In 2016, hayWire joined the Red Branch Media family and we’re so happy to be here! Red Branch Media, is a full-service marketing and advertising agency that caters to assisting clients in B2B, Non-Profit, FinTech and more. The Red Branch blog features articles on marketing, design, leadership, HR topics, social media and so much more. This article originally appears on the Red Branch Media blog and is reprinted here with permission.

If you know your business and the market you sell, marketing your brand is a game you can easily win even if the budget for a full-service, retained marketing agency doesn’t exist for you yet. Starting a business is 80% trial and error, 20% learning from those errors until you can make some traction. The biggest misconception following many startups is thinking they desperately need money to make it. Connections will get you farther than money ever could. The best way to get that is through digital marketing and networking, both of which can be done on a shoestring budget.

“[digital marketing] is not only a rapidly growing force in the current marketing playing field, it is set to be the future of marketing, and it seems likely that digital media will soon replace more traditional forms marketing is infinitely more affordable than traditional offline marketing methods.” – Terry Irwin, CEO at TCii Strategic and Management Consultants

The Brand

If you haven’t already built and finalized your brand package, that’s your step one. Pick 2-3 brand colors you want associated with your company, and if you’re not an artist, use free tools like Squarespace to create a logo you can quickly stick in your brand portfolio for email headers and social media pages. Remember, logos aren’t final. Logos and brands, even iconic ones like Coca-Cola, make changes over time as the company grows. A logo and brand are there to help your audience understand your story. Looking back on your first logo will give you pride in seeing how far you’ve come, don’t sweat this process.

The Content

65% of B2B buyers agree B2B vendors should hold back on sales if it means increasing quality content. The most important part of marketing your professionalism is showing the cyber world what you have to offer. 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content a day but start small with at least once a week. Even if it’s getting into the motion of jotting down ideas, you must start somewhere. The world doesn’t see what you do every day to make your company run. They can’t hear the conference call you just aced with your incredible business strategy tactics. You need to tell your story and show your excellence through content marketing.

Tweet This: #DYK 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content a day. #MarketingTips

Prove this through writing blog content and republishing it to your LinkedIn account. 29% percent of leading marketers reuse and repurpose their content to other outlets. Establishing yourself as a thought leader and expert in what you do is the best way to sell your brand across several outlets. Create content that would be helpful to your audience. If you’re trying to sell talent acquisition software to HR professionals, think about what an HR professional’s daily struggles would be if they didn’t have the right TA software. Write about why talent acquisition is important, and why your audience should care. Include quotes from influencers and statistics from reliable studies to back up your claims even more.

Don’t have a blog yet? Start one for free with WordPress.

The Engagement

Social media is the easiest, free space to make and maintain connections with your audience and another way to spread your blog content to a broader audience. Engaging with your audience and other professionals in the field is what separates you from careless brands with a sales-only model. With the content you’re pushing out, find partners, influencers and potential buyers on social media and connect with them.

React to these people’s posts and make face on other pages other than your own. The majority of brands ignore 7 in 8 messages on social media. Create brand loyalty by listening to your followers whether it’s good or harsh feedback. Take it with a grain of salt and respond to their compliments and concerns. Shying away from social media as a brand makes you look like just a promoter, not an interactor.

Tweet This: The majority of brands ignore 7 in 8 messages on #socialmedia. Create brand loyalty like THIS:

The Tools

There are free tools for quick automation for every aspect of marketing your small business needs. Tread lightly in the realm of automation. Use these tools to get the business side of things taken care of, while keeping your interaction game strong. Free marketing automation tools you can’t ignore:

  • Social Media
    • Hootsuite is a social media tool that helps you schedule and track posts from all of your social profiles. Try it.
  • Email
  • Design & Branding
    • Researchers report colored visuals increase reader’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. Sign up for Canva to create your own, branded email headers and social images.
  • SEO

Set aside a 3-4-hour block bi-weekly to write out your monthly campaigns and fill out calendars for content, email, SEO and social media marketing. Building the strategy is the first biggest step. Filling in the blanks and getting in the motion of things is the easy part. As a startup, marketing is your doorway to connections and brand awareness. Keep it up and the investors will come next.

This article originally featured on the Marenated blog by Red Branch Media, our sister-site full of genius marketing and HR smarts!

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