If you had to name your company’s biggest problem, what would it be? If you’re like most businesses, the answer is “Nobody knows about us.”
While there are tens of thousands of innovative, skilled companies out there, one of the biggest challenges facing SMBs and entrepreneurs today is building brand awareness. After all, it’s hard to hit billion-dollar valuation if nobody knows you exist.
As such, building brand awareness becomes a big concern for companies trying to get off the ground.
But how, exactly, do you go about doing it?
How can customers buy from you and help you grow if they don’t know you exist? How can you claim those magazine write-ups or high-visibility reviews if nobody knows you’re out there?
The answer is simple: you can’t.
If your brand’s worst nightmare is falling off into obscurity or never climbing out of it, to begin with, these seven brand strategies can help you step into the limelight and earn the recognition your brand deserves.
Here are seven efficient and creative strategies to get you started.
WHY BRAND AWARENESS?
You’re new in the business and just don’t know how to get in front of your audience? Or perhaps you have some time and experience behind your back but your goal is to become a memorable brand?
Don’t worry, we all want to get noticed and trust me when I say that it’s not so hard to succeed.
Yes, I understand that there are millions and millions of businesses in the world with the similar or same products/services as yours. I am aware that today’s competition is much bigger than it was a decade or two ago which leaves a lot more choices for customers. In other words, more work for you to find your place under the sun.
Don’t get discouraged! It’s possible to succeed and you will, for sure, get noticed by your audience just try to get to the end of this article.
The most important task for you is to grow awareness of your brand, especially if you want to see great results in 2019.
WHAT WILL THE GROWTH OF BRAND AWARENESS MEAN TO YOUR BUSINESS?
• your product/service will be noticed by more customers
• customers will give you feedback which can help you improve your product/service
• customers will recommend your product/service to a friend and you’ll grow your brand awareness even more
• and so on.
There are many ways you can accomplish this goal. I will show you 5 proven methods that will lead you to success and make your audience remember you.
1. EXCEED EXPECTATIONS, EVERY TIME
When you’re working to get your venture off the ground, one of the single most important things you can do to build awareness of your brand is to blow your clients’ expectations out of the water. There are dozens of different ways to do this.
One Marketing Firm I’m familiar with charges clients for a quarterly social media package of 46 posts, but always delivers 60. A local bakery might decide that, in addition to baking tasty treats, they’re also going to offer free online ordering and delivery. A graphic design firm may include several free rounds of revisions in their creation policy – like we at SpellBrand do for every client.
There are dozens of ways to exceed expectations. The important part is to make sure you’re doing it. After all, loyal customers are worth up to 10x the value of their first purchase. They’re also more likely to tell their friends about you.
2. MAKE YOUR CONTENT ENTERTAINING
What was unique about an inexpensive razor subscription called Dollar Shave Club? Well, nothing – until they dropped one of the most buzzed-about launch videos in the history of the web.
Released March 6, 2012, the video has since amassed more than 24,573,548 views, 7,900 comments, and thousands of shares. It’s also one of the reasons that Dollar Shave Club to sold to Unilever for $1 billion last year.
While many brands do “entertaining” well, Dollar Shave Club proves that growth is contingent upon how fun and unique you can make your content. When people want to interact with and share your material, growth happens faster and more completely.
Make entertaining your customers your top priority, whether that’s through blog posts, videos, or original graphics.
3. EDUCATE EVERYONE WHO VISITS YOU
Some SMBs and entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that certain industries can’t be educational. Health and medicine? Yes. Undergarments? No. Unfortunately, this is a mistake that can damage your long-term brand awareness.
If you want people to know you exist, you must take an active role in becoming a trusted source of information.
Look at how ThirdLove, a lingerie company specializing in ultra-comfortable undergarments, has done this on their Unhooked blog:
While it would be easy to write off this industry as one with nothing to teach, the savvy founders of ThirdLove have done a stellar job of creating a diversified content strategy that’s as informative (“How are bras made, after all?”) as it is appealing.
No matter what industry you’re in, don’t ever make the mistake of believing you have nothing to teach your customers. People are hungry to learn, and they value the brands that take the time to create educational material.
4. FOCUS ON PERSONALIZED INCENTIVES
In 2016, Virtual Incentives released a study that showed 56% of customers report personalized incentives boost their consideration of a brand.
Lots of startups are already doing this by providing a way for customers to personalize their products or taking small steps to add a personal touch. The more you can incorporate this personalization into your products, the better, whether it’s personalizing the “to” field of your emails or offering free personalization through your website.
The Virtual Incentives report revealed insights into just how accustomed and willing consumers are in having personal information used in conjunction with incentive delivery:
- Receipt of personalized reward: Only two out of every five respondents have received a personalized incentive and, of those, just over half said it increased their consideration of the brand.
- Brand perception, general: 56% said that receiving a personalized incentive would improve their consideration of the brand
- Brand perception, specific: While the vast majority indicated that use of personalization made a brand seem smart, unique and caring, a meaningful minority of 16% find it “creepy”
- Trust: Most respondents felt that a personalized incentive made them feel respected as a customer, while 1 in 4 feel it is a violation of their privacy.
- Type of personalization: 63% prefer a reward based on purchase history, rather than the less popular reference to a purchase location (24%) or use of name (23%)
5. RUN SELFIE CAMPAIGNS
Since selfie became the word of the year in 2013, the spread hasn’t slowed down. While this may mean annoyance for some, it’s a great opportunity for small businesses and startup founders to grow their brand awareness.
If you have an active social media presence, consider taking it a step further by running a “selfie campaign” – or encouraging your followers to take a picture of themselves using your product.
Not only does this help get the word out about your brand, but it makes it easier for people to interact with your product online.
6. MAKE YOUR WEBSITE INTO A LEAD-GENERATION MACHINE
One of the simplest ways to enjoy an optimized and functional website today is to use a fully responsive template from a company like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace.
In addition to ensuring your site looks beautiful on any device, responsive templates also make it easier for people to share and interact with your content.
You’ll also want to conduct some keyword research, so you know what your target audience is searching for and have a plan to cater your content to them accordingly.
7. DEVELOP A STRONG BRAND
If you don’t have a strong brand, to begin with, building awareness around it is virtually impossible. Ensure your brand is as recognizable as possible – from your logo to your colors and fonts. This helps people remember your name and incentivizes them to share your material.
8. LINKEDIN GROUP PARTICIPATION
LinkedIn is a professional social network that allows you to participate in groups. A group is made up of a few or a lot of people with a similar interest. The interest is usually around the industry they work in or the products / services they need to do their job.
Participating in LinkedIn Groups helps you grow the brand of your business through the following ways:
- Engage in conversation with industry leaders
- Position yourself as an industry leader by sharing thoughts/content
- Answer questions from potential online customers
- Provide advice to potential customers
- Find potential customers to connect with on LinkedIn
- Gather contact information from potential customers
- Make initial contact with potential customers in a “warm” environment
What I mean by “warm environment” is that by connecting through questions/answers and sharing content in groups you are not cold-calling the potential customer and not simply a brand in the environmental sector! You are providing value in a comfortable, professional environment as your initial point of contact. That helps build up trust with the person and will make your sales pitch much more palatable.
9. FACEBOOK PAGE + LIKE CAMPAIGN
With over 900 million people on Facebook, the biggest social network is a great place to help you grow the brand of your business.
If your business is new, it is likely that the initial people who engage with your Facebook page will be people who have known about your business since the beginning. Those people can help you grow your brand and spread awareness by “liking” and “sharing” your posts.
To grow your brand even faster you, however, you may consider running a “like” ad campaign supported by your brand evangelist. A “like” campaign on Facebook can be put together in Facebook’s ad center and runs on a CPM model (you pay a certain amount per every 1,000 views of the ad). This cost is usually fairly low – about $1.50 or less per 1,000 views.
The title of the ad in your “like” campaign will be whatever your Facebook Page is called (Facebook requires this). However, you can make the ad copy whatever you want it to be. I find it best to include a line about the benefit of your company plus a strong call to action.
For a homeless nonprofit I might suggest:
“Do you support ending homelessness in (local city)? “Like” us today to show your support and learn what we’re doing to help.”
For an email marketing software company I might suggest:
“Do you need an easy way to send email to a variety of lists? “Like” us today and we’ll share expert tips with you.”
You can easily tailor this ad copy formula for your business and start generating brand awareness through Facebook ads.
10. BLOGGING + GUEST BLOGGING
If a lot of people share your blog posts on social networks you have a big opportunity for increasing brand awareness. The key way to get people to share your posts is by making sure they are high quality and full of helpful information. The best topics for blog posts would be:
- How-to type posts
- Statistics/facts about industry
- Case studies
These are the type of posts that tend to get shared the most.
While running your own blog is really important – a great way to quickly grow your brand awareness is by guest blogging for other, already well-established blogs.
To begin this process I would suggest going to AllTop.com and finding the most popular blogs in your niche. You can check out how much traffic each one gets through Compete.com. You want to aim for ones that get a lot of monthly visitors. The more visitors the site gets the more visibility your guest post will bring to your brand.
Once you have identified the top 5 blogs that will help you reach your target audience, begin forming relationships with the author(s) of those blogs. Comment on their posts, share their links on Twitter, engage them in conversation on Twitter and so on. Your goal here is to make sure they know who you are.
After a few weeks of engaging them through commenting and social media, shoot the author an email and ask if he/she would be interested in seeing a potential guest post for his/her blog.
You don’t need to have the full copy of the post ready – instead you’ll want to share a quick outline of what would be included in the post. Let the author/blog owner know you would be willing to provide this blog post for free in exchange for a link back to your own site in a short bio at the end of the post.
A typical guest blogger bio reads like this:
“This guest post is written by NAME, founder of BUSINESS NAME, a company that DOES X, Y, Z.”
Since the blog owner will already know you as a thoughtful and smart reader, he/she should be open to the idea of you guest blogging.
If you get the okay to write the post be sure to write one that will be really beneficial for the reader (how-to’s, statistics, case studies). The more interesting and helpful your post is, the more likely a reader will click through on the link in your guest blogger bio.
If you can get a lot of readers to click through on your link you have effectively increased the brand awareness for your business through guest blogging!
11. HOST A WEBINAR
Webinars are a great way to accomplish numerous business goals. A webinar puts you in front of a new audience (you can invite as many as 5,000 people to a single webinar on some platforms), helps you build a list – and saves you time and cash.
How? Because a webinar is so much more inexpensive and draining on your resources than a live event … but its impact can be just as big.
A webinar is also a great way to boost brand awareness. And the best thing is that you can do this from the comfort of your own office – or even your own home! Webinars are personal, authentic, and they help you make a connection with your audience.
Webinars do work, but there are some statistics to be wary of. The average attendance rate tends to be below 50%, for example. As such, you need to make sure that you do everything you can to make your webinar a success.
WEBINAR MARKETING TIPS
- Have a clear goal in mind. What do you want to achieve from your webinar? Do you want to use it to promote a new product, educate your audience, generate leads or sell some services?
- Be useful. Whatever your goal is, your webinar needs to be useful to your audience. Otherwise, they won’t continue watching. Your audience needs to understand the value they’re getting out of this
- Be visual. If your webinar is basically just you chatting to your audience for 60 minutes, you might struggle to keep people interested. Instead, it’s a better idea to use slides to convey information that will help your audience. Give them something useful to look at, but keep your slides concise, clear and visually appealing.
- Engage, engage, engage! Don’t spend 60 minutes talking at your audience. Every few minutes, request some input, give them something to say in the chat. Interact with their comments, and show them that you’re listening to them and that you value their time.
- Don’t make it too long. The best webinars run from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. If a webinar is too long, it’s going to put people off.
- Choose the right software. Here is a resource for the best webinar platforms for 2019. Make sure you choose one that’s right for you.
12. LAUNCH A GUEST BLOGGING CAMPAIGN
Matt Cutts of Google famously said that guest blogging was “dead” five years ago. In 2019, it remains an awesome way for businesses to raise brand awareness.
In a nutshell, guest blogging is when you post an article on an authoritative website in your niche. There are two aims here:
- You will receive a high-quality link to your website, which will boost your SEO strategy
- You will put yourself in front of a wider audience and position yourself as an expert
For obvious reasons, reaching more people and positioning yourself as an expert in your field is a great way to boost brand awareness. If you’ve never launched a guest blogging campaign before, here’s what you need to do in a few steps.
BLOGGING CAMPAIGN STEPS
- Find relevant blogs in your niche. To do this, simply type in your main keyword followed by “guest post” into Google. In the results, you should see a number of possible guest blogging opportunities in your niche.
- Qualify each blog. Using an SEO tool, enter the URL of a potential guest blogging opportunity. What you’re looking for are authoritative, high domain and high traffic websites in your niche. Always rule out low traffic, low domain websites and instead focus on those who have a large, related audience.
- Come up with some topic ideas. This can be the tricky bit because, as a guest blogger, you’ll want to publish lots of new articles on various blogs. As such, you’ll need a lot of topic ideas. You can use a tool like BuzzSumo to find well-performing articles in your niche. Take a look at some of these articles and consider how you can improve on them, or see if they inspire any new ideas. Any topic you choose must enhance your reputation while educating your audience. It has to be relevant to your brand.
- Pitch your idea. Contact the webmaster of a blog you want to partner up with and pitch your guest post. Make sure to add a line like “guest contribution” in the subject line to catch their attention, and keep your pitch concise and direct. Be personable too, briefly outline your topic idea, and then demonstrate its worth and value to them and their audience.
- Write your article. Before you start writing, ask the editor if they have any guidelines and make sure you follow them in your article. When writing, aim to make it as in-depth as possible. Provide as much value to the audience and website as you can and try to over-deliver. Remember, this is your opportunity to raise brand awareness, so you need to make it count by demonstrating your expertise on a subject. At some point in the article, include a naturally-placed link back to your website if the editor allows this.
Once you’ve written your article and sent it to the editor, it’s then up to them to decide if they want to publish it. Then, you need to rinse and repeat for multiple other websites.
Guest blogging should be treated as an ongoing process. Because there’s a lot to it, it’s a good idea to form a small team. Hire someone to look for guest blogging opportunities, someone to do the pitch and someone to write your posts. Then, work together to promote the content.
13. HOLD CONTESTS
Contests work really well at raising brand awareness because, well, who doesn’t like to win things? Contests engage people and create a natural buzz around your brand. They create a sense of urgency, and they also create a sense of opportunity.
There are numerous things you can do with contests. You could give away some of your branded products to the person who creates the best image on social media that promotes your brand, or you could ask people to share videos of themselves using one of your products. The most creative person wins a free version of your newest product.
Here are some types of contests you might want to consider:
- “Like to Win”
- Photo Contest
- Brand Contest
- Caption Contest
Deciding where to host your contest shouldn’t be too difficult. Facebook performs really well for contests, while research has shown that Instagram contests can raise brand awareness by 70%. Don’t forget Twitter, too.
Here’s how to hold a contest in a few simple steps:
CONTEST CAMPAIGN STEPS
Pick a prize and entry method. Make sure that the prize attracts leads who would be genuinely interested in your brand and products. The last thing you want to do is raise brand awareness among prospects who have no interest in what you do!
Create an eye-catching title for your contest. It can be something as simple as “Enter to Win $100 to spend at our company!”
Add a top quality photo of your prize.
Promote your contest. Use social media and email to spread the word. Promote your contest on Instagram stories, add a banner to your landing page and create a Facebook ad.
Use social media insights to keep track of your contest to see how much it’s working at raising brand awareness.
14. EXPLOIT SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is a great place to raise brand awareness, but even in 2019 many brands are struggling to make their content stand out from the crowd.
In short, you can only boost brand awareness if people are seeing and interacting with your content. Here are some tips:
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING TIPS
- Pick the right platforms. You don’t need to be on every single platform. If you’re a fashion brand, Instagram will work but LinkedIn won’t. Twitter may work too for your clothing brand. Take a look at the conversations that are taking place on each platform and figure out which ones you should be on.
- Be visual. We live in a visual world, where visuals grab attention much more than text. Use eye-catching visuals and graphics to stand out from the crowd. Your brand logo design and brand identity should be aligned with your brand strategy. Tools like Pik Wizard are great for finding top quality images, while Design Wizard lets you get creative.
- Post native content. Your message might be the same on Facebook and Twitter, but the way you present it should be different. Twitter is great for dropping lots of cool, bite-sized stats, for example, while Facebook allows room for educational “how to” posts.
- Make conversation. If you’ve got comments on social media, take the time to respond. Join in the conversation. A great way to boost brand awareness is to show your audience that you care about what they’re saying.
- Provide lots of value but be mindful of the sale. Because people use social media to be social, you need to be social too. This means providing engaging, valuable and even entertaining content. Of course, you aren’t Mother Theresa, which means you need to hit your audience with a call to action now and then, too.
15. WORK WITH INFLUENCERS
Working with influencers is a great way to supercharge brand awareness. It’s one thing for you to have a product that you share with a few of your followers, and quite another for an influencer to promote your product with their thousands of devoted followers.
Influencers often have something many newbie brands don’t have – high levels of trust and credibility among their large following. These days even your employer branding has to be spot on to attract influencers!
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is find an influencer that’s relevant, who shares your values, and whose audience is engaged. This last bit is key because you want to work with influencers whose followers are actively engaging with their posts.
Step 2: Then, you need to DM them with your request. When you do this, make sure that you show them how this partnership is going to benefit them. What’s in this for them? Why should they work with you?
Prior to your request, however, you should have a think about what you want to achieve here. How do you want to raise brand awareness with an influencer?
WORKING WITH AN INFLUENCER – TIPS
- Work Together on a Cause – Millennials warm to brands who share their values, and who support causes they believe in. Consider working with an influencer to promote a cause that you both believe in. Partnering up on this one with an influencer who has a strong and loyal following will allow your good nature to have a maximum impact on the right audience.
- Create Sponsored Content – Sponsored content is a great way to boost brand awareness among a new audience. Although sponsored content could, in theory, look too contrived and fake, expert influencers know how to create it so that it looks entirely natural. They know what kind of content works well with their followers, and they will work with you to create content that helps to spread the word of your brand.
- Host Competitions – This one is a bit like hosting a contest, but there’s a catch: An influencer is hosting it for you. This means that you’ll be reaching a much wider audience, while the influencer could also encourage their followers to follow your social media accounts if they want to win the prize.
BETTER BRAND AWARENESS STARTS HERE
While growing a successful company is an involved process, it’s much easier when you focus on building brand awareness first.
These seven tips, designed to help creative brands and startups promote brand awareness, are just what you need to get the word out about your company, and to enjoy the long-term, upward mobility that will provide.