If you have a small business, or if you’re planning to start one, you’re far from alone. According to the United States Small Business Administration, in 2018 there were over 30 million small businesses, accounting for 99.9 percent of all businesses in the US.
On the other hand, about one in every twelve businesses close down each year, many from lack of customers and sales. If those statistics sound impressive, and a little scary, don’t worry. Though the competition may be tough, there are definitely ways that you can help your own small business to succeed.
One of the main things that you can do is concentrate on branding.
What Is Branding?
When branding is mentioned, most people think about logo design.
And logo design is an important part of branding. But there’s a lot more to it than that!
Branding covers all aspects of interaction between business and consumer: website design, marketing materials, promotions, social media interactions, follow up conversations, and customer service of all types.
Successful branding is all about focus on the customer, and includes adding value to each interaction, updating content to keep the interest of the audience, honing goods and services to appeal to new clients, and taking advantage of cutting edge graphic design, business, and branding technologies.
A brand that is well designed is harmonious across all platforms and sticks to the message and personality of the brand.
Branding Your Small Business Website
It’s important to brand intelligently everywhere, but your small business website should be at the top of your list.
After all, your website is the flagship, the home of your business. It offers the best chance to represent your brand and shore up its values and message.
Use a user friendly web design to encourage interaction and investment from your audience. There’s nothing more frustrating than to go onto a company website looking for a specific piece of information, and not be able to find it! Clearly mark your menus and ensure that the links deliver where they’re supposed to.
Include all the relevant information: contact info, an “about us” section, available products and services, and frequently asked questions. A searchable “help” window is always a good idea to assist in avoiding customer frustration.
The overall design of the site, in addition to being user friendly, should fit in with the personality of your brand. Develop a style manual, including fonts, graphics, and color schemes, and stick to it across pages and platforms to promote a harmonious brand design.
How much can your small business website design influence the growth of your brand?
Statistics indicate that 91 percent of consumers have visited a store because of the experience they had online with the brand.
And even though only just under two thirds of small businesses have websites, of those that do, 69 percent of them have annual sales of over 1,000,000.
Branding For Customer Service
Ensuring that your brand is focused on customer service can make a big difference in elevating a functional business to a growing business.
Statistics show that businesses that are dedicated to delivering excellent customer service can actually expect revenues between 4 percent and 8 percent above their competitors in their market. And customers are much more likely to be willing to spend money with a brand that guarantees them good customer service.
So how can your business make customer service a focal point?
- Create social media accounts. Social media gives your brand more opportunities to reach out to customers and potential customers, as well as making your brand more visible.
- Post content regularly. Customers appreciate up to date information, especially if it’s helpful to them. They’re more likely to interact, like, repost, and tell others about your site or blog if it is current and insightful.
- Respond to messages as quickly as possible. This may mean setting up an automatic response to assure your customer that their message has been received, but don’t neglect to follow up.
- Check in with your customers. Whether through customer satisfaction polls or through a direct message or email, reach out to your clients to make sure that they’re happy with your service.
It’s true that the numbers of small businesses in the US continue to grow at a steady rate, and it can be difficult to make your mark among so many competitors. But by focusing on a brand design that speaks to your audience, your own small business can be transformed from a simple startup to a growing brand.