This is part 1 of a series of articles entitled “Use Social WiFi for better marketing – Dramatically improve your brand penetration online.” View part 2 here, Increase Business Footfall with Social WiFi
How you present your brand to your customers will greatly influence how successful you are. Your local marketing strategy will be a success only if your customers know you and your brand, and it doesn’t matter if you are a small or large business, well established or a startup.
So what is brand awareness? It can be measured as a percentage of a target population who know that a company exists, and what products or services they offer. So if you live in a town of 150,000 people (like Bournemouth, where FusionWiFi are based) you could take a straw poll of 1,000 people to find out how many of them are aware of your brand. Let’s say that 200 people know who you are. From this you could say that 20%, or 30,000 people in your town are aware of your brand.
You can set yourself a realistic target of brand awareness increase and, over a period of time, engage in focused and intensive marketing techniques to penetrate your target market. After your time is up, do another straw poll and see if it was a success.
The bottom line is that if you play the long game, you can increase your brand awareness exponentially. But there are also ways and tools to help you in the short to medium term. Social WiFi is one of them, but we’ll talk more about that later.
There are a number of ways in which you can increase brand awareness in your local area.
1) Provide exceptional customer service. This one’s a bit of a no-brainer but you’d be surprised thenumber of companies we at Fusion WiFi deal with that have, shall we say, less than exemplary customer service. Disinterested and dismissive staff, limited product knowledge and general unfriendliness are big no-nos in any industry, but none more so than hospitality, tourism and travel. If you are going to talk the talk, make sure you are walking the walk!
2) Use social media. Facebook and Twitter and other social networking tools are key to word-of-mouth advertising. 90% of people would consider using a business if they have had a personal recommendation from a friend. Brands that interact well with their customers socially, creating engaging content and answering questions, will do well. Facebook likes and Twitter follows are therefore worth their weight in gold, as it’s a relatively easy way to get content in front of your customers. The hardest part is getting them to like your page in the first place.
3) Use the Internet. A cost-effective and relatively simple way to get started is to make sure you have a presence on the web, including a website. This does not need to be complicated or costly but some time and thought should be put in to researching keywords and search terms in your industry, and creating web content relating to those keywords. Having a simple but well-designed one page website can be sufficient if supplemented with a well-thought-out blog, which should be used as fodder for social media postings. Do some research on SEO techniques (really not as difficult as some people make out) and you’ll be fine.
4) Local Advertising. If you have a small independent local business you are probably still spending a proportion of your marketing budget on traditional print advertising, radio or house-to-house flyering. While these methods are arguably becoming outdated in today’s social world, they still have some value. Try to add some social integration to your advertising, by offering links to your website, social media pages and including relevant hashtags.
5) Attending local events. Of course, while sponsorship is great for brand awareness on a catchall basis, by attending local events and meeting and greeting people you’ll also show the social side of your business. Networking is key to new business. Try joining your local Chamber of Commerce and see how they can help you with new opportunities. Many of them put on a huge number of annual events, for a relatively minor annual fee.
6) Sponsorship. Local event sponsorship is a great opportunity to have your brand put in front of a diverse range of people. Some events are bigger than others and attract people from a wider area, either in your local county, country or from abroad. Getting your brand in front of more people means that a percentage of them will be attracted to it. Take care to research the events that you are looking to sponsor to see if their average customer demographic fits in with yours.
7) Use consistent branding. If you have a company logo, use it on everything! If you don’t have one, you’ll need to get one. You should use a professional to design it, because it’s the first visual representation of your brand that your customers will see. Logo design is a whole topic in itself.
8) Tell a story. Customers like hearing stories, and more that that, they are great sales tools for leading them on a journey towards your product. If you are a small local business, let your customers know. Tell them about yourself and the reasons you set up your business, what you believe in and your values. People will be able to identify with you. Even the large multinational companies use this technique of staying “local”. Think of HSBC as an example.
Here’s a story about Fusion WiFi as told by Colin Cross, owner of the Coffee Saloon:-
The story tells us of a business owner who was always very anti-WiFi, because his core business is to get people to engage with each other in person, in small high-quality coffee venues. One he had tried Fusion WiFi , he realised that you can have the best of both worlds – offer WiFi, get to know your customers and still have them engage with each other.
These are just a few methods you can use to get your brand known in the local community, and further afield. It’s really important to choose your target market well. The most important thing you’ll need is accurate and qualified customer data. While there are a number of ways to collect data, you need to find the most cost effective. Paying for email databases can work out to be false economy – while you’ll have a lot of data it may not be as qualified as you’d prefer.
The best details to collect are from people who have actually seen your venue first hand. They’ll be far more likely to be receptive to an email or a Facebook page post if they’ve visited you for lunch or had a night out in your club.
By using Social WiFi, you can automatically capture their data in an unobtrusive way, by offering free WiFi in exchange for their data. The main social networks provide the data and you can gain automatic Facebook likes or Twitter follows. So, your social media postings and email marketing just got a lot easier, because you know that a great percentage of your database has already been to visit you. The best thing is the ability to target their friends by getting them to share your posts in a really simple way.
You can greatly increase your marketing effectiveness and brand awareness, by increasing your channels and contact with your customers.