3 Tips for Winning at Brand Awareness in Your Own Backyard

September 7, 2016

If you’ve ever walked in downtown Iowa City (or any other city, really) you’ve probably seen them. The chalkboard signs outside cafes and restaurants, announcing the specials of the day, or amusing passersby with humorous drawings or clever quotes. You may have stopped to read these signs, had a little chuckle, and even decided to go in for a coffee or meal. Brand awareness doesn’t get any more local than this. 

For local businesses, the best place to find your best customers is in your own backyard. But how many more passersby have walked by with their eyes glued to the screen of their smart phones, missing the sign altogether? How many potential customers were walking on the next street over and never saw the sign? 

How do you extend your reach to these potential customers who are just a little farther away? Here are three tips to use marketing and social media to win at brand awareness in your own backyard.

1. Make Sure Your Business Is Online

Ensure your business is well-represented in popular search and social media apps, like Google Maps and Yelp. Is there enough information for the customer to be interested in and understand your business? Can they easily call, get directions, check your hours, and view your website? Are there positive reviews?

2. Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience

Earn customers’ loyalty and word of mouth advertising. Word of mouth is the most credible form of advertising. 83% of people trust recommendations from friends and family, according to Nielsen. If it aligns with your social media strategy, you can even enhance word of mouth with social media sharing and hashtags. One great way to engage customers is by offering incentives for sharing on social media. Rewards don’t need to be monetary, they could be something as simple as putting your customers’ best pictures up as decoration inside your business.

3. Advertise Locally

You can go traditional, like advertising in the local paper, or you can advertise online. Most social media ads can be targeted very specifically based on both geography and demographics. Some take it a step further. Facebook, for example, offers local awareness ads, which can be targeted to people who are near your business, whether that means walking distance or a few miles. These ads make it easy for customers to call, message, or get directions. 

Local residents are more likely to visit frequently and more likely to know other people in the neighborhood and recommend your business to them. Your best customers are already in your neighborhood. They may be walking by your chalkboard sign right now. You just have to win them over.

Are you ready?

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.