Strategies for brand awareness prove invaluable for small businesses that want to connect with new customers and gain a competitive advantage. But unfortunately, many business owners are unsure how to implement them, while others wonder if branding is worth the effort.
Branding helps small companies and corporations alike. But each type of enterprise requires a unique approach because goals, budgets, and expectations differ.
In this post, you will learn:
- why you should build brand awareness
- how a brand helps you win more sales
- ten strategies for brand awareness that will make an impact now
How Strategies for Brand Awareness Make Marketing Easier and Less Expensive
A quick look at the current business environment helps us understand how strategies for brand awareness give your company a competitive advantage while conserving precious financial resources.
According to the Small Business Administration, 400,000 enterprises launch each year. As a result, it’s getting more difficult for small companies in every niche, including yours, to grab and hold their audience’s attention.
Small organizations struggle to differentiate in the crowded marketplace. As a result, many compete on price and sell to customers that don’t fit the target market profile. Such compromises keep the company overwhelmed and struggling to survive.
But increasing competition is not the only problem for business owners—marketing and lead generation present other challenges.
Many business owners and entrepreneurs employ an array of marketing tactics to generate leads and sales. However, these tactics—often executed at random—yield hit-or-miss results, which makes them unreliable.
The unknowns that come with “hit-or-miss marketing” make many businesses hesitant about spending any money at all on promotion. And those that do face yet another dilemma.
Paid tactics, such as advertising, search engine optimization, and social media marketing, are more expensive. The rising costs put small businesses at a disadvantage. Companies with larger budgets dominate the paid marketing landscape, driving the cost of marketing even higher.
Companies that invest in paid ads find that success requires experimentation. Most advertising agencies advise it takes at least three months, sometimes more, to see desired results because they must test ads and audiences. Unfortunately, small businesses can’t afford to risk money on trial and error.
Strategies for brand awareness help smaller companies mitigate marketing challenges and enhance value while making the most of every sales opportunity.
You’ll learn how and why in the sections that follow.
How Strategies for Brand Awareness Increase Sales
Human beings have the potential to bond with each other, as well as their pets and places they’ve visited. They can even become attached to clothing and household items. The more affinity people have for someone or something, the stronger the tie.
This principle applies to your business, too.
The impression your company makes attracts customers or pushes them away. Your brand is the foundation for this connection. Strategies for brand awareness improve the value of the brand itself while creating positive interactions that pull prospects closer to a purchase.
Most small businesses get customers through a combination of networking, referrals, and word-of-mouth. However, only two percent of your future customers will buy your product or service when they meet you. And nine in ten companies move on from prospects that do not buy within the first few interactions.
But businesses that abandon leads after only a few touchpoints miss opportunities to make sales. Instead, they spend most of their time looking for a small group of “initial contact buyers”.
Strategies for brand awareness keep your company top-of-mind while maintaining the connection with prospective customers—even those that don’t buy after long periods. Then, when prospects are ready to purchase, they are more likely to do so from the company that did the best job of creating brand recall.
Brand recall is the result of maintaining an ongoing connection with the target market. However, a weak brand won’t cultivate brand awareness or brand recall.
Now, here’s something you may or may not know: your business already has a brand. Prospective customers are forming an opinion about your business right now—even as you read this post. Its reputation and other assets—such as websites, social media profiles, ads—say a great deal about your company’s trustworthiness and level of professionalism.
So, is your current brand working to strengthen or weaken your business’s competitive position?
Rather than allowing your brand to evolve randomly, strategies for brand awareness enable you to build one intentionally. This process empowers you to take more control over the impression your business makes on the target market.
Many business owners think having a logo, colors, and mission statement constitutes a brand. But as you’ll see, a distinct brand is much more than those things.
10 Simple Strategies for Brand Awareness
Here are ten strategies for brand awareness you can apply now that will positively impact your business’s growth.
1. Create a Lifestyle Brand
Some of the most famous brands in the world achieved their status by building around a set of values, beliefs, and cultural elements. This powerful emotional branding strategy fosters deeper relationships because it relies on the brand’s persona to attract a like-minded audience.
Consumers favor companies with a purpose, and revenue numbers prove it. Brands that incorporate culture and lifestyle themes grow around three times faster than average competitors.
So, how does an organization form an emotional bond with human beings?
This strategy requires patience and a willingness to be bold. Though it takes time to earn your audience’s trust, the benefits are exponential when you do.
Many small businesses target potentially lucrative market segments and accommodate them with the appropriate brand messaging. However, to create a lifestyle brand, the target audience must align with the brand’s persona. Successful lifestyle brands focus on their mission while believing there is an audience to support them.
But lifestyle brands must remain committed to the cause and lead with authenticity. Unfortunately, some successful brands in this category have suffered setbacks after compromising the standards that helped them thrive. For example, Califia, a brand known for its whole food products, faced a class action lawsuit for using artificial ingredients in production.
2. Know Your Customer
Many businesses limit their knowledge of the target audience to the necessary demographics and other factors used in marketing, advertising, and sales. Yet, only a few companies genuinely seek to understand how their customers think and feel. Therefore, another potent brand awareness strategy lies in knowing your customers on a deeper level.
People buy from businesspeople and companies they know, like, and trust. Therefore, brands that can effectively position their product (or service) as a functional and emotional solution to the customer’s problem will find it easier to establish affinity and trust.
This degree of positioning requires a profound understanding of the target audience. But brands that do can communicate with empathy, another powerful driver in building connections.
3. Show Up Where Your Audience Is
Most of your prospective customers don’t know your business exists, nor are they looking for it. Therefore, placement is critical when trying to reach your audience.
As you work through step two above (Know Your Customer), you will likely discover where to find your customers on- and offline. The media they consume, vacation spots, and even their hobbies will provide clues.
For example, if your customers enjoy golf, an ad in a golf magazine or targeting golf groups on social media would be more effective than relying on demographics to create ad audiences.
4. Develop a Social Media Presence
When discussing strategies for brand awareness with clients, social media almost always comes up in the conversation. Though it has its challenges, social media can be an efficient way to reach potential customers, and brands should incorporate it into their branding and marketing plan.
Building your social media presence offers an obvious benefit—the potential to reach large audiences while spending almost no money. But there is another reason brands should engage on social channels.
Many times, prospective customers will visit a brand’s social media profiles to learn more about them. An active profile validates your brand in the customer’s mind and provides some assurance that your business is legitimate.
The primary key to success with social media marketing is to engage, and selling is secondary. Therefore, it’s best to create relevant content and align the theme with your brand messaging.
5. Create Resources and Giveaways
Creating resources for your target audience benefits your brand in several ways. First, providing “how-to” information educates customers while showing them that your product or service is a solution.
Second, resources enable you to demonstrate your expertise and positions you as a valuable resource in the customer’s mind/
Finally, resources are sharable, which means users may pass them along to others who could also benefit from your products.
Examples of resources are infographics, slides and tables, and how-to guides.
People love receiving gifts. The resources you create can double as giveaways, or you could give away a sample of your product. Free trials are another version of a giveaway that works well for subscription services.
6. Sponsor Events
Sponsoring events—locally, nationally, or even worldwide—is a popular brand awareness strategy. However, becoming an event sponsor can be expensive. So, there are some guidelines small businesses should follow should they choose this avenue for brand awareness.
Many businesses sponsor an event simply because they think it will allow them to tap into lucrative audiences. But this approach will fall flat if the event itself doesn’t align with the brand.
To illustrate, a financial advisor might sponsor a youth golf event. This idea would make sense if the advisor targeted younger and middle-aged adults with children. But if the target market consisted of retirees, sponsoring a youth event may not make sense.
The most successful sponsorships are genuine—that is, the brand has an interest in the cause and wants to contribute. Conversely, sponsoring for the sole purpose of making sales rarely yields consistent dividends.
Also, have a plan in place to follow up after the event. Follow-up will help you capitalize on every opportunity.
7. Leverage Your Website and Search Engine Optimization
At first glance, websites and search engine optimization may appear to be a digital marketing tactic, but they are two of the most powerful branding tools you have.
A website acts as a visual storyteller, sharing your message and communicating your unique value—all in the blink of an eye. A branded website also builds rapport with your target audience.
Most small companies have a website, but only a few use them to build a brand and convert sales. Your website should be consistent with the brand’s style and lead visitors to take the next step in the customer journey.
Getting visitors to your website is critical. Without them, your site is nothing more than a brochure for your business that no one reads.
Search engine optimization (SEO) ensures that your site performs well online. SEO also helps search engines digest your site’s content to place it in front of users who are actively looking for your products and services.
Through SEO, you can leverage brand keywords to improve your online reputation.
8. Social Proof
Testimonials are an effective way to earn your audience’s trust, but reviews are becoming even more critical. Over 80% of people polled trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Reviews fuel brand awareness because search engines and online indexes use them to assess how reputable a brand is. A business with positive reviews will reach higher ground in search rankings.
9. Strategic Partnerships
Strategic partnerships offer many benefits. First, you can reach more potential customers, and referrals from partners have high conversion rates. Second, partnerships also provide an advantage in that the member of the alliance can share marketing expenses.
But for them to be effective, you must team with others who cater to the same audiences without duplicating benefits.
A successful strategic alliance hinges on the partners’ willingness to promote one another.
Keep in mind that “birds of a feather flock together”. So, the people you associate with will add to or subtract from your brand’s value, so choose wisely.
10. Be Consistent
Consistency is one of the most essential strategies for brand awareness there is. Lack of consistency creates confusion between the brand and the target audience.
People are inundated with distractions day and night. As a result, they can’t remember everything they see and won’t remember you unless you stay connected. So, choose a few strategies for brand awareness and practice them until you have built momentum.
Strategies for brand awareness can build value for your company, help you reach more prospective customers, and increase sales. If you need help, email me personally at email@example.com.
Until next time,
More Branding Insights
By Chris Fulmer |
Learn more about brand strategy.
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