Today, small businesses need to make branding part of their marketing strategy. Here are 9 advantages of SMB brand marketing.
In the early 2000s, when Google search became mainstream, many businesses figured branding was dead. They thought if someone needed an accountant, for example, they’d just search for accountants in their area (with a search query like accountants Portland). They’d then check a few websites and hire the service that was the best fit.
Consumers may have behaved this way for a while, but in 2019 we have clear evidence that it usually doesn’t work this way. Instead, online content provides an opportunity for even the smallest local businesses to create a brand image.
Digital consumers like to be familiar with the brands they spend their money on. It’s true for Apple and Nike, but it’s also true for a local business like contractors or health care provider.
People can get to know a business online. Now, with the popularity of social media and video, this is an expectation.
Chances are when your business converts a new lead, that person will know your brand name – they won’t just pick you at random. They’ll have visited your website, read your blog, checked your reviews, watched your videos, and interacted with you on social media.
In short, they’ll develop a sense of trust for your business. That trust is the deciding factor that motivates them to hire you.
Here are 9 advantages you need to recognize about small business branding.
#1. High Conversion Rates
When someone searches for “accountants Portland” and visits your website, they’re unlikely to convert. The intent behind that search is research and discovery. They’re feeling services out.
Likewise, if you’re buying leads, you’re dealing with tire kickers and price shoppers. Winning this low-ball business is a race to the bottom.
However, when they search “Miller and Associates” and arrive at the website, they’ll convert at high rates.
The reason is obvious – and relates entirely to branding. When someone experiences your brand and that experience engenders a sense of trust, you’ve all but won the business.
We know that brand name searches are a significant KPI that shows brand marketing is working.
Building a local brand carries with it the holy grail of local business marketing: referral leads.
Again, another major KPI of a strong brand is winning referrals business. And we’re not just talking about word of mouth. This also extends to recommendations through social media and a positive review profile.
A great brand reputation goes hand-in-hand with getting referrals. There is no better goal for your marketing.
#3. Voice Search
Voice search is another win for brand marketing.
Online consumers turn to voice search more and more as the technology gets better. When somebody needs your services, you want them asking (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, or what ever the platform is) to contact you – by name.
Again, if they ask for you by name, it means you’ve already done the leg-work involved in winning their trust. You’ll turn these leads into new business.
#4. Social Engagement
A big part of brand marketing is social media engagement. As you gain more local brand recognition, your social media following will grow. And as your social media following grows, your brand recognition increases.
It’s a self-sustaining cycle you want to develop. Social media is not always a strong channel for direct-response lead generation, but it’s a perfect place to rent space in people’s minds.
#5. Build Your Equity
Today (for the reasons we’re outlining) small business brand equity is worth more than ever. If you’re an established brand in your area, it absolutely increases the value of your business.
In fact, if you ever look to sell your business, the power of your brand name will be a major factor. One of the marketing assets people will look for is brand recognition, in part because so many other marketing assets can be built fairly quickly on digital channels.
It takes time and effort to build a strong brand, which is precisely why it’s so valuable.
#6. The Search Advantage
While we’re saying that ranking for your brand name on search converts better than general searches, buy no means are we saying that you don’t want to rank for searches like “accountants Portland”.
Those initial searches with research intent are one of the main ways you get in front of leads initially, so they’re vital. So are longer-tail, informational searches that create first-time exposure.
Then, you can retarget the lead and funnel them towards your social media.
This is another example of how branding feeds your marketing. The stronger your brand marketing, the better your SEO. The better your SEO, the more it exposes your brand.
#7. CPA and ROI
Brand marketing is a long-term strategy with a long-term pay-off.
Unlike tactics such as buying leads or paying for keywords, brand equity doesn’t incur a continuous cost ratio.
For example, if you pay $100 to get two leads, you’ll have to continue to pay that to sustain your lead flow.
But brand equity has exponential value. You invest and work to gain brand recognition, and when you have the momentum it grows on its own.
It’s through strong brand equity that you gain the lowest cost per acquisition (CPA) and highest ROI.
#8. Capture Market Share
Ultimately, this is the goal of SMB branding. If someone in your area needs your services, you don’t want them doing a general search. You want them to know of you, trust your reputation, and look you up by name.
When you get that happening enough, you’ll own market share. Often, the competition is barely coming into play; choosing you is a foregone conclusion.
#9. Brand Your Small Business
One reason many small businesses fail to do a good job of branding is that it’s a lot of work. You have to be both visible and memorable in a world flooded with content.
But as with many excellent goals, branding is valuable because it’s hard. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Work with a team like Marketing 360® to develop a multichannel marketing plan that helps you build your brand.