Building brand awareness sounds like typical marketing jargon, but it’s really just a way of saying “Making sure your customers know who you are, what you do and where to find you” – which is pretty important. Digital marketing is one of the very few areas where small businesses can most effectively compete with bigger businesses, but only if you build brand awareness the right way. With every business imaginable flooding onto the internet and starting up their own ecommerce sites in order to cope with the pandemic (is there any business out there that’s not suddenly selling masks?!), it’s much more of a challenge to stand out and get found online than ever before. Here’s how to build brand awareness the right way – and get results.
Step #1 – Accept That This is a Long-Term Campaign
By its very nature, brand awareness takes a long time to develop – and the more people you want to reach, the longer it’s going to take. Think about the brands that pop into your head when you are out grocery or clothes shopping, buying a new car or even buying a house. The ones that pop up foremost in your mind have the highest brand awareness and brand recognition, and they have been around for a long time – you can see their logo, you know what they offer, you can type in their web address without thinking and you know the closest brick-and-mortar location to your local area. That’s the ultimate goal of building brand awareness, but it doesn’t arrive overnight. Start by setting reasonable expectations and goals.
Step #2 – Start With Consistency
Develop your brand’s basics, like your logo, name, colours and voice, and create a standardized template that can be used for any and all communications, including email newsletters, social media posts and online listings. This creates consistency, which not only helps customers to get to know and trust you, it also benefits your SEO. Search algorithms like Google actively reward consistency, so be sure your business name, logo, address and contact details are all the same, whether you’re listed on Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook or any other online platform.
Step #3 – Advertise Appropriately
Your brand’s name and voice should carry through to your online advertising campaigns and you should target only the most valuable advertising platforms for your brand’s offering. For example, you shouldn’t try to appeal to trendy youths one day using jokes about Twitchdances and then try appeal to business professionals in formal language the next. It’s going to make your brand look indecisive and make both groups of consumers unsure if you’re right for them. Similarly, choose online advertising platforms that work with your brand’s offering. For example, Facebook and Instagram work well for businesses with great visual content (clothing, tech, travel, homewares, restaurants, etc.) for general consumers while LinkedIn is a better choice for B2B brands that want to become known to a particular industry or sector (HR, enterprise management, manufacturing, industrial suppliers, etc.). if you’re looking for a catch-all online advertising solution, then Google Ads is a great choice for any brand – again, as long as you use a consistent brand voice and target your audience.
Step #4 – Don’t Avoid Social Media
A lot of small businesses are put off social media because of the time and creativity commitment it takes to develop a robust social media marketing strategy and utilise these platforms properly – but that’s a mistake. More and more often, social media is used to find a product or business, especially for customers who are looking for something local, with reviews that they can trust, where they can research their offering. Having a business page on Facebook, as well as a presence on other relevant social media channels is critical.
These free pages are a marketing powerhouse for smaller businesses – they’re free and highly functional, allowing you to post all kinds of media (photos, user generated content, reviews, videos, memes, blogs, etc.) as well as providing targeted advertising to the exact segment you want to attract. If the idea of having to run social media pages, develop content or constantly engaging with your customers online is something your business doesn’t have the resources or time to do, then it’s worth talking to a social media marketing team who can manage it all for you.
Step #5 – Be a Positive Force in Your Local Community
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a surge of support for local businesses as well as charities helping people manage the effects of this pandemic. Customers don’t want to lose the small businesses that give their local areas unique character and flavour, so it’s a good idea to drum up support for your local business by becoming part of this movement.
Social media is the perfect space to share your story, show how you add value in the community, create your own charitable drives, share your love for your community and showcase the people behind your business. Look for trending hashtags that connect to this movement to make your content easy to find (#lovelocal #supportlocal, #shoplocal and #shopsmallbusiness are all great options)
Step #6 – Make Referrals Work for Your Brand
Everyone knows that word-of-mouth referrals are the most powerful marketing tool available, and digital marketing is uniquely suited to getting the most value from them. Encouraging customers to leave reviews on Google and Facebook is invaluable, supporting your SEO strategy while making these positive comments available to thousands of potential local customers searching for your products and services.
A good idea for increasing your referral leads and positive testimonials is to create a referral program that rewards loyal customers and helps share your products, services and special offers. This can include discounts, freebies and fun rewards for referrals as well as rewards for first-time customers, helping your circle of loyal customers grow while creating greater – and very positive – brand awareness.
Let Our Team Show You How It’s Done – Creating Powerful Small Business Brands
Want to build brand awareness for your small or medium-sized business but not sure where to start? Our digital marketing team will help you position your brand, build an active and trust-based relationship with your customers, and manage all your social media. Contact us today for expert digital marketing and branding strategies.