Here’s the thing. Branding can feel like a huge undertaking. 

The most common thing I hear on discovery calls?

 “I feel all over the place and have no idea where to even begin”. 

So if you feel overwhelmed & clueless about what steps to follow to create a stellar brand, listen up, because this is the post for you. 

Brand before you advertise

If you’re new to business— you likely feel lost in the research black hole figuring out what to invest in first. We’re advocates for branding early. 

Here’s why: 

Lots of new business owners think they need to advertise. They need to get a bullhorn and scream from the rooftops that they are open for business. They spend money on Facebook ads and Instagram promotions. You might get some results from doing this, but they will be minimal. When you advertise before you brand, you bring people who need your service to a chaotic brand: a lame website, a thrown together logo, unclear messaging. This will likely cost you the sale. If it doesn’t cost you the sale, it’s because your pricing is low enough for strangers to take a chance on you.

But when you BRAND FIRST, you send qualified people to a cohesive, memorable brand that will make doing business with you a no-brainer. Now your advertising efforts aren’t in vain because you are clearly conveying what you offer and how it will change your customers’ lives. They don’t land on your website and immediately want to click away. You make it clear why you’re the obvious choice. PLUS you have the visuals and messaging to seal the deal at a higher rate. Talk about all around #WINNING. 

How to Brand on a Budget

But If you’re new to this whole business thing, you might not have it in your budget to hire a brand and web designer to help with your branding.

Don’t fret. 

Follow these four steps: 

1. Use consistent colors (5-7)

2. Use consistent fonts (no more than 4) 

3. Design a logo 

4. Purchase a website template 

This is the recipe for a killer beginner strategy. When you put a consistent image out in the world for potential customers to view, you be much more likely to close the sale at rates that actually excite you. 

The issue is usually that new business owners don’t know what goes into brand strategy. So they hack together a website and throw together a logo, ultimately confusing their audience and cheapening their business. If you follow the 4 steps above, you’re creating something much more solid for much less money.

Now that we know that branding early on in business is important, let’s talk about two core ways to uplevel your brand: website templates vs. custom websites. Both have pros and cons. So read on to decide what the best next step for you and your business is. 

Website Templates

A website template is perfect for you if….

  • You’re in your first year (or two) of biz  
  • You don’t have a big branding budget 
  • You want to launch quickly/ on your own timeline
  • You want to understand how to edit your own website so you don’t have to hire a pro every time you want to make a  little tweak or change 
  • You want a designer-grade website without paying custom pricing (say goodbye to your hacked together Squarespace site!)

Things to keep in mind about website templates: 

Only purchase templates from designers who allow you to see live demo versions. This means you can play around with the exact website you’ll be getting before you purchase.

Set time aside to edit the template and customize it to your website. Our website templates come with course that walks you through exactly how to edit, launch, and reap the rewards of your new website.

If you’re short on time, focus on editing the logo, text, and brand photos. 

If you have more time and want to create a custom one-of-a-kind brand, then add your brand color palette and font suite to distinguish your template from others. 

Custom work

Custom work is the best choice for you if….

  • You’re making a profit from your  business and want to EXPEDITE results 
  • You want to WOW your audience and close sales with greater ease 
  • You are ready to strategically define what makes you different from others in your industry 
  • You want to raise your rates (aka make more money without taking on more work) 
  • You want to book DREAM CLIENTS not just take on any project to pay the bills 
  • You don’t have time to edit a website template or DIY your brand strategy 
  • You want the highest quality outcome that is fully personalized to you and your business

Things to keep in mind about custom work: 

Book in advance to make sure you can get on your brand designers schedule when it works best for you. Your brand designer will walk you through strategy and create something entirely personal to you and your business. Don’t worry too much about knowing exactly what you want. Designers and strategists are experts at taking your disjoint ideas and turning them into a cohesive, beautiful, brand and website. Keep in mind there is still work involved in getting your designer access to your brand photos, text (if you didn’t hire a copywriter), and log-in information for various platforms you want to integrate with your website. Always do your best to communicate with your designer in a timely manner so that they can schedule ample time to work on your project.

Main takeaways:

  • Brand your business early in order to ensure you’re putting a consistent image out in the world and that your advertising efforts aren’t a waste.
  • Advertising before you brand is like shouting an incoherent message with a bullhorn. Establish strategy. Then advertise.
  • Website templates are great for those on a budget who want to understand the back-end of their website
  • Custom work is perfect for those who are making a profit in their business and want a pro to help them expedite their results