Marketing a small business isn’t cheap, and few entrepreneurs have the budget to build a marketing department when they’re just starting out. And since the cost of startup branding services could range from $5,000 to $20,000 or more, many aspiring entrepreneurs can’t afford to hire freelancers or agencies when developing their brand messaging or using different marketing channels to promote their businesses. This leaves budget-conscious business owners with one viable option: Becoming their own marketing department.

The following article tells you everything you need to know about becoming your own marketing department — from choosing the right marketing channels to creating your brand messaging.

Marketing 101: Build Your Brand Identity

Creating your brand identity can seem intimidating as a DIY marketer, but it’s something every business needs in order to stand out from the competition and gain customer trust. A few things that make up a brand’s identity include its:

    • Color palette, typography, and shapes used (e.g. straight lines, round shapes, or shapes with straight edges).
    • Logo and website design.
    • Business cards, email signatures, and other marketing materials.

It’s important to keep your brand identity consistent across all marketing channels, as this helps to build long-lasting relationships with customers and clients. And though you may choose to rebrand your business when you have the budget for it, creating a style guide for your brand can help to keep things consistent as your company grows.

There are many examples of strong brand identity among larger corporations, but smaller businesses have to push a little harder to create that level of cohesion. The US Chamber of Commerce recently listed some smaller businesses that have achieved next-level brand identity, including Bumble, Mailchimp, and Turo, among many others.

The Best Marketing Design Tools and Templates for DIY Branding

Ready to tackle everything from creating your own logo to designing a website? Use these design tools and templates for your DIY branding:

  • Free online logo makers. Instead of paying a graphic designer or agency, use online tools to create a great logo design without the hefty price tag. Simply choose a template that resonates with your brand identity; customize the logo with different styles, icons, fonts, and colors; and display the logo across all your marketing materials.
  • General design tools and apps. Many online design tools can be used to create business cards, flyers, social graphics, website designs, and full brand kits. Some tools are free to use, while others are paid.
  • Content management software (CMS). Several content management systems are available for building small business websites, including Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace. When building your website, however, be sure to incorporate your brand’s color scheme, typography, and logo.

Choose Your Marketing Channels Wisely

When marketing your business without help from others, it’s best to focus on a few marketing channels rather than trying to tackle each and every channel at once. Different types of marketing channels include search engine optimization (commonly known as SEO); content, email, social media marketing, and online advertising (like search engine marketing and paid advertisements).

Offline advertising is another type of marketing channel to consider when marketing your small business. Billboards, direct mail, community bulletin boards, printed business cards and marketing collateral, and radio ads are just a few offline marketing channels that can be used.

Typically, the best marketing channels for your business will depend on your objectives, and they’ll offer the highest return on investment (ROI). However, writing a marketing plan is a great place to start when choosing your first few channels.

Align Your Marketing Messaging Across All Channels

If you — like many small businesses — choose to market your products and services across multiple channels, you’ll want your message to remain consistent across each platform to avoid confusing or misleading your audience. But what does messaging mean, exactly? Let’s dig a little deeper.

In marketing terms, messaging refers to how a brand communicates the value of its products and services to its clients and customers. Does a brand communicate with its audience online, offline, or both on- and- offline? As we mentioned above, marketing messaging can include everything from social media posts and website copy to email campaigns and direct mail.

And while your messaging should remain consistent across all marketing channels, it should also be personalized to fit the customer. A few ways to go about doing this include:

  • Defining and segmenting your buyer personas, as well as your ideal customer profiles (ICPs).
  • Personalizing emails to include the first name of the recipient.
  • Sending delivery updates and promo codes to customers via text message.

Track Your Marketing Efforts

In addition to marketing your small business across on- and- offline channels, it’s important to track and analyze your marketing efforts. After all, you won’t know if your efforts are paying off if you’re not monitoring the success of your marketing campaigns. A few different ways of tracking your marketing efforts include:

  • Website analytics.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) tracking.
  • Phone call lead tracking.
  • Email tracking.
  • Conversion tracking tools for Facebook, Google, and Instagram.
  • Key performance indicator (KPI) tracking.

VBOUT’s Marketing Analytics platform makes it easy to track your marketing activities across various channels. The platform integrates with Google Analytics, Facebook, Shopify, Salesforce, HubSpot CRM, WordPress, and many other third-party apps, allowing you to track and analyze your marketing efforts from one accessible location.

Become Your Own Marketing Department

Becoming your own marketing department may seem like a stretch when you’re already wearing many hats as an entrepreneur, but marketing automation software, design apps, and other online tools can help with everything from building your brand identity to tracking your marketing efforts.

Once these marketing efforts pay off and you’ve built a loyal customer base, you can start thinking about investing in professional marketing services. And whether that means building an internal marketing team, enlisting the help of a freelancer, or outsourcing your marketing to an agency, the choice will be all yours! VBOUT can help your business with everything from managing leads and sending email campaigns, to tracking your marketing efforts and managing social media activities.

About the author

Dean Burgess started Excite Preneur to explore the areas of entrepreneurship that are often overlooked and to share with current and aspiring entrepreneurs the stories and lessons he has learned. He fully believes entrepreneurs will lead us to a more exciting future. All it takes is an idea or goal and a desire to see it to fruition.