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When growing your own business, learning brand development can be a daunting prospect. Big businesses have entire departments to focus on their marketing, and there are endless established small businesses selling products similar to your own.

Branding is the most effective tool available to you. When you’re considering how to stand out, you might fall prey to the common misconception that this effort requires a ton of overhead.

The truth is that brand development is more about making thoughtful choices than it is about spending money, and the most critical aspects that go into creating your image don’t require money at all!

Whether you’re just figuring out how to build your brand, investigating how to strengthen it, or going for a total identity overhaul, these six tips will point you in the right direction.

Brand Development on a Microbudget

1. Know Your Customer Base
2. Choose Your Words Wisely
3. Tell Your Story
4. Utilize the Right Content
5. Invest in Swag
6. Enlist Influencers

1. Know Your Customer Base

The word “niche” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s more important than you might think. Understanding your target audience and keeping the focus on them is vital to any growing business’s success. You need to know what your target audience wants, what they think, and how they spend their money.

Then, all you have to do is give them what they want. Think about brand development in the look, messaging, and operations of your business. You’ll give be able to build an instant connection between your customer base and your brand, which is something that big corporations just can’t achieve.

People jumping happily to show great customer service in brand development for your small business

2. Choose Your Words Wisely

Large businesses have the funds to craft multi-faceted brand development strategies, but your business can be just as effective by taking advantage of key messaging. Ideally, you’ll want to craft one key message that communicates everything potential customers need to know about your brand.

Take the time to consider what it is that your business does for customers.

  • Are you eco-friendly, or sourcing your materials sustainably?
  • Does your personality shine through in your creations, or are your products polished and professional?
  • What sets your product or service apart from similar ones?
  • Most importantly, how do you want your brand to communicate with your audience?

Don’t overdo it. Providing your audience with too much information at once can overwhelm them. Keep things as short as possible while relaying key information.

Spread out details into individual social media posts and newsletters, as part of a larger conversation. Take the time to ensure that your social media posts and product descriptions all match your tone.

A man writing in a notebook to think up smart brand development for his online store built with Selz Do-It-For-Me

3. Tell Your Story

The color and design of your logo might be important, but the story behind it is what attracts your customer base. Think about why you wanted to start this business in the first place.

Don’t be afraid to have an “About Us” page or simple blog on your website that spells it out for your customer base. Writing this can be intimidating, but it’s actually very easy when you approach it as a way to communicate your core message and its backstory.

Once you’ve established your story, allow it to inform your design choices. Incorporate a symbol into your logo, or simply allow your story to inspire a color scheme when building your online store.

Approach brand development with personality and authenticity. Your unique story makes your business more relatable for your clientele.

Hands typing on a typewriter, creating a story the way Selz advertising services does for successful small businesses

4. Utilize the Right Content

Whether in video form or blog posts, content marketing is a priority. Sharing relevant content with your audience develops your brand while encouraging users to connect with your business. It gives your brand authority, brings traffic to your site, and provides value to potential customers.

If you’re short on ideas, consider a guide to how your products work, or a few videos that help explain your mission and purpose. Keep the focus on education and entertainment for the greatest success here. Be personable, concise, and think about how you can relate or connect with your audience.

Need more? Check out our in-depth post on writing content that converts.

A person shooting video of a musician at a live show to sell video online with Selz

5. Invest in Swag

Branded products are an inexpensive way to give people what they want: cool stuff! Who doesn’t want a t-shirt, coffee mug, or stickers with cool imagery?

Promotional items for your business can really help spread the word, and establish more personal relationship between your customers and your brand. If you’re starting an online clothing store, this can be a perfect chance to show off your styles and build some buzz around your branding.

Don’t be afraid to have fun and get creative with your brand development here. You’ll want to create something that you can share with customers and collaborators.

Aim for items that they will want to use often, and that will spark conversation about your business.

A branded coffee cup is a common promotional item, another great idea is pay per click advertising

6. Enlist Influencers

At this point, your brand development has a strong foundation. Now, it’s useful to enlist the help of influencers to increase your visibility.

No matter what your niche is, there is sure to be at least a small group of influencers within it who understand your audience. Their voice can help you reach more people than you could on your own.

You may find a lifestyle blogger with a large following in your niche, or even another ecommerce business just getting started. Generally, these influencers will be willing to promote your products or cast a spotlight on your company, so long as you are returning the favor.

You may even be able to collaborate on blog posts, podcasts, and other fun media projects to increase your brand’s visibility.

Closeup of two people's hands collaborating on a photo project as they work on brand development for their online store from Selz ecommerce

There you have it! You don’t need a hefty budget for amazing, identifiable, and trustworthy brand development.

Remember to keep the focus on connecting with your audience, and you can’t go wrong. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and refer back to these tips anytime to help get your creative juices flowing.

About the author

Ashley Lipman

Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart - all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere.


  1. Tara Storozynsky

    Hi Joe! This is a common issue with influencer outreach. You’re unlikely to get a response to every influencer query, but there are definitely a couple things to improve your chances. It helps to approach influencers with specific, clear collaboration ideas, and make sure that you are offering something to the person you are reaching out to, rather than simply asking for a favor. Hope that helps! Thank you for reading FounderU and commenting.

  2. Joe W

    I don’t understand how to get influencers to get back to me. They never respond to my emails.

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