Your brand is everything the customer pictures when they think of your product. Take a few seconds and quickly picture these brands: Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Google, and Nike. I’m willing to bet that you immediately pictured their logo along with their website, product, or advertisement. Big brands have the luxury of being able to stand by just a logo without any real communication, but younger brands have to do a lot of work to accomplish the same recognition.
How can a company begin to increase their brand awareness online? We asked a variety of branding experts to give their opinions on how to gain more brand recognition. Here’s the Top 10 Online Brand Awareness Tips (in no particular order):
1 – Create Helpful Content
We’ll start with my favorite: create helpful content. I love helpful content and I’m sure you do to. I’m more likely to share something with everyone I know if it truly helped me out.
“Providing some kind of content or service on the house. This can take the form of offering a free eBook on your industry, giving a free webinar, writing blogs, etc. If you have the time to write, you have the time to promote your brand online.”
Acquisition Marketer, Visual Net Design
2 – Partner with Another Brand
Piggy-back rides! Sometimes it may take riding the coat-tails of another brand to gain your own momentum. Partnering with brands instantly give you large audiences without doing much work at all.
“Partnering with another brand will help you inherit their image and reputation, as well as creating brand evangelists outside of your customer base.”
You might want a company that is similar to yours, where your audiences have definite overlap.
“One great way to increase brand awareness is to partner up with other businesses that offer products or services related to yours. This might be through bundles, packages, webinars, giveaways, or special events. You expose your brand to their audience, and you can bring great new stuff to your own audience. Everybody wins!“
3 – Get Featured on an Industry Website
This is a lot harder barrier to break through, but you will probably get the best results. To get featured you will probably have to either have a contact or have a brilliant pitch, but it can be done and you’ll be going after a targeted audience (bonus!).
“One way to increase brand awareness is to be featured on websites related to your industry. For example if you are a banking company, you can try submitting an article to popular websites and blogs about banking.”
4 – Join Targeted Discussion Groups and Forums
This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. You should seek out where your target audience goes to have professional discussions and try to introduce your company. The fact it is targeted should get you more immediate results.
“Participating actively in Internet discussion groups targeted to my audience has brought in tens of thousands of dollars in copywriting and consulting.”
5 – Buy it with AdWords
If at first you don’t succeed, throw money at the problem (isn’t that how the old saying goes? I forget). This is actually a very relevant solution to increase brand awareness because any Adwords related to your company should be rather affordable. Adwords can be very helpful in a lot of different instances related to brand awareness, but also costly if you don’t know what you’re doing (fair warning).
“We created an AdWords campaign with the explicit intent of generating brand awareness. Rather than focus on clicks or conversions, we instead focused purely on impressions while trying to only target clicks that were genuinely interested in the product. This helped us gather pre-qualified leads and spread the word about our company to those who weren’t currently interested but could be future clients. We achieved this kind of targeting by constantly testing different ad copy to find the most efficient combinations.”
6 – Give Away FREE STUFF!
I like free stuff, you probably do too (if not, you’re not being honest with yourself). This isn’t the best way to gain long term success with brand awareness, because free things are not always valued as much as those we spend money on…but you could strike gold, so it’s worth a shot.
“One way to build brand awareness is to launch a give-a-way. People love free stuff! If you put together a free give away that costs you less than $100, you could potentially reach hundreds of thousands of people. Give something away that your target market actually wants/needs.”
7 – Viral Social Contests (More Free Stuff)
Contests with a caveat, that’s what this should be called. If the cost of something free is a “like”, “follow”, or “retweet”, then it’s not really free…right? Anyway, that kind of exposure can go viral depending on the offering.
“Run a contest! Require that people like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter as well as mention a friend in the comment section of your giveaway post on either of those social media platforms. This gets your audience referring their friends to your contest and creates a viral effect. The ultimate result is more people signing up for the contest, more likes and follows on your social media pages, and more awareness for your brand.”
8 – Create a Phrase (or Word) That Can be Associated With Your Brand
Just do it. You know what brand I’m referring to. Wouldn’t it be cool if your brand had something just like that, where you could just say a phrase and everyone knew that was your brand. If it’s catchy enough, that might be the fuel your brand needs to take off.
“Coin a phrase or create a new word. Hubspot coined “Inbound Marketing” and eventually people will start using the phrase and it keeps the Hubspot brand top-of-mind whenever the phrase is spotted. It’s a long-term trick, but it can work beautifully when executed correctly.”
9 – Get Customer Reviews
Getting other people to spread your brand for you is ideal. Customer reviews are the easiest way to do this. Great reviews are great for brand awareness. Funny reviews are even better, but that’s just my opinion because I love funny reviews.
“In addition to SEO and customer service benefits, online reviews are also a great tool for building your company’s online reputation. While much of the focus has been on Facebook and Twitter, recent trends and studies indicate that user generated online reviews can be a far more powerful online marketing tool. Customer reviews on sites like Yelp, Google+ Local, Angie’s List, etc. have been proven to influence 79 percent of consumers’ decisions.”
Reviews build brand trust, which is huge for continuing to establish an online brand that everyone recognizes.
“Let the words of your satisfied customers establish trust and brand awareness for you. Asking prominent customers to provide testimonials for your site, and regularly asking customers to leave their reviews on independent review sites creates an honest, trustworthy and up-to-date resource which could help your potential clients decide if they’d like to do business with you.”
10 – Be Great at Social Media
This is obvious, but sometimes we need reminded of what’s right in front of us. Being relevant and informative on social media will go a long way in establishing your company brand.
“Target a competitor’s followers on social media. If your company is better than a direct competitor in a certain way, highlight that differentiating feature while marketing to your competitor’s users.”
Engagement is always paramount in social media. So would it surprise you that tweet chats can increase brand awareness? Probably not.
“Tweet chats are a great way to brand your business online. They’re led by influencers and are focused on a particular topic, drawing interested individuals who are potential partners and customers. They also occur on a regular schedule at the same time with topic announced well beforehand. This allows you to be prepared to put your best foot forward.”
What about disruptive social practices? It might sound shady, but if done correctly it could expose your brand to a LOT of people. Use your best judgement…
“The best way to increase brand awareness online is by associating your brand with similar but more well known brand’s social circles. This can be done via hashtags, Google+ Circles, Facebook Groups, etc. If you are introducing a brand new electric vehicle in 5 years it would be smart to start posting images of your concept car and hashtagging the same hashtag individuals who are researching Tesla are looking at. This disrupts the customer’s viewpoint that Tesla is the only electric car in the game and allows them to know that your brand exists.”
Director of Creative Marketing, Hickey Marketing Group
As you can see, there are many ways to begin to increase your online brand awareness. Whether that is through your website, another company’s website, social media, or a whacky contest, you can start to reach more people with your logo and messaging.
So what about spreading your brand through the files you send? What if there was a way to attach your brand to every email attachment, file sent, and file requested? You would essentially be swapping out any Dropbox logo (or other file sharing provider’s logo) with your logo. Wouldn’t that help? The answer is yes. With SmartFile you can get even more brand exposure through sending and requesting secure files via a fully branded file sharing site. It’s brilliant for companies that want added exposure to the many file interactions they have everyday with internal and external contact. Try it out and see for yourself!
Do you have another great way to increase online brand awareness? Leave your suggestion in the comments and everyone can discuss which method actually works best.