Brand awareness refers to how mindful customers are of your company and their knowledge of the products orservices you offer. The more people know about you and what you do, the higher your brand awareness. Inbound customers are potential buyers who find you rather than you having to find them. Heightened brand awareness leads to anincrease in possible clients and revenue.
As you receive more inbound customers by creating a demand for your business, you will be able to place less emphasis on recruiting customers. While this sounds convenient, it doesn't come without work. Cue inbound marketing; here are some brand awareness tactics you need to know to increase your inbound customer demand.
If customers find you, you don’t have to spend time, energy, and money seeking them out. Part of securing customers is making yourself accessible. While you might have to invest in some resources to increase your brand awareness, your return on investment (ROI) increases when your efforts focus on inbound marketing rather than outbound marketing.
Customers who come to you organically — on their own — are more likely to share their experiences and refer others to you. The fact that they chose to go to you says a lot about what they already think of your brand.
Hereis the process of inbound marketing and the benefits that come with it:
Inbound marketing is a cycle of four parts: attract visitors, convert leads, close customers, and create loyalty. Creating value for your customers generates word-of-mouth promotion.This can be an unpredictable form of marketing, but it's a powerful strategy that induces new visitors, allowing the marketing cycle to repeat itself.
The core of this model consists of your brand bringing customers to you. These visitors can then interact with you and become leads as they find your work beneficial. Leads are people who are familiar with you and your products and are learning to trust you. Leads become customers when it becomes natural for them to turn to you. You just have to make sure they have a positive experience with you and like the product or service. Their interest will make them want to continue to be customers and invite others to have the same experience, starting the cycle all over again without you having to do extra work.
New customers will naturally gravitate to your work as you focus on your visibility, relationships, and addressing pain points. Instead of pushing products, aim to educate, entertain, and welcome. This leads to building trust, reputation, and authority. Inbound marketing can also attract people who are already your target audience or close to it instead of any random person who might have no interest in what you offer.
Inbound marketing is often seen as a long-term investment. The process might take longer to generate sales, but it has the power to create momentum, leading to a higher ROI. Inbound marketing also tends to have lower upfront costs than traditional advertising. This form of marketing is also more widely accepted, as it is less invasive. Rather than thrusting your business into someone’s life, you are finding ways to add value to their lives that they can choose to accept or walk away from without being rude or confrontational.
There are various inbound marketing tactics for each of the four marketing cycle stages. Many of these strategies overlap and could be implemented in different stages depending on your goals. If you're just getting started, focus on the marketing tactics themselves. If you have trouble converting people from one step to the next, it's good to look at tactics that precisely fit those painpoints. This way, you can address where the hang-up is and get people to travel through the entire marketing circle.
The first step in your inbound marketing cycle is attracting visitors. There are several ways to accomplish this goal, but before you implement an inbound marketing tactic, you need to know who you are trying to attract. Start by creating or reviewing who your ideal customer is and their personality. This is who you want to target with your marketing. Examine your business, products or services, and current customers. You can use tools such as Facebook insights to see what type of people engage with your posts. You can learn what gender and age range your current efforts attract. If these analytics tell you it's not your ideal demographic, it's time to make some changes.
As you evaluate your current situation and how it's working for you, it's crucial to perform a content audit. Look at all of your content, from videos to blog posts to social media highlights, and see who interacts with it and how much interaction it receives as a whole. Search for patterns that attract a lot of attention and what is glanced over. Many analytic tools can help you in this process. Do some research, play around, and find what works for your needs.
You can also survey current customers or ask them for in-depth interviews. The goal with these actions is to learn what your customers like and dislike, but most importantly, what problems they have that you might be able to fix. By understanding your customers’ pain points, you can know how to market to them and what services you can provide them that will be of the highest value. None of this is strictly necessary, but the more information you have, the further ahead you will be as you start applying your inbound marketing tactics.
Content marketing is a strategy that most people are familiar with, given the rise of social media. The primary element of content marketing is creating a range of things in your particular scope that draws customers in and invites them to learn about you. Ideally, that invitation will result in them going to your website or social media page so they can learn more about your brand. Typical content marketing includes blogs, social media marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
Some principles are valid across all forms of content marketing. Visuals are almost always beneficial—people like images and videos. Data and statistics are essential for credibility. However, storytelling is vital for emotional connection. If you can marry these two, then everyone wins. People remember stories more than statistics, but data is what gives strength to your claims.
Blogs, regardless of length, consistently provide value to businesses due to the information they provide visitors and the credibility they create for you. It's recommended to have a few pillar posts or pages covering your main topics. These are long posts withtons of information and link to shorter articles covering smaller, relevant issues. If you had a pillar page on bread, you could link to your supporting articles on yeast, wheat, gluten, flatbread, sourdough, rolls, and sandwich bread.
Pillar pages provide a framework for your other articles to connect to, creating a web of valuable information. Instead of having tons of articles on various subjects, you have a few sections, each with its own topic. The links between pillar articles and shorter case articles also provide some credibility and organization for search engines. As you write blog articles, use enticing headlines. Catchy titles should accurately represent your article, so craft them in a way that doesn't damage your credibility but stirs the reader to continue. Including negativity with words like ‘don’t’ and ‘never’ instead of the positive ‘always’ is incredibly enticing.
Along with creating content for your own blog, a highly beneficial marketing tactic is to guest post on other blogs. This can help you develop relationships with other business and website owners and their viewers. It can also establish you as an authority to their readers and search engines who see your name recurring on the internet. An added SEO benefit of guest posting is backlinks from other sites to your website. These links are more substantial and provide greater authority to search engines than internal links.
Social media is a vast source of content marketing. However, you don't have to be on every platform, depending on your target audience. Some sites may even object to marketing tactics like Reddit and Pinterest. Social media does make sharing information easy and accessible to a wide array of people you wouldn't usually contact. As you use social media, keep your target customer in mind and cater to finding and helping them. You want to drive people from your social media to your blog and website, but if you are not attracting your target customer on social platforms, you will lose them when they get to your site—if they even get that far.
It's essential to be active on social media. If you have social media pages that you are not active on, they can’t expand your reach and create brand awareness. To be seen and possess any form of reputation on social media, you need to post actively. If you make an effort to engage with visitors on your social media pages, you should see a return for your efforts with people visiting your website or other pages.
You don’t have to be on every social media platform, but try to make sure you are active and provide value to your viewers on whatever platforms you have a presence on. Otherwise, there is no point in you being there.
Content marketers care about search engine optimization because it helps content rank high in search results. When a search engine deems your content is relevant and reliable, it is more likely to show up on the front page. This, in turn, means you get more visibility and more visitors.
Other SEO aspects include keywords people search for and keywords creators have in their titles and content. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases people might search for and are highly beneficial for visibility if your content matches that niche.
Now is a good time to look at your website design for its effectiveness. Look for how easy it is to navigate and whether it is inviting to strangers or will stop them in their tracks. You don’t want poor web design to turn people away out of frustration. Take the time to make your website inviting, and while you are at it, make it mobile-friendly. The number of people searching for things on their phones continues to rise.
If your site is not mobile-friendly, there is a good chance you will miss out on attracting visitors simply because they don’t want to deal with unresponsive websites from their phones.
Moving to the physical world instead of digital, events are a great way to generate brand awareness. They let people interact with your business in a friendly, low-pressure environment. People remember stories; they also retain their experiences. When you host an event, you create experiences that people will remember. This starts a relationship that brings people back when they're ready for your products and services.
When people are interested in your products and services, they are leads. This point in the inbound marketing cycle is where visitors go from knowing you exist to knowing what you have to offer and how it is beneficial to them. From here, you want to keep them interested in what you have to offer so that they decide you are an excellent source to obtain these offers.
To pull leads in, take the visitors you attract and show them that your offers are worthwhile. Invite them to participate in additional steps to learn about you and your business. This is also an effective action for collecting contact information so you can continue to reach out to leads that may run cold.
Content offers are an excellent way to create value for your customers. You are likely offering higher value to your leads at this stage of the inbound marketing cycle, but you are probably also asking to trade for these offers. Typically, these content offers consist of offering visitors a more valuable piece of content in exchange for their contact information, such as their name, email, phone number, work position, or company — whatever you determine beneficial for your marketing needs.
This trade of information shows your visitors that you're serious about what you have to offer and that your visitors are interested in what you have to say. Getting your foot in the door allows leads to convert to customers and provide insight into narrowing your marketing efforts to convert them.
Common forms of content used for content offers include webinars, training, email courses, white papers, or other research papers. These content offers are also done with upgraded content on websites where the offered material is a more in-depth piece related to the content visitors are looking at.
For example, if someone is reading a post on your site about service contracts, your upgrade offer might be a contract template that would save them the time and effort of creating their own from scratch. In return, you now have information to contact them and know that they are likely interested in other related templates that you sell.
A call to action allows you to guide visitors to their next step. This might be inviting them to learn more, sign up for a trial, subscribe to a newsletter or monthly service package, or join a network or community. If you tell your visitors about a service or product you offer, decide what you would like them to do with that information and pick a point to invite them to take action. You can think of this as someone on the phone or at your door telling you about a product and then asking, “Would you like to know more?” When you place a call to action on your site, you are extending an invitation that visitors have the chance to accept or decline.
A call to action typically comes as an opt-in form box or a button that redirects them to a relevant page where they can continue with the appropriate steps. A straightforward example of a call to action is a hello bar, or banner bar, that sits unobtrusively at the top of a website. If someone is interested in the offer (get a discount code, sign up for XYZ, find the latest content with this link, or book a call now), they can use the bar. Otherwise, they are free to ignore it and continue doing whatever they wish on the page.
Landing pages are specific to one piece of the action and are usually somewhere you land in response to a link you clicked on. Companies can have multiple landing pages and should if they're running multiple offers or calls to action at any given time. While a call to action invites you to do something, a landing page focuses and helps you through the steps to follow that invitation if you accept it. This is where a visitor can download content, sign up for your offer, or join your network. This stage is where they change from visitors into leads.
As you create landing pages, remember to keep things simple. Because they exist for your visitor to take action, you don’t want extra information distracting them from their mission. The only choices on a landing page should be to continue with the presented action or quit and leave.
Present alluring content that hooks visitors into exploring the sight, looking for more information, and seeing what else your business offers. Landing pages aren't limited to the digital sphere either. Glass store fronts of physical businesses act as a landing page, giving shoppers a taste of what's to come if they step inside.
Even though this is called social proof, it doesn’t necessarily happen on social media. Social proof is the feedback, reviews, testimonials, and recommendations people give about your company. People may trust reviews of unknown users almost as much as they trust the advice of their friends and certainly more than they trust the seller.
Make an effort to collect these reviews from as many customers as possible, whenever and wherever you can. Then display it on your website, emails, and social media pages. If there is a place where you are selling something, make room for social proof to accompany the sells page.
Let the work you have done continue to work for you. The word of previous customers can help make new customers even if the two customers never meet face to face. This can increase your credibility with the leads you have.
After having done the work to build relationships with people who have found you, you are at a point where they are turning to you specifically for the products or services you offer. Now you get to close your leads and make them customers. This is an area where automation can come into play as you help people make the final decision to purchase from you.
Since your leads are expressing interest in what you are selling, now is an excellent time to show them sales-focused content. You can do this through targeted messages like email and remarketing. These messages might be a reminder that your leads haven’t purchased items in their cart, or it could be an email they opted into letting them know about a new product or a sale you are having. If you are in a service industry, these messages might indicate you offer a new service, or they could let people know a service complimenting one they previously used is available.
Remarketing is marketing aimed at inviting previous visitors to return. Examples are when you look at something on a website and then see ads and suggestions for it on your social media pages. You might also be letting people know it is time to use a repeat service again, like when you get a reminder to schedule your dental cleaning.
Rather than predicting what you think people might like based on analytics, you remind them of things they already indicated they are interested in.
At this stage of working with leads and customers, it is often beneficial to keep track of your customers and interactions. Using customer relationship management (CRM) software makes this record-keeping effortless.
These records are valuable because they give you insights into how and when to nurture your leads. If you have a record of communication, it is much easier to say what the last contact was and when it occurred. You are able to get an idea of what direction to continue the conversation and when you should reach out. With just a handful of leads, this record is essential, and with dozens or more leads at once, this becomes essential.
It's good to know what marketing efforts lead to revenue for your business so you can get an idea of the return on investment (ROI) for each of your efforts. At a basic level, this is like asking where people heard about you. This can give you more detailed information at a higher level, such as what social media platforms generate more leads and what types of content get the most interaction.
While this information doesn’t help you directly close on leads, it lets you know what you are doing to get to this point and what changes you need to make.
Now that you have converted leads to customers, the final step is to create loyalty. The primary way this is done is to continue providing amazing customer service. You don’t want to ruin people’s perspective of how great you are now by letting your customer service lapse.
Even if they don’t become repeat customers, these people are in a prime position to promote your business for you. They can add momentum to your inbound marketing cycle and lead other people to you in a way you will never be able to reach yourself. Delighted customers are likely to share their experience with others through word of mouth simply because of how happy the experience made them.
In addition to natural word of mouth, make sure to ask your customers for feedback, reviews, and testimonials. This can be done with surveys, chats, emails, or phone calls. You can take these responses and share them through other marketing tactics to strengthen the trust people have in your company. One other way companies frequently create loyalty with their customers is through rewarding loyalty. If a loyalty program works for you, it can help your customers feel appreciated.
There are other ways you can create loyalty even before they make it past the close stage. Your customer service should be top of the line from the very beginning. You can advise and assist those who interact with your business, whether or not they are purchasing anything from you.
Remember, you want to provide value, not just push sales. It is also important to listen to others and respond appropriately, especially on social media. By taking time to listen and respond, you show people that they matter to you, and in a way that is more than a dollar sign.
A couple of other inbound marketing tactics that can create loyalty at any stage of the inbound cycle are personalization and creating communities. People like to belong and be seen. When you personalize an email or other message, it tells the recipient you see them and that they are different from the rest of the crowd.
Creating a community (especially on social media) lets people connect with others and feel like they belong. Each of these feelings is important in its own way, and while they might seem like contradicting emotions, they can coexist quite easily if we cultivate them.
Outside of ways you can specifically create loyalty through interaction, this can also be a time for you to test and refine your practices. Use analytics to review what practices have worked well and what have not provided the desired results. Keep your own records and conduct A/B testing on your landing pages, emails, and calls to action.
Consider changing the colors, sizes, and wording of various components in your marketing tactics. As you perform these tests, remember only to change one thing at a time. It might seem slow, but then you know specifically what results you get from different changes. You can use these results to continue creating loyalty in the future.
As you work on implementing different marketing tactics, don’t feel like you have to do it all alone or at once. That can get overwhelming, fast. Smith.ai has receptionists available 24/7 who can answer chats and calls and even provide outbound calls. If you want to boost your ability to help customers and leads through Facebook messaging, Smith.ai can help with that too.
Another resource Smith.ai provides is customer relationship management (CRM) software. By utilizing the tools and resources from Smith.ai, you can take the burdens of marketing off your plate and focus on other crucial tasks. You have more than enough to focus on in a world where time is as valuable as money. Using the resources available to you is a worthwhile investment so you can accomplish more with your small business.
We encourage you to book a free 30-minute consultation. If you decide to enlist our services, we will offer you a 14-day, money-back guarantee. Email Smith.ai today at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can assist you on your brandawareness journey.
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