Are You Invisible? Build Brand Awareness.
One of the most important things a business can do to grow is build brand awareness. Building brand awareness involves staying in front of your customers and prospects with memorable, consistent messaging across all channels. It's also about placing your brand in the minds of decision makers who might not know you yet but need what you offer.
Right now, you're probably saying, "Yeah, but how?"
First, let's address some misconceptions about brand awareness, and then we'll dive into five ways you can begin building brand awareness today!
Building Brand Awareness is a Journey
Building brand awareness is not a sprint. It's a marathon! To achieve success, you need to set up your marketing and advertising campaigns for the long term. Don't go for pitching ads to the masses only to see lackluster results because you don't have an effective strategy in place. Think about what you want from your campaign before diving into it.
All great marketing campaigns consist of tons of trial and error. As you figure out wha your target audience likes, wants to see, and cares about engaging with, you'll try methods that work and methods that don't. You can't always plan for what your audience will love and engage with. That's why it's important to test, analyze, rework, repeat!
Brand awareness takes, on average, 5 years to build well, and 6 months to a year to obtain really good data on how well a marketing campaign worked. Now, as a smaller business owner with a smaller audience, your timelines may not take quite that long, but you shouldn't expect to see results overnight or even next week. Especially with the constantly changing nature of social media.
The best thing you can do to ensure your marketing plan is successful? Prepare yourself for the long haul.
It's Okay to Start Small
Starting small is okay, and often times necessary. You might not have the money or manpower to start with a full fledged advertising campaign, but you can garner attention by creating share-worthy content. Start with one media channel (we recommend Facebook, because it far surpasses every other social media channel for business interactions), and build an audience there. Once you've built a strong presence with an engaging audience, it's time to analyze the next best channel for your brand.
Also, don't try to use every flavor of the week when it comes to marketing strategy. Not every strategy is for every target audience, nor is every strategy on brand for every company. Find one or two strategies that are already in your tool belt (are you great at engaging graphics, videos, blogging?) and utilize them. Figure out which posts are getting the most engagement and begin refining your skills there.
And remember, ANY progress is progress. Didn't reach as many people this week but had more engagements with the people you did reach? Celebrate that! Don't expect to go from zero engagements to 100 overnight. Start small, and celebrate small.
5 Ways to Increase Brand Awareness
Have you been sharing your brand everyday and you're still struggling to build engagement with your audience (and consequently brand awareness)? Here are our five best tips to give your strategy a good booster shot:
Guest post for blogs. Find blog writers within your industry/niche that already have an audience and reach out to them about writing content for them. Make sure that you're clear about the purpose behind guest posting (to drive traffic to your website, to engage people on social media, etc.), and make sure that the blog/website represents what you want to say about your brand. When you guest blog/post, you should be writing for someone that you can consider a partner in your industry.
Start a podcast or video series. Podcasts can be a valuable tool in your marketing belt. We recommend they be educational, entertaining, or both. If you know how to build the recording equipment and edit them, go for it! But if figuring out how to start a podcast seems overwhelming, video is an incredibly powerful medium right now. People love to watch videos , especially when they're on their mobile devices. Video can be broken up into short clips or long episodes, so you have flexibility with how you want to use it. Creating a video series is also helpful for SEO purposes, and can easily be shared via your social media channels.
Form brand or influencer partnerships. Once you have a growing audience, consider working with brands or influencers to create original content together. Different influencers have different audiences and subscribers. It's a good idea to build relationships with these different influencers in order to expand your reach and audience, and grow your subscriber base. This is also another great way to learn about the market and what people like/dislike, who they want to see more of, etc.
Do Giveaways. They don't have to break the bank. They just need to be fun and engaging. The key is to make it as easy as possible, and require as little effort from your audience as possible – because if it's too much effort people won't bother entering the giveaway. You can even partner with other businesses in giveaways to make it a larger prize and promote across audiences.
Run ad campaigns. Ad campaigns can be effective. You can run ads on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channel, which will help get the word out about your brand. But don't spam people with ads or content that appears to be an ad campaign because you're trying to sell something. The goal of your business is not just to build up money, but build up loyal fans who will become their own advertisers for you. Look back at your posts and find your most engaging one. Try running that one as an ad and see what happens!
Building a brand takes time and patience. But, if you do it right, the payoff can be huge! You might not see results on day one or even month two of your campaign - but don't give up hope just yet. It's been said that "slow and steady wins the race." We're here to help.