Brand Awareness Strategies for Small Businesses

Posted on 25/01/2018 by Team Hallam

Building brand awareness should be at the top of any marketing strategy for 2018. Cut through the noise with these small business brand awareness strategies.

Building brand awareness should be at the top of any marketing strategy for 2018. After all, why would customers purchase from you if they have no understanding of your brand, let alone trust in it? The question is, how can you create brand awareness quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively as a small business? If your overarching goal is to increase sales, you must start by increasing your awareness and exposure online. As both B2B and B2C sectors become more and more competitive, it is becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the noise.

Below we have put together our strategies to increase brand awareness for small businesses in 2018. But first it is important to mention your brand itself – if you do not have brand values that differentiate yourself from your competitors, you will find reaching your 2018 goals very challenging. To understand how you can portray the value of your brand, read our post on the power of digital branding.

1. The Long-Tail Approach to SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be one of your first marketing pillars when delivering a brand awareness strategy for 2018. I am also sure that when reading this, you’re thinking that SEO is hardly a revolutionary plan. However, the way in which you conduct your SEO may change based on this.

The key is to stop focusing on the high-traffic terms that are highly competitive and will take a long time to rank for. A better approach is to focus on long-tail terms which are less competitive and have lower traffic volumes. With this approach, a large volume of these long-tail keywords will equal the higher traffic counterparts and will take a lot less time to rank for.

Business Example:

Amazon, a giant in the ecommerce world: but did you know that more than half of its book sales come from long-tail searches? Search Engine Guide found that 57% of all Amazon book sales do not come from core or popular phrases. According to Neil Patel, Amazon’s successful execution of this has come from its detailed and long-tail focused product descriptions.

2. AdWords Display Advertising

AdWords display advertising refers to the 2 million plus websites that make up the Google Display Network or GDN. The GDN is by far the largest contextual advertising network in the world, allowing advertisers a massive choice of ad formats and targeting methods.

Display advertising is perfect for generating awareness due to three main benefits: firstly, they are visually appealing, allowing you to tell your story through images and copy. Secondly, they are extremely cost-effective, with some industries recording a cost-per-click of only £0.05. Thirdly, they allow for detailed and granular targeting methods. Find out more about Google display ads here, or alternatively, read our beginners guide to Display Advertising.

Business Example:

Airbnb used Google Display Advertising to geographically target potential consumers through the GDN and the results were staggering. With the goal to ‘open the world to travel’, Airbnb needed to be able to advertise effectively. Google Display Advertising allowed Airbnb to become an international brand by increasing their reach and targeting audiences at a granular level. The result is that Airbnb now has more than 80,000 listings worldwide.

3. Referral Schemes

Referral schemes are often overlooked as a key marketing strategy, especially for brand awareness. But the best advocates of your brand are the customers who already know and trust you. Offering currently engaged customers an incentive to invite their friends and family is the perfect way to not only increase awareness of your brand, but also increase your sales.

Business example:

The most well-known example of a brand that increased growth through a referral strategy is Dropbox, and they are frequently cited for doing so. Dropbox’s strategy was simple: ‘invite your friends and we will give you 16GB of free data’. This is how they grew from 100,000 signups to 4,000,000 in 15 months.

4. Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising, similar to SEO, is not a new strategy for brand awareness. However, it has seen continual improvement in making it a cost-effective strategy. The biggest improvements from social media advertising have come from the detailed targeting methods that are now available, meaning you can drill-down to the exact target audience you would like to show your ads to. LinkedIn has led the granular targeting race for some time with its B2B abilities, but Facebook has started to catch the leader with its very own detailed methods. To find out more about social media advertising, read our post on Facebook advertising tips and our explanation of LinkedIn advertising, to understand how both of these advertising platforms can help you reach your consumers.

Business example:

Furniturespot connects craftsmen and women from South Africa with people who want custom furniture, whilst supporting local tradespeople. With a combination of audience insights, video and carousel ads, this led to a 45% growth month-on-month. You’ve probably never come across Furniturespot, but it will give you an insight into how Facebook advertising can support small and medium businesses.


Some of you may have come across the Holiday Inn’s humorous LinkedIn campaign featuring Jim Gaffigan, but the results were not laughable. Using LinkedIn sponsored updates and LinkedIn showcase pages, Holiday Inn targeted frequent travellers in the sales and consulting industry with videos of Jim Gaffigan asking travellers about their previous stays with the hotel chain. Within just 40 days, the Holiday Inn LinkedIn page grew to 1,600 followers (from 7 followers), and increased engagement and click-through rates to twice that on the LinkedIn benchmark.

5. Produce Engaging & Informative Content

Content marketing – whether in the form of a blog post, video, online article or “how to” guide – is an imperative piece of marketing which leads the user to taking an action. This action could be reading more about the company, making a purchase, or sharing your content with their friends. Whichever action they take, they’re still informing themselves about your brand, and this is the key component to making yourself renowned.

Some examples of engaging content would be:

  1. Benefit Content: “How to…” guides, “Top tips…” and “21 ways…” are great for peaking interest. It’s information they didn’t know they needed but now they know it, it’s invaluable.
  2. Factorial/News: News about the industry is an opportunity to gain backlinks from others in the field. It’s giving the customer more faith in the product, but there’s also the potential to engage the linked company’s audience too.
  3. Pillar Pieces of Content: These articles not only increase your SEO traffic, they can inform and engage at the same time. As they’re 2000+ words long, it’s perfect for getting in lots of long-tail keywords which will help to drive traffic.

Business example:

Husband and wife duo Justin and Ariele Champion founded their charitable brand Wild We Wander in order to encourage others to spread positivity and acts of kindness whilst on their travels. These acts of kindness have generated thousands of pounds for charity, whilst giving a nod to the digital nomad lifestyle by producing pillar pieces of content. This editorial in particular, gives the reader the inside scoop on how to customise their camper, whilst still keeping them enthused about the brand and wanting to see where they’re travelling to next – a thrill-seeking and charitable cause.

6. Infographics

Infographics are graphic representations of key statistics and analytics displayed in a fun, creative and often colourful manner. Ranging from survey statistics, demonstrating the knowledge of a subject, or simply to spread brand awareness; infographics are content powerhouses that are high on the sharing spectrum.

Business example:

Workflow and project management system Podio executed a survey with a group of famous creatives to find out their daily rituals. Knowing their audience like the back of their hand, this interactive piece of content was indeed popular with their target audience of young working professionals. Not only is it engaging with their targeted audience, but it’s a fantastic editorial example that can be shared on social channels.

Final Thoughts

After reading this post, we hope this gives you some inspiration as to what strategies you can employ to gain effective brand awareness for your business. As these strategies work for both well-known and relatively unknown brands; there are learnings that can be taken and implemented for your business.


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