Many small business owners wonder – do I need a brand? They may say “I’m not huge and don’t have that many clients, so I don’t need one.”  But every business should have a brand, even if you are a one person company. Why? In order for consumers to make a purchase, they need to feel an emotional trust in your product or service. Below you’ll learn how to create this perceived trust and loyalty from your customers.

Know your audience

Who is your target market? What do they do for a living? What do they read or watch? How old are they? What is their personality? These answers will help you figure out what your brand personality is and in turn how they like to be marketed to.

Know your competition

How do you differentiate from the competition? What makes your product or service better? Why should a customer choose you over your competitor? The answer to these question, should lead you in the correct direction of how you should promote yourself.

Provide Value & Vision

Create a company mission statement that describes your future goals and values. If you wrote a business plan, you can pull the mission statement from there. If you have not written one, now is the time.  A brand must provide a practical value in order to be trusted. Every piece of marketing collateral should follow it, as well as all employees.

Create credibility

Have client testimonials. Are you a start-up? Partner with a known company that has the same target market. This will help create trust from the customer. Look professional – have all of your collateral online and in print match. Be a guest writer on other blogs and publications to position yourself as the authority.

Be Consistent

Use the same logo, color palette, fonts and images in all online and print promotion. If you are flipping through your local business journal, does your ad match all of your other branding? If you hand your business card to someone at a networking event, does it match your other materials? Does your website match your business card? Consistency over time creates trust.

Logo & Name

While having a great logo & name is only one part of a brand, it will be the one item that repeats itself the most. Does it send out the message you want? Does it appeal to your target audience? Is the name easy to remember? Does it stand out from your competitor?

Have great customer service

Return every phone call, email and social media message. Make sure all of your employees are promoting you properly. One rude person can lead to many lost customers. Remember people are quick to tell friends about a bad customer service experience, so one lost customer can lead to many. Business is in its essence is about relationships and you always want to encourage building them no matter the form of communication.

Use social media

Where else can you interact with your current and potential customers daily? Social media is all about building trust online. Make sure your blogs and messages are directly related to your goals and keywords. To learn more about keywords, read 10 ways to increase your web traffic.

Monitor your brand

Set up keyword alerts to monitor what people are saying about your brand. How? Sign up with Google Alerts. It works like this – If someone writes your company name anywhere online, you will receive an email. You can also monitor what is being said on Twitter about your company through Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Anytime some types “Your Company Name”, it will alert you. Pretty cool! Respond appropriately to each. If someone is having an issue, try to correct it immediately.

Following these steps you will be well on your way to creating your own small business brand. Remember, if customers trust your company they will buy your product or service. Do you have any questions about your own brand? Comment below or contact me at [email protected]