When you start a small business, you have to create a budget and factor in all the expenses coming in the door. One expense that can’t be avoided is your branding. This includes your logo, your website, the sign above your door, your social media, etc. How you brand you business is crucial because this is often the first visual representation of your company that people will see. If you cut corners to save money, often times people will walk around the corner to your competitor. Your branding is the voice of your business. It’s your story in an image and maybe a few words. So how do you maximize your branding without breaking the bank?
LOGO & GRAPHICS
There are sites popping up everyday like 99designs and Fiverr that offer you too-good-to-be-true discounts on things like your logo. The old saying, “You get what you pay for,” applies to things like a $5 logo. We’ve had several clients come to us after receiving a cookie cutter logo, and lamenting their mistake. We get it. We all need to save money where we can.
Your logo defines your business. You want a complete branding package that includes business cards, letter heads, email templates, etc. All of these things will need your logo in various sizes and resolutions, which you can easily get with a small agency. For $5, you’d be lucky to get a high resolution jpeg. A small agency can range anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 for a branding package, but a well designed, creative logo will last you for years. Going with a small design or marketing agency is the best way to save on headaches, even if you have to part with a bit more cash.
With all the DIY options for website building out there, many small business owners go this route blindly. Sites like Squarespace or Wix will help you create fully functional websites, but the time you spend doing-it-yourself is time best spent on other projects. Your website will be the first thing people see when they discover your business, even if they’ve heard of you via word of mouth. An outdated or poorly designed website could create a bad first impression, and that potential customer could be lost in an instant. It’s better to hire a professional to create a site for you efficiently, rather then you trying to figure out GoDaddy Site Builder in your spare time.
Website design isn’t scary, and working with a designer is not as difficult as many people think. A good designer will meet with you, learn about your business, and come up with the right design to meet your needs. Here at E9, we utilize WordPress for numerous reasons. It can grow and change easily as your business grows. It’s also mobile and tablet friendly, which is extremely important as more and more people use smart devices to surf the web.
So what about cost? You’ll need to buy a domain name and pick a hosting package, which a designer will walk you through. The average cost to design & build a website from a small agency is between $2,000 to $4,000 dollars, depending on the needs of your business. Most companies like E9 know that can be a big chunk out of your budget, but setting up a payment plan can often help cushion that blow.
Ten years ago, a small business owner didn’t need a social media budget, but today it is crucial. Posting on social media now and then, or hiring a cousin to post on Facebook won’t cut it. To truly harness the marketing power of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, you need a professional. Some larger agencies offer social media management services for upwards of $3,000 per month. That’s way too much for a small business owner to part with in this economy.
At E9, we’ve simplified social media, and many other marketing agencies are doing the same. For example, to have an agency strategize and manage your Facebook page, the cost should be between $300 – $500 per month. They should be well versed in Facebook’s ad system, and have experience with Facebook best practices. Along with Facebook, you should consider Twitter and Instagram management, as both of those sites have user bases well over 300 million people.
To get an understanding of reasonable pricing for social media, check out our new pricing structure at E9 by clicking here.
Being a small business owner is an expensive, but rewarding career. To reap those rewards effectively, remember to budget accordingly for your branding. You want your branding to have that “Wow!” factor and separate you from your competition. The less work you have to do to attract potential customers, the better. That’s what branding, a well designed website, and properly managed social media aims to do.
If you have any questions about branding, websites, or social media, feel free to email me anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org.