Congratulations on starting your new company! With up to 20% of new businesses failing in the first two years, this is a crucial time in any founder’s journey.
To ensure your business doesn’t become a statistic, you need to thrust your brand into the public eye as quickly as possible. It’s not enough to have a great product. You also need a robust marketing plan that’ll increase your exposure, locally and online.
Here are seven ways to start building your brand today.
Add Your Company to a Directory
A huge challenge for new businesses is making it into the first page of Google search results for your niche. By creating a profile, like this one, on a listing site, you can begin to increase your online visibility in two major ways. Primarily, directories like Crunchbase offer value by allowing you to link to your company website on your profile. This creates a reputable backlink that can improve your brand website’s domain authority and thus its visibility on Google.
The second way a listing can improve your visibility is through increasing your overall online presence. When a prospective customer searches keywords related to your company, your directory profile may appear in the search results alongside your other social media platforms, increasing your credibility.
Understand Your Value Proposition
If you’re still in the early stages of creating branding for your company, understanding your value proposition is the first step to building a cohesive image for your business. Your value proposition refers to the ‘pain point’ or problem that your product/service can solve for your customers. This proposition should then be reflected in your company’s voice and visual aesthetic, such as logo and color palette.
For example, if your product is a pair of noise-canceling headphones designed to create peace for people with sensory overload, your branding might consist of calming blues and soft, rounded fonts. Your website and social media content should avoid punchy or provocative text and use gentle, soothing language. This cohesion will help your customers associate your brand with the problem you set out to solve.
Create a Website
With ecommerce thriving in 2023, even small businesses need a website. A website is the perfect place to consolidate everything about your company into a recognizable brand image. Start with a strong mission statement that tells stakeholders what your key values are. Then add an online storefront, information about product launches and even somewhere for satisfied customers to show off their purchases. Add links to all your social media platforms to improve your SEO and engagement.
Get Active on Social Media
You need to meet your audience where they are. That means conducting market research to determine what demographic your ideal customer falls into and which social media platforms they’re most active on. For example, if your product is aimed at the teen market, TikTok would be more suitable than Facebook or Linked In. Be sure to fill out your profiles completely to get the full SEO benefits and follow a regular content schedule to maintain and grow engagement.
Collaborate with Influencers
An easy way to increase your brand visibility when you’re just starting out is to borrow someone else’s credibility. Reach out to an influencer who operates within your niche (and embodies your company values) and discuss the opportunity for collaboration. Many influencers are happy to review or promote your brand in exchange for a small fee or even just the chance to receive the product for free. This partnership will expose your brand to a much larger audience and help you pick up new followers for your own social media platforms.
Competitions offer your customers (current and prospective) an exciting way to interact with your brand and increase the scale of your business through positive word of mouth. Competitions that involve skill or creativity are more effective for building lasting customer relationships than chance-based raffles. Steer clear of ‘share this post for a chance to win’ contests as they don’t create any kind of long-term emotional buy-in.
A great example of an effective use of competition for branding is Dove’s “Real Beauty Should Be Shared” Facebook contest. As a part of their “Real Beauty” campaign, Dove asked customers to complete a feel-good fill-in-the-blank form explaining how one of their Facebook friends represent ‘Real Beauty’. Not only did entrants get a chance to win cash prizes and an iPad, but they also enjoyed the dopamine and oxytocin hit from sharing a positive message about their friend. Due to this, even participants who didn’t win any prizes were left with a greater fondness for the brand.
Involve Yourself in Your Community
There’s a lot of focus on building your brand online, but community participation cannot be discounted. Research upcoming events (markets, conferences, expos) in your local area and apply to showcase your brand there. A simple stall with basic branding images and smiling faces can be enough to cement your place in the community consciousness. Bring fridge magnets and business cards and be ready to answer any questions prospective customers may have.
Another way to get your name out into the community is to participate in philanthropy. For example, donate to the local hospital or participate in a food-drive. These small but powerful acts will increase your reach and encourage locals to choose your business over your competitors.
Expand Your Network
Building a successful business hinges on establishing strong connections within your field. Expand your network by creating a robust presence on professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn. Through authoring articles and participating in forum discussions, you can position yourself as a powerful player and thought leader in your field. This will help you get noticed by customers, potential collaborators and even large companies looking for new suppliers.
Building a strong and lasting brand requires dedication and the ability to think outside the box. Through persistence and following the seven steps above, you can dramatically increase your brand visibility in your first year of trading.
Lynn Martelli is an editor at Readability. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has worked as an editor for over 10 years. Lynn has edited a wide variety of books, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and more. In her free time, Lynn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.