What is a brand?
A brand is that meaning behind the name of your engineering company, your logo or associated symbols and slogans. Having a unique and memorable brand is how you can assure that you have a long-term position within your target marketplace. But building brand awareness with online marketing, or indeed any marketing, isn't as easy as it sounds. Read on to find out how you can get started...
Awareness is key
Before you can create an impression within your target market, or motivate prospects to make a purchase, they have to be aware of your engineering brand and its meaning. The more people that are aware of you and the stronger your reputation, ultimately, the greater your profit potential and overall brand value.
The importance of brand awareness has become increasingly significant with the evolution of the internet and digital technology. Everyone is more equipped with mobile and social media tools and can quickly communicate anything about your brand - good or bad - for the world to see. On the flip side, the internet is a great tool for boosting your brand awareness, and shouldn't be ignored.
Here's how you can make sure that your online marketing efforts are doing their job and boosting your brand awareness:
Get the basics right
For your target market to be exposed to your brand online, they must be able to find you, and this means that you have to be visible. To do this, you need to get the basics right, and we're going to start with ensuring that your website is properly optimised for search.
To achieve maximum exposure in search engines and keep your users happy, you need both off-page and on-page SEO, but here we are just going to focus on on-page.
On page SEO relatively straightforward, but vital, so take the time to make sure it's done properly. When the search engine spiders are reading your pages, they are checking page title, meta description, major headings and images. They do this so that they can understand what your page is about and based on other factors also - domain authority, competition, etc. - they will place your page in the index.
I don't want this blog to become all about SEO, so in brief, here's what you need to do...
1. Ensure that all of your pages have a unique title so that search engines and users know what the page is about.
2. Make the most of your meta description. In less than 150 characters you need to explain what the searcher will see if they click on the page, this needs to be descriptive, and unique. Tip: Don't include your page title.
3. Format your page correctly using H1 and H2 tags. These will indicate to search engines which are the important areas of your page Try to make these headings keyword led too, as this will help your ranking opportunities for the keywords that you're targeting.
4. Always use relevant ALT tags on your images - search engines can't read imagery.
5. Structure your URL's correctly by using hyphens to separate the different parts. They should also be less than 255 characters.
This is just a starting point for SEO, but if you get the basics nailed, it won't be long before you start noticing a difference in your search results. For more details on how you can use SEO to boost your search rankings this year, take a look at another one of my blogs here.
Is your engineering firm using social media? Is your engineering firm using social media effectively? These are two very different things.
In 2014, 92% of digital marketers agreed that social media was important for growing their business. But only 72% of them actively use social media to develop loyal and engaged followers, rather than just sitting passively waiting for an audience.
Speaking of which... always keep your focus on being social with your audience, rather than the amount of followers that you have. It is much better to have fewer followers who engage with your content, than thousands who pay your brand zero attention.
And how do you ensure that your following engages with you? Share content that is relevant and will be helpful for your followers and this means sticking to the 80/20 rule - that's social media best practice.
Don't just spam your audience with the same product and service information over and over, share industry news and your knowledge around hot industry topics and different types of content (photos, videos, infographics) to ensure your audience don't get bored.
This will not only help to boost the brand awareness of your engineering firm, but it will also help you to become a thought leader in the industry.
Relevance is key to keeping your brand visible online. No one is interested in engaging with or following engineering firms that seem to be behind the times - as it could be presumed that your technology follows that pattern too.
You might be thinking, this all sounds well and good, but how do I ensure that we stay relevant? There is one answer to that, research.
Set time aside each day to research hot engineering industry topics, good and bad so that you always have a view of what is going on. It would also be a good idea to subscribe to industry related news websites, so that each morning you will have an inbox full of relevant and timely content, just waiting for you to share.
If something big is happening in the industry, make sure you write a compelling piece of content on it straight away. Embrace the power of the blog and get writing.
Comments on industry events will help you appear higher in search rankings on the day of the announcement and thereafter when the public are searching for something. It will also enhance your brand by showing that you're on top of your game and will spend the time ensuring your prospects have all the answers.
If you find a news story but aren't sure it warrants a whole blog post (and, after all, you can't write news focused posts every day) don't worry. It's ok to share other sources of content across your social media platforms with a comment, try to start a conversation with your following. All of this effort helps towards building brand advocates rather than just followers.
Relevance also means being aware of your intended customers and the problems that they need answers to. Once you've done your research into your ideal buyer persona, you can make sure that the content that you're creating is positioned to address some of their pain points, with the final solution being your product or service.
So yes, relevance, combined with content can help to nurture your prospect down the sales funnel.
So your website pages are all optimised to SEO best practices, you're pretty sure that your social channels are being used productively and you're sharing and commenting on industry hot topics - isn't that enough? No, afraid not.
You have to make sure that your brand is seen, along with all your hard work and efforts. Luckily, that is entirely within your control. Here's a couple of ways that you can go about it...
Embrace the power of social media
I think that most people forget that social media is about being social, but you need to make sure that is exactly what you're using it for.
Engage in relevant industry groups on LinkedIn, sharing your content or a comment that will help to spark a discussion with other industry professionals. And don't use this as a sales pitch - that comes later - this is all about building relationships and ensuring that your brand is being seen, for the right reasons.
If you have a spare hour or so in an evening one day, maybe try to engage in a 'hashtag chat' on Twitter, that of course is relevant to your industry or the area(s) that you operate in.
For instance #DerbyHour where people comment about things that are taking place in Derby - just tweet away and use the hashtag - but choose your discussions wisely, stay professional and again, don't go in with a sales pitch.
Boost your content
Why spend so much time and effort writing compelling content only for it not to be seen by the right people? You don't need to leave this down to chance; you can use paid advertising to ensure that your content is seen by who you want it to be.
According to Mashable, we spend about 11 hours each day using digital media. And during that time, we go to search engines and start doing research into things that we are looking to purchase - using paid advertising ensure that you are there when people are searching for you.
Paid advertising goes beyond Google now, onto the social media platforms that I have talked so much about, which means that your content can be there even if people aren't looking for it. But they'll be the right people, as with social media paid advertising you can target either a geo-specific area, or even set industry or job title specifications.
Don't be afraid of using paid.
Using sales and marketing strategies
Boosting your brand awareness using online marketing is just the beginning... So much more can be achieved by implementing further sales and marketing strategies into your engineering firm. Wondering what i'm talking about?