Brand Awareness Strategies
Have you thought about your brand awareness strategies and what they entail? Content marketing is a great place to start. If you need a website content writer, you’re in the right place. But before we get into what I can help you with, let’s look at what your brand awareness strategy should be – and why it matters.
It’s all well and good to create a pretty website, but if nobody can find you, does it matter? It’s like a tree falling in the woods without anybody around. Sure, the tree fell, but nobody is any wiser.
Your website is a drop in the ocean. One tiny site in a sea of billions of websites. How many are in the same line of work as your business? Millions? And what if you’re a tight niche? Thousands? And yet, you’re still not getting found. Why is that?
When creating your digital marketing plan, you’ll need to consider a couple different layers to make the biggest impact.
Brand awareness is about getting seen. If a customer can’t find you, they don’t know you exist. That means no business growth for you, my friend.
What is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is defined as…
Are you ready for this bit of genius?
It’s making people aware of your brand.
Yep. Pretty basic concept. So, why is it so hard when you’re just starting out?
How do you make people aware of your brand when you’re new? It starts with a solid brand awareness strategy.
Creating a Brand Awareness Strategy
To build your strategy, there are a couple pieces of the puzzle you’ll need to think about first:
- Understanding what content goes into creating awareness
- Creating a cohesive experience so you’re instantly recognizable
- Growing familiarity to a new targeted audience to understand what you do or provide as a business
Do current or potential clients know who you are and what you do? Do they know what service you provide on hearing your name? Do they know what product you sell?
Brand awareness has to do with the recall principle, and the ability for someone to hear or see your brand and automatically know what product or service you provide.
Here are some examples of immediately recognizable brands.
- Nike – sports apparel and shoes
- McDonalds – fast food hamburgers
- Walmart – department store with low prices
- Ford – automobiles
- FedEx – delivery service
- Roto Rooter – plumbing services
Now, these are all massive national brands. How can a small business compete? Here’s the deal. You don’t need to compete on that level. You start on a smaller playing field.
Let’s look at local or state wide, maybe even regional brands.
- Tim Horton’s – not the size of Starbucks, but competes on a different level
- Tastykake – Philadelphia based snack cakes, regional
- Philadelphia Race Track – it’s not the Kentucky Derby, but it doesn’t need to be
- Whataburger – Texas proud, and you won’t find them in New Jersey
Now, take that concept even smaller and to the local level. I’m in the Northeast (could you tell with the PA/NJ samples?) and we’ve got local, regional brands.
They don’t need to compete around the globe, because their market is, well, here… And yet, they still need to be found. The competition might be smaller, but visibility and brand awareness help them thrive.
- Clinton Station Diner
- Flemington-Raritan Diner
- Country Griddle Diner
- Spinning Wheel Diner
- Readington Diner
Do you see what I did there? They’re all competing locally in Hunterdon County, but they don’t have to compete with a diner in Idaho. And yet, they do have to compete with other diners. We love our diners in New Jersey. Just saying…
Okay, so let’s talk brand awareness on a deeper level.
How do I Create a Brand Awareness Strategy?
To understand brand awareness, you’ll want to grasp the concept of digital marketing and the buyer’s journey, sometimes referred to as a customer’s journey.
The awareness stage is the point in where you’re trying to let a potential client or customer know you exist. They aren’t aware of you yet.
In the case of the diners, let’s pretend somebody just relocated here for a new job. They’ve moved in and haven’t unpacked the kitchen yet. Their stomach is rumbling. They’re hungry.
They have a problem.
In the awareness stage, it’s up to you to be the solution to their problem. You need to make them aware you exist and show them that you can solve their problem.
Growing up, when we were in search of something, we flipped open the phone book to the Yellow Pages. We’d carefully go through the alphabetized sections until we got to restaurants.
Now, there was always the company who was named AAA this or that, to try to get the first listing. Because even then, people knew you had to be seen to build visibility. So, there’d be AAA Steak House, before you’d get to Abe’s Steak House, or Best Steak House in Town.
Today, we use Google to search or other search engines like DuckDuckGo, Bing, and Safari.
This hungry new local is searching their mobile phone and hoping to find an answer. Maybe one diner has their menu online, or spent time doing SEO to make their site more easily found. Unless he has a billboard camped out on his new lawn, this is probably how he’s on the lookout for food.
So, today’s brand awareness is mostly done via digital marketing online. Let’s dig into that a little deeper.
Now that you know why you need an awareness strategy, let’s see how you can create one.
Using Creative Content to Build Awareness
While I’m a website content writer, and work with things like articles and landing pages, there are a lot of different ways of getting found. Let’s continue with the restaurant scenario.
- Video (picture a tour of the restaurant or a chef showing how a popular dinner menu item is made)
- Lead Magnets (downloadable coupons or apps to attract you to their restaurant)
- Articles (maybe about the local history of the restaurant or highlighting their specialties)
- Ads to offer a deal or draw attention
- Testimonials of customers raving about the food
- Images of the comfortable seating or restaurant’s finer points
By providing plenty of material, each optimized to be found, you’ve made your restaurant’s website more visible. The customer does a search, ends up on your website, sees your menu and maybe a video, and made a decision.
He’s hungry, you look like a good choice to feed him. You’ve become the solution to his problem.
What your goal is when creating awareness is to offer value to your future clients. When you have awareness, you can have sales. Without it, the restaurant is sitting empty, because nobody knows it exists unless they’ve driven by it or heard about it from somebody else.
What if you’re a different type of business and aren’t sure how to reach out to customers? How will you get seen? Let’s look at another example.
Maybe you’re a new auto repair shop in town. Everybody goes to Joe’s, down on Main Street, but you couldn’t afford the rent for a shop on Main Street. You needed to start small, so you’re over on Rover Avenue, three blocks off Main Street, and are trying to find new customers. What do you do in this situation?
Quality Resources and Information Can Help you be Found
According to Tom Shapiro, CEO of Stratabeat and author of Rethink Your Marketing, “…websites with a blog averaged 170.3% more organic traffic as a percentage of overall traffic than sites without a blog.”
That’s quite a difference. If this figure doesn’t open your eyes to the importance of content marketing in brand awareness, I don’t know what will.
So, what exactly does that mean, and how can you use this knowledge to help your business grow?
By creating a resource that people find useful, you’re building your trust and authority in their eyes. Here are some examples of ways to be a go-to resource in your niche. In this instance, we were talking about auto repair. What could a car repair shop use on their blog to grow brand awareness?
Quality content can include things such as:
- Lists: Offer a list of stats, resources, tips and tools (maybe it would be helpful to know how often tires should be rotated, or the percentage of times a car is brought in for oil changes and the impact it has on the vehicle by going too long)
- How-to content: can offer information like how to change an air filter at home, or how to check your air tire pressure. You can even do a video with a step-by-step guide. This small video will build your reputation, that you’re helpful and offer useful content.
- Answer commonly asked questions. You could create a resource of commonly asked questions about the cost of auto repair, and what people should expect to pay for certain types of services.
- Interviews: Do an interview that showcases the experience of your mechanics. It builds brand awareness and trust, when you show an educated and cohesive message.
- News: You can feature news and trends in your industry, or issues you handle, like recall details, or who to contact with other questions having to do with driving, like the DMV.
Now, with that in mind, whether you’re a spa, an online travel agency, a housekeeping service, or landscaper, you can use these different ideas to expand your reach. Find visibility by offering a website that consumers can go to that offers concise, helpful information and builds brand awareness.
When it comes to the online world, the goal is to “get the click” so that a customer takes an action.
Once the customer knows you exist, the next step is to engage them. You’ll gently nudge them through the buyer’s journey to get the expected outcome, whether it’s to sign up for your newsletter, come to your restaurant, or contact you for an estimate.
Without awareness, you can’t drive action.
Brand awareness comes first.
How Recognizable are You?
Let’s play a game. Quick, name a hamburger fast food restaurant that uses a large, golden yellow M in their branding.
I’ll bet you didn’t have to think long about it. That’s because they’ve invested time, energy, and a boatload of money into building that brand. Not everybody has a budget like McDonalds, but it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them.
They use a consistent look across their restaurants. A consistent logo. Consistent messages.
If you have a blue triangle on your Facebook page, but then an orange circle on your website, your message lacks cohesion. Yes, that really simplifies it, but let’s be honest, it makes sense, right? Okay, good.
Now, one of the most important ways of building recognition is by having a cohesive look and feel, and that should also go for your mission statement and why you’re doing what you do.
Think of it this way, if you create a brand with a red pitchfork, and then have a slogan like, “Wicked Nursery Schools, we offer a gentle, nurturing environment.”
The theme isn’t united. Yes, I’m using something drastic to make a point, but do you see how you could be sending the wrong message? Now, change that to a picture of a soft teddy-bear, or a mother holding a child, and suddenly you match a little better. “Gentle Nursery Schools, where we nurture your growing child with the best environment.” Things match a little more now. It seems silly, but those tiny indicators trigger our brains when they don’t match.
Similarities keep our brains in a happy place. We notice when there’s a strong pattern of difference. Something feels off.
Now, if you’re a brand that wants to shake up the status quo, maybe that works like this. A little picture of a pitchfork, and a message like, “Wicked Nursery Schools, a place for rebels to break free of the status quo and thrive in their creativity.” Point being, a soft and gentle teddy-bear wouldn’t match that image.
Know what you’re trying to say, who your customer is, and what service you provide. Your customers are the way to know what your branding should be. Who will you serve? Who is your ideal client? What is your target audience? Who are you trying to reach?
Once you figure that out, the branding starts to make more sense.
What are Pain Points, and What Does that Have to do with Anything?
It all starts with the buyer’s journey. Before you can reach them, you need to understand their pain points. Like the restaurant example above, our customer was hungry. That’s their problem.
Every business works to help a client or customer with a problem. Need help with our taxes? An accountant understands. They target customers who need financial help. Need help finding a vacation home that allows pets? Great, there are sites that help. Need to get a hip replaced? There are orthopedic surgeons that help. Need a new air conditioner? There’s an HVAC service in town, ready to help.
When we know what the customer is going through, we know how to target their pain points with what they need. This is how we’ll build brand awareness. By offering what they need and being the solution to their problem.
In the awareness phase, we need to think about where they are, and where they want to be. By offering them “the transformation” that they’re looking for, you’re saying, I can help.
They are currently in the before stage, and they’re trying to get to the after stage. Ever see the dramatic weight loss photos? I was there, now I’m here. The person trying to lose weight looks at those after pictures for motivation. They want the “after.”
Just like the sweaty guy who wants his air conditioner to work. It’s a sweltering day, and he’s dripping with sweat. He needs relief. Not a pool in site. He wants to be the guy he sees in the commercial, resting with his feet up, enjoying awesome climate control, because his air conditioner works.
That commercial is bringing brand awareness to potential customers. The guy leans over, dials the number on the screen, and has found the answer he was looking for.
Yes, they seem so basic. That’s because it is. Only, people get lost in the weeds. They worry about the exact shade of green to use on their landscaping logo for the side of their truck, instead of focusing on the customer’s needs first. Know what the customer needs and fill it.
Triggering Pain Points
When we’re going through something, and want to change, we know we have to take an action. So, how do we as marketers encourage that?
We empathize with our customer via their pain points. We let them know we understand their needs. We show them the benefits our product or service provides. Then we encourage them to act and take the next step whether it’s by contacting us, visiting our store, or buying our product or service.
You do this by being relevant. You understand their situation.
If someone has a broken finger, they don’t give two leaps about your cool new ice-skating rink. They want their finger to stop hurting and are seeking out a splint or urgent care.
If you are a local urgent care that’s made it clear you can save them a trip to the emergency room because you’re faster, more cost effective, and can help remedy their situation quickly and easily, suddenly you’ve positioned yourself in the right place.
You need the right information at the right time.
Let’s look at another example. Johnny is going to turn five in a couple of weeks and his mother is in search of a place to host his birthday party. She stumbles across a neat video of an ice-skating rink that offers birthday parties and specializes in teaching little kids to ice skate with their super-duper friendly skates made for kids.
She’s intrigued and looks further into it. The right information at the right time. For the record, I don’t know if ice-skates exist like training wheels for a bike. I’m not much of an ice skater!
This content marketing places your information out there just waiting to be found. You can encourage that by using information that’s helpful and easily shared.
Content marketing ties into brand awareness by keeping your message consistent.
Creating a credible, well-thought out track record of good resources and information helps keep you front and center on your future customer’s mind, so when the need arises, they remember you’re the place to turn to.
Be the Answer. Make Your Brand the Answer.
Words that Help with Awareness
Can you fix their problem? Maybe you can resolve their issue. Can you improve their odds? Take away the risk? Prevent future damage? Maybe you can upgrade their experience…
Notice the trigger words? Fix, resolve, improve, risk, prevent, upgrade. These are the words that customers use when they’re looking for answers.
What kind of feelings are they experiencing? Fear? Nervousness? Confidence? Understand where they’re coming from and speak to it. Maybe it’s curiosity, or it could even be vanity. Talk to a woman who has gray roots and crow’s feet coming in…she knows vanity.
What are the hopes and desires of your potential client? To feel better, stronger, happier? Knowing where your customer is, helps you understand where they want to be.
Make your value easy to understand, easy to trust, and helpful. Show them the benefits you can offer, when they choose your service or product.
Avoid jargon and over-inflated ideas. Be real. Keep it simple and get to the point.
Your customer should understand what you do, how you do it, and how you can help them. When you master this, you’ll be the answer they were looking for all along.
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