Black text on lilac paper. the header reads: brand. Orange highlighter placed on paper.

Brand awareness: 6 tactics to ensure your small business is visible

Feb 12, 2021 | Branding, Marketing best practices

Last week we shared our thoughts on the importance of brand awareness and how it contributes to the acquisition of new customers for your business. We said how your brand story shouldn’t be neglected and how a small brand can (and should!) succeed in sharing a memorable message with their audience. Even if your brand isn’t covered in fame and glory, you can still be unique and original in your storytelling! Being distinctive is essential to creating memorable and impactful brand awareness.

Let’s go back one step

In our first article – “Brand Awareness: The first step of the purchase journey” we covered the following:

  • What is brand awareness? 
  • Why is it important for acquiring new customers?
  • What is the marketing funnel? Is it still relevant in the path to purchase?
  • What are the 5 stages of the path to purchase and where does brand awareness sit?

These are all very important elements to consider when planning a brand awareness campaign for your business. What story do you want to tell? What do you want your brand to be remembered for? How can you reach out to new people so that they’re aware of your product and services? How can you make an impact and ensure they choose you over your competitors? 

The first question you should probably be asking yourself is: how does your business add value to your customers?

Words on black background. The words are: dream, need, human,.

It all begins with the perception of a need, doesn’t it? Your customers need something to fix a problem; by buying that something from you, they’ll fix the issue. Your strategy needs to evolve around these two concepts: 

  • What are your customers’ needs? 
  • How can your business solve this problem?

Let’s start by making a few considerations together.  

  • Do you know where your customers are? Pick your channels. You absolutely don’t need to be everywhere. If you are a small business with a lack of resources, you should just pick the channels that are really valuable to you and your customers. Use your time and effort to focus on engaging your customers there. Less platforms > better content > more engagement > more return.
  • Do you really know your customers? Do you know what their needs are and what their buying trigger is? What is their typical purchase behaviour? How can you effectively communicate with them and provide them with the information they are looking for?
  • Observe the environment around you. What does your audience need to know? Do you know what info are they after? What are your competitors doing to gain visibility? Is there anything you can do better or differently?

Got your answers? Right, let’s dive into our top 6 tactics! Here’s how you can effectively get your name out there and ensure your business is seen.

1. Firstly, polish your marketing channels.

Is your website in good shape? Is your user experience friendly and are you showcasing relevant/simple/straightforward content? What about your SEO: are your keywords in place? Are you posting regularly across your Social Media channels? is the content useful, informative and super relevant to your audience? Let’s focu on email marketing for a second. Are your emails simple, short and visually appealing? Have you segmented your audiences strategically? Is you messaging personalised enough? This is a lot to think about and may seem overwhelming. You can learn how to Create your own Marketing plan in our 2-hours workshop! 

2. Secondly, create VALUABLE content rather than ‘quality content’.

We were speaking with a good friend (and very experienced digital marketer) a few days ago about marketers’ obsession for ‘quality content’. What does ‘quality content’ even mean? We remembered attending a social media conference in London a few years ago – amongst the keynote speakers, there was one (of the many) National Geographic social media experts. “He just couldn’t stop saying how important it was to have high-quality content sitting on your social media accounts – do you remember?”. Yes we did. “If you want people to engage with your posts, they must be magnificent. Well sorry dude, I don’t seem to have a spectacular savana outside my office or a top rated photographer to take a picture of it!”. Our friend’s comment made us laugh. A lot. He was right – ‘quality content’ is not the point.

Valuable, informative and meaningful wins over nice and shiny everyday. So, where do you start from?

  • Do you know what questions your audience are asking Google? Ah! If you’ve never used “Answer the Public” you’ve really missed out on a fab tool. 
  • Take a look at those queries. Got the answer? It’s your chance to shine and be useful to your potential customers! Do it through your blog, a live video, an infographic, an e-book or a simple social media post. Be relevant, help your potential clients out and be generous (give valuable info for free when you can). 
  • Collaborate. Are there people in your industry that you could partner with? People you don’t directly compete against, of course. Can you host a live interview on your social media channels? What about a joint Q&A session? Can you guest post/guest blog for each other?

3. Thirdly, boost your content. Don’t count on organic reach

Paid social media 

It’s a cheap and efficient way to get people interested in your brand. It’s also a great tool for driving qualified traffic to your website (i.e. people that are genuinely interested in your product/service). Did you know that you can run an efficient brand awareness campaign on Facebook for as little as £2 per day?

Newsletter adverts

Emails are a powerful (and perhaps a bit neglected) tool. Have you ever thought about buying an advertising space in a newsletter that targets your desired audience? These audiences are certainly smaller than the ones you can potentially reach through social media or Google ads. However, they can be much more targeted and engaged. 

Target short tail keywords via Google Ads or Bing. 

Short tail keywords (also called ‘head terms’) are broad and popular terms searched by high volumes of people that are at the very beginning of their quest for the perfect purchase (for example people searching generically for ‘pianos’ or ‘grand pianos’). On the other hand, long tail keywords are niche terms searched by people that are very close to making a purchase i.e. they’ve collated loads of info on the product already (e.g. ‘second-hand Yamaha grand pianos model X’). If you’re aiming to drive traffic to your website, targeting short tail keywords is certainly a way. There’s one big con though: these keywords are very competitive and therefore expensive if you want to rank higher than your competitors.

4. Ah, everyone loves a good freebie!

Let’s be clear on something though – we’re not encouraging you to stick your logo on a pen and to give it away at the next (socially distanced) networking event. Your freebie should drive new potential customers to your website so that you can retarget them with ads or emails (if you manage to get their contact details). Think about it – can you offer your potential customers a teaser of your product/service for free? Imagine that you’re selling an online course for example. You could build awareness around your course by running a free webinar or by creating a short video where you give out (for free) a few important top tips. Here’s what a client of ours – Julia Ferrari Webdesign – did to sell her online course on how to build a WordPress website from scratch!

5. Engage your audience.

Let us tell you a secret – posting good content on social media is not enough. This is especially true if your following is pretty small and your channels are quite new. 

Hand holding a smartphone showing an Instagram feed

There’s only one solution to this and you may not like it. You need to get your hands dirty and spend time on your channels! Search for hashtags, like or comment on other people’s/business’ posts, get in touch with people directly via DM and tag people in your posts. It’s all about building genuine, authentic and lasting relationships. 

6. Finally, get your customers to refer you.

Think about a referral scheme to encourage your existing customers to endorse your products or services to their family, friends and network. When this happens, your brand gains instant credibility that definitely boosts your chances of making a sale. A referral programme is very different from word of mouth! In fact, it’s an intentional and structured approach to generate new leads: your customers drive new people to you and you pay them back with a small incentive e.g. a discount or a freebie. 

So, how do you know if you’re successful? 

Now, your customers may not sing your jingle or wear a t-shirt with your logo, but they may well know who you are and what you sell (and they may tell their friends!). That’s the first step towards success. If your customers recognise your content on social media and on your online adverts (and resonate with your tone of voice), you can consider that an excellent achievement. You can think of yourself as a brand awareness guru when your customers choose your product/service over a cheaper competitor – that’s it, you won.

We get how difficult it can be to grow your business as a small business owner. No matter how great your product or service is – customers won’t buy from you if they don’t know that you exist. Perhaps you simply need some fresh ideas to increase your reach? Or maybe you need more substantial support in running a small yet effective brand awareness campaign? We’d love to hear about your marketing challenges and share our thoughts with you. You can easily book a 45 mins slot directly on our calendar – it’s free.

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