Back in the pre-digital days, building awareness was the bread and butter of marketing and advertising. Tying specific revenue objectives or changes to an activity was difficult and clunky, so most advertisers stuck to building brand awareness and hoping for the best.
Fast forward, and now it’s almost on the back burner for all but the largest marketing teams. In some ways, building awareness has become shorthand for a campaign or activity where there isn’t a clear objective or measurable success target.
But that’s not to say that awareness lacks value. Building brand awareness both online and off among your target audience is a marketing strategy that, while difficult to track, has dozens of downstream benefits, such as more searches, better organic rankings and higher top-of-funnel volumes.
Here are four tactics and strategies you can use to build and maintain awareness in an age when it’s all about marketing ROI.
1. Form strategic partnerships
Building a brand from scratch is hard. It’s a lot easier to hitch your wagon to existing brands that your target audience already knows and likes. Uniqulo, a Japanese fast-fashion clothing company, uses this strategy effectively when they expand to a new city/territory by partnering with local designers and brands to boost their own credibility and awareness among their target audience.
2. Leverage guest blogging
If online content and traffic is a key part of your marketing plan, guest blogging is a superb tactic. It gets you backlinks to your site which your organic search and it’s a great, cost-effective way to reach new audiences who match your target buyers in a credible way.
3. Leverage press, news, and PR
The world of journalism has changed. The truth is, press outlets and trade websites/magazines are publishing more content then ever – and that means, they’re often more amenable to PR requests. Pitching an article idea about your company, a profile, or even a guest article is a great way to reach motivated audiences, especially for those industries with niche publications. It might be hard to get The New York Times on the phone, but it’s surprisingly easy to get Auto Dealer Monthly to talk to you.
4. Do something crazy
Guerrilla marketing can be an incredible brand awareness strategy that can be executed at an extremely low rate. Not only can a creative stunt increase awareness and recall, but it can pay serious dividends by going viral on social media and being featured in the press.
Brand awareness was the primary objective for marketing agencies for an extended period of time for a reason: it works.
Not only does it have a huge number of positive spin-off effects, from better search engine results to new audiences putting up their hands and saying “yes, I’d like your product,” it’s also increasingly cost-effective with strategies such as guest blogging and PR/online press being effectively free, and guerilla marketing potentially driving huge returns through viral social sharing.
You don’t have to be Coca-Cola for brand awareness to make a big impact to your bottom line. In the world of digital marketing, you just need a good idea and a little bit of grit.