Branding comes in many forms, it might be your website, your social media presence, it might be promotional materials or that giant mascot sitting on the lawn outside your head office (we’re looking at you, Google).
The simple fact of the matter is branding is not just one thing, branding is everything. It’s the way your company looks, the way it sounds, the feeling your customers or clients get when they walk through the door, your attitude to community and the environment, and the audience you most align with.
However, how do you create a consistent brand for your small business with very little budget and not a lot of time? That is a question that many small business owners face when they start out. How can you look and sound professional without breaking the bank before you’ve even made a dime? The solution lies in free resources!
When it comes to starting out your business, it’s very likely that your budget will be stretched enough as it is, but if you start out by neglecting to brand, it will be difficult to really claw this back later on without an even more expensive rebranding.
To start out on the right footing, here are five free resources to get you started with business branding, and as a bonus, we’ve added two big things to avoid at the bottom!
Who doesn’t love a good template? It makes life so much easier, pop your info in it, stick your logo on it, and you’re away!
Using templates for your marketing and promotional materials have many benefits; it speeds up the process of creation, and allows those who aren’t skilled in graphic design to create documents and materials that look consistent.
It’s not just promotional materials either. You can now create a free printable purchase order template online at the drop of a hat, sharing your brand with your clients as well as your customers.
Using images in marketing materials and on social media is vital. Studies have shown that using images in your marketing materials, both online and offline, can affect your views and engagement by 60-90%.
There are many free options, check our Pixabay and Pexels for free images and videos to use in your marketing materials.
Graphic design is a skill in its own right. Many people spend years at university and college learning the subtle art of typography, color balancing, and layouts. If graphic design isn’t in your skillsets, though, there are many free online options to help you along your way.
Social Media has become an even more vital part of our business. It’s a great way to connect with customers, to build a community, to share news and stories about our latest products, and a great way to advertise for free.
If you haven’t got time to add updates manually, use a tool such as Buffer or Facebook’s own Creator Studio to schedule up your posts, giving you the time to focus on what’s important.
Just because it’s free, it doesn’t mean it’s good. Here are two free resources to avoid at all costs.
We’ve all seen the bad stock images. Generic office shots with an overly happy team pointing at a chart. These will not portray your brand well.
When you’re picking stock images for your business, go with something that reflects your style and your brand. If you have got an office, go with images the give a better sense of teamwork and an insight into your office life, not the terrible model shots that should be banned from the internet!
Whenever a company has an issue with its social media, in particular, you always hear a similar thing: “shouldn’t have relied on the intern.”
While this may not seem fair, social media marketing is a growing career choice for many; there is some truth to the old trope about blaming the intern. We must ensure that when we get free resources (programs or people) that the training and monitoring are in place.
For the most part, if you can hire a professional to do a job like marketing, do it.
There are so many free resources online now that you may feel spoilt for choice. You can use the free resources until you can afford professional services, or continue to use the ones that work best for you and invest in other services elsewhere.