Your customers expect you to be online, so having a digital presence for your small business is a must. If the idea of branding your business is overwhelming because you have a small budget, here's some good news: You can build awareness and increase exposure for your brand with your limited budget.

Here are three tips for building your digital brand on a small budget:

1. List Your Business

If your business isn't listed in online directories, you could be missing out on opportunities to attract new customers. Listing your business is an easy way to increase your chance of being found online.

Local Search: To increase your local search visibility, try listing your business on Google My Business, Bing Places and Yahoo Local Listing through Yext. You can add helpful information for customers looking for your product or service, including your company name, address and contact information.

Social Media: If you haven't done so already, be sure to claim your company page on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Review Sites: Yelp and Angie's List can enhance both your local visibility and credibility with public ratings and reviews.

Industry-Specific Directories: Competing brands will be listed in industry-specific directories, so you should make sure your business is present, as well. List your business in these directories to remain relevant among your competitors.

2. Collect and Distribute User-Generated Content

If you want to create great content without breaking your budget, user-generated content (UGC) can be a simple solution.

UGC can create social buzz for your business and drive brand awareness. One of the easiest ways to invite customers to create UGC is through a contest. Follow this five-step process to create an effective contest:

  1. Identify your content goal: What type of content do you want created? Customer videos? Photos? Tweets?
  2. Pick a prize and make sure it's enticing enough to attract submissions.
  3. Create a unique hashtag to easily monitor fan submissions and the conversation around your contest.
  4. Announce your contest and clearly articulate rules and selection criteria. Many brands require a company mention or tag in addition to a hashtag.
  5. Select winners and share their submissions on your brand profile with permission.

With little money, you can start a conversation around your brand, let your customers know you're listening and generate new content.

3. Collaborate With a Partner

Collaborating with a partner is an efficient way to build your brand on a budget because it allows you to pool resources. Creating co-branded content is a low-cost way to establish a partnership.

One of the major benefits of co-branding content is the ability to expand your reach by accessing your partner's audience. You provide a valuable resource to your audience while also exposing a new audience to your brand.

With co-branded content, you can also divide and conquer to save both time and money. While one partner may be able to more efficiently produce the graphics and video, the other may have a stronger ability to create great copy. Identify individual strengths and combine for a mutually beneficial partnership.

So, there you have it. It's possible to build a digital brand for your small business, even on a small budget. Take advantage of free resources and low-cost opportunities to enhance your brand visibility.

Tags: Small Business. Big Influence branding