As was discussed in a recent post, brand recognition is one of the most important competitive advantages that a business has. It’s easy to see the importance of strong brand recognition, it’s much harder to develop a strong brand that is recognizable by consumer. While a catchy name and logo are key parts of the equation, there are many other factors that go into building a brand. Fortunately, creating a strong brand in the 21st Century is easier than ever thanks to the internet. Here are four ways small business can build their brand through internet marketing.
Become Active on Social Media
Social media has become the voice of the global conversation, so any attempt to turn a brand into a household word should include a strong social media component. According to one report, 70% of brand marketers (and 60% of agency professionals) view social media advertising as more valuable for building brand awareness than for driving direct response. According to the same study, two-thirds of business owners reported seeing a noticeable bump in sales due to social media efforts; so the value of social media to brand awareness, while harder to quantify, must be truly significant.
Most business owners have started using the major networks like Facebook and Twitter by setting up profiles. However, profiles need to be actively producing content and engaging with followers for there to be a benefit to brand awareness. Having an out-of-date social media channel is just as damaging to a brand image as having an old website. It’s also important to note that brands should pay special attention image sharing social networks like Pinterest and Instagram.
Social media also has a multiplier effect on the reach of marketing efforts. First, the reach of any marketing or advertising campaign can be greatly extended by releasing the content on social media channels as well as traditional ones. Second, now that social media has taken the place of the proverbial water cooler, marketers can encourage people to talk about their views of a brand, a particular ad, or product. Some marketers have recently begun using hashtags so its easier to monitor conversations about their brands throughout a social media platform.
Promote the Brand through Blogging
Despite a decline in the number of bloggers, blogging remains an important tool for internet marketers seeking to improve brand recognition. This fact is clearly demonstrated by how many marketers still use blogging as a content marketing tactic. The Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs released a report that showed 79 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve brand awareness goals.
The research also clearly shows that people who read blogs are often motivated to buy from the brand that produced a content. One study reported that B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than those who don’t. SImilarly, according to TMG Custom Media, 78 percent of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships.
Continuously Build Up a Brand Through SEO
Even after a decade of Search Engine Optimization efforts, SEO remains the single most important tool for marketers. This isn’t simply conjecture, there are many statistics that support this claim. For example, data from Microsoft was used to show that brand recall increased by more than 15 percent when people saw a brand name in search engine results. On a broader measure of branding in a study by Conductor (which included brand awareness, perceived brand quality, and purchase consideration), the research showed that being listed on the SERP gave brands a 30 percent boost.
Internet advertising works in a similar way for brand awareness. By choosing the best keywords and advertising networks, marketers can get their brand name exposed to the people who are most inclined to like their brand and buy their products. And though there is less data on the subject, it is likely that viewing internet ads of a brand have a similar effect on brand awareness in consumers.
In the global marketplace, the importance of brand recognition can not be understated. Marketers need to use multiple tactics to ensure that their brand name is known to potential consumers. Whatever methods a small business decides to employ, internet marketing needs to be a part of the plan. Social media, blogs, and SEO are vital parts of business success in the modern age. Small business owners should honestly assess their abilities in these areas and seek help when necessary to make sure they are getting the maximum exposure for their brand.