You offer a great product and there are things you do better than anyone else. So, why aren’t you selling more? It’s simple: your brand probably lacks awareness.
If all it took to make your business grow was to make a better product, then you’d be set.
However, that is just not the way it works. Companies with great products go out of business every day because they fail to reach those people who need those solutions.
The truth is, there are few things more important to the success of a company than brand awareness. It’s impossible to sell your products, services or solutions if your target audience does not even know you exist.
Brand awareness research is a powerful force that provides a business with a huge competitive advantage. Therefore, it should be the top marketing goal of every business-to-business operation.
What is brand awareness?
First things first, brand awareness is simply how familiar a target audience is with a brand, and how likely they are to recall that brand during the information-gathering portion of the buyer’s journey.
For example, think about some of your favorite brands, envision their logos or just recall one of the more recent things you purchased. Somewhere along the way each of these brands was able to effectively grab your attention and make you aware of them.
It is so much easier to build demand for your solutions if people know who you are, know what you’re good at and have seen what you’ve done for others.
However, building strong brand awareness is not easy and it does not happen quickly. It is the result of multiple, simultaneous efforts that converge on your target audience making a lasting, positive impact.
Increasing brand awareness research is imperative for B2B operations because it is the driving force behind building trust and nurturing customer relationships. It is also the very first step in the sales funnel.
Why is brand awareness research especially important for B2Bs?
B2B companies looking to grow brand awareness will face different challenges then B2C companies and therefore require a different approach. (Another reason B2Bs benefit from engaging with digital marketing agencies with a sole focus on that sector).
One of the major differences between B2B and B2C companies is the time and number of people required to make a decision. Often a B2C sale requires just one customer and the buying journeys takes from a few minutes to a few days.
According to the B2B Buyers Survey Report from Demand Gen, the majority of sales on the business-to-business side take an average of 3 months and 80% require 6 people to make the final decision.
How much easier is it to generate “buy-in” and even shorten the sales cycle by having all parties involved with the decision having familiarity with the brand?
How Brand Awareness Impacts Customers
By understanding how your audience researches and compiles information along the buying journey, you can better identify awareness and conversion opportunities.
According to a study by Gartner, online research is the very first step in the B2B buyers’ journey.
For instance, when people do online research about your company, products or solutions, do you think they are more inclined to trust what your website says about you or what other sites say about you?
Companies tend to spend more time and money on SEO and website content than focusing attention on what actually converts leads into qualified sales prospects.
This is where earned media is so critical to the success of B2B companies. With articles that appear online in “high domain authority” websites like trade publications, you are essentially delivering your message to your prospects through a more credible source.
Lack of brand awareness is at the root of all marketing failures
The problem for a lot of B2B companies and marketers is that brand awareness is very hard to measure. Yet, brand awareness is one of the most crucial components to growth.
People who are familiar with you are more likely to:
- Talk to you
- Trust you
- Buy from you
That makes it vital to find ways to invest in building brand awareness, even if you can’t see exactly when you hit the ROI.
5 Ways to Fix Your Brand Awareness Problem
Simply put, if you reach out to a new lead and they have no idea who you are… You have a brand awareness problem.
It’s okay, you can fix it if you are ready to put in the work.
- Build a brand voice – this can be funny, emotional, smart, sentimental––it just has to be true to the brand and match the target audience.
- Tell your story – every brand has a story to tell, find yours and build that emotional connection.
- Build a following – create content that benefits your target audience and deliver it regularly.
- Establish yourself as an expert – Develop thought leadership pieces that demonstrate your knowledge.
- Share your success stories – better yet, have your customers share how you helped them.
When should you focus on building awareness research?
Brand awareness research strategies should be executed at all stages of the purchasing cycle, not just the initial stages.
Let’s face it, out of sight, out of mind. Customers need to consistently see and hear from you or when it comes time to buy, you will be on the outside looking in.
Building awareness doesn’t require a big budget. However, it does require a plan that employs multiple, integrated strategies.
In fact, here are a few ways you can increase brand awareness starting today:
Get Published in Feature Articles
One of the most effective ways of brand awareness research is for B2Bs to build exposure and grow awareness organically is by being featured in publications their audience already trusts. Inclusion in feature articles ensures you’re building a highly consistent and compelling brand image. They also give you the opportunity to showcase how you were able to help other customers solve their problems.
Then, when your feature article pops up under a search, customers are introduced (or re-introduced) to your brand and naturally will keep you in mind when they’re ready to buy.
Create Valuable Content
Let’s face it, if this year has shown us anything it is that content is king. You can consume content anywhere, whether you’re in the office from 9-5 or on your couch sipping coffee prepping for a Zoom call at noon.
The popularity of content marketing has skyrocketed to become one of the most cost-efficient, long-term strategies among B2B marketers.
All content must serve a strategic purpose, like establishing thought leadership. Then once it’s created it can easily be repurposed for use in other marketing initiatives.
Generating helpful and insightful information creates a positive association for your brand. Creating original content is your ticket to gaining organic traffic and qualified leads.
However, with popularity comes competition. Content creation therefore requires a greater degree of expertise then it did just a few years ago. Your content must include great storytelling, trending topics and be written at a level that matches your target audience. So, it can be hugely advantageous to hire a professional content marketing agency.
Leverage Social Media
You need to be where your audience is. Utilizing social media is a great way to tell your brand’s story, shape a unique brand voice and connect with your loyal customers and advocates.
However, it is important to choose platforms that best showcase your product or service offerings. Yes, Tiktok may be the latest social media app craze but if you’re in the business of manufacturing precision parts, you may not get the most out of this outlet.
For B2Bs the one platform that really makes sense right now is LinkedIn. This is where people come to share business ideas instead of platforms that are more geared to sharing one’s personal life stories and experiences.
Brand awareness goes beyond recognition. The ultimate goal is to be memorable, while at the same time delivering a positive impression of your brand.
The bottom line is that companies need to generate more qualified sales leads, close more deals and generate more revenue. By increasing the number of people that know and trust your brand you are one giant leap closer to success on all fronts.
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