The SMB's Guide to Marketing and Brand Awareness
Have you ever seen an NFL Super Bowl game on TV? Most people will confess that they primarily watch the Super Bowl to see the commercials that air in between game plays. Super Bowl commercials have been known for years to show the very best advertisements from big-name companies such as Budweiser, Snickers, Apple and Pepsi. With an estimated 114 million television viewers from last year’s Super Bowl alone, it comes as no surprise that companies compete to get commercial airtime and pay big bucks to be in the spotlight.
Every business would love to have their time in the limelight, but even the companies competing for those spots started at the bottom at one point. Whether your small business has been around for the past decade or is just starting out, it’s never too late to begin building your brand. So, how can you build up your brand awareness? There are multiple ways to do so, and with the rise of social media you can promote your small business with ease (and a small budget!).
Tips and Tricks To Start Out
- Create a social media page for your company. Consider the potential value of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus.
- Maintain a strong online presence by being active in online communities, blogs, forums and on your own social media pages.
- Implement a content creation platform that can assist you with writing and designing your website to cater to your audience.
- Build good relationships with your clients and allies in your industry through social media interaction and content sharing.
Software Platforms that Help Boost Brand Awareness
1. SEO and Social Media Management
Ironically, in order to gain any significant exposure in the outside world, you have to put most of your effort into the internet. Developing a social media strategy can be easy if you know who your target audience is, and focusing on the channels in which your audience has a huge presence will help get your business noticed.
For example, if you are targeting teenagers, then trending sites like Instagram and Tumblr would be a good place to start. If you want to target young adults between the ages of 20 to 30, Twitter and Pinterest are channels where you can typically find that age group. And if you want to target adults ages 30 and up, look toward Facebook and LinkedIn. Some of these examples are a bit generalized, though, as young adults use Instagram and Facebook as well.
Real-Life Example: Often, the lines can get blurry between each age group in correlation with a specific social channel. One thing that can help you define your audience is to target people’s interests rather than age demographics. Take for instance a company like Patagonia, which sells outdoor clothing and equipment. Their target audience can be found within any age group, from toddlers to active senior citizens. However, focusing on specific hobbies like hiking or kayaking helps Patagonia home in on the type of people who are into those hobbies as well as their average age range within each hobby.
Choosing Software: This is where SEO (or search engine optimization) can come in handy. SEO tools help businesses attract traffic to your website, which, in turn, helps you identify the type of people who visit your website. These tools, in combination with having multiple social media channels available, increase your chances of getting noticed as well as provide insight into what your customers are interested in. There are many different types of SEO tools, and this article on the top types of SEO platforms can help you learn more, as it goes in depth into what each tool provides.
2. Content Management
Content can be viewed as the “bulk” of a website, as it consists of every bit of information the site provides such as company information, product or service information, blog posts, forums, social media posts and links. Providing quality content is important if you want to bring traffic to your website, and being able to consistently create good content can build up your reputation.
Real-Life Example: Bleacher Report, which is a sports article publishing site, used to be a small sports blog that would post articles and stats on every major sport in the world. As of now, they’re a well-known sports publishing site that gathers well over a million visitors per month. What Bleacher Report did to increase traffic was consistently post articles and have guests contribute to their blog. Having credible writers and guests contribute to their blog helped them develop their reputation as a credible source of information for each sport they write about.
Choosing Software: Starting from scratch can be tough, but luckily there are content management systems (or CMS) available that can help you get the ball rolling. There are two types of content management systems: closed source and open source. Closed-source software systems have all the tools, designs and templates built in so that all you have to do is fill in the gaps and create content. An open source platform is a bit trickier, as you have to build everything yourself. This post about open source CMS explains how the software works and how you can use customization to your advantage.
3. Email Marketing
Lastly, email marketing software is one of the most effective strategies in the marketing world. Almost everybody in the world has an email address (if not multiple emails), and having the ability to reach out to customers on a global scale is paramount. Email marketing is a simple process in which your business sends out personalized or uniform advertisement emails to customers, subscribers and others involved with your business. The incentive is to build trust and brand awareness with prospective customers, current customers and old customers.
Choosing Software: Email marketing campaigns provide several advantages. Firstly, creating and executing a campaign costs your company minimal money compared to traditional mail. Second, email advertisements have a high response rate and order value for online businesses. Lastly, customers who receive an email from a company they like are over 70 percent likely to open it, leading to a high chance of conversion and sales. If you want to know which companies are currently dominating the email marketing industry, check out this article on the top three email tools to see which platform fits with your business.
Did you find our SMB guide to marketing and brand awareness helpful? Let us know in the comments below! You can also check out our other content developed specifically with small businesses in mind in the SMB Solutions section of the Business-Software.com blog.
[Photo courtesy of Flickr.]