4 Innovative Ways Small Businesses Can Market Their Brands

It’s a fact: most consumers are more likely to go with a brand they know. However, creative small business owners can attract new customers by pumping up brand awareness.

Here are some innovative approaches to brand marketing that entrepreneurs can utilize to elevate their position in a crowded market.

Leverage Influence

If you don't have the following yet, use someone else's to boost your own. The most cost-effective strategies for this are email and social media. With email, find newsletters or e-zines that are both popular with your target market and accepting paid advertisements. On social media, provide great content and don’t let it just sit there. Interact with followers in a friendly and informative way. Be sure to engage with other profiles and groups that interest your target market. Getting noticed is what matters. Several SmartBiz customers are doing it right. Check out the Instagram page for the Infinity Strap, an invention that makes yoga poses easier. With over 42,000 followers, the page uses popular hashtags and regularly features creative images from sites that cater to yoga lovers.

Streaming Ads

Video in-stream ads are commercials that appear before, during and after Internet videos. They delay or interrupt the video and typically last 15 to 30 seconds. In-stream advertising has become an important option over the past few years. The key is to ensure your content is streamed where it will reach targeted prospects. For example, makers of a revolutionary new exercise system might have marketing included in hundreds of YouTube fitness videos. The new take on this is placing ads with web-based stream-to-home services, such as Microsoft Xbox. Another promising medium are the streaming TV services that are appearing to vie with cable television. You just need a channel used by the demographics that match your product so that you’re marketing your product or services to the right audience. Producing and placing video ad content might be cost prohibitive. If you’re established and have been in business two years with good credit, you might qualify for an SBA loan. This type of funding is the “gold standard” and can take your business to the next level.

Editorial and Newsworthy Content

People are far more likely to accept marketing if it comes as "news". While some experts may insist print is dead, a well-placed news release will get attention if it focuses on some new technology or feature of your company's product or service. If a story intrigues them, 49 percent of adults look for more information. An illuminating and entertaining piece will also get picked up by television and by online sources that can go viral, so you have the major channels covered- and for free. Try to "be the news" in a modern, viral way. Wacky contests, record-breaking stunts, the latest fad, and many other things can keep your brand in the headlines. If you have the budget for it, hire a public relations professional with experience and media contacts in your industry.

Using innovative approaches with existing channels, you can quickly increase your brand recognition in no time. You should just need to follow your target market into whatever channels they're using. You may have to try a lot of different techniques to find what works best for you and your business, but it will be well worth it down the road.

Great Stories, Great Games

Come up with an interesting scenario users can engage with, whether it's a spokes-character, your company history, social causes, or anything else that keeps people coming back. It can also be a game; this appeals to a generation raised on video games. Twitch is an increasingly popular platform for videos aimed at gamers. Twitch lets you use dramatic profile banners with eye-catching graphics. It's easier than you might think, using tools like Adobe Spark. If you have an edgy product, this is a great platform to engage with an edgy crowd.

Thank you to Kara Masterson for this guest blog post. Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Find her on Twitter.

Have you been reluctant to launch marketing initiatives because of the cost? Do you need to hire an employee to spearhead marketing efforts? Look into a low-cost SBA loan from SmartBiz. With 10-year terms, an SBA loan has very low payments and won’t crunch your cash flow. Visit SmartBiz today and discover in about five minutes if you’re qualified for an SBA loan.