Updated: Feb 3
In 2023, all brands, regardless of their size, understand the importance of having an online presence.
Even the hold-outs who say "I don't have time for social media, I don't have the budget for advertising, and I don't really care about my logo or branding" understand deep down, just how important digital marketing is for their business. If a person cannot Google you, it can hurt your credibility. It may not cost you the sale, but it could cost you sales you never knew were coming your way.
If your business lacks a consistent message and look and feel across the internet, you may find yourself feeling insecure about your digital presence, but stuck because you can't yet afford to hire an agency.
While you may not have the skills, time, or budget for professional branding--you want to make sure that as you build out the elements that will make up your brand (i.e. website, social pages, images, blogs, emails, etc), you start with a solid foundation that is cohesive.
Here are 3 ways you can build your brand as your do-it-yourself:
Develop a brand story that includes your mission, vision and easily conveys the problem you solve.
You'll want to start by getting clear on what it is you do, who needs what you do, and how your product or service solves a problem. Write this down, and make sure that this language consistently appears wherever you share content. If you cannot afford a copywriter yet, get your thoughts on paper and have someone you trust review and help you edit the language. Be sure the language speaks to the people you want to purchase your goods or services.
If you're posting on social media, use this language. If you are submitting a bio or building a profile online, use this language. If you're building a website, use this language. If you're sending an email, (say it with me) use this language. This is your brand message and is a foundational step to making sure your digital presence is cohesive.
Select creative elements that will become your brand aesthetic.
While you are in the bootstrapping phase, working with a designer to develop your logo may be beyond your reach, but that doesn't have to stop you from putting the pieces of a brand together. Identify colors (use a color wheel) and web fonts (try to keep it to 2) that you can begin to use when putting together your emails and any creative materials you develop to promote your budding business. If you're going to use stock images, be sure to find high-resolution photos that reflect the message you're trying to convey (i.e. diversity, tranquility, trendiness, health, wealth, etc.). As with your brand story and messaging, use these creative elements everywhere that you share content--online and off.
Be intentional and unafraid to share content online!
When you have a solid brand message and basic branding elements, you must begin to share. You can start with social, most people enjoy starting this way because it can be fun and a low lift. However, if you are selling goods or services you will want to make sure you have a place to send people that is not on social media.
If you're working on building a website by yourself (or waiting to save up enough coins to hire an agency), at least put up a single webpage that has your brand message and a link for people to join your mailing list. You'll want to make sure your web address and homepage accurately reflect the name of your business. In addition to your messaging, be sure to use your colors, fonts, and images.
Trying to build a brand on your own when your sales cannot yet cover business expenses such as digital marketing can feel overwhelming--and you're not crazy, it is overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be.
When your digital presence is cohesive, you are building a brand that is recognizable and that is how you build trust with potential clients and customers.
You can build something you can be proud of while you wait to call in the professionals. When you love your online presence you are more confident and when you are more confident you can grow your company and earn more!
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