Every business owner knows you can’t succeed without marketing. Recognition is a crucial part of business growth. Traditional and new media marketing sources are the most common route many businesses take. There are however innovative ways you can use to expand your company’s brand and help you stand out, all without breaking your budget.
Give Out Free Gifts
Everyone loves free stuff, don’t they? Including free trinkets such as stickers, badges, air fresheners with your logo, and other inexpensive knickknacks can help spread your brand. Look at also incentivizing repeat business through referrals. You can reward them with discount offers, points, or a gift.
By exposing potential customers to your business, you start building name recognition. Studies show that customers need to see a brand several times before they truly recognize it.
Find popular blog sites in your industry and ask if you contribute a guest post. Content marketing is an effective way to reach potential customers. It will help you establish yourself as a subject matter expert and if compelling enough, lead people to your site.
Support and Give Back to Your Local Community
One of the most effective methods for building a solid brand reputation locally is to help out your local community. As the head of a local company, you’re in a strong position to become a leader in your area. Speak to local charities and community workers to identify the things that your community could benefit from, and that your company is ideally positioned to assist with.
When you’ve done your homework on what your community needs, try to come up with a creative way in which your business can contribute. Donations are fantastic, but they represent only one possible way to help. You might like to roll up your sleeves and encourage your team to help out in a more active way.
You could also host local events such as a community festival, or a fund-raising event to raise awareness for a particular issue. Investing your time in the community will help build your reputation. This gives the community the chance to put a name with the face.
Research shows that potential customers are more likely to support businesses that demonstrate that they care about issues that are close to their hearts. A whopping 99% of people will choose to buy from a charity-supporting company, over a business that keeps all of their proceeds.
Focus on Building a Consistent Brand
If your website, logo, or branding looks cheap and poorly designed, it’s going to make a terrible first impression to all of your customers. There’s even a chance that they’ll take one look at your site and simply click away. Custom web design is essential to making sure that your business makes the right impression.
People are very visual and your website acts as the first salesperson they meet. We judge the quality of something very heavily on how good it looks. Apple has managed to build an entire empire around that exact philosophy. Create a professionally designed logo and designate colors that represent your brand, as well as an easy to remember tagline (if you have one).
Once you have established your visual brand, make sure that it is used on a consistent basis. You don’t want to have different versions of your logo or different Pantone colors that can confuse your customers. Think of companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Based on their logos, colors, and consistent advertising campaign, it is easy to recognize them instantly.
Connect with Customers Through Story
We naturally gravitate towards stories. When creating your marketing strategy, tell your story and use it to base your social media campaigns on. Facebook is an ideal social media platform to give your customers a reason to do business with you. Telling your story can connect you with customers that can relate to you better.
People want to know where you’ve come from. People want to know why you offer what you offer. Appealing to their emotions is much more powerful than just appealing to logic. When you tell a story, people will then become interested in your brand or the items that you have to sell. If you need some help with marketing your story, then why check out resources from sites such as Your Marketing People.
The media also loves a good story. So whether it is a rag to riches story or one where you encountered a simple problem and focused on solving it, share your memorable story. with them. You can’t pay for publicity like that! Focus on emotionally engaging with your potential customers. Have them be your best salesperson!
Focus on Adaptable and Local Advertising Mediums
In the early 2000s, MySpace was the social networking site to be on. In several years Facebook overtook it and never looked back. You can’t use the same old marketing methods that you always have before. You have to be willing to adapt to the new medium based on the top site for your target market.
For some areas and target niche, traditional advertising such as newspapers, radio, and TV aren’t as relevant as before. Digital marketing is much more effective. Look at various corporate social media accounts for inspiration. Content marketing is an effective method now. Email marketing was more effective in the past. The key is to adapt to what will be most effective for the fast-paced online world.
If your business model depends on tender in the local area, it is absolutely essential that your business comes up in local search results. Poor SEO could be one of the ways your business may be failing without you knowing.
Ensure that your company is on all the local business listings out there, prioritizing those that locals tend to favor in your area. Determine which site will be most effective for your company, and put most of your energy into search engine optimization for that particular site. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
In addition to listing your website on Google (the obvious choice) you might have success with websites such as Bing, Yelp, LinkedIn, and even Foursquare. Tip: Search for your competitors’ websites, and see where they have listed their businesses. At the very least, you should cover those same bases, making sure no competitor gets an edge over your company.
Ask Customers and Clients for Reviews
“Word of Mouth” might sound old fashioned when it comes to marketing strategies, but research has shown that when your customers praise you and your product or service, it’s regarded as more trustworthy than your own marketing material, regardless of how compelling and creative your advertising efforts.
Other research points to the importance of verifiable experiences and opinions in consumer decisions. Whatever market you’re trying to crack, seeking out customer reviews is a sure-fire to generate brand trust. When it comes to accumulating reviews, it’s important to adhere to a few best practices.
Firstly, do not pay for them, as these tend to stand out and put customers off, rather than reassure them, and can do damage to your brand. What you can do is actively request and solicit genuine reviews from your customers, emphasizing that you’re looking for sincere customer feedback. Not only will sincere feedback improve your brand’s reputation locally, but it will help you improve your service.
Having your review section front-and-center on your website is an effective way to encourage customer feedback online, or you could solicit feedback through email. Remember to prioritize quality over quantity: one or two negative reviews will quickly sour your brand’s reputation.
But if you do get a negative comment, it’s well worth treating the negative review as an opportunity to reach out to a customer and make their experience better. Listening attentively to their grievance, and making an effort to rectify the situation can be one of the most effective marketing tools you have at your disposal.
The centrality of networking for success and advancement business is hardly a new concept, but showing up at a not-so-relevant gathering can be the last thing you feel like after a day of hard grind, especially when the pay-off for all that social effort is by no means guaranteed. As the head of a company, you will be well aware that time is money. You can’t afford to spend hours on networking with no guarantee that it will pay off in concrete business terms.
That doesn’t mean you should give up networking events altogether. Rather, be selective about the local networking events that you attend. Before you decide to RSVP ‘yes’, do your homework on the event to ensure that it will present the types of opportunities you’re looking for. If your target audience is not going to be there, don’t go.
Remember, less is more when it comes to networking. Rather than show up for a quick meet and greet every evening, you’ll be more connected and better equipped to make the most of networking opportunities if you only attend a couple of events per month.
If you’re just becoming established in the business world, getting your brand out there on the local stage is as important as ever. These tips will help you promote your business in your community.
Expand and Get a New Address
A new address can be a fresh start for your business. A head office in a high profile area can draw lots of attention. Even just a new phone number can do wonders. You can do this without the high cost by using a virtual office. Find a property that will help you meet the goals for your business, maintain your brand, and is cost-effective.
Want to have a presence overseas? Your Virtual Offices are a great and economical way. Customers will often look for companies close to where they live. By having a virtual office in their area, they may be more likely to do business with you.
Work with Your Neighbor
Marketing can be expensive for a small business. But banding together can help you scale and lower your costs. In a local strip mall? Work with the other businesses to take out a full-page ad or TV spot. It will draw attention to your area and increase foot traffic.
Look to partner up with more established businesses, hold events, or setup a referral network. By working together, you can streamline your operations and lower costs. Look at businesses that complement yours. Sell shoes? Look for stores that sell socks and other accessories that you can team up with. Helping each other will magnify each other’s presence.
Increasing the presence of your business will take time. You can shorten that time period by connecting with consumers through the use of an engaging story, expanding your locations, and working with other businesses!