Build Your Branding Without Blowing Your Budget
You’ve developed a great app/service/product/thing and you can’t wait to market it. But wait. How do you position your new offering? Chances are you’ve put most of your resources into building out your app/service/product/thing. And with a lot more expenses on the way, hiring a branding guru isn’t just outside of your budget – it’s not even possible.
Luckily it’s 2019 and there’s a ton of great advice and FREE tools online that you can use to help you establish a strong brand and consistent branding.
Know Your Mission
Know what you’re setting out to accomplish and make sure you can communicate it in a way that’s clear and concise. If you and your team don’t know what you’re offering then explaining it to your customers – meanwhile trying to run your business – is going to be a bit of a nightmare.
So let’s break this down into a manageable process. Right off the bat, there are a few elements you’ll want to focus on – value, inspiration and unique traits. In other words, how are you creating value for your customers? What kind of needs/desires are you appealing to? What does your brand stand for and what will inspire someone to make a purchase from you? How do you stand out from others in the marketplace?
This is an important conversation, and not one you’ll want to rush. Go back and forth on these ideas as much as you need to. And do this until you arrive at the clarity that’s going to help you grab your target audience’s attention.
Determine Your Audience
Who exactly are you trying to target with your branding? Answering this question in the most detailed way possible will help you build out your customer personas. And this, my friends, will help form the foundation of everything you do. No exaggeration here. Knowing your target audience will shape everything from the colours, and look and feel that will be most effective for your visual identity, to the tone and messaging of your content marketing. All of which feed into the strategies that will deliver you better qualified leads, prospects, clients and hopefully brand advocates.
To get started try out Hubspot’s “Make My Persona”, a buyer persona generator that guides you through a series of questions in order to help you determine your personas.
Spy On The Competition
Spy on, research about – whatever you want to call it there’s a ton of tools that can help you get a handle on what the competition is up to. This will not only help you determine industry trends, it’ll help you to carve out a niche for yourself. Try these 7 different methods to get a quick sense of what your competitors are up to:
- Check out Google Trends to figure out how popular top search queries in Google are, across different regions and languages.
- Google Alerts can help you keep tabs on mentions about you and your competitors.
- Moz’s Link Explorer and Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker let you check the backlink profile and domain authority (aka prediction of how well a website will rank on search engine result pages) of any site. This will help you get to know where your competitors are getting inbound links from and the kind of content that’s engaging your target audiences.
- Reviews and citations will help you figure out what consumers think of your competition. Knowing what they value can help you in positioning yourself. Check out Google, Facebook, Yelp, and look for other niche specific sites like Product Hunt, G2 or Service List.
- Facebook Ads Library allows you to search through ads running across Facebook Ads products to see how your competition is branding themselves and positioning themselves.
- SimilarWeb is a website analysis tool that provides traffic and marketing insights for any website. Just a few clicks and you’ll have a quick overview of a site’s reach, ranking and user engagement.
- SpyFu offers a paid service through which you can search for any domain and see every place they’ve shown up on Google. This includes every keyword they’ve bought on Adwords, every organic rank, and every ad variation. You can a snapshot of these results for free on their site.
Let’s Get Visual
Choosing the colours, fonts, elements and images of your branding can be tricky. Especially as you try to imagine them all together.
The coolors colour palette generator is an awesome tool to help with this. It allows you to create, save and share different combinations. And you don’t have to come up with them from scratch – you can start off with an image and pick up a colour from there.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was something like that for fonts. What if we told you there was. What the f…ont?! Yup that’s right, there’s a font finder called What The Font which allows you to identify the font from any image. You just have to drag and drop the image with the font you like, click on the font and get your results. What The Font has a collection of over 133 000 font styles and even works with connected scripts and when there’s more than one font in an image.
When it comes to bringing together colour palettes, with fonts, design elements and pictures, we turn to an oldie but a goodie – Pinterest. Easily collect all of your inspirations in one place and adjust until you feel you’ve got the look just right.
We think you’ll find some great branding ideas from Design Munk – a site that curates landing pages for inspiration – and Really Good Emails – a site dedicated to really good emails. You can search both for designs based on industry and find some inspo for branding.
Taking the time to develop your visual identity will make life a lot easier when you work with a designer to create everything from logos to social media ads because they’ll know your vision. It’ll also mean that you’re able to consistently present your brand to your target audience, building up awareness.
Content May Be King But Marketing Is Queen
….and you’ll need both if you want to conquer. Creating shareable, valuable content is a huge part of communicating your branding to your target audience and driving organic traffic and engagement. The links we’ve shared above – especially in regards to spying on your competition – will help you out with that. And here are a few more.
Feedly is an RSS reader that helps you stay up to date on blog content. It’s streamlined making it easy to add, sort, and organize content. Whether you need ideas or content to curate, Feedly will have you covered.
Buzzsumo lets users analyze how content is performing across social mediums. Search for any keyword or topic and you’ll which articles are getting the most engagement.
Ubbersuggest is a keyword suggestion tool that gives you a variety of keyword ideas based on your input.
Blog Ideas Generator is yet another awesome generator from Hubspot. Throw in a topic and see what the generator comes up with for you.
Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer will help you write headlines that’ll engage. According to the site they’ll “drive traffic, shares and search results”.
And now over to you.
Remember, there’s no perfect way to build a brand. But having the right tools and insights on your hands will have you making leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.