Just because you own a small, local business doesn’t mean you can’t create a powerful brand that people within your market recognise immediately. Often, when we think of branding, the mega corporations come to mind because, let’s face it, their big budgets mean the sky is literally the limit when it comes to business advertising. Local businesses might not have the luxury of competing with the branding tactics employed by the likes of Coke or Apple, but there are still many things they can do to create a brand that’s widely-known and trusted.

Well-Branded Local Businesses Sell Products and Services with Ease

It’s true; those small businesses that employ local directories and other forms of online business advertising, which I’ll describe in greater detail below, have a much easier time selling their products and services than those local businesses that are not as well-known. Just think about it, when someone sees the Apple logo, it immediately brings to mind the products they offer and what the company represents. If someone is considering buying a new phone, which one do you think they’ll feel more confident buying? A phone by a little-known manufacturer or the iPhone?

So the key, then, is to focus your efforts on building your brand in the short term so that your logo and brand can do all the business advertising for you, in the future. Here’s how:

Create Citations in Local Directories–Be Found, Everywhere!

Most local businesses now know that having a presence in local directories online is pretty crucial. After all, these locally-focused results are what rank at the top in Google when  people from the area search for businesses or suppliers in their communities. When you consider that creating a listing in most of the relevant business directories is free, takes little time to do and has a considerable upside, this is an area of business advertising that’s worthy of your company’s attention. Brand building requires you to get your brand out in front of as many people in as many places you can, and local directories are an easy way to do just that.

When creating your listings in local directories, there are some things to keep in mind so as to maximise your brand’s reach. Check it out:

  • Use the same logo in all of your company’s listings in local directories
  • Add pictures whenever and wherever you can–business advertising that incorporates images of the people behind a brand or the workplace environment is more trusted than advertising that doesn’t include these types of visuals
  • Wherever possible, add short videos that also feature you and your staff to your listings in local directories. Doing so reassures potential customers that you are who you say

Consistency is Key in Business Advertising that Benefits Your Brand

The whole point of creating a brand is so that people know immediately what the company offers when they see their logo or business advertising. When listings in local directories contain different contact details, logos or images, it confuses those who see it and leads them to second guess whether they should contact you or visit your location. How you interact with local customers via social media should also be consistent, meaning the photos and videos you share, how you portray your company and its values should be the same across the board, whether you’re Tweeting or posting in Facebook to Instagram or interacting through your Google+ profile. When people know what they can expect from you and your company, that’s when you’ve got a brand that does most of your business advertising for you.

Manage Your Business’ Online Reputation

Getting people from your local community to interact with you via your brand’s listings in local directories or in social media is an effective way to solidify your brand in the minds of your prospective customers. Encouraging those who have already purchased your products or services to review your business is one way to give your brand greater authority and to build trust. But, not every review will be positive and it’s equally important that you quickly and tactfully respond when someone leaves a less-positive review.  Doing so will show others in your community that your brand is synonymous with quality service and customer satisfaction.

Local businesses, no matter how big or small, need to popularise their brand across the web if growth is their goal. Utilise the local directories and other free business advertising platforms that are readily available to make your brand the ‘Coke’ of your local area.

For more information on branding, or any other internet marketing query, please call 1300 885 557 or email us here.

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Paul Gregg

Paul heads up [g]commerce and The SEO Company, and is responsible for the overall management. Paul's experience extends from various roles in sales management for large domestic and international publishing firms, as well as global digital marketing companies.

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