December 7, 2018
Practical tips for growing your brand organically
Growing your brand online is an essential part of your business and marketing strategy. But it's not something you can just flip the switch on — true, sticky, organic growth takes time and effort.
We've mapped out 8 practical tips that you can use to improve brand awareness without needing a supermassive budget. There's no need to dump large sums of money into your advertising — the internet is full of free (or cheap) channels for growth that help you amplify your brand and grab your audience's attention.
1. Grow your SEO and company narrative with consistent blogging
Use Google Keyword Planner (part of Google Ads) to build your keyword universe and analyze what your customers are searching for. Then, aim to rank for keywords that are relevant to your business, look for low competition keywords — they're easy wins.
If you have a content team, invest time and resources into your blog, and write as constantly as you can. If you can afford it, consider hiring some writers. Every article you add won't just help you rank keywords — in the eyes of Google, it will also add to the overall value of your website. Optimize blog titles, metadata and body content to build authority against your base and long-tail keywords.
2. Your customers are a bank for content ideas
Survey your customers periodically using affordable software like Typeform or SurveyMonkey. This helps you discover the content that resonates most with your customers. For example, maybe they read best practices, success stories, industry reviews, etc. To generate a meaningful number of responses, you may need to incentivize them with discounts, offers or prizes from your inventory.
Powered by the right idea, your audience is also an untapped resource of content that will spread the word about your brand. Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? It raised $100 million in a single month with a media investment of $0. No headlines, no creative team, just a clever, crowdsourced fundraising campaign on social media.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge generated $100 million with a spend of $0
3. Nurture leads and contacts from day one
Put your hard content-creation work to good use by repurposing it in a lead nurturing campaign. Think about how much cheaper it is to reactivate and retain 20% of your existing leads rather than to generating 20% new leads.
Tools like Autopilot allow you to easily nurture leads, send personalized messages, and take your customers on a helpful journey. Instantly automate a basic lead nurturing journey with the template below.
4. Share content and engage regularly on social media
Use social media software to queue up links to fresh content across all your social touchpoints. It's a lot easier to keep an ongoing schedule of interesting content with products like Meet Edgar, Sprout Social or Buffer.
Try boosting popular content on Facebook, retargeting visitors with relevant ads based on their initial interest and nurturing subscribers into paying customers. You can automate your ad retargeting on Facebook with this Autopilot template.
Get to know the most influential voices that are associated with the hashtags that align with your marketing strategy. Grow your online reach by tweeting recent blog posts, content, releases or commentary. Ask your Twitter audience to voice their opinions and engage with your topic.
It's also very simple to use built-in community management tools that are native to Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. Of course, going with the built-in social media options is much cheaper, however, it’s also much more tedious and time-consuming.Once you have a large enough multi-channel marketing strategy you can start branching out into paid solutions.
5. Become a source for the press
The media loves having something to talk about (obviously). So start earning exposure by conducting industry research and offering your findings to relevant media publications. By placing your data report under embargo, you can land an op-ed. Increase your reach and make the most of your content by publishing on LinkedIn, Medium, and of course, your blog.
With the right idea, the media will potentially pick up on your content and spread the word for free. A great example of this is Red Bull's Stratos Space Jump campaign. Red Bull helped put daredevil Felix Baumgartner 39,000 meters above the Earth to break the world record for highest skydive. He fell at a speed of 1,342 kilometers per hour and broke the sound barrier on the way down. By sponsoring and filming the event, Red Bull hoped the world would talk. And they did.
There was a huge wave of coverage from the media both domestically and worldwide. Most media stations covered the event in primetime slots, and 8 million viewers tuned into the live stream. The youtube video on Red Bull's official channel has hit over 44 million views (at the time of this writing).
The Red Bull sponsored World Record jump got the whole world talking. Notice the Red Bull brand logo clearly visible in most of the shots.
To be fair, Red Bull's idea scales well beyond most company's budget constraints. Though at its core, any company can try something like this out. A phone camera and a great idea are all you need.
To be fair, Red Bull's idea scales well beyond most company's budget constraints. Though at its core, the main growth was the central idea — produce a great video, and people will latch on.
6. Transform mind-numbing data into beautiful visual content
Infographics, annotated images, videos, visual ebooks and webinars are ideal for gated content. They allow you to build a contact list for ad retargeting, nurturing and social media campaigns. But they also have another function — visual content is highly readable and highly shareable.
Design and visuals are more memorable than just plain data. A small amount of effort in visuals can boost your engagement rates and help your audience retain your message.
7. Actively participate in your community
Stay up to date on the latest tools and trends while growing a presence in the community. Be on the hunt for new forums like Quora, Reddit, Slack channels, Facebook Groups or niche industry hangouts, and of course, always behave accordingly to the community guidelines (written or unwritten).
For example on Quora, it's advisable to not self-promote, but rather to answer questions and talk about ideas. That's not to say you can't talk about your brand at all — the key to Quora is to only talk about your product/service when doing so adds value.
On the other hand, if you're somewhere like Facebook, it's more acceptable to self-promote your brand. Address the needs of your customers and audience on community channels to facilitate their path through the customer journey.
Example of a helpful answer on Quora (in this case, not from an Autopilot employee, but a user)
8. Launch a customer journey initiative
Creating a “wow” customer experience starts with by mapping your buyer’s journey. A journey map will help you understand your customer’s needs and habits, while also pinpointing the key decisions they must make with your product or service. Creating experiences, content and guides that influence those decisions are all part of optimizing the customer’s journey.
A successful customer journey starts with bringing together a team of cross-functional, customer-oriented doers. With a collaborative team, you can dissect the customer journey on a touchpoint by touchpoint basis and look at the experience of your product through the eyes of your customer.
Dissecting your customer journey unleashes the creativity needed to design inspiring experiences, which ultimately leads to customer conversion, growth, satisfaction and retention. It also helps build brand equity that is measurable via Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. These surveys are a leading indicator of a customers’ willingness to refer your product and buy again. Customer journey deliverables include developing target personas, lead-to-customer lifecycle maps, dashboards, and measuring results from growth initiatives proven.
Key objectives for a customer journey initiative include:
- Find new growth: increase conversion and satisfaction rates, improve, accelerate user and revenue growth, or improve retention and usage
- Win on customer experience: Develop a forward-thinking customer experience (CX) team to differentiate your brand and increase loyalty
- Spark innovation: Create a fertile environment to test and validate new methodologies or tactics
- Bring focus: Provide internal customer focus to boost employee productivity and morale
So there you have it, growing your brand online doesn't have to be expensive, but it will take time and effort. Get started with these tips to increase your brand awareness, encourage customers to talk about you and finally, persuade them to buy your products.