Every business, no matter how small, has a brand. Sometimes it is a personal brand built around the owner. Sometimes the brand is built around the business name. No matter what, you have created a brand. And the brand is what people rally around.
Over time your customers will start to assign a value to your brand. All the feelings and interactions they have with your business will become the value they give it. The cool thing is that you can influence those feelings and interactions. You can grow your small business by working on the following four key elements.
#1 – Awareness
For your business to be successful, people must be aware of it first. Sure, you can show up where they are and hopefully make a sale. That itself is a form of awareness. But there is more to it than that.
As people become aware of your brand, they do not just vaguely know you are there. Or only remember you when they see your business. If they are truly aware of your business, you have likely built trust in some way. That trust leads to your business being more memorable long-term.
Making your business trusted and easy to remember is the key to increasing awareness. Think about a random product. What do you remember? Your logo, name, tagline, and even personality are all factors in your brand’s awareness. Did the product work? You don’t focus on the bad ones, but you sure remember those you like.
Make your business easy to understand. Ensure your logo conveys your brand. Choose a business name that is easy to remember. The same goes for your web address. Avoid long business names, URLs, or over-complicating things.
#2 – Distinction
Think about when you are driving down the road. Do you notice the colors of most of the cars around you? If I asked you what color of car you saw at the last intersection, could you remember it? Now pretend that your favorite dream car drove up in a color you like. I bet you would remember that, long after the encounter even.
Our brains take on tons of information each day. And to keep from becoming overwhelmed or tired in minutes, we filter out much of that information. The average everyday car colors are just one example of this filter in action.
But the filter can be bypassed when we see something of interest. Or something different.
Your brand distinction is directly tied to this filter as well. Why are some businesses memorable while others fade in a few seconds? Your job as a small business owner is to find ways to make your business different and easy to remember.
But not just different from everyone else. Think differently in a way that stands out and speaks to your ideal client. Remember the fancy car you like in that nice color? It was different, and it spoke to you.
Find a way to make your business distinct from others. Provide service in a way no one else does. Add value that is different from your competitors. Heck, even answering the phone could be different.
Make your business different in every way that speaks to your ideal client, and you will stand out and be more memorable.
#3 – Quality
Quality is very subjective. Something I might feel is good quality and well worth my investment could be a total waste of energy and time to you.
Quality is also something we tend to see abused the most. Every burger place out there claims they have great food. Great food is a quality trait. It is something that everyone can claim, and you and I could have very different feelings about it.
Perceived quality is only about your ideal customer because their opinion is the only one that matters.
What can you change in your business to increase your perceived quality to your customers? Make these changes and delight the people you serve. Start with things like customer service. Then move on to your offering and optimize it the best you can.
Work your way through each part of the business. From human interactions to the result of your product or service. Is there a way to make the process better? What is stopping you from making those changes?
Increase your quality, and you build your brand reputation and trust factor.
#4 – Loyalty
The end goal for most any business is repeat sales. And even for those that will not buy again, there is still the ability to create more sales. But that ability is 100% controlled by loyalty.
If your customers are not loyal to your business, they will not care if they buy from you again or not. If they have no loyalty, they will be unlikely to share your business with their friends. Or even remember you over time.
Loyalty is not something you can buy or sell to your customers. It is the total sum of every interaction, your service or product, and the feelings they have about your business. It can come and go on a whim and always seems to be little you can do about it.
But loyalty is something you can encourage through service. Go above and beyond for your customers. Prove you are trustworthy to prospects looking at your business. Have a high-quality product.
Go out of your way to make every interaction great. People will take notice when you do. And it could be a stupid little thing that makes someone’s day.
For example, one of the things I do when I take on a new customer is to look at when their domain name expires. I add this information to my calendar. I don’t care if they are a full-time client with a new build or someone who reached out for a one-time update.
When their domain gets ready for renewal, I send out a short email reminding them to ensure they check and get it renewed. It’s a little thing but ensures those customers don’t lose out on a piece of their business.
It takes me only a few minutes but lets them know I was thinking about them and that I want their business to be successful. They thank me for it and likely remember my business long into the future.
What little things can you do to encourage loyalty in your current and future customers? Write that down and work towards implementing it.
When it comes to growing your brand, personal or business, it’s important to remember these key factors. Make sure you take the time to work on them in your brand.
Success comes to those who not only learn but do. So go now and do one little thing from this article to help your small business succeed and grow.