Awareness is the first step to attract customers and build loyalty
True tests of a brand’s success are when people think of you by name instead of the competition.
“Brand awareness is how familiar your potential customers are with your brand,” said Michael Karemi Muthui. “When you go to a shop, do you ask for margarine or a blue brand?
“As a business owner, you want to reach the level of brand awareness that customers pick your brand over another,” he said.
Muthui, a content marketing expert, is co-founder and creative director of Eldoret Leo Media Limited. The website has become the must-see place for the latest business, entertainment and leisure news in the region.
People won’t buy what you sell until they know who you are
Part of the site’s success comes from boosting awareness of people and places. Muthui also helps small-business owners get started with best social media practices.
“Whether you’re launching a new business or already have one, one thing remains constant: You need more customers,” he said. “Raising brand awareness and building a pipeline of qualified leads that turn into sales is very important.”
During an Africa Tweet Chat, Muthui explained how marketing can boost brand awareness and bring in new customers to your business.
“When you’re just starting, the best strategy to generate traction is to create brand evangelists by providing exceptional customer service,” he said. “Be active on social media. Ask for reviews. Use relevant hashtags. Host giveaways and promotions.”
Value Before Promotion
Online posts should focus on key elements to increase brand awareness.
“People login to social media for four reasons: To be educated, entertained, informed and inspired,” Muthui said. “Stick to the 80-20 rule, whereby 80 percent of your post is ultra-valuable while 20 percent explicitly promotes your business.”
He suggested ideas to market a business without seeming too “sale-sy.”
- Resharing content from customers
- Posting testimonials and reviews
- Participating in trends
“Telling your brand story helps develop an emotional connection with your potential customers,” Muthui said. “That’s crucial to building trust.”
Build awareness and retain existing customers at the same time
Marketers debate the merits of paid ads compared to organic growth with no clear-cut winner.
“This is really not a one or the other type of decision,” Muthui said. “Organic and paid ads should work together to create an effective marketing strategy.
“Paid ads are perfect for pushing offers and freemiums,” he said. “Organic growth can help you grow a loyal customer base.”
Speed is not of the essence for long-term benefits.
“Organic growth can be very slow at first,” Muthui said. “However, with a great content strategy in place, your traffic gains momentum. You’ll attract very high-quality leads.
“From my experience with small businesses running do-it-yourself paid ads, they almost always end up burning through their marketing budget with little to no conversion to show for it,” he said.
Remember Google Placement
Muthui gave his favorite strategies to boost brand awareness and generate new leads online:
- Claim and optimize your Google My Business page. Most businesses forget this.
- Be consistent on social media.
- Public relations aims to get featured on news articles, blogs and podcasts.
- Build an email list.
A handy aid helps companies market their products and services
“The first step to increase your engagement is to engage with others,” Muthui said. “Like and comment on your audience’s posts that align with your brand.
“Leverage user-generated content,” he said. “Post shareable content. Collaborate with influencers and other brands.”
Measuring brand awareness is a matter of selecting the right tools.
“You can find metrics in your social media channel analytics section,” Muthui said. “Engagement, impressions and reach are the most common and frequently important metrics to monitor.”
“These metrics give you signals as to how people are perceiving your brand,” he said.
The first objective is to attract new customers. The greater achievement is to keep them.
“To get customers coming back, you should always offer excellent customer service,” Muthui said. “Leverage reviews and testimonials. Give a little extra such as offers and discounts. People like it when you show them love, so use user-generated content as much as you can.
“We try to help small-business owners reach the local audience,” he said. “Most importantly, we teach them the best practices for social media marketing.”
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