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The Many Ways You're Marketing Even When You Don't Even Know You Are The less your marketing resembles advertising the closer the connection you'll make with your customers.

By Angela Ruth Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Businesses work hard to create effective marketing campaigns, coming up with strategies carefully crafted to promote their brands both online and off.

But whether you realize it or not, you can promote brand awareness even when you're unaware of it. A company's image starts with its leadership and spreads to its employees and the work they do.

Here are some effective ways you build and grow brand awareness in ways you may not have considered.


If you've ever participated in a trade show or conference, you may have designed swag to distribute. Every T-shirt, tote bag, notepad, or pen you hand out goes toward building brand awareness. An old marketing rule states that a customer needs to see a message seven times before making a purchase decision. You don't have to hand merchandise out to customers, though. You and your team members can wear and use products with your company logo whether you're at a networking event, conference, or client meeting. Just some of the things that will help expose people to your brand include:

Water Bottles: This is a product that is used constantly, and is an effective way to remind fans of your products. Brand a long lasting water bottle and you'll be sure that it will be a good investment.

T-shirts: Clothe your brand champions and they will promote you. Make t-shirts that people will love to wear and you'll have walking billboards everywhere.

Mugs: There's nothing like fans looking at your logo every morning with their cup of Joe, and welcoming every day with your company

Related: How Steve Jobs Misled a Room Full of Tech Media and Changed the World

Live experiences.

In person experiences are a fantastic way to engage with consumers - giving memorable time for new customers to learn about and interact with your brand. Companies like AnyRoad offer a powerful Experience Relationship Management platform that can help your brand leverage these live in-person branded experiences and gather data during the process.

Tours: Tours and in-person experiences have become essential to winning over the hearts and affection of customers. Show them where your products are made, the birthplace of the company, or even the offices where all the magic happens. You'll be sure to spawn word-of-mouth marketing and social shares, and fans will go home with a memorable story.

Classes: Many businesses are always looking to learn as they grow. Teaching or sponsoring a class can also offer a beneficial marketing opportunity for business leaders. Whether you teach a class at your office, at a local university or learning annex, or through another source, you'll be able to get the word out about the business you own as a part of the experience.

Tastings and Samplings: For businesses that create and distribute consumables, taste testings and product samplings are the best way to win customers. Increasingly, food brands choose to set up a sample stand at local grocery stores or trade shows. Many customers get excited about free food and you can reach a large audience in one place.

Companies like C.A. Courtesy specialize in setting up in-store samplings for brands of all sizes, putting their expertise to work in helping brands grow. If your brand has a kitchen, factory, or brand home, consider doing a tasting on-site to provide a much more immersive experience. All whiskey companies in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail offer tastings (with their tours) - letting fans sip their way through learning about bourbon.

Related: 5 Ways to Avoid Writing Content That Will Never Be Read by Anyone

Workshops: Instead of committing to teach a regular class, your business can reap some of the same benefits by simply teaching a one-time workshop. Often these happen through industry-specific membership organizations or local networking opportunities. Even before you step up to the podium to kick off your presentation, you're getting invaluable exposure for your business, since it will feature prominently in any marketing materials promoting the event.

Events: Events provide solid networking opportunities, giving you the opportunity to interact directly with the very customers you're trying to win over. Even if they don't see personal value in the products or services you offer, chances are they'll tell a friend or associate about it. In addition to local events and industry trade shows, consider hosting an event of your own. During the holiday season, you could have an open house to show appreciation to all your loyal customers. You could also host a day-long learning opportunity, inviting others in your industry to attend and learn more about the work you do.

Networking: You may not put networking under the marketing category, but every interaction builds your brand. When you meet someone at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon and hand your business card across the table, you add yet one more person to those who know about your business. Over time, those connections lead you to other connections that help you move to the next level. Be aware of the many ways you represent your brand when you're interacting with others, both personally and professionally, since even the clothing you wear and the things you say send a message about your business.

Related: Why Brands Big and Small Continue to Fail at Influencer Marketing

As you interact with others and talk about your business, realize the many opportunities you have to get the word out. You'll eventually discover new opportunities to meet customers and colleagues who can recommend your products or services to others. In the process, you'll save time and money on marketing efforts, and be at the helm new pow
Angela Ruth

Entrepreneur and Consultant

Angela Ruth is a freelance writer, journalist and consultant in Silicon Valley. She is a member of the YEC and a startup aficionado. You can follow her online on Twitter and Facebook.

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