As a small business owner, you want to stand out from the pack. Having a well-known brand or business name is important in finding and retaining loyal customers. But how do you create awareness or recognition in your local market? Sure you can plaster your business name on every billboard in town, but most business owners don’t have the budget for high priced advertising. Here are some budget-friendly strategies that you can use to boost awareness of your business in your local market.
If you want your business to stand out from all the rest, your physical store or studio, as well as website, needs to be eye-catching enough to steal people’s attention. A basic and boring website might turn potential customers away, even if it is a great informational resource for your company. When choosing a website design, choose one that will appeal to your customer demographic. About 80% of consumers use their smartphone to search online—your website should be mobile-responsive so that your business is easily accessible online. Include links to your social media pages on your website to broaden your business name recognition.
Brands like Nike and Amazon stand out because customers and the general public recognize their logos. While your business logo is unlikely to be plastered on boxes and shoes, it should stand out enough for customers in your local market to recognize it. If you need to revamp your business logo, here are some logo design tips to make a logo that stands out.
Your signage is the first thing people notice when approaching your business. The sign outside your business location shouldn’t just say your brand name, it needs to be exciting to draw people in. Include your logo (if you have one) and business colors and fonts. Be consistent. Simple signs and logos can be elegant but consistency will make them stand out. Consistency is key to creating a branded image that is visually appealing and a name that is recognized in your local market.
Consistency is also key in social media. If you’re not active on social media, you should be. If you are active on social media, be consistent. Consistent and quality posting on social media will get your business name in front of customers. It will also let your customers know that your business is reliable and on top of things. Get into a schedule of how often you post and try to keep up with it. It’s okay to post more or less every so often, but the important part is that you are getting your business name out into the local market so that people are aware of your brand.
In addition to being consistent with your posts, it’s also a social media best practice to be consistent with your account handles. You want your business to be easily accessible on any platform. If your username isn’t universal, it makes it difficult for users to find and follow you. Don’t use @bestbakerytulsa on Twitter and @tulsabestbakery on Instagram. It’s confusing to customers and a logistical nightmare for people who want to take pictures and tag your business across social platforms.
If you’re using hashtags on social media, that’s great! Taking it a step further with a custom hashtag will help increase brand and name recognition in your local market. Custom hashtags create an extension of your brand’s reach on social media that is unique to the custom hashtag. Use it whenever you post on social media, especially on visually-based platforms like Instagram. This helps potential customers connect the hashtag with the business, making name recognition more likely.
Related: Hashtag Marketing eBook (free download)
You’re proud of your business—make it known! Post your business name anywhere you can to increase name recognition. For example, list it on your personal Facebook page under employment. Make a LinkedIn page for your business so you can list it as your current job there as well. If you post to community or industry forums, include your business name in your bio. Connections on these platforms may not know that you’re a business owner and could be looking for the services that you provide. You never know where your next customer will come from!
Use pens with your business name on it (and other swag) and have extras on hand when you go out. If you’re making a new personal connection, hand out your business card with your cell phone number on it. You never know when someone will remember your name and refer customers to your business.
Participating in events in your community is a perfect opportunity to advertise and communicate with local customers in your target market. This is commonly a more intimate setting where trust can be built and relationships can form with potential clients. Make as many connections with attendees of events and other business owners. If another small business is having an event in your community, make an appearance. Networking with other local businesses is important because it can lead to referrals for both parties.
Sponsoring a local charity is not only powerful for getting your business name out there, but it also demonstrates a message that your business supports causes in the community. If you’re sponsoring a charity, ask the organizers to include your business name in the signage or t-shirts and mention your business on their website, social media, or printed materials. This will help get your increase business name recognition in your local market.