How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

Franchise Your Business

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

Thanks to the huge popularity of social and digital media, there has never been a better time to brand yourself and create an excellent first impression. After all, you’re doing such an awesome job marketing your company, isn’t it about time you spent a little time marketing yourself?

Among many essential ideas and tips in my new book — Introduction to Personal Branding: 10 Steps Toward a New Professional You — are these three crucial components of personal branding to help your brand be more memorable and sharable.

1. Investing in a professional photo.

No doubt you know the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Take this idea to heart, and invest in a professional photo as part of your personal branding strategy. Your profile picture on social media — LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — and your website is going to be the first visual impression you’ll make with a prospective client, employee or employer, so make it count!

You want to create an emotional connection and come across as competent and likable. In this compelling research from Photofeeler, experts say you should aim for photos in which you “squinch,” dress professionally and smile while showing a bit of teeth.

Squinching is a term they use for somewhere between wide-eyed and squinting. You don’t want to look too scary to people and you certainly don’t want to give off the impression that you are shortsighted. Avoid wearing sunglasses, and try not to get too creative. You want the focus to be you and the trustworthy impression you exude. You don’t need any distractions.

2. Think discoverability.

A personal brand loses much — if not all — of its value if no one can find you. To that end — and to save time — you are probably better off creating one profile for each social media platform you utilize. Research from Nielsen says while just 15 percent of people trust what a brand says, 90 percent will trust the word of a friend, peer or family member. It’s crucial you understand the value of coming across as relatable and human rather than hiding behind a corporate wall.

Remember to use a single account for both personal and professional use, but decide on what I call a “social media ratio” in advance. For example, are you comfortable with a 50/50 split in which half of your posts are primarily personal and half more business-related?

My book, Introduction to Personal Branding, goes in-depth on discoverability, but here are the nuts and bolts. As the paragraph above indicates, use your real name online, go beyond just creating profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and get your name out there by guest blogging, writing articles, speaking at conferences and more. Make sure you are cross-linking your social profiles and articles to maximize SEO discoverability as well.

Keep your online presence dynamic. Don’t simply create accounts and a website and let them stagnate. Research what your competitors are doing, and develop a competitive edge online in addition to the messages you’re creating for your products and services.

3. Unique business cards.

Personal branding is not just about how you come across on social media or the internet. When you are at business meetings or networking events, business cards are one way to effectively brand yourself and stand out.

When developing and designing cards, try for the following attributes:

  1. High-quality texture and tangible weight
  2. Reader-friendly with clean text – don’t make it too cluttered
  3. Call to action, such as to connect with you on LinkedIn

When handing over your business cards or receiving them from others, don’t be flippant about it. Be sure to make the encounter memorable. For instance, ask them an offbeat question, or share a remarkable story about yourself or an event in your life that creates some kind of connection.

Personal branding requires you to continue investing in yourself — and in others. As you go online and out in the world, remember that you must be curious and interested in other people. Engagement is a two-way street. Show your peers and connections what you can do for them. It’s that simple!

Image Credit: Gallery.com

In a world where the competition regularly claims to be #1, it’s difficult to differentiate and build your own identity. Difficult, but not impossible. Look at big brands like Pepsi, KFC and Zara. They have built their brand identities to command a large share of the market. Effective differentiation is one of the main challenges small businesses face, as they are forced to compete against big companies.

Let’s look at seven ways to help your business stand out from the crowd. Each one of the following factors has worked well in countless companies. How many of them are part of your current branding strategy?

  1. Provide Legendary Customer Service. Treat your customers like royalty, even if you are not in the service industry. The belief that customer service only matters in the service industry is a myth. All customers have an expectation of great service and will not put up with waiting in long lines or receiving poor responses from representatives. Around 75% of customers state that they consider customer service a true test of a company’s competence. Well-known companies with great customer service include Amazon and Hyundai. But even small companies seem to be doing much better in this area, as they have discovered the loyalty-generating power of remarkable customer support.
  1. Admit Mistakes and Fix Problems to Build Stronger Relationships. Customers equate experience with brands. If they have even one bad experience that remains unresolved, they will write off the brand. And negative feedback spreads like wildfire through social media and word of mouth. You need to be on top of your game to improve the customer experience, sometimes by going far out of your way. One major point is to accept your mistakes, whether they are your fault or not. Customers prefer businesses that own up to their mistakes and take steps to correct them. In fact, customer relationships can actually be stronger after a problem than before, if handled well by your people.
  1. Be Honest About Your Products and Services. Honesty is not just the best policy; it should be your main policy. Can’t deliver by a due date? Call and let your buyers know. One of your field reps messed up on a bid? Immediately have a tough conversation with your client. Lying to customers is like shooting yourself in the foot. If your customers catch you lying, they will lose faith in you and may even spread negative feedback about your business. One common form of dishonesty in business is failing to share bad news. In reality, the faster you share bad news, the more your customers will respect you. Just make sure you follow up with solutions as mentioned in #2 above.
  1. Come Up With Something New. Continue to reinvent your company by adopting emerging technologies and introducing new processes, products and solutions. For example, make use of social media and mobile apps as a growing number of buyers prefer to find and work with you through their phones. There have been many examples of people coming up with unique ideas that have made a lasting impression, such as a real Santa Claus in Birmingham. All of these attention-grabbers help businesses stand out from the crowd; however, to be effective the underlying product or service must be at least up to par.
  1. Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility. While some may argue that a company’s main responsibility is to take care of its core stakeholders such as customers, employees and owners, experts believe that businesses should give back to society as well. Look at Microsoft. It has excellent CSR programs that not only help society but also keep the corporate giant in the news. CSR programs help businesses stay in customers’ minds, improve goodwill, and often bring in more revenue.
  1. Start a Blog. Most forward thinking companies are familiar with the benefits of blogging. If you’re tired of being overlooked online; if you’re seeking a fresh way to share ideas and have your voice heard, get involved with corporate blogging. You can write the content yourself and/or involve employees to regularly contribute. Many companies hire outside writers to provide content. Sometimes it’s good to have someone else handle certain tasks. Caution: Be sure to concentrate on high quality content in your blog. Purely promotional text will drive readers away, while insightful, entertaining and educational content will attract them.
  1. Offer a Guarantee. Can you guarantee next-day delivery? Are you confident enough in your product or service to stand behind it 100%? If so, guarantee it. Adding this type of assurance to your marketing message shows customers and prospects that you truly care about their satisfaction. Here’s the only thing you need to remember: you must back up your guarantee if and when the time comes.

Standing out in a crowd of competitors is no easy task, and it’s getting more difficult all the time. Choose one or more of these tactics to create an advantage for your venture.

How to Brand Yourself in 14 Short Steps

Wondering how to brand yourself? One of the best ways to articulate your skills, experience, knowledge, and overall worth in today’s competitive job market is to create a personal brand that helps you stand out in the crowd.

According to management expert and author Tom Peters, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer of a brand called You.”

This article explores 14 steps to branding yourself successfully.

Step 1: Determine your unique value proposition

Spend some time thinking about what makes you different than your peers — your strengths, your passions, and your goals. If you left your job today, what would your company and colleagues miss? Know who you are, as well as who you are not.

Step 2: Find out how others see you

Step 3: Identify your goals

Where would you like to be in six months? One year? Five years? Ten years? Defining your goals is necessary to crafting a message that helps you reach them.

Step 4: Identify your target audience

Step 5: Reorganize your priorities

You’re probably used to putting yourself behind your company, co-workers, and clients.You still want to be loyal to these groups, but be loyal to yourself, first.

Step 6: Pay attention to the details

Step 7: Update your resume

Step 8: Become a social networker

Set up accounts at social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Ask those in your target audience to subscribe to your pages, and update on a daily basis. Make sure your updates are germane to your branding message.

Step 9: Build your own website

Your website should highlight your professional accomplishments, your skills and knowledge, what you stand for, and your overall value. Make it primarily about you, not your company or clients.

Step 10: Blog

Platforms like WordPress and Joomla make it easier than ever to promote yourself to your target audience. Commit to posting a couple of times a week on topics that your audience will find interesting and educational, but that also highlight your unique skills and experience.

Step 11: Get published

Write a book, contribute to industry publications, or simply update the content on your own website. Being published is an ideal way to promote yourself as an expert in your field.

Step 12: Go offline

Be sure to promote your brand in person, too. Join and participate in industry groups, give talks at conferences, or offer to spearhead a large project that highlights your unique talents.

Step 13: Tend to your marketing network

Be sure to keep co-workers, colleagues, clients, and friends updated about what you are doing. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and what the people in your network say about you will ultimately have an effect on your brand.

Step 14: Review your brand (and how you portray it) frequently

Are you branding yourself in a way that’s concise and easily understood? Is your brand message consistent among all platforms? A regular review will ensure your message remains clear.

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

There are so many things you have to consider when starting your own business .

What should your business name be?

How should you launch your product or services?

How should you structure your pricing?

With so many questions to tackle, it’s not surprising that some aspects are put on the back burner. Some small business owners bypass one of the biggest opportunities to make their business stand out by skipping the process of building a brand.

All too often I come across business owners with three different versions of their logo on their website and 27 different taglines. It’s confusing to customers because it lacks consistency.

After all, your small business’s branding is the first impression your business makes with your potential customers. Taking time early on in your business to build a strong brand will make you stand out in some really important ways.

1. A good small business brand legitimizes your small business

We have all had it happen. You’re talking to someone about their company and want to learn more. You ask them for a business card, but they don’t have one.

Instead, they give you their email. It’s some variation of their own name, or worse, a cutesy nickname with numbers after it at gmail.com—[email protected], for example.

Suddenly, the person you thought was a savvy networker doesn’t seem like such a pro after all. Call it biased, but the way people look and present themselves in business matters to us.

That means you should buy the domain name—yourcompany.com

Set up the official email address—[email protected]

Invest in a real website that doesn’t look like your nephew built it back in 2014 (i.e., consistent colors, good use of white space, good navigation, mobile-friendly, well-written, appropriate fonts).

Branding is key to customers seeing your business as legitimate, not a half baked side hustle. If you want people to treat you like a professional, you’re going to have to look like one.

2. Defining your brand will help you attract your ideal clients

If there is one critical marketing teaching I could bestow, it would be the importance of first identifying, and then attracting your ideal audience—your target market .

A good small business brand is one of the most critical elements needed to attract the people you want to work with while naturally not attracting the folks you don’t. By designing your branding around your ideal customer, you will stand out to the exact folks you aim to attract.

Defining your brand is one of the simplest ways to ensure that you’re not only attracting customers you want but also amplifying high-quality referrals because your happy customers will talk about you. Not sure how to start? Create a buyer or user persona .

A buyer persona is a fictitious character that has some specific qualities in common with who you think your ideal customer is. For instance, instead of building a brand that appeals to women age 24 to 48 in the southwest United States, you’re building a brand for Liz Applewood, age 32, a manager at a retail clothing store in Albuquerque.

Focusing on a specific target persona is going to help you build a brand that resonates with potential customers that resemble your target audience.

3. It will differentiate you from the competition

The majority of small businesses face some sort of competition or at least comparison to other companies in their market. I don’t believe in wasting energy on a competitor’s business, because that is energy should be focused on growing your own.

However, I do believe in being memorable.

Building your brand so your business stands out from the crowd will make an impression on potential customers. It also should grab the attention of anyone shopping based on comparison to ensure they give you a second look. Just make sure to back up your branding with great service, and you might just end up with a customer for life.

4. It will help you recruit top talent

Your branding should always be more than just your visual identity, or your colors and logo design. Your brand should truly encapsulate your company’s personality—the vibe and culture.

Make sure your brand represents not just what your company “looks” like but also what it feels like. After all, 88 percent of potential candidates believe that a company’s culture is a critical factor in determining if it is a good place to work.

If you aim to grow your company and hire other people , you will be able to attract top talent that resonates with your brand if it truly reflects what your company stands for, both internally and externally in the world.

5. It shares your values, mission, and story with the world

This is truly the most important reason a good small business brand should be a priority.

All small businesses are started by people—real people like you—many of whom are inspired by a sense of purpose. In my world of marketing, we like to call this reason our “why.” You can encapsulate it in your mission statement . This is the most important message you can share with the world to attract the right customers—those who believe in the mission of your company.

Customers want to know the stories behind the businesses they buy from. They want to feel a personal connection to that company and believe in the values behind it. Branding is the most powerful way for a business owner to weave the “why” of their story into how the world sees the company in order to resonate and grow relationships with their ideal customers.

There is a reason why some brands stay with us for life whereas others aren’t memorable at all. Businesses that take time to build strong branding that represents their story, values, and culture as a company are much more likely to be remembered.

Invest your time and energy upfront to establish your business branding, and the benefits will pay off. Perfecting your business story will bring you your ideal customers that are eager to be a part of your small business success story for years to come.

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Чему вы научитесь

Требования

Описание

*** COURSE UPDATED APRIL 2020 *** Please watch the Free Preview Video “2020 Course Update” for details on what this update covered ***

ARE YOU AN INDEPENDENT COACH OR CONSULTANT WHO WANTS TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?

You need to Learn how to Brand Yourself

If you don’t want to fight to stand out among a sea of other service professionals in your category, you need a unique and compelling brand to set you and your business apart.

I spent 30+ years branding businesses of all shapes and sizes, including:

Independent service professionals (coaches, consultants, and other experts)

I developed a step-by-step proprietary branding process that I used with my private consulting clients for years.

In this course I share that exact process with you so you’ll know how to brand yourself.

I want you to think about something for a moment…

What if you had a name that clearly communicated exactly what you do for people?

A name no one else was using?

A name that was interesting, intriguing, and really stood for something?

A name that truly represented who you are and what you stand for?

A name that you love and are excited to put on your business?

Can you imagine what that might do for your business?

It’s time to step out of the generic marketing trap.

When you learn how to brand yourself, that’s exactly what happens.

Learn the concepts and apply them to your business with:

Video lessons that explain every step of the process.

Handouts and worksheets to help you apply the process to your business

Real-world examples of brands created by other service pro’s just like you to inspire you and get you excited about creating your brand

Free and low-cost resources so you can research, create, implement, and protect your brand without breaking the bank

You can learn how to Brand Yourself

If you’re tired of having to work so hard to stand out, get attention, and get clients, this course is for you.

If you see other coaches or consultants out there with great brand names and you’ve always wished you had one too, now is your chance.

If you’ve ever been confused by exactly what branding is, or how to brand yourself effectively, this course will answer all of your questions and walk you, step-by-step, through the process of creating your very own, unique and compelling brand.

Для кого этот курс:

  • Independent Coaches, Consultants, and other Experts who make a living selling their expertise or serving clients with their expertise

Избранный отзыв

Материалы курса

2020 Update 1 лекция • 3 мин

Introduction 4 лекции • 15 мин

Step One: Finding Out About You and Your Business 6 лекции • 15 мин

Step Two: Understanding Who Your Ideal Clients Are 2 лекции • 9 мин

Step Three: Identifying Your Promise 2 лекции • 7 мин

Step Four: Uncovering Your Brand Platform 2 лекции • 4 мин

Step Five: Creating Your Brand 6 лекции • 18 мин

Step Six: Researching Potential Brand Names 6 лекции • 19 мин

Step Seven: Choosing Your Brand Name 2 лекции • 4 мин

Step Eight: Implementing Your Brand 4 лекции • 12 мин

Преподаватель

4x Bestselling Online Teacher, and a Udemy Top Marketing Instructor, teaching people how to build a business and life they love

Experienced online teacher, and online & offline business owner sharing real-world experience, including 23 years of business experience and 36 years of marketing experience

Teaching online since 2013: 8 years

In business online since 2004: 17 years

In business since 1998: 23 years

Debbie LaChusa is an online teacher and author. After a 30+ year career in marketing, including successfully building and running her own coaching and consulting business for 20+ years, Debbie retired from her business in 2017 to focus on online teaching and writing.

She’s a bestselling online teacher with more than 25,000 students in 169 countries. She’s also the author of four books.

A pet therapy volunteer since 2014, Debbie has done more than 500 pet therapy visits with her golden retrievers, Hope and Faith.

In 2018, Debbie and her husband relocated from the hustle and bustle of Southern California to the mountains of Western North Carolina, where they currently live on a mountaintop in a home they’ve nicknamed The Treehouse. Debbie spends her time creating online courses, writing, enjoying the outdoors, and doing volunteer pet therapy.

Debbie teaches courses on a variety of topics, including Business, Marketing, Branding, Sales, Mindset, and Therapy Dog Training & Certification. All of her courses are based on real world experience.

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

Know Your Audience, Know Your Brand, Be Unique

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

So you have decided to build a brand and your goal is to get noticed. So what do you do first?

Create a dynamic logo that catches people’s attention.

Your logo is a major part of your brand identity. It’s the visual cue that people will immediately identify as your brand.

If your goal is to build a brand or get your website noticed, the first thing people look for is your logo. Brands like Disney, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Nike and FedEx have some of the strongest brand identity and your brand has the same potential.

Throughout this article, I am going to go through some tips that can help you create a strong and dynamic logo.

Like anything in marketing, it’s important to know your audience. You need to decide your target audience and figure out how specific your products or services are. Are you offering something that almost anyone can use or something that a specific group will use.

Before you start designing your logo, research your demographic and try to find designs that most relate to your audience.

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

It’s okay to get inspiration from other logos but try not to rip off a design from a different company. Not only will it make your brand look bad but it’s also can be considered as plagiarism.

Study different designs and play with many different drawings to help find a design that will represent your website and services.

A logo design is your brands association. It’s a symbol that should stick in someone’s mind but doesn’t need to be an elaborate concept.

When designing your logo think of two key phrases:

K.I.S.S — Keep It Simple Stupid

This tip goes along with the previous one. Negative space should be subtle. You can get creative with negative space by making shapes out of the space around the subject. This is what helps make your design unique.

FedEx is a great example of this, the negative space in the logo create an arrow out of the negative space in between the “E” and the “x”

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

Using FedEx as an example again, there’s generally a story or hidden message behind a brand’s logo. The arrow in the FedEx logo signals deliveries.

So when designing your logo make sure it’s not only well designed but has a purpose or a meaning too.

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

A grayscale logo can have just as much as an impact as a logo with a color scheme.

Color can make or break your logo design

If you decide to go with a color palette make sure the colors you choose complement one another to grab attention.

If you need some inspiration on examples of logos with great color schemes, check out “6 Famous Logos with Great Color Schemes”.

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

So there you have it, 6 ways that can help you design a strong and dynamic logo that catches people’s attention.

Marketing your small business is an ever-evolving project. Tweaking your message and staying in contact with customers are key components, but have you ever felt like you’re just not connecting with your audience? Sometimes, taking a step back and considering the personality of your business can be a game-changer.

In today’s modern small business marketing environment, companies with a consistent and compelling personality have seen greater success when it comes to enhancing their brand image. First, let’s define what we mean by a company’s personality:

A business with personality is one that has found a certain style and voice that speaks to their product and company atmosphere. Often times this is associated with a fun, laid-back or clever persona, which is used throughout their social media presence or website. In some cases the voice is needling or dry-witted as in the case of consumer-oriented online travel site Hipmunk. When you’re booking a hotel through Hipmunk and you select a checkout date more than 30 days away from your check-in date you’ll receive the following error message, “Why don’t you just move there? 30 days is the max.” While it would have been just as simple for them to say, “30 days is the maximum stay time per hotel,” they use this form of good-natured ribbing to inject a bit of humor. It can put customers at ease, give them a quick laugh and creates a memorable moment in the often stressful endeavor of booking a vacation.

Another excellent example of a strong brand personality can been seen in the South African discount flight provider, Kulula Airlines. Flying can nerve-racking for some, for others just picking which flight provider to use is the most difficult part. As a discount flight company in South Africa, Kulula needed to find a way to stand out. And they do so by allowing their personality to permeate every part of their brand. It starts with the planes themselves. One of their planes is painted with large lettering on the side saying “THIS WAY UP” and multiple arrows pointing to the sky. Some of the planes even have mustaches painted on the front of them. Next comes the in-flight experience; pilots and flight attendants on Kulula are famous for their quick wit and funny announcements. Overheard during one pilot’s welcome message was this gem, “Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!” Want to see more of the personality of Kulula? Check it out here.

So how do you inject personality into your company? First you need to decide what kind of personality fits your business.

1) Who are you and who is your audience?

A lot of companies lean towards funny, relaxed personalities these days, but that’s not always the best option for your business. You need to assess what it is you’re selling or what solution you’re offering and how best to project yourself to your audience. You could portray a wacky, tech-savvy company that’s constantly tweeting memes and YouTube videos, but if your audience is a more serious or old-school, you might not resonate with them. Marketing agency Melamed Riley talks about the importance of researching other brands to get a sense of your own style, “…try researching the brands you wish to emulate, but be sure to avoid outright copycatting anyone. Pay attention to how your target audience communicates and tailor your brand’s voice accordingly. A bipolar brand personality is an easy way to confuse and alienate customers. Identify your audience, operationalize your personality and stick to the plan.” Which brings us to our second point…

2) Stay consistent

While it’s important to be creative and continually challenge yourself to improve your marketing efforts, your personality needs to stay consistent. Once you settle on your voice and tone, don’t stray too far outside of it. If you start testing out different personalities, you run the risk of confusing your audience. This is where it helps to draw up an outline of your online personality so that all members of your business can refer to it when tweeting, posting or blogging on behalf of your company. This will help ensure a consistent experience start-to-finish.

3) Tell a story

In the past few years, companies have begun to pull the curtain back on the internal workings of their business. We’ve seen inside offices, they’ve tweeted, Instagramed and posted pictures and videos on Facebook of their employees hard at work. By showing off your business and the type of activities that occur daily around your office, you can help provide consumers and customers an inside perspective of your brand. You can showcase the very personality that you’ve created, as it’s often reflected in your employees and internal environment. It also shows that you’re not projecting a false personality but that it is actually one that is fully embraced at all levels.

So now it’s your turn. Take a look at your audience and make a list of adjectives you’d want consumers to use if they were describing your company. This will help you get a sense of the personality that will best fit your business and resonate with your customers. Research similar businesses in your industry and find some that have done creative things with their online presence and discover similar ways to make yourself stand out. Eventually, you’ll have a fully fleshed out personality that’s perfectly tailored to you and your business.

Have you made any changes to your company’s personality or have tips for doing it? Let us know in the comments!

Want more marketing tips and tactics? Sign up for the free VR Buzz.

© 2014, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

There are so many different ways you can market your business, from blog posts to search marketing. But if you just do what every other business does, you’re not going to stand out. Creating a noteworthy and memorable experience for customers requires going the extra mile in some areas. Learn how to do that with these tips from members of the online small business community.

Build a Binge Worthy Content Strategy

These days, people binge everything from TV shows to podcasts. But are they having a similar relationship with your company’s content? If not, read this TopRank Marketing post by Nick Nelson to gain some tips for B2B content marketers, many of which may also apply to other types of businesses.

Make Your Product Uniquely Memorable

If you want your offering to really stand out in the minds of your customers, you need something that is actually memorable. But how can you accomplish this? Martin Zwilling outlines some strategies in this Startup Professionals Musings post.

Wow Your Clients with Case Studies

Case studies can help you show customers exactly how you have helped others. But sometimes, this type of content doesn’t seem especially exciting. If you want to make yours really exciting and memorable, check out the tips in this Upcity post by Rose Morris.

Focus on Yourself This Season

It’s normal for business owners to work nonstop during the holiday season. But if you really want your company to succeed over the long term, it’s important to take some time for yourself. Rachel Strella discusses some ways to do this in this Strella Social Media post. And the BizSugar community weighed in here.

Gain a Competitive Advantage with Value Chain Analysis

The most important thing to remember when trying to make your content and offerings stand out to consumers is to create something that provides value. If you’re not sure how effectively you’re doing this, you might consider employing value chain analysis. Oliver Peterson elaborates in this Process Street post.

Focus on the Future

As we head into the new year, it’s natural for entrepreneurs to look ahead. But instead of just creating general goals, there are some ways you can be intentional with your planning to avoid being reactive to every situation you encounter in 2020. Neil Patel shares additional thoughts in this post.

Get to Know Google’s SERP Features

If you want your content or web presence to really stand out in the minds of your customers, they first need to be able to find it. And Google can be an essential tool for accomplishing this goal. In this Bright Local post, Emily Hogarth goes over some of Google’s essential SERP features so you can get your company to show up on more results pages.

Follow Instagram’s New Rules for Branded Content

Instagram can be a very effective tool for helping businesses stand out and stay top of mind with consumers. But you need to follow the platform’s rules if you’re going to post branded content. This Search Engine Journal post by Matt Southern outlines some of the new rules that may impact your business.

Follow Simple Blogging Best Practices

If you’re going to blog for your business, you need to make sure that your posts are actually making an impact on your target customers. In this Mostly Blogging post, Peter Nyiri offers best practices you should follow for your business blog. And BizSugar members commented on the post here.

Use Data to Shorten the Ecommerce Sales Cycle

If you can successfully make your brand and your products stand out, you increase the likelihood of people actually completing purchases. But you also need to remove any roadblocks or delays that may be in their way. In this Target Marketing post, Rob Ristagno explores how companies can use data to shorten the sales cycle.

How to brand yourself and make your business stand out

There are so many things you have to consider when starting your own business .

What should your business name be?

How should you launch your product or services?

How should you structure your pricing?

With so many questions to tackle, it’s not surprising that some aspects are put on the back burner. Some small business owners bypass one of the biggest opportunities to make their business stand out by skipping the process of building a brand.

All too often I come across business owners with three different versions of their logo on their website and 27 different taglines. It’s confusing to customers because it lacks consistency.

After all, your small business’s branding is the first impression your business makes with your potential customers. Taking time early on in your business to build a strong brand will make you stand out in some really important ways.

1. A good small business brand legitimizes your small business

We have all had it happen. You’re talking to someone about their company and want to learn more. You ask them for a business card, but they don’t have one.

Instead, they give you their email. It’s some variation of their own name, or worse, a cutesy nickname with numbers after it at gmail.com—[email protected], for example.

Suddenly, the person you thought was a savvy networker doesn’t seem like such a pro after all. Call it biased, but the way people look and present themselves in business matters to us.

That means you should buy the domain name—yourcompany.com

Set up the official email address—[email protected]

Invest in a real website that doesn’t look like your nephew built it back in 2014 (i.e., consistent colors, good use of white space, good navigation, mobile-friendly, well-written, appropriate fonts).

Branding is key to customers seeing your business as legitimate, not a half baked side hustle. If you want people to treat you like a professional, you’re going to have to look like one.

2. Defining your brand will help you attract your ideal clients

If there is one critical marketing teaching I could bestow, it would be the importance of first identifying, and then attracting your ideal audience—your target market .

A good small business brand is one of the most critical elements needed to attract the people you want to work with while naturally not attracting the folks you don’t. By designing your branding around your ideal customer, you will stand out to the exact folks you aim to attract.

Defining your brand is one of the simplest ways to ensure that you’re not only attracting customers you want but also amplifying high-quality referrals because your happy customers will talk about you. Not sure how to start? Create a buyer or user persona .

A buyer persona is a fictitious character that has some specific qualities in common with who you think your ideal customer is. For instance, instead of building a brand that appeals to women age 24 to 48 in the southwest United States, you’re building a brand for Liz Applewood, age 32, a manager at a retail clothing store in Albuquerque.

Focusing on a specific target persona is going to help you build a brand that resonates with potential customers that resemble your target audience.

3. It will differentiate you from the competition

The majority of small businesses face some sort of competition or at least comparison to other companies in their market. I don’t believe in wasting energy on a competitor’s business, because that is energy should be focused on growing your own.

However, I do believe in being memorable.

Building your brand so your business stands out from the crowd will make an impression on potential customers. It also should grab the attention of anyone shopping based on comparison to ensure they give you a second look. Just make sure to back up your branding with great service, and you might just end up with a customer for life.

4. It will help you recruit top talent

Your branding should always be more than just your visual identity, or your colors and logo design. Your brand should truly encapsulate your company’s personality—the vibe and culture.

Make sure your brand represents not just what your company “looks” like but also what it feels like. After all, 88 percent of potential candidates believe that a company’s culture is a critical factor in determining if it is a good place to work.

If you aim to grow your company and hire other people , you will be able to attract top talent that resonates with your brand if it truly reflects what your company stands for, both internally and externally in the world.

5. It shares your values, mission, and story with the world

This is truly the most important reason a good small business brand should be a priority.

All small businesses are started by people—real people like you—many of whom are inspired by a sense of purpose. In my world of marketing, we like to call this reason our “why.” You can encapsulate it in your mission statement . This is the most important message you can share with the world to attract the right customers—those who believe in the mission of your company.

Customers want to know the stories behind the businesses they buy from. They want to feel a personal connection to that company and believe in the values behind it. Branding is the most powerful way for a business owner to weave the “why” of their story into how the world sees the company in order to resonate and grow relationships with their ideal customers.

There is a reason why some brands stay with us for life whereas others aren’t memorable at all. Businesses that take time to build strong branding that represents their story, values, and culture as a company are much more likely to be remembered.

Invest your time and energy upfront to establish your business branding, and the benefits will pay off. Perfecting your business story will bring you your ideal customers that are eager to be a part of your small business success story for years to come.

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