Don’t Be Blah: 7 Beginner Branding Steps for your Small Business

When I started my insurance agency years ago, I picked a name for the business that was quick and easy and unfortunately, so forgettable. It wasn’t long before clients that I’d call would just hang up on me because they saw an utterly boring business name and assumed I was a telemarketer.

The business name was so blah that they didn’t even remember buying an insurance policy from us.

Fast forward a few years as the company was starting to grow. I realized that a DBA would be necessary if I wanted to have any chance of people remembering who we were or gaining any media exposure. Our target market here are Baby Boomers who are aging into Medicare, so we chose the name Boomer Benefits.

Much better! The alliteration is catchy and hey, we even pick up some Boomer Sooner fans here and there. However, creating a cute business name is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to branding. There’s some serious work you need to accomplish if you want people to cement your company name in their brain and never forget it.

Here are my best tips for beginners to brand your business on a budget:

Brainstorm your Avatar

Much of branding has to do with the voice that you use to speak to your prospective clients. You can’t develop that voice unless you first identify who your targets are.

I’m not talking about just what these people might want to buy from you. I’m talking about what makes them unique. What do they do with their spare time? How old are they? Where do they hang out? What music do they listen to? What are their hobbies, frustrations, dreams, dilemmas? What keeps them up at night?

For our team, brainstorming about people new to Medicare made us realize that people turning 65 today don’t think of themselves as seniors. They think their parents are seniors. They consider themselves to be baby boomers. Figuring this out radically changed our approach to our prospects. What can you brainstorm about your prospects?

Choose a Tagline

Your customer avatar is all about your prospects, but your tagline can be all about you. Get your team or even your friends and family to help you come up with a list of 10 or 15 short catchy phrases that identify what YOU can bring to that customer avatar.

Hire a Professional Logo Designer

Now that you’ve got your business name, your avatar and your tagline, you need a visual picture that pulls that altogether. I’m not a graphic designer, so I bought a package from Logo Mojo (now that gave me a bunch of logos to choose from.

You can find designers everywhere these days, including on Fiverr, for dirt cheap. I suggest you choose your colors but then give your designer(s) free reign. There is a reason why he or she is a graphic designer and you are not.

Register a Rockin’ Domain Name

Today online presence is everything and that starts with a domain for your business. Sometimes you get lucky and your business name is readily available in a .com format, which is preferable. wasn’t available, so we purchased it from Huge Domains for what seemed like a fortune back then. It was totally worth it though, and I’d do it again.

You can do the same or you can come up with another domain name that closely represents your business.

Getting a REAL domain set up early is important for more than just your website. You need a business email address. Using a generic email address at Gmail or Yahoo literally screams “I’m not a real business” at your prospective clients.

The tech part isn’t hard either, so don’t let that stop you. Any good domain registrar or hosting company can walk you through the basics in your control panel.

Build out a Basic WordPress Site

Just like logo design, WordPress site design today is offered by thousands of people out there. Some are so skilled that they can throw together a 5-page website for you in just a few hours. Some great resources are Fiverr, Upwork or Toptal. You’ll need at least a home page, about-us page, contact page, site-map page and blog page. The rest you can build as you go.

Set up your Social Media

As your WordPress designer is building your site, turn your attention to social media. Set up your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages. If your target market is young, you’ll want to consider Instagram and Snapchat as well.

Think back to your avatar. Where does he or she hang out? For example, baby boomers are not hanging out on Snapchat so we don’t have an account there, but many use Facebook so that one makes sense for us.

You’ll want a Twitter account as well. Even if your clients aren’t using Twitter much, the media is. Twitter is the place where you can get on the radar for journalists and other press members who might give your content some exposure.

Create Epic Content

Speaking of content, a blog worked best for me, but if you are not a confident writer, you can consider another medium like Facebook Live or YouTube. Whichever channel you go with, creating consistent and quality content is key. This is especially true when your business is small and you don’t have a lot to spend on Google AdWords or Facebook ads.

Bring value with long posts like this one that answer many questions. Create content that helps your avatar to learn, grow or improve. Incorporate your new logo, website, and tagline too.

Every time you produce a new piece content, you should share it on all the social media accounts you set up in the previous step.

Then rinse, repeat. What things have you done to build brand awareness? We’d like to hear your thoughts.

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