Trying to sell a product to a customer who’s never heard of you is a losing battle. It’s about as likely as making a sale to a stranger after randomly knocking on their door–neither easy nor enjoyable for anyone involved.
The logic here is pretty straightforward: customers are much more likely to buy from you if they know who you are and are familiar with what you’re selling ahead of time. And yet, this very concept–brand awareness–is one that companies so often neglect to prioritize.
If you want the best shot of capturing those all-important holiday sales during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping season, it’s essential to build brand awareness starting as early as possible. Here, we’ll take a closer look at why brand awareness is such an important driver for holiday sales and how you can leverage it ahead of your 2020 Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns.
What Is Brand Awareness and Why Is It Important?
Brand awareness simply a term for the extent to which your brand is recognized in the marketplace. In other words, how familiar is it to consumers? Brands like Coca Cola, Nike and Target have a high level of brand awareness, but it’s not limited to massive corporations. Small businesses and startups can also develop high levels of brand awareness by zeroing in on their target audience.
Brand awareness is important because customers buy what they’re familiar with. Your target audience won’t always be in the market for what you sell, but when they are, they’re likely to buy from the first company that comes to mind. When you have high brand awareness, you’re much more likely to be at the top of mind when the time comes to make a purchase.
Brand awareness is especially essential as we head into the 2020 holiday shopping season, when customers will be primed and ready to spend. 85% of retailers expect online sales to increase this holiday season compared to last, a prediction that’s likely to play out with fewer shoppers willing to brave crowded brick-and-mortar stores in the wake of a global pandemic. 61% expect higher engagement and purchasing through social media channels, as well, which is a key place to build awareness.
2 Caveats to Using Brand Awareness to Drive Holiday Sales
Brand awareness is a powerful tool, but it isn’t as simple as allocating some money to an ad and flipping the switch on.
The first thing retailers must understand about brand awareness is that it’s built over time, over the course of multiple, repeated interactions with your brand. This means you have to start well ahead of when you’re looking to drive sales; now is the perfect time to implement the strategies we’ll discuss in a minute to raise your brand’s profile among consumers.
The second caveat is that even with proper planning, brand awareness won’t help you if you don’t have a few eCommerce essentials ironed out first. These include but are not limited to:
- A mobile-optimized website
- A seamless checkout process
- Consistent visual branding (photography, fonts, colors, look & feel, etc.)
- Established social media accounts
- Signup forms ready to gather leads
Without these things, even a high level of brand awareness won’t go very far in the way of capturing sales. You can learn more about these topics and find resources to help you develop them on our blog.
4 Ways to Drive Brand Awareness Ahead of the Holidays
As you put your holiday marketing plans into motion, here are four awareness-building strategies you can use to make sure your company is the one that comes to mind when customers are ready to buy during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout the remainder of the holiday season.
Effective advertising is targeted to a single phase of the buyer’s journey: either the awareness, consideration, evaluation or purchasing phase.
To build brand awareness, create advertising content specifically catering to the first two stages. This is when customers become aware of your brand and begin to understand how it helps them solve a problem or serves a need.
Advertising content for the awareness and consideration stages might include:
- Videos that showcase your brand values and mission
- Informative blog posts that contain ‘how to’ or other useful content
- Free downloads like checklists or shopping guides
- Explanatory infographics
- Cost calculators and price comparison tools
- Webinars and podcasts
The key with this content is that it’s not yet time to push for the sale; rather, it’s about being an informational resource. You’ll follow up by pushing the sale–to an audience who now knows who you are–later once your holiday marketing campaigns go live.
Consistent Social Media Posts
Half of U.S. adults are spending more time on social media since the pandemic hit, particularly those aged 49 and under. This presents a prime opportunity to capture attention on channels like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, which are platforms where users also typically have a high purchasing intent.
Engage followers and make repeat appearances in their feeds by posting high-quality, relevant content on a consistent basis. Posting at least once per day is a good benchmark for most channels.
Remember–as with your advertising, brand-building social media content isn’t about selling, selling, selling. Focus on content that establishes what sets you apart as a brand and helps customers understand how your product fits into their lives in a useful way.
We mentioned a moment ago how much weight shoppers place on recommendations and referrals; what better way to capitalize on this than by encouraging your existing customers to share your brand with friends? Use a referral program to build brand awareness through word of mouth, rewarding your loyal customers when they help spread the word through social media, email or a referral code.
To make referral programs effective, you’ll need to make it worth your customers’ while to share your brand. Do this by offering a lucrative discount or even a commission on sales resulting from a referral. For example, you can use an app like Referral Candy to give customers their own personal discount code for sharing. When their friend makes a purchase with the code, they’re rewarded in the form of cash, points or a free gift of your choosing.
Influencers / Collaborations
Customers are highly responsive to recommendations from others; a whopping 88% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from someone they know. Collaborating with influencers and expert reviewers in your field is an effective way to build credibility and valuable online reviews that shoppers use when making purchasing decisions.
There are a variety of ways to work with influencers, and what works best for you will depend on your unique product. A few ideas include enlisting a popular blogger to try your product and write a post reviewing it, sending your product to YouTubers who make unboxing videos, collecting testimonials from trusted experts in your field to use on your website and social media channels, or collaborating with a complementary brand in your niche to cross-promote one another’s products (like a baby apparel company teaming up with a stroller company).
Strategize for Holiday Sales Success with Help From Springbot
Need a hand mapping a clear path to holiday sales success? Springbot can help. Our all-in-one dashboard streamlines and automates your marketing activities from all channels, helping you to plan campaigns, track their progress and optimize them over time. To learn how Springbot can help you better leverage email, social media, SMS marketing and paid advertising in the 2020 holiday season, request your free demo today.