When we start our business, we are extremely excited to execute and begin making money. However, we tend to forget the USP, or unique selling proposition, and branding elements when starting out.

It's notable that some business owners are born marketers. Others have an abundance of entrepreneurial spirit but little selling savvy. Both can benefit from developing these do-it-yourself marketing habits.

Let's take a second to review what it takes to create an incredible brand and have the perception uniqueness in your business.

1. Be your brand.

Present a consistent business persona in person, online, over the phone, and in all correspondence. Add your logo, contact information, special offers, and ways to connect to your e-mail signature block, faxes, invoices, blogs, Web pages, social networking sites, and, in part, in your voice mail message.

2. Build relationships.

Get to know prospects, clients, vendors, Chamber of Commerce members, professionals in complementary industries, other volunteers with your favorite charity, and service people you encounter in day-to-day life. Offer information, make referrals, lend a hand, and be involved in your community. People will think of you when they experience a problem that you and your business can solve.

3. Develop and carry through with a plan.

DIYers need a marketing plan just as much as the marketing firms who develop huge campaigns for their clients. Know the individuals you want to receive your message. Determine how you will communicate. Decide when and how often you want to be in touch. Write out the action steps you will take to accomplish this and then carry out your plan.

4. Share.

Be the person with great resources, interesting tips, valuable information, and a willingness to share. People who have had a taste of your expertise will remember you and will often want more of your products and services.

5. Think outside the box.

Be memorable in a good way. Do things differently, with creativity and flair. Unless you are a ghostwriter, stop handing out pens as your promotional item. Even if you are a florist or a confectioner, you can celebrate traditional holidays and still create unusual occasions to promote your business. Offer something fabulous 6 months after the craziness of Valentine's Day, for instance. Whatever your business, choose something fun that will remind people of no one but you.

Be in the habit of being your brand, building relationships, carrying through with your marketing plan, sharing, and thinking outside the box. With these traits, your business will benefit no matter how, when, or where you do your marketing.


DIY Marketing - Branding Your Business - Do You Know the 7 Key Steps?

In a sea of competitors in your niche, how will your company find a foothold? Your number one marketing goal is to make your company known. Prospective customers cannot buy from you if they do not know you and what you have to offer. "Branding" your company means to establish and project a consistent, dynamic, powerful and memorable message about who your company is and what your company does.

Here are 7 key steps to branding your company:

1. Write or refine your company's mission statement. 

Explain why your company exists. A mission statement usually involves two parts. The first states a problem your prospective customer has that needs a solution. The second explains how your company can provide the solution -- and do it better than anyone else. Express succinctly and accurately your company's mission and you will have established the "theme" for your brand. Do this step first and it will make the rest of the branding process flow smoothly.

2. Clarify your company's "theme". 

Your company's theme flows out of your mission statement. Your theme is a tangible or visual expression of the intangible, mental image you want the public to have of your company. Your theme should evoke emotion from the viewer based on the image you want to create of yourself or your company. If you are a personal injury lawyer, you may want to convey the image that you are an aggressive fighter for your injured clients. If you are a printing company, you may want to convey that you are fast and a perfectionist.

3. Write a memorable tagline that expresses who you are and what you do. 

Have some fun here and be creative. The key is to make it memorable. Humor or a play on words often help to make a tagline memorable. Spend some time looking at other companies' taglines. Use them as a guide for creating your own.

4. Write a newsletter. 

Distribute your newsletter monthly or weekly via email or direct mail. The goal is for your company's name and products to stay in the forefront of your prospects' minds. When they go looking for what you have to offer, they will think of you as a trustworthy source, because they already know you and trust you.

5. Create a website. 

Add new, informative content at least once a week. Your website or blog should be the hub of your marketing endeavors. All roads should lead your customers to your website. It is here that customers and prospects can find everything they need to know about your company and the products and services your provide. It is here that you have complete control in creating the image you want the public to have of your company.

6. Write and publish articles regularly. 

Distribute your articles on the web in article directories like EzineArticles.com and in print publications. The goal is to establish yourself as the expert in your niche and then guide readers to your website or blog to learn more about your company's products and services.

7. Participate in local and national conferences in your niche. 

Participate at least twice a year as an attendee, or better yet as a presenter, a host or exhibitor in local and national conferences. You want to become known not only to prospective customers but also to others in your niche as an active leader in your field.


DIY Marketing - Branding Secrets Top Business Owners Know and Use

Branding your company may seem like a simple set of tasks. Choose a niche, a service or product to sell, a company name, a logo, business cards, a website and "Voila!" You are in business! It is true you can be "in business" with little effort. However, the level of success you experience will depend on whether you know -- and use -- fundamental, yet little known "secrets". Your understanding of these four secrets will catapult you ahead of your competition right from the start:

1. Your company's values must be in alignment with your personal values. Your company brand represents you and all you stand for. You are going to spend many hours, days, months and years working in your business and representing your business. If your company is an accurate reflection of your own personal core values, and not in conflict with any of them, the long hours you will spend working in your business will be much less stressful. In fact, your work life can be a joyful, playful expression of who you are and what you care most about. We all want to do work that feels like play. Now is your chance to create or re-invent your company to become an expression of you and to create a "skin" that you will feel comfortable living in for many years to come.

2. Your brand is created only in part by you. It is co-created by the public in how they view you. You have control over the message you send out about who your company is, what is stands for and what it promises. You have no control over how the message is interpreted by its recipients, your prospective customers. Your brand is also subject to the tides of public opinion. Plenty of companies have fallen victim to their own best marketing efforts by creating unwittingly a marketing message that is negatively received by the public, causing untolled, and sometimes irreparable damage. Creating and refining your marketing message to appeal to consumers is an art you must master to be successful.

3. Discovering, rather than simply imagining, who your ideal client is will determine your level of success. Crystallize your understanding of the client you seek to serve. Fiction writers create a "back story" for each of their fictional characters before they write a word. They conjure biographical details about each character, describing what his life influences have been, which then informs his character. The author then literally "knows" how each character would behave in a certain situation and knows what his character's response to various stimuli would be. As a business owner, you must "characterize" your ideal prospective customer in this same manner. This knowledge is necessary for you to craft products and services that you prospective customer will respond to and buy.

4. Your customer is seeking an experience not merely a purchase. Because of the large number of choices available, consumers have become accustomed to expect a pleasant and desirable experience with any purchase. Consumers have been trained to believe that if they buy a particular product or service, that their lives will be transformed for the better, if even briefly. A trip to Starbucks is an event and evokes pleasurable feelings in the consumer that run much deeper than just the purchase of a hot beverage. A trip on a cruise ship is much more than mere transportation from one destination to another. Your product or service will be more attractive if it promises and delivers a pleasurable, perhaps even life-changing experience.

Whether, and how soon in your company's life, you master these fundamental secrets will be a determining factor in your company's success.

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