If your business is online it can be tempting to think that there’s no need to invest in any offline marketing or brand awareness activities. But building your offline brand can really help your online brand and help your business to grow.
This is especially true if you offer professional services such as for small businesses, where customers are buying your expertise rather than a product. Offline brand awareness activities can get you and your expertise in front of a receptive audience, and drive them to your online brand to build relationships.
Below we highlight 5 effective offline brand awareness activities and how to use these to nurture and convert prospects into leads, and get recommendations online.
5 Offline Brand Awareness Activities
- Business networking events
There are numerous business networking events in most towns and cities, so if you’ve never really embraced networking before there are plenty of different events to try out and find one you like. Being able to put a face to a name is great for building brand awareness and loyalty, and people are more interested in working with other people than an anonymous online brand.
- Speaking opportunities
Another way to grow brand awareness offline is to be the ‘go to’ expert on your patch for speaking opportunities about your specialist subject. Many business networking events have a talk format where someone delivers a short presentation to the room, get yourself on the speaking circuit locally or within your industry.
Building brand awareness is about warming up prospects prior to any direct contact. When a prospect is already aware of your brand, they’re more willing to engage with you at other touch points. Sponsoring activities are a good way to give your brand a platform. Depending on your business you could sponsor a local sports team, or sponsor an industry award or event. Prospects might not remember exactly where they’ve heard of you before, but because they are already warm to your brand it’s easier to get their interest.
- Contribute to magazine articles
Many small business owners are already writing content in the form of blog posts to promote their online brand. But what about using some of this creativety to write articles for other publications – even physical magazines? Of course many publications have digital versions, but print magazines are still popular. You could submit an article to a local publication if it you know your prospects read it, or to a relevant publication such as a trade magazine.
- Branding merchandise
How about having some USB sticks branded with your logo and website address, then upload your sales brochure, a one-pager or an eBook onto it and hand them out at events? Even the humble branded pen has its place, as most of us are lost without one. Or alternatively, would a vehicle wrap be a good way to raise your profile in the local area? If you do business locally it’s an effective way to become a household name in your town.
Joining The Dots – Offline and Online
Having invested your time, effort and / or money in offline brand awareness activities, how do you convert these into online success?
To start with it’s really important that you point prospects to your website or social media profiles. Make sure website addresses, Twitter handles etc. are prominent on any marketing materials. Then you need to link your offline activities to your online presence. That way when prospects visit your website or social media profiles there’s a reminder of where they met you, or became aware of your brand.
If your activities are focused on meeting and speaking to people (networking events etc.) then a photo of yourself is a great start! If you’ve gone to the lengths of branding your car, perhaps that could also feature in a photo with the backdrop of the town or city your business operates in.
Sponsoring the local U14s rugby team? Get their logo and photos on your site, and make sure you use social media to promote the team (and your sponsorship) where relevant. Sponsoring an event? Use the event hashtag on social media, write blog posts before and after to highlight your involvement, mention other sponsors, speakers or attendees and encourage them to retweet and share your content.
Use any PR opportunities or inclusions in magazines and 3rd party publications to help validate your expertise. If a 3rd party quotes you or features your article, that sends a message that what you have to say is important and relevant, so use that opportunity. Make sure that those articles also have a link to your website or social media profiles so that readers can find you online easily.
How Your Business Hub Can Help
Many of our Hub members visit their local business hub to build brand awareness. While they also benefit from our fantastic talks and workshops, they’re also there to connect with other business people and build relationships and referrals.
Some take it a step further and become VIP members so they can also present talks at our events and share their expertise. Others go even further by contacting me to see whether there’s an opportunity to open a business hub in another area. Why? So they can build a complementary business that attracts prospects to their existing business, as well as the hub. It works as it provides a platform that the Hub franchise owner can use to promote their professional services, as well as creating a supportive business environment for all.
If this sounds interesting, get in touch to find out more.