So we’ve explained how not having a small business marketing plan negatively affects your business. How not establishing some sort of budget for your brand, equates to having no brand at all. Why consistency in small business brand can save you money, energy, and reinventing the wheel. Now the next step is what steps are involved with ensuring that you are utilizing the most of your small business marketing dollar. Following are 5 key factors that are essential (at whatever size business you own), that you can begin to be aware of and implement as fast or as slow as your marketing budget allows. As we’ve said, doing something consistently, is the key point.

Step 1 | Does Your Business Currently Have a Brand? There’s more to a brand than a logo. It’s the company culture, vision and authenticity.

When someone discusses brand they automatically equate that to a companies logo. There’s more to a companies brand than the visuals. It’s the company culture, the vision, the mission of the company and all of the other warm fuzzy feelings that you find companies striving for. Steps to take to establish your brand are: Establish a Vision – Tone, Vision, Mission Statement and overall Business Culture. If you’re not sure if you have one go read the  Questions to Develop a Brand Answer these questions for a quick review: “Some key things to take inventory about:

  1. Why am I in business for myself? Money? Time with Family? Passion for the Industry?
  2. What is the purpose of this business? Am I helping someone? Am I providing a Needed Service?
  3. Where am I trying to take this business? Am I trying to leave a legacy? Am I trying to Grow it, to sell it? Am I just working until retirement and then close it?
  4. Why should anyone care that you are in business? (sounds harsh) but this is by far the most valuable question I ask my clients. If you don’t know why someone should care why you’re in business, then you shouldn’t be in business. You won’t be able to sell yourself to anyone if you can’t sell yourself to YOU.

Establish (or re-establish) a Visual Presence – Brand/Rebrand  your logo, website, print collateral, social media images. Are you all over the place visually? Do you have Uncle Bob designing your flyers and your receptionist designing your website? Maybe even a 3rd person managing your facebook page? It’s not that you can’t have multiple people helping you, it’s that inconsistency in business branding is NOT EFFECTIVE. When you send multiple messages, with multiple visuals, your audience receives them as isolated messages. Your goal in branding is to become a cohesive unit in all that you do. This includes cohesiveness in what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to and what you look like. You don’t have to necessarily work with a professional designer on every small detail of your business, but it’s best to obtain professional help from a design/brand professional that can help you to establish a brand system for you. They can also teach you how to advocate for and implement this brand sentiment into your business.

Step 2 | Is Your Brand Technically Functioning. A technically functioning brand has a web presence that is optimized, responsive and user friendly.

You may have a website or a web presence, but is it optimized and functioning effectively enough to gain the traction that’s available on the web?  You need to do routine maintenance on your site in order to make sure it’s in tip top shape. A tracker like moz is a great resource for tracking how your site is functioning on a monthly basis. Areas to check the technical aspects of your site are: Is your website searchable?

  1. Is your site Search Engine Optimized (SEO) for Google ranking?
  2. Do your pages have Meta Titles and Descriptions?

Is your website broken?

  1. Check for and fix broken links and non-existing links
  2. Update plugins
  3. Update Software

Is your site user friendly?

    1. Do you have a clear call to action for your customer?
    2. Is it easy to find the information that people need?
    3. Is it responsive and mobile friendly? Have you pulled up your site on your phone to see what it looks like?

Step 3 | Does Your Brand Have Consistent Content? Consistent Branded Content is what grows and sustains your brand & marketing message.

Once you have your brand established you have to ensure that you are consistently and continuously getting this message out to the people you want to connect with. At first, if your marketing budget is small, it may feel that things aren’t moving fast enough. Although, it’s slow look at marketing and brand growth as a process. It’s much better to do things slower and the right way than to waste vast amount of money on things that aren’t selling the right message. Some ways to implement consistent content are: Develop Branded Content

      1. blog posts
      2. website content updates
      3. press releases
      4. culture videos
      5. social media videos

Step 4 | Does Your Brand Have a Plan? A brand’s plan consists of marketing campaigns, social media management and regular blog content.

Marketing often times is a building process. You are gaining and growing your message and legitimacy in your industry. This takes time to gain trust and connect with the demographic that you are targeting. Here’s some easy ideas on how to market your business on a budget. Monthly / Quarterly  Campaigns

      1. Marketing Campaigns
      2. Socially / Community Conscious Campaigns
      3. Social Media Management
      4. Weekly fresh blogged content for website

Here’s a simple marketing and social media calendar that you can use to get you started.

Step 5 | Do You Track Your Marketing Efforts?

Your marketing efforts are tracked through analytics. Analytics help to determine what is most effective for your business.

      1. Have a source of evaluating your process
      2. Have a schedule of evaluation (once a month, once quarterly)

Although this is not a comprehensive list as to the steps to take in order to grow your small business brand, it can be utilized as a jump off point for implementing some organization to your business process. Bianca Frank Design offers a comprehensive  Business Brand, Marketing & Management in Alaska.  package that can be utilized to begin or reinvigorate your small business marketing strategy. Whether you are in need of small business marketing consultation, graphic design, brand design, web design, or just need brand or design consultation on where to start. Drop a note and we will be in touch soon.