Branding typically encompasses three elements—the visual brand, the message and the positioning of your brand. On average, small businesses spend $1,000 - $3,000 on aesthetics, and anywhere from $12,000 to $50,000 on the brand’s message and positioning.
Success of a startup often starts with branding—does this mean your business needs to break the bank to build a brand? Not at all! In fact, we think branding for small businesses can be a huge waste on time and resources. This is because startups and small businesses should be focused on generating leads and business, not dropping tens of thousands of dollars on a website. That’s why I’m highlighting a few of Accelity’s favorite cost-conscious strategies to save you time and start generating leads.
1. Build it and they will come (to your website)
Before your business creates content, set up a simple website. Simple doesn’t have to mean lacking, or poor quality; it can still feature high-quality aesthetics and aspects that are straight to the point with their message, or purpose. Ultimately, the main focus of this first step is getting something built and ready to reel in those leads.
When building your website, it’s a good practice to provide at least one conversion point for your visitors—whether that be a contact form, email subscription, newsletter opt-in, etc. This allows your company to convert on your leads, rather than just attracting them.
Building a website has become easier as technology continues to provide helping hands. Depending on your desired complexity, average Janes (little to no coding experience) can create a website in 2 to 5 hours—there may also be additional time required to learn the platform you are using. To make things even easier, there are quite a few free or budget-friendly tools to help in your creation. WordPress is considered one of the most powerful tools to develop blogs and websites, this could be a good place to start.
If WordPress is pressing all the wrong buttons for you, check out these other reliable resources:
Additionally, if you would rather outsource website creation, there are plenty of inexpensive businesses you can partner with. For example, Small Biz Website Pro is an affordable favorite of ours.
2. Give before we ask
In the article “2 Golden Rules for The New Era of Marketing,” Nicholas Kusmich talks about the new rule of thumb for obtaining visitors’ information. In essence, call-to-action buttons like “Sign up here” have become synonymous with “this is spam.” Because of this, marketers must make adjustments to find new ways of obtaining the information we crave.
One way to convert more visitors into leads is by creating a captivating content offer that’s mutually beneficial. The offer should provide value to the visitor in exchange for their contact information. Examples of effective offers include:
If your offers are created internally, the costs associated with creation will be fairly minimal—time being the main one. There is even a free tool called Leadpages which allows you to create landing pages to house your offers. On average, you can expect it to take you 3-10 hours to create a quality content offer—of course, this is all dependent on the length and design of your offer, among other factors.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide free-of-charge educational tools to build trust with your visitors. In doing so, you gather useful information while educating your audience about your business.
3. Get your promotion in motion
After your content is created, take it to your audience! It’s essential to promote your offer on social media to extend its reach. If you’re not on social media, here ares a few reasons why you need to be.
As a best practice, don’t break your bank promoting your content. There are cost-effective strategies to find social media success. If you choose to advertise, we recommend setting a low budget for your campaigns, around $100/week to start—your budget can always be adjusted.
Each social platform has unique perks, I would recommend creating a business profile for at least Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook—Twitter provides significant traffic, LinkedIn is great for generating quality B2B leads, and Facebook is budget-friendly with useful targeting tools. Additionally, you may want to consider a social posting tool to help stay organized and active—these cost-conscious platforms should work well with any startup budget:
Another option to promote your content could be sending your offer in email or a monthly newsletter. This is beneficial to your business in more ways than one—first, you have the contact’s email (potentially other useful contact information as well); second, they are opted in to whatever future content you want to send them; and three, they trust you with their valuable information. To make the most of your email marketing efforts, you may want to try these free tools to help create engaging emails and newsletters:
4. The nature of nurture
After all your content is created, your social sites are set up for success and you are converting visitors into leads, you need to nurture them.
Once your audience opts-in, start connecting with them by sending them additional relevant content! However, don’t spam them by scaring them away with excess emails or unpersonalized messages. Take the time to carefully craft your message and connect with each person. If you need help with these part of the process, try using one of these inexpensive workflow tools:
Branding can be a bit of a burden for your business, or budget, when it really shouldn’t be. Use these targeted lead generation strategies and leverage affordable tools to save your startup money so you can move forward with confidence and more than a couple pennies in your pocket.