Building Your Brand On A Budget
Having people know your business name is important. Having them recognize your brand is a game-changer. Building a brand doesn’t have to be rocket science – and it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Read on to learn what a brand is, why it’s important and how to build yours on a budget.
What Is A Brand?
A brand is the look, name, symbol and idea of a person or company that helps people recognize and perceive that person or company. It helps one stand out among their competitors. A brand consists of the name, logo, colors, fonts and messaging all working together to form an identity. Your brand (whether personal or professional) helps people form an opinion about what you do and what you stand for – without you directly telling them. If you build your brand the right way, what you want people to think and what they actually think will align.
Building Your Brand: The Basics
If you’re still creating your brand or going through a rebrand, make sure you have your ducks in a row with the basics so you have something to build on. That means taking the following steps:
- Figure out your company’s purpose and values and write a mission statement. Consider how this makes you different from the competition.
- Consider your clients. What’s important to them? What resonates with them? What do they want and need from you?
- Consider your competition. What are they doing right? What can you do better?
- Plan your visuals. How will you illustrate your brand’s purpose, personality and mission? What colors represent those ideas? What font communicates them? Does your logo match the message you’re trying to convey? Is it easily recognizable? Do these visuals provoke the kinds of emotions you’re trying to elicit? When everything comes together, is it cohesive and clean?
- Perfect your messaging so that your brand’s voice and personality show through. Use language that not only persuades clients to use your business but also inspires them and tells them more about what you value.
- Create a style guide to ensure everything stays cohesive and consistent, and make sure your team members have a copy and follow the guidelines spelled out in it.
With the basics down, you can now promote it and build brand awareness. If you’re just starting out and on a budget, start with free and inexpensive resources.
Free Ways To Build Brand Awareness
The great thing about using digital media as a way to communicate is that most people use it in some way and there are several ways to promote your brand on it for free. When it comes to building your brand, make sure digital media is in your marketing plan so you can grow your brand without cost in the following ways:
- Create a blog that helps promote your brand. Be the brand people recognize as the industry expert by providing tips your clients can use and information that will help them make an educated decision. For example, include topics geared toward first-time home buyers or on the benefits of refinancing. For mortgage brokers, educating your clients is important and a blog is a smart, affordable way to do it! Other content can include articles about the things your business is doing that speak to your company’s values.
- Show off your brand’s personality by using social media, which allows you to be more social and personable with your clients. It also provides another way for clients to interact with your brand other than on your website. This is a great place to really show off the visual aspects of your brand.
- Use email to keep your brand top of mind for current and past clients. Send a weekly newsletter with new blog posts, provide updates on your business and the market, or offer promotions.
- Share your expertise by contributing a quote or even an article to an online publication. You’ll be able to get your name out there and possibly a link to your business page. For people who prefer other ways to get their information, consider appearing on a podcast or local news segment.
- Create a Google My Business account to show up in local searches for professionals in your industry.
Want to learn more about using these digital platforms? Read our post on strategies for social media, email and blogs.
Inexpensive Ways To Build Brand Awareness
When it comes to advertising your brand, free can only get you so far. It may not cost you anything to create a social media profile and post to it, but when it comes to people finding your business page organically on social, you’ve got to “pay to play.” Luckily, advertising your page on social media doesn’t have to blow your budget. In fact, advertising on Facebook and Instagram can cost as little as a daily coffee. You can also set a maximum you want to spend for a set time and the social media platforms will not spend over that amount. Social media advertising is a great way to get your brand in front of fresh eyes in your location. And your clients are active on social media, so it’s a smart option for your brand. You’ll find a variety of social tiles and examples of social posts you can use on the QLMS Marketing Hub.
Another way to advertise your brand is the tried-and-true method of getting something in people’s hands. Hand out business cards, flyers and swag or send out direct mail pieces. While you’ll have to pay for printing and shipping, you can keep costs relatively low if you shop around. To find promotional items that you can customize with your logo and colors, visit the QLMS storefront. The QLMS Marketing Hub gives partners a wide variety of direct mail pieces and flyers that are customizable with your logo and contact information.
Remember, the key to building a brand is consistency. You want the same branding (outlined in your style guide) on everything you create. Constantly changing your brand or having several versions of it will only confuse clients and never allow your brand to take root.
Building and maintaining your brand takes time and effort, but it doesn’t have to break your budget. And brand building is just as essential as growing your client base. Use the strategies mentioned here and reach out to your Account Executive for more great tips!