Why Small Business Branding is Critical to Your Operations
Standing head and shoulders above your competition isn’t always easy, but it IS necessary. How can you achieve that why still operating your daily business and not going broke? It involves a little something called branding. Yes, product development is important, but if you can’t get the word out about that product, what good is it? Cut through the clutter out there and imbed yourself in the minds of your customers. Just look at it from your customers’ perspective: TV commercials, bill boards, radio ads, magazine ads, Internet popups…the bombardment of images never ends. Find a way to be consistent across all communication channels to gain a strong market position. It may sound easier said than done. Here’s a look at how powerful branding can be.
The Power of Branding
Why not let your brand do all the work for you? After all, Apple doesn’t have to do much to get customers to buy their products. Why? People trust the brand so much, they are willing to buy whatever is put out by the company regardless of whether or not they think it will last. The road to getting to that point is a long and hard one, but it is out there. Your brand is unique to your company — at least it should be. Engage in the power of pre-selling so your customers want what you have without asking questions first.
Develop a Unique Selling Point
Also known as USP, this is essentially what makes your company stand out from all the rest. This is defined as a factor presented by the seller as the reasons one product or service is better than a competitor’s, according to Entrepreneur. But before you can convince others to buy what you have, you must sell yourself on it. Take some time to think about how hard it is to be unique — after all, there are countless retail clothing stores, sporting equipment stores, HVAC professionals and hair salons out there. How do you become the only one people want? Use USP as just one of the powerful tools in your arsenal to convince people to take a chance on you. Once they do that, ideally they will be back again and again.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
You have another set of tools in your arsenal and they’re called inbound marketing strategies. They involve everything from social media, reputation management and analytics to PPC, SEO and responsive web design (RWD). Combining an even blend of paid and free advertising strategies will go a long way toward promoting increased awareness of your brand, and thus upping your USP.
Anybody can get someone to buy their product at least once. But the company who can convince that person to buy from them every time after that is a rare breed. Take the example of Apple again. Many of their consumers only buy Apple products — even if they’ve been disappointed a time or two in the past with product quality. This is an amazing phenomenon: the ability to retain customers through thick and thin simply because they love your brand and wouldn’t dream of going with anyone else — despite a few hiccups. Aim for repeat customers and do all you can to make sure they stay loyal to you. After all, a lifetime customer is the best kind of customer!
Engage with Your Target Audience on an Emotional Level
The majority of reasons why people make the buying decisions they do has to do with emotional responses rather than logical. No need to offer rock bottom prices just to gain a USP. Present your customers with plenty of emotional signals and they will respond in kind. These signals range from flattering lighting and friendly staff members to plenty of lines at checkout and easy-to-navigate websites. Make sure your exterior space is neat, from the parking lots to the landscaping. Inside, make sure your store isn’t too hot or too cold. Online, make sure your website is easy to use, particularly when it comes to your e-commerce application. Make sure your mobile site displays well and easily. All of that adds up.
Not everyone can compete with the big boys — huge corporations who have equally huge budgets to devote to branding. As a small business, you are certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to the numbers. However, that is no excuse for failing to create a solid brand and customer loyalty. There are a variety of paid and free strategies to use to gain that foothold. Use social media to your advantage, engage in professional PPC services, go organic with SEO efforts…whatever you can do to get out there and be seen. It all starts with exposure!
Today, take a moment to think about what sets you apart from businesses similar to yours. What can you do to close that gap right now? For additional insight on branding, contact Aqaba Technologies today!
President and Founder of Aqaba Technologies
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