A Strong Brand Can Save a Struggling Small Business

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Small business owners like Heather Nelson can't afford to waste marketing dollars. Investing in building a brand now can ensure future business success. New book by branding expert Maria Ross shows startups and seasoned entrepreneurs how to build a brand in 10 steps.

Small business owners like Heather Nelson still aren't directly benefitting from the $787 billion economic stimulus package signed into law by President Obama earlier this year. In order to survive tough times, Nelson is looking for innovative, affordable ways to get the word out about her professional services business and generate revenue fast. Many businesses look to trendy online social marketing techniques like tweeting or blogging for a quick hit but these tools don't always result in sales. That's why Nelson decided to invest a few dollars in a new, do-it-yourself eBook called Building Your Own Brand Strategy in 10 Easy Steps written by marketing expert Maria Ross.

"I can't afford to waste any of my budget right now on marketing that doesn't work so while the economy is in flux, I thought it was a good time to step back and reevaluate my brand," said Nelson, owner of Champion Assistants, a virtual assistance agency based in Kirkland, WA.

Ross, founder of the branding and marketing firm Red Slice, recently audited Champion Assistants' business plans to see if the two-year old company's marketing dollars were working. The result? Ross recommended a few changes to get the company's brand up to snuff and refresh its messaging. According to Ross, investing in a business' brand now will save money later and reposition the business with a significant competitive advantage.

"People spend so much money on ineffective or untargeted promotion, copywriting, and design because they have not taken a step back to build a strong brand foundation first," said Ross. "When you don't have a map, every road looks like the right one!"

Build a Strong Brand Foundation First

In Building Your Own Brand Strategy in 10 Easy Steps, Ross offers tips for small businesses with small budgets:

1. Build Brand Basics - Create a strong brand strategy first before spending money on any design, writing, advertising or promotion. This foundation will save you time, money and headaches and countless billable hours from vendors. You can easily create your own brand strategy by answering the ten key questions in her eBook online at http://www.red-slice.com

2. Get to Know Jane Doe - Create a detailed character profile of your ideal customer. Create a real, crisp target so you aim for someone specific. Focus on who they are, where they live, what they do for a living, what they read, if they watch TV, what clubs they belong to, etc. so you only invest in marketing programs that really get in front of them, rather than blasting your message to everyone and having no one pay attention.

3. Free is the New Black - Go beyond leveraging the obvious social media like Twitter or Facebook. Subscribe to get free PR leads like HARO (http://www.shankman.com); conduct unpaid, speaking engagements; post comments on relevant industry blogs; write contributed articles or actively pursue two to three strategic partnerships. These are great ways to promote your business without spending a dime.

About the eBook

Build Your Own Brand Strategy in 10 Easy Steps offers an easy, step-by-step approach to create a strong brand strategy that will help small businesses do these seven things:

1. Save time and money with designers, writers, printers - as well as on marketing programs

2. Make hundreds of business decisions that create a consistent brand experience

3. Understand the differences between marketing, branding and PR

4. Share their vision more effectively with partners and employees

5. Clearly and consistently attract the right audience at the right time with the right message

6. Inspire customer loyalty

7. Break away from the pack

The book contains information valued at over $1,000 of consulting time and retails for $50.00 plus tax and is available at http://www.red-slice.com/build-your-own-brand-strategy/.

About Red Slice

Red Slice, LLC is a branding, marketing and communications consultancy that helps businesses engage, inform and delight customers. Founder Maria Ross has over 15 years experience in all aspects of marketing, including branding, advertising, events, and communication planning. Ross is also a published lifestyle writer, wine columnist and actress. For more information contact Ross at (206)285-4829 or visit http://www.red-slice.com.


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