Building brand awareness is a key facet of expanding any ecommerce business. Brand awareness is intricately linked with brand identity – the general perception of your brand in the eyes of consumers at large.
In a world where new ecommerce sites crop up every day, brand awareness allows you to separate yourself from the pack and generate more conversions.
But before we discuss increasing brand awareness, it’s important to understand the difference between brand awareness, brand recognition, and brand equity. All three are important, but they’re very different terms that must be addressed separately.
Defining Brand Awareness
As an example, let’s consider the brand well known jewelry brand, Tiffany and Co.
Brand Awareness– Customer knowledge about your company’s reputation, values, quality, and culture.
Example: Tiffany is known for refined, high quality jewelry – especially engagement rings.
Brand Recognition – Ability of customers to recognize your brand from associated imagery and smaller brands under its umbrella.
Example: Recognizing Tiffany signature blue gift boxes.
Brand Equity – Consumer value derived from brand perception, rather than the products themselves.
Example: Preferring a piece from Tiffany’s because of the status associated with the brand, rather than the piece itself.
Let’s look at another example – this time we’ll use Coca-Cola.
Brand Awareness: Knowing that Coca-cola makes popular soft drinks.
Brand Recognition: Recognizing the company’s famous red can. Alternatively, identifying other beverages Coca-Cola makes beyond its flagship product.
Brand Equity: Preferring Coca-Cola over a generic because of positive personal associations with the brand.
Now, let’s circle back to why brand awareness is so important.
In the ecommerce landscape, there are likely a number of sites that do something relatively similar to what you do. Even if your site sticks to a fairly distinctive category, standing out can be difficult.
In order to drive sales, your brand needs to showcase what it does best. What do you want customers to recognize about your brand, and what should they remember? If they were talking to friends about your brand, what would you want them to say?
Research shows that consumers trust brands more that have consistent messaging. Additionally, people like knowing that they’re using products that their peers are using – this is the foundation for social proof theory, which we’ve talked about previously.
By increasing brand recognition, you’re also increasing the likelihood that others will want to talk about your product in a natural setting.
In the same vein as brand trust, brand recognition also aids brand loyalty. Up to 90% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, meaning they’re shaped in large part by personal thoughts about your brand.
Increased brand awareness helps drive positive overall perception of your brand and products, and drives repeat purchases – creating brand loyalty.
Now that we’ve discussed why brand awareness is so important, let’s take a look at ways you can build it.
Create a Consistent Omnichannel Strategy
Once upon a time, ecommerce retailers knew exactly where customers were coming from. They were sitting at a desktop computer, usually in their home.
Today, we know that’s not the case with the ever-rising prevalence of mobile devices. In addition, online shopping has gone from a mostly dedicated activity to something users often do to kill time. Thus, creating a consistent experience across platforms is vital to maintaining brand awareness.
In short – you need to be where your customers are. Examine your traffic and determine where most of your shoppers are browsing and buying from (those two things could be very different). Then, ensure that you offer a consistent experience across all devices and channels.
If your brand prides itself on its great selection, make sure that browsing is simple, especially on small screens. Known for your deals? Ensure your best values are showcased front and center, no matter what device people are using. Maybe customer service is a key part of your value prop. If so, try to adapt your best desktop features to fit your mobile experience.
Taking these steps will help ensure you have a solid brand identity, no matter where your customers are reaching you from.
Focus on Your Remarketing Efforts
Remarketing is a key part of any omnichannel ecommerce strategy. Keeping your customers engaged while off-site is an excellent way to keep your brand present in a consumer’s mind and build brand awareness.
Top of Mind Remarketing
Using your email or SMS contact list, reach out to customers in a way that’s fresh, organic, and engaging. While you never want to over-send, a few emails a per week is often just enough to keep your brand top of mind without pestering your audience.
These emails can cover a number of topics, but several solid options are:
-Personalized product recommendations
Finding the happy medium between sending too much or too little can take time. However, by starting at 2-3 per week then adjusting from there, you can find the right balance in no time.
In order for consumers to get to know your brand, you’ll want to make sure that your brand messaging is consistent across all of your communication channels.
For most brands, you’ll want to come across as friendly and knowledgeable.
While urgency is a great way to make a sale, reserve it for times that legitimate urgency exists, and don’t let your marketing come across as aggressive – this can easily backfire.
An excellent way to personalize your message is through sender names. Rather than sending an email signed by your company at large, consider using a personal sender name to make the email feel like it’s coming from a real person (which it is – unless your AI has gotten that good.)
An individual sender name makes these communications feel more like a real connection, and not just a sales pitch.
Creating a Referral Program
Another excellent method for improving brand awareness is the creation of a customer referral program. While many businesses offer some form of loyalty program, a referral program is different because it actively engages current customers while generating new ones.
Although word of mouth marketing may seem old fashioned to some, evidence has repeatedly demonstrated that it’s one of the most effective forms of marketing. In fact, 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family over any other form of advertising.
Starting a referral program is easy. Simply offer a small incentive to both parties – generally, this works well if both incentives are relatively equal.
For example, offer a customer $5 off their order for each friend that signs up from their link. You can also create an LC-based refer-a-friend program, in which an inboxed incentive is sent to both the referrer and the person being referred. (Just be careful to maintain compliance with applicable privacy laws.) While there are many other ways to create a referral program, these method remains tried and true for a reason – it works.
Increasing Brand Awareness
Increasing brand awareness can seem like a major task. However, in general, it’s simply a matter of distilling what your brand does especially well, and emphasizing that point throughout your communications.
By creating an consistent and valuable experience that people want to discuss, share, and recommend, you open the door to new opportunities for your brand, in addition to increased awareness of your values, your positioning, and your brand as a whole.