How To Increase Your Local Brand Awareness
Most people are familiar with the term “branding,” but the real power of branding is its ability to enhance our overall perception of a brand or product.
Local businesses often feel that they’re competing against national brands to win consumers’ business. But by investing the time and money to build local brand awareness, your company can quickly earn a competitive advantage in the market.
In fact, according to a recent study by the American Marketing Association, 85% of consumers think that a business’ local presence matters more than its national reputation.
What does it take to raise awareness for your local brand in your target market? You’ll find out when you read today’s post.
What is local branding?
Local branding involves communicating to your customers that your business is based in their community and that you care about what happens there.
Local businesses also tend to be involved in the community because they’re part of it.
The idea behind local branding is to ensure that every brand, even those outside your area, understands and is aligned with your local market.
People love feeling part of something bigger than themselves, but I think that local branding creates a sense of community among its customers.
Here’s why. I’m going to assume that there is a group of people who love the area around a specific business. These people will feel connected to the company, the restaurant, the store, or whatever is local to them.
How does it help you?
Branding isn’t just about your product; it’s about your brand. But, what makes your brand different from your competitors’ brands? Local branding is about how you differentiate your brand from the brands in your town. This will also help your business reach a larger audience using local keywords.
One of the biggest mistakes business owners makes is trying to ‘brand’ their business in the same way they might brand a home, car, or apparel product. That is not the case when it comes to brick-and-mortar businesses.
The reason is simple: consumers don’t go into a store, look at a car, and say, “Oh, I want a black car. I’m going to go get me a black car.” Instead, they look for specific features, like the brand of the car, the model, the size, and the price.
Local branding is more than just a cute logo. The most successful brands are those that are authentic. They’re built upon a foundation of trust and are rooted in communities. Consumers know who they are and what they stand for and thus, trust them to do the right thing.
1 – Create a Brand Strategy
Brands are becoming increasingly relevant to shoppers, especially as people spend more time online. The question is: What should brands do to capture customers’ attention and encourage brand loyalty?
One thing that seems clear is that if brands want to connect with consumers in meaningful ways, they have to invest in building a consistent online presence.
Brands need to develop an identity, build a community, and nurture that community in a meaningful way. They should also develop a compelling brand story that resonates with their audience and help consumers identify with their product or service.
If you’re starting a business in a new town, don’t just put up a website and expect customers to find you. It would help if you did more than that.
Before you open for business, you need to create a brand strategy. This means creating a mission statement for your brand and a marketing plan explaining what you’re trying to do, why you want to be in business there, and what kind of company you want to be.
Think of this as a way of explaining what makes your business different from its competitors. Then you need to build your brand identity using a logo and tagline appropriate to the place you’re opening.
Start with a strong logo
It can be challenging to compete in a local market without a brand presence. When creating a brand, remember that it has to be recognisable. You must develop a brand that people recognise. This is accomplished through the creation of a logo.
There are two main design principles to keep in mind when it comes to a logo. The first is clarity. Make sure that the logo is clear and legible.
The second principle is consistency. You should create one strong identity for your brand. You will ensure your customers can connect your brand with your products and services if you do so.
Think of your logo as the front door to your business. Do you know who lives behind that door? Of course, you know, but they’re likely to walk right past if they don’t have a strong relationship with you.
If your logo is the face of your company, then it should be strong and memorable. The same goes for your business name. The same goes for your social media profiles. But make sure that you’re representing the best version of your brand.
Focus on your brand story
If you’re a local business owner looking to build awareness, you should start by developing a brand story that people will recognise and connect with.
A brand story is a narrative that encompasses the essence of a business. It includes who you are, what you offer, and why you do what you do.
People who live in small towns understand the importance of community. They know that they don’t just live in a specific location but are part of a community. Local brand awareness focuses on telling the community story.
While most of us don’t think about branding when we buy a loaf of bread, we do think about it when buying clothes, cars, and other goods and services.
The term “branding” means different things to different people, but in general, it refers to a set of attributes that describe the identity of a product.
Think of a product like a sports team; it doesn’t matter if you’re buying jerseys, shoes, or even a ball, but if you buy a sports team, you can expect to see those same colours, logos, and designs elements consistently. That’s branding.
Understand your brand’s personality
It sounds complicated, but if you’re running a business, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t understand your brand’s personality.
Your personality will help you stand out from your competition and set you apart from the crowd. You may even notice your customers respond better to certain personalities. If you’re not sure what your personality is, you can start by asking yourself questions.
For example, “Am I fun? Are people drawn to me? Am I reliable? Do I inspire confidence?”
Brand personality plays a vital role in your local marketing efforts. After all, who wants to read a post about a local business if you don’t believe that the writer understands the essence of what makes your business special?
People who live in your market should be able to identify with the personality you’re trying to project. Your audience needs to feel like they’re a part of your brand.
This means that you must reflect your personality in your voice in all aspects of your communications, including both written and verbal.
2 – Make It Easy For Customers to Find You
To make sure your business stands out in your customer’s minds, you need to make it easy for customers to find your business. That’s where local SEO comes in handy.
Local SEO allows you to connect with your prospective customers online, through social media, and at the store by letting them easily find your store or local businesses.
When a potential customer searches for local businesses on Google, Facebook, or another search engine, they must see a listing for your business that indicates what makes you unique and why they should choose you over the competition.
Often, local business owners tend to forget that their brand needs to live across all platforms – mobile, desktop, online and offline. The reason why is because they are only focusing on their site and forgetting about the other channels where their customers may be looking for them.
So to promote their brand, local businesses should keep an eye on their competitors, read reviews and even search engines.
Develop A Better Understanding Of Your Ideal Buyers
A great starting point is to figure out who your ideal customers are. It’s essential to understand the people likely to buy your product or service.
Knowing your ideal customer will help you decide the kind of content that will appeal to your audience. Often, people assume that just because they know what their ideal customer is, they’ll appeal to that ideal customer. It’s actually the opposite.
While there’s no such thing as a perfect marketing strategy, understanding your customers is one of the best ways to create a better, more successful strategy.
The goal of knowing your customers is to understand who they are, what their interests are, and what motivates them. Knowing these questions can help you effectively market your business and products.
To create local brand awareness in your market, you need first to figure out who exactly your ideal customers are.
These people may include potential franchisees, customers of your products, people who love your products, or people who live in the area. You can find out whom they are by conducting a simple Facebook ad campaign or search using Google Trends.
Build a website
A local business that wants to increase awareness of its brand or products should consider starting with a website. While a company can do many things on its own, it can be challenging to gain a solid footing without the help of a third party.
A well-built site can help drive traffic, lead conversion, and help to improve the overall perception of a business. The best way to build a site is to partner with a company that can help with the construction and ongoing management of a local business website.
These sites are often built with a specific focus in mind — whether a neighbourhood association or a non-profit — to make the most of the site and its content.
Provide expert advice on your website
Local businesses need to think locally about their online marketing strategy. The main difference between local businesses and large businesses is that the former has fewer resources to use for marketing.
But with a bit of ingenuity and creativity, you can still market locally using a web-based marketing plan. This includes search engine optimisation, mobile marketing, and social media.
To become a local brand, you need to establish yourself as a trusted expert within your area. In other words, your company needs to prove that it has the skills to solve the local problems that consumers are looking for.
You need to provide them with expert advice and guidance on what products and services they should be using.
If you’re new to social media marketing, you might want to start with a couple of short videos of experts answering common questions about the field and linking back to your website.
The videos don’t have to be professionally produced; just explain why you chose your social media platforms, what content to share, what kind of engagement is required, and some best practices for using your platform. You can post these videos on your website, but they can also be posted to YouTube and Vimeo.
3 – Promote In Person
People who buy from businesses they see in person are three times more likely to be loyal customers than online shoppers.
So, if you’re thinking about setting up a brick-and-mortar store, there’s no better way to advertise your business than to stand in front of it. That’s why the real estate industry is lucrative for startups.
The cost to rent retail space is often low, and most consumers are within walking distance or have a car. So, you can expect that every store owner will try to get as much foot traffic as possible, especially if they’re hoping to build customer loyalty and brand recognition.
You know how to build trust online. You might not realise how that trust can turn into actual sales when you walk up to someone and tell them about your brand, services, or products.
Find out who’s talking about you locally
Local search is one of the fastest-growing areas in digital marketing. There are currently more than 8.5 billion searches on Google every day. More than half of these are conducted on mobile devices.
And local search is a potent tool for companies because it provides instant and real-time access to their customers, prospects and even competitors. You’re not just advertising in your local area but to specific neighbourhoods, cities, or states with local search.
The next step is to see if you can figure out what’s being said about your brand. Ask around and find out if anyone has ever heard of your business. Then, search Twitter and Google using the brand’s name and see what pops up. Does anything sound too familiar or similar to your brand?
Engage Your Community
When you’re running a business, one thing you need to do is connect with your community. We live in a world of incredibly social people who love to talk about themselves.
You miss a lot if you’re a business owner and don’t connect with your community. Your customers live in your town, so you need to take advantage of that. Create an event that allows your community to come together. Have an activity and have people participate.
Host a meetup
By hosting a local brand meetup, you spotlight your company and educate people about your brand. This is another way to get people talking about your company and create your company’s image in the community you live in.
People don’t like to be left behind. They want to see you succeed. They want to be part of the journey. And by being there and listening to others’ questions and concerns, they can relate to you and feel like they have something in common with you and your brand.
4 – Advertise Online
Online advertising can be a great way to build brand awareness, but your advertising could backfire if you’re targeting the wrong demographic or market.
By targeting online advertising toward local audiences, you can increase your likelihood of achieving the desired results. Targeting a specific demographic will help ensure that your marketing efforts are more likely to be successful.
The next step is to choose the platforms most likely to reach your target audience. When you are marketing your local business online, it is crucial that you choose platforms that deliver high-quality content tailored to your local market.
Local search engines like Google Places, Facebook Places, Bing Maps, and Yahoo Local all have unique tools to help promote your business locally. Make sure you use as many as possible to increase your visibility and drive traffic to your site.
Create a marketing plan for your brand
Creating a marketing plan for local brand awareness can help any business understand what types of messages are best suited for where they are located.
When creating a local marketing plan, your target audience is the first thing to consider. Then, consider your audience’s demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, location, and interests) and the environment where your business operates (physical and digital).
Next, you’ll want to think about your current marketing channels (online, offline, and print) and consider how you can better target your message for each channel.
Reach out to the local media
Once a company builds its brand and reputation locally, it’s time to consider building a national presence. One way to do this is through partnerships. Partnering with local businesses, publications, and organisations is a great way to reach out to a local audience.
If your business is local or otherwise located in a particular area, consider reaching out to local media outlets for help with promoting your brand. In cities like Chicago, New York, and Seattle, media outlets offer print, online, and television advertising services.
These services are usually more expensive than traditional marketing methods, but they can be valuable in promoting your business to a larger audience.
If your business isn’t already listed in the directory, you can contact the appropriate editor and request that they include your company in their weekly publications.
Send press releases to local publications
If you haven’t tried it yet, this is a fantastic way to build local brand awareness. You need a press release that provides all the necessary details for a suitable story for your local market.
Some questions to consider include:
- Is it a newsworthy item?
- Can a local news source cover it?
- What topics are most relevant to people in your area?
Check with the publication’s editor to determine if the publication covers topics similar to your business.
5 – Brand Your Space
To drive brand awareness, people in your market must see you in your market. This means getting your name out there in the community where your target customers reside.
A brand ambassador program is a great way to increase awareness of your business locally. An ambassador is a person who represents you and your business. These ambassadors promote your brand visibly and positively.
You give them freebies, like t-shirts, hats, etc., which they wear to promote your business. Ambassadors can also hold events, like book signings that can help build your brand in your area.
Choose a Location that is Attractive to a Target Demographic
The location is the gateway to your business. For instance, a restaurant or café located in an area with lots of people will draw more customers than one situated in a sparsely populated area.
A restaurant, café, or store near a college or university will draw more customers than one in a suburb. Also, look at the demographics of the area surrounding your prospective business.
A place with many young, hip people is a hot spot, while an older, more conservative demographic will be less likely to patronise the establishment.
How often have you gone to the gym because your friend invited you? Or visited a restaurant because a friend highly recommended it?
We don’t always think about the influence our friends have on our decisions. But when it comes to deciding where to eat, shop, or play, word of mouth matters.
People who recommend locations are trusted. If your target audience trusts you to make sound recommendations, choose a location that they will feel comfortable recommending to friends and family.
Drive Sales Through Inbound Marketing
Rather than trying to attract new customers, the focus is on building an audience already interested in your business. You can use it to drive traffic to your website.
With all the inbound marketing options, I can’t imagine any brand not being overwhelmed with choices.
However, it can be tough to figure out how many options work. According to Kissmetrics, most marketers use social media, but it’s tough to tell what’s moving the needle with so many options.
Luckily, a simple concept that’s been proven repeatedly has provided marketers with the data they need to drive growth: repeat visits.
Repeat visits aren’t just helpful because they show that visitors are engaged with content (though that’s important too). Repeat visits also provide data on the type of content that’s most effective at driving conversions and leads.
6 – Create a Social Media Presence
Social media can play an essential role in building brand awareness for small businesses, especially if they don’t have a strong offline presence. For example, some restaurants can get people to check out their food by showing pictures of their menu items online.
When social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter first launched, they were a marketing dream. With Facebook’s IPO and the subsequent social media backlash, many business owners are questioning whether or not it was worth the investment. But don’t throw your hat into the ring just yet.
There are still solid opportunities for businesses that understand the potential of social media. For example, local businesses are more relevant and accessible in a fast-changing, digital world.
Consumers are increasingly using social media sites to search for products and services, which means it’s never been easier for small business owners to share information about their products or service with their target audience.
Run contests on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
With a large social media following, you can generate a buzz around your brand and encourage people to share it. Create a contest that allows people to vote on their favourite products, brands, or even your employees.
Post the poll on your company’s social media sites, and encourage followers to vote. Give them a prize to vote for your company. The possibilities for this type of contest are endless.
Do more events
While creating awareness is a huge part of building a business, events are a powerful tool that you can use to establish your company’s presence within your community.
These events help strengthen the bond between your company and its customers.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are twice as likely to search online for products after seeing a commercial on TV. Events help reinforce your brand message and encourage consumers to continue seeking out your products and services.
7 – Don’t Forget About Email
“Email is still one of the most powerful channels for delivering messages to consumers”, according to a study by marketing platform MailChimp. MailChimp found that email remains the most crucial channel for business-to-consumer (B2C) brands because “It’s effective at engaging with people already interested in your company or brand.”
Email marketing has become a trendy way to create brand awareness, but it can be a tricky business to get started.
Even if you’re just getting off the ground, there are ways to make sure you get the most out of your email marketing efforts without busting your budget:
- Make sure your emails are sent through a reputable email marketing provider. Many people still don’t realise that they’re sending an email marketing message when they send out a commercial.
- You need to make sure that you’re hitting all the right demographics. Remember that your target market may differ from the person who sends you the email. The best way to get to the right market is to use multiple email marketing providers and a split test on the subject line to see what kind of open rates and click-through rates you get.
- Remember to follow up.
Just because someone opens your email doesn’t mean they’ll read it, let alone convert.
Once you have a sense of the problems your potential customers face in your service areas, you can start conducting surveys to see if those issues are real and represent a problem worth solving.
This may sound obvious, but many people spend money on their products or services and don’t even know it. That’s the kind of stuff that drives me crazy as a business owner.
Offer a coupon
When people search for something in particular online, they often search for the brand or retailer name. You can capitalise on this by offering a discount for a brand you already sell to customers.
For example, if you’re selling a coffee machine, you could offer a discount to your customers for a $20 gift card for your store. Your customers will not only be more likely to buy your products, but they’ll be more likely to share information about your company with their friends.
8 – Give People Something Extra
Think about it: When you’re trying to get people to come to your business, where are you advertising? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter?
They’re all great marketing tools, but how often have you heard somebody say they saw your ad on a site or Twitter and stopped into your store because of it?
If you’re going to advertise on Facebook or Instagram, make sure you also include text on your storefront, window signs, and in-store posters. Local businesses that include extras to attract customers may find that it pays off in spades.
If you’re looking for a way to build local brand awareness and increase your conversion rate, give people something extra to build brand loyalty.
Instead of adding a special offer to your email newsletter or waiting until the end of the month to send your first batch of direct mail, start your marketing campaign early and give people something extra.
Make sure that whatever you send is relevant to the products you sell and that the gift is meaningful to your customers.
Find the right people to promote you online
Finding the right people to promote your brand online can be tricky for a local business. We all know that Facebook ads are great for local businesses, but if you don’t know where to start looking, you might end up with useless results that waste your time.
Here are three key questions to ask yourself when searching for your first set of potential online promotion targets:
- Who are they?
- What do they care about?
- What are they interested in?
In the beginning, I was frustrated because there weren’t any tools that were helping me connect with bloggers. I found it frustrating.
But once I realised that I had to be proactive, I started building relationships with bloggers. I’d say, “Hey, I’m working on this project,” and see if it’s something they’re interested in. Then I’d pitch them about it.
Offer Free Samples
One of the ways to promote a new business in your community is to offer free samples. Give away a sample to a few customers and then ask them to share their experiences with friends and family.
By offering a free sample, you create buzz and awareness for your new business and provide potential customers with a chance to get their hands on your product before paying.
You can use free samples to generate repeat business as well. Once someone tries out your product and likes it, they may be more likely to return to you.
We’ve all been there. You’re trying to decide what to do about something you’re in the market for, but you don’t know quite what it is yet.
Sometimes, people will buy a product or service sample to see if they like it before committing to the entire purchase. This is an excellent strategy for gaining early exposure for your business without investing too much money or time.
Brand awareness refers to your ability to attract customers and influence people in your market. By increasing your local brand awareness, you will increase your visibility and influence within your target market and be able to grow your business.
To improve your local brand awareness, you should take a strategic approach by creating your brand identity and using appropriate channels.
The local business owners increased sales by 27% with the highest brand awareness. When potential customers better understand your brand, they are more likely to buy your product or service.
So, if you want to increase your local brand awareness, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What’s your brand promise?
- What are the three things that set your company apart from your competitors?
- What does your brand mean to your target market?
- What is the purpose of your brand?
- What is the vision of your company?
- What’s your unique selling proposition?