How to Create a Robust Brand for Under $60
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Disclaimer: I apologize to all graphic designers, web designers, marketing firms, and girlbosses for the fact that you are going to hate me for this post. But don’t worry - our clients will not abandon us!
Perfect is over-rated. I’m all about “good enough” marketing.
I launched my business because I saw a gap in the market.
Marketing firms charged up the wazoo for website design, branding packages, and logos for nonprofits. There were very few easy-to-use, content-focused marketing options for nonprofits and small businesses.
This made my heart hurt.
And, even though I couldn’t design a logo better than all of the world’s graphic designers (you can check out some of Grit HQ’s logos here), I could design something clean, usable and “good enough” at a reasonable price.
Better yet, I could help my clients with more than a logo. I could help my clients develop their content and brand.
And that's how Grit HQ started.
I still get so many questions from people - side-hustlers, community volunteers, and new entrepreneurs - who want to know how to DIY their own brand.
Even with Grit HQ around, some have extremely limited budgets.
This leads people to "show up" brandless, creating DIY clipart flyers with different colors and crazy colors schemes on all of their marketing.
Poor presentation is worse than not showing up at all!
Bad branding makes me cringe.
And, if you know me, you know I want to help everyone. So if professional branding from Grit HQ is out of your budget right now, you can start with these low-cost and inexpensive steps to start building your brand.
Decide what your brand is and create a brand style guide ($0)
Before you start setting up your brand, you'll need to develop it. You can do this by creating a Brand Style Guide.
Next, complete a brand + business plan. Get the following down on paper:
- Mission statement + tagline
- 5-7 brand words
- Brand font
- 3-5 brand colors + one brand texture
Buy a URL and set up an email address ($10 for a domain and email address)
Every time I see professionally printed material with a hotmail.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com (etc...) as the contact or call to action, I truly want to facepalm.
Just no, people!
I tell my clients all the time: Project strength. Be your brand. Do better.
This includes making the small investment in a branded URL.
“email@example.com” does not make you seem like a legitimate business.
So, buy a real URL and set up an email address for your business.
- Check Namecheap for URL availability.
- Set up email forwarding with G Suite for Business (it's free for nonprofits!).
Invest in a cheap logo ($25 on Fiverr)
Confession: I have used Fiverr to create event logos for fundraisers for my clients who don't already have one. Even though I could design a logo, the 30 minutes I save by hiring a logo designer from Fiverr makes using Fiverr cost-effective.
If you are going to use Fiverr to design your logo:
- Have a good idea of what you want.
- “Splurge” to receive 3 logo options and unlimited revisions.
- Find samples of logos you really like and upload them to the order.
- Send brand color codes.
- Be as direct and explicit as possible.
I recommend you use Fiverr when you know exactly what you want and just want a logo replicated in your colors and with your name.
Now that you have a logo, don’t hide behind it.
Take brand photos - of you! Your iPhone or Android + a friend ($0)
Yes, you need to have photos of you when you market your business. Even if you launch a business where you intend to have 25-30 employees, your customers are investing in YOU.
So, you need real photos of you.
Yes, you’ll need a headshot. But, level up your branding by also getting some photos of you doing the activity you’re selling!
Grab a smartphone and a friend and take brand photos of you for $0.
Design a business card ($15)
Next, you'll need to design a business card. You can design one for free using Canva, or you can hire a business card designer on Fiverr.
If you're designing your business cards yourself, you can also buy a texture or font from Creative Market. Sometimes, you can even download free textures and fonts from Creative Market! Click here to see what's free on Creative Market this week.
- Creative Market: buy textures or fonts
- Canva: design the business cards
- Fiverr: hire someone to design the business cards for you instead
Once you get used to using Canva, send me an email and I'll share my favorite business card templates with you!
Print your business cards ($10)
Personally, I go with my local printers (Dynagraphics or Decatur Blueprint) 95% of the time.
I like local, but if you’re trying to get a deal, there are lots of SUPER freakin’ cheap print places out there.
You have your $60 brand!
Again, this is not knock your socks off branding. You’re going to have to have lots of tech skills and time to get this done. Even for tech-savvy, brandgirl me, this is going to take about.
But, whether you decide to build your brand yourself or go with Grit HQ, you’ll still #findyourGrit!
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