The goal of brand awareness is to promote your business, product, or service in a way that makes it memorable. A lot of small business owners remain confused and skeptical about how to do it, or if it matters at all.
Some marketing experts claim that strategies for brand awareness are unnecessary for a small business. They suggest instead that direct-response marketing is the only way to go.
But they’re wrong.
Well, sort of.
It’s true that many big brand awareness strategies won’t work for small businesses. That is because larger companies have different goals and more money to spend. But brand awareness is still just as valuable for a small business as it is for a big one. Instead, we should focus on the strategies that will work for businesses of any size.
Why You Should Build Brand Awareness
Many business owners hope the next random act of marketing will generate some leads. But these random tactics are often hit or miss and fail to yield suitable return on investment.
Additionally, paid marketing campaigns are becoming more expensive. This makes it tougher for small businesses to compete. In the advertising world, the companies with larger budgets usually win. You can also lose a lot of money on paid campaigns before you find what works.
There’s more. According to the Small Business Administration, 400,000 businesses launch each year. This means your niche is becoming more competitive every day. It’s harder than ever to stand out and grab your prospects’ attention.
With all the noise, your audience can’t see how your business is any different from the others that do what you do.
Brand awareness can help you stand out and create brand recall. This means people will have an easier time remembering you when they need you.
The Key to Successful Brand Awareness
Your customers are human beings. Like all human beings, they develop bonds with the people, places, and things they care about most. The more they like something, the stronger the bond. This bond can exist with other people, pets, even an old baseball cap that brings back memories.
Your business is no different than any of these other things.
The impression you’re making right now is attracting people to you or pushing them away. This is happening whether you realize it or not. To create more positive connections, you must take control of the process. Otherwise, you’re leaving it to luck.
Creating and building a brand helps you attract the customers you want. It also positions your solution as the best choice available.
Many small businesses get customers through a combination of networking, referrals, and word-of-mouth. Most of your future customers won’t need your product or service the moment they meet you. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a brand that stands out and communicates your value.
You can’t generate brand awareness until you have a brand to promote. This is the first mistake many small business owners make. They believe brand building means have a logo, colors, and a mission statement. But there is much more to the process. Leaving out parts of it is like trying to bake a cake with half of the ingredients.
You don’t have to wait until everything is perfect. But before you can build brand awareness, the brand itself must be in place.
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10 Simple Strategies for Brand Awareness
Chances are your competitors aren’t focused on building a brand or creating awareness. This gives you a significant advantage over them. And even if they are, applying these tips will still be a game-changer for your business.
1. Get Personal
Emails and text messages have replaced phone calls and in-person meetings. The Coronavirus pandemic makes personal contact more challenging than ever. But high touch communication is brand differentiator.
There was a time when face-to-face meetings and phone calls were the norm. But technology and recent events have made life more impersonal and mechanical. Businesses continue to move online and automate processes.
People have grown weary of pre-recorded messages, texts, and spam bots. High-touch, personalized communication will set you apart the day you start doing it.
Focus on scheduling an in-person video conference as soon as possible. Though you don’t want to push, try to transition to a live conversation within the first few contacts.
2. Know Your Customer
It’s one thing to think you know your customers but another to know them better than anyone else. Once most businesses start making some sales, they often focus on scaling. While scaling is important, knowing your target audience better than competitors is invaluable.
Because people buy from those that understand their problem better than anyone else. And the better you know them, the more qualified you are to speak to them about a solution. This is also known as empathy and is one of the strongest drivers of purchasing decisions.
Knowing your audience will also help you produce better marketing content and advertising.
3. Show Up Where They Are
It’s likely that your prospects don’t know you exist. That means you will have to find them and make your presence known. Don’t spread yourself thin by attempting to be in too many places at once. Focus on two or three platforms or venues and master those before expanding.
Don’t assume you already know where your audience is. Knowing what other products they use, interests, and hobbies will clue you in on where to find them.
4. Get Engagement by Being Yourself
It isn’t enough to get “likes” on social media or a comment on a blog post. True engagement is when your audience takes an interest in what you create and why. Building brand awareness with engaging content is challenging for more than one reason.
First, creating content people will like isn’t easy. It’s common for a random post to get lots of responses while something you put effort into falls flat. Don’t get discouraged. Stop worrying about what you think people want. Instead, focus on creating content that you believe is important.
If you completed Step #2 (Know Your Customer), it will be easier to figure out what interests your audience. This process evolves quicker for some than others, so be patient.
5. Create Original Visuals
A picture is worth a thousand words. Poor images and overused stock photos are worth no more than ten. Resources like Unsplash and Adobe Stock are impressive, but are available to everyone. This includes your competitors.
Professional photography and graphic design can be expensive but well worth the investment. They will look better and you will be the only one using them.
Infographics are another form of visual content. Creating them can be time-consuming, but there are resources that make it easier. Canva is one example.
These generate engagement because they’re more interesting than text and contain valuable information.
6. Brand-aligned Images
This is one you don’t hear much about but it’s one of my favorites.
A “brand-aligned” image represents your brand in appearance and in substance. The image should blend or match your brand colors. To do this, you need to know the codes for your brand color scheme and reference it when selecting images.
For example, Adobe Stock allows you to sort images by color. When you enter a color code, Adobe will return a library of images that contain or match that color.
Here is a screenshot:
It’s acceptable to play outside the box as long as you can tie the content and image together.
Free tools or useful content provides your audience with a sample of your brand. It’s also an opportunity to prove your expertise and show people how you can help them. Having your company name and information on them will help promote brand awareness.
8. Social Proof
Testimonials are an effective way to earn your audience’s trust. But reviews are becoming even more important. More than 80% of people polled trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
You can use reviews to enhance brand awareness. Ask your customer to speak to the experience and benefit of using your product or service. The goal is to show others what it’s like to be one of your customers.
9. Strategic Partnerships
Success isn’t only based on what you do but who you know. Forming partnerships with other professionals is a great way to expand your reach. Find people whose products or services complement yours without much overlap.
Of course, you must also agree on how to promote one another. Don’t ally yourself with someone just because they have a large audience. You must be like-minded and have similar goals.
Keep in mind that “birds of a feather flock together”. The people with whom you associate will contribute to your brand identity. Likewise, choosing the wrong ones can damage your brand.
10. Be Consistent
Consistency is the most important brand awareness strategy there is. You can’t build momentum without it. Otherwise, your audience remains confused, making you a victim of obscurity.
People are inundated with distractions day and night. They can’t remember everything they see and won’t remember you unless you make an effort to stay in front of them.
Choose a few strategies for brand awareness and practice them until you have momentum. After mastering one or two, add another. You will be surprised at the progress you make in a short time.
When using these strategies, link everything to your brand every, single time. Include your brand message, mission statement, or visual brand component. To build awareness, you must keep your brand identity in front of your target audience at all times.
Strategies for brand awareness make your business more memorable. As a result, you will form stronger connections with your target audience. Most small businesses don’t focus on brand awareness, which gives you an advantage.
Show up and be consistent. Creating brand awareness doesn’t have to take forever but getting results requires patience.
If you need help, reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,