You don’t necessarily have to be Big to become a Brand. Although it is true that some of the best known brands are huge corporations (think Starbucks, Nike, or CocaCola for example), this doesn’t necessarily mean that the smaller players can’t become recognized for what they do and, with time, have their own dedicated brand followers and create their own niche market within their location.
Most marketing at the local level concentrates on generating leads and measuring performance by monitoring web traffic, incoming calls, and the number of customers walking in or making appointments.
But there is no reason why short term local marketing tactics can’t generate long-term impact and subtly build your brand at the same time.
Branding means that you have made it – that your business and your name have become synonymous with what you do (and that you are recognized as doing it well).
Your brand name encapsulates your product, values, personality and business style and, like a picture, can sum up everything you are in just a few short words or one simple logo.
Once your brand name is recognized, it is far easier to8 Steps to a double whammy – implementing a successful Local Marketing Campaign and Enhancing your Brand simultaneously sell to new customers. The chances are that they have already heard of your company, know what you do, and so are more likely to choose to do business with you rather than your competition which is still an unknown quantity. This makes direct response marketing and lead generation just that little bit easier and more accessible.
Most of us who market for local companies spend hours concentrating on optimizing text for locations and inserting keywords that we hope will attract our clients the business they want. We want to see fast results so that our clients feel that their SEO budget is being well spent.
But this doesn’t have to mean that we don’t have time to push branding opportunities too. The great benefit of marketing locally and pushing for brand recognition at the same time is that we can provide double the benefits to the company we are working for in terms of rapidly increasing their local foot traffic and short term revenue, and simultaneously adding long-term value by widening their sphere of influence towards clients who haven’t yet tried their services but will soon come to recognize what their name stands for and what they do.
Most Brands are built around the name of the company so repeating the name can go a long way to establishing the connection with your audience.
But you also need to add a few short words that encapsulate the image the company is trying to present. Think of Walmart’s slogan “Save Money. Live Better” or Nike’s “Just do it” or Reebok’s “I am what I am”. This is one time when you don’t need to over-concern yourself with duplication because ultimately the slogan and company name become one and are accepted by search engines as such (see the recent Expert Citation Survey).
Include a logo alongside your brand name and slogan and you are already triply reinforcing your brand each time they appear on a page. But make sure image sizes automatically adjust for each application so that they always appear in the proper proportions no matter the size of the users’ device screen.
Does this even need to be said? We all know how important it is to repeatedly cite on every page the name, address, phone number and other contact details of your web and social media sites. This ensures that the customer can always follow up easily without having to search on other pages. It goes without saying that you have to make it as easy as you can for the customer to get hold of you.
You need to include a little descriptive information in your site content that will help customers feel more familiar with the company. Don’t forget to introduce the company owner and employees – it is human nature to like to put a face to a name and a short biography telling how they got started in the business is also useful.
Include a few sentences about your history, accreditations, awards, volume of business, as well as testimonials from clients who were happy with the product or services. The idea is to add personality to the site to make it more appealing and three dimensional.
Enhance your description by inserting top quality photos, images and other artwork appropriately to break up blocks of text and make the site more visually appealing. Photos of people generally attract more positive attention and it is also useful to include pictures of the actual workplace itself.
Videos are also an excellent way to promote your company, provided that they are professionally filmed and edited, and not too long.
Try to include some real customers speaking positively about their experiences dealing with your company – and make sure the brand name and logo appear prominently while the video is playing.
The good reputation of small, local companies is usually key to their ongoing business. Reputation is largely based on positive reviews from previous satisfied customers and this is also very important for building a brand.
Including testimonials and reviews online wherever you can that feature the good opinions of “real” people helps to build trust in the eyes of potential customers.
Even better, try to engage in online dialogue with their customers even when the review is bad since this can be turned to a positive advantage by showing that you’re truly responsive to and concerned with what their customers think.
Be sure to update the reviews on a regular basis to keep the page fresh and timely. Include short video links where possible since these are often more convincing than the written word alone.
It is very important to keep descriptions, captions, logos and photos consistent across all forms of social media to reinforce the branding and make the site instantly recognizable. And make sure that text, image and font sizes are seamlessly adapted to work smoothly on all types of device and sizes of screen.
Be sure that all your content is authoritative and will add to what your customers wants to know.
Think about the sort of questions that people are likely to ask and write this information into the site in as appealing a way as possible.
Your aim is to present yourself as a trusted expert in your field with the appropriate honed knowledge and skills that make them professional and competent at what they do.
Be warned – gone are the days of stuffing chunks of text with keywords. The latest search engine algorithm updates are adapted to pick up on wider vocabulary that is relevant to the topic in hand and will actually rank lower pages that feature too much repetition of a few stock keywords.
Incorporate blog topics that feed into background knowledge and keep updating the blog on a consistent, regular basis. Be sure to feature the company name, caption, logo and photo occasionally within the blog in order to help build your company brand and add to its aura of authority.
Try to keep some kind of consistency between the styles of photos and other artwork used within the blog to keep continuity, even when the blogs are written by different people.
And always include information about author of the blog or other guest content, explaining who they are, how much experience they have and why they love what they do.
Take part in online discussions and forums and to sit down once a week and add to your site blog.
If you see questions online that your could answer, then take a few minutes to provide the information required, always signing off with the company name, slogan, and logo included in a link. Little by little, contributions like this will build authority for you, enhance your reputation and status, and ultimately encourage new customers to do business with you.
Community engagement is not an overnight solution, but with regular participation your can make a name for their business that will help it stick in the minds of their prospective customers.
When well done, videos are a great way to showcase a business’ personality and are an excellent means of adding authenticity to a site. They are also very accessible and can convey a lot of information in a very short time and can be viewed from many different applications.
Make your videos as professional as possible and keep them short so that your viewers don’t lose interest. And try to include real people talking without a script about your services or product.
If you have various fields of expertise, make short individual videos featuring their employees at work, and then compile short clips into one overall introductory feature.
Remember, the more authority you have, the more successful your brand building will be and this can only enhance local marketing opportunities in terms of generating more customers for your business.