What is Brand Awareness?
In order for your small business to succeed, for your services to be sought out, and for your products to be purchased by consumers, folks have to know who you are. This is the goal of brand awareness for small business.
Brand awareness is essentially the extent to which consumers are familiar with the qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or services.
To have consumers recognize your brand is one thing. For example, consider the Coca Cola logo. The red and white color palette and the distinct script are recognizable across the globe. The type could even be in a different language, but you would still recognize that the logo is for Coca Cola. But recognition is not the same thing as awareness.
Brand awareness includes much more than your small business’s name. Brand awareness recalls not only your business name but also the feeling of your business, information about what you provide, and other details that contribute to your customers’ experiences with you.
When you have brand awareness among customers, they know exactly who you are and exactly what you do. If your marketing strategies are married with high-level brand awareness, you can elicit emotions from your customers that will cause them to be more inclined to purchase from you.
Importance of Brand Awareness For Small Businesses
As stated above, the better your brand awareness, the more effective your marketing and advertising campaigns. Better brand awareness means more financial success.
Today’s consumers can have any product they want in their hands with just one click. In this kind of market, it’s crucial for shoppers to distinguish your brand from your competitor’s.
When customers are looking for a specific product, they are likely to go directly to a company they know and trust rather than waste time researching different companies. If you can make your customer base aware of your business and establish a reputable reputation, you will have them coming to your door whenever they need the good or service you provide.
Having good brand awareness is good for your bottom line, but it actually is more beneficial than simply bringing customers to your business. When you have a high level of brand awareness, customers are willing to pay more for a company they trust or, at the least, a company others trust.
Think about examples of this on the grocery store shelf. Name brand foods are always more expensive that their generic counterparts even though they are essentially the same product. Customers don’t have a problem paying for name brand toaster pastries because of the reputation and the trust built with customers over the years. Good brand awareness can do the same thing for your small business.
How To Establish Brand Awareness: 10 Ways
By now, you see how crucial brand awareness is for a small business no matter how big or small and regardless of the products or services they offer. But how can you create brand awareness that accomplishes your goals as a small business owner? Below is a list of 10 ways you can establish brand awareness beginning today.
Provide Exceptional Service
Even the most ingenious brand awareness strategies and marketing campaigns can’t compete with a bad customer experience. In order for customers to care about your brand, they have to be met with a better experience than your competitors offer. Earning customers’ trust and respect is the beginning of building brand awareness that will stick.
Shoppers are incredibly perceptive. When you are dealing with online customers, they have every resource and review at their fingertips and can—and will—find out if you aren’t being authentic in how you present your business. Everyone appreciates a genuine brand and a genuine business owner behind that brand. Authenticity goes a long way when establishing brand awareness and cultivating customer loyalty.
Social Media is great for your brand awareness. You know that social media is a free way to get your business name out there. But socials allow for more than just putting your business information online.
Social media allows you to engage with customers like no other platform. You can connect directly with people through messaging or commenting, but you can also target ads. As a small business owner, social media allows you to connect with your community more intimately and consistently than ever before.
It is important for you to be consistent across the board with your brand. Customers trust brands they recognize, so it’s important that they can recognize your brand across all platforms. That means your socials, your sites, and any printed materials (including packaging) need to look uniform and evoke the same feelings from your consumers.
Consistency makes your brand feel more dependable and professional. When you care about consistency, your customers take notice and will utilize your services before choosing another business with inconsistent branding.
Create Partnerships with Other Brands and Organizations
An excellent brand building strategy is to network with other brands. This is especially important for small, local businesses, but is true of big businesses as well. The more networking you can do with brands you admire and who can benefit your brand—and vice versa—the better.
Make Your Ethics and Values Clear
Because there are so many options out there for any kind of good or service you could want, customers are becoming increasingly picky about the kind of businesses they want to support. More customers are caring about ethical production practices and are using their money to take a stand on ethical and moral issues. By making your ethics and values clear, customers will recognize your brand as one that stands for something that aligns with their values and doesn’t compromise just to make a profit.
Give Users a Behind-the-Scenes View
Consumers love to see how a business really works. With the advent of video platforms like Instagram and now through Facebook, you can give your customers an inside look into how your company works and plays. They’ll feel more connected to your brand and will be more likely to use your business when they feel like they know you.
Use Branded Packaging
Branded packaging is a great way to build brand awareness on a few fronts. Firstly, have you ever received an order in branded packaging? When you get it, it feels more special than a blank, boring cardboard box or yellow mailer. Branded packaging makes an otherwise uneventful delivery something special and exciting.
Additionally, branded packaging acts as marketing and advertising for both your customer and their friends. Think of popular stores at your mall. They all have packaging that is unique to them and recognizable even outside of the store.
Establish a Unique Personality
A unique brand identity will set you apart from your competition. Many companies today use wit and humor to capture audiences and then reap the rewards of their comedic marketing. Some brands even have spokespeople or mascots that have become iconic (think Flo from Progressive or the Geico Gecko.) Your brand needs to have a unique personality and voice that will stand out to consumers even if they’ve never used your services.
Tell Compelling Stories
People expect good customer service and a product that works, but what they truly love is a good story. In order to build brand awareness, you must be able to craft a compelling narrative for your customers. This can be done literally with words, but you can also tell stories through film, photography, and even your logo. Every part of your brand needs to communicate who you are and what you do, and you can do this through engaging storytelling.
How to Boost Brand Awareness: 10 Tips
Now that you have established your brand, how do you increase brand awareness? In a fast-moving market, you can’t afford for your brand reach to become stagnant. Here are 10 tips to help you boost your awareness.
One of the oldest and best ways to draw attention to your business is to work with others. Partnering with other businesses is something you can do throughout the brand-building process. If you can get a business to link to your site, you have access to a whole new set of consumers.
Original content is a great way to help customers and potential customers come to your site and get real value from your business. Google—and users—love useful, not purely promotional, content, and both can tell the difference. Creating great content will give your brand a reputation for being useful, relevant, and a cut above your competition.
Guest Post on Other Sites
By creating content for other sites, you combine tips one and two above to heighten your popularity for an audience that’s not your own. Create fantastic blogs posts or videos for other brands and you’ll find that their customer base will visit your site to see what you have to offer.
Take Advantage of PR Opportunities
It can be really easy to forget about reaching the general public near your business because you’re so focused on online brand building. Check out town festivals, chamber of commerce meetings, schedule a radio interview, or whatever else you can do to reach your community members. This is an especially helpful public relations strategy to boost brand awareness if you are a local business.
When your customers purchase your products or services, chances are, they’re excited about it. Take advantage of their enthusiasm by adding a social share button at the point of sale. It will take just one click for you to get free marketing from a customer with a whole network of potential business for you.
Host an Event
Apart from your products, what value can your business bring to your customers? A great way to show your customers that your brand is valuable is to offer a seminar, workshop, or special event. Inspire, educate, and motivate your customers, and they will remember your brand. When locals have a chance to visit your storefront and meet you in person, they are more likely to be return customers.
Start a Referral Program
Shoppers will do a lot for a discount or freebie. When you set up a referral program, your customers can talk you up to their friends and family in exchange for incentives like BOGO offers, discounts, or whatever else you think they’ll enjoy. When someone makes a purchase because they were referred, both you and your customers win.
Holding a limited-time-only sale motivates buyers to get excited and act quickly. Appealing short-term deals trigger shout outs from your customers, creating more connections from their networks.
Many businesses offer special benefits for their customers who are signed up for brand “memberships.” Regular, non-paying users might have access to most of your site or your services, but members have special perks that come with their membership: free shipping, one-on-one consultations, etc. Whatever your business offers, find ways to create exclusive benefits for customers who might want to purchase a membership to your site or store.
Optimize Your SEO
When users are searching online for the services or products you offer, you want to show up in the top spots on Google’s SERP. To ensure you rank highly, you need to optimize your SEO practices. And to do this well, we recommend hiring an expert in the field—like us.
How To Measure Brand Awareness
You know what brand awareness is, why it’s important for your business, how to establish it, and how to boost it. But none of that matters if your brand awareness isn’t effectively building your business and bringing in more customers. Below are a few ways you can measure the effectiveness of your brand awareness strategies.
Ask your customers by email, website, phone, or face-to-face conversation how they heard of your business. Or ask a random selection of people if they are familiar with you.
Look at Search Volume Data
Use tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to check the number of searches for your brand and see how that data changes over time. Based on what you change or keep the same, you can see if your efforts are effective.
As shown above, social media is a great way to build your brand awareness. Tracking your social media following is an easy way to see the reach your brand has via followers, likes, comments, and more.
There are many, many ways to see how your brand awareness efforts are doing; we’ve only mentioned a few. Carefully measuring the success of your strategies will help you see what’s working, what’s not, and where you need to concentrate your efforts.
As a local business, you have a unique opportunity to reach customers online and across the country as well as having face-to-face relationships with locals who support your business. Cultivating brand awareness helps you to make more of those connections that will help your company grow.
Thanks for reading "The How To Guide For Building Brand Awareness for Small Businesses", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.