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How to Increase Brand Awareness for Small Businesses

Prospective customers can’t buy from you when they don’t even know you exist. Increasing brand awareness expands your reach, makes marketing campaigns more effective, and helps you grow your small business.

What’s the best way to increase brand awareness for a small business? Here are 10 smart strategies and tactics.

  1. Intuitive brand and clear message. From your logo, to your content, prospective customers need to be able to quickly understand what you do and associate your brand with your products and services. If people are confused and/or don’t understand what you do, look for ways to refine the way you’re packaging your business such as adding the right tagline that complements your logo and name.
  2. Consistent promotion. People won’t know your small business exists unless you put yourself out there. Find ways to consistently get your brand and your business in front of prospective customers so you are top of mind when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. Even when things get super busy, you can’t go dark for weeks or months on end. Every little bit counts.
  3. Earned and paid media. With the continued popularity of social media and decline of traditional news outlets, small business owners often overlook earned and paid media—two avenues that can be highly effective at increasing brand awareness. Don’t just limit you’re your scope to newspapers—pitch your small business to relevant blogs, industry publications, and influencers that will help you reach your target audience.
  4. Programs and events. For many small businesses, there’s still no substitute for those face-to-face interactions that happen when you throw an event. You get to interact with current and prospective customers in ways that just aren’t possible from your website or on social media. Programs and events also give you a chance to scale your promotional efforts more than trying to reach customers one at a time. Speaking of current and prospective customers, don’t get so focused on reaching new customers that you forget to invite the people who have already bought from you in the past. Current customers need love too.
  5. Strategic partnerships. Identify small businesses that offer complementary products or services and look for ways to combine your audiences to grow your reach. Ideas are almost limitless. You can partner with local restaurants, breweries, wineries, or other businesses. For example, if you sell home audio products you could partner with a landscaping supplier and host an event about outdoor theaters.
  6. Community involvement. One of the things that differentiates small businesses from big box retailers and national franchises are their connections to the community. Get involved with your local Chamber of Commerce, participate on panels, give presentations, or volunteer. Not only are you giving back, but you’re also building brand awareness.
  7. Word of mouth/Referral programs. Empower happy customers to shout about your small business from the rooftops and even consider rewarding them for their efforts. At the very least, encourage customers to tell their friends and thank them when they do. If you want to go one step further, create a formal referral program.
  8. Blogging. Create interesting, relevant, and shareable content that you think people are likely to share with others. Blog content can not only help generate more traffic to your website, but it also gives you something to share via social media—which also can drive people back to your website. Focus more on quality than quantity. If your content doesn’t add value or get people excited enough to share with others, you’re wasting your time.
  9. Social media. Why isn’t social media higher on the list? True it promises the most potential when it comes to reaching your targeted audience. However it can also be a black hole—sucking all of your time and resources away without any obvious way to measure your effectiveness. The key is to not only focus on growing your audience, but also looking for ways to convert those followers into active supporters/buyers.
  10. Email marketing. Growing your email list is only the beginning. Increasing brand awareness requires activating those subscribers to 1) actually open your email 2) click on your links and 3) forward/share with others. Think strategically about what content is going to add the most value for your readers and make them more likely to share and then test different content to see what drives new traffic back to your website. Looking for more ideas, here are some helpful tips on how to grow your email list at events.

Brand awareness doesn’t happen by accident. To get your business noticed, you need to consistently get in front of your target audience. Whether it’s through events, social media, email marketing, or a mix of the tips above, you’ve got to make it immediately clear what your business does and why people should think of you when they need your product or service. Prospective customers have an infinite number of choices—increasing brand awareness will help keep you top of mind when they’re ready to buy.

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