21 Tips to Build Your Brand on a Shoestring Budget

desktopOne of the most common questions I get from friends, clients and strangers alike, is how to build a powerful personal brand with little to no budget.

There’s a popular saying that you either have to spend time or money to build your business. When you don’t have the budget, you’ll be putting in more time. Thankfully, putting in the time allows you to connect, engage, create and converse – all offering the opportunity to build your brand and your community.

A brand is built through the total experience that it offers – everything from your communications and logos to customer service, the quality of your products and services, and the way you answer the phone. All of these associations with your brand are called touch points.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create effective brand touch points for your clients. In fact, some of the most powerful touch points are simple and inexpensive (when was the last time you paid for a firm handshake and a smile?)

ALWAYS ask yourself, how can I do a better job of creating a total brand experience for my client? What is she experiencing through my brand touch points?

Here are 21 low to no-cost ideas for enhancing your total brand experience for your customers:

  1. Use the back of your business card for your brand message. Offer something of value that brings people directly to your website.
  2. Use your email signature for your brand message and link to your website, recent press, blog posts and social media platform.
  3. Set up a profile on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Google+ and get busy connecting and engaging. Use Hootsuite to manage your content distribution.
  4. Set up a Facebook business page to share industry trends, tips and ideas.
  5. Run a monthly contest through your Facebook business page.
  6. Use your signature color whenever/wherever possible – tissue paper, note cards, labels, pens, gift boxes etc.
  7. Purchase the url (domain) for your name and point it to your business website (if the name of your business is different than your actual name).
  8. Write a monthly newsletter or weekly tip and send out to all of your past and current clients.
  9. Create a “signature” talk – a specific topic that you are an expert of and can give valuable information in a one hour presentation. Offer to give your signature talk to business groups, Chambers of Commerce, non-profits and associations that are aligned with your target market. Make sure you have information about your signature talk on your website, blog, newsletter and the back of your business card.
  10. Write articles pertaining to your area of expertise and post them to article submission sites online (your author bio for these sites will start showing up on the first page of Google search before your know it!).
  11. Write guest posts for well-known blogs in your industry. Better yet, write posts for blogs that are complementary to your industry, but not necessarily competing with you.
  12. Use your outgoing voice mail as a branding opportunity.
  13. Add your talks, workshops, events etc. to your local news service’s free online calendar of events.
  14. Stay in touch with your current and prospective clients with cards – birthday, holiday, anniversary etc. Pick a special occasion that you love to celebrate and send a custom card to everyone in your database.
  15. Reward people for sending referrals. I am a big fan of sending gift cards with a thank you note – Starbucks, Container Store, Barnes & Noble, AMC Theatres etc.
  16. Join a group – networking, philanthropic, cultural etc. Find one that resonates with you and attend two meetings or events each month.
  17. Always ask your clients for testimonials – these can be used on your website, in marketing materials and on sales pages.
  18. Create a testimonials document that consists of 10-20 of your best testimonials, and give to all potential clients and anyone who inquires about your services.
  19. Develop a simple “Speaker’s Kit” (your bio, photo, one sheeters of signature talks, testimonials) and send it to at least five program chairs, event planners and association heads each month.
  20. Create a valuable tool in your area of expertise (checklist, e-book, roadmap, mp3 interview, etc.) and give it away for free on your website.
  21. Host a free monthly call for your community to answer questions about your area of expertise. Use a free service such as https://www.freeconferencepro.com.

What other tips would you recommend? Please add them in the comments below.

© Liz Dennery Sanders 2012

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  1. Joankottler says

    Dear Liz,
    Thankyou for your always pertinent, always useful and always practical guidance. I just launched my brand Evolution Activewear last week. While I am already implimenting some of the suggestions on your list of 21, there are suggestions that I have not put to use.  I am grateful to you for understanding the challenges of being an entrepreneur and for your generosity.
    Evolve always,
    Joan Kottler
    Evolution Activewear LLC

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says

      Hi Joan!
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m thrilled to hear that you are already putting some of the 21 tips into action. You’re actually implementing another one that wasn’t even on the list: write a thoughtful comment on blogs where your target market may be hanging out and leave a link back to your website. You’re a smart cookie! :)Thanks for commenting and keep me posted on Evolution Activewear.Fondly,liz

  2. I just read the 21 ideas you mention in your article. I really like them. I am using this tips to promote my small brand. I started to chase some bloggers who allow guest posting on their sites. I also found some additional points in this blog (http://https://www.webdesigncolumn.com/build-brand-small-budget/) . I think I can add them to this 21 points to build brand. like this one “Recognize Competition & Target Audience”.


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