Small Business Saturday Blog

Establishing a Small Business through Online Branding

Wednesday, August 16 at 15:06
Branding | Getting Online | Small Business | Small Business Saturday | Social Media

Beating out the competition in the small business world takes more than just telling others on the street about what you have to offer. You have to create maximum exposure by being accessible on online platforms. By doing so, you better establish your business identity and brand.Building an online brand is important for a number of reasons. It creates awareness for what your small business stands for. If consumers want to learn about the product you offer, they should be able to access information about it from anywhere. You can also gather a larger following by reaching out to the online community. Lastly, the process of establishing an online presence enables you to gain credibility. If consumers see your business online, they can navigate your site and infer that yours is a legitimate company.The first step in establishing an online brand for your company is picking a domain name. Many companies underestimate the power of choosing a URL that differentiates them from the competition. A brandable domain name might directly reference aspects of your business, but it doesn’t have to specify what it entails. In the long term, the domain name can build brand value. You will want to check that a name is not already registered before you choose one. Make sure the domain name is user-friendly and short in that it is easy to spell and say. You will also want to make it unique and credible in order to set yourself apart from your competitors.When establishing your brand online, It is important to have a clear understanding of your target audience. Prior to coming up with content strategies, utilize research tools to identify your audience. Google Analytics will help you figure out the demographic most interested in what you have to offer. Google also offers an acquisition feature which points out how users found your site. You will be able to see if they typed the URL directly into their browser or if they were connected to you through social media or a search engine. Knowing this information will allow you to determine which online marketing channel is most effective.After identifying your audience, you can work on making your business stand out by creating a brand that consumers will remember. Having an eye-catching logo that can be used on all online platforms and marketing materials will mean customers will attach your small business with a visual. It should give consumers an idea of the product you represent. Also create a business slogan and tagline that stands out. A tagline is a phrase that lets your visitors know who you are right when they click on your site. You will want it to be placed on all your marketing materials. This builds recognition which is key in gaining customers for your small business.When you build your company website, be personable and accessible by having a home page with an introduction. You’ll want to establish your online brand from the get-go by telling visitors about what you offer and how it will benefit them. Make sure you have a subscriber button on the homepage so users can immediately opt to learn more about your small business.To directly help sales and marketing efforts, dedicate part of your website to reviews since they can have a significant impact on sales.. Allow customers to share their experience with your product. This content can then be shared on social media where others can see that your small business delivers on what is promised. Enabling customer reviews also positively affects search rankings in search engines. Reviews increase the amount of unique content your site offers giving you a better chance at moving up in ranking.Social media is an online marketing platform that is free and gives you instant access to consumers. Make sure that you have social icons on each page of your website. All of your social media pages should consistently feature your brand. This will make your business more memorable in potential buyers’ minds. Consumers also like to see and hear about businesses. Posting podcasts or having segments featured on a YouTube channel can build a personal relationship with your target audience. This fosters trust and increases your credibility.Another online tool you can utilize when trying to spread the word about your small business is blogging. This heightens your visibility. Your search engine rank will improve as you expand to posting content on blogging sites. It also works to help establish a direct relationship with customers in order to gain valuable feedback. Don’t be afraid to share content from experts in your industry. Online consumers will find you more trustworthy if they see you are up to speed on all aspects of your product.Lastly, stay engaged with your consumers. This is key in building a strong presence online. Use tools such as HootSuite which will notify you when someone mentions your brand. You should respond to comments made about what your small business has to offer. This will show customers you are concerned with their needs and will help spread the word about your business.Guest blog contributed by Sarah Elizabeth Saker

Exhibition Marketing ideas for Beginners

Wednesday, November 25 at 13:25
Branding | Events | Top Tips

Trade shows and exhibitions are the perfect vehicle in so many ways when it comes to promoting your company and snagging more customers. 
With your exhibition materials created by Colour Graphics, you will feel poised, ready for the action and the floods of delegates that will stampede their way toward your booth.Except they won’t.There is no tougher an audience than the hordes of delegates, veterans of exhibitions from years gone by. The hardened delegate is constantly looking for something new, something big and YOU need to be the next big thing.Into the lion’s den with a roarThis is perhaps unfair for newbies to the exhibition circuit but, you do need to be aware that some of those delegates passing you buy will need persuading/cajoling over to your booth. And the HR manager dressed as a fluffy duck is not going to cut it.Try these ideas for starters:Tip 1 – Think ‘inbound’You have footfall walking past your booth every day you are at the exhibition. You need to capture attention and lure them on over. There are all kinds of way of doing this:•Create unique signage that gives a snippet of what you do•Invite them over for coffee and the use of your iPads•Be ultra-modern and cutting edge with your own app for the conference that does something amazing!Tip 2 – Social mediaThere are all kinds of reports and articles that inform us we are all connected to our smart phones and tablets virtually every hour of the day. And people rarely log off when they are at a conference too.So, harness this. The conference or exhibition may have their own hashtag campaign running on social media thus make sure that you piggy back on to this. You can also create your own and work the boards to get people to talk about you on social media (link it to your competition too!)Tip 3 – Get people to share their location and who they are withThere are all kinds of apps that allow people to log on and show their location via GPS. Facebook do it – you’ve seen the statuses, “I am at the Coffee Shop, in East London with Bruce Willis”.You could also encourage people to be part of a Periscope session, where live sessions are broadcast to your Twitter followers about where they are, what they are doing etc.Tip 4 – Prepare beforehandPeople tend to see their exhibition presence as a standalone activity but, you can leverage far more from it than what you thought. Start creating a buzz about you being them a few weeks before hand, and use it as much as possible afterwards too.Tip 5 – Target offersThis is about offering the delegates at the conference an offer that is only available to them and at that particular point. You know your own margins and, what you can and cannot offer.It needs to be more than free postage and packing…Tip 6 – ChairsAs high tech as some of these ideas are, you can also play to the weakness of every delegate – tiredness, sore feet and just somewhere to sit down.Many booths will have all kinds of things to entice people over but, inviting people in to take the weight off their feet and check their emails whilst sitting down is a great way of connecting and engaging people.Which of these tips will you try?Exhibitions and trade shows are busy places but there is room for every business to really create a buzz about themselves. Colour Graphics have been supplying printed materials for all kinds of businesses to cement their place in the busy exhibition hall, from roller banners to flyers. 

Eight tips for branding your food business

Thursday, July 23 at 12:03
Branding | How To

Are you looking for clever ways to brand your food business? It pays to ensure that your branding and packaging are spot on! This can be tricky to get right so it is important that you spend some time and resources on ensuring that you do everything you can to make it work for you. Here are 8 essential bits of advice that can help your foodie small business stand out!
Great photosYou’d be amazed to see the difference that great photography can make to your product- people can become easily tempted by beautiful looking food stuffs. This works particularly well with simple items like bread and coffee packaging, as you can sell the product’s potential with lovely lifestyle photos that are engaging and warm – encouraging impulse buys. Keep it simple 
Try not to overcrowd your packaging with pictures and text. Instead use clever placement of clear, crisp images to help attract your target audience and drive through a few more sales. This is also something that can easily be changed to keep up with seasonal changes or even the latest market trends.
Cocoa, Cacao, Chocolate, Food, Eat, Colombia, Packaging

Stay consistent 
Never underestimate the importance of being consistent – people respond better to brands when they are able to quickly recognise and relate to them. Even small changes in the regular packaging can make huge differences- and why companies can make a big show of rebranding.
Quality and quantity 
Make sure that your food packaging supplier is able to provide you with the quantity of packaging you need in the quality that your customers deserve. Getting this right is absolutely essential to build customer trust and encourage brand loyalty. More importantly though, you don’t want to not have your products on the shelves because of a delay in receiving packaging materials. 
Stand out from the crowdIt is important that you make the effort to ensure your product stands out from the crowd. Present your product in the best way possible, block bottom cellophane or paper bags are great packaging solutions. Try using your packaging to tell your company’s story, with creative text and imagery to really grab attention. This is the best advertising platform you have- any sales gained from it can be seen as a bonus.
Noodles, Colorful, Color, Color Raw, Food, Pasta
Keep to your principalsIf you’re talking about your products as being organic, eco-friendly or boutique then you need to stick to these messages across your entire business. Use sustainable sources to provide your food packaging, keep non-recyclable or non-biodegradable products to a minimum and make sure that when people pick up your products they know the principals behind the company. Don’t become datedGetting packaging right isn’t a onetime thing, it’s a good idea to be regularly looking for ways to improve on your products and packaging. This could be anything from including new awards, promotions and ingredients to more subtle changes to the logo, colours or images. Staying on the cutting edge of the market trend without having to completely undergo a brand revamp can be tricky, but it is often essential. 
Do a customer survey 
It may sound like common sense, but take your customers into account when branding or designing your packaging. Why not take a small customer survey to find out what it is people want from your product’s packaging? This is arguably the most important tool you have!
Charlotte Packaging is a family run packaging business with over 40 years’ experience delivering industry food packaging supplies.

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