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Most marketers and PR professionals know instinctively that, “If you build it, they will come,” is not an effective approach to growing a brand. So if that won’t work, what’s the best alternative? The right strategy varies from brand to brand, of course, but we’ve pulled together a list of the most popular and impactful brand awareness strategies.
Create a Unique and Consistent Brand Identity
We’d bet the ranch that you can identify a can of Coke or Pepsi from across the room and that you’d never confuse the two. Why? Because they both have unique visual elements that are consistent and prominent. A four-year-old could probably tell you that Coke is red and Pepsi is blue. You want to build a brand identity that is every bit as powerful. It is important that your logo stands out from your competition and that images and colors be used to reinforce your brand.
Develop Your Brand Personality
Buyers want to know what your brand stands for and why you are in business. A compelling story that speaks to the values and unique position of your company is essential to developing trust. In the best case, customers will know your story and be able to tell it as well.
Keep Your Message Top of Mind
Brand awareness isn’t a “one and done” proposition. It is necessary to consistently remind your target market that they should engage with you. All of your earned, owned, and paid media should work together to create a drumbeat of reminders about your value proposition.
Optimize Your Website
Your website is by far your most important brand awareness asset. Igt is essential to invest in optimizing it for your visitors and for search engines. Here are a few things to consider:
- Design: The design of your website should be consistent with the colors and other identity elements of your brand. It should work well on any device and include social amplification buttons.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Obviously, a huge part of your brand awareness strategy is getting found by people who are looking for a product like yours. SEO is essential to this effort. Make sure your site uses relevant keywords, title tags, alternative image text, and meta data to improve where you rank.
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): – Once someone does find your site, it should be drop-dead easy for visitors to buy or fill out a lead generation form. You can improve your conversion rates with techniques such as personalization, a clear buyer’s journey, strong calls to action, compelling messaging, and testimonials.
Build a Useful Blog
Most brands have a blog, but the ones that stand out in buyer’s minds have blogs with content that informs, entertains, and educates. Blogging is an important part of any inbound marketing strategy. Consistency and quality are key.
Generate Earned Media
People find earned media to be more credible than advertising and tend to interact and share it more frequently than brand generated content. Media monitoring is essential to targeting pitches to the publications and journalists who will be interested in your brand’s story. Be sure to offer writers a compelling narrative that goes far beyond just the features and benefits of your product. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of your earned media and calculate its impact consider sentiment, share of voice, and social amplification.
Offer Free Content
Free content is an effective way to build brand awareness. Ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, videos, studies, and industry reports can be used to grow your subscriber list, or they can be positioned on other websites in an effort to draw visitors to yours.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is a tremendously effective way to speak directly to your audience and elevate your brand’s profile. It can be used to build relationships with potential buyers and industry influencers, and to gain valuable insight into what the market wants. Some things to keep in mind are:
- Platforms: There are so many platforms out there that it makes sense to focus on the few that are most important to your audience and do them really well. B2B companies, for example, might want to put more emphasis on LinkedIn than Facebook, while consumer brands get a lot of value from Pinterest and Instagram.
- Voice: Social media platforms are, well, social, so it is important to develop and stick to your brand’s social media personality. Consider how frequently you post and the type of content you promote on each platform.
- Responsiveness: Be sure that you talk with people on social media, not at Twitter, for example, can be an excellent customer support channel, and LinkedIn is a great place to ask questions and start conversations relevant to your industry.
- Measurement: Your social media strategy should be driven by data, so it is essential to measure social media activity against your main objectives, goals, and KPIs.
Personalization helps develop deeper relationships and boost conversion rates. This may take the form of integrating what you know about your website visitors, like their location, past browsing behavior, and demographic information into the experience for each visitor. You can also segment content based on audience segments to make it more relevant to your audience.
People trust information that comes from acquaintances, peers, friends and family members more than any other source. This makes word-of-mouth one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal. Some ways to get referrals are:
- Offer outstanding customer service: People don’t tell their friends about average interactions with brands, so if you want to generate referrals, you need to create extraordinary ones. Use what you learn from social listening to match what you deliver with what people want.
- Incentivize referrals: Offering a discount, free products, or some other reward for referrals is a sure way to get more of them.
- Testimonials: Creating written or video testimonials from happy customers is a great way to scale referrals. Also, be sure to direct your fans to relevant review sites.
Participate in Events
What better way to build awareness for your brand than in person? Events give you and your team the opportunity to interact directly with your audience. For B2C brands, this might mean sponsoring events or giving out free samples. On the B2B site, speaking and exhibiting at industry events, or popular gatherings like SXSW is an opportunity to stake out a thought leadership position.
It doesn’t hurt to be front and center in the publications, social sites, and search platforms that your audience prefers. While there are earned and owned media methods for achieving this, paid ads give you complete control.
People love to compete and share, so why not try a competition to help increase the awareness of your brand? If you take this approach, be sure to have specific goals that will guide how you craft it. For example, if you want to grow your social media following, drive people to the platform of choice to enter. Choose a prize that will be attractive to your audience and reinforce your brand’s values.
Every business is unique, of course, but an effective brand awareness strategy is the foundation for growth no matter what products or services you offer. Hopefully, this list has you thinking about new ways to achieve your business objectives.