Branding for Small Business Like the Fortune 500s Do

It is no secret that marketing and branding mall business well can take success to heights limited only by the imagination.  Have you ever wondered how the big guys do it – the Fortune 500s?  Clearly, they are doing something (or a lot of somethings) right. The fact is, they have well-paid people on the payroll whose job is to keep them on top.

Consider the small business owner that also wants to take their success to the next level and beyond. When the business owner is playing the roles of manager, operator, and marketing director branding for success can feel like an insurmountable task.  I want to share some tips for branding small business like the Fortune 500’s do.

Some of these tips I share here involve affordable solutions for all-sized businesses.  Others, while they require more investment of time, money, and other resources provide a significant return on those investments. Let’s look at 10 branding tips and tools for branding small business like the fortune 500’s do.

Revisit your logo, tag-lines, and value proposition.

This should be the first important item for branding.  Do these assets speak well to your target audience? What are they saying? Joe the Plumber chooses a stock icon that looks like a sink or pipe wrench silhouette for a business card. You know who you are! Intentions are good, it’s a free icon. But what does that icon say about the business that will bring Joe to mind when the need arises?  NOTHING! Hire an expert. Designers and marketing experts are a wise investment for the business owner ready to stand out from the competition. There are plenty of options available and there is a solution to fit any budget. Invest the time and effort into finding the right expert to help you.  

Choose a brand message and stick to it.Disney Brand

Stick to it like glue throughout all branding efforts. Don’t try to be all things to all audiences, but be laser-focused on the target you are aiming at. Brands like Nike have targeted the athletic and fitness industry, marking themselves as more than just a shoe company. The swoosh and branding message is consistent and extremely successful. Disney, named 2016 World’s Most Powerful Brand, promotes ‘magic’ as a lifestyle. Every message is composed with the magical theme. It works “wonders” for Disney!

Use and Monitor Social Media.

Small business owners in today’s digital generation still fall into the trap of believing social media is not an effective way to market their business. While there have been some significant changes in the way Facebook algorithms allow information to be shared, digital marketing on a variety of social platforms is still a great investment for the small Investment isn’t always about the money, it is also about resources and time. Linked In can be especially effective for developing key business to business and business to consumer relationships.  Learning to make the most of these platforms doesn’t cost have to cost a fortune. It may only require a few bucks for the technical help to make these sites a big part of an effective branding strategy.

Use Google alerts.

Use Google alerts for your business and your competitions business. Leverage these alerts for your own engagement plan. Google Alerts can help businesses stay on top of what is trending in their industry and use it to their advantage. Look for who is talking about your company, your competition, and the topics your target audience cares about? Google alerts can be set up to send a notification directly to an email box. It’s free!

Use email marketing.Email Marketing

Building an email list is not rocket science, but the best and the biggest companies are doing it. They are offering something of value in exchange for an email address. Email campaigns allow the biggest companies to stay top-of-mind with the people who are already interested in what they have to offer. This great tool is equally effective for any sized business. It takes some upfront time and can involve a moderate investment for the best software platforms but worth so much more when used wisely.

Track leads through sales and revenue.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools are not just for the fortune 500’s. For businesses with smaller budgets there are CRMs available that allow business owners to keep track of people they meet, prospective customers or referrals, and then gives them a single place to keep up with all of it. The best CRMs are designed to allow for growth as business grows, thus enabling cost adjustments that align with budgeting.

Use crossover marketing channels.

The social sites, blog pages, and email campaigns that small businesses are leveraging to target audiences can be used interchangeably. They are springboards for one another.  Add links to blogs and emails directing readers to a website and always include links to websites and blogs in social postings.

Choose a few approaches.

There are so many choices today, it is overwhelming. Choose a few approaches based on a thorough study of your audience and pour your all into those. Don’t use every tool and platform available. It will be overwhelming and discouraging. Not even the fortune 500s feel the need to be everywhere. Your target audience is going to be more reachable when you have learned where they are, and you go there to connect with them.

Always be ready for change!

Never get settled into the status quo or get too comfortable with a marketing technique. It will change. Everything I have shared to this point is going to experience some change. Be flexible and ready to adapt.

Don’t allow the sale to be the end of the transaction.

Marketing must go beyond the sale. The goal; to transform your customers into your advocates. Some of the best marketing the big shots engage in happens after the sales transaction. Create a system where every customer gets something unexpected beyond the sale. This might include a thank you email with a coupon or discount code for a future purchase, and hand-written thank you note mailed to them, or a special gift or coupon dropped in the bag as they leave your retail store. Figure out how to gain information that will allow future follow up, and then follow up.

There are so many great ways to market small business like the Fortune 500 companies do, and they are often budget flexible. Keep in mind that the best tips and tools will (and should) cost you something, whether it is a bit of money or a bit of your time and effort.  Something that cost you nothing brings a perception of no value to you or to your future customers. Don’t let that be your perception.  Make the investment in your brand and the rewards will come. 

Do you need help determining the best path for branding your business? We can help.  At Chemistry PR and Multimedia we specialize in helping businesses tell their story and build brand awareness that works.  Contact us today and let’s get started!