Many, many years ago, McGraw-Hall Publishers used the ad below to help sell ad space in its B2B magazines. And while the ad is now very old, much of the message is still on target.
It’s all about becoming known in the markets you serve and building a reputation for your firm that helps to start the buying-n-selling process with prospective clients. That is…
- Done right, building awareness is not just about shouting your name, it’s also about effectively positioning your firm.
- It helps you to reach out to people you don’t know – and who don’t know you.
- It’s proactive. It doesn’t rely on prospective clients to do anything other than simply see your message.
- Awareness is the first step to lead-generation, the true start of the buying-n-selling process.
- The bottom line is this: If someone does not know you exist, how can they ever do business with you?
Before you embark on your own awareness-building campaign, consider these 5 important guidelines…
- Be persistent. Studies have shown it takes anywhere from 8-15 touches for your marketing message to sink in. So be patient… and stay with it!
- Be consistent. Consider the look, feel and tone of your messaging, particularly when you use multiple channels. Make sure the viewer knows that all those messages came from the same firm.
- Show not just who you are but what you are. Make sure your awareness-building messages also include why someone would want to do business with you and what sets you apart.
- Take an integrated approach. Your marketing tactics should work in concert with each other. Put your social media icons in your e-mail. Put your website URL on your ads. Make sure your LinkedIn profile address is on your business cards. And so on.
- Awareness-building is 2-step process. Step 1 is getting to the top-of-mind position in the psyche of your prospective buyers. Step 2 is staying there over time. So, make sure your awareness-building plan covers both.
To help get you started on the road to awareness-building, here are 10 proven ways to build awareness in the market research industry (in no particular order):
- Website: Everything starts with your website. It’s the first place a sales prospect will go to learn about you. It’s where they’ll do their due diligence on you. And it needs to show up when a prospect Googles relevant terms, so Search Engine Optimization is a critical part of this (see #10 below).
- Social media: There are 4 keys to building awareness on social media…
- First, have a presence. You simply have to be online. Why? Because your clients and prospects are. And while there are scores of social media platforms, for our industry, your LinkedIn company and personal profiles and Twitter site are the best places to start.
- Connect. Take the time to reach out and connect with others. This becomes vitally important when you…
- Post. Post to your profiles regularly. Post links to your content, post links to others’ content, post your thoughts & ideas. And the more people and companies you are connected with (see 2b), the more people will see your posts, further building awareness for you and your firm.
- Engage. In addition to posting regularly, you also need to engage. This includes things like ‘liking’ a post, re-tweeting a tweet and participating in a threaded conversation on a LinkedIn Group. The more active you are, the more you will be seen.
- Email: Email marketing has been around for a long time… it’s cost-effective, measurable and gets results. To get started, create and send a monthly e-newsletter that provides access to valuable information.
- Note: Since the members of your email list are already aware of you and your firm, email marketing is one of the best ways to stay top-of-mind (see #5 above).
- Networking: Nothing creates a connection with a prospective contact quite like “pressing the flesh.” But like everything else, there’s a process, particularly in the way you deliver your elevator speech. For more information on networking, download the Tip Sheet, 13 Tips for Becoming a Networking Rockstar.
- Writing: Sharing your knowledge – on your website or blog or in an industry publication or blog – is a great way to build awareness for you and your firm. And there are extra benefits… by presenting useful information, you position yourself and your firm as experts in the area you’re writing about. Further, when done under the umbrella of an industry publication, you also benefit from the “implied endorsement” of that organization.
- Speaking: Like writing, public speaking is another proven way of building awareness for you and your firm… and that’s not all. Speaking has the added benefit of giving your listeners the opportunity to “get to know you a little.” And when the presentation is delivered in person, attendees also have the chance to meet with you before or afterward, further enhancing the get-to-know-you facet.
- Exhibiting: Exhibiting at a conference is the only place in our industry where potential buyers come to you. Exhibit at the right events, have a compelling booth presence and you can build awareness across a large targeted group of attendees. And don’t forget to take advantage of all of the networking opportunities (cocktails, meals, etc.) outside of the booth. For more information on exhibiting, download the Tip Sheet, EXHIBITOR CHECKLIST, 20+ Ways to Ensure Success at your Next Event.
- Advertising: Advertising can have such a broad reach that it can help you connect with potential clients that might not have heard of you otherwise… or that you might never have heard of. Whether you take advantage of print ads (in magazines and directories), banner ads (in e-newsletters and websites) or digital ads (on social media sites or via AdWords), make sure to “fish where the fish are” and advertise where you know your target market can be found.
- Sales team. You hire salespeople to close deals. True. But they can also be a great channel for awareness-building. Think about it… they attend networking events, staff the booth at conferences, can cold-call new companies and have the opportunity to connect with multiple contacts inside the same company.
- Note: That last point is critical. All too often, our relationship with a specific client runs through a single contact. And when that person leaves the company, our relationship with that client goes away, too. To minimize the impact when (not if) that happens, one of a sales rep’s primary responsibilities should be to connect and build awareness with as many people as possible inside of each client’s office.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization. To be found online by potential clients who don’t know you, ranking high in online searches is a must. It starts with determining the keywords and phrases that could be used to find you… and then making sure your website is properly structured to take advantage of those words.
- Note: According to Google, the Number-1 thing you can do to improve your search ranking is to regularly add good, relevant content to your website… and the easiest way to do that is to blog consistently.
If you’d like more information on many of the ways to build awareness across the Market Research industry, download Harpeth Marketing’s 2018 MediaBook, a comprehensive, easy-to-use reference guide to all of the advertising, promotional and marketing opportunities available to you this year.