marketing your small business

One of the keys to success in business is marketing, and a core piece of the marketing puzzle is branding. Branding, simply put, means using a consistent style every time you interact with customers. That includes your business name, logo, colors, and fonts. If you struggle in these areas or don’t know where to start, you can hire a professional to guide you or tap into some very cool online tools that make it a piece of cake. Let’s take a look at some of those self-service options and how they may help your business.

Build a color palette with Coolors

Coolors is a free app to help you choose a color palette for your branding. The most memorable brands have recognizable, consistent colors like Coca-Cola red, Facebook blue, and Home Depot orange. At Due, the color palette is focused on a shade of green with white and black accents and notes.

If you are ready to build your brand’s color scheme, head to Coolors for some free help. When you open the free tool, pressing the spacebar allows you to rotate through new color schemes. Click on each color to lock and regenerate other or to manually adjust until you have the perfect pallete. Whether you want warm, friendly colors or dark, cool colors, you can build a great color scheme with Coolors.

When you’re done picking your five color palette (you don’t really need to use five colors, but that’s what the app allows), you can save a link, image, PDF, or developer file to come back and reference your brand colors again and again.

Choose your fonts with Canva Font Combinations

Google Fonts offers an incredible collection of free fonts, but knowing which to pick and which look good together is not a built-in feature. The website Font Pair helps you choose pairs in that font set, but it is more of a listing than an app. If you want real help, Canva’s Font Combinations tool has you covered.

With Canva Font Combinations, you choose a starting font, one that you think pairs well with your brand identity, and a visual tool pops up to help you see what the fonts look like with some good matches in action. You can even update to your own text to see how it looks on the screen. Press the arrows on the side to scroll through other good matches until you find the perfect pair. Oh yeah, and it’s free!

Create a logo with LogoJoy

Your logo is the single image that most represents your business, so it’s worth a few dollars to invest here. You can easily create one with a free graphic tool like Canva, but I found the LogoJoy builder easy and fun to use, and worth the $20 pricetag for low resolution logos or $65 for the high resolution version. For do-it-yourself logos, this is a great option.

If you are willing to spend a bit more to get a logo from a professional designer, my favorite service is 99 Designs. With 99 Designs, you can launch a contest where designers from around the world compete and submit logos. You choose the winning design, the winner gets paid, and you get a copy of the files for business use.

Create a full branding style guide

The ultimate in branding comes with a brand style guide. A style guide includes all of your brand’s colors, fonts, logos, and usage information in one useful package. You can use an online software package like Frontify to put everything together for a monthly fee, or combine the assets you created with the above tools in one handy document.

Some brand style guides are built to be used universally, where others are custom tailored for online use or print use. For small businesses, however, there is no need to be too complex. Just compile your logos, colors, and fonts in one place and all of your employees, yourself included, will be good to go.

Your brand and style matter

You might not give a lot of thought to the little details in company branding, but subconsciously those brands matter quite a bit. That’s why we recognize everything from the Golden Arches to the Nike Swoosh to Mickey Mouse ears. If any brand or logo gives you an emotional response, that is good branding at work.

Even for small, solo businesses, you shouldn’t let your branding go by the wayside. Take the time and invest in great branding that you can be proud of for years to come.

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer originally from Denver, Colorado living in Ventura, California. When away from the keyboard, Eric he enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers, and spending time with his wife and baby girl. You can connect with him at his own finance blog Personal Profitability.

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