Building Your Brand on a Shoestring Budget

Elizabeth Hardig, owner of, knows first hand that a successful brand and how you position yourself and connect with your target audience will determine your success. One of the most common questions I get from friends, clients and strangers alike, is how to build a powerful personal brand with little to no budget.

A brand is built through the total experience that it offers – everything from your communications and logos to customer service, the quality of your products and services, and the way you answer the phone. All of these associations with your brand are called touch points.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create effective brand touch points for your clients. In fact, some of the most powerful touch points are simple and inexpensive (when was the last time you paid for a firm handshake and a smile?)

Here are 21 low to no-cost ideas for enhancing your total brand experience for your customers:

1.Use the back of your business card for your brand message. Offer something of value that brings people directly to your website.
2.Use your email signature for your brand message and link to your website, recent press, blog posts and social media platform.
3.Set up a profile on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Google+ and get busy connecting and engaging. Use Hootsuite to manage your content distribution.
4.Set up a Facebook business page to share industry trends, tips and ideas.
5.Run a monthly contest through your Facebook business page.
6.Use your signature color whenever/wherever possible – tissue paper, note cards, labels, pens, gift boxes etc.
7.Purchase the url (domain) for your name and point it to your business website (if the name of your business is different than your actual name).
8.Write a monthly newsletter or weekly tip and send out to all of your past and current clients.
9.Create a “signature” talk – a specific topic that you are an expert of and can give valuable information in a one hour presentation. Offer to give your signature talk to business groups, Chambers of Commerce, non-profits and associations that are aligned with your target market. Make sure you have information about your signature talk on your website, blog, newsletter and the back of your business card.
10.Write articles pertaining to your area of expertise and post them to article submission sites online (your author bio for these sites will start showing up on the first page of Google search before your know it!).
11.Write guest posts for well-known blogs in your industry. Better yet, write posts for blogs that are complementary to your industry, but not necessarily competing with you.
12.Use your outgoing voice mail as a branding opportunity.
13.Add your talks, workshops, events etc. to your local news service’s free online calendar of events.
14.Stay in touch with your current and prospective clients with cards – birthday, holiday, anniversary etc. Pick a special occasion that you love to celebrate and send a custom card to everyone in your database.
15.Reward people for sending referrals. I am a big fan of sending gift cards with a thank you note – Starbucks, Container Store, Barnes & Noble, AMC Theatres etc.
16.Join a group – networking, philanthropic, cultural etc. Find one that resonates with you and attend two meetings or events each month.
17.Always ask your clients for testimonials – these can be used on your website, in marketing materials and on sales pages.
18.Create a testimonials document that consists of 10-20 of your best testimonials, and give to all potential clients and anyone who inquires about your services.
19.Develop a simple “Speaker’s Kit” (your bio, photo, one sheeters of signature talks, testimonials) and send it to at least five program chairs, event planners and association heads each month.
20.Create a valuable tool in your area of expertise (checklist, e-book, roadmap, mp3 interview, etc.) and give it away for free on your website.
21.Host a free monthly call for your community to answer questions about your area of expertise. Use a free service such as

As an entrepreneur, coach, consultant or service professional, it is imperative to generate interest in and demand for your products or services. If you’re ready to build your buzz, brand your brilliance, implement a powerful marketing strategy and experience wild success in your business, then email Elizabeth Hard at


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