It’s one of the first questions business owners ask: How do I make people aware of my company?
Today’s business environment requires you have an online presence. It’s important for business owners to consider the many online tools available to get the word out about their products and services. Also known as branding, awareness development is the first step in the process which leads to marketing success.
What Is An Awareness Campaign?
Why is awareness development so important? Simply, it softens the ground for future opportunity. People buy from those whom they trust; familiarity is the first step in trust development. When you create awareness or branding campaigns, the goal is eyeballs and brand retention. Get your name, logo, message or story in front as a many qualified people as possible. You want as many touch points as it takes for people in your target market to know your name and the problem you solve.
In the past, mass marketing was required via TV, radio or print publications. It was a shotgun approach unless you advertised with small relevant programing or specialty publications. Still, much of the ad budget was wasted on an unqualified audience.
A qualified audience are those most likely to resonate with your message. Online advertising is good news for those who wish to get the word out to the right people on either a large or small scale.
What An Awareness Campaign Is Not
The marketing process I use for my agency is to develop campaigns with four marketing components; awareness, traffic, conversions and retention. Awareness is similar to a branding campaign, traffic is a campaign to drive more visitors to the client website, conversion campaigns focus on testing and analytics to improve sales, and retention campaigns help to keep hard earned customers.
It is common for the goal of an awareness campaign to be confused with goals of the other three campaigns. Awareness campaigns are not directly about driving more traffic to your website, improving sales or retaining clients. Yes, such a campaign does offer some of those side benefits. However, if you’re expecting a direct ROI (return on investment) from an awareness campaign, you might wish to consider other tactics too.
Fortunately, the side benefits are enhanced when you combine awareness with other strategic campaigns. Awareness or name recognition makes it easier for salespeople to get in the door. If people know your name, they are more likely to click on associated online links. Awareness campaigns help retention because they keep your company top of mind with your current customers.
How To Create An Awareness Campaign
You have many tools available to you to get the word out about your company. The first thing to do is create a persona of the person who is most likely to buy your product or service. What are their demographics, interests and location. This information is important when you use the targeting features of online advertising platforms. It’s better to work it out ahead of time, rather than guess while you set up a campaign.
Consider display ads as a good first step in your awareness campaign. Google has a strong display advertising system which will show ads to your target audience on their properties, as well as, informational websites, blogs and media outlets.
For my clients with DIY (Do It Yourself) competition, I search Google for blogs and websites which explain how to do what my client does. Then I target such sites with ads on my client’s behalf. These ads remind the reader my client is a good option, especially, if they decide not to do it themselves.
Display ads are an excellent branding play. You can get your message in front of a lot of people for a relatively low investment. Facebook is another powerful platform you can use to develop awareness for your brand. Where you place your ad online depends on your target market. If you have a highly visual product or service, consider Instagram or Pinterest to get the word out.
Take Advantage of Influence
It is common for people to seek advice from online experts. Bloggers, YouTube and Instagram-famous people influence others who follow their niche. It’s like having a movie star, athlete, or musician endorse your product to a more focused audience.
There are a few ways to get your product in front of the right influential people. One is to send your product to the influencer with a nice note. However, you must remember, these are real people. They are more likely to support brands who support them first. Connect through social media with a targeted group of identified influencers, including online journalists. Ask them how you can support them. Take time to like and share their stuff with your community. Once you develop a sincere comfort level, you can inquire about how you can partner at a deeper level.
You can also pay your way into influencer attention with websites such as famebit.com, now owned by Google. This is where you can connect with influencers in a more formal setting by requesting proposals from influencers looking for sponsors in a variety of niches.
Often branding activities include a technique called retargeting. This option allows you to send messages to people who have limited or specific interaction with your brand. Target audiences can include people who visit your website to gather basic information, but don’t purchase or ask for more information. I look at retargeting as a second chance to make a first impression.
Both Google and Facebook have powerful retargeting platforms. Facebook retargeting and its audiences options are powerful considering all the data they collect. This data enables Facebook to create new target audiences similar to the ones who have visited your website. Google retargeting shows your message after people visit your website to properties across the web. Google has recently released updates to their system which makes it even more powerful, and a contender with Facebook data.
Google now allows you to target specific people who visit your website based on their demographics, where they came from, keywords they use to find your website, and the technology they use. For example, you can send a specific message to 25 – 45 year-old women in Oakland County, with a specific family income, who has visited have your website with an iPhone.
Another nice option is to send a message to people who visit specific pages on your website. For example, someone who only visits your front page many not be a strong prospect. However, a visitor who reads your front page, about page and contact page displays more quality signs of interest. You can send a custom message to such high value visitors.
There are many ways to earn attention online. Video continues to play a big role online. Often a combination of techniques is helpful to earn multiple branding touches. However, before you start a branding campaign, you must define who you want to know you. Build a messaging plan around their problem and show them you are the solution.
Rosh Sillars is a digital marketing consultant at https://rosh.media. Rosh also shares daily business and marketing updates on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/roshsillars.