Whether your brand has been around for decades or is a new start-up, it’s important to continually build brand awareness. Even if you are a demonstrated industry leader like Cisco or Microsoft, brand awareness is critical to the success of your business.
Why Brand Awareness Matters
The contacts at your existing clients may be leaving or taking new roles, your market may be experiencing an uptick in new business ventures, your existing clients may not be aware of all your capabilities, or you may be targeting multiple departments in an organization that has silos. These are just a few reasons why brand awareness matters for B2B marketing.
Strategies to Build Brand Awareness
Below are 7 successful ways B2B marketers can build brand awareness:
- Build a Polished, Optimized B2B Website
- Launch a Targeted PPC Campaign
- Run Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn + Social Media
- Create Thought Leadership Content with Partners
- Approach Industry Publications with Guest Article Pitches
- Connect & Share Content from Industry Influencers
- Craft Retargeting Strategies for Website Visitors
Now, let’s break each of these down a little bit further.
Build a Polished, Optimized B2B Website
We’ve mentioned before that simply having a website isn’t acceptable anymore. Whether your target market is 80 years old, 20 years old, or in between, the expectation is that you will have a professional website that looks current, functions properly, and provides the necessary information on your company’s products or services.
As such, to increase brand awareness, you need an optimized, polished B2B web design for your organization. The design needs to be customized, professional, interactive, and quick to load for the user. Additionally, it must be optimized for search engines and the user experience. Search engine optimization is now an essential step in creating and maintaining a digital brand presence.
Launch a Targeted PPC Campaign
Pay-per-click campaigns run on search engines like Google and Bing are a terrific way to get your brand in front of prospects searching for your products or websites. You don’t need to allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars each month to PPC campaigns if they are set up and continually monitored. In the hands of an experienced expert who understands your target market’s buying intent, your PPC campaigns can be streamlined and an efficient use of your advertising budget.
Run Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn Social Media
The awesome thing about running paid ads or sponsored updates on social media is the level of targeting available. If your ideal prospect is a software engineer at a SaaS company that has between 500 – 5,000 employees, you can run campaigns that target those specific users on a platform like LinkedIn.
These sponsored updates and ads enable you to pay to promote your company’s thought leadership content, webinars, customer success stories, and white papers or guides to potential prospects that may not be familiar with your company or the products or services you provide. These prospects may not be in a buying stage yet, but by building brand awareness early on, when they are ready to start the buying process, your firm will be a recognized partner.
Create Thought Leadership Content with Partners
For B2B marketing, building awareness can be all in who you know sometimes. A wonderful way to leverage who you know in the industry is to create thought leadership content with a strategic partner. Collaborating with a strategic partner enables you to both contribute your expertise to a high-value piece of content. This can be a webinar, white paper, case study, interview, article, guide, podcast, or video.
Once you have crafted the content, you and your strategic partner will benefit from exposure to each other’s audience. You share and promote the content piece to your audience and your strategic partner does the same. This gives your brand and their brand double the exposure.
Approach Industry Publications with Guest Article Pitches
Looking to get more recognition among logistics professionals? Draft a thought leadership piece that will resonate with logistics professionals and pitch it to a publication with that specific readership. Similar to creating a content piece with a strategic partner, this type of content creation can be labor-intensive. However, the payoff can be significant.
We’ve seen our clients get contacted for interviews in other publications and by prospects who read their article. These are just added bonuses to increased brand awareness.
Connect & Share Content from Industry Influencers
When done properly and strategically, connecting with industry influencers is another great way to build brand awareness. However, when done without tact or understanding, it can have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation. For this reason, it’s important to handle with finesse and diplomacy.
For this B2B marketing strategy for building brand awareness, the first step is identifying potential influencers in your industry. These are not people with the most social followers. They are thought leaders. People that professionals in your industry really listen to.
Once you have identified the influencers, engage with the content they are creating and sharing. This includes attending their webinars, downloading their content, commenting on their posts, sharing their content on your company’s social media, etc. In most cases, they will notice if you are doing it consistently. If you have a content piece that could use their insight or advice, ask them for it, feature them, and link to their website and social media. It doesn’t need to be a shameless plug for them, but can be a natural way to feature a thought leader.
Don’t forget that you may have clients who are industry influencers!
Craft Retargeting Strategies for Website Visitors
Many marketers spend a ton of time, effort, and budget to get visitors to their B2B website but don’t put any effort into staying in front of a website visitor once they leave the website. A well-thought-out retargeting strategy for website visitors is the easiest way to continue to build brand awareness.
Remember that many visitors to your website are in the very beginning stages of the sales process. They may just be looking around to see who provides the products and services, what types of products and services are available, or even learning whether they need these products or services. An ad retargeting strategy enables you to continue to show ads to website visitors who have left your website for the next 60 – 90 days. Even if the visitor has been to your B2B website only once, they will continue to see your brand.
Building Brand Awareness & Passive Lead Nurturing
When it comes to B2B sales, 89% of B2B buyers do online research and are 70% of the way through the decision-making process before they make contact with a company’s sales team (Source: Forbes).
If your marketing team isn’t committed to building brand awareness, then you are likely losing out to your competition. If a prospect is 70% of the way through the decision-making process before they talk to your sales team, it’s simple to think of building brand awareness as a passive lead nurturing tool.