Traditional branding is too pricey for many small businesses, but you can make a name for yourself with this low-cost marketing technique.
If you’ve ever taken a marketing class or attended a marketing seminar, the speakers always talk about branding. They say: “You have to have a brand”; “You need to brand yourself”; “Branding is your key to success.”
But what they don’t tell you is how much it costs to actually create a recognizable brand. For small businesses, traditional branding is simply too expensive. Experts say that it takes repeated exposure to your brand over a long period of time for someone to actually remember it. What small business has the money to pay for that type of advertising? Very few. So traditional branding is out of the question for most small businesses.
But that does not mean that you can’t brand your small company.
I’d like to introduce you to a concept that I call “microbranding.” Microbranding is the art and science of branding your business to a specific group of people so you are always on the top of their mind. For instance, let’s say that you sell photocopy machines. You’ve determined that law offices are your best target market. So you do some research and find the top 250 law offices in Houston, where you live. You do more research and find the names of the decision-makers for those 250 law offices.
Or maybe your company rents portable restrooms, and you determine that your best target market is construction contractors. You do the research, find the top 50 construction companies in your area, and get the names of their decision-makers.
Now you have a targeted group of people to which you can microbrand your company and your product or service. So you devise a multi-step marketing program to reach out and get in front of those 250 decision-makers. And you also devise a plan to stay in touch after you reach out to those 250 people in case they want to do business with you.
That’s microbranding! Any small business can microbrand itself.
The 10-STEP PLAN
OK, so here’s a sample of what I’m talking about. Using the law office example, here’s what I would do:
Step 1: Create a “value proposition” by dollarizing the amount of savings that my copier can achieve for a law office.
Step 2: Create a two-page special report about my proposition and call it, “Why You’re Losing 23 Cents Right Now for Every Copy You Produce in Your Law Office (and How to Fix That Problem Immediately).”
Step 3: I would also create a few letters, cards and online videos, and collect any newspaper clippings, magazine articles and positive news stories I could find about
Step 4: My next step would be to create an irresistible offer for a “paper cost reduction audit.” Note: Now that I have my value proposition, marketing materials and my irresistible offer in place, it’s time to start reaching out to the 250 decision-makers.
Step 5: I would start calling the decision-makers one by one, introduce myself, and ask them if I could send them a
Step 6: For those that I simply could not get ahold of, I would email them to ask if I could send them my special report.
Step 7: I would next send them cards and letters offering my special report. Basically, I would do everything I could to get the special report in their hands as a
Step 8: Once they have the special report, I would start following up with them religiously by phone, email and direct mail asking for an appointment to do a “paper cost reduction audit.”
Step 9: After I have talked to them, sent them the report and followed up with them, I would put them on a monthly “testimonial card” campaign. A testimonial card is a greeting card or postcard with the photo of a loyal customer and a paragraph about how they have benefited from your product or service in their own words. The card also gives your irresistible offer. (Always give your irresistible offer. Always!)
Step 10: Continue to follow up with the decision-makers via email, phone and cards. You never know when they will have a change of heart or circumstances and need your service.