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When your brand is top of mind for consumers, half of the purchase process is already done. Your consumers don’t have to look for various products or do research on what your company is about. But how do you build awareness of your brand in the first place so that you’re thought of as an industry leader? Read on to find out the key steps in building your brand awareness.
Brand awareness is, simply put, when a majority of consumers are aware of your brand, what you stand for, and what products or services you offer. For example, if someone says the brand name “Nike,” you immediately think of athletic gear, “Just Do It” and the signature swoosh symbol. When consumers are in the market for athletic gear, Nike is likely one of the first places they search. Instead of Googling “athletic gear,” they may even do a branded search like “Nike running sneakers.”
Organizations that have strong brand awareness benefit because they’ve already built credibility and trust with their customer base. Shoppers already know that Nike offers quality athletic gear, so they really don’t need to put much effort into researching the quality or reliability of Nike products—they can simply assume that the products will be high quality.
Building brand awareness is a strategic process that can take time. But, if your organization works to build strong brand awareness, you’ll increasingly differentiate yourself from your close competitors and become known as extremely credible and reliable brand. There are six key steps that you can take to build brand awareness. As you take each step, you’ll build branded search traffic and engagement, and ultimately drive more purchase habits.
For some organizations, this first step might be the easiest—or the hardest. Before you work to spread your brand to your audience, you need to know the core values that your brand represents. For example, a few of the Progress brand values include challenging the ordinary and inventing boldly. These values are incorporated into all external and internal communications, and helps us shape what content, programs, campaigns and products we will produce next. This further solidifies our brand awareness, personality and credibility in the market as we move forward.
Discover what your brand personality is by aligning with your organization and deciding on what values you want/can represent. This personality should map back to and fit with your overall organizational mission and objectives. Analyze how the market perceives you now and decide on what you want your audiences and the market to perceive you as moving forward.
Utilize these key decisions to formulate your brand personality—which encompasses many different areas such as:
Now that you know what you stand for, it’s time to figure out what your audience values and is interested in. At a very basic level, identify who your audience is. Do they fall in different segments based on demographics, behavior and preferences? Utilize audience segmentation tools to identify clear and actionable segments within your audience.
Once you have segmented your audience, discover what the different segments of your audience are interested in, beyond what your product or organization offers. Look into what their search habits and interests are. For example, one segment of your audience may be very interested in content that focuses on news updates and trends in the software industry. Or, one segment may be interested in cool office products and supplies.
Now, you can write content that maps to these interests. Even if these topics don’t correctly correlate with your offerings, you’re writing to what those in your industry actually care about. This brings more traffic from your target audience to your website. Since you’re writing about hot industry topics, your audience will soon see you as a thought leader in the industry and will come to your site for the latest information on what’s going on. This ultimately leads to more traffic to product-related content and more conversions.
A key way to spread brand awareness is through establishing a social media strategy and presence. Determine what types of posts, language and imagery best represent your brand personality. Then, create a schedule of posts that represents these values that you can follow each week, along with a brand-related hashtag.
In addition, you can implement a campaign asking for your followers to share these posts in exchange for a prize or some type of promotion. This will help connect your core audience and potential new audience members with your name and the values behind it. Use social sharing buttons that are integrated with your web content management system to allow your team and audience to easily and seamlessly communicate your branded web content on social.
This speaks to the phrase, “If it’s free, it’s for me.” As consumers, we all love free stuff, especially when it comes to valuable web content. For product- or offering-related content, it can be valuable to make it easily accessible to your key audience. Any related trainings, tips and tricks, etc. are things that are commonly searched for by your users. If your core users are looking for this content, make it free. This will bring more traffic to your website, allow them to share the materials with their team, and ultimately spread brand awareness and open up the opportunity to inform them about additional purchase opportunities.
In addition, many organizations find it valuable to offer a free trial to prospects. This really allows consumers to get a feel for what your product or offering is all about and encourages them to engage with your brand by downloading the trial. Consumers will be able to feel what being a customer for your brand is really like, prompting them to become an official customer of your organization—if you’ve nailed the customer experience, of course.
What is the purpose of putting time and resources into publishing high-quality web content if your audience can’t even find it on your website? To spread brand awareness effectively, utilize site search capabilities within your content management system. This ensures that your audience will find exactly the content that they’re looking for in the right place and at the right time.
Using site search will also help with your search engine optimization so that your brand personality will be effectively promoted on search engines. By generating SEO-friendly sitemaps, your content can easily be crawled by search engines, bolstering your relevancy for given keywords. The higher and more often you show up on Google, the more consumers can see and interact with your brand. That is the key to stronger brand awareness.
One final way to promote brand awareness is to identify channels that your audience frequently visits, outside of your own organization’s channels. These are key areas to promote your content to consumers that fit within your target audience, who may not have heard much about your brand yet. Look for third-party media outlets, blogs, news sources, editorials or strategic partner organizations, and promote some of your own content on their sites. Link back to popular content on your website so that content can bring that audience to your site, engage them with compelling content and eventually convert them into customers, thus building your brand awareness and your core audience.
Now that you know a bit more about how to effectively establish yourself as an industry leader, start building your brand awareness today! Sitefinity, along with its audience segmentation, social sharing tools and integrated site search capabilities, enables you to easily take control of your brand and spread it across multiple channels to your key audience.
Amy Ward is a Product Marketing Specialist at Progress focused on the Sitefinity solution. As a marketer, Amy also is a Sitefinity user, and loves to share her Sitefinity stories with other marketers like her.
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