Did you know that solid branding can actually make your small business money? Presenting a consistent brand identity across all platforms and channels can increase your revenue by 23 percent. Small businesses can be fragile. As a business owner, your success rides on many factors, but if something like branding can make a difference for your bottom line, then it makes sense to prioritize it. 

But we know what you’re thinking. As a small business owner, you don’t have tons of room in your marketing budget to hire an agency or freelancer that will help you establish your branding components. Luckily, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg in order to define your brand and make it consistent across channels. 

Follow the steps below to create a beautiful brand look and feel without dipping any deeper into your budget than you want to.

1. Know Your Buyers

Like content and messaging, your branding’s success depends on its ability to appeal to the right audience. For that to happen, you need to know precisely who you’re trying to appeal to and what they find appealing in the first place. Create buyer personas so you can really zero in on your audience and their preferences, then use those personas to help drive an effective branding strategy.

One of the most effective ways to build your personas is to look at your existing customers. Who is already using your product or buying your services? Identify the following details:

  • Job title
  • Region
  • Company industry
  • Company size
  • Who they report to
  • Job functions
  • Daily struggles

Figuring out each point will help you more fully understand your buyers so you can get to the root of what influences their decision making. Knowing that will inform how you want to present your brand and how you want to market your products to them.

2. Figure Out Your Brand Identity

This may sound like you’re hammering out the entire process in one step, but your brand identity is different from your actual branding. It involves thinking of things you‘ve never thought about and involves a lot more than just logo design, color schemes, and fonts. 

To solidify your brand identity, you want to focus on the kind of feel your brand will evoke instead of the physical representation. This step is one that shouldn’t be done quickly; rather, it requires a lot of thought and research. Have a meeting with your company — or just important stakeholders and your marketing team — and work together to list the various elements that define your brand. Dive into things like: 

  • What characteristics would you use to describe your brand? 
  • What sort of values does your brand stand for?
  • What is your brand’s mission statement? 
  • What are the overall goals that define your brand? What do you want your company to provide your clients, prospects, employees, and community? 
  • How do you want your brand to fit within your industry’s space?

Together, these variables will help you hone in on what you’re trying to deliver to the world with your brand identity, as well as how branding fits into your broader objectives.

3. Get Creative

Get ready, because now we’ve reached the design stage of our branding journey. Unless you have access to an in-house designer, this is the stage that will require an investment.

In this step, you’ll establish the core design components of your brand identity, including a color palette, fonts, and logo iterations. These features will be used throughout your marketing materials to make it easy for your audience to spot your brand, so it’s extremely important to like the direction you land on. 

If you have to hire an agency for this, make sure you’re very clear about budgetary constraints. You could also consider working with design students, who may be willing to offer you a cheaper price for the experience and portfolio boost. Whatever route you choose to go with, provide the designer with your succinct brand identity so it can be used to inform their direction. And make sure they provide you with mock-ups of their ideas so you can see what they will look like on your sales materials, marketing content, website, and social media accounts.

Also, expect a few rounds of back and forth here. A designer or outsourced agency rarely nails your branding on the first try. You’re going to have feedback on their designs, and what originally is presented to you may not look anything like what you end up with. But keep in mind that the more back and forth you encounter, the higher the bill will be for that outsourced design resource. 

4. Create Brand Guidelines

It’s important to be specific about your branding guidelines so that your team has clear directives to follow and any potential partners you bring on later do as well.

Outline exactly what fonts should be used for your logo, as well as spacing parameters and any other logo specs that will be important to adhere to. Build a board of exact brand colors and any words or phrases you do or do not want to be associated with your brand. Consider web guidelines for your brand, too, and be as specific as possible. Compile all of this information into a brand style guide so you can easily share it with outside agencies and new team members over time. Some companies create a page on their website where

5. Create Content

Your content marketing strategy is inherently wrapped up in your branding strategy and includes your blog posts, white papers, webinars, social strategy, and email marketing

Create a documented marketing plan for your content that establishes the following:

Your content strategy should actually be a component of your overall marketing plan, so make sure it gets in the weeds. The way you put your content together and the topics you address play a huge role in contributing to your branding. And make sure you stick to your editorial calendar so you can maintain consistency with your presence and voice, perpetuating your brand identity. 

6. Build Up Your Social Media  

Your social media is an extension of your company. And since you’ll be (hopefully) generating a lot of traffic to those pages, they’re an excellent place to propagate your branding efforts. Make sure you use your logo and colors to brand your social channels and keep them consistent with your website and other materials.

Also, make sure you grow your following so you can reach a wider audience and drive more traffic to your website and certain landing pages. The last thing you want is to spend all this time putting together branding and for it to go unnoticed. Use a social media calendar that, similar to your content plan, is optimized to always keep your presence consistent and on-brand.

7. Sharpen Your Customer and Client Service

You can’t put forth great branding without great service, so make sure you focus on how to deliver the highest quality service to your leads, customers, and clients.

Establish a process for onboarding new clients effectively so that they’re set up for success from the get-go. And provide adequate training for your teams, so they’re prepared to handle even the largest of obstacles. Doing this brings your brand strategy off the page and into the real world — and it’s just as important to your perceived image as your logo.

8. Dedicate Time to Top-of-the-Funnel Content

Top-of-the-funnel content is content that focuses on casting a wide net and getting your name and brand out there to more people. It’s essential that your branding is in place so that people can familiarize themselves with your company more easily. 

The type of content at this stage of the funnel includes press mentions, guest-contributed articles, awards, press releases, features, videos, and speaking engagements. These are all ways that you can reach a broader audience with your brand. And since many of these audience members may be unfamiliar with who you are, it’s important that you focus your top-of-the-funnel content efforts toward spreading awareness and showing off who and what your company is all about.

Any content you create, partner on, or otherwise engage with should align with your company values and mission. If you stray off course, you’ll confuse your audience and muddy up your brand, both of which can waste time and effort you’ve put in previously.

Branding isn’t a difficult feat, and it certainly doesn’t have to be an expensive one. Almost all of the steps above don’t require any financial input — just hard work and an eye on the larger picture. And what you can gain is more than worth that investment.