Brand awareness vs. lead generation: which campaign type is right for you? The answer depends on your goals—but for the best results, it’s undeniable that brand awareness and lead generation perform best when they’re working hand-in-hand.
What is Brand Awareness?
Think of brand awareness as a type of elevator pitch: it’s the general gist of your brand, including what makes it different from what else is out there—its personality, aesthetics, and unique selling proposition.
One well-known example of a brand awareness campaign is Coca-Cola’s series of animated polar bear commercials, typically aired around Christmas (and occasionally during the Super Bowl). They’re not designed to make you go out and buy a Coke the second you see one. They’re on the older side; the CGI isn’t that great. But they’re cute reminders of the holiday season and Christmases past.
Coca-Cola doesn’t need to get you to buy a bottle of Coke because someone, somewhere, is probably in the process of buying one right now. The brand has no reason to target you with digital advertisements that follow you around the internet in the hopes that you’ll decide to get a can from a vending machine, or to ask you to fill out a form on their website to see if you’d be interested in ordering one the next time you’re at a restaurant.
Instead, Coca-Cola’s goal is to remain the biggest, most iconic soft drink in today’s society. That’s why it benefits from brand awareness campaigns: because lots of us—at least here in the South!—call sodas “coke.” They want to keep it that way.
What is Lead Generation?
You know the website form I mentioned in the example above? That’s lead generation. Lead generation is the process of gathering information on potential customers who can be followed up with in order to make a sale.
If brand awareness is the elevator pitch, lead generation is closer to the hard sell. However, that doesn’t mean the sales attempt has to be aggressive and pushy. Now that customers are more self-motivated than ever, aggressive selling tactics are a turn-off: people simply don’t like feeling like they’re being sold to.
So, how can a brand generate leads without turning people away? Typically, the answer is to offer something of value in exchange for consumer data. But how can your brand figure out what to offer? How can you collect customer data if they haven’t bought from you yet—in other words, if they’re not aware of your brand?
Below, we’ll get into six different types of awareness campaigns that will boost your brand’s presence—and we’ll explain how to leverage lead-generation tactics within each of them.
Types of Brand Awareness Campaigns & How They Generate Leads
For a brand awareness campaign that actually gets results (and leads), you won’t be able to pick just one (or likely even two) of these. A strong campaign that boosts awareness and generates leads must be an ongoing effort that spans several types of media.
Let’s take a look at a few different channels your brand can use to create awareness and get leads.
How to Create Brand Awareness on Facebook
Social media has proven to be an invaluable tool for brand awareness. In particular, Facebook has provided multiple ways for brands to advertise and connect with their customers and fans. Now that social media is such an everyday part of life, however, consumers are becoming disillusioned with Facebook’s advertising and the brands that use them.
According to HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to Brand Awareness, over 50% of your brand’s perceived reputation comes from social media.
“To raise awareness of your brand, you’ve got to be social. Post on social media about things unrelated to your product or services,” its author, Allie Decker, explains. “Interact with your audience by asking questions, commenting on posts, or retweeting or sharing content you like.”
Engaging in conversations with your fans, rather than just advertising them, is the best way to raise brand awareness on Facebook. Not only does this help establish your brand’s personality, but it creates a bond with your fans, which can be incentivizing for prospects who are on the fence about becoming customers or clients.
How to Generate Leads on Facebook
There are multiple types of Facebook ads that brands can choose from. Depending on your goals, each of them has particular advantages and disadvantages. For example, boosted posts are able to reach more targets than just those who follow you, but—because those people might not know who you are—it may be more difficult to achieve conversions from them. News Feed ads, on the other hand, are more pricey, but tend to get higher engagement, HubSpot reports.
Even if you’re not using Facebook Ads, one way to generate leads on Facebook is to add links to your website to your posts. When you have a landing page with an offer, coupon, or other type of lead magnet on your site, share the link to it (with the appropriate tracking capability) on Facebook. Your offers are of no use to your fans if they don’t know where to go to take advantage of them!
Pro tip: For maximum engagement, put your landing page links on video posts. They’re about two times more likely to be interacted with than text-only posts.
How to Create Brand Awareness on Instagram
The social media advice about Facebook holds true on Instagram, too. But Instagram ads in particular are great for brand awareness for a few different reasons.
Firstly, Instagram ads—both in post and Story form—let your brand’s personality shine through visually. You can show viewers what you want them to know about your brand in an instant. Instagram is a more creative platform than Facebook in general, so if you’d like to focus the feel of your brand awareness around aesthetics, Instagram is a great place to do that.
Another area where Instagram outdoes Facebook in terms of brand awareness capability is its use of hashtags. Yes, hashtags are available on Facebook, but they’re not widely used like they are on Instagram. Consider using existing hashtags or even creating your own to boost brand awareness.
How to Generate Leads on Instagram
Instagram Story ads allow the viewer to swipe up to see more of what a brand has to offer. This makes it effortless for consumers to engage with your ads on Instagram. To generate leads, make sure your Instagram Story ad takes the user to a landing page that’s similarly effortless, such as a simple form to fill out to learn more.
Besides ads, another asset that’s beneficial for lead generation on Instagram is its abundance of influencers. When you have an influencer agreement or another type of partnership, you send products to the influencer, who then posts about them. Everyone who interacted with the post with your product is now a lead. It takes some work to narrow down that list into the leads that are the most qualified, but—in addition to getting your name out there—you now have an audience who is much more likely to be motivated to buy.
How to Create Brand Awareness with Content Marketing
Content marketing—creating content such as blogs, infographics, and much more—is one of the best ways today to establish your brand as an expert on the topics in your field. Positioning yourself as a thought leader means people will turn to you when they have questions or want to learn insights.
“Content is a fun way to raise awareness of your brand because it’s the easiest way to show personality and share opinions and positioning on issues—two major components that personify and humanize your brand,” says Decker. “Content provides an amazing way to authentically connect with your audience while getting your brand name in front of people.”
For those who aren’t already aware of your brand, your content marketing can serve as an indication of your quality and expertise when they happen to come across you for the first time. For those who are aware of you, your content is a reminder of what you offer. In both cases, your content marketing nourishes the consumer relationship, making them more likely to choose you when they’re ready to buy or hire.
How to Generate Leads with Content Marketing
There are a couple of ways to capture leads with content marketing. The first is to simply finish off your content with a link to a landing page with your offer. Using strong calls to action will increase the chances of the interested prospect clicking the link and providing you with the data you need to sell to them.
Another way to capture leads through content marketing is by creating gated content. Gated content is content that’s only available if the user signs up, subscribes, or fulfills another action that’s designed to obtain their information so you can reach out to them later. Gated whitepapers, e-books, and reports are examples of gated content that position you as a thought leader, provide value to prospects, and gather lead data.
Email marketing is another type of gated content that can help with lead generation. Although it’s less robust in the data-capturing department—after all, the prospect only needs to provide their email address, not anything else—it’s excellent for nurturing the customer relationship, as well as teasing offers or offering coupons, discounts, or incentives. Emails are also fantastic for flexing your CTA (call to action) and landing page skills to turn interested prospects into purchasing customers and clients.
How to Create Brand Awareness with Video
Video is the best way to convey emotion, so it’s perfect for encouraging and building relationships with potential customers. Think of the Coke commercial I described earlier: it’s meant to play on your emotions just as much as (if not more than) your taste buds.
Consumers “support and embrace video as a format because of its ability engage users for long periods of time,” says Josh Braaten of Brandata. “Adding video into product or service pages, tutorials, social media posts, webinars and workshops will help you tell your brand’s story more effectively.”
Whether you use them in paid ads, on your social media pages, or on your website, video benefits brand awareness by showing what you have to offer. Video is also an important factor in search results rankings—so the more video you have to showcase your brand, the more chances you get of people finding you.
How to Generate Leads with Video
Lead generation methods vary with different types of video. For example, television commercials are nearly useless for generating leads. Tracking can be done, but as a whole, TV is more of a brand awareness medium because it reaches so many viewers (i.e., hot prospects, cool prospects, and people who aren’t interested in you at all).
Online video is much more useful for generating leads. Take Facebook Live, for example: these live videos are the most engaging video format on the platform, and their Follow function basically builds a list of leads for you—they’re people who want to be notified when you go live. Similarly, webinars are also useful for obtaining leads because they attract people who are already interested and are willing to sign up to learn more.
Whichever type of video you use to generate leads, always remember to have a strong call to action—preferably at the beginning and at the end of the video. The humanizing quality of video can be a strong motivator, so consider a compelling call to action as the cherry on top of this lead-generating sundae.
Word of Mouth
How to Create Brand Awareness with Word of Mouth
Now that you have a strong social media presence complete with compelling videos and other great content, it’s time to take advantage of it. Word of mouth simply refers to consumers talking about your brand. It’s a key component of brand awareness, but it relies on your customers communicating the message about you to their family, friends, and peers.
But it doesn’t start and end there: even if someone hasn’t tried your product or service yet, they can still make conversation about it—they can ask others about you and find out what they think about your brand, for example. The more conversations about your brand you sow, the more brand awareness you reap.
How to Generate Leads with Word of Mouth
Once you’ve got some happy customers, consider implementing a referral program to get some leads to convert into even more happy customers. This banks on the word of mouth you’re already getting—and, because just getting you a sale, gets you more information, more data, and more loyalty.
“Customers value and trust recommendations from their friends, so encouraging existing customers to spread the word about your brand can be a powerful way to fill your lead funnel,” says marketing director Kim Kosaka.
Your referrals program doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated—all it has to do is motivate existing customers to refer you to others. And the more leads you receive, the more data you collect.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
How to Create Brand Awareness with SEO
First and foremost, make sure your brand is present on Google My Business. Next, make sure your website is up to technical par—meaning it’s secure, functional, and quick to load. These are all factors that affect search result rankings. Once you’ve ensured that you can be found online, it’s time to do some keyword research.
“Identify the search terms and phrases that are used by beginners looking to learn more about your category or vertical,” Braaten recommends. “Seek to own discovery terms for your keyword space and your brand will become synonymous with your category.”
It takes a lot more than simply sprinkling those keywords around your website, however (and it certainly doesn’t mean you should start keyword stuffing). You will more than likely need a skilled SEO team to outfit your brand’s website with everything it needs to rank for the most important keywords in your industry. (Fortunately, you’re in the right place!)
How to Generate Leads with SEO
Ideally, the content you create—both on your website and elsewhere—should be themed around the long-tail keywords that lead people to your business. Long-tail keywords typically come from searchers who are further down the sales funnel than short-tail keywords. For example, consider someone typing “coffee table” into Google vs. someone searching “round coffee table with glass top.” The first person is browsing options; the second person knows what she wants.
Another great thing about optimizing for search engines is SEM, or search engine marketing. To put it (very) simply, this is the practice of creating ads that show up when people search for terms related to your brand. The lead-generation part comes in from retargeting the searchers who came across your ad. Retargeting will “follow” the searcher around the internet, showing them more of your ads. In this sense, retargeted digital ads perform both brand awareness and lead generation by keeping your brand, service, or product top-of-mind for those who are in your market.
Which Campaign Type is Right for You?
Brand awareness and lead generation efforts usually end up working in tandem with one another. However, if you don’t know the specific goals of your campaign, it’s difficult to know which tactic you should focus on.
Which approach is right for you at this moment? If you’re not sure, start backwards from your goals. What key performance indicators (KPIs) align with your current goals? For example, if you want to boost traffic to your website or engagement on your social media pages, a brand awareness campaign may be right for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for more conversions or customer data, lead generation may be the way to go.
These are just a few general examples of the many types of brand awareness and lead generation campaigns Kirkpatrick Creative can put into place for your brand. Our team rigorously measures and tests the data produced by everything we do for our clients, and we constantly refine our strategy until it’s working as efficiently as possible for your business. It’s what we like to call advertising engineered to work.
Ready to get started on a new campaign for your brand? Kirkpatrick Creative is happy to help. Get in touch with us today.