Grow your business in 2021: Building awareness.
If you’re reading this, it means you’re ready to take your business to the next level. And that’s huge. We’re thrilled to be able to share some guidance with you.
There’s a lot to factor into your thought process as you scale your business: revenue, your team, and operations.
While we can’t exactly lend you a copy-and-paste strategy for smooth scaling, we can offer the lessons we’ve learned through scaling small to medium sized businesses in the past. It’s what we’re most passionate about and we know how you can get started.
If you're feeling lost or confused about what to do next, take a deep breath. It's all part of the progression of scaling.
In this three-part guide, we’re going to help you build brand awareness online, engage with the right people at scale, and convert your visitors into paying customers.
Together we’ll make sure you and your business have the best year yet.
Ready to get going? Let’s begin with Part one: building brand awareness.
Content is king, queen and everything in between.
In this section we are going to focus on the things you can do to raise your brand awareness and get your product or service in front of as many of the right eyes as possible.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
Defining and understanding your target audience
Conducting a content audit
Organising your content for SEO
Writing content for SEO
Targeting each stage of the buyer’s journey
Building awareness organically on social media
Running paid social campaigns
Adding micro-influencers into your marketing mix
Understanding your audience.
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer profiles.
Buyer personas embody the characteristics, goals and challenges of your target audiences. When you understand your buyer personas, you can market to them in a human and helpful way.
You can’t create good content without knowing who your audience is. Your personas will be a central part of your campaigns and enable you to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
When you know who you are talking to - or who you want to talk to - you’ll be able to create content that truly resonates with them.
Without personas, marketing campaigns are far less effective. For more information, read our blog about buyer personas and download the free template to get started.
Conducting a content audit.
Website content audits.
A content audit allows you to step back from creating content for the sake of it and start thinking strategically again. When you’re in charge of creating digital content consistently, you can lose sight of the long-term plan and how every piece fits into the wider marketing strategy to attract and ultimately convert leads into customers. A content audit is a process of evaluating the quality and quantity of your content. This is done by creating a list of all your content assets and analysing their performance to identify gaps, quick wins, and a plan to improve your content marketing. Conducting an SEO content audit will show you why content is so important to attracting new visitors and converting leads, and how you can get even better results.
Here's our four-step process for conducting a content audit on your website.
Step one: Identify all existing content
List all of the content you own - from blogs and video to sales documents and customer success stories. This is a tick-boxing exercise. Got blogs? Tick. Got video? Tick. And so on.
Step two: Categorise the content
How old is it, who is it for? Is it up-to-date? Who’s using it? Where does it fit in the buyer’s journey? Which topic is does is come under?
Step three: Evaluate the performance
Set up some analytical tools to track the impact of your content and report on a monthly basis. You can use tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot or KISSmetrics.
Step four: Make recommendations on what to do next
You can choose to update the information if the post is old, rework successful eBooks into blog posts or infographics, make videos, etc. Only after you have analysed the content will you be able to come up with a reasonable set of actionable steps.
Social media audits.
Conducting a content audit on your current social platforms will enable you to reflect on the brand’s voice, find content gaps and missed opportunities. Your social audit should also include an in-depth competitor analysis.
Irrelevant posts are the second largest reason people unfollow brands on social media, so you’ll need to make sure you really understand your audience and brand voice so you don’t start to push people away.
While you’re doing research, take note of which platforms your content succeeds most on. You might not want to target every social platform as it’s unrealistic to expect to perform well on all of them.
Instead, you want to allocate your resources to the platforms that serve your brand and your audience the most.
Here’s a step-by-step list of the things you must do to conduct a successful and useful social media audit:
Track down all of your accounts
Make sure each account complete and on-brand
Identify your best posts & analyse them
Evaluate performance by channel
Define metrics and track success over time
Calculate your ROI
Understand the audience for each network
Decide which channels are right for you
Standardise channel ownership and passwords
Do it again in 6 months
Topics, subtopics and topic pages.
Over recent years, search engine optimisation has changed dramatically. This is largely down to the way people now ‘ask’ search engines for answers.
People once used exact keywords to rank for the terms that they wanted their business to be associated with. Now, search engine algorithms are able to understand how ideas relate, so topics have replaced this thinking.
Using keywords that precisely match a person’s search isn’t the most important ranking factor anymore. Now we must understand the intent behind the keyword, and create content which solves for that intent.
With large changes in search queries and search algorithms, topics, subtopics and topic pages have stepped in to become the framework of a successful content strategy.
Keywords still play a major role.
Keyword research tells you what topics people care about and, assuming you use the right SEO tool, how popular those topics are with your target audience.
By researching keywords that are getting a high volume of searches per month, you can identify and sort your content into topics that you want to create content on. Then, you can use these overarching topics to find other keywords you can target.
By researching keywords for their popularity, monthly search volume, competition, and general intent, you can create content which answers the questions that most people in your audience are searching for online.
Further categorising your content into the three stages of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision) will also help you understand and solve for the intent behind searches.
Topics are the things you want your business to be known for. In other words, what you want to appear in search engines for when someone enters a related query. For example, if you are a data science recruitment company, one topic will likely be ‘Data science careers’.
Subtopics are the interlinked content related to your core topic. They help boost your site’s relevance to the core topic when someone enters a related query in a search engine. For example: ‘Career paths for data scientists’.
Topic pages (also known as pillar pages) cover all content relating to a topic on one page. They contain detailed topic cluster content; blog posts, webinars, white papers, podcasts, videos etc.
Having your core topic housed on a single page helps search engines discover and rank your content. Topic pages help boost your search visibility by establishing topical relevance and topic authority. You’ll use a target keyword as the page header.
If you are not organising your content like this, you’ll struggle to build long-term search visibility around your core topics.
Writing content for SEO.
Without optimising your content for search engines, your content will probably find its place in the search results graveyard beyond page one, where only 3% occur. Content and SEO go hand in hand, and you need to build a solid relationship between the two across your site.
There are 12 things you must do to create content which is optimised for search engines:
Tone of voice
Your page objectives
Write to answer questions
Use your keywords
Write the Alt text
Consider featured snippets
For a comprehensive guide which explains each of these steps in detail, email me and ask for ‘the SEO content writing guide’. I’ll send it right over (it’s very useful if you don’t already work with a marketing agency).
Targeting each stage of the buyer's journey.
Potential customers for businesses will come in many shapes and sizes, and each of them will go on slightly different journeys before becoming a client.
The prospect is experiencing some symptoms of a problem or opportunity. They are doing some educational research to clearly understand, frame and give a name to their problem.
The prospect now has a clear idea of their problem/opportunity and is committed to researching and understanding all of the available approaches and methods to solve/achieve their problem.
The prospect has decided on their solution or strategy and is compiling a list of all available providers to help. They will ultimately whittle it down to one or two and then make a decision based on emotional, rational and reputational factors.
Each persona is going to journey along different paths to become a customer.
You must consider how each of them uses your site and identify the opportunities to convert them from visitor to lead and from lead to customer.
This will require some keyword research to identify the topics your buyers are searching for, as well as some content planning to make sure their key requirements are met with relevant content which helps move them move through the journey.
During this step you should identify several opportunities to capture leads using forms and CTAs.
Display ads are still the most popular form of digital advertising, even beating social media, paid search, email marketing and video.
Display ads are affordable, hyper targeted and allow advertisers to reach their consumers at the right time, right place and when their customers need them the most.
Using visual messaging to communicate with your target audience increases the likelihood that they’ll interact with your brand.
For example, if you create a white paper explaining your solution in detail and you want to get it in front of the right people, you could create a visually stimulating graphic to place on Google’s ad network, Linkedin and Twitter which links to the landing page they can download it from.
Showing your audience something that gains their attention and appeals to them visually is a great way of generating traffic from other online sources.
Pay-per-click Google ads.
Paid campaigns can do wonders for your business. Whether you are starting, trying to scale, or running an already successful business, paid marketing is something that you should be doing to boost your chances of success.
Here are 8 steps to running google ad campaigns.
Define your target audience
Find the best keywords
Use focused ad groups
Use strong, clear CTAs
Create compelling landing pages
Select the right bid strategy
Use ad extensions
Split test your campaigns
Paid marketing is all about experimenting and repeating. If you are new to Google ads but want to get ahead, then the best strategy is to follow what competitors are doing and then replicate them.
Once you have been running them for a while, your focus should shift to learning and optimising your campaigns to bring a stronger ROI.
Building awareness organically on Social Media.
With more and more people taking to social media to research and sound off on brands, getting your target audience’s attention is easier said than done.
How do you become a familiar face within your followers’ feeds versus someone they just scroll past?
Stick to the following 11 pillars of social media marketing to boost your brand awareness on social media.
Add your unique personality
Fine-tune all social profiles
Make posts visually POP
Engage in the right conversations
Harness the true power of hashtags
Get creative when commenting
Repurpose and share existing content
Break your own company news
Experiment with captions
Don’t be afraid to share your opinion
Show up consistently
Paid Social Advertising.
One of the best ways to promote your content is by running social media ads. This ensures highly targeted brand awareness and can boost your organic social performance through viral engagements.
Deciding which platform to advertise on can be difficult, but it’s the first step in devising a strategy.
Here’s a quick summary of social platforms for 2021:
Facebook: Primarily B2C. Video does particularly well.
Instagram: Primarily B2C & very visual. External content creators recommended to maximise impact.
Twitter: Great for community management and customer service/customer interactions.
Linkedin: Primarily B2B. Great for company announcements and content sharing.
YouTube: Still largely an untapped gem. High visibility for low cost. Excellent for brand awareness.
Pinterest: Primarily B2C. Highly visual. Another untapped gem with high engagement among certain demographics.
TikTok: Primarily B2C. Huge potential for reach if the right influencers are engaged.
Add micro-influencers to your marketing mix.
A micro-influencer is someone who has between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers focus on a specific niche or area and are generally regarded as an industry expert or topic specialist.
So being linked to or working with micro-influencers can position your brand at the top of the pile among a large and highly engaged audience.
Micro-influencers have stronger relationships with their audience than a typical influencer. This is often driven by their perception as an opinion leader of a subject matter. A micro-influencer, as opposed to a celebrity or regular influencer, often has a very engaged audience.
Tech companies including Adobe and Squarespace are well known to engage in micro-influencer marketing campaigns.
If you would like to download this guide and have it to keep, click here and we'll send you part two and part three for free as well.