For any business to grow and thrive, there has to be a constant stream of potential customers gaining regular and frequent exposure to the business.
It doesn’t matter how amazing your product or service is, if no one knows who you are, what you do and why you do it better than the competition, you’re going to have to work a lot harder than you need to for sales and success—and that’s why brand awareness is a crucial component of inbound marketing.
What does brand awareness mean within the inbound methodology?
When it comes to inbound marketing, brand awareness is the gateway to turning strangers into website visitors. Measuring your visitor rate and the places they’re coming from should be the key KPIs (key performance indicators) for success tied to brand awareness. If you’re increasing your traffic month over month, using the three tactics below, you’re on the right track. After all, brand awareness is step one in the multistep process of successful lead generation.
The simple fact of the matter is, there are really only three ways a stranger can find your brand online—so building brand awareness is dependent on three tactics, which we’ll dive into below. What should drive all of these tactics is a strong content marketing strategy. It’s how we craft the message and share the voice of our business to build our future tribe of prospects, customers, employees and partners.
Brand Awareness Tactic 1: SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, in my opinion, is the best way to harness brand awareness. Each and every day we’re all using Google, Siri or Alexa to help us find answers to our problems—no matter how simple or complex, this is typically the first step a potential prospect will take to find a solution for their need. By working with your marketing, sales and customer services teams, you can set a defined list of keywords (ideally, long-tail keywords or phrases) that directly align with the needs of your prospects and buyers.
By creating this list, you have the building blocks for your content strategy. The only way to rank for keywords organically is to create valuable content around those phrases that will drive traffic.
There are two other crucial elements to SEO, aside from adding keywords to your website messaging. On-site, keyword-driven SEO only works if your website is first technically sound.
Technical SEO ensures web compliance. If your website is full of broken links, loads too slowly or has security issues, it doesn’t matter how aligned and wonderful the content is for your prospects—because Google won’t rank your site on the first page.
Lastly, there is off-site SEO. This accounts for the other websites that link back to your domain. The best way to achieve strong off-site SEO is to start with strong content. By creating content and getting that content in front of the eyes of other websites that can share it, you’ll get featured with a link back to your site.
All of this showcases how SEO can greatly impact your brand awareness.
Brand Awareness Tactic 2: PPC
SEO is a ton of work, and sometimes, the difficulty of ranking for specific keywords is so great that you may never rank for them, or it may take a very long time. If you’re looking for instant brand awareness, or for a guaranteed way to draw attention to your website and brand, PPC (pay-per-click) is the way to go.
However, that doesn’t just mean handing over your credit card and purchasing all the search terms you wish you could be on page one, position one for. First, you need a strategy for buying the traffic you want. There are three things to ask yourself when building this strategy:
- What are the keywords I’d like to be found for and how expensive are they?
- If I purchase the keyword and it drives a click to my website, am I sending them somewhere purposeful?
- Does that webpage align with the keyword, paid ad text and the desired result the visitor wants?
Brand Awareness Tactic 3: Social Media
Finally, we have our final tactic of attracting strangers and turning them into website visitors. Social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, help attract your desired prospects who don’t yet know you in unique ways. The foundational concept of inbound marketing is to meet your prospects where they’re spending their time and attract them with content that is enticing and valuable. Many prospects are using social media in their personal and professional lives.
Facebook: For organic engagement, this is the most personal of these three social media platforms. So if a person sees a "friend" or "follower" engage with a piece of content, they may interact as well.
Twitter: Using relevant hashtags on Twitter allows your posts and content to be found in a stream of related news. Often, professionals are looking to follow subject matter experts for relevant industry news.
LinkedIn: From content on company LinkedIn pages to personal post statuses, LinkedIn is the most valuable social network for B2B influence and brand awareness. By engaging in post conversations and sharing relevant content with your network, you have an opportunity to showcase content to the network of the professionals you're connected to, which helps expand your reach.
To sum it all up, a strong inbound marketing strategy begins with brand awareness campaigns that lead your future buyer to your website because you’re helping them solve a problem and serve a need. This allows your business to be seen as an expert in the space and helps build trust—a key factor in the buying process!