How are non-transactional brands building online brand awareness?

Utalkmarketing on one of their recent Newsletters has posed this question. It is an interesting subject as most commentary refers to ecommerce and how you can engage consumers and businesses to buy from you online. If you do not directly sell online however what should you be doing to improve online brand awareness? The following tips are some of the areas you should most concern yourself with if you are currently pondering this online brand awareness question for your business or brand.

Define your objectives

If you do not have an ecommerce site then objectives and targets are of paramount importance. Really ask yourself what the purpose of your presence, is it to inform, gain leads, announce your services or products, and build brand awareness or a combination of all of these? Once you have decided what you want to achieve it will easier to then create a clear and sound strategy.

Create a clear strategy

Sounds obvious but again most brands are prone to jump on the latest bandwagon and online there are many of them to choose from. Not only do they do this they often only play at it and therefore end up doing it badly, this is particularly true of those who due to a lack of perceived budget try to bring in house complex ideas that they have no experience of or time to learn about. So a clear strategy is of paramount importance, as it will pave the way for decisions to be made to ignore some perceived opportunities, as well as creating time to develop those that have real value. Do not have a Facebook page just because you can, have one only if you can manage it and add value to your business or brand as a result.

Understand your target audience

How you talk to your audience will depend on who they are, what social and demographic sectors they fit in and how they use the Internet. If you are targeting other businesses it is probably unlikely that Facebook is for you but Linkedin may be a great way of increasing your network of contacts. Think about how your customers and potential customers are behaving and interact with them in a way that is unobtrusive.

Get them talking about you

This is by far the best way to increase your online presence as if people are talking about you and your brand then they are multiplying your message more than you ever could. You need to ensure that you are aware of comments being made and that you respond where necessary, particularly to bad comments, although don't rubbish these just ensure you answer the queries in a positive manner and show that you care. Thompson holidays have recently announced that they will refund costs incurred by travellers stranded by the Icelandic Volcano in full, so who do you think those customers will travel with next time Ryanair? Track comments about your company using google alerts and make sure you respond where necessary.

Use your web site to listen to your audience as well as talking to them.

Create the opportunity on your site for comments either on blogs or forums and get your customers talking to each other not just you, as they are your best advocates, that is why they are your customers.

Use other sites to your advantage

Use others blogs and forums to talk about your brand (do not overtly sell though) and link back to your site where ever possible. Make sure you are part of blogs where your customers or potential customers are, and talk about things that interest and engage them.

There are many other online opportunities and plenty of the top brands are using these, such as mobile apps., actively being industry voices and opinion formers, video, viral and brand sharing but if you are looking to improve your presence and get your voice heard then starting with the above will help you along the way.

About the author

Boss of Digital. Swindon fan. And frantic music collector.

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