When you think of brands, you mostly visualize their iconic logos and taglines. Take for example, Apple, Nike, Google, Amazon, etc. And it is justified with the kind of brand loyalty they enjoy. In fact everyone will agree that the value of a Ralph Lauren polo shirt is more than a Polo shirt and if Coke would come without a logo, it’ll be just a regular cola. But what about the local businesses and brands? How do you think they can survive this competition with the biggies? How can they get recognition and establish their brand?
7 Steps to Build Your ‘In Brick and Mortar Business’ Brand
While establishing their brands, many local business owners make the mistake of competing with the biggies on their platform. They fail to realize that one of the massive advantages that they have is the community they’re serving. Understanding the local people and their culture, tastes, and preferences as well as being able to relate with them, is the most significant asset they can leverage from.
According to Yodle, a whopping 82% consumers in the States use a local business. And another 48% plans to continue using local business through the year.
Building a local brand is more about getting the locals to talk about it and let Google hear the chatter. The principles of creating a brand identity is very similar for that of a local and a national brand but the goal is accomplished slightly differently in both the scenarios. The local ‘in brick and business business’ brand comes with a defined target audience and geographical reach as well as a unique presence within the community they serve.
Follow these seven tops below to build your brand, grow your reputation, and create a buzz in the local search ranking:
Target local publishing houses
It definitely matters who is talking about you. While it is good to have a blog on The Wall Street Journal link back to your business, local publishing houses solve the purpose better when it is about branding an ‘in brick and mortar business’ brand.
In fact, if you want to become more familiar with the locals of your region, it’s always better to find local publishing houses that align with the purpose and vision of your business. When pitching for these publications, try and offer a unique angle that may lure their readership. One glowing example is that of an east Austin barber who managed to land a few successful spots by highlighting the fact that they’re the only barbershop owned by women. Isn’t it interesting?
Get talked about in reviews
According to Ted Rubin, a leading social marketing strategist, “A brand is what a business does, reputation is what people remember.”
A recent survey by Moz claimed, 67% of purchase decisions are influenced by customer reviews. Hence be upfront when asking for reviews from your customers to be listed on different search engines and directories, such as Google, Yellow Pages, Trip Advisor, and others. Bad reviews do impact the purchase decisions of customers. Make sure to deal with them on a one-on-one basis and at the same time, get more good reviews to cure the wrongdoings of the past.
Build awareness about your brand on social media
It’s easier than ever to build a social presence and connect with the locals of the region. If you’re trying to build a social presence for your ‘in brick and mortar business’, start with the Google My Business (GMB).
According to Hootsuite, 83% of Americans have a social media account and 48% of Americans have engaged with brands that have some kind of presence on social media.
However, while establishing your presence on social media, make sure not to push hard sales through the people you connect on these channels. This is more of a medium to make people aware of your brand. You need to showcase that you’re there to hear them out and not to sell products, even if that’s your ultimate goal.
Use the lingo that local customers use
With the continuation of the “shop small” trend, many local businesses are getting the visibility they deserve. Customers are making conscious decisions to shop from local businesses and the smart businesses are taking note of this fact. Every region has some local language, streets, or stops. You can use some of these to describe the location of your stop or the landmark. For example, “We are located on the left lane to the XYZ university (assuming this university is well-known to the locals.” or “Sure, we deliver to Chinatown.”
Another useful tip will be to attend local events, whether cultural, business, or anything else. Local football or any other sports teams have a huge fan following. Promotion during such events shows that you’re a true local and share a keen interest in what’s happening in that area, and gradually people start taking interest in your business.
Participate in co-up programs for some brand exposure
Co-op marketing programs pay local business owners for promoting national brands through their ads. For example, a local fashion boutique can display the logos of popular fashion brands like Guess or Polo and receive a payout in return for brand promotion. Since the national brands can make heavy investments in their branding efforts, this turns to be a win-win situation for both the big and the local brands. The local brands usually gain from the huge boost in their reputation too.
Give them opportunities to talk about you
Customers also like to talk about their unique experiences at the store. Imagine surprising a loyal customer with an ad hoc discount when they come to shop on their birthday or anniversary. An even inexpensive way could be to offer a personal note or a shout-out. All these experiences add up and these definitely come out in their reviews on the search engines or directories. People love surprises, but what they appreciate more is the fact that they were made to feel special by somebody.
Another way could be to participate in any community event outside your store or may be sponsor the snacks or water for that event. This emphasizes that you care to be a part of that community and can also grab for your brand some attention from the local media houses.
You can also create a loyalty program as people always look out to participate in such programs. Make sure it is fun and engaging. People can collect and redeem their points. Further, they could also have an option to play games and collect additional points. Either ways, they’ll establish a connection and this will definitely help to boost the reach of your brand.
Make an impression with your knowledge and experience
“Being found and being chosen” – to make an impression, you need to come across as a person who knows the subject well and can provide endless value. More in case of local businesses, gaining the trust of the community you’re serving is of utmost priority. For instance, I’m subscribed to the newsletter from Spriggsbrothers. They do a wonderful job sharing their expertise about organic landscaping, gardening, and lawn care; at the same time, they offer valuable insights and useful tips.
You can create a blog and produce content about your products. Publishing content that is informative in nature and demonstrates your expertise in that business area establishes confidence in the customer about the purchase and they’ll keep coming back to you.
Once you’ve gained enough traction with your loyalty program or press coverage, you may want to create an email list. It’s true that email marketing is underrated, but it’s still regarded as one of the most effective marketing mediums. Building an email list isn’t a mammoth task, just make sure you provide enough value to your potential customers through your content.
Few things that really matter for your ‘in brick and mortar business’ brand consumers are:
- How genuine you’re when listening to their concerns and resolving their pain points,
- If you’re able to speak in the same language that they do, and
- Able to meet and connect with them at the most local places – whether it’s a local event, social channels, or even the publications.
Now these points also highlight the two struggles of marketing. The first one is the need to be found. Local businesses have an advantage here as they can promote their brands through local communities.
The second is how does someone choose your brand over others. Having a brand that people are familiar with helps here too when your brand appears on search engines and the consumers are able to spot it. An ideal situation will be that the name of your brand is entered in full or part as a search term.
In fact, building your ‘in brick and mortar business’ brand should pervade through all your marketing campaigns and strategies.
How do you plan to promote your ‘brick and mortar business’ brand? 🙂