How Can I Achieve Top of Mind Awareness for my Small Businesses?
Are you looking for the answer to the question, "How Can I Achieve Top of Mind Awareness for my Small Business?
When someone in your target has a need for a product or service that your company provides, and the name or your business or your name is the first thing that they think of, you have achieved "top of mind awareness" with that person.
Small business owners face a significant challenge since many of them are competing with larger companies, franchises and "big box stores" that have HUGE marketing budgets.
Top of Mind Awareness is what you have achieved when the topic of your business's products or services or simply the thought of what your company provides comes to the mind and your brand is the mental picture that is presented to the mind of your target.
It is like hearing or thinking "hamburger" and then the brand "McDonalds" comes to your mind. Regardless of whether you are fond of the McDonalds products or not, for most consumers, they have achieved what is known as top of mind awareness in their industry.
Top of Mind Awareness for a small business? That's a tall order. The bigger your company is, the easier it is to do this, because you've got more revenue to commit to marketing.
Top of Mind Awareness for your brand won't happen by chance. It will be the result of a well planned and successfully implemented strategy.
Branding Vs. Messaging
- Branding is mainly your business's identity as it relates to your logo, company colors and a very short message.
- Messaging is the careful crafting of ad copy that sells.
A brand will identify, but it takes a message to sell.
As stated previously, achieving top of mind awareness as a small business is difficult, but not impossible. If you are selling hamburgers in your local region, have a great product and an effective marketing strategy, there is no reason that you could not gain that coveted "top of mind" in your own, local market.
In my opinion (which is correct, of course), if you're doing hamburgers and you can't beat McDonalds in your local market, you are definitely doing something wrong, and more than likely, you are doing "many somethings" wrong.
If you want your business to be a "top of mind" business, here are seven things you need to be:
1. Be Clear
It's really all about communication and the single most important element of communication is clarity. Your marketing message needs to be properly developed, and if it is, what your business does and for whom it does it will be crystal clear.
- Tap here to learn how to develop a great marketing message.
If you're marketing message generates some curiosity, that is good, but if it leaves them wondering what you do and why they need you, you are sunk.
2. Be Different
If we stay with the "hamburger" analogy, I suggest something like "gourmet" burgers. McDonalds burgers are ok (my opinion) - I love hamburgers. I'm trying to think of a hamburger that I ate that I did not like. It hurts too much, so I'm going to start thinking.
However, we've got a hamburger place in my town that builds better burgers. I worked with them when they started their business. Guess what I suggested that they do? BRAND as a GOURMET burger and don't try to sell them cheap.
They are doing GREAT!
You'll Need One or More Unique Selling Points (USPs) if you want to be Top of Mind in your local market
- What do you do differently?
- What do you do BETTER?
- What makes your product or service UNIQUE?
If you don't have any of these USPs, forget ever becoming top of mind in your market. Maybe you've got them and don't know it. That is certainly possible. Maybe you've got some, know it, but don't know the best way to articulate it. Hire an expert copywriter. (Like Bigfoot.Marketing, for example)
3. Be Generous
Give and it shall be given to you. Offer value for free.
It's an Internet Expectation
The internet was originally a repository of free information. Now, it is a huge channel for commerce. Regardless, the search for valuable and authoritative information has never waned.
You can provide free information via your website that is of great value to your target market. Give to get.
It's a Universal and Spiritual Principle
Call it whatever you want, reaping what you sow or karma, it doesn't matter. Generous people are happy people and people that are generous attract wealth as well.
Everything was made to give. The sun gives light and warmth. If something only takes, it becomes like the Dead Sea.
It's a Psychological Reality
When you give something to someone, they will naturally feel obligated to give something back, even if you don't want them to. Give and don't worry about the return and it will come back to you in some way, some day.
4. Be Frugal
Ordinarily I would say you need to be smart in the distribution of your marketing budget, but since we are trying to limit expenses for smaller, new businesses on limited budgets, I will offer some ways that you can be frugal.
Keep in mind that it doesn't matter how much you spend in marketing as much as what do you get from the money you spend.
If you can spend $100 and make $1,000, please show me how to do this, because I want to do that, too! As a matter of fact, if you can show me now to spend $100 and get a fast $110 as a return, you've got my interest.
You can have a great business that could work well, but it may be impossible to make it work if you choke it to death.
You don't expect a tree to grow without water. You'll never see it flower and fruit if it dies of thirst or disease from a lack of essential nutrients.
Use social media.
Social media can be a resource that provides you with a lot of electronic word of mouth marketing without taking you a huge amount of time or spending a lot of money.
Try to be newsworthy.
Articles about you will often bring you more business than advertising will. If you've got anything worthy of news for your local news outlets, they are always needing content. Take advantage of this. You'll more than likely be pleasantly surprised how this can help you ... if you can provide something that is truly newsworthy.
5. Be Relentless
Marketing is everything and everything is marketing and you can NEVER stop marketing. If you want to be on the top of people's minds ... you've got to keep sending out either visual or audible signals for their brains.
You might place your business card into their hands but you won't plant your business into their brains that way.
It takes multiple impressions. They've got to hear it, hear it, hear it and see it, see it, see it, and then hear it, hear it, hear it and see it, see it, see it again.
So, keep saying it and showing it.
6. Be Connected
Connect with business buddies or power partners.
Don't try to go it alone. Find some businesses that share the same target market with you and meet with them to see how you can leverage one another's resources for mutual benefit.
Connect with your community.
You need community connections. It is good for your psyche and it will be good for your business, too. Give some time and be a part of your local community's improvement.
7. Be Grateful
Find ways to reward people for referrals, being careful not to insult them. Some people will not want to refer you for a personal reward. Be aware of this, and if you are providing such incentives (which I recommend) be sure and offer to contribute the reward to someone else that they name. It could be another person or a charity.
You should be grateful for "word of mouth" referrals. Show your gratitude for gaining such valuable and "ready to buy" business leads with a contribution.
Consider it a Part of Your Marketing Budget
It is far better to pay a little bit for marketing AFTER you have made a sale than a LOT of money hoping to get a sale. That makes a lot of sense, don't you think?