Though your business name and logo design are integral parts of branding, there’s so much more to it than how your company looks. Check out these must-know tips from Beyond the Rut to start developing your branding to appeal to the right audience.

What is Branding?

Starting a business often begins with defining a product or service. Once you develop a product idea (and find a way to fund it), you might realize there’s something missing: an audience to sell to. Branding encompasses everything you will do as a small business owner to appeal to your audience and get them to buy. Your branding can impact the consumer experience, make you stand out against competitors, and even influence sales, according to data from Latana.

Your brand isn’t your logo, your colors, your products or even what you believe about your business. It’s the sum total of all experiences someone has with your company. It’s the sum total of everything they’ve even heard about your company. It’s the attributes that pop up in their head when they hear your name – it’s what they FEEL in their gut. Good news: you can influence what they feel all through the experience you deliver to them.

Matt Lyles – www.mattlyles.com

Define a Target Market

Knowing your audience is paramount to pushing your product or service. Without a concrete concept of who you’re selling to, it may be impossible to figure out why a product won’t sell or why a service isn’t as popular as you expected.

One highly-recommended way to develop your target market is to construct a client avatar. Diving into the specifics of who your audience is, how old they are, where they live, what their pain points are, and the details of their background and home life is a great way to conceptualize your ideal buyer.

Once you know who you’re selling to, it’s easier to build a business to please those customers.

Decide What to DIY

Most small business owners begin working for themselves because they want creative (and financial) freedom. It makes sense if your creativity extends to branding and marketing materials. After all, your logo, brand colors, and mission statement should all reflect your values.

Various digital tools allow you to DIY if you choose, ensuring that your small business is an extension of your personality. For example, sites like Canva, Adobe Express, and more offer free tools for logo creation.

If you begin to feel you’re in over your head, it doesn’t hurt to outsource some projects to a professional, either.

Outsource Projects to Pros

Many aspects of your business’ branding can fall under the DIY umbrella. Yet not everything is easy to do yourself. Consider outsourcing to a professional for projects that are outside your area of expertise.

For example, you might hire a web developer to design a responsive, user-friendly website. Or, you may need someone to write website copy and product descriptions if writing isn’t a strength or passion of yours.

Yet even as you outsource tasks to freelancers or part-time workers, as the boss, you have the ultimate say in how each branding element turns out.

Jerry’s Note: I got feedback from a marketing professional named Jay Clouse for some brutally honest feedback, then hire professional help through 99Designs.com when I revamped the Beyond the Rut logo and podcast artwork.

Take Advantage of Stock Video

Using stock video to brand small businesses has become increasingly popular in recent years. This type of video is an effective and affordable way to showcase your products, services, or team in a professional manner. Not only will it give customers and potential clients a better understanding of your business, but the use of stock video also allows you to produce quality visuals without investing heavily in production costs. With a relatively low barrier of entry, businesses of all sizes can access high-quality stock videos that are designed to suit their branding needs. Whether you’re creating product tutorials, promotional videos for your website, or even a commercial for broadcast television – stock video provides you with an easy and cost-effective solution to enhance your visuals.

Build with Fellow Entrepreneurs

Turning to entrepreneur peers is an excellent way to develop your branding approach. While copying is never appreciated, hearing what has worked for other business owners might inspire you to try something new.

Try connecting with local NYC business owners through organizations like SCORE, which offer opportunities to network and even receive mentorship from established business owners.

Starting a business is no small feat, and there’s a lot to consider before you ever make a sale. Beginning with branding best practices — from using stock footage to learning when you should outsource — entrepreneurs can start on the right foot. Appealing to the right audience and catering to their needs will help your business’s branding soar.

Written by guest blogger Justin Bennett, [email protected]. You can read more from Justin here, 8 Mental Health Strategies That Might Surprise You.

6 Must-Know Tips on Branding for Small Business Owners