Are you putting your money where your mouth is when it comes to branding your business? Apparently, few entrepreneurs are. Although 87 percent of small business owners believe that it’s important for customers to perceive their brand in a positive light, only 26 percent say they devoted a good deal of time to branding during the startup stage of their businesses.
The 99designs SMB Branding Perceptions Survey polled small business owners nationwide and found that while most business owners say their business brand identity—including its website—is very important, they don’t invest the necessary time or money into building that brand.
More than three-fourths of small business owners in the survey say “a professional-looking website will help attract better customers,” and six in 10 say a company’s brand or website has influenced their purchases in the past. However, 58 percent admit they “may have” or “definitely have” lost business as a result of not having a professional-looking website.
So how can you build a professional brand for your new business, right from the start?
- Invest in a logo. A professional logo doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are many online design services where you can find designers who will create a logo for you. You can also find local graphic designers if you’d rather work with someone in person. Make sure your logo will work in a variety of formats, including online, in print, in your emails and on your packaging, and that it looks good in large or small formats, from store signs to a mobile email opened on a smartphone. Also make sure that the designer is selling you all rights to the design, and that you trademark your logo to protect it from anyone else using it.
- Be consistent. Creating a consistent look and feel across all of your marketing materials is important to make your brand memorable. Use the same fonts, colors and types of graphics in all of your marketing materials, packaging and signage so that your business’s products and advertising are clearly recognizable at a glance. In addition, make sure your marketing has the same “attitude” or personality—for example, a children’s toy store could have a sweet and innocent brand, while an accounting firm specializing in business bookkeeping might have a serious and formal brand.
- Take it digital. Extend your brand online by setting up a business website as soon as you start your business. With a professional quality logo in hand, you can work with website designers or use DIY website design options to select templates that work with the look and feel of your business logo. For example, you’ll want to use the same colors from your logo throughout your website to make it consistent. Also your logo to enhance your brand in other digital marketing efforts, such as in your marketing emails and on your business’s social media accounts.
By keeping your business brand consistent throughout all of your marketing efforts, you’ll quickly become recognizable and familiar among the target market you’re trying to reach.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.