So, you’ve got an incredible, time-saving, life-changing product. That’s the foundation of any winning business. The question is, what now?
Businesses in their first (and even fourth or fifth year) are often asking this same question: where are the customers?
The simple truth is, if people don’t know about you, they won’t buy from you.
You need to build brand awareness.
Brand awareness, also associated with brand recognition, is how much familiarity people have with a particular brand.
Brand identity is “the face of your business”, encompassing everything from your company’s values and personality to your logo and designs. It’s how you want consumers to see your brand, whereas brand image is about the real perception consumers have of your brand or product.
Brand equity is about how brand awareness and brand identity translate into commercial value. In other words, when people think highly of your brand, that means you have high levels of brand awareness and positive brand equity. Often that translates to more people wanting to buy from you!
In a company’s early days, brand awareness campaigns help to embed yourself into people’s lifestyles and purchase habits.
In other words, consumers don’t have to think twice before buying from you, again and again.
Here’s the thing – creating brand awareness takes time and money.
It’s not something you can do overnight.
But if you do the right things now, you can start building monumental brand awareness that will drive sales long into the future.
In this article, we’ll cover classic and creative ways to build brand awareness in a way that supports your marketing results and grows revenue.
You’ll also see some great examples of brands doing awesome things to build brand awareness.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
10 awareness-boosting strategies for your next marketing campaign.
1. Tell a story
If your brand is going to succeed, it has to become something more than products or services: it needs to connect with your customers.
That’s why storytelling is such a powerful tool for brand awareness.
Why does it work?
Because it gives something real and personable for your audience to latch onto.
Tell your story like a pro, and you’ll put solid foundations in place that allow you to build brand awareness and attract customers who buy from you because they love who you are and what you stand for.
So, what should your brand story be about?
It might be the story of how the business came about, an ashes-to-phoenix story, or the story of your founder.
The most important things are honesty and authenticity.
Consumers aren’t stupid. If they think you’re making things up, they will find out.
Once you’ve got your story, add it to your Our Story or About Us page. Then, extend and add to it across all your online profiles, content and PR.
Who Gives A Crap, the Australian not-for-profit that sells toilet paper, has an amazing story to tell:
Image credit: Who Gives A Crap
2. Partner with other (bigger) brands
There are so many advantages to partnering with another brand:
You can reach wider audiences.
You build TRUST in your brand by connecting with a reputable brand.
You can create brand evangelists outside of your customer base.
You can do something astounding you couldn’t do alone.
One company who knows how to work partnerships brilliantly is Australian gelato company, Messina.
Messina has grown massively in recent years, but it still only has stores in the major cities. So how do they get the word out to the rest of the country? By partnering with some of Australia’s biggest and most iconic brands.
In 2019, Messina teamed up with Australia’s number 1 ice cream cone, Peters Drumstick, to create the Drumstick X Messinarangefor supermarkets.
The thing about Drumstick is that it’s a huge part of Australian culture and has been since 1963.
This means Messina can tap into Peters’ huge national audience and loyal customer base.
This isn’t the first time Messina has teamed up with an iconic Australian brand. In 2017, Messina launched the a Gelato Messina Tim Tam range.
(You can stop drooling now – it’s time to move on…)
3. Create a referral program
The quickest way to get the word out? Get your customers to do it for you.
Think about it: when someone you trust recommends a product, it means far more than an advertisement.
That’s why word of mouth marketing is the most powerful form of marketing there is.
Referral marketing is a subset of word of mouth marketing. Rather than relying on word to spread naturally, you encourage and incentivise customers to refer their friends.
As a bonus, you can also track conversions.
So, does it really work?
Let’s look at the referral program by Dropbox.
The company makes it really easy for users to refer Dropbox to their friends, in return for bonus space.
If the friend signs up, both they and the referrer are rewarded with extra space.
Because if there’s one thing Dropbox knows about its users, it’s that they want more space.
Has it worked?
Put it this way, between 2008 and 2010, Dropbox DOUBLED its user base every 3 months.
That’s a 3900% growth in just 15 months!
What can we learn from Dropbox’s success?
Keep it simple
Give rewards on both sides (referrer and friend)
Reward people with something you know they want (e.g. an extended version of the same product)
Make it ridiculously easy to refer to friends
4. Guesting blogging
So, you have your own blog. But how many people are visiting and engaging with your posts?
Now, compare your metrics to other more established sites in your niche.
This is where guest blogging is worth your time.
By providing guest posts, you can build brand awareness and show people your expertise.
It’s all about being everywhere in your space and adding enormous value along the way. As your expertise and authority in the space gets cemented, you’re demonstrating why you (and by extension your products) are the trusted place to go.
But the advantages don’t stop there.
Guest posting is an incredible link building strategy, which helps you rank higher on Google. How to do it:
Focus on larger blogs / publishers that have a big audience in a related field. You can bet that a percentage of these readers will be qualified and more likely to convert.
Guest post on industry blogs with the same target audience. Engaged readers will eventually come over to your site for similar content.
Create list posts and include your brand somewhere on the list.
Here at Online Marketing Gurus, we love guest blogging and focus on getting our advice in lots of well-respected online media, including:
5. Guest podcasting
Not everyone enjoys reading.
So, when you’re guest blogging, you’re always missing out on a group of people who’d prefer to listen to their content.
Fortunately, we’ve got a solution: guest podcasting.
As a podcast guest, you can get in front of a loyal group of listeners, many of whom probably subscribe to the podcast.
Do you want to hear the good news?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of podcasts desperately looking for new guests.
All you need is a story, passion and message you want to share with their audience.
How do you become a podcast guest?
It can be as simple as an email.
Make sure you listen to the podcasts before you pitch yourself as a guest. That way you can be certain you’re the right fit for the podcast, and audience.
6. Produce a podcast
Speaking of podcasts, produce your own!
Six million more people started listening to podcasts in the last year alone.
Creating a podcast can do wonders for your brand awareness efforts.
Because podcasts provide a way to connect with your audience authentically.
Rather than unashamedly promoting yourself, you can add value to your audience.
Entertain, educate and inform them, all whilst making your brand more approachable.
Give a listen to two (very unique) branded podcasts:
An eight-part science fiction podcast series, written by playwright Mac Rogers, this is completely different from any other branded podcast out there. Which is probably why it soared to number one on the iTunes podcast charts.
As Andy Goldberg, chief creative officer at GE, told Nieman Lab, “It’s a science fiction story to connect listeners with what the GE brand is about, without selling the GE brand.”
Following its success, GE launched its first Australian podcast series, Decoding Genius.
In collaboration with Made by Fairfax, the series explores the lives of six young innovators.
B. The Sauce (by McDonalds)
That’s right, even McDonald’s has a podcast now. The Sauce is a satirical Serial-style series created with Studio@Gizmodo and Onion Labs. It details what went wrong when the fast-food behemoth tried to bring back the beloved Szechuan sauce.
7. PPC Advertising
You already know that pay per click advertising is incredible for driving clicks and conversions.
But did you realise it can also generate top-of-mind brand awareness?
The best part is…it works at lightning speed!
You can put hyper-targeted ads in front of your audience in just a few hours (with the right know-how, of course).
So, if your business is kicking off and you want to build insane brand awareness rapidly, PPC advertising is for you.
The most popular method of PPC advertising?
Paid search ads.
These are the ads that show up on the top and bottom of the first page of search engine results for a specific keyword.
In a Google study, they found that search ads have a positive impact on top-of-mind awareness as well as UNAIDED brand awareness.
Here’s the kicker –
It works even when the searcher doesn't click the ad.
Image credit: Wordstream
Not sure where to start with PPC advertising?
Head over to find out how to create a solid PPC strategy that gets results.
8. Paid social ads
Social media can be used to build your brand organically, but it will take months, maybe even years to see real results.
You’ve got to wait for people to find you. Or rely on incredible content to cut through the never-ending flood of posts.
Even then you’re not guaranteed to be seen.
If you really want to get noticed, you need to invest in paid social ads. A combination of organic and paid efforts is a winning combination!
Think about it.
Facebook boasts 2 billion users every month.
That’s a colossal amount of people!
Plus, the targeting capabilities of the Facebook advertising platform are out of this world.
You can get your brand seen by the people who matter to you, based on all sorts of criteria – age, gender, interests, behaviours, page likes, and lookalike audiences.
It’s also one of the most cost-effective methods of online advertising, or offline advertising for that matter.
Facebook is even designed to help you build brand awareness – it’s an option for your ad campaign objectives:
Of course, Facebook isn’t the only social platform you can advertise on.
For B2B brands, LinkedIn offers the best B2B targeting on the market.
Just like Facebook, LinkedIn lets you experiment with single image, carousel, and video ads.
There is one drawback though.
LinkedIn tends to have a higher cost per click (CPC) – the recommended bid for CPC is over $8.
But get your LinkedIn ads strategy right, and you can still drive a magnificent ROI.
9. Become a sponsor
Becoming a sponsor is a sure-fire way to get your brand in front of hundreds or thousands of people in your target audience.
There are literally thousands of different things you can sponsor:
Sports teams and individuals
Local community events
The list is endless!
Choose wisely and you can associate your brand with something your target audience loves and values, whether that’s a footy team, a music festival or the Australian Open!
Take Red Bull.
Okay, Red Bull is an energy drink.
But when you think of Red Bull, you also think of extreme sports, like F1 and cliff diving.
Because for years, Red Bull has sponsored all things extreme.
If there’s an extreme sport, you can bet Red Bull is there.
Red Bull Pump Track World Championship
Red Bull Cliff Diving.
Red Bull Racing.
Red Bull Crashed Ice.
You get the idea.
But you don’t need to have a colossal budget to get monumental brand awareness with sponsorships.
Every summer in Australia, the Moonlight Cinema shows movies in major cities.
What’s the perfect accompaniment for an outdoor movie?
So, for the past two seasons, Australian Rosé label Squealing Pig has been one of the Moonlight Cinema sponsors.
But rather than just stamp their logo on the website and serve great wine, they’ve got a bit creative.
They created and showed five little films for each of the five little pigs that feature on the Squealing Pig label, and called them the 'Curly Tales of Squealing Pig'.
The trick is to find sponsorships that are relevant to your brand and will get you in front of your ideal customers.
Get that right, and your brand awareness will soar.
10. Influencer Marketing
Okay, influencer marketing had a bad rap with the Fyre Festival scandal.
(AKA the festival promoted by celebrity influencers, that turned into a shambles/scam).
But that doesn’t mean you should throw out the strategy.
Making friends in high places is proven to boost your brand awareness.
Influencers have incredible sway when it comes to introducing your brand and helping people understand what you have to offer.
For example, they might share a live video on Facebook while using your product. This is way more authentic than a video coming directly from your brand.
But here’s the crucial bit:
You both need to be open about the relationship.
Image credit: Perth Now
How do you know which are the right influencers for your brand?
Studies show that mid-tier creators (known as the ‘power-middle’) are more engaging and trustworthy than celebs.
But different goals require different influencers.
Naturally, the influencer you collaborate with should have a personality that complements your brand and an audience you want to target.
Whoever you choose, remember this tip from influencer marketing expert Angela Seits:
“Co-creating content with influencers, treating them as brand advocates and not simply a brand mouthpiece, will strengthen the message authenticity, and value of influencer partnerships.”
Over to you
If you want to skyrocket your brand awareness, these strategies are the best place to start.
There’s no single way that will get you noticed. The trick is to try a whole mix of tactics and keep testing and adjusting as you go.
As we’ve shown, building an online presence is absolutely essential to your brand awareness.
That’s where we can help. Get your free digital audit and find out exactly how you can create a digital presence people will love.
We’re offering this Digital Audit and Strategy Session (worth $2,000) to readers all for free — because we seriously believe it’s going to add enormous value to your day and we want was many businesses as possible experiencing the benefits.
The offer involves one of our Digital Gurus auditing your online presence to uncover core growth opportunities.
We’ll analyse competitors, map market demand, and outline clear steps to achieving real revenue results online. Incredible insights, all for free, and all yours.
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