As a small business, marketing funding is limited. But, that old saying, “You have to spend money to make money,” is true. Increasing brand awareness is a key component to increasing business. Luckily, there is a variety of ways to market your business and increase your brand regardless of your budget. Here are five ways to increase brand awareness without breaking the bank.
1. Add some curb appeal.
Having a cute storefront is one of the easiest ways to create brand awareness. A memorable window display or door decoration can draw in people as they pass by, but how about taking that concept a step further?
Special touches specific to your neighborhood will get customers’ attention. For example, if a lot of people walk their dogs by your business, put out a fresh bowl of water so the area’s pooches don’t get parched. Your kindness won’t go unnoticed among dog owners. Or, add some small tables and chairs or a bench outside so people can relax in front of your business. This creates a welcoming atmosphere before people even walk in the door. You also can put a chalkboard sign on the sidewalk with some sale items or greeting. You can double down by having an incredible custom design on it. It’ll be hard to not to notice your business when there’s a fun sign drawing them in. Plus, it will give customers an idea of what you have to offer.
2. Create an experience with your business card.
Whether it’s a different shape, made from a unique material, or has a distinctive texture, a dynamic business card can create a memory for customers. If you don’t have one already, find an expert business card designer to help you create a one-of-a-kind design. And, don’t forget to add your social media links and website along with your name, address and phone number on your card.
A different way to use your business card is to put a customer loyalty program on back. For example, an ice cream shop could give customers a stamp for every cone purchased with the 10th cone free. This not only is an incentive for the customer to return to the business, it also makes them keep your business card handy.
3. Share your story in a podcast.
You probably already have a website, and you’re probably already using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Podcasting is another way to increase brand awareness in the digital world.
Podcasting allows customers to literally hear your voice. Like other digital marketing, podcasting will allow you to expand your market beyond your backyard through services such as iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. If you feel like you’re talking to yourself, you can invite an expert, customer or employee to be a guest on your show. You also could ask a trivia question and let customers who come to your business with the correct answer receive a free gift or discount. This is your chance to reveal another side of you and your business to your customers.
4. Use a mascot to stand out.
For something a little out-of-the-box, consider getting a mascot. Dress up yourself or an employee as your representative and hang out outside of your business or at the corner of your street to get people’s attention. Allowing customers and their families to pose with the mascot creates good memories for customers and helps build a connection to you and your brand.
A mascot can help people remember the name of your business in the same way the gecko does for Geico insurance. It also can help customers understand the benefits of your product, and if your mascot’s popularity takes off, you also could generate extra revenue by selling items with its likeness on it.
5. Meet community members by hosting an event.
A community event is a great way to generate brand awareness. You could host a promotional event at your business, have a community barbecue at a local park, or partner with a charitable organization to raise awareness for its cause. Letting the people get to know you will make them feel linked to you and your brand.
If cost is a factor, partner with other local businesses. This allows you to split the cost of the event and cross-promote the businesses through each other’s social media. Don’t forget to create an event hash tag so people can share the great time they are having at your event and generate more followers and likes for your brand.
Owning a small business is tough, but these tips should help. Have you found a different way to increase brand awareness at little cost? Please share your insight in the comments below.