The Brand Awareness Strategy: 15 Marketing Tactics to Earn Attention
is the Head of Marketing at Lean Labs. His experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.
Building brand awareness will kill you if you're not ready.
I believe Google executives and investors own a lot of boats purchased by the misplaced ad spend of thousands of silly startups trying to rush to scale.
I don't care what Kevin Costner says, just because you build it doesn't mean they will come.
If it was that easy, no business would shut down. But, we live in the real world where 8 out of 10 new businesses shut down.
Because they never were able to scale their growth. They ran out of capital, and shutting down is the only option.
What if there were tactics for building massive attention for a brand without wasting budget or gambling on growth?
Marketing Strategies to Increase Brand Awareness
Before we talk about tactics, let's address the elephant in the room: awareness will kill your brand if it's not ready for the spotlight.
Regardless of how creative your marketing, all the brand awareness in the world is not going to grow your brand if your brand isn't built for growth.
I know you don't want to hear that right now, because you are focused on building brand awareness. But all attention isn't good attention. And, if you're not built for growth, you're just going to build awareness to a broken brand.
If you want to build your growth engine, get the Growth Marketing Strategy Kit.
Where Brand Awareness Fits in 2020
Brand awareness is essential to growth today, and it'll still be true next year and the year after. The more your target audience notices your brand, the more likely they are to buy from you. That's science.
However, not all brand awareness is created equal.
A lot of brands make the mistake of thinking that any attention is considered brand awareness. You'll leave a lot of money on the table if that's your opinion.
Most brands engage in "me too" marketing.
Common brands always compete head-to-head with all of their competitors. And, when they do that, the same things always happen:
- The market leaders remain the unchallenged leader.
- The rest of the competitors race to the bottom on price.
Marketing cannot be about saying "we offer this too!"
Marketing must be about how you're different. When you're different than all your competitors, you are the market leader. Thus, you have no competitors.
This is why we're turning our efforts over to a methodology we call Growth Marketing. Rather than just doing marketing activities, we're concentrating on doing the right things to make our competitors irrelevant in our space. And, in doing so, we're winning the market.
If you want brand awareness, make your target audience aware of your differences! And if you do that successfully, you will be incomparable to your competitors.
If you build anything, whether it be a product, a software, or a service, there is no guarantee anyone will notice.
Despite how good the product or service is, business owners can’t expect leads, prospects, or customers just to show up.
So, let's assume you have built your growth engine, and all six levers of growth are in operation. How do you increase brand awareness?
How to Increase Brand Awareness
They have problems in their professional and personal life that they’re actively seeking solutions for. Despite the amount of competition in most industries, there's also a lot of lazy, ineffective marketing attempts that prevent them from finding these solutions. You can differentiate your brand by spreading awareness in a more organic, engaging way.
If you’re experiencing marketing issues and need inspiration, check out these straightforward strategies to increase brand awareness in your target market. After reading this article, you’ll have a few ideas of simple strategies to increase visibility in your space.
1. Personalize Correspondence
In Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” report, 52% of consumers addressed their frustration with being treated like a number, identifying non-personalized communications as a deal-breaker for working with a brand.
Create more personalized experiences by segmenting your email lists more. As email can be 40% more effective than social media platforms, you can make a big impact by serving up more strategic content and messaging based on demographics and interests.
2. Run Ads On Social Networks
33% of consumers use social media platforms to find new products, brands, or services. Use what you know about buyer personas to run highly targeted ads on social media networks they prefer. Use keywords and phrases that zero in more on their challenges or pain points, target by their recent behaviors, or by their purchasing history (such as with Facebook Ads).
Start with just 1-2 social networks, and focus on those small, specific audiences. As marketing guru Neil Patel says, “I’d rather reach a large portion of a small audience than a small portion of a large audience.”
Take advantage of the knowledge from your buyer personas to create a better strategy for segmenting your audiences.
Which types of content do they prefer?
Which social networks they prefer?
The goal is to serve up more relevant content to users, run shorter campaigns, and deliver messaging that will really resonate with the various segments.
It’s best to keep segmentation simple, at least when you start out. When segmenting audiences for email campaigns or ads, start with a few and see what the results are before taking on more.
At Lean Labs, we can drill all our services into two categories: inbound marketing services and website design. At our foundation, our contacts are segmented into those two categories. We periodically do marketing that requires drilling down further, and getting more complex in segmentation - but all those are considered extra outside of the basic segmentation.
Simple is always better than complex. In fact, a simple segmentation structure puts you in a better position to do complex segmentations in the future.
4. Don’t Get Lazy With Copy
About 70 percent of a customer’s buying experience is based on how they feel they’ve been treated. When a customer feels like they're just 1 out of 1,000, that experience won't be very positive. Combine effective copy with a consistent brand voice across all channels to help customers know what your brand is, and what you're all about.
Especially when you run highly targeted campaigns, with audiences are segmented, it's crucial to have that killer copy for your ad headlines, landing page copy, and email subject lines. They need to be fine tuned to address the segment.
5. Leverage Your Users
Find opportunities to get more leads using your active users.
Qualaroo does something similar to Wordpress.com, where they include text on their customers pages that says ,"Powered by Qualaroo [?]". Qualaroo linked the question mark to a trial signup page.
This promotes one of the brand's offers without them having to do anything, really. As a result, you reach more potential users that potentially have similar interests to your user.
6. Offer Referral Rewards
While Airbnb doesn’t have an upgraded or premium version, they reward potential guests and existing hosts with credits up to $200 if they’re able to get a new user on the platform. Dropbox offers existing users with an additional 500MB of space for each referral, up to 16 GB. This helped Dropbox increase its signups by 60%.
By offering additional incentives in exchange for a promotion, you’re improving their experience while increasing brand awareness. Two birds, one stone.
7. Commit To A Social Media Presence
A lot of companies only use social media because customers expect it. But to really drive brand awareness with social, you have to try. Since a lot of brands only maintain the status quo on social, it could also be a great opportunity to stand out against your competitors.
Use your buyer persona research to find the platform your targeted audience may pay the most attention to. Start focusing on that platform just a little more than the others. Gauge your success on an ongoing basis with social media publishing and reporting tools such as HubSpot.
8. Work With Social Platform Reps
Some platforms, such as Facebook, also offer Brand Lift experiments. These evaluate your ad recall and overall brand awareness. Twitter offers something similar with brand surveys, though they're not available to everyone.
By working closely with reps from social channels, you can share and collaborate on your brand awareness goals. These representatives are really there to help you, and your success is their success.
9. Test Paid Social
If you identify a platform with opportunity, consider investing in paid social on that platform. Once you've pinpointed which platform you want to use, do some homework on how their ad service runs.
Then, work to refresh and update ads frequently, learning from the success or failure of previous attempts. Target more niche audiences, and start small. After you gain traction, keep an even pace with time and cost so you don’t spend too much money. Be patient. Accelerating with ads too quickly, and you might miss out on generating more conversions.
10. Find Where Your Customers Complain
Your customers are asking questions and looking for feedback about their challenges somewhere. Identify where these conversations are happening. Be an active, helpful participant in those places, focusing on helping people rather than selling your product or service.
Though a lot of this research should be covered during the creation of buyer personas, invest some additional time in finding additional blogs, subreddits, chat rooms and forums. Try brainstorming all of the potential jargon and phrases that your customers could be using, and use that information to help find your audience.
11. Invest Time In Niche Groups
Once you find a few watering holes where your customers gather, invest time in more niche groups. Use the same mindset regarding segmenting highly specific audiences to your brand awareness strategies. Think of all of the potential hobbies or interests your customers could have.
To find these niche topics, Facebook Groups are a great place to start. You can access the highly specific topics and pain points in your industry and provide value there. Answer questions that relate to your industry in these groups. Even starting a group, when done correctly, can help build a community and draw in potential customers.
12. Invest In Other People
No one is an island, right? Neither are brands.
As a company selling products and services in a particular industry, it’s not only beneficial to connect with customers and influencers in that space, it's better business.
Brands that provide personal, collective, and marketplace benefits have a 46% higher “share of wallet”, or, higher spend on a product. Customers care about the value of your product, but also care about what you will do for other customers and society in general.
Basically, show an interest beyond generating revenue.
13. Provide Authentic, Valuable Experiences
People respond to authenticity. With brands trying to out-do each other in "awesomeness", a lot of them forget that the most impactful way to spread brand awareness is just to provide highly valuable experiences and products to their customers.
By focusing on the user or the influencer, instead of only on your brand, you’ll establish more significant relationships with leads, prospects, and customers. As Kathy Sierra of Serious Pony stated, "Make the user awesome instead of competing to be perceived as awesome."
14. Create Better Guest Content
Don’t just churn it out, though. Invest time in creating extremely value, gorgeous looking content with a guest blogger or poster. Locate the influencers in your industry, and going beyond just connecting with them.
Figure out how you can complement what they’re doing. Focus on finding common interests or goals to increase their interest in collaborating with you. Create something unique and helpful. Invest time in the design and aesthetics, and brand the content using your logo.
When they share it with their audiences, you’ll have a whole new crowd exposed to your brand.
15. Hack Social Proof
When it comes to recommendations to friends and family, trust is on the upswing. Almost nine of ten customers will rely on reviews to help make a purchasing decision. Feature more customer reviews and customer testimonials throughout your site, and in content.
Make sure it’s an actual person, and put a face to the name. As customers look to their trusted circles and other customers for feedback on products or services before purchasing, use previous (positive) customer experiences to really highlight your service.
A Brand Awareness Strategy
Brand awareness should not be the beginning of your brand narrative.
When you are building brand awareness, you should not be starting a new story. Instead, you should be picking up the story where the customer is.
You see, in a great brand story, the customer is the hero of the story. So, the narrative picks up before your brand is introduced.
If you're building awareness on a new story about your brand, your customers won't care. But, if your story connects with theirs and helps them move toward their conclusion, they will latch on and identify with your brand message.
Brand awareness is the very first of the Six Levers of Growth. However, it needs to be guided by all the other six levers.
What about your products or service will cause your customers to recommend you to their circle of influence?
What message will they share?
That is the message you need to use to build brand awareness.
There is no better brand awareness strategy than that!