Marti Chestovich – Establishing your business brand and marketing your products or services over several platforms is essential to being a successful company in today’s market. It is too often neglected in the rush to conserve cash, and I have seen it over and over again when companies decide to lower or stop their marketing plans for the services or products they provide, they will lose market share. A small business owner can effectively market his company with a tight budget especially with social media applications available. But don’t waste the impact and your dollars by not having a consistent coordinated strategy and a solid brand for your business.
Build a strong brand for your business. One that is recognizable over all of the many media platforms you will use-print, digital, verbal and video. Understand your target customer and make sure your brand targets that audience and clearly is positioned to solve one or more of their problems. We know all of the population has gotten more risk averse. A good brand can build trust and reduce risk for the consumer by indicating a consistency of source, quality and benefits. As you develop your brand and gain the customer’s trust it becomes easier for them to choose your product or service over the competition. Remember the Brand resides in the mind of your target customers. Every business has a brand or an image-if you don’t manage yours it is likely someone in the public domain will and it may not be to your advantage.
Drive awareness of your business/brand by consistently visually and verbally articulating the core essence of your brand and why your company can provide the benefits you proclaim. A strong logo and tagline utilized consistently will maximize the number of total impressions created for your brand and it will make your business a familiar sight with your targeted audience. Make sure the brochures you print, the websites you maintain and any Blogs/newsletters or correspondence you distribute all have the same visual presence, as well as factual content pertaining to your core message.
Write down an “elevator speech” in 100 words or less. This needs to succinctly identify your brand and tell what your customer gets from your product or service not what your company does. Include how the company makes its revenue and why your company is special and poised to succeed. Review the speech with all of your employees and make sure you have gotten to the gist of what is great about your company’s solution to your customers’ needs.
Now that you have some basic elements created for your marketing strategy you can begin to plan the best forms of outreach to use. In most cases, a combination of social media, print and for consumer products radio platforms are successful. Personal networking and utilizing PR channels are also important activities to build your brand. For many small business owners it is time and cost effective to work with a professional to map out a good marketing strategy and implementation schedule. There are many local marketing firms that are affordable in your local market. We at the SBDC can help you design a Brand or a strategic marketing plan and give referrals for help with the implementation of the plan.
We offer a comprehensive electronic version of a marketing plan many 3 hour workshops on business topics you can view at www.isbdc.org .
Marti Chestovich is a Business Advisor in the Central ISBDC office located in Indianapolis. Marti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.