Saturday, January 10, 2004

Format of a small business advertising campaign: Part 1 - Brand Awareness

If you wish to further your blog promotion strategy and look into advertising or other means to increase awareness of your blog, here are some good tips on increasing brand awareness from Startup Skills:

After optimizing your website, product, and other points of contact with your customers, you must engage in a campaign designed to build brand awareness. This campaign will favor reach over frequency and is designed to get your name “out there”. During this stage, focus on building the association between your company name and the service you provide. Don’t make the common mistake of emphasizing competitive comparisons or putting detailed information about your offerings in ad copy. Until the market knows who you are, a competitive comparison is neither memorable nor credible.

Modest amounts of advertising will have a huge impact on brand awareness for the startup. Brand awareness has been known to increase over 20% after consumers are exposed to a single online ad. That’s without click-through – online advertising is effective at building brand awareness even if people aren’t actively visiting your site. This is why your initial efforts should focus on reach – you’ll get a much bigger bang for your buck because you aren’t spending money showing multiple ads to the same group of people.

Google AdWords is a perfect medium for this type of campaign. By putting in a low-bid among many different keywords, you can get your ad shown on a variety of search result pages without having to pay for click-through. Tip: aim for an average placement of 4 or less to ensure that users with 800x600 screen resolution will see your ad when they search on Google. However, keep in mind that if your CTR rate doesn’t exceed .5%, Google will eventually disable your campaign.

Pursuing this campaign over a period of 6-12 weeks should result in small to moderate increases in website traffic and perhaps modest sales increases. Although you probably won’t realize a positive ROI from this effort, it is important not to skip this step or try to shortcut it by combining it with a top-of-mind campaign. Pursuing advertising in a phased manner is critical to gaining meaningful, long-term exposure for your startup.

Techniques for building brand awareness

1. AdWords and Overture advertising
2. Develop incoming links
3. Blogging
4. Usenet posts
5. Newsletter advertising
6. Banner Ads

How to measure brand awareness

The success or failure of a brand awareness campaign is measured using two types of metrics: behavioral and branding. Behavioral metrics include click-through rate and sales conversion rates. Branding metrics include the following:

1. Advertising impressions (the number of times your ad was shown)
2. Number of incoming links to your site (Google provides this information)
3. Google ranking (should increase with #2)
4. Unique visitors to your site
5. Web Surveys

It is important to distinguish between these two types of metrics. A successful brand awareness campaign may or may not result in behavioral improvements (ie: website traffic or sales). This type of campaign is rather intended to establish familiarity within the target market and form the foundation for a healthy long-term brand.

Web Surveys

The most accurate way to measure brand awareness is through the use of surveying techniques. These techniques specialized knowledge and can be expensive so one has to decide on a case-by-case basis if their use is warranted.

Brand awareness is typically measured using an experimental and control group. The experimental group is exposed to an ad for the brand and then both groups are surveyed to determine if they recall seeing the ad, what the company does, and so forth. Statistical tests are then run on the results to determine how significant the results are and conclusions are drawn from the study.

Another technique is to randomly survey a single group of consumers before the campaign, and another random group after. The first technique more accurately gauges the effect of a particular advertisement on the target audience, while the second technique takes into account “real world” variables, such as unintended multiple exposures to prospects, impact of the website, the effect of incoming links, and so forth. Which one to use? If you are trying to determine which of several ads to run, the first method should be used. If you are simply trying to gauge brand awareness over time, use the second.

What technique you use or combination of metrics you choose to monitor, after you see some substantial improvements you should move on to a top-of-mind awareness campaign.

Building Brand Awareness links

Marketing Ideas for Entrepreneurs: Promotional Channels

An overview of online branding from Dynamic Logic

This is a guest post by Richard Stokes from For more on creating succesfull advertising campaigns for your small business, and to read parts 2+3 of this series check out this great blog.


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