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Marketing a small business on a small budget isn’t easy, but if you have a strong brand, it makes many aspects of marketing your small business much simpler. Not only is having a strong, cohesive, and consistent brand an important aspect of marketing, but building your brand awareness is equally essential.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is the process in which businesses get customers to know who they are and what they’re about by marketing to them while simultaneously promoting their brand through logos, images, taglines, content, etc. Though brand awareness is considered a marketing tactic, the marketing isn’t always direct or obvious. Brand awareness is more about incorporating your branded logos, images, taglines, messages in content your customers are searching for, with the idea that those customers will begin to remember you, become familiar with your business, and ultimately begin to trust your brand.
Why is brand awareness important?
Brand awareness is important because your brand represents your company, and allows customers to get to know what your business is about. Building a brand is about building a personality and trust, both of which add immense value you to your business, products, and services.
Who are the targets of brand awareness?
Brand awareness isn’t just for your target customers; there are in fact four different groups of people you want to be targeting with your brand awareness efforts:
1. New Customers – brand awareness should be a part of your overall business objectives, and your overall business objectives most likely include bringing in new customers and growing your business, and so building brand awareness among them is a given.
2. Influencers – in every industry there are groups of “influencers”, people within the industry who are able to influence others because they are considered trusted sources. Making your brand appealing to these influencers encourages those influencers to promote your brand. On the other hand they could influence people to not trust your brand.
3. Current Customers – building brand awareness among your current customers is important not only in that you want to make sure they stay your customers and continue to purchase products/ services from you, but also in that it can help encourage word-of-mouth, the most invaluable marketing tactic there is.
4. Purchase Decision Makers – though your brand may be appealing to an audience, you want to make sure your brand is appealing specifically to the customers who are able/empowered to make purchase decisions (a quick example would be children’s cereal commercials that are marketed to parents).
How is brand awareness built?
Brand awareness is about increasing the number of people who know about your brand and your business. And so, including your brand in logos, messages, taglines, copy, etc. is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to boost your brand awareness. However, beyond just incorporating your brand in all of your online and off line content, there are a number of other things you can do to start boosting brand awareness:
1. Attend Local Events both in your industry and in your target markets. Get out there and start meeting your target audience where they’re meeting. Become part of the conversation.
2. Get Social – start using social media, commenting on online forums, answer questions from relevant online communities, establish yourself online. This is a great option for people who aren’t able to go to local events, and they’re great for learning about local events as well.
3. Reach Out – start building relationships with other people online, either by linking to their content, guest posting on their site, commenting on their blog posts, etc. The more you participate the more people will engage with you online as well as off.
These are only a few ways you can start to build brand awareness, and whichever tips you decide to follow, just remember that the most important rule in building brand awareness is that you are authentic. Be Genuine. If you are truly interested in growing your business then you must be genuine and authentic both online and in person whenever representing your brand. Your brand has a reputation that is extremely important to protect. If your business and brand are going to be sustainable building them starts with building that good reputation.
Where can you build brand awareness?
Many small businesses don’t have a lot of options when it comes to marketing and building brand awareness. However, thanks to the internet, there are quite a few inexpensive ways in which small businesses can build brand awareness among all of their target audiences:
1. A Website – your website is not only the perfect place to really showcase your brand and promote your business, but as people use the internet more and more, having a website for your business is becoming imperative in order to stay competitive.
2. Blogging – Once you have a website up, it’s important that you start creating content for that site, the logic being that the more content you create, the more opportunities you give internet users to find your site. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to start building your brand, because you can give your brand a voice that can’t be represented in a logo or tagline.
3. Social Media – Though not thought of as a marketing centric channel, the great thing about social media is it provides a space for businesses and customers to communicate in a way that they’ve never been able to before. Social media is where businesses can share more of their personality and promote their brand, and social media marketing efforts are centered more around building a relationship with the customer rather than marketing to them.
4. Paid Search Ads – often referred to as pay per click (PPC) or cost per click (CPC) can be an inexpensive way of getting your business and brand in front of your target customers. Even if an internet user doesn’t click on your ad they still get to see it, and if your brand is compelling, perhaps it’s the second of third time they see the ad that they click it.
Building a brand takes time. These tips should help you start building brand awareness, but creating and maintaining your brand will be a long process. But don’t dread it! Your brand is something to be proud of, and you will be if you take the time to invest in it.