8 out of 10 new businesses fail.
Because they couldn't stand out among their competitors and scale growth, and they eventually ran out of capital.
Beating your competitors means having prospects choose you every time. This doesn't mean spending exorbitant amounts of money on ads or ranking on Google. It means building a brand that customers recognize, resonate with, and want to do business with.
90% of customers will pay more when purchasing from a brand they trust. Developing a memorable and consistent brand is an investment, but when done well, it will result in more traffic, leads, customers, and referrals.
The key to building a brand is executing a thoughtful brand awareness strategy. This article will give you everything you need to build a winning brand awareness strategy.
This is what we mean when we say awareness alone will kill your brand if it's not ready for the spotlight. You can spend thousands of dollars driving traffic, but your investment is lost if they never come back. In order to scale growth, your cost per acquisition must be less than your average lifetime value per customer. Brand awareness and recognition help improve both those metrics.
Regardless of how creative your marketing is, all the brand awareness in the world will only grow your brand if it is built for growth.
All attention isn't good attention. And, if you're not built for growth, you're just going to bring awareness into a broken marketing funnel.
If you want to build a scalable growth engine, unlock the Growth Playbook. In there, you'll get insight into how to build a growth strategy designed to attract customers and keep them coming back.
What is Brand Awareness Strategy
A brand awareness strategy is a high-level plan for expanding the audience of people who know and trust your brand. The strategy typically includes tactics like paid advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, public relations, and events. The goal is to create a positive brand perception and drive customer acquisition.
Why a Brand Awareness Strategy is Essential
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 will buy from you. That's science.
However, not all brand awareness is created equal.
Many 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.
They 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 from all your competitors, you are the market leader. Thus, you have no competitors.
This is why we leverage a methodology called growth marketing. Rather than just doing marketing activities, we're concentrating on doing the right things to attract, convert, and retain new customers. 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 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.
What Does Building Brand Awareness Look Like?
As mentioned above, building brand awareness means building a brand, voice, and tone that lets prospective customers know you're there to provide a solution to their problems. Regardless of your product, brand awareness is about positioning your solution as the best fit for their needs.
When building your brand awareness strategy, you have to consider who your audience is, where you're interacting with them, and their impression of your brand. Coke is a household name that people associate with closeness, tradition, comfort, and family.
Because they've spent time identifying their target consumers and researching what messaging resonates with them. Brand awareness is about creating an experience your consumers want to be a part of.
Drive Revenue with Brand Awareness and Brand Equity
Now that you understand brand awareness, we can move on to brand equity, which is why awareness matters.
Brand equity is the strength of an organization's influence based on its brand. People automatically associate well-known brands with having higher quality products. Think of Apple, Tesla, or a luxury brand like Louis Vuitton. So much work has been put into building their brand that it doesn't seem outrageous that they charge exorbitant prices for their products. We automatically assume what they sell is of a certain quality because of our associations with their brand.
Brand awareness and a successful brand strategy can help you beat out your competitors and create confidence and trust in what you sell. This means more customers and a willingness to spend more. Driving brand awareness and brand equity ultimately means driving more revenue.
Here are 20 tips to help you build brand awareness the right way.
20 Tips to Improve Your Brand Awareness Strategy
1. Treat Your Customers Like People - Not Numbers
In Salesforce's "State Of The Connected Customer" Report, 52% of consumers expressed 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 significant impact by creating more strategic content and messaging based on demographics and interests.
As human beings, we face advertisements and marketing everywhere we look. Creating a message that resonates with consumers means talking to them like human beings. Your customers are people with genuine thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and it's important to develop messaging and marketing campaigns with that in mind.
2. Find Out Where Your Customers Spend Their Time
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 on their challenges or pain points, and target by their recent behaviors or 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."
If you identify a platform with opportunity, consider investing in paid social on that platform. Once you've pinpointed which platform 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 will cause you to miss out on generating more conversions.
3. Be Specific With Your Targeting and Segmentation
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 do they prefer?
The goal is to serve up more relevant content to users, run shorter campaigns, and deliver messaging that will resonate with the various segments.
It's best to keep segmentation simple, at least when you start. When segmenting audiences for email campaigns or ads, start with a few and see the results before taking on more.
At Lean Labs, we can drill all our services into two categories: growth 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. Be Creative With Copy and Content
About 70 percent of a customer's buying experience is based on how they feel they've been treated. When customers feel like they're just 1 out of 1,000, their experience won't be positively remembered. Combine compelling copy with a consistent brand voice across all channels to help customers know your brand and what you're all about.
Especially when you run highly targeted campaigns, 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.
The more you know your customer, the more creative you can be. This is also true for more specific segmentation and targeting. Feel free to be creative, fun, energetic, and compelling. If you're afraid of taking too many risks, consider doing an AB test to see which headlines or copy perform better.
5. Turn Your Customers Into Advocates
Satisfied customers will tell their friends or networks about your service. Find new opportunities through your existing customers by turning customers into your biggest advocates.
Make them as happy as possible.
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 can get a new user on the platform. Dropbox offers existing users 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. Don't Just Exist on Social Media - Be Present
Many companies only use social media because customers expect it. But to 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 an excellent 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 continuously with social media publishing and reporting tools such as HubSpot.
Being present on social media is key to being engaging. How do you interact with your customers or other brands? What does your content look like? Are you commenting, sharing, or participating in conversations?
When you settle to simply exist on social media, you fade into the background. When you take the time to be present and engaging, you breathe life into your brand, and customers will have no choice but to take notice.
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 unavailable 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. 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.
10. 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 particular 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.
For example, if you sell to B2B marketers, you may choose to spend time in the Exit Five community.
11. 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.
12. Provide Authentic, Valuable Experiences
People respond to authenticity. With brands trying to outdo 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."
13. Invite Diversity Through Valuable Guest Content
Don't just churn it out, though. Invest time in creating valuable, gorgeous-looking content with a guest blogger or poster. Locate the influencers in your industry, and go beyond just connecting with them.
Figure out how you can complement what they're doing. Focus on finding shared 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.
This also can expand the diversity of your brand content. Different people have different thoughts and ideas, and by expanding the diversity of your content, you create more opportunities for your customers to connect with you.
14. Showcase Your Success with Social Proof
When it comes to recommendations to friends and family, trust is on the upswing. Almost nine out 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.
15. Engage Missed Opportunities Through Remarketing
Your first effort in attracting customers is to get them to visit your site… but what about the visitors who come to your site once and never end up pulling the trigger?
Remarketing efforts allow you to target potential customers who have engaged with your brand in the past in some capacity. You can place specific retargeting ads on your site to speak to visitors who have clicked through to your site in the past or run email campaigns specifically targeted toward people who converted on a free offer but never made a purchase.
Remarketing is an incredible way to remind people who were once interested in your brand why they were interested and hopefully recapture them.
16. Create Shareable Infographics
If you're looking to create awareness, don't underestimate the power of images and visual appeals.
How many times have you been looking for a quick-and-dirty way to do something and ended up scrolling through Google Image Search results until you found a simple, one-page graphic that could walk you through the basics?
Infographics are popular because they're easily digestible, visually interesting, and easy to share. Brainstorm processes or practices for which your brand could create shareable infographics.
17. Show Your Personality
Your brand has something no other brand has—its unique personality. Is your brand fun-loving and relatable? Maybe you're going for more stable-and-trustworthy energy. Or perhaps you have a unique, no-nonsense way of providing resources your customers know will be worth their time and energy.
Regardless of your brand's personality, sharing that energy with your audience is an incredible way to make your brand more memorable.
18. Explore Podcasting
Do you want to be a thought leader in your industry? Podcasting might be the way to get there. Podcasts are perfect for building brand awareness in targeted markets because the listenership can be as niche as your brand needs.
You can start a podcast for your brand where you interview other professionals in your industry, offer product reviews for relevant tools, provide tips and tricks to listeners, and more. Additionally, if you don't have the resources to start a podcast of your own, you could request to appear as a guest on existing podcasts in your industry.
By the way, did you know we have a podcast? Check out Growth Team Radio for actionable strategies, tactics, and tools for growing your B2B SaaS company.
19. SaaS Brands: Consider Freemium Access
Depending on your product or industry, this tip may not make sense for your brand. However, SaaS brands can benefit from exploring offering freemium access to their tools.
Freemium access is a play on "free" and "premium." When using this model, you offer free access to your tool but lock certain "premium" features behind your paywall. This model allows potential customers to see what's possible with your tool and allows them to test it out in a no-cost environment.
After using your free version for a week, they may just discover they can't live without your premium features a moment longer. Then, you've got a sale on your hands.
20. Leverage PR
The last way you might choose to build brand awareness is by leveraging your public relations efforts. You can tackle this strategy in one of two ways.
Firstly, you can build relationships with industry journalists. Send press releases to publications that release articles based on industry news and make yourself available for interviews on important developments in your space.
In addition to the podcast appearances we mentioned above, you can also reach out to video shows or blogs in your space and see if they are interested in guests or contributors. Anything that helps get your brand's name in front of interested consumers can help your brand awareness efforts.
Leveraging Brand Awareness Strategy to Win More Customers
Brand awareness should not be the beginning of your brand narrative.
Building brand awareness isn't about creating a new story; it's about positioning your brand as a part of your customer's story.
You see, in a great brand story, the customer is the hero of the story. Think of your brand as the sidekick. The solution to our protagonist's problems and the trusted resource to help them along their journey.
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?
Building brand awareness is part of a greater growth strategy. Our Growth Playbook can help direct your efforts in building brand awareness and an entire growth plan designed for success.