When the words Nike, McDonald’s and Volkswagen pop into your head, you know exactly what they sell and, more importantly, how they sell it. All the world’s most successful brands have entered our consciousness because every one of them has thought deeply about the messages they send about themselves. Your business works on a different scale, of course, but the principle remains true. If you want to become a local leader in your industry, you need to manage how your customers think of you. Here are some of the messages you need to send to customers to increase brand awareness.
People respond to useful information completely differently than how they respond to an advert or sales pitch, and more and more businesses now offer factual guides as a way of improving their recognition and measuring brand awareness. Creating a useful ‘How To’ guide can also help to establish your business as an expert authority in your field.
You can also grow your credibility by creating sponsored content, written and published in collaboration with a media outlet on a subject relevant to your business with your branding on prominent display.
For instance, a mattress company could create the article, ‘5 tricks to ensure a good night’s sleep’, introducing readers to their brand and business whilst offering genuinely useful information. This is a relatively new but increasingly popular way to raise the profile of a business, and tracking people’s engagements with these articles, such as likes and shares on social media, is a reliable means of measuring brand awareness.
Remember, building trust and confidence in your business is the first step to a reliable stream of new and returning customers.
When making all this effort with your marketing, don’t forget the basics. Remember, your website is as important as your actual shop front. Make sure it’s attractive, clearly laid out, fast to load, and that all information is fully up to date. A visit to a neat and elegant website followed up by a great in-store experience will inspire trust in your customers, making them far more likely to see you as someone worth doing business with.
A well-promoted special offer can create a lucrative buzz around your business. Promotions have been around for a long time, and come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s a good idea to try out a few different kinds and take note of which ones resonate with your target market. Maybe offer new customers a percentage discount off their next purchase, and then keep an eye on whether they come back and spend more.
Offering an ‘Invite a Friend’ discount can also help get the word out to new customers. If you can offer a discount both to the old and the new customer, then you can rapidly expand your customer base. This is also useful, as you can gauge the response each offer generates compared to the last. Everyone loves a bargain or a freebie, so try to think what it is you can offer that will help you clinch sales and create loyal customers.
Turbocharge your special offers with a sense of urgency. Placing time limitations on a special offer pushes hesitant customers towards making a sale. If you are using online vouchers you can even display a ticking clock on your site to really notch up the pressure on dithering customers!
What does your business do best? What service or product do you provide that you know nobody else can? What do your customers particularly appreciate? Which of your methods set you apart from your competitors? Put aside some time to practice thinking in this way about your business, and you’ll soon come up with your very own Unique Selling Point to promote in your ads.
Once you have determined your unique message, you need to work out how to broadcast it to all the potential customers right on your doorstep. A tried-and-trusted means of alerting your target audience to your business is through banner advertising on the website of your local paper. If you can create snappy, visually appealing material that gets across your core message to a dependably large contingent of potential clients in your area, then there’s no reason why your tills shouldn’t soon be ringing with local custom.
Likewise, you can use Google Ads to show your ads to people making specific Google searches within a fixed location, and even refine your audience down to particular demographics and interest-groups. In addition, when you list your SME on Google My Business, you will appear on a map of the most relevant nearby businesses whenever people in your vicinity are searching for your product or service. If you can dominate the search results for your market sector, then close-by customers looking to make a quick purchase will be naturally drawn to you.
In a competitive market where everyone is trying to plant their brand into people’s brains, it’s easy to worry about your business being invisible. A canny, versatile approach to your marketing, a professional bearing and a carefully honed USP can work miracles for your brand awareness in swift and easily measurable ways.
Want to find out even more about showcasing your brand’s unique identity? Check out our guides to marketing success: