Hi all! This is Jo from Branding Babes Co, here to share some of my favorite tips for building your brand recognition in your local community! Building a successful brand relies the most on the local market. While it may seem logical to promote yourself to a more widespread demographic, trying not to narrow down your location will hurt much more than help.
Referrals are often the best way to get new customers, and it’s much better to get in with a small local community where everyone knows your name and you are at the top their referral list. Then, once you’ve conquered one town, move to the next one over, and increase your reach slowly. And it’s not as hard as it may seem! If you fully utilize these 8 easy, actionable steps, you can get in with your local community:
Brand your social media and use local hashtags.
Make sure all your social media accounts reflect the city that you’re serving, and that they all have your primary logo! Seems obvious but many people don’t update their social profile photos or information nearly as often as they should. Yours should have all the information people need to know where you are and how to reach you, and get to know your brand’s aesthetic. Also, make sure you’re using as many local hashtags as possible. Each local hashtag tends to payoff at least 3-5 times more than an international one (i.e. #mnbride #mnweddings instead of just #weddingdress #weddinginspiration)
Utilize friends and family to spread the word about your business BY NAME and get the people they know to take action!
Friends and fam are always great for spreading the word. But it doesn’t help all that much to have them bragging about “their daughter Jane the baker” if the business isn’t Jane Doe’s Bakery, which it usually isn’t. So make sure they reference your business by brand name, and describe your services and niche accurately. Also, it never hurts to arm them with business cards or at least your social accounts so they can actually get people to take action! Next time they can say, “my daughter Jane bakes beautiful wedding cakes! You have got to follow her on Facebook and see this amazing one she made last week, here’s what to look up…”. So much more useful.
Sponsor local events and publications.
Get your name around as a philanthropist! Support a local kids organization or team in your neighborhood, and advertise or sponsor content in a local community paper or newsletter. This shows you’re dedicated to the neighborhood where you and/or your business are based. People want to buy from people they know, and being a well known member of the micro-community never hurts.
Be a presence on local websites.
Also get listed on every local database possible. There are so many articles and free websites with business listings like The Knot, and WeddingWire. Make sure you frequently check for new ones, and email the sitemaster asking to get added. Also make sure you on are Google Business and Yelp, and that the photos and logos are current!!! The more you update these photos the better!
Incorporate location into your print marketing materials.
Make sure your logo or at the very least your print collateral include your location. Everyone should know in the first 2 seconds of encountering your brand where you are based.
Develop a signature service that appeals to local markets.
Think about what people in your local market want the most, and develop your signature service based on this need. Get creative, and consider the current industry trends, and then the local trends. This shows that you really understand your local customers in a unique way. Get frequent feedback from neighbors and other local residents about how to fit your services best to the area.
Create your brand language and voice - and stick to them!
As you grow your brand, language is key in developing recognition. You should speak about your business using a few key description sentences, that people will get used to hearing. You also want to make sure your online presence matches. Everything from your Instagram captions to tweets to emails should reflect the same tone and distinct point of view. Your potential customers will get comfortable with your business as if it was a friend they are speaking to, and be much more inclined to purchase from you.
Collaborate and network!
Collaborate and network with other local vendors! Create joint promotions and refer each other! Really get to know the other local vendors. People can tell if you aren’t being genuine, and building close relationships and actually caring about the other businesses in your area will help you grow your business, and make new friends! It’s truly a win-win, as long as you see those relationships and collaborations as more than just a monetary benefit. For more about networking check out this past post of Josey’s, it’s one of our favs!
I am so grateful to Jo for taking the time to share this much needed insight on brand growth with you. But what she didn't mention (because she's humble like that) is everything that Branding Babes Co. can offer you, call it a helping hand for the business owner who is already stretched thinner than thin.
They've got a free community with resources and a place to build virtual friendships, a branding package that includes logo and website design and a photoshoot to get your business vision off of paper and into the world; and if you aren't sure what to do, schedule a consultation with Jo and her team.
So click away and educate yourself on branding!
Prosperity, Love & Happiness,