For small businesses, keeping operations afloat is the primary concern, and marketing is something that is done ad hoc or not at all. However, for businesses to thrive in the competitive marketplace, marketing of some sort is needed. With limited time and resources, traditional marketing plans don’t tend to make the list when it comes to small and micro business. They don’t make sense and end up depleting your energy and time. There are many ways to utilize your existing resources to generate free marketing and build your business’s awareness within its target audience.
Instagram has done it again! Earlier this year they launched an algorithm that placed the most individually relevant content at the beginning of each user’s feed. Now, Instagram has introduced a suite of business services to further solidify its standing as legitimate and in-demand advertising business platform. Regardless if you’re a micro business or a business Goliath, the need and opportunity within Instagram is significant:
“According to Instagram, about half of users now follow a business on the platform and even more—around 60 percent—say they’ve learned about products on Instagram.”
For small businesses, developing a brand means working from scratch to piece together a cohesive and inspiring representation of their business. Once a business is up and running, it can be daunting to think of rebranding. You put a ton of time, effort, and resources into perfecting your brand, its imagery, and tone of voice. Yet, given how quickly audiences and industries are evolving, in order to stay relevant, businesses of all sizes must continually innovate and rebrand.
There is good news, though! Rebrands do not equal starting from scratch and forgetting everything you designed for your initial brand. A rebrand does not mean your business is failing, but rather indicates that your business is aware of its competition, market, and audience preferences and wants to stay up with the times. It can also incorporate slight changes, instead of total overall, such as realigning your brand promises.
In this fast moving world, it’s a major accomplishment to launch a small business. There can be years of preparation and when your business is finally open to the public, it’s a huge feat. Yet keeping the momentum going and growing your business takes another level of focus and strategy. For small businesses, your funds are precious, so making the most of your free or limited-cost options is essential. Enter social media. Social media of all kinds should be your best friend. There are platforms for all industries and it is free marketing and PR for your business. You can become a social media ninja and watch your business boom from a few tactical moves.
As you well know, your business logo is much more than an image or a colorful compilation of words. It communicates the value, purpose, and integrity of your brand and plays a significant part in how people perceive your business. Whether you have an established logo or are at the beginning phases of creating your first one, there are a few design considerations you should make in order to craft a compelling and memorable logo.
First things first, do your research and know your audience.
Knowing who you are trying to engage and what kinds of images, colors, and language they respond to is critical for crafting a logo that is recognizable and distinct from your competition. Your competitors and other industry leaders are a great resource for determining what you want your brand to look and feel like. Take note of what stands out to you. Which symbols and color combinations evoke the feelings you want your logo to generate?
We’ve all done it: you spend time crafting a thoughtful blog or social media post, you feel satisfied with the end result, and joyfully push send. Then, you review your content once published and realize there is a mistake! It feels awful, but fortunately, most posts are editable and you can quickly fix the error before too many people see said post.
However, we don’t always catch our mistakes and that can wreak havoc with our reputation among consumers. The words and messages put out into the world by a business bear significant weight and the public takes note of their value. Like I said, this happens to everyone occasionally and is not an indicator of writing proficiency. Rather, common mistakes are an example of how small businesses are juggling so many deliverables that details easily fall through the cracks and can negatively impact business.
All day, every day, our lives are filled with words. They’re communicated to us in verbal or written form and have a huge impact on our decisions and opinions. That’s why when you talk about your business, having an acute understanding of your audience and what they want to hear is essential to building brand awareness and sales. This applies to the written word as well. You probably put more written words in to the universe each day than verbal, and those are forever searchable courtesy of the Internet. Speaking and writing with intention and authority on your business is something that takes planning and practice.
Whether you realize it or not, your brand has a tone of voice. You may have a hard time identifying it, but you can bet your customers are aware of it. The good news is that you can control and shape this tone – but you better act sooner rather than later.
The Value of Your Voice
The term “tone of voice” typically conjures up thoughts about spoken words and how we speak in certain situations. However, in the case of marketing and branding, it refers to written words – or the words a brand uses on websites, emails, advertisements, social media, and packaging.
We’ve been talking a lot about how social media is a critical part of any successful business. What we haven’t discussed is how to manage your social media so you are projecting a consistent brand presence without it taking over your entire week. Enter the social media editorial calendar. Establishing an editorial calendar for your social media efforts will save you time and allow you to strategically target and analyze your social media posts.
With the jack-of-all-trades mentality that often accompanies small business work environments, it is easy to jump from project to project and sometimes lose focus of where your resources and time should be spent. By implementing an editorial calendar, your business has a visual representation of what topics are being discussed across your social media presences as well as maps out deadlines so work is delegated and broken down into tangible tasks. Even if you’re a one-man show, this kind of planning is useful.
Now while on a personal level this might initially cause you to panic because you have four days to find a token of appreciation for your mom, from the standpoint of a small business owner, you should rejoice. Nearly 50% of shoppers make their purchases 2 and 7 days in advance of Mother’s Day. This means there is a huge audience in need of gifts now! In fact, Mother’s Day spending is on the rise and is the third largest retail holiday in the United States. As a small business, you have an enormous opportunity over the next few days to engage customers who have a serious spending deadline.