How many impressions does it take for someone to remember a brand?
Short answer: Between five and seven.
That’s why making a positive, lasting impact with ideal customers is a challenge for any business, especially those without the budget to launch a major marketing offensive.
While increasing B2B brand awareness is crucial to expand your audience, generate leads, drive conversions and ultimately increase revenue, you can’t do any of this without understanding some general principles.
So, what are they, and how can you utilize them to best effect?
Let’s dive in.
Focus on your ideal customers and the challenges they face
Salesforce research shows more than half of consumers (58 percent) want a personalized experience when purchasing from a brand, so much so that 52 percent are willing to switch to a competitor if they feel the service isn’t personalized to the standard they expect.
Personalization is therefore a key factor to focus on.
A one-size-fits-all methodology is outmoded and likely to lose you customers. Instead, today’s consumers want brands to cater to their individual requirements and address their pain points.
It’s about making B2B buyers feel valued, respected and unique — not treating them as anonymous (or homogenous) shoppers.
The in-depth research goes on to reveal 49 percent of “high-performing” marketers use predictive intelligence tools to appeal to their target customers more effectively. This highlights how crucial it is to:
- Identify your ideal customers
- Pinpoint the challenges they face
- Understand how you can solve their problems and make their lives better
Because the more you know about your prospective buyers and their problems, the more effectively you can increase your brand awareness.
But how do you do this exactly?
Start by looking at your existing customer base and segmenting them into different groups (by industry, age, budget, location, etc.). If need be, separate them further based on the different challenges they face: for example, a brand supplying businesses with motivational training could segment customers based on high turnover rates, poor customer service performance, etc.
Now, explore how your brand can address different challenges and help customers overcome obstacles. Create personas for each group to make them more concrete.
By doing this, you’ll be able to create a content and marketing strategy with real potential to increase awareness of your brand.
Determine how you can maximize value for your target customers
Buyers across both B2B and B2C markets want value for money. That’s obvious enough.
But it’s a crowded marketplace. And you have to offer your ideal customers maximum bang for their buck to make an impact.
So, let’s return to some of the points we raised in the previous section. You’ve invested time, money and effort into determining who your target buyers are. You know their pain points. You know what you can do to make their work — their lives — easier.
But you have to go further to offer the highest degree of value. And this is where the power of outstanding customer service comes into play.
A study conducted by the PwC team found 42 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for a quality, friendly consumer experience. 52 percent would hand over extra cash in exchange for a quicker, more efficient level of service than competitors offer, too.
Now, let’s not pretend price isn’t still a key concern for B2B customers. Everyone wants to find the products or services they need at the most competitive rate.
But, 73 percent of respondents to PwC’s study said a good experience is a major influencer in the loyalty they show (or don’t show) to a brand.
What’s more, loyal customers can become brand advocates. And brand advocates will talk about your business — often, and loudly. In fact, brand advocates are 83 percent more likely to share information about your business, and are 50 percent more likely to influence a purchase decision, compared to an average client.
If you want to increase brand awareness, nothing short of exceptional, advocacy-forming customer service will do.
So how do you make it happen? Don’t just focus on meeting clients’ needs and solving their problems — focus on how you do this to maximize value.
- Implement an omnichannel customer-service strategy: be available by live chat, phone, email and social media
- Invest in 24/7 customer support or, if that’s beyond your budget, try comprehensive FAQs, video tutorials and chatbots
- Embrace quality assurance software to measure the level of CX your brand delivers and identify opportunities to improve it
Each of these steps shows your target customers you take their satisfaction seriously and are committed to the highest standard of service.
Deliver value for free without asking for an email address in return
Gated content is a tried-and-true element of an effective marketing campaign. You offer an ebook in exchange for a visitor’s email address, generating another lead that may blossom into a conversion.
But most brands employ this technique. Don’t be afraid to buck the trend.
In face, we’d go so far as to suggest that you offer existing and prospective customers access to high-value content without asking for anything in return.
Because you have a chance to demonstrate your brand’s thought-leadership, generosity and dedication to helping others. You’re not just claiming to offer a free ebook or guide when it’s really just a ploy to make visitors sign-up for your newsletter.
You’re genuinely sharing insightful content without requesting personal details.
You can share this across your social media accounts to raise brand awareness and drive more traffic to your site. And you can use the promise of free, valuable content as a hook in your paid ads, too.
If you do this well, you will get something in return for your free content. You just might need to wait a little longer for it.
Highlight expertise from real people with valuable insights
Everyone has something of value to share. Even people within your business you might not consider an expert in the strictest sense can still contribute to insightful, eye-opening content.
For example, employees in your customer service team can produce long-form blog posts on how they helped clients achieve their goals. This highlights how efficient and effective your brand is in a more real way than simply using salesy jargon to tell readers why you should be their number-one choice.
Alternatively, your account managers might consider writing a case study about how they transformed a B2B client’s entire business via a bespoke service plan. Again, this reveals the way in which your company operates and focuses on a personalized strategy for each customer, charting one client’s journey.
And that’s not all.
Think about senior leaders in your own brand or an affiliate. Consider your in-house or partners’ technology experts. Explore the different types of experience, training and skills behind the scenes of your brand to create:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Case studies
Promote your brand as a thought-leader with valuable expertise to share with customers, and you could cultivate a reputation as a reliable source of information and advice.
Here’s an illuminating statistic to end on: around half of B2B marketers feel thought-leadership helps to earn trust, while 83 percent of buyers feel the same.
Take part in webinars to exchange knowledge
Over 60 percent of marketing professionals add webinars to their content strategies. They certainly have the potential to be a valuable aid in building brand awareness — but only when done right.
Webinars are one of the most effective types of premium content to generate interest, with 20 – 40 percent of webinar attendees evolving into qualified leads.
So, what can you do to make yours a success?
- Appoint an engaging, relatable person to host your webinars (almost half of people questioned for a survey cited a poor presenter as the reason for the least-enjoyable webinars)
- Keep them below one hour — 53 minutes is the average viewership
- Promote your webinar a few weeks in advance, to allow people plenty of time to register and clear their schedule
- Send reminder emails to registrants, but keep the tone light rather than pushy
- Encourage attendees to submit questions ahead of webinars for Q&A sessions, to make viewers feel part of the conversation and increase engagement
Host live events or meetups to unite like-minded people
Industry events or meetups create a fantastic opportunity to:
- Meet potential and existing B2B customers
- Reveal the human side to your business
- Establish valuable contacts
- Generate leads and raise awareness through promotional materials
- Forge a more personal bond with your audience in less time than you can online
- Bringing prospective and existing customers together in one space can be daunting for small companies, so take the time to get it right. Don’t try to be too extravagant or try too hard to wow attendees.
Instead, focus on cultivating a welcoming atmosphere for guests and create a comfortable environment for interactions to unfold naturally.
By all means, promote your brand’s products/services and highlight what you can offer. Just don’t turn events or meetups into a prolonged sales pitch.
Aim to leave attendees with a positive impression of your brand, even if they’re not entirely sure what you do. At the very least, they’ll feel motivated to learn more.
Apply these general principles of B2B brand awareness to your own digital marketing strategy to maximize your impact. Increasing your reach and achieving more impressions takes time, but your patience will be rewarded if you follow the right path.
What other ideas have helped your business increase your B2B brand awareness?
Written by Tristan Pelligrino
Tristan Pelligrino is the Co-Founder of Motion. He’s a serial entrepreneur who started his career as a consultant with large IT companies such as PwC, IBM and Oracle. After getting his MBA, he started and grew one of the fastest video production companies in the country – which was listed on the Inc. 5000. Tristan now enjoys leading the content marketing strategies of some of the most innovative B2B technology companies in the country. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook.