Awareness

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Awareness

So you have this amazing idea for a service or product. You have done the work to figure out what solutions you want to bring to your customers and how to do that. Now, you just need the customers. With the increased dependency on technology and social media, the methods of reaching customers have grown exponentially and can understandably leave you asking, “Where do I even begin?” 

Let’s start with the frequency of your messaging. The Rule of Seven is an old marketing adage that states a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they take action and buy from you. Of course seven isn’t a set-in-stone number, but the essence of the message — promotion is not just a one and done deal — is an important message to remember as you navigate which methods you will use to make your customer aware of your product or service. 

What is Awareness?

In the traditional business sense, customer awareness is the part of the marketing strategy. The common application of the phrase refers to a process in which an entrepreneur educates customers about his/her company and its offerings. While many methods and approaches overlap between the traditional usage of the phrase, BROCSway uses the term of awareness in place of marketing as the intention of the approach is different in more aligned with current customer spending habits. Marketing implies a one-way communication to or at the customer: telling them to buy a good or service. Awareness, on the other hand, involves a relationship between the customer and the business. The business understands the customer’s problem and how best to solve it. Through various methods, the customer becomes aware of the value proposition and then evaluates whether they will purchase the product or service.

Building Awareness

Where you start with your most effective awareness strategy should be built by first determining how aware your customers are of the solution or service you are offering. The customer awareness level determines how much you need to communicate your value proposition in your strategy. 

If you are offering a product or service that provides an innovative solution or your customers are not aware that a problem you can solve exists, then your awareness strategy will have to start with making your target market aware of the problem in the first place. If your customers are at the unaware stage, you’ll want to create a strategy that focuses more on branding messages rather than a direct response approach. Branding messages can tell more of a story than say Facebook ads. They allow for you to cohesively identify a pain point in the customer’s life and thereby making them feel you understand them. This buy-in starts building trust and a relationship with future customers. 

Perhaps you are offering a product or service of a known problem, but it isn’t completely understood by your target market or they don’t know how to solve the problem. These types of customers are considered problem aware. For your strategy then, you will want to choose a method that allows you to highlight the problem even more essentially propelling the customer to decide on a solution. Lead magnets and freebies work really well with these types of customers because you are offering the opportunity for them to see and experience the value in your solution. 

For start-ups, the last type of customer to consider is the solution aware one. Solution aware customers have identified the problem and know solutions exist; they are just looking for the right one. If your target market is already solution aware, your strategy should focus on the uniqueness of your product or service. By highlighting the unique attributes of what you have to offer, customers are more easily convinced that your offering is just right for them. 

So, before creating your awareness strategy, you should take some time to research the market, then ask yourself these questions to help determine where to begin. How well known is the problem? How likely are prospects to realize a problem exists? What other solutions are available? How well known are these solutions?

Methods of Building Awareness

Any way in which you communicate with people can be utilized for awareness. Your product or service and target market will help you decide which methods and applications are best for your business. Each method has its own in-depth article, but for now, we’ll simply overview what each method is and how you can use it to your advantage. 

Social Media

Social Media is one of the most effective and versatile tools you can use to create awareness. If you aren’t particularly savvy in social media, this can also be one of the most daunting methods. While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the most popular platforms, utilizing others such as Linkedin, TikTok, or Snapchat can be beneficial as well depending on your target market. Of course you can pay for ads on the social platforms in order to advertise your business, but you can also organically increase awareness by adding market appropriate hashtags to your posts, including social sharing buttons to your content or product, and creating contests in which people have to share or like to enter, just to name a few. Ultimately, if you choose to engage in social media, your goal should be to use tactics that encourage people to share your posts thereby boosting the amount of people who see your content. 

Search Engine

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an invaluable way to ensure your content shows up on results pages of search engine sites. You’ll want to take some time researching the keywords within your industry and content categories. Specifically, you’ll want to identify keywords that are closely associated with the beginning of the customer’s journey. Think to yourself, “If I were Googling my product/service, what keywords would I choose to find it?” When you have picked keywords for your business to use, build your content using those keywords and incorporating them into headline, body, and image posts. 

Content

Using content to raise awareness of your business takes an informational and educational approach. Essentially, you are building a presence as an authority in your field. While you can start your own blog, the danger is that your blog won’t get traffic if people aren’t aware of you. So, in addition to your own, you should start guest blogging on platforms like Medium. You can also answer questions on platforms on Quora or Reddit. Linkedin also has a publishing platform for businesses to upload tutorials or informational videos. By establishing yourself as an authority in your field, you build trust with your audience. In turn, they are more likely to purchase your product or service. 

Video

If you have the funds to spend, creating commercials is a great way to create awareness about your business. However, with most start-ups, the ability to spend extra money on commercials might not be feasible. For those without expendable income, utilizing YouTube is another way to bring awareness to your business. Depending on how broad your business offerings are, how-to videos are a great way to connect to potential customers. Perhaps your business allows for your own series or there is a light-heartedness to your brand that allows for more informal videos on TikTok or Snapchat. It could even be worth reaching out to your local news station for an interview in their community stories time slot.  Any way you can get a personality in front of the camera, you are humanizing your company which continues the trust building process. 

Audio

Much like your video opportunities, audio holds similar parallels. If you have the means to buy radio ads, they are still an effective way to reach potential customers. Like local news channels, radio stations also have the ability to do community stories. Though it is a less likely option, it is still worth keeping in mind. Podcasts are another direction to go for audio awareness. Keep in mind the popularity of podcasts though. It can be difficult to break through on your own. Instead, invest time in researching podcasts you could be a guest on to promote your business. That way, your promotion is reaching an already established audience. Depending on your available funds, sponsoring episodes of established podcasts can be a great way to build awareness and brand ambassadors. 

Marketplace

Depending on what your product or service is, it may be worth your time to join a marketplace. If you are a freelancer or on demand worker, then joining platforms like Upwork and Fiverr allow for your profile, qualifications, and services to be on a much larger platform than flyers or word of mouth can get you. Product based marketplaces, like Amazon or Etsy, also provide the ease of customers simply searching for the product you are offering. 

Broker

If you have the funds to spend on hiring a broker, they can do the promotional work for you. Businesses like Patina and other staffing firms can help build your awareness by promoting your service for you and finding you jobs to build your customer base. 

Community

From an online perspective, tapping into certain communities and online groups can also help build awareness for your business. Messageboards, Facebook groups, and meetups are all ways to tap into targeted communities. Community awareness can also apply to interpersonal connections. Promoting your business to your neighbors, church community, book club, or any other groups you may be a part of can help your awareness via word of mouth or referrals. 

Direct 

Where appealing to communities can often involve people you may or may not know, the direct approach means you know exactly who you are talking to and why. Direct contact could include prospective customers, cold calls, or potential influencers or affiliates with whom you would like to form a partnership. 

Referral

Referrals could provide you with a massive increase in your customer base if you can get your customers to speak about your value. Because people tend to trust the opinions and recommendations of family and friends, spreading awareness via word-of-mouth is an extremely effective strategy. Rather than relying on happenstance for you to benefit from word-of-mouth promotion, you can invest time into creating referral programs that offer incentives to both the referrer and the referred in order to increase the impact of word-of-mouth awareness.  

Print

Building awareness through print is the classic way to promote your business. Print can include flyers, billboards, promo cards, swag, newspaper ads, and mailers. Using print as your method of awareness is more effective for customers in the problem or solution aware categories. Since most print products center around a direct approach, print is best utilized as a method after a pain point has been addressed.  

Next Steps

In the vast overview of awareness, it should be clear that there isn’t one correct way to create awareness for your brand. Beginning with establishing where your target market is in terms of awareness, you build your strategy from there. We’ll go more in depth with methods in other articles, but you can start building your outline of a strategy by checking in with yourself. Consider your 4 capitals: Time, Money, Social, and Self. Evaluate your choices for your awareness strategy based on how much of each capital is not only feasible, but also right for you and your life. 

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Chapter 1: Getting started

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Chapter 2: Coronavirus Cyberattack Statistics

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Chapter 3: General Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 4: Phishing & Email Attack Statistics

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Chapter 5: Industry Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 6: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 7: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 8: Privacy Statistics

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