- You probably can’t afford a super bowl ad, yet you want to make a name for your brand in an industry dominated by big guns.
- How do you crack the code using the right method and what’s the most effective for you? Inbound marketing or outbound marketing?
- Ali Faagba discusses the challenges of inbound marketing and the how-to solve them
The first rule in the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is to be the first. But what do you do when you are not?
You probably can’t afford a super bowl ad, yet you want to make a name for your brand in an industry dominated by big guns.
Inbound marketing or outbound marketing: Which one will work for you best? How?
This piece discusses the challenges and the how-to of solving them.
Proprietary eponym! You may never have heard of it, but it is the bane of new brands trying to create brand awareness or make headways into industries dominated by big guns.
Imagine someone in the soft drink industry. The competition is with Coca-Cola, yet, most consumers will ask for a coke when hanging out in a cafe.
In industries where specific brand names have become synonymous with their original product, new brands can easily be suffocated out of the game.
Big names use their longevity, time-tested popularity, and a fat purse to create a monopoly and call the market shot — and having earned proprietary eponyms, they push low-budget upcoming competitors into the abyss.
You are not paranoid. They are really out to get you.
But this is an internet marketing world, and you are willing to try against all the odds, knowing fully well that creating a proprietary eponym of your own is, in all likelihood, impossible. Yet, you want your brand to gain traction and make a dent, in spite of the dominant brands.
Where do you start? Do you pay social media companies to disrupt the attention of an innocent user who is already loyal to one brand or, do you try creating content that brings your prospects to you through an organic search?
Say you already make an offer that surpasses your big competitors – beating them to solve a problem your prospects would like solved or building into your product a new experience you know they will want to have, let’s look into what you should do.
Inbound marketing or outbound marketing: Which one is better in creating brand awareness?
First, let’s deal with this question with some data. Numbers don’t lie, they say.
According to PPC Protect, the average person sees between 6000-7000 ads a day. From TV ads to outdoor signage to social media ads, ads are paralyzing us.
Similar research from Small Biz Genius shows that the average person is targeted with over 1,700 ads per day but only gets to see half of them.
Statista forecasted that revenue loss due to ad-blockers would increase to 12.2 billion US dollars.
We can go on, but even the first two stats suffice.
So, what kind of response do you expect to get from an ad-addled brain that’s already loyal to a specific brand when a gazillion of you are vying for his attention?
When it comes to creating awareness for your business, let the need to solve a problem spur research in your prospect, get your inbound marketing arsenal ready to be the magnet of those prospects, and make your brand message lure them into a relationship.
That way, you won’t be spending your top dollars on indifferent audiences. How much further do you need to know to be sure inbound marketing can do a better job of brand awareness for you than outbound marketing?
What are the top inbound marketing strategies you can use to build brand awareness?
1. Start with a scalable guest post strategy
I’m not trying to put the cart before the horse here. And if it appears that way, hear me out first.
For every serious entrepreneur, there is a fountain of energy that never runs dry in doing things. Still, this fountain runs low whenever something depends on the third party.
Don’t be surprised I mentioned guest post as the first thing you should pay attention to; after all, for guest post campaigns to truly succeed, you need a landing page people can refer to or a blog post that is rewarded with backlinks from your guest post efforts.
The problem, though, is that despite doing your due diligence in keyword research, putting content on your blog site, and optimizing them for search engines, one problem you will encounter is that no one may ever get to see them.
Even if you have a large follower base on social media, organic reach on social platforms is in a steady decline. You can’t blame the social media companies for this, they are entrepreneurs too, and their profit depends on the money you take away from them when your post reaches too far.
Hence, my choice of guest post strategy as a starting point in using inbound marketing to build brand awareness and visibility.
But don’t take my word for it. Ample examples exist to prove the effectiveness of guest posting in gaining brand visibility.
Suppose you have been in the content marketing space for a while. In that case, you might have heard of Aaron Orendorf, a philosophy teacher, who used guest posting to catapult himself into prominence in the marketing world.
Through guest posting, he rose from an obscure online writer to become the editor-in-chief at Shopify Plus and became one of the most sought after content marketers in the world.
What you can do
When you guest post to share a stand-out message and authenticity, you establish yourself as an industry leader and make people want to look more into what you do.
Take Neil Patel and the growth of Ubersuggest. While this is not a quintessential example of brand awareness through guest posting, it is a classical example of product growth tied with the popularity of the product owner.
If guest posting can bring one popularity, then it can create brand awareness.
But the pain area remains, whether your guest post gets published or not, it is solely in the discretion of the publisher/editor of your target publications which is why you should think deep and long about three things:
- What publication do you want to get featured in?
- Do they align with your brand identity?
- What do they want from you?
- What do you want to achieve with your guest post campaign (thought leadership, backlinks, referral traffic, and other such parameters)?
- Will you need help to achieve that?
- Or, can you pay them for a brand mention, and is this best for you?
2. Content that solves a problem: Complete, lucid, and actionable
Let’s not forget: for all its buzz, content marketing works because of a single streak: it gives. It gives for free. It gives it all. Unsparingly.
Big companies use content — in terms of blog posts, whitepapers, Infographics, ebooks, etc. — in a well-knitted series of strategies to attract prospects who are looking to solve a problem, and then hook them into a sales funnel.
When it comes to content marketing, trust is the key. And how do you gain trust?
It is by giving; by posting a problem-solving kind of content that leaves your visitor saying, “That’s what I’m looking for”, then promising them more in exchange for their email address.
This works like magic every time. Let’s run a little exercise on Google.
Now I’m searching on Google to look for how to create a logo.
Some random SEO optimized website showed up, and I clicked on it, leading me here:
And after inserting the name of my brand and clicking on the Get Started button, I found myself here:
Once I have chosen an option, I was led to another page where I can now save my new logo:
As I attempted to save my logo, below is what I got:
That’s it. Attracting leads with inbound marketing is not so complicated.
While the name of this logo design company is Free Logo Design, you may notice that I wasn’t searching for a specific company in my Google search.
I was only looking for a generic term that helps me to solve my most immediate problem, which is to create a logo.
By searching, I found someone who has provided a solution for it, and now they are asking me for my contact should I want more.
Perhaps I do, maybe I don’t just have the money yet. Maybe soon. Or perhaps I just haven’t decided to pay. Or maybe I don’t know they have a feature that I’m looking for.
Now they have an opportunity to show me all they’ve got since they now have my contact, and I am now familiar with their brand.
Don’t forget you don’t have to give a freemium to get a lead; a problem-solving content will suffice in most cases, so long as your prospect is out to solve a problem. And I bet it’s the one that wants to solve a problem you are looking for.
3. Webinar and other education platforms
In the peak period of the “shelter in place” in response to COVID-19, On24, a webinar hosting platform, saw an eight percent jump in the number of marketing-centric webinars hosted on its platform.
But even more impressive is how educational webinars have exploded in comparison, On24 reports. It also reported that training and continuing education jumped by 11% and 22%, respectively.
At the same time, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are rising year on year. It is not just the stay at home order of the pandemic that brought about the upward trend in e-learning. The comfort and flexibility of learning online have always been of attraction to long-life learners.
Hence, smart corporate institutions and businesses use online course platforms to provide learning opportunities for willing learners and also turn them to leads.
In 2020 alone, Neil Patel has launched no less than two online courses. If you had attended any of them, you would understand that they are a pure lead generation strategy tailor-made to boost visibility and adoption of his Ubersuggest.
Today, as the marketing options are getting narrower based on the disproportionate number of ads run online, learning webinars and online classes are where people go out of their own volition.
For marketers, this means an opportunity to sell to a group of prospects who aren’t just passive readers or random social media users but active listeners who are willing to end the day having learned and encountered something new.
If you are willing to use inbound marketing as your key awareness-building option, launching webinars and free online courses should be among your first-in-lines.
Podcasting should not be left out
In all marketing kinds, attention matters a lot. In the past, passive awareness never sold things. Today, passive awareness never sells anything.
And eBay knows this better than anyone else. Imagine the popularity of eBay. Still, the company launched a podcast show dubbed “Open for Business.” Albeit frank about its aim to build more brand awareness, 85% of the show’s time teaches, for free, how to build a business to success.
“From the hiring, to pricing, to financing and customer service, Open for Business is a must for anyone looking to succeed in business,” an introduction on its podcast landing page reads.
HubSpot says in 2018, 18% of marketers were looking to add podcasting to their strategy. If you checked now, the number must have gone above that.
If you have been looking to Google for an answer about what’s best for building brand awareness, and you have interest in inbound marketing, or it is your budget that confines you, you may have found, as I have found, that most articles are generic and state the obvious.
Most annoyingly, they state no reasons as to why their strategy works. They walk you through most of the inbound marketing strategies but take no cognizance of what stage you are and whether you have the capacity to implement them.
Imagine an article that wants you to gain awareness but tells you to use email marketing, not even minding whether you have an email list in the first place or not.
If you are just starting out, this article is, by no means, exhaustive, but consider it a nudge in the right direction and a playbook to help you set about building your brand recognition the right way.
Ali Faagba is a copywriter, content marketer, and a tech freelance writer. He’s been featured in Entrepreneur, Thrive Global and others. He can be found on Twitter @contentmints.
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