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6 Ways to Build Your Digital Brand on a Small Budget

6 Ways to Build Your Digital Brand on a Small Budget

13min read  

15 Nov 2019

The ever-changing landscape of the Internet makes building and maintaining a digital brand particularly challenging, especially if you are operating on a small budget. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7-8% of your gross revenue on marketing but, what if your budget is only a fraction of that?

Don’t worry, there are many solutions that your online business can use to grow brand awareness and increase revenue. The best way to build your brand is to make your business visible and create brand evangelists by providing your customers with an excellent experience they’ll be eager to talk about. Here are six ways to do that. 

 

1. Use User-Generated Content (UGC)

If you need help coming up with fresh marketing content, don’t be afraid to get your followers involved. Asking your customers for content will encourage new followers to join in and give your brand a noticeable kickstart.

build your brand

User-Generated Content (UGC) can include social media updates, reviews, videos, photos, testimonials, a podcast, or a contest. For inspiration, take a look at “Finding Awesome”, a successful UGC campaign run by a small business just like yours.

 

“Finding Awesome” with Nelson & Kootenay Lakes Tourism

This Canadian destination-marketing organization was struggling to attract their target audience through traditional methods. So, they created a new microsite titled, #FindingAwesome and filled it with beautiful, visual UGC. 

branding strategies

Source: CrowdRiff

To encourage participation, the organization ran two social media contests calling for outstanding nature pics taken in the region. They received an impressive 1500 entries and shared the winning pics on their blog. By posting stunning photos taken and shared by their followers, Nelson & Kootenay lakes Tourism were able to show just how locals and visitors ‘found awesome’ in the region. And not to mention, help increase tourism to the area: their primary objective.

 

2. Reuse and Repurpose Content

After a certain amount of time you feel like some of your content is worth revisiting. What should you do with all the posts, blogs and videos that you’ve already used? Are they only good for a single campaign? Absolutely not! Give your content another life by repurposing and presenting it in a different way. 

Start by finding your best performing content. This can include your most-visited blog posts, most-listened-to podcast episodes, your most-viewed videos or your most-engaged-with social media posts. Ideally, one fantastic already-used piece will inspire multiple types of new content. Here are a few ways to repurpose your content:

 

Combine Your Best Articles into Roundups

It’s a cheesy name but your readers will love a good ‘roundup’ article made from the best of your content. If you are constantly producing new material, combining tips from your most successful writing in a ‘roundup’ will keep your viewers engaged and better informed. 

When writing a roundup for the first time, consider looking at other ‘roundups’ and researching topics most viewed by your followers.

digital brand

Source: Instasize

 

Use All of Your Marketing Platforms

One of the easiest ways to make “new-to-you” content is to reuse well-performing content across all of your marketing networks. Re-publishing for a new platform could mean changing a post’s title or graphics in addition to things like:

  • Checking the voice. For example, you may want to begin with more statistics if you’re writing for a site like LinkedIn.
  • Allowing time between posts. An immediate re-publish doesn’t give Google enough time to index your original article and means that more people might find it redundant
  • Linking back to the original article.

 Looking for more guidance? Check out Impact’s do’s and don’ts of re-publishing.

 

 

Turn Quotes and Statistics into Graphics

A recent BuzzSumo study found that articles that include images every 75–100 words receive double the shares than those with fewer images. To take advantage of the power of pictures, you can turn quotes and statistics from previous content into infographics. 

Infographics are informative and help people absorb information. Don’t worry, it will only take a few minutes. In fact, with the help of free image creation tools, you can make perfect infographics with just a few clicks.

digital branding

Source: Meltwater

Possibly the best reason to make infographics is that these new images can be repurposed as you share your post across various social media networks. It’s a beautiful cycle, that won’t break your bank.

 

Transform Your Posts into Video 

Turning previously posted blog entries, email campaigns or even Instagram Stories into longer video content is easy and will help you get the attention of more viewers. Since 6 out of 10 people would rather watch videos than television, your chances of success are already pretty high. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Focus on a strong message: set a goal for your video (IE: show people that ironing can be fun) and make sure to achieve it
  • Review your content for SEO: make sure every title is designed to show up in search engines and share it across your social channels to maximum reach
  • Try using a video editing app to add music, correct color, and edit footage. Editing your video will increase the overall quality and make it stand out as a professional.

 

3. Add Fresh and Consistent Content, Often

As an online brand, you might be wondering how often to post on social media.

The short answer is: as often as you can; as long as you can post quality content, consistently. High quality and consistent posts are key to social media success. It’s also the only way to ensure that you benefit from the advantages of free social media marketing and not simply spamming your followers.

digital brand strategies

While quality and consistency are the first rules of thumb, recent studies have shown that there are optimal posting times for different social media platforms. CoSchedule and Louise Myers have researched what combination works best. Their suggested times and posting frequencies have proven successful with audiences on each platform, so following their schedule will likely increase your chances of getting seen by your target audience, and increase engagement with your posts.

If you have a Google Analytics account, you can sync it with social media tools that allow integration and then pre-schedule your posts. (Getting a Google Analytics Account is free, btw.) For example, you can sync your website with your Google Analytics account and learn more about your website’s traffic pattern. You can then schedule posts when your website is getting maximum traffic and ensure that your post gets the best possible exposure.  

Using a scheduling tool like the one made by Buffer will help you achieve this. Here’s how Buffer works: 

  1. Select your desired posting time: every day, Mon-Fri, weekends, or one specific day 
  2. Set the time
  3. Click on “Add Posting Time”

After you set up your posting schedule, every social media post that you “Add to Queue” will become your “Buffer Queue”. To create or change your schedule, select the social account you want to change and click on “Settings”, then “Posting Schedule”.

tips for branding

Source: Buffer

Now that your timing is regular make sure the quality of your posts is too. Try using a photo editing app to make sure that all of your photos and videos have great composition, color, and lighting. An easy tip: try applying the same filter to every photo you post on Instagram. This is an easy way to maintain consistency. 

effective branding tips

Source: Instasize

 

4. Find Free Tools

There are lots of ways to spread the word about your brand that is totally free. For example, you can join online conversations, advertise with local listings and co-create content with a fellow business. Let’s look at these examples in more detail:

Online Conversations:

A great way to increase brand awareness is to contribute to online conversations by offering your opinion, advice or thought leadership. To enhance your credibility within your industry, create and share valuable, relevant content to industry groups on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. If you can’t find a suitable group for your business, try starting your own! 

Here’s a step-by-step of how to start a business Facebook group:

  1. Go to Facebook.com/Groups 
  2. Select “Create Group” 
  3. Add Your Group Name (probably including your business or industry name)
  4. Invite Your First Members (select anyone you know who you think might be interested
  5. Set Your Privacy Setting (maintain focus and security by tightening up who can join)
  6. Add a Description (make it sound fun, you want people to join)
  7. Promote Your Group (use all of your networks and social media platforms to promote your group)

 digital presence of a brand

Source: Buffer

 

Local Listings:

Free business listing websites are how many of your customers will find your company. Here’s just a sample of the many local listings available to help you brand your business on a dime. The top three include Yelp, Google My Businessand Facebook. It’s easy and worth your time to register. For Yelp, follow these steps:

    1. Search for your business at biz.yelp.com
    2. Select your business from the list that appears
    3. Create a free Yelp business account and ‘claim’ your business
    4. Add all of your business information
    5. Click ‘confirm email address’ to receive a confirmation email
    6. Check your email and verify your business

Remember to upload a high-quality photo that represents your brand and voila! you are now going to appear when people search with Yelp.

online presence

Source: Womply

 

Collaborating:

Creating co-branded content is a low-cost way to establish a partnership with a new business and a new audience. Collaborating with a partner allows you to share resources and expand your audience by accessing your partner’s followers. It will also expose new people to your brand. In addition, collaboration allows both parties to hone their strengths and get help with weaker points.

branding tips for small budgets

Source: Marketing91

 

5. Invest in Measurable Strategies

The first step in tracking your success and making sure that you’re not wasting money on ineffective marketing tools is to set measurable goals. Measurable objectives can help your online business determine how well a particular approach, product or service is performing. 

In order to set measurable goals, you should identify and track your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). A KPI is a type of performance measurement that helps you understand how your brand is performing by guiding you and your team toward your strategic goals. 

An example of a KPI could be to “increase conversion rates via website traffic and clickable ads”. Depending on your business and objectives, you may want to focus on: marketing, sales, accounting, financial or online metrics. 

Still not sure how to work with KPI’s? Here’s a step-by-step formulated by Klipfolio:

  1. Write a clear objective for your KPI: What do you want it to do?
  2. Share your KPI with stakeholders: Who else is invested in meeting this goal?
  3. Review the KPI on a weekly or monthly basis: If the KPI is irrelevant, change it
  4. Make sure the KPI is actionable: Can you actually meet this goal?
  5. Evolve your KPI to fit the changing needs of your business: Let your KPI reflect your current state
  6. Check to see that the KPI is attainable: After six months check-in to see if you are close to meeting the KPI
  7. Update your KPI objectives as needed

There are many things to consider when setting and keeping track of your KPI’s. It can be daunting. Here’s a great guide to help you find the best KPI strategy for your brand. 

strategy for brand

Source Image: AB Tasty

 

6. Focus

Sometimes the best approach to marketing your brand while staying on budget is to focus on what works. By taking the time to research and discover which marketing strategy is bringing in the best results (see Tip #5), you can hone that tool and make it deliver optimal results for your type of business. 

Dollar Shave Club is a great example: they took the seemingly every day act of shaving and made it noteworthy through the use of entertaining video-marketing. 

To grow their brand, Dollar Shave Club began making cheeky and fun video content including “Is It Bad to Pluck Nose Hairs with My Fingers?” and “Do I Really Need to Wash My Hands After I Pee?” They really knew their target audience and found a way to reach them which worked, time after time. 

Today, this company has over 3 million subscribers. Dollar Shave Club achieved $200 million in sales within five years and has won over 7% of the U.S. shaving market. You can do the same in your industry.

 

Conclusion

Branding doesn’t always have to be a high-cost and either/or decision. There are lots of solutions for small businesses and upstarts to obtain exposure. Focusing on free or less expensive marketing tools can ease the pressure on your budget while still offering excellent visibility. 

The best way forward is to find marketing tools that can offer you a variety of services. This will help you keep your costs low while delivering high-quality content and consumer-friendly marketing. Finding ways to do more with less can help you develop a powerful brand and business integrity that all of your customers will recognize and trust.


Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – content creating tool for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.

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