The Loyalty Series: Growing Your Small Business
A business cannot survive without customers. And for small businesses, every customer counts. So what are the best ways to get your name out there? How can you do it without breaking the bank? What strategies should you follow?
You may have a really great product or service, but if people don’t know where you are or that you exist, how will you make money? Here are some practical yet solid ways to put your name out there:
What is your brand? Does your business name, logo, or slogan evoke the response you want from the market? Does it make an impact? To get you started on this, it pays to have a solid strategy when it comes to branding, coupled with knowledge about your client base. Here is where you develop your vision. Remember, your brand character must reflect who the core values of your business and at the same time promote it. It should also connect with your target market or customer base and make you stand out in the process.
Once you have a brand, it’s time to create brand awareness. Simply put, you have to make people know that your brand exists. For small businesses, no need to worry as there are many ways to effectively make yourself known. An example of this is making use of the World Wide Web – post videos on your site (a study showed that customers who see a video have a higher chance of buying a product or service); search meaningful posts about your company – news about clients, awards, case studies and the like.
Make use of social media. Utilise the social media platforms that support your brand image. Facebook has a good mix of users, thus making it the ideal place for promoting virtually anything. If your business or service relies on a good amount of imagery, then Instagram is a good choice. Those in retail or businesses that promote a lifestyle can really benefit from this platform; and it is especially keen on young adults. If your brand is more focused on women, say you are into the food business, handicrafts, jewelry, or clothing - Pinterest is a good place to go. After creating awareness, it’s now time for brand associations. In terms of promoting industry or business related content, LinkedIn is the sure bet. This platform is great especially if you run a business –to-business (B2B) company.
Have shareable content at hand – create content that people will find useful and will want to share. Do not just spew out articles just to meet deadlines or have something posted. Be visual -make use of (the right) images as articles with images get more views.
Once you have great, shareable content at hand, you’ve already won half the battle. For new businesses not to get lost in all the traffic and noise, it’s good to leverage influencers. Mention their names or cite their work in your articles. Tag them when you share via social media. Remember, it’s always good to have a helping hand, and in this case, the influencers are your helping hand in building your own audience.
Get those creative juices flowing to generate buzz for your brand. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Involve the community by making use of social campaigns. Years ago in Copenhagen, Adidas placed blue rubber ducks in a fountain with a message, “I've swum too far - help me get back home! Reward for my return at Adidas Original store.” Those that returned the ducks got a free t-shirt as a reward, perfectly tying up with Copenhagen Fashion Week. Not only was it creative, it was effective as well in connecting with your client base and gaining new leads. Be fluid and engage the people –they’ll love you for it.
Bringing awareness to your brand is just only the first step. As brands are constantly evolving, they need a lot of care. Once you’ve mastered building awareness, how people perceive our brand is the next thing to tackle. So go ahead – experiment. Be bold and creative. Introduce yourself to the world today!