Small Business Marketing 101: Differentiate Your Brand

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Scott Farace October 28, 2019 For small business owners just beginning their marketing journey, setting your company’s brand apart should be the number-one priority. In nearly three decades of strategic marketing for businesses and nonprofits of various sizes, I’ve seen day-in and day-out the importance of developing a unique and consistent brand message to connect authentically with audiences. A strong brand can drive growth and it starts with determining your business’ point of difference.

Starting out, building your brand will take some analysis of where your company stands and its biggest strengths. It’s crucial to ask yourself, “What makes my business special or different in the market? What makes it the best of its kind?” After homing in on that factor, your next step is to expound upon it to create a brand message. Then, you can circulate that message to your entire organization from sales to customer service, and product teams. It’s vital that the message be cohesive across all corners of the organization for brand consistency. And even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, branding yourself can pay huge dividends early on. When people can tell you take yourself and your business seriously, they’ll respect you for the professional you are.

Once everyone in your organization is familiar with your brand message, you can begin conveying it across various marketing tools. Utilize digital marketing, social media marketing, and traditional marketing methods to reach the widest possible target audience on a daily basis. The more prospective customers you reach, the better. And once again, I can’t stress enough how important it is for your messaging to be consistent and fully integrated, across your sales materials, product sheets, websites, direct mail programs, and anywhere else you talk about yourself.

If you’re not sure where to allocate marketing funds early on, you can make things simple. Think about where you touch the most customers, and then work backwards from there. Whether that means your staff, your website, your store, or your team members who are out visiting people, you should always play to your strengths so you can sharpen them. Just keep it simple, and then build as you go along. 

Focus on those touchpoints where you already have strong audiences who are likely to be loyal to your brand. If your website gets the most visitors, allocate dollars toward web design. If a particular team interacts with the most customers, put in the time to train them on speaking to that brand message. That way, regardless of whether you’ve got a dollar or ten million dollars to spend, you can focus on getting the most out of it with the most effective possible use of your marketing dollars.

These steps will help set your business apart by creating a cohesive, distinctive brand to build loyalty, which will in turn boost revenue. If you follow this path, there’s no telling how far your business’ success will take you. Just focus, keep it simple, and execute. While the rewards of branding aren’t often immediate, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you do see results.