New Year! New Branding?

The beginning of another year brings a great opportunity to reflect on your business. What did you do well in 2011, and what should you change for the coming year? Does your marketing need an adjustment? If so, why?

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Changing your branding

Change, just for the sake of change, is not always a good idea when it comes to branding. Many business owners get bored of their logo, slogan, or branding. They may think it’s old, has already been seen, so they should revamp the designs to appear up to date. For every new client, this is the first time they’ve seen your branding. If the branding was done correctly, they are just learning what you do, how you do it, and why they should choose you. So it’s still working! Just because you think the message is old, doesn’t mean it’s not doing it’s job. Consistency is the base of a good business brand. If you’re constantly changing your look and message, then you have no brand at all.

When it should change

On the flip side, if your branding isn’t teaching people what you do, how you do it, and why they should choose you, then it is time to make a change. Go back to the basics and find out how to communicate with your audience what your business does, and how you do it better than your competitors. Consulting a professional about your brand is always the best approach in this situation. A credible designer will agree to look at what you currently have, and give you their evaluation of what’s working, and what needs help.

The next step

Whether you decide that you have the right branding to sail you through the New Year, or you think your brand is drowning, take some time to evaluate your business. Read over the questions on our Branding Homework and decide for yourself if your business is ready for the next year. If you feel you need some help to make 2012 your best year ever, give us a call! We’d be happy to talk to you and give you a creative new direction for your business.

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Bootstrap Marketing, Part 2

These days, every business’ budget is shrinking and we have to start getting more creative with how we are marketing ourselves. This series will cover marketing techniques geared towards small – mid sized business, that won’t drain your wallet. Whether you are on a tight budget or not, these are tips that every business could apply to their marketing effort!

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6. Use the back of business cards:

Every time someone is handed a business card, they always take a quick glance to see if there is anything on the back side. Reward this by adding additional branding elements, your website and tagline, or even a short list of services that you offer. Another idea is to create a coupon or referral program, and list it on the backside. It’s cheap and will attract clients.

7. Set up a referral program:

The most cost-effective method of reaching new customers is from referrals of satisfied customers. If your suppliers and clients are happy to give you referrals, why not formally thank them for it. There’s nothing better than getting a cash voucher as a thank you for referring a new client. Depending on your line of work and cost of services, determine an amount that will rightly award these raving fans.

8. Promote other products and services:

What else could your customers buy from you? Once they have bought from you once, they are in a relationship with you, and are much more likely to buy something from you again. Before you send your client on their way, ask if there is “anything else” you can help them with. You will be amazed how often that opens the door to them wondering about another product, or allowing you to suggest other services that would benefit them.

9. Do what others can’t or won’t:

Research your competitors and pick up on things you think customers demand, but no one else is delivering. They will probably be harder to execute, but should be worthwhile (and it’s because they’re hard to do, that no one else does them). Talk to customers to find out what they really want. Do more than is expected of you. Clients will notice, and will talk with others about it.

10. Sponsor an event:

Most times, sponsoring events is very inexpensive and also great for publicity. Do some research of what events your target audience may be attending, and see if they are looking for sponsors. You normally get your logo and business mentioned in all of the events promotional material. Plan to attend the event and interact with the guests before and after the event.

This article is part of our “Bootstrap Marketing” series…

We hope you are enjoying the series. Check back soon for additional tips!