Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to Build An Unforgettable Business Identity

Your small business has her very own personality.
 
And her personality certainly isn’t set in stone and beyond your control.
In fact, it’s completely up to you how you present your small business personality to your prospects, customers, and clients.

Start by defining the exact experience you want to give your customers. In other words, what’s the personality behind your small business?
Your small business can be:
  • Rustic
  • Sporty
  • Sleek
  • Happy
  • Funky
  • Homey
  • Cute
  • Old-fashioned
  • Etc.
For example, Sports Clips does a great job of maintaining their sporty character.
When you purchase the MVP experience, the stylists are dressed in referee shirts and customers watch a sports game during their haircut.

Wild Fire restaurants bring you into a different decade. The lighting and music are reminiscent of a 40′s jazz club and each room is renamed after a 40′s celebrity.
Finally, the Apple store is all about sleekness including glass, straight lines, and brushed metal. It’s a bit like stepping into the future.

Although these aren’t small businesses, they’ve each created solid business identities that the small business owner can replicate.

Once you decide on your small business personality, you want to make it painfully obvious to everyone who comes in contact with you.

This is your business identity – the visual elements of your small business that identify your brand.
This includes marketing materials such as your:
  • Logo
  • Business cards
  • Online newsletter
  • Email software
Many small business owners mistakenly believe that creating a small business identity needs to be an incredibly costly endeavor.

However, it’s entirely possible to create a strong identity for FREE.
Here are a few free shoestring marketing tools and platforms to get you started on building your small business identity.

Small business logo:

Believe it or not, you don’t need to hire a graphic designer.
However, if you do want to hire, visit Fiverr.com to search for inexpensive, high-quality graphic designers.

Many will create a quality logo for under $5.
But, there are also websites that allow you to design and download a free business logo in exchange for signing up for a free account.

Zillion Designs
On the homepage choose a category to describe your small business.
Next, select an icon for your logo.

Edit the logo by:
  • Adding text
  • Adding an outline
  • Adding effects to the logo
  • Changing the color

Download your logo.

LogoTypeMaker
On the homepage, type your logo title and click on Create Logo Now.
Select an icon and adjust the color.

Edit your logo by:
  • Adding clipart
  • Removing, rotating, or moving parts of the icon
  • Changing color
  • Resizing
Save your logo.

LogoMaker
On the homepage, click on Try It Now.

Choose between a:
  • Symbol based icon
  • Letter based icon
  • Abstract icon
Edit your logo by:
  • Changing the color
  • Moving the icon
  • Adding text
Once you create a free account, you can save your logo for future use.

Business cards

Business cards are essential for giving your small business a professional presence.
When designing your business cards, make sure to incorporate your company name, tagline, logo, business colors, and contact information.

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Online newsletters
Lucid Press is a powerful, online platform that allows you to create professional newsletters for your small business.

Begin by creating a free account to access all of the available features.
Next, create a new document. You can either start from scratch with a blank template, or you can work from an existing template.

Fill your newsletter with as many pages as you like and use the add text buttons to add your own information.

You can also change the color scheme, add images, or videos.
Once you create your newsletter, send it out to your email list, post it to your social media accounts, or post it on your website.

Email marketing software

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing platforms for small business owners.
A wonderful component of email marketing is that you can personalize it.

Choose the color scheme, font, and graphics to infuse your emails with your small business identity.
MailChimp is an email service that allows you to send 12,000 emails/month to up to 2,000 subscribers completely free.

Here are a few tips on how to use MailChimp effectively for your own small business.

Finishing up

Don’t leave the details of your small business identity up to chance.
Instead, decide on the overall experience that you want to give your prospects and infuse that personality into your marketing materials.

As you can see, it’s entirely possible to accomplish this on a shoestring marketing budget.
What are other low-cost marketing platforms that you have used to build your small business identity?