There are an exponentially growing number of ways to build brand awareness online. In just the social media sphere, there are over sixty notable platforms that may provide value to connecting with your target audience.
This conundrum of choice can often lead to analysis paralysis and confusion about which channels and strategies will provide the best ROI for your business. Some businesses may not act because of this paralysis. Some businesses may try to do everything – an action that can be troubling for opposite reasons.
This article narrows your choices down to three prioritized tactics proven to build brand awareness online for little to no cost. These tactics cover search engine optimization, paid search advertising, and social media strategies.
#1 Create Remarkable (And Shareable) Content
Search engine results are based (partially) on the quality and relevancy of content in relation to the keywords or phrase being searched. To attract the right visitors to your website, you will need to create targeted content that is more valuable to both the search engines and your users than the competition’s content is.
This task can feel daunting if you aren’t a writer, designer, or familiar with the intricacies of search engine optimization. Content marketing can be extremely competitive and challenging. Consider that every piece of content was created by someone who once started in your shoes.
The ultimate goal is to create content your audience has a need or desire to consume, and that converts them from clicks to customers.
Create content that solves problems. Create content that is a tool for your sales and support staff. What are the most frequently asked questions by your leads or customers? Write blog posts that answer these questions.
Why are your products better or safer than the competition’s? Design an infographic to visually educate your audience on a complex concept. Consider quality over quantity as you create content, but do not let perfection be a roadblock to publishing.
Here are five types of content every company should create to build brand awareness online:
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. In addition, consumers prefer to engage with short, informative and entertaining videos over any other type of content. Do the math.
A well-designed infographic can communicate a message in 20 seconds that would take a traditional blog post 400 words to explain. It can also drive your website to the top of Google Image search results, while providing valuable content in a quick, digestible burst.
Share your knowledge with informative and entertaining posts. Grow a blog subscriber list. Seek opportunities to guest blog. Last but not least, promote your blog. Make it a point to share valuable content this way.
A long-form guide that adds value for your users will also add value to your organic search engine visibility. This is another opportunity to grow an email list of leads that show interest in the products and services you sell.
One undervalued and underutilized tactic to build brand awareness online is the modern day press release. A distribution network can help get the word out and create high-value links back to your website.
Pro tip: Think of a conversation you can have with your audience that will compel them to make a purchase. For example, maybe it is a blog post titled “10 Benefits Of Brand X Widgets”. Then, create five additional types of content to support the initial blog post. A video, an infographic, a case study, a press release, an e-book.
Make these supporting pieces of content accessible from the original blog post, then send a link to your leads and customers. They are now equipped with the information needed to make an educated purchasing decision.
#2 Run A Google Ads Campaign
A Google Ads campaign can result in up to an 80 percent increase in brand awareness for your business. (Source: Google Inside AdWords Blog)
Every day, people conduct searches that directly relate to your business. They ask search engines to find the best information about the products and topics they are interested in. This is your golden opportunity to reach the right buyers, with the right message, at the right time. It may be the only chance you have to let them know you exist before they make a purchase somewhere else.
A Google Ads campaign can start showing your ads and driving targeted traffic to your site from the moment your free account is created. The results are immediate and measurable, and should lead to more informed, data-driven decision-making that accelerates lead generation in a laser-focused manner.
Think of the product or service that is the most profitable for your business. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of keywords and phrases related to its sale. A Google Ads campaign creates the opportunity to bid specifically on these keywords and phrases, that are most aligned with your business goals, and provide the greatest ROI.
A Google Ads campaign is free to create and can be low cost to maintain. However, without proper account setup and proficient management, PPC campaigns are unlikely to realize their full potential.
Pro tip: Looking to steal market share from a competitor? Use their company name as a keyword in your campaign to acquire the coveted first ad position. If they are not running a Google Ads campaign, it’s probably yours. If they are, (and running it right) you will need to compete for the first position by writing better ad copy, headlines, and compelling offers to entice users to click on your ad over theirs.
#3 Supercharge Your Social Media
Nearly 70 percent of Americans use social media. That’s nearly 25 percent more than have a cable subscription.
The best time to develop a social media presence was ten years ago. The second-best time is now. A social media presence provides an outlet to connect and communicate creatively and regularly with your audience. Think of it as your brand’s casual voice.
Each channel is an opportunity to build a community of loyal followers that helps increase visibility of your page by engaging with its content. Each like, share and comment amplifies awareness and strengthens brand loyalty, while also providing value to your audience.
In a platform’s attempt to monetize, they often sell paid advertising that boosts visibility to target audiences that have shown interest in topics that may be of interest to your business. This can be extremely helpful to build your initial 100 followers, or alert users to a specific promotion or deal your business is running.
Whether your company is new to the social sphere, or needs to reinvigorate an established business page, there are a few proven actions you can take today:
• Rethink your social media communications strategy. Arby’s and Wendy’s are winning the fast food social media wars by serving up fresh humor on trendy topics while growing in a shrinking market. They have captured the attention of future generations of hungry (or soon to be hungry) consumers.
• Participate daily in the conversation, whatever platform you choose. Don’t wait for your audience to find you, aggressively seek them out where they are at, and put your message where they can see it on a regular basis.
• Make the first move. Follow users on Instagram and Twitter that use the same hashtags, or search out hashtags related to your model buyers.
• Select platforms that make sense for your business, and your audience. It needs to be a platform that your target customers enjoy using, and also one that your talents and your content are best suited to.
Pro tip: Message every contact in your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn accounts. Ask if they know someone who can use your services. Take the pressure off them and ask for a referral, not their business. Simple. Free. Effective. (Shout out to Gary Vaynerchuk on this one!)
The Challenge To Building Brand Awareness Online
There are over 30 million businesses in the U.S. and Statista reports up to 91 percent of them use social media to market their business.
The challenge to building brand awareness online for little to no cost is that everyone else is also trying to build brand awareness online in the same ways. Achieving search result dominance means outperforming your competition. Paid ads require an investment, and some strategic thinking. Being rewarded with social media success requires connecting with your audience on a deeper level than simply transactional.
Develop your unique strategy in authenticity, creativity, and clear communication. The rest will follow.
If this all feels a little overwhelming, you are not alone. An integrated marketing agency like Joint Media Marketing can help you to clarify your message, and position your company strongly, in a competitive market. If you have any questions, or would like to talk about a brand awareness campaign, contact us today!