Now more than ever, your small business needs to have a unified brand that helps cement your presence and even increase your visibility online and in print. No matter where customers and prospects find you - on your website, business cards, Facebook, Google+, trade show booths - your brand should be consistent throughout.
Your brand is the grand total of the experiences customers have with your business. includes what you do, how you do it, how you treat customers and clients as well as your logo, print materials and the type of information you share on social media. Obviously, it's tougher to convey the non-physical elements of your brand, but the physical elements should evoke the intangible.
From a practical standpoint, invest in a logo and then commit to it on all of your online and offline marketing activities. Yes, this most likely means paying a graphic designer to create your logo. The advantage of working with a designer or design team is that they usually ask you a lot of questions about your business and then produce several drafts for you to ponder. You may have several back-and-forth sessions, but the end result will be 1000% more professional than something you produce in Word or Microsoft Paint. Also, the designer will give you the final logo in several formats that will work both in print and online. In addition, ask the designer to create a logo that can look good in different dimensions, such as a square as well as a rectangle. This is especially important if you create social media accounts for your business.
Make a good first impression. First impressions are critical, so make the most of them. Cutting costs on the basics, like business cards, your website and printed materials, is not a good plan for your brand. People know quality, and they will associate low quality materials with indifference or even desperation on your part. Spending a few extra dollars on business cards and other printed materials from a quality printing company is a good investment. You may be able to get away with a free website for a while, but eventually you're going to need to spend more money to design and host your own site.
You need to be able to answer "So what?" with your brand. Stand for something. It should convey to customers and prospects how you can help them save time, save money, improve their lives or minimize risk. It should help people understand what to expect if they deal with you. Like I said before, a brand is not just about a logo. It's also partly a message that defines your brand that can accompany your logo in the right situations.
A company like ours can help you define the visual elements of your brand as well as advise you on the non-physical. Please contact us if you would like to get started.