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Six ways to increase brand awareness as a small business

1 March 2024
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Small businesses made up a whopping 99.2% of the total business population in the UK last year.1 More than ever, standing out from the competition is incredibly important for small businesses looking to grow. And part of getting that done lies in better brand awareness.

Brand awareness is more than a marketing buzzword — it’s an important factor in helping your business remain both successful and competitive.

Here, we’ll explore various techniques for you to boost your brand's presence, particularly focusing on the unique opportunities presented by out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

Suggested reading: Discover how your small business’ advertising strategy can deliver greater ROI this year with our guide: How out-of-home advertising supports other marketing channels.

Why is brand awareness so important?

While you’re no doubt aware of the pervasiveness of brand awareness in any business’ marketing strategy, let’s recap why it’s especially important if you’re running a small business.

For one, familiarity is a major value-add. It ensures that your target audience has a set image and idea of your specific brand and its characteristics: helping differentiate your business from any number of competitors. Plus, it sets the stage for you to eventually build up your company, from the number of customers you’re targeting to the amount of space you’re taking up in your industry.

Regardless of the market you’re in, a recognisable brand is always more likely to be chosen over an unknown one.

1. Engage local audiences

For small businesses, your local community is a goldmine of opportunities. Engaging with this audience can transform local residents into loyal customers and brand advocates.

In a nutshell, the benefits you get out of advertising locally include:

  • Reaching a customer base that’s already in close proximity to your business and therefore more likely to engage.

  • Advertising and marketing your business at a lower cost that can be increased over time.

  • Curating a strong collection of customer and business relationships within your area.

  • Using your knowledge of the local area to create highly specific and effective campaigns.

This can be achieved through participating in local events, sponsoring community activities, or forming partnerships with other local businesses.

But one marketing channel that tends to see a lot of positive traction is OOH advertising. Reports have shown that businesses can stand to see an 11% uplift in sales in stores located in the same postal sector as an OOH campaign.2

What’s more, billboard advertising is particularly effective in attracting any consumer, regardless of where they’re based: to the point that almost a third of consumers actively enjoy seeing them.3

2. Enhance your online presence

Developing your online presence comes down to two main areas: your digital marketing strategies and your social media activity.

In the case of digital marketing, optimise your website with relevant keywords, quality content, and a user-friendly design. Regularly publishing informative blog posts or articles can establish your business as a thought leader in your industry. Consider pay-per-click advertising, social media ads, or display ads to reach a broader audience.

With social media, your priority should be around leveraging accounts across a variety of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Regular, engaging posts and interactions are incredibly important here. It’s not enough to just send out updates to your followers. Show them that you’re paying attention and care about their experience by responding to their comments and direct messages, when you can and within reason for your brand image.

With the above said, remember that the online world is just one part of the very big marketing puzzle for small businesses. If you want to effectively talk to and engage a mass audience, you need to consider other ways of maximising your campaign reach and frequency.

3. Revisit your brand voice and style

A distinct brand voice and style are essential for small businesses to carve out a unique identity in a crowded market. Your brand voice is how you communicate with your audience, while your style is how you visually present your business. Together, they create a memorable brand experience.

  • Craft a unique brand voice: Your brand voice should reflect your company's values and appeal to your target audience. It could be professional, friendly, quirky, or authoritative, depending on your business and audience. Consistency in this voice across all platforms ensures that your message resonates more deeply with your audience.

  • Develop a distinct visual style: Your visual style includes your logo, colour scheme, typography, and imagery. A consistent visual style not only increases brand recognition but also reinforces your brand's personality. Ensure that your marketing materials, whether online or offline, adhere to this style for a cohesive brand experience.

4. Prioritise innovative promotions

Innovative promotions are a great way to capture attention and differentiate your brand. They involve creative, out-of-the-box thinking that goes beyond traditional advertising methods.

Consider tactics like interactive campaigns or experiential events. These can create buzz and make your brand memorable. For instance, a pop-up event can provide a hands-on experience with your products or services, creating a lasting impression.

Also consider partnering with complementary businesses or influencers to reach a wider audience. Cross-promotions can be a cost-effective way to gain exposure and add value to your customers.

5. Utilise the power of billboard advertising

Utilising the power of billboard advertising is a strategic move for small businesses aiming to boost their brand awareness significantly. Billboards, with their large-scale presence, offer a unique advantage in capturing the attention of a wide audience.

One of the key benefits of billboard advertising is its high visibility. Positioned in high-traffic areas, billboards ensure that your message reaches a diverse group of people, from local residents to commuters and visitors. Making it incredibly valuable in expanding your reach beyond your already-established customer base.

You also get the double benefit of adding a tangible element to your brand when you use billboards, creating a sense of permanence and reliability that digital ads often lack.

Billboard advertising also offers the flexibility to tailor your campaign to specific goals and audiences. Whether it's a digital billboard that allows for dynamic content changes or a traditional static billboard for impactful visuals, the choice depends on your campaign's needs and budget. Digital billboards, in particular, are effective for time-sensitive promotions or messages that need to be updated regularly.

This is where partnering with a trusted OOH marketing provider comes in handy. The right one will be able to guide you on the wide variety of billboard options you can invest in, considering your campaign’s specific goals and budget targets.

Alight Media: your partner in brand awareness

Increasing brand awareness is a strategic journey that combines various methods and a deep understanding of your audience.

By leveraging both digital and traditional strategies like OOH advertising, small businesses like yours can significantly enhance your visibility and help you build lasting relationships with customers. Alight Media is dedicated to supporting you on the path to increased brand awareness with our tailored, cost-effective OOH marketing strategy solutions.

Specialising in digital billboards, we bring quality outdoor advertising opportunities to towns and audiences currently underserved in the market. Our goal is to support businesses of all sizes and budgets by providing high-quality OOH at a lower cost.

To find out how we can help your business, get in touch with us today!

  1. Business population estimates for the UK and regions 2023: statistical release - GOV.UK
  2. Field and Rapport, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, 2018: Posterscope and IRI, Proximity Plus 2018; Neuro-Insight, The Moments of Truth, 2020
  3. Everything You Need to Know About Billboard Advertising