Building awareness. It’s the beginning of the marketing process. The fact is, buyers can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist or don’t think of you when it’s time to buy.
And yet – despite being a fundamental precept in the growth of any business – building awareness continues to be a common stumbling block for many firms in our industry.
Building a high level of awareness sounds like a fairly simple thing to do. And it is. But it ain’t easy! There are several aspects to building awareness in your marketplace that must all be achieved together for you to be successful.
Building awareness requires action.
Just hanging out your shingle, in and of itself, does not build awareness. You need to proactively do things like:
- Be active on social media
- Have a website that gets found on searches
- Send out an enewsletter
- Employ SEO activities
- Exhibit and speak at conferences
- Host webinars
- Send out press releases
- Write articles for industry magazines
- And so on, and so on…
Awareness just doesn’t happen on its own… you have to make it happen.
Important note: Often, someone will say to me “I have a blog. Doesn’t that build awareness for me?” Not really. Think about it… you could have a great blog post that no one reads because they don’t know that it’s there (sadly, this happens all the time). So, you have to promote the blog to build awareness of it… and in doing so, you’re also building awareness for your firm.
Building awareness is a two-step process.
Many firms are good at doing things to build a level of awareness (see the list above). But then they stop… and that’s their mistake! Success at building awareness requires that you do two things:
- Generate enough activity to achieve the coveted top-of-mind position with your target audience.
- Then continue that activity to maintain your position.
Getting to top-of-mind is, honestly, not that difficult. But staying there is. It takes a sustained effort. So, whatever activities you employ… once you start, don’t stop. Because as soon as you do, someone will jump in line ahead of you.
Building awareness isn’t just about being known, but being known for something.
A critical part of building awareness is making sure that you are sharing a message that resonates with the market and is memorable. And I’m not talking about a catchphrase or a neat tagline, but rather a core message that really connects with buyers because it shows that you understand their business… or that you can solve their problems… or that you are truly unique in the marketplace.
Important note: Building awareness in the minds of buyers is an additive process… each activity you use building on the one before it and getting you closer to top-of-mind. Because of that, you don’t want to change your core message. If you do, it likes starting at the beginning and you’ll have to make the climb all over again. So, make sure you go to market with a message that has some staying power.
Bottom line: Building awareness – when done right – doesn’t just make you more well-known in the markets you serve, but it also:
- Helps your firm build a reputation
- Generates sales leads
- And ‘greases the skids’ out in the marketplace to make it easier for your sales people to connect with potential buyers
So, when it comes to the growth of your firm, strategy #1 one is [always] building awareness. Do whatever you can to achieve a high level of awareness in the marketplace and then… keep it up! It’s the foundation on which everything else you do will be built.