April 23, 2019
You might look at other businesses in your industry and wonder how they manage to have such strong brand recognition. How do they sell so much more than you do? Do they have big marketing budgets (whereas yours is tiny)?
The fact is: building and maintaining strong brand visibility is a continual effort. While it doesn’t require a giant marketing budget, it does require persistence.
1. Start With Your Site
Even if you currently have little traffic to your business website, it’s important that you get it ship-shape so that when visitors do start to arrive, you give them compelling reasons to stay awhile and look around.
Make sure that your website is easy to navigate and not overcluttered with text. Your site should render just as well on a mobile device as a desktop computer, so make sure you have a mobile-friendly design. And making a purchase should be easy and fast for shoppers.
Once you’ve got the user experience down pat, make sure your website can be found in search engines. Use smart SEO strategies to ensure that each page has its own keyword focus (and just one!). If your business is local, use location keywords as well.
2. Step Up Your Social Media
Marketing on social media is no longer an option; it’s now part of what consumers expect from brands. Rather than having a profile on every social channel out there, focus on one or two where you know your audience spends time. A Baby Boomer audience may be less likely to be found on Instagram, so focus on Facebook if this is your audience. Do the reverse if you’re trying to connect with Gen Z.
The key to success with social media is consistent posting. Because users’ streams are so cluttered with updates from the hundreds of people and brands they follow, you have to fight to get noticed. Mix up what you share: post links to your content, create videos, share photos, and post other content. Then look at your social media analytics to see which types of posts are resonating the most with your audience.
One strategy many well-known brands use is social media advertising. Because you can target a very specific niche (women who are mothers between 26 and 40 who live in the midwest), you can craft a message to your audience and ensure that the people who see the ad are more likely than others to click on it.
3. Find Thought Leadership Opportunities
Particularly if you’re a one-person show, it can be challenging to have brand visibility when bigger players are taking up so much space online. But that doesn’t mean you can’t claim your own market share. Guest blogging is a great way to show off your thought leadership skills, educate an audience on another blog, and lead the breadcrumb trail back to your site.
Make your #1 focus providing value to your audience. You have tons of knowledge about your industry, and you probably understand what your audience wants to know more about. Use these topics to pitch blogs that cater to your audience so you can introduce your brand to people who might not otherwise have found it.
Likewise, you can speak at conferences, hold webinars, write books, and look for opportunities to be interviewed on blogs and podcasts as a way to raise your visibility.
4. Invest in Visual Branding
I’ve met so many business owners who think investing a few thousand dollars into a logo or professionally-designed website is a waste of money. Let me just say that most of them will come to regret that stance.
People are visual creatures. When they see a logo, they squirrel the information away for later. When they see it again, a ding of recognition happens. After a few times, they automatically connect the dots between the image and what your brand represents.
And when it comes to a website, you better believe that people are judging what yours looks like. If it looks like your child created it or that its last update was 10 years ago, that will impact how they think of your brand.
Spending money on visual branding is an investment that will pay for itself over and over, so don’t skimp. You can find an affordable freelance designer on Craigslist or Upwork, so it may cost less than you expect to get professional design work done.
Above All, Be Consistent
None of these tips is a one-and-done task you can mark off of your list. They require constant effort and monitoring to ensure that what you’re doing is helping you meet your goals.
And speaking of goals: have them. Whether you want to boost web traffic by 20% in 6 months, get 15% of those website visits from guest blogging opportunities, or grow sales by $15,000, know what you want to achieve, then look at your website and social analytics to make sure you’re on the right track. If you’re not, make one small change and then measure those results.
To grow your business, your brand must be visible to the right people. You may not need a giant budget to make that happen, but you will need to commit to the process.
Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.