What comes to mind when you are asked to think of your favorite fast food or beer or car or mobile phone? Invariably the first brand that comes to your mind is the brand that has created a To-of-Mind awareness in your mind.
Top-of-mind awareness is defined in Marketing Metrics as “The first brand that comes to mind when a customer is asked an unprompted question about a category. The percentage of customers for whom a given brand is top of mind can be measured.”
For any business, this is a powerful concept but one that rarely makes its appearance in a brand strategy or plan. Thinking about and working hard to create that top-of-mind awareness in your prospective customers should be on top of any marketing agenda. It is quite a difficult task and one that takes knowledge, know how and imagination.
Do you know what the average time duration is from when your prospective customer thinks about making a purchase to the time that they actually go through with the transaction? Discovering that metric could be very interesting and very useful to your business. Many business owners are surprised at the time it takes for their customers to make a purchase of their product or service.
It is no surprise then that a lot of businesses get a lot of enquiries or website hits but get pitiful conversions. In fact, the realty could be that prospects either call or visit your website, get a ton of information from you but actually end up purchasing elsewhere. This means that at the exact instant they do decide to commit to the purchase, you are not on top of their mind.
There could be a number of reasons why a particular prospect decides to buy from your competition. I am not going to discuss all the potential reasons, although the first one that comes to mind is the lack of brand value proposition. My interest in this article is to understand how the top-of-mind factor work for you or against you assuming all other factors being equal.
To be top-of-mind, you need be thinking about the following facets:
1) Keeping fresh in their minds: This requires that you keep your website fresh with authoritative content on a regular basis and then promoting the content in places where your prospects usually hang out – social media channels, blogs etc. If you are an offline business then ensure you attend trade shows and advertise in the magazines and periodicals that your target market reads.
2) Strategic Ads: If budget permits, try to go for re-marketing. Remarketing lets you show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the Web. You may have noticed this too. Suppose you checked out a bag or gadget on one website but did not end up buying it. You then start seeing banner adverts of that website on other sites that you visit. If you did not know any better, you may think of this as a weird coincidence and start giving that company brownie points in your mind. Most often than not, you may actually click on the advert, visit that site and complete the purchase. You want to do the same with your prospects.
3) Powerful Branding: Ensure that you get the best branding you possibly can with in the budget you can afford. Your brand identity, your website design, the look and feel of your social media channels, the quality of images you use in your posts and articles etc., all contribute to the “brand recall” that you create in your target market’s mind. However good your product or service may be, if you have shoddy branding and cheap looking visual interface, your business will not be top-of-mind with your prospects. In fact most purchasing decisions are purely made on the basis of strong visual quality.
4) Invest in viral marketing: Do you know the Dollar Shave Club? In 2012, they launched a YouTube video that went madly viral and brought that company out of obscurity and onto the world stage in the blink of an eye. Just one video! In the first three months after the startup posted the clip on YouTube, it racked up 4.75 million views! In the first 48 hours after the video debuted on YouTube, some 12,000 people signed up for the service. Aside from some Google ads, there has been no other marketing. I know that it is not easy to come up with viral ideas and then implement them. In fact it is extremely hard. But you have got to give it a try.
5) Build a newsletter list: Building a loyal following of newsletter subscribers will be the best investment you will make towards creating top-of-mind awareness. By emailing your subscribers regularly you keep your brand fresh in their minds and ultimately they will end up buying from you when they do decide to purchase. Of course building a large newsletter subscribe base requires a lot of thought, planning and execution. Your newsletter has to be useful and interesting to your subscribers and should not be all about sales. In fact I would imagine sales at around 2% of all content that you send out in your newsletters. You can read more about creating a great newsletter campaign.
I understand that this is not an exhaustive list – due to the obvious time and space constraints of this article – but I think it is a good start. My intention with this post is to get you to start thinking about the concept of top-of-mind and then including that on your to-do list of marketing activities.
Do let me know if you have any questions about this topic and how we at SpellBrand can help you put together a strategy to help with achieving this top-of-mind awareness for your business.