Coeur d’Alene is a small town with big heart. I love it here. I grew up here. I worked here. Now I run a business here. Growing brand awareness can be a challenge, especially at the beginning of the business journey. A new business can use all the help it can get, am I right? Here is a list of 10 ideas you can use to grow brand awareness in the Coeur d’Alene area that will work in most communities.
Social Media + Maps
Websites like Facebook are a great place to start. You’re going to need somewhere to chronical all the cool activities you’re going to be doing to promote your brand. Make sure your business has a Facebook page and fill it out completely. But don’t stop there.
Get on Google Maps and make sure you see your business there. If you do, claim it! If you don’t, create it. Start Google My Business Account and fill it out COMPLETELY. Being seen on maps is one of the main ways local businesses are being found by new customers in 2018. Have you heard of SEO? This is where it starts in 2018.
I can hear you grumbling from here. “I don’t like networking.” The fact is, nobody likes networking until they actually do it. Then, they love it! There are so many great networking events happening all the time in Coeur d’Alene. If you want people to know who you are, you have to go out and meet them. There is no supplement for having a good network of friends and colleagues that help each other’s businesses grow.
The best place to start is at the CDA Chamber of Commerce. Every city has a chamber of commerce. It’s a place for local business owners to get together, share ideas, and refer each other business. It takes a few meetings for people to get the hint that you’re sticking around, so give it a few goes and see how you like it.
Another great place to find like-minded people is on the Coeur d’Alene page of meetup.com. You can find all sorts of people getting small groups together to do anything and everything under the sun, and moon. Check it out! If you can’t find the type of meetup you’re looking for, start it yourself. Then you can choose where you want to meet. I like Daft Badger myself.
The last networking group I’ll mention is Toastmasters. You’ve probably heard of it. This group gets together regularly to practice their public speaking skills. It’s a great place to meet other business owners and strengthen your ability to communicate effectively. Here’s a link to the Coeur d’Alene Toastmaster’s Club website.
With your sharpened speaking skills from Toastmasters, now you can go out and educate! Educating is a fantastic way to grow brand awareness. Perhaps there is some valuable information you can share with the public that will give them value and position you as an expert.
Being an expert gives you instant credibility in the eyes of those you teach. A great way to find educating opportunities is by looking for organizations that need guest speakers. If there is a local organization related to your industry, hit them up! Put together a presentation and bring it on over. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or groundbreaking. You just need to bring into awareness some things that people didn’t know before. Don’t forget to mention your brand!
If you have joined the chamber, done some networking, educated some people, and shared it all on social media, you probably have quite the personal network going. Maybe there is someone you know, another company whose product or service compliments your own? This could be an opportunity for a partnership.
By working together, businesses can cross-promote and create new, more valuable offerings to the public. It’s okay to get a little creative. Is there another product or service that goes directly in front or behind yours? Is it something that results from something else? Do you catch my drift? If you want a better explanation, you can contact me and I’ll help you brainstorm some ideas.
Everyone loves a free sample, right? Just go to Costco on a Sunday afternoon. There are hoards of people standing in line to get a tiny piece of quesadilla or cup of rice. It’s ridiculous. But hey, I’m not judging. You can find me at the back of the line coming around for seconds.
A fun way to give out free samples is to walk around downtown on a summer day. Start on the east side of Sherman Ave. and walk all the way through Coeur d’Alene City Park, all the way around NIC and back to Sherman. You’ll see hundreds of people you can stop and talk to about your brand. Offer them a free sample or a coupon. Don’t forget to smile!
I learned this lesson from Les Schwab Tire Store. As a child growing up in Hayden, I always wondered how they could afford to fix so many flat tires for free. When I got older, I realized something. They couldn’t afford NOT to do it! By fixing flat tires, they were getting people into their shop. Even if those people didn’t buy right away, they left feeling like they got a lot of value for free. The law of reciprocity is one thing, but the brand awareness this created in the minds of the public is another thing entirely.
Take the lesson from Les Schwab. Give value for free. Put your brand in the minds of people, and when they are ready to buy, they’ll think of you first.
This is a trend that’s really caught on in the last decade or so. You ever see a truck driving down the road that looks like Picasso painted all over it? It’s not painted. It’s a wrap! Not only is it a great way to write off a truck payment, it’s a great way to build brand awareness. People notice when things look different. In a small town like Coeur d’Alene, people see the same vehicles all the time. It’s like a mobile billboard.
The best use of a wrap I’ve seen is by Travis Whiteside at Rawdeadfish. Travis had his mobile sushi restaurant wrapped to look like a giant octopus is grabbing the truck. Truly brilliant use of a car wrap if you ask me. Can you do something this creative? Even if it’s not this legendary, it can still let people know who you are and what you have to offer. That’s the goal, right? Besides the write-off, of course.
If you’re looking for a wrap, you can call Josh at Maximum Exposure – 208 916 7796 (No affiliation)
One of the fastest ways to get the word out there is by harnessing the power of Google Adwords. It takes a little work to set up, but if done correctly, Adwords can be a money-making machine for a local business. Literally. You put money into it and customers come out holding money in their hands.
For a company that’s just getting started, or just starting their marketing efforts, Adwords is a great place to test the waters and make your brand known to people in your area. Since it can be focused on certain locations, it can be very useful for targeting certain neighborhoods or cities. (I offer a free Adwords consultation for businesses that are afraid they are wasting money.)
The key to Google Adwords it that people must be actively searching for what you have to offer. This means no impulse buys. If what your business has to offer is more on the compulsive side of the sales spectrum, Facebook could be the answer to your online marketing questions.
Facebook is incredibly powerful for growing brand awareness. There are a ton of brands that started and have stayed on Facebook, never straying. If you want to target certain types of people, on certain days, in certain areas, that like certain magazines, and ate toast for breakfast, Facebook is your go to. If you didn’t get it, I was alluding to the fact that you can target people on some incredibly granular criteria through Facebook. Again, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to email me.
If you tried the Facebook or Adwords route, hopefully, you got some sales from it. Undoubtedly you had a boatload of people visit your website and leave before they did anything. Enter Remarketing. But, what’s remarketing?
I won’t bore you with the long definition. Basically, you are able to track who has been to your website, then show them ads as they are browsing the internet in their search for the perfect product. These ads are like the ones you see when reading a news site or browsing the latest gossip online. Yep, if you wanted to, you could place your business in those ad boxes. You could be that guy or gal…
Remarketing is incredibly powerful for certain businesses. It can be used purely for the purpose of building brand awareness, further cementing in the minds that your brand exists. After all, it’s only when people know about your brand that they can buy from it, right?
Sponsor Local Events
This is a tactic used by a lot of very successful companies. Sponsoring local events goes so much deeper than just growing brand awareness. It’s about contributing to and being a part of your community. Being able to give is such a powerful thing.
If you sponsor a community event, you will likely get your brand name on a banner, have it mentioned during speeches and introductions, and most importantly (from an SEO standpoint), you’ll get a link to your website! I know, I’m a nerd, but those links make a huge difference, especially for local businesses!
If you get the opportunity to sponsor a local event, you won’t regret it. Make it part of your business plan. As you grow, become more and more involved in your community. I promise you get what you give.
Here are some places where you can find community events in Coeur d’Alene, figure out who is running them, and get involved.
Get in the News
There are some news articles that bore the socks off of people, and there are other ones that people share for months. Either one helps get the word out, but going viral is definitely the best way to grow your brand awareness.
Have you ever heard of a place called Hudson’s Hamburgers? Of course, you have. Hudson’s has been around for over a hundred years. Well, if you’ve been there, you know they don’t serve french fries. Some people like this, some people hate it, but Hudson’s ain’t changing, and that’s just the way it is.
One day… I think it was the first of April, Hudon’s got a special delivery. With a full bar of happy people munching on burgers, a delivery man walked in with a giant bag of FRENCH FRIES. People were hysterical! This was the first time a french fry had “stepped foot” in Hudson’s in forever, literally!
There was so much hype about this April Fools stunt that it made the front page of the Coeur d’Alene Press. The man responsible, Troy Channeler, the then Head Chef of Bonsai Bistro, was instantly famous. He put Bonsai and Hudson’s on the front page of the paper with a story that people were sharing for years. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself!
If you can come up with a stunt like this that captures imaginations and surprises the living bejeezus out of everyone and tie your brand to it, you will have succeeded in skyrocketing your brand awareness.
Even if going viral isn’t part of your game, taking the ideas from this article and running with them will not only have a positive impact on your business, but it will enrich your life as well. When you think about it, that’s the whole point of business, right? To enrich the lives of ourselves and our customers.
Well, there you have it. 10 of the best ways I know how to grow brand awareness in Coeur d’Alene. If you want to talk more, or have some ideas and need some help making them happen, reach out anytime. I’m happy to help.