Sometimes it can feel like building your business is like shouting into the void. You know you have something to offer people, but how can you get them to notice you?
Building brand awareness is a great place to start. Whether your business is new or established, the tips in this guide will help you build your profile in the eyes of the people who matter: potential customers.
Before you start building brand awareness
If you're going to invest time and money in building brand awareness, you need to first ensure that you are targeting the right people.
Make sure you understand who your potential customers are, what they're interested in and the places you'll be able to reach them.
If you haven't already done so, build up customer personas as these will be useful in both building brand awareness and your other marketing efforts. You can learn more about creating customer personas in this guide.
You'll also need to make sure your brand is positioned in a way that appeals to the people you're targeting.
If you haven't already done so, you can learn how to create a brand identity here.
Here are some ways your business can build brand awareness:
Social media is a great place to start building brand awareness as it allows you to create a community in which your potential customers can participate.
Make sure you understand which social media platforms your target audience is most likely to be active on and the kind of content they're interested in.
For example, a marketing consultant might want to focus on creating thought leadership content for LinkedIn, but a fashion brand is likely to be better off creating visual content for networks like Instagram and Pinterest.
This guide will help you understand the demographics of each social network so you can make an informed decision about where you need to be.
If you're investing money in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, it's likely that your focus will be generating sales.
But even if that's true, you'll still get some residual brand awareness benefits from your campaign.
If you have a bit more budget to spend, you can run PPC campaigns directly aimed at building brand awareness.
For example, you might choose to create "how-to" guides and then advertise via PPC (either on social networks, via search engine ads or both.) Providing people with something useful and/or interesting will boost brand awareness and position you as an expert in your field. Plus, if you ask people to submit their details before downloading your guides, you can generate leads this way.
You might also want to consider running remarketing campaigns, where ads are targeted at people who have visited your website but haven't become a customer yet. This will help cement your brand in people's minds.
Guest blogging might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to building brand awareness.
That's probably because low-quality guest blogging has been used as a spammy marketing technique, which has damaged its reputation.
But writing high-quality guest posts for high-quality websites can help get your brand noticed by the people who matter.
Getting high-quality guest posting slots is easier if you have a compelling story to tell, so it's not suitable for every business.
But if you do have something to say, guest posting can allow you to tap into the traffic of sites that already have a large audience - something which can boost awareness of your brand.
Getting involved in events of any scale can help build your brand's profile. It might simply be a case of attending relevant events and networking, or you might decide that you want to boost your brand by speaking at events.
At the time of writing, in-person events aren't happening due to Covid-19, but there are virtual events which you can participate in. You can also start planning now for the return of in-person events in the future.
If you have a budget, you might also want to consider sponsoring events. There's no need to target major events if you don't need to. Something as simple as sponsoring an event in your local area can build your brand in the right way, especially if you're targeting local customers.
If you are looking to build your brand in your local area, look beyond events for ways to get involved in your community.
Assisting local charities, sponsoring local sports teams and getting involved in mentoring programmes are just some of the ways you can build links with the community around you.
By giving something back, you'll help establish your business as well-known part of your community.
Journalists are always on the lookout for stories, so if there's something newsworthy about your business and what you do, you're in with a chance of getting press coverage.
You'll need to be doing something truly special if you've got your sights set on national coverage.
You may find it easier to establish a relationship with local press outlets, and doing so is another way to build your profile among your community.
Getting press coverage can seem intimidating if it's not something you've done before, but it is possible.
It's all about doing something newsworthy and then pitching it to the right journalist at the right publication.
You can learn more about getting press coverage as a small business in this guide.
Journalists aren't the only people who can help bring attention to your business.
Social media influencers offer you a way to tap into a new audience that you might otherwise struggle to reach.
To use influencer marketing successfully, you'll first need to identify who your potential customers are engaging with online. You'll then need to connect with your chosen influencers and offer them some sort of incentive to promote your business.
If you're selling a product, it's likely this incentive will be a freebie of some sort. The idea is that giving one product away could result in multiple sales when the influencer promotes your business.
If you do engage in influencer marketing, remember that it's classed as a form of advertising and so you'll need to ensure that you comply with advertising regulations.
You can learn more about how to find influencers to promote your business in this guide.
Social media influencers aren't the only people you can join forces with to boost awareness of your brand.
If an organization or business has access to the audience you want to reach, it's worth your while looking at how you can work with them.
Clearly your rivals are unlikely to want to promote your business, so you may need to do some lateral thinking.
For example, if you're running a business that specializes in Facebook ad campaigns, you might want to join forces with a search engine optimization consultant who works with the kind of clients you're targeting.
The idea is to partner with organizations and businesses that complement yours.
You might end up doing something simple, such as running an exclusive special offer for the partner company's customers.
Or you might look to grow a support group of complementary businesses who can refer customers on to each other.
Building brand awareness is all about getting your business seen by potential customers.
Start by understanding who your potential customers are and what you can do to get their attention.
Once you’ve done that, you can launch your first brand awareness campaign, safe in the knowledge that you’ll reach the right people.