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Article Contributed by Lori

Small businesses don’t have the kind of budgets that enterprise businesses have with respect to their marketing activities. But that doesn’t mean they can ignore increasing the brand awareness of their business. In fact, it is doubly important for them to do so, as it’s only if more people are aware about their business, that they will be able to beat their competition especially the bigger players in the niche.

So, let’s take a look at 5 tips that will help them increase their brand awareness by a long way:

1.       Use SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the single most important marketing activity that has given small businesses and startups a level playing field against the big boys in their niche. The increasing reach of the internet and the fact that more and more people using the World Wide Web to look for all kinds of information means, online marketing is crucial for the branding efforts for every small business. SEO makes sure that a small business’s website comes up tops on search engine rankings, which increases its website traffic and improves its sales. The fact that this activity is not very expensive to implement means most small businesses now have an online presence, whose potential they are extensively tapping by optimizing it for search engines.

2.       Leveraging Social Media

Today, you have the chance of taking your business viral with the use of social media. There is no doubt that the popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter has grown enormously over the years and a lot of person-to-person interaction is happening online, through these networks. Small businesses can leverage the potential of social media to market their business amongst their target audience. By creating a business profile on these networks you can pick and choose your followers who you want to network with and who you believe have the best chances of converting into your customers. You can create personalized marketing messages for different groups of your target audience and take steps to build brand authority amongst them.

Social media is also used by people to get reviews of products and services. Therefore it not only helps you build brand awareness but brand credibility as well.

3.       ID Cards

There are plenty of small businesses who believe having an ID card for a limited number of employees just doesn’t make any kind of sense. Well, there might be some grain of truth in that, but ID cards also serve a marketing purpose and are not just a means of improving security of a workplace. Think about it for a second. Your employees are asked to compulsorily bring their ID cards to work; they usually hang these ID cards around their necks. Some put them on, when they reach their work, some put them on when the leave their homes. Every ID card that is worn while your employee is commuting to the workplace is like a company advertisement. More people will become aware of the existence of your company, because of your ID card and the logo of your company on it. What’s more, many of the people who see this card might be looking for the products and/or services sold by your company. This is branding at its best.

4.       Cold Calling

This might or might not work, but must be tried nevertheless. First build up a list of prospects who you believe will be interested in trying out your products and services. Then go through the difficult process of creating a script that ensures people don’t hang up on you and actually listen to what you have to say. Cold calling is an art that needs to be perfected over time. But this is as good a branding exercise as any.  This activity is again something helps you directly get in touch with the business’s target customers.

5.       Keep Innovating

Small businesses have smaller footprints which makes them more agile as far as decision making is concerned. What this means is that they can get creative with their marketing strategies. They don’t have to wait for an endless amount of time till the strategy is discussed by various departments, before it’s given the green signal. So, you can develop and implement a marketing strategy in quick time, which can give you the competitive edge against the bigger players in the niche.

Decision making with respect to marketing needs to be at the speed of light. You can’t identify marketing opportunities, yet wait around endlessly to take the decision to implement them.

About the Author

Lori Wagoner is an independent content strategist who gives online marketing advice to small businesses. Lori has blogged at Tweak Your Biz, The Social Media Hat and many other business and tech blogs. You can reach her @LoriDWagoner on Twitter.



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