Brand Your At Home Business (On a Shoestring Budget)

You may consider branding to be a marketing function reserved for large corporations with massive budgets, but for work at home moms balancing the demands of a business and family under one roof, it’s actually an invaluable resource towards creating the image you to exude—even if your home office feels less than professional at times! Here’s how create a brand for your home business.

Create a brand personality. Branding begins by identifying what your businesses is about, and transforming those attributes into qualities that attract customers. Try this simple branding exercise: On a large piece of blank paper, cut and paste images from magazines that embody your businesses’ personality, whether represented by pictures of celebrities, words, or emotions. Now, elaborate by imagining your brand as a person (you can even give her a name!) On the same board, write her unique personality traits, the kind of brands she wears and uses, television shows, books, magazines, tech tools and music she treasures, and even, common terms or phrases in her vocabulary. All of these elements make up a brand personality, and laying them out clearly provides a framework for how you present your business going forward, and ensures consistency. There are no right or wrong answers in this creation phase, provided the personality you identify meshes with what you sell, and the people you hope to sell it to.

Develop consistent “touch points.” In marketing, the term “touch points” describes all the different places a customer encounters one brand. Though your business is home based, you’ve got many customer touch points, which may include any combination of the following: Your website, blog, social media activities, packages you mail, email and phone communications, marketing materials, business cards, and trade show and industry presence. Now that you’ve identified your brand traits, find unique, and consistent ways to communicate them, through every touch point. For example, a brand with a playful personality would use words like “Hi there!” versus a formal “Hello, Sir or Madam” in email communication or order confirmations; a modern brand would most certainly have a presence on trendy social media channels like Pinterest.  Where how and you integrate the brand into touch points is up to you, but it’s all about delivering a consistent message.

Think more office, less home. Your goal as a work at home is to create the image that you’re a force to be reckoned with—even if you respond to emails in your pajamas! If you don’t have professionally printed business cards, a logo, a website with an appealing design (even if you created it for free), a registered domain name, and an email for that domain, now’s the time.  Take advantage of other technology conveniences that boost your credibility. For example, vendors like Square, Intuit GoPayment, and Google Wallet all offer affordable solutions for accepting secure credit card payments online, or from tablet or smartphone. (It’s worth nothing that one study by Javelin Strategy & Research revealed that customers are most influenced when a vendor shows a “Visa” logo compared to other payment methods, like PayPal, when it comes to perception of trust and privacy).  Free tools like MailChimp make it simple to create professional-looking email newsletters and email marketing promotions, while Google Voice allows you to establish a free number for business use, that is delivered to your personal email, or mobile phone, so you can take the call when the kids aren’t screaming in the background!

Stephanie Taylor Christensen is a former financial services marketer turned stay at home working mom, yoga instructor and freelance writer covering personal finance, small business,consumer issues, work-life balance and health/wellness topics for ForbesWoman, Minyanville , SheKnows , Mint , Intuit Small Business, Investopedia and several other online properties. She is also the founder of Wellness On Less and Om for Mom prenatal yoga. Stephanie wrote this feature article exclusively for Debbie (, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.