Better brand awareness could have a tremendous impact on your small to medium-sized business (SMB). It can increase your sales, boost your audience engagement and help you stay competitive in a challenging marketplace.
You may not realize you can increase your company’s brand awareness in only one quarter. Here are some actionable ways to achieve that goal.
Improve Your Social Media Presence
Social media’s influence on today’s society is only growing. That does not mean customers see your social media profile as the sole deciding factor of whether to do business with you. However, it does mean that what your social media profile contains — or lacks — could shape their perspectives of your enterprise.
Start by ensuring you have a consistent presence across all platforms. For example, choosing a different primary image for each profile could confuse people by making them wonder if each page is for a separate entity. Consistency leads to familiarity, which supports brand awareness.
You should also stick to a regular posting schedule. Some people make the mistake of setting up business pages across all major platforms, then realizing that it takes too much work to update all of them. Whether you post content once a week or once a day, choose a feasible routine that will set readers’ expectations without making you feel overwhelmed. Consider using tools that help you post everywhere at once.
Beyond the type of content posted, review the activity on your social feeds and promptly respond when anyone asks a question or posts something else deserving of feedback. Your replies could help provide valuable clarification that strengthens brand awareness by ensuring people don’t develop the wrong assumptions about your business.
Enhance Your Website’s Usability
Most people would agree that if a business does not have a website, it’s significantly behind the curve and may struggle to compete. However, it’s not enough to simply offer a website. Your online presence should also be a user-friendly, correctly functioning, informative place for people to learn about your business and what makes your brand stand out from competitors.
See if anything is preventing your website from loading as fast as it should. One study of hundreds of marketers found that 85% of their sites took more than five seconds to load. If the same is true for yours, it may result in the kind of brand awareness you don’t want. In other words, people may visit your site once and decide that using it is too frustrating due to the sluggishness.
Consider how you could cater to people’s needs through your website, too. For example, adding a live chat feature would let you help visitors quickly get help when needed. Alternatively, you could include a sign-up form that urges people to subscribe to your newsletter in exchange for a discount code or another perk.
When designing the site, do so in ways that remind people of your brand as they spend time browsing the content. It helps to pick the same logo and color scheme that your social pages or physical advertising feature.
Spend More Time Engaging in Networking
When you meet someone new and they ask about your work, do you have a solid response prepared that would interest people in your SMB? Don’t just stop at telling someone you own a business. Describe your enterprise in a sentence or two that provides a teaser about your livelihood and might kickstart a longer conversation.
Plan to attend specific networking events for entrepreneurs, too. For example, some local authorities hold gatherings that promote businesses in the area and encourage people to get to know them. Participating in them will introduce individuals who have never heard of you to your brand. Moreover, face-to-face events will strengthen recognition for people who are already aware of your brand.
COVID-19 brought most events online for the time being. You may find that prospect a bit awkward at first, but at least give it a chance. People are still getting used to online networking. However, you may be surprised at how effective it can be. You can take part in one-on-one chats, participate in panel discussions or take questions from an audience, all from the comfort of home.
You may also want to distribute a unique offer code valid only for people who attended a particular event. Then, as they redeem it, you’ll be able to see the direct effect of your involvement. One positive aspect of online events, in particular, is that they broaden your reach. You may interact with people across the country or around the world. Eventbrite offers a feature to search for online-only offerings. After finding one, you can immediately sign up through the site.
Embrace the Livestreaming Trend
Livestreamed content is an excellent way to raise brand awareness for your SMB. It helps you convey to the audience that exciting things are happening and that your company is well worth following.
A livestream also enables you to adjust the content based on what the audience wants to see. For example, you could follow the live content feed associated with a product debut and notice that several people want to know how a particular feature works or would like you to show things from a different angle.
Livestreaming does not require an intensive setup. If you have a company YouTube account or Facebook page, tools are already built into those platforms to help you run a stream. If you’re unsure what to cover, ask your potential audience for input. They’d also probably appreciate it if you suggest several possible times and ask them to vote on which one works best with their schedules.
Aim to have a loose framework for your livestream. If you’re debuting a product, you might have a demonstration first, followed by an interview with a design team member. Then, you might announce a giveaway of the product to get people even more interested. It’s OK if you don’t stick to the plan in every case — livestreaming facilitates spontaneity, after all. However, having a guide will prevent you from getting too far off track.
Use a Geographic Approach to Find Your Next Customers
Helping people become more aware of your brand often means taking a closer look at some locational clues. The most straightforward way to do that is to make a business map. It can tell you things like who your best customers are and where they live. Then, you can narrow down where to advertise to help more people learn about you.
Referring to maps to meet your brand awareness goals also makes sense if you want to see which untapped markets may be most in need of your services. For example, if you sell medical supplies, it makes sense to target places with lots of hospitals, doctor’s offices and similar facilities that need such products.
Using business maps can also help you confirm any assumptions held about your existing customers’ buying habits. You might believe that most of your highest-spending consumers live in a certain region or city. Matching people’s orders to your data can confirm or deny what you think you know.
Finally, you can use business maps to see progress associated with your brand awareness efforts. You could verify the location of new customers over the past three months and then designate them on a map using a particular color.
Run Social Media Contests to Gain Traction
Social media contests can quickly expand your follower base, especially if the people who already keep tabs on your page have friends that would love your business too. There are numerous ways to run these competitions, so the best approach is to think about what you want to achieve before getting started.
For example, giveaways that require people to like and share a post for a contest entry expose your posts to a bigger audience. They also don’t need much effort from those who want to take part.
However, if you want to get more creative, you might ask people to snap photos or take videos showing how they have used your product or otherwise benefitted from your business. They can then tag your page when submitting the post.
When explaining the contest, always explain what people must do to enter, plus whether they could do anything to boost their chances of winning. Your audience will appreciate the transparency, and having that information will help them have more fun.
Start a Referral Program
Referral marketing is all about letting your existing happy customers naturally bring more clients to your business. Referrals are among the most powerful and least expensive marketing tools if you use the correct strategy. Some experts recommend targeting customers who are most likely to bring you profitable referrals rather than a broader approach.
Regardless of the specifics you choose, consider structuring things to benefit everyone involved. If a new customer uses a referral code when buying something from your business, give them a discount, as well as the person who told them about the code.
Shoppers are often more willing to buy things after people they trust recommend them. That reality is why referral programs can work so well for increasing brand awareness. Relatedly, individuals often eagerly talk about the brands they love. That means you may naturally get referrals by running a business that impresses customers.
Think about easy ways you could encourage people to take part in your referral program, too. A customer might mention that they used to shop elsewhere but noticed you have the best prices and selection in town. You could thank them warmly, then briefly mention it and encourage them to participate.
Meaningful Results Are Just a Few Months Away
Brand awareness is something you should ideally work to improve throughout your business’s existence. However, these suggestions can help you increase it in only three months. After getting positive outcomes from these tips, you’ll be more motivated to continue making long-term efforts.
About the Author!
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.