When running a business, branding (or marketing) isn’t always at the forefront of our minds. It should be. How else can you let all those potential customers out there know what you’re selling or wanting?
“But marketing costs money!” I hear you cry. You are mistaken. Marketing and branding make money for you. It just depends on how you go about it. Drawing on my twenty-five-years-deep well of experience in marketing and branding consultancy in Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, I have come up with five effective ways of getting your brand out there, and breaking into more customer’s minds without breaking the bank:
1. Get yourself seen socially online
That doesn’t just mean have a website: it means taking advantage of all the free advertising possibilities offered by social media channels such as FB, Twitter and YouTube. But don’t rush in blindly. A little research will pay dividends in uncovering which channels your customers tend to use the most: Pinterest for instance is growing in popularity and is particularly good for retail – fashion and interiors sites should focus on this.
Neither is it enough to simply set up social media pages. These have to be maintained and it takes time to upload posts on a regular basis and monitor comments. You should also be checking out your competitor’s pages.
As any professional branding consultant will confirm, it makes sense to write up a social media strategy outlining topics for posts and an uploading schedule. You can then include this strategy in your overall marketing plan.
2. Write guest posts for authority sites
You’re an expert in your field so why not share your expertise – both on your own site and on a highly-regarded site with lots of followers. People are keen on information, especially when it is expert information that can help them succeed. If your post is liked and find it interesting, those followers will come to your blog and then hop on over to your website to see what your company is about. In other words it’s like traditional advertising in a newspaper or magazine, only this time it’s online.
Most sites will charge a small fee for a guest blog post (even though you’re supplying it). It averages around £60. A few will provide the space for free. Another plus when it comes to guest posting is inserting back links to your own site which will boost your SEO.
3. Get out there in person
You are a major component of your own brand image, quite possibly the most important – think Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson. And there’s nothing quite like meeting a like-minded business person face to face.
We’re talking about networking, or at least getting out and mixing with other business people, whether in your niche or beyond. This could mean holding a stall at a local fayre or joining in with an event such as a gala day (sponsorship can be a good way to get your brand name out there). The more local the event the better, as that way you’ll start to become part of the community and the more local the connections you make, the more meaningful.
Never be shy about networking – your product, services and knowledge will be helpful to others, it’s just a question of finding the right people, and the more people you meet, the better your chances. As Paolo Nutini sings it: when you’re out and about, you’re in with a shout. And who knows – when great minds meet, great things can happen.
4. Be seen, be heard, be interactive
Depending on your target audience, budget and timescales, there are unlimited opportunities for you to interact with your prospects, so get creative. Consider print advertising, TV ads, radio ads, banner ads, trade shows, telemarketing, press releases, email marketing, direct mail, brochures, leaflets, podcasts, white papers, ebooks, infographics, search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click advertising (PPC) to name but a few. Any and all of which will build awareness of your business.
5. Inform the media
The classic way to do this is by producing a press release. You can do this yourself by downloading press release kits, or get a professional copywriter to draft it for you. Then send it to local media. Local newspapers and radio are interested in fund-raising events, celebrity appearances, a contract win which leads to jobs in the area, etc. In other words, something newsworthy that isn’t just about promoting your company but affects their readers too.
You could also issue an online press release via distribution sites such as PRWeb. This could be for a new product or service your company is introducing.
Those are only five of many ways to widen your reach and build your profits. As an established, successful brand agency in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, Darwin has a wealth of inspirational branding ideas to share with you. Make contacting Darwin your first networking task of the day.
For more information, contact Vincent Bissette at; firstname.lastname@example.org.