At this stage, a potential customer may not know anything about you at all. Or maybe they know about you but don’t think of you as a solution or answer to what they need. Your customer has a specific need or pain point they want to solve. Perhaps they went on Google, thinking about buying a new TV or looking for a new wine for a date night dinner. Perhaps they came across your brand through a Facebook or Instagram ad without even looking for it. Regardless of how it happens, The awareness stage is when someone gets introduced or reintroduced to your business, products, or services. And first impressions count. It’s one thing for someone to come across your brand; it’s another for someone to actually click. Here are some things you can do to get people to know your brand and products exist.
Related Article: Introduction to the marketing funnel
No matter what avenue you take, from Google ads to a table at a local farmer’s market, you have to know who your customers are and what matters to them in relation to your products, services, and business. What keeps your customers awake at night? How will you bring value to their lives? What will you do for them that your competition won’t? Why will they click on your ad or search result? This helps you create and deliver relevant content that is more likely to not only get potential customers to click, but to stay on your site and learn more. (Link to everyone is not your customer) (asking customers what they want is a bad idea).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of getting your website to appear higher in search results without paying. It is an ongoing process you will revisit and refine for the life of your business and each product, page, and post. Yes, every product, page, landing page, blog post, and social media post, all have their own individual SEO. For example, this post you are reading on awareness has a different SEO than our article on hashtags. That helps search engines not only help you drive traffic to your site, but drive traffic to the relevant part of your site. When that happens, they are more likely to stay on your site, and that also helps with your SEO, by showing Google that visitors to your site find it relevant and useful. SEO is not a quick process. Like a train, it can take time to leave the station. But once it does, it takes a lot to slow it down, which means you can benefit from it for a long time.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Unlike SEO, SEM is increasing a website’s visibility in a search engine through paid advertisement. With SEM, you can get your brand near the top of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a price. When you do a search, you will usually see ads near the top, and sometimes at the bottom of the SERP. They are always identified as ads. The same ads can also end up on other webpages and apps. If a website has space on their site for a Google ad, for example, your Google Ad can appear on that website. SEM can have quick results. Like an ad on TV, it starts showing up the moment the switch is flipped, but it disappears as soon as it is turned off.
Social Media Marketing and advertising
There are many ways to build awareness on social media. The most common is for a business to get their followers to share the business’s post with their followers. When this happens, new people get introduced to your brand. It’s the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth. Social media advertising is similar to social media marketing, except that it’s paid. You can pay to have an ad show in the feeds of people who don’t follow you. This lets you target new customers based on criteria like interests and location.
Video marketing comes in many forms, but a common one to build awareness is a YouTube ad that plays before or sometimes as a commercial during a video. Similar to social media advertising, you can target potential customers based on different criteria, such as videos they previously watched.
Sometimes you can partner with a person or a brand that has a large following, and have them promote your product or service to their followers. Usually for a fee, sometimes for an exchange in services. Let’s say you have an expensive line of cosmetics. You might offer them to the influencer at no cost, in exchange for good exposure to their followers. here are several types of influencer marketing partnerships. A common one to build awareness is a review. For example, you can pay an influencer to try out your product or service. The influencer then details their experience, in text, images, and video. When doing influencer marketing, it is vital the influencer discloses the relationship and follows all regulatory guidelines.
This is a marketing technique that focuses on creating and distributing valuable content. An example of this is a downloadable e-book or guide that your potential customers may want to read. It could also be a video or an educational webpage. Content marketing is often tied with SEO or SEM, but remember, creating valuable content is just the first step of content marketing. The next is to get the content in front of potential customers.
You also need to think about people that might initially learn about your product or service offline. Maybe a friend tells them about you, or perhaps they see your product on the shelf in a store. Chances are, they are going to go online to learn more.