Every company needs to have a compelling brand image that promotes who they are and what they do. Equally as important is an integrated marketing strategy that reaches out effectively, making sure the business is relevant to its target audience.

Many of our clients are so busy focusing on their core business through direct sales that they often miss out on the chance to expand their awareness by casting a wider net to attract more potential buyers and referral sources. We’ve worked with entrepreneurs of fast-growing businesses from startups to multinationals and enjoy being around these incredible movers and shakers whose minds are forever filled with ideas and opportunities that they are acting on.

Companies can increase brand awareness and appeal to attract more customers and loyal brand enthusiasts by:

  • Having in-depth knowledge and understanding of the audience
  • Building a professional image that will appeal to the customer persona, and;
  • Finding ways to stay top of mind and on the radar in a sea of competition


1. Know Your Audience

You hear this all the time but it’s so true. In attracting a target audience, you have to know who they are and what they want and need. Research and understanding of your market and what motivates them to act is critical as a first step.

Having this information can help tailor specific messages that will resonate with your company’s various audiences and identify the best vehicles to reach them.

The Internet provides every business with immediate access to research and information on customers, competitors, industry and essentially everything you’ve ever wanted to know on a particular topic. Use it to your advantage and get to know your customer. Always a good idea to test your marketing message and offer to learn what lands best with your target market.

2. Brand Your Business Effectively

What impression do you have when you are called on by a company whose website looks like it is from the 1990’s? Poor branding immediately identifies that a company isn’t paying attention to first impressions or the opinions forming around its image. There are many talented designers and developers around today working for reasonable rates and a professional brand is a solid investment in your company’s success, so make it!

This is also one of the most effective ways to have potential customers pay attention to your business versus that of your competitor. Ensure you get a cohesive, strong look and feel developed and don’t forget to optimize your website for the mobile market or people will leave your site faster than you can say, “What just happened?”

Also remember that creating a brand is so much more than simply the design of a logo and other marketing materials, it is built through every touch point your target market has with your business and what that experience is for them.

3. Connect and Be Relevant

Relevancy means generating content such as video, audio, images, articles, or blogs that resonate with a company’s audience in order to truly connect with them. It has appeal as the viewer or listener has an affinity to it because they are either in buying mode for that type of product or service, they find something you write humorous and inspiring, or it is information that helps them in their personal or professional life.

Find out what matters most to your target customer and deliver compelling content that will appeal to them. Even better, encourage them to share it with others so you get that valuable word of mouth online too.

Once you have these three key areas covered, use them to make sure your business is everywhere your audience is, both online and off.

Your audience is reading the daily newspaper and magazines, watching the news on TV, seeing ads on billboards, buses and in store windows so advertising and public relations are your friends.

Ninety per cent of Canadians have access to high speed Internet and according to a new report by the Media Technology Monitor approximately 63% of social media users surveyed said they read Facebook posts, tweets and/or LinkedIn updates every single day. And who doesn’t search Google for a want or a need?

The following are the concrete, tactical approaches you can take to reach your audience.

Advertising

In advertising, you control the message and when and where it goes. The drawback is it can be pricey to buy media space and have a campaign created. If you are going to do it, ensure you are really targeting your audience, have a creative, eye-catching advert and have some frequency — it typically requires at least 8 impressions for an ad to capture any sort of attention.

Public Relations

Public Relations on the other hand is when the media writes up your company in their publication because they believe you have a good story. This is golden exposure and hard to obtain as there hundreds or even thousands companies competing for the same editor or reporter’s attention.

In order to get their eyeballs on your story, it takes some skill and creativity in figuring out the right angle for a particular media outlet that is going to beat out all other competing stories. If you are a growing business then you probably have some good angles; it only requires figuring out what they are, and matching them to the right reporter’s or editor’s requirements. PR is more valuable than advertising because your audience will know you didn’t pay for the exposure. This third party credibility goes a long way.

Direct Mail

Another offline tactic making a comeback is direct mail. These days we actually pay attention as we communicate more online than through snail mail. I bet you actually look at something colorful now when it comes in the mail as you can actually see and touch it.

One of our clients is a roofing business that has started leaving professionally designed doorknocker adverts (direct mail) at houses in prominent neighborhoods and is seeing great returns.

A catchy postcard to your target market may garner some attention too, especially if you have a compelling offer. Work with your creative team to figure out what that could be. A two-for-one is a great option for a restaurant, while a “try before you buy” works well for software companies or online dating sites.

Website

We live online as much as we do offline. Ensuring your website appears professional, provides a good first impression and gives visitors information quickly is paramount. As mentioned already above, in the mobile society we now live in your site should be responsive and easily viewed on a smartphone or tablet.

Once you have a compelling website presence, or rather online storefront, it’s time to reach out to your customers on a regular basis. You can do this through an email campaign that is properly branded that contains relevant information, an offer or an invitation to an event.

Email Marketing

The other great aspect to email marketing is that you can track open rates and see what information people are clicking on to assess their interest in the content you are delivering. A good do-it-yourself tool that is free if your contact list is small is www.mailchimp.com and they have some decent HTML templates that a business can use if budget is an issue. A professionally designed template, however, can further bump up your readership and brand-recognition, ensuring that your company is represented as best as possible in front of your target customer or investor.

Social Media

Social media is a powerful way to increase your market presence and interact with those who are key to your business growth. The five most popular sites are of course www.facebook.com, www.plus.google.com, www.twitter.com, www.linkedin.com and www.pinterest.com.

If you are going to enter the world of social media, it can helpful to hire someone who knows what they are doing to set you up. Having a poor social media presence is similar to a bad website; it will deter your market and leave a negative impression. On the other hand, have social media profiles that are well branded and have at minimum one relevant post/engagement a day will go a long way to improving your outbound communication.

These tactics can be automated so they’re not as labour intensive, but personalizing the content is important to make sure it’s relevant to the target customer. These basic marketing ideas are a springboard to ensure your business is looking good, engaging the right people and staying top of mind.