How to Prevent Your Brand From Being Overlooked
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Business competition is fierce in a space where more and more people want to be their own bosses. If you run an e-commerce store, you’re competing against the rest of the world. Brick-and-mortar establishments must compete for attention and foot traffic. If you don’t have a strong brand voice, you might get overlooked.
There are approximately 31.7 million small businesses in the United States, with an average annual growth rate of 2.1%. Even if other businesses are different from yours, you’re competing for attention amongst a limited pool of customers.
Fortunately, there are some things any size business can do to build their name recognition and ensure they don’t get overlooked:
1. Know Who You Are
Before you can stand out from the crowd, you have to know who you are as a brand and what your purpose is. Why did you start your company in the first place? What unique value do you bring to the table that none of your competitors do?
Think about how you want the world to see you, but also pay careful attention to your company’s core values. If you care about the environment, you may want to reflect that in how you create your products, what types of packaging you choose and even which local causes you get involved in.
Know who you are and why your customers should care. Once you understand your business, it’s much easier to present an image to the outside world.
2. Promote Your Products
Branding is about more than just about promoting your business as a whole. The products you sell and how you present them reflect on your brand.
Customers do more than buy from a business — they buy from the person behind the business. Think of brands with big personalities. Much of the reason for their success is that people like and relate to the owner.
If you do anything when promoting products, be human. Think about why your leads would want the item. What problem does it solve for them?
3. Study Your Target Audience
Just as you must know who you are as a business, you also need to understand those who buy from you. Start by studying your current customers. Dig into the analytics you have from past sales. Pay attention to your website traffic. Where are your visitors coming from? How many of them convert into clients?
Next, think about what segments you aren’t reaching yet but might in the future. Pay attention to who your competition markets to. Think about local outlets. Where would your customers most likely hang out? What messaging matters to them?
4. Get Involved in Social Media
If you don’t already have a strong social media presence, starting one is a great way to build a brand image. Start by thinking about what platform your target audience is most likely to hang out on. If you sell home decor, then your clientele might be on Pinterest. If you offer business services, LinkedIn is a better choice.
In the State of Social Media Benchmark Report, researchers reported about 4.14 billion people use social media, which equals 88.9% of all internet users. Around half of them follow their favorite brands on social media. Some of the reasons why people follow particular companies include recommendations from those they know or other companies they like.
You must go in with a plan for the content you’ll share and how you’ll interact with your customers. Keep in mind who you are as a brand and how that translates into 200 characters or fewer.
5. Support Local Causes
No matter where your business is located, seeking goodwill from locals is a smart idea. You’ll gain loyal fans and ramp up word-of-mouth marketing.
Some local causes you can get involved in include cleaning up a local park, starting a charity, donating to an organization already established in your area or sponsoring local kids’ sports teams.
Imagine if you sponsor a little league baseball team. Your name will be mentioned as a sponsor, and you might even get a display sign at the ballpark. All the parents see you support the community and consider you when they need the product you provide.
6. Make Videos
Did you know the top way new customers discover a brand online is via a video? The Social Video Trends consumer report indicates 25% of people make a purchase after viewing an Instagram Story. YouTube is always on an upward swing as far as viewing and exposure.
Your videos don’t have to cost a fortune. Enlist the help of your favorite customers. Shoot a quick how-to with your iPhone. The key to high-quality videos is in the sound, so invest in a good microphone and hit the ground running.
Videos also give you some additional content to share on social media and your website. You’ll keep potential leads engaged and present information concisely.
7. Attend In-Person Events
Don’t forget about using in-person events to capture local business. If you offer a service, this can be a particularly useful way to gain attention.
Set up a booth at a local arts and crafts show. Attend a home improvement conference in your area and pass out flyers. You could also give speeches related to your industry or host your own events.
As the pandemic eases and restrictions lift, there will be more opportunities to attend in-person events. In the meantime, you can visit virtual events in your area and beyond.
Know Your Strengths
Think about what makes your business different from any others. Highlight your strengths. Tug on your users’ emotions. Why do they buy the type of product you sell? Tap into those feelings, and you’ll create a connection that lasts for years.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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