3 Reasons why branding matters for small businesses
Your brand is not your logo. Although most small business owners think of their brand as their logo, your brand is actually the sum of all the experiences a customer has when dealing with your business. Your logo is a part of your brand. However, your brand also the way you explain what you do, the images you choose to convey your offering, how your business interacts with prospects and customers, and the needs you meet for your clients.
Consistency is a key part of branding. If you can’t respect your own brand, you certainly can’t expect others to respect it either. To maintain consistency, it is important that you have a business plan with defined goals so that you can be confident that the decisions you make today will be consistent with the decisions you’ll be making in the coming days, weeks, and months. Consistency takes effort, but that effort is well worth it for small businesses for 3 very important reasons.
Branding will help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Branding builds trust. Trust matters to Google. Google’s ranking algorithm is complex. There are 200+ ranking factors that determine where your website will land in a search result, and they change all the time. But we do know that Google actively measures EAT qualities on websites using people called Search Quality Evaluators. EAT stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Maintaining a brand helps build trust.
Branding also helps with voice search. Voice search is becoming much more common now that so many people have in-home voice-activated devices. When searching on an in-home assistant or doing a voice search on your phone, the searcher will get 1 result. ONE. If you’re not a big business, that result isn’t likely to be you. Branding will help people ask for you by name so you are the search result. If a searcher requests your business by name, instead of Google connecting that search with a national online flower shop, the searcher will get your local flower shop as a result, and you’ll get the order.
Branding makes decision making a lot easier. If you know your brand and work to apply it consistently, many business decisions are a lot easier. For example, let’s say your local little league team asks you to sponsor their team. You like kids and it gets your name “out there” so this must be a good decision. Right? Wrong? The answer is maybe. Who is your target audience? What matters to them? Do youth sports align with the mission of your company? If your target audience has no affiliation with little league and your company has no connection to youth, parenting, or sports, I’d say the answer to that request is no. Knowing your brand makes the decision a lot easier.
Branding makes the sale easier. A lot easier. People judge things they don’t understand based upon the things they do understand. Although your marketing doesn’t have anything to do with the ability of your company to provide its services, manufacture parts, or cook a meal, etc., it’s the only thing a prospect can use to judge if they should patronize your business. Inconsistent branding might make a prospect wonder if they’ve heard of you before because they recognize your tagline, your ads, your logo, or your sales pitch.
Most people don’t notice something until it matters to them. That’s why when you buy a new car, you suddenly notice all the people driving down the road who own the exact same car. When someone is interested in what your business has to offer, providing a consistent brand will help them notice you everywhere too. It will keep your business top of mind. It will encourage referral sources to recommend you. It will remind prospects that they’ve been meaning to stop by your business or call you for a while now, so they can take action.
If you’re not a marketer, it’s easy to default to “fun” ideas and asking strangers for advice. Branding is not about fun ideas. It’s knowing where your business is going and making sure everything you do aligns with the experiences you want your customers to have every single time they do business with you.