:  How small businesses can generate more lead with a website

7 Guaranteed Ways to Increase Sales through your Website in Nigeria

That’s how others are making sales online, the secret is no longer hidden.

C) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

seoThe benefits of SEO to small businesses in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized.

For start-ups, SEO will assist you in creating a better, faster and more user-friendly website.

Simply put, Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a technique that ensures a website is being found in search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc)  for keywords, services, and phrases relevant to what the website is offering to its users.

Presumably, by now, most entrepreneurs and marketers know and understand perfectly well that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential marketing strategy for driving organic traffic to websites. Your small business branding will require you to work on the aspect of SEO when branding your business online.

HOW? 

It allows your business to appear on the front page of search engines when potential customers look for products or services your business offer on the internet.

One major goal of every website is to drive traffic, generate leads and convert the leads into paying customers to businesses. To achieve this through your website, you must be on the front page of search engines.

You might have a nice website with a good outlook, but if your website and its contents are not well optimized for good user experience (both mobile and desktop users), it will rather be almost impossible to drive traffic to your website as you would have expected. 

For better understanding, read: Top 5 Benefits of SEO to Businesses

D) Use Social Media

social media brandingAs more and more people are utilizing social media every day.

Don’t you think it’s time to take your business there and shove it right in their face where they can see it?

Lol! Just kidding…

If you’re wondering how to know how to grow your business online, social media is a great place to start from.

Having a business social media account helps you out in a lot of ways.

You get to display your products to your potential customers and they get to purchase without leaving the social platforms that they love so much.

How convenient is that?

Social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter make it very easy for people (both customers and non-customers) to talk about your business. They can share or tweet about your products and services and this allows you to easily engage with them.

You definitely want to be on Facebook, that is where most of your consumers are.

In selecting the best social platform to sign up for, you need to determine who your audience are and the platform they use most. Follow them on these platforms and attract them with your products.

The best part is, you don’t have to pay anything to become registered as a business on these social media platforms.

Click here if you need help with your social media business management.

Read:5 Free Platforms to Build Online Sales in Nigeria

E) Paid Advertisement

Paid adsNow that you have a business logo, voice, and color (basically, you got branded).

Also, you have followed the above steps on small business branding, judiciously.

The next step is to invest some amount of money into paid ads.

Paid advertisements are the smartest and fastest way to get your brand out there, right under the noses of your potential customers.

Yup!  

This is the smartest and fastest way to attract customers and make sales online.

Online Ads platforms such as Google search displays your business and products to your ideal customers based on their data.

For example, Google and Facebook have a large database of consumers, what they are searching for online, the time they come online and the activities they engage in.

When you pay to run Adverts on these platforms, you are at liberty to decide how much you are willing to spend, how long you want to run the Ads, location and the category of people you’ll like to show your Ads to.

Magic right? 

No, it’s not.

It’s a paid advertisement and that is how it works!

This gives you an advantage over others (your competitors) as it captures the right audience at the right time.

Read: How to create Facebook Ads: Step by step guide.

If you’re running a business and you are not investing in paid Ads, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Want to know how to run the best converting paid Ads, you should contact a digital agency with the right experience that can help you out.

 

 

Are you ready to start your business Branding?

Click here to contact us. We are available to answer all your questions about branding.

 

Other helpful posts:10 Marketing ideas for small businesses in NigeriaWhy you should partner with a digital marketing agency

powerful branding tool

In conclusion, your business branding has the potential to grow beyond what it is now, you can drive sales, make more customers and eliminate competitors.

Branding is the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal, make use of it!

 

About The Author

Khadeejah Oyelowo Oyepeju

Khadeejah Oyelowo Oyepeju is a Content Marketer, she is passionate about bridging the communication gap between businesses and their target audience. She uses her creative abilities to convey information, thoughts and express emotions. She loves cats but adores rabbits and her idea of fun is watching cartoon series. She is currently a Content Marketer with Backdesk.ng.

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