Success in today’s business marketplace is a challenging task.
With a high degree of competition and the need to maintain an edge over other players, branding plays a major role in fulfilling this task.
To begin with, branding involves the creation of a unique name and image to a business.
The purpose of branding is to give an identity to the products and services being provided for one’s business. This process allows for all consumers to become familiar with what is being offered by the business.
It also allows for businesses to better position one’s products and services in comparison to other players in the market, thereby allowing for better recognition.
Coming to the concept of rebranding your small business, one can consider it as a marketing strategy to create a new image in the minds of the consumers.
The purpose of it is to change their ideas and opinions about offered products or services. It is a way in which the masses can be ‘reprogrammed’ in terms of the way in which they see the business.
THE REBRANDING PROCESS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The way that rebranding your small business is done is fairly simple, although it can be quite a hassle unto itself. Some of the things that it involves are:
· Creation of a new brand logo
· Creation of a new brand name
· Creation of a new brand slogan or tagline
· Acquisition and merger
The first part involves the creation of a new brand logo, so as to divert the ‘image’ part of the business identity to another pictographically representation. For example, the logo of a business selling fruits can shift from a mango to a bunch of mangoes.
The second part involves a change of name. Sometimes, it involves a mere change of the spelling but in other cases, the entire name may get discarded in favor of something better and unique. For example, the name of a business may be changed from ‘Bob’s Fruits’ to ‘Bob’s Fruitz’ or perhaps, ‘Bob’s Produce’.
The third part involves the changing of the slogan or tagline. This is the part which essentially ‘defines’ what the brand is all about and stands for. It is one of the ways in which the ‘positioning’ of the brand can be created in the minds of the consumers. For example, the slogan can go from ‘Fresh fruits everyday!’ to ‘Guaranteed fresh, everyday!’
The final one involves the purchase of another business and taking over its identity. This is for the most part used for larger businesses, although there are certainly exceptions to this as well.
There are plenty of other rebranding strategies but the above are the most common ones that can be found in the marketplace, especially in the case of small businesses.
WHEN IS IT TIME TO REBRAND A BUSINESS?
One of the most common questions that are asked about rebranding your small business is about the correct timing.
While there isn’t a correct timing as far as rebranding is done, there are a few pointers that one can use.
Some of the main pointers are:
1.) Slump in profits
Profits are the best indicators to figure out the correct timing.
While not exactly foolproof in nature, cash flow is a key indicator to figure out how a business is doing.
Money is the name of the game and at the same time, an excellent way to judge the health of the business.
2.) Increase in competition
The increase of competition is an inevitable part of any profitable industry.
Whenever entrepreneurs realize that profits can be made in a particular sector of the economy, it is a guarantee that they will flock to it, sooner or later.
When the competition gets tough, it is an important indicator that the time has come to rebrand the business.
3.) Expansion into new products and services
More often than not, the growth of a business will encourage its owner to venture out into other sectors of the economy.
This often calls for rebranding, because small businesses are often focused on a single product or service, with the branding also focused being very specific in nature.
For example, let’s say a small business that was selling fruits and vegetables ventured out into selling groceries as well. The brand of that business would likely reflect something pertaining to fruits and vegetables, be it in the logo, name, slogan or anything else related.
When one expands to sell groceries as well to the consumers, a major need for rebranding your small business is needed, for it will require a change of everything that formerly defined the business.
4.) Refreshing the image of the business in the minds of consumers
Sometimes, there may not exist any of the above factors which would call for a rebranding your small business to be done.
Instead, it may just be for the sake of refreshing the minds of the consumers that such and such a business exists. Rebranding can be employed here, so as to remind everyone about the products and services, as well as their advantages when compared to alternatives.
GOING ABOUT WITH REBRANDING
The process of rebranding should be done with proper attention being paid to a few things.
Some of them are:
1.) Find out what is needed
This is the most important aspect of the rebranding process.
The exact nature of the necessary change should be determined first. Only after this process is finished can any concrete steps be taken up.
2.) Estimate costs
As with other aspects of businesses, it is necessary to estimate the rebranding costs.
Some of the main expenses are that of graphic artists, lawyer fees, registration charges, taxes, etc.
3.) Figure out a way to get the word across
Once the new brand identity has been created, there is a new challenge that emerges; advertising.
Just because a new identity has been created doesn’t mean that the consumers will immediately find out about it.
Making sure that the consumers know about the change will require an effective and persuasive advertising campaign which allows for this.
Apart from being effective and persuasive, proper attention must be paid to the budget available for advertising as well.
4.) Have faith and be patient
The last part of rebranding is not really a ‘step’ that is to be acted upon.
However, there is a tendency for small businesses to expect everything to happen fast.
More often than not, things take their own sweet time so it should be expected and prepared for in advance.
While rebranding your small business is certainly a great way to improve one’s business, it is by no means a simple task.
There are several things that must be taken into consideration as well.
Some of the important ones are:
Small businesses may not have the necessary capital to pay for the rebranding process.
This is because rebranding goes beyond merely coming up with new logos, names, slogans, taglines, etc. There is a need to register the same with the relevant authorities, so as to protect it from being copied by others.
In addition to this, one should also take into consideration the advertising costs, since the company will have to quite essentially start over from scratch when spreading awareness about the business entity.
2.) Impact on the consumers
In the marketplace, the consumer is king. There is a reason for one to be aware of this.
As much as there may be a need for branding, it should be in touch with market expectations. What this means is that the rebranding should reflect the needs and desires of consumers.
Unless the rebranding process wins the approval of the consumers, the entire process will be a big waste.
3.) Copyright issues
This is the third and perhaps one of the most important things that must be kept in mind.
During the process of rebranding, it is important to ensure that the new identity being created for the products or services do not copy anything already existing in the marketplace.
Not only is this unethical but also illegal, meaning that it can result in lawsuits and other related legal hassles.
As a whole, small businesses can greatly benefit from the strategy of rebranding as a way to grow and expand.
It might be rather difficult and tedious process to a very large extent. Regardless, it will all be worth it in the end.Done right, rebranding your small business will go a long way in ensuring progress and prosperity for a long time to come.
Ever since the rise of the internet, the world has never been the same.
Owing to the way in which it operated, it quite literally changed the course of human civilization.
The impact of the internet can today be seen everywhere and across all spheres of life; commerce, gaming, music, videos, education, healthcare, finance, communication, defense, etc. The list for this goes on and on.
Coming to the issue of the internet as a tool of business, having an online presence is an absolute necessity in today’s marketplace.
Ever since the early days of the internet, businesses have been quick to take advantage of this emerging medium for achieving growth and expansion.
This trend has today increased due to the penetration of the internet across the world. In addition to this, one can look forward to the trend accelerating in the near future, owing to a variety of factors like lower internet costs, better quality infrastructure, etc.
With an ever competitive marketplace and growing demand, the internet has a very important role to play in keeping the business up and running. From keeping in touch with existing customers to capturing new leads and everything in between, the internet is certainly a godsend.
This is especially true in the case of small businesses, which are usually not in a position to compete with the larger players. In fact, the internet is one of the greatest of equalizers in today’s world for small businesses. On the internet, it doesn’t matter whether or not a company is small, medium or large; instead, the only thing that matters is whether or not it is providing the product or service the client is searching for.
The main reason that this advantage exists is because on the internet, everything is reduced to the same level, since a business is not able to project it’s ‘might’ the way it can offline. All websites are the same in terms of size and in its ability to get the message across to its consumers. Since all websites essentially have the same amount of space, there is little to no difference between presentation qualities and thereby creates an environment where the only thing that stands out is merit and quality.
Added to this, the internet also provides another advantage, which is that it has the ability to reach an unprecedented number of people in a relatively short period of time. With national borders being erased online, the entire world is up for grabs, if the product or service is good or unique enough.
Getting started with an online presence is fairly simple and straightforward.
It used to involve having nothing more than an email address in the beginning but today, the world has moved on to web domains.
In simple terms, a web domain is similar to an email address, only it acts as a piece of online real estate, as opposed to a personal mailbox.
Guided by the rules and principles of IP or Internet Protocol, domain names are the ‘addresses’ of websites that can be used by consumers to reach the business online.
As simple as it might sound, there is more to this than what meets the eye. Not all small business domain names are the same. On the contrary, there is a lot that must be taken into consideration before getting one.
Some of the important considerations that must be taken into account are mentioned below:
1.) Choose a relevant domain name:
There are plenty of domain names that can be purchased right now. However, most of them are not relevant in any way to the business.
The name of the domain is something very unique and should relate to the business. For example, a fictional business titled ‘Sierra Services’ must go for a name like ‘Sierra.com’ or ‘Sierraservices.com’ or something similar.
The point here is that the small business domain names should be very simple to remember. The attention span for a large proportion of the population is rather short, which means that one has only a few minutes to gain their attention before they get busy with other things.
Also, the name should avoid the usage of dashes or numbers, which tend to confuse people. While the same may be used to a certain degree, one should understand that most people usually prefer the domain names to be free of any punctuation or numbers, due to its simplicity.
2.) Use generic names as much as possible
While this is related to the above point, it is largely a separate point unto itself.
Any business looking to maintain an online presence must make sure that the domain name is generic as much as possible. What this means is that the name should be very easy to remember, while at the same time, avoiding any unnecessary words.
For example, it is better to have the domain name as ‘Sierraservices.com’ over ‘Sierraservicespvtltd.com’, since the former is a lot easier to remember than the latter for most people.
3.) Always choose a .COM extension
There are today numerous extensions available, such as .com, .org, .biz, .co, .net, etc.
While all of them will be considered as a valid domain extension by the internet service providers and the browser, people are quite different.
To most people in the world, the extension that they are most familiar with is the .com above all else. Incidentally, it is the most common one in use for a majority of websites currently online.
Unless absolutely necessary, never go for anything other than a .com extension.
For example, choose the extension for the fictional company ‘Sierra Services’ as ‘Sierraservices.com’ and not ‘Sierraservices.net’ or something similar.
If you require an example of other small business domain names extensions, let’s say the above company decided to start its own charity called ‘Sierra Foundation’. In such a case, the name of the domain is perfectly fine to be ‘Sierrafoundation.org’.
4.) Register for more than one year
It is rather customary for most people to have their domain names registered for the default period of one year.
While there is nothing wrong with this, it should be noted that this is very dangerous, especially when brand names are involved.
After the domain name expires and gets deleted, it will be up for grabs for anyone willing to pay the registration fees. This is especially dangerous for small businesses which are in their growing stages.
If financial constraints will limit the registration process for one year, effort should be put to make sure that it is extended by a few more years at the earliest.
5.) Look for premium domains
A great strategy to use when selecting a domain is to buy what are called ‘premium’ domains.
These are highly sought after web addresses, due to the uniqueness of their name. The names of such domains tend to be words or phrases that are commonly used such as ‘services’ or ‘premium quality services’, i.e. ‘services.com’ or ‘premiumqualityservices.com’.
While these may not help a business for the most part in terms of branding, they are a great strategy for attaining leads and gaining traffic.
As a whole, small business domain names play a very important role in the branding of a business as well as its long-term success.Done right, it will go a long way in ensuring that one’s business will grow and expand well into the distant future.
Marketing is one of the key growth factors of any business in today’s word.
As cliché and simple as it may sound, focus on the marketing aspect of running a business is often overlooked, especially in the case of small businesses.
The main marketing strategy of small businesses seems to follow an adage long held to be true, which is,
“If you build it, they will come…”
This is something that has been preached by marketing gurus to be the truth about low-budget marketing. The logic behind this was largely based around what is called word-of-mouth advertising.
The logic behind this marketing strategy was based on the idea that if the product or service was good enough, the customer would go about spreading the word about the quality of service to others. This would in turn lead to the increase of one’s clientele in the long run.
While word-of-mouth marketing has proven its effectiveness over the years, one shouldn’t ignore the other avenues of lead generation and management, especially when it is in a competitive economy.
A great way that small businesses can bolster the number of leads they get as well as the overall profits is through the use of email marketing.
Email marketing is a great way to grow one’s business, regardless of the field they are operating in. In fact, small business email marketing has in fact been a major catalyst for plenty of industries across the world.
A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO SMALL BUSINESS EMAIL MARKETING
To begin with, let’s take a closer look at email marketing.
As the name would suggest, it involves using the power of email for the purpose of marketing. That’s the definition of this concept in a nutshell.
Taking a deeper look at the concept, the roots of the marketing strategy goes to the basic email address. Ever since the internet became a major source of communication and exchanging information, the way in which people communicate has transformed dramatically.
One of the best things that emerged from this medium was the concept of the electronic mail or email. It involved the same principles of regular mail, only it existed in the online world.
The reason that small business email marketing is a great way to reach out to clients has to do with its personal nature. As opposed to the general nature of marketing in other mediums, email marketing is something that delivers information about one’s products or services in the most personal way possible.
What this means to a business is that the details of its product or service will be personally delivered prospective clients when using email marketing.
This is something that is very different from the way any other marketing campaign works, with the message being essentially ‘thrown’ to the public, hoping that someone or the other will notice it.
SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Despite email marketing being an excellent source of new leads for one’s business, it is for the most part, a very under-tapped resource.
While there are many reasons for this, one of the biggest is that of knowledge and understanding about how it works.
For one thing, many people are unaware that such a source of lead generation even exists. There are others who are aware of the concept, which don’t go for it simply because they do not know how to go about doing it. Other issues also exist such as a lack of the necessary infrastructure, reluctance to accept change, etc.
Regardless of why one may not embrace email marketing, it is absolutely necessary for small businesses and indeed any business, to maintain and active email marketing campaign.
WHY GO FOR EMAIL MARKETING?
This is a natural question for almost anyone who would come across the concept.
There are certainly plenty of advantages and reasons to choose small business email marketing. Out of them all, the most important one happens to be the personal nature of emails.
To a large extent, marketing today has revolved around the idea of putting out the word to the general public, hoping that a handful of them will eventually go for the product or service. While it is effective, the strategy does not have any personal flavor in any way. Also, there is less of a guarantee that the people will actually look at the advertisement, owing to the way everyone is usually engrossed in the daily grind.
In contrast, email marketing happens to be something that is very personal in nature. Every email address is very personal in nature, with the mails being delivered ‘in person’ to the concerned party.
As a result of this, email marketing enables businesses to deliver the message directly to the customer, with a much higher probability that the same will be read. While the addressee may not act upon it a lot of the times, the likelihood is always greater when it comes to emails.
Also to note here is that with the growth of the internet, especially in emerging markets, the number of potential customers is ever increasing. There is very little probability that the medium is about to disappear anytime soon. As it is, there are well over 2.5 billion users, with more being added every single day; that’s a massive customer base, even if one is able to tap into a very small fraction of it.
While there are plenty of different ways that small business email marketing can be done, it is something that can be initiated in the most basic and rudimentary manner possible.
For beginners, one must ensure that there is an online presence. This can be in one of two main ways:
· A business email address
· A website
For most people, a business email address will be more than sufficient. This will enable one to keep in touch with one’s clients on the internet. The address itself can come from one of the many free email service providers or as part of the company’s own website.
Websites on the other hand, are a great way to inform potential clients about one’s products or services. They also are an excellent way to generate new leads to the company.
The best way to go about this is to have a combination of both. The email address will act as a great way to contact one’s clients or potential customers, while websites allow for the capture of vital information that could potentially lead to a new sale.
EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
The email marketing campaigns will enable small businesses to communicate with clients, keeping them informed and updated.
The exact nature of the information given in these email campaigns can be quite literally anything; product information, special offers, updates and upgrades, new launches, discounts, changes in the terms of service, freebies, etc. One can have these email campaigns personalized even more by having periodic greetings given out to clients on days such as birthdays, festivals, etc.
The last and the most important aspect of this is the capture of email addresses. To most people, gaining email addresses sounds like an astronomical task, with a great deal of effort and finances being involved. The truth is that it is fairly affordable, if everything is done properly.
Websites can be designed to collect the email addresses of clients, which are then processed with the help of email marketing services. There are plenty of such companies and services, many of which are absolutely free. These allow not just for the collection of client details, but also analyzing the campaign to see how everything is going, be it the conversion rates, delivery rates, bounce rates, etc.
As a whole, small business email marketing is one of the most effective ways to gain clients and achieve growth.While the entire process might seem rudimentary and simple to many people, its usefulness is something that shouldn’t be ignored.