Forging Brand Identity on a Tight Budget: Four Steps to Market Your Start-Up

Forging Brand Identity on a Tight BudgetBy Jennifer Acton

If you live in a city, market research firms estimate you see around 5,000 advertisements a day. Considering this constant bombardment of information, you might wonder how to get the message of your small business heard through the noise.

Don’t despair – if you are offering something unique and using what you know to market it, your target audience will sit up and listen. Read these four vital steps to stay true to your vision whilst also amplifying your audience.

Be Part of Your Community:

It is vital to be a part of your industry’s community – contact influential bloggers and maybe consider sending them your product or offering them a free trial of your service. 

Wherever your start up is located geographically, reaching out to the local media can be a great way to get your publicity off the ground. If you went to University or college, it might be worth checking whether they have a careers website, as they may well be interested in interviewing you for their website or newspaper as inspiration to current students. You can also apply for local business awards – whether you win or not, you can leverage the fact that you are running to issue a press release to relevant media organizations.

Work Out What Makes You Unique:

This is vital in any marketing strategy; it is your own original vision which will get people talking about your business. You must have a firm grasp on whatever it is that makes you unique within your industry, so draw up a company ‘manifesto’ outlining the things which make your business different. Samsung recently used this method to amazing success in advertising the Galaxy S3, released in the same quarter as the iPhone 5. Instead of trying to match Apple, Samsung focused on all of the S3’s superior features, making their handset a serious competitor and racking up 17 million YouTube hits in the process.

Hack Into Your Target Market:

Once you have your unique identity pinned down, you can start specifying objectives for your marketing plan. First, you need to figure out your niche. When you start out, it can be tempting to try to market yourself to everyone, but unless your second name is Gates or Branson, this is unlikely to work out well. To start, target a small audience, one that you are already comfortable addressing or one which you believe will be the quickest to adopt your product. Apple is one of many companies which focuses a lot of resources into the early adopter market, recognizing that a thumbs-up from a few respected industry-insiders or bloggers can push a product or service from the side lines into the mainstream.

Create Great Content:

Branded content is an amazing way to subtly promote your business without loudly touting your services. Good content should be valuable in its own right. You could set up a company blog or newsletter, periodically publishing useful industry information on current news topics and innovations. A very popular, and extremely sharable, tactic would be to collate some relevant data to create useful infographics. These can be shared widely on other people’s websites, while always containing your logo and a backlink to your website to drive traffic.

Jennifer Acton is an experienced business writer with a focus on marketing techniques for small businesses. She writes on behalf of QMS who provide ISO 9001 accreditation to maximise the efficiency of companies of all sizes.

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