In many ways, the life of a startup founder and the life of a construction worker are very similar in that they’re both building something, essentially at all times.
While a construction worker might painstakingly lay the foundation needed to build the perfect house, the startup founder (and the team surrounding them) do the same each day, making the types of decisions today that will bear fruit tomorrow by way of increased growth and high sales.
One of the major pillars of any successful startup – and indeed, one of the most important elements of the foundations of a successful business in general – is brand awareness.
There’s an old rhetorical question that asks “if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” For a startup, building brand awareness helps to make sure they never have to answer that question.
If your number one goal as a startup is to build brand awareness (as it should be), there are a few key tips you’ll definitely want to keep in mind.
Find your story
If brand awareness for startups and marketing in general is all about communication, it’s important to remember that WHAT you are saying is just as important as HOW you are saying it.
You can worry about what channels you’re going to use later – begin by looking deep inside yourself and uncovering the story worth telling in the first place.
This begins with your startup pitch deck, but it doesn’t end there.
You cannot just communicate what your product or service does – people don’t rely on that anymore.
You need to tell people who you are, what you’re doing, why you’re trying to do it and more. You can use tools like Visme (which I’m the founder of) to make your story compelling and engaging.
Use thoughtful collateral like a presentation or Infographics (both of which Visme can help you create, along with others) to break your story into smaller chunks, devoting appropriate attention to each piece of a much larger puzzle.
Did you just solve a particularly challenging problem during product development? Use a visually attractive Infographic to show what you were trying to do, what happened, what you did and why it matters that you overcame it.
Use a presentation not to talk about the features of your product, but the ways it will make the lives of your end users better. Never TELL them something when you can SHOW it to them – it will have a much deeper, more emotional impact.
Your strategy matters
One of the most important keys to building brand awareness for a startup involves building a strategy that goes beyond simply “step one – build brand awareness.” You need to incorporate marketing as an organic extension of your business. Set realistic goals for yourself, but set them nonetheless.
What does brand awareness mean to you today? Are you trying to increase sales? Are you trying to position yourself differently in the marketplace? Only after you set-up your goals can you build the strategy to get there. Only THEN should you begin marketing.
Go “All In” with social media
Social media isn’t just an inexpensive way to build brand awareness (something particularly important to startups) – it’s also incredibly effective. Keep in mind that according to one study, an amazing 84% of all CEOs and VPs say that they use some type of social media channel to help them make purchasing decisions.
By as soon as 2021, the average marketing budget will devote roughly 25% of its funds to social media activities.
Networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat are the perfect opportunity to reach different segments of your target audience in an organic way. It’s a way to laser-focus your messaging based on which people are looking for which types of information at any given moment. It would be an absolute shame not to take full advantage of it.
Timing is everything
Along the same lines, it’s important to understand that timing is everything – particularly in terms of social media.
The world now moves faster than ever, so it’s important to pay attention to which topics are generating a lot of news coverage and which issues are currently trending on places like Facebook or Twitter and capitalize on them whenever possible.
If you do it right, you can take a fairly innocuous (yet popular) news story and turn it into a brand awareness and recognition win for your startup.
Just make sure that you actually research what that hashtag means before you latch onto it or you might find yourself on the receiving end of an epic social media fail.
Don’t forget about content marketing
Finally, if you’re a startup and you’re not currently investing in content marketing for the purposes of brand awareness, you’re going to want to start as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that we’re living in an era where 200 million people now use ad blockers – meaning that simply buying your way into their hearts isn’t something you’re going to be able to do.
By most accounts, businesses that are leaders in terms of content marketing experience 7.8 times the traffic than those who aren’t.
Content marketing is a powerful way to create brand recall, which in turn creates higher levels of engagement.
It also costs about 62% less than most traditional outbound marketing channels – all of which bleeds together to create a perfect storm you’d be crazy to ignore for your startup.
Tomorrow’s brand recognition begins in the efforts of today
Building brand awareness as a startup isn’t necessarily difficult – but i’s also not something that you can do with any one particular move. According to a study conducted by Action Card, it takes roughly five to seven unique “impressions” before someone will remember your brand.
But it’s effort that is more than worth it – according to another study, brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level tend to enjoy twice as much impact as those who are still relying on purely a business or functional value alone.