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  • Mike Hurst

Getting your small business brand and marketing just right

Updated: Jun 16

I was asked for some marketing advice recently from an old colleague who has formed their own small business. We have been discussing amongst other things, what the best approach to branding is.


Branding can be a complex topic which forms part of the overall marketing landscape for small businesses and covers everything from your signage to how you think and describe yourself. If you want a recap on this, see my earlier post on where I start with any of my own customers, a marketing proposition which is quick and simple for any small business.


I said above that branding can be complex, but getting it right doesn’t have to be. I thought to list some things to think about regarding the perfection of naming, talking about, and marketing your small business.

Naming is the first step on the local brand ladder

It is essential that your name includes something of you in there / where you operate and serve / what your business does (any or all, there’s no hard and fast rule). I’ll talk more below about personality, but you need to try and find a combination which brings you to life. A simple combo of your initials / part of your name and what you do is a good way to go, especially if you are a sole trader. mihu marketing in my case, Which is punchy and tells you what’s going on with the second word.

This doesn’t always apply of course, if your small business is a restaurant, cafe, shop or other service based operation looking to market itself, you may have a name which is family, or yours, or something which evokes the familiarity and passion with which you give that service.

Your name also feeds into your logo. Every small business should have one as part of their overall marketing approach. You can create one yourself or get them designed professionally. It’s likely a logo which reflects your business will be the flagship item on your website and social pages.

www.what? The perfect web address

Choosing an address for a new website design? Make sure it matches or complements your business name. For example, you could go down my route, and buy your business name which works very well. But another idea could be to go with an address which reflects where you are based (Surrey Marketing, Woldingham Marketing, or something like Small Business Marketing Services if we are sticking to the example of me). This approach can be slightly more complex to manage, but also gives you a great extra bit of text which people see with your name on any printed or online material (imagine it on the side of your van, work boards, shop front, or anywhere else you might have details printed.) You can have some fun searching for your perfect web address for your new site on a domain name provider.

Tone of voice equals local marketing success

How do you talk about yourself when promoting your small business? What tone of voice do you use when replying to Facebook posts, and do you have an auto respond message set up on Facebook messenger? Does your WhatsApp have a professional picture of you or your logo (and is your status on there set to something you would like a potential customer to see?)

All these questions and more form part of your tone of voice, which is a really important thing to think about as it is what will resonate with customers who:

  1. have already chosen you

  2. haven’t chosen you yet but are thinking about it

How you look to them, your business personality and whether you come across well can be the deciding factor in whether you get their business. A good thing to do would be to write down all the places you encounter your target customers and ask yourself if you are happy with each of those touch-points? Time for my usual plug here – I can sort all of this out for you if you need some help, with my small business marketing management services.

Consistency is king (or queen) in marketing and brand

What they drill into us in marketing school, and it’s true. Stick to your message. Use your name correctly and consistently. If you have a turnaround time for replying to a customer query, make sure it’s realistic and achievable. It can be really tempting to see something which you want a slice of and suddenly point all your messages towards that. All that does is undo all your previous hard work and make you look all over the shop. You can harness new opportunities as they arise, but make sure it is built into however you talk about yourself as an extension rather than looking like you’ve just stumbled across it. A good website and some interesting news posts, videos or other social sharing items are a great way to expand your message whilst sticking to your core brand name and messaging.


As always, I hope this gives some food for thought. If you need help from a professional, drop me a line. 07843 989 176 or mike@mihu.co.uk.


Cheers,


Mike

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