Established in 2007, it took DropBox only seven years to receive a $10 Billion valuation. While there’s much debate on the valuation’s accuracy, the fact remains: DropBox is hugely successful. The company has in the last two years alone, doubled revenue.
But why am I telling you this and why should you care? After all, you’re here to learn about how to build brand awareness on a limited budget, right?
Well, it’s not so much their huge valuation and success that’s remarkable, but how the company achieved it. DropBox built their brand with very little advertising by implementing several growth hacks, and in the process, ignored the startup industry norms.
In this post, we’ll share some of those strategies, and others, so that you too can build brand awareness with little marketing.
1. Referral Programs
Referral programs are powerful when correctly implemented. They build trust with your audience, more so than any traditional advertising will. You’re more likely to use a product when a friend refers you to it. I know, for example, when I started using FaceBook it was due to a referral.
While DropBox used tactics like a signup-driven home page and made signing up simple, their referral program was the game-changer. DropBox made it easy for those signing up to refer a friend and even incentivized them with extra storage. And the results? A 60% increase in sign-ups.
Talkable is a referral program to get you started. If you need help implementing a referral program, read Shopify’s article: “Referral Marketing 101: 7 Tactics to Launch Your Own Referral Campaign.”
2. Start Your Own Blog
B2B marketers who blog generate 67% more leads. Blogging is powerful: It builds brand awareness, improves search engine rankings, and drives website traffic.
Even better, it doesn’t cost a fortune. But, it does require time and commitment to providing well-written content that solves customers problems. Focus on that, and you’ll reap the rewards. Here are a few tips to get started:
Tip 1: Conduct Keyword Research to Understand Your Audience
If you’re not sure how to research keyword, read, “How to Use Blogging to Run a Successful Online Business.” It provides a six-step process for doing keyword research.
Tip 2: Create a Content Strategy
Here are some factors to consider:
- Generate a list of 20 blog post ideas. Struggling to generate ideas, read, “Generate 100+ Blog Topic Ideas,” by Moz.
- Create a content calendar.
- Optimize blog posts for search engines by focusing on long-tail keywords.
- Diversify content by using infographics and video. Read, “How to Use Multiple Content Formats to Diversify Traffic.”
- Stick to a consistent posting schedule.
Finally, publish the content on social media to build awareness. Speaking of which…
3. Go Beyond Only Sharing Your Content
Social media is great to connect with existing followers and reach new audiences. But, make sure you’re not just publishing a post and hoping for the best. Otherwise, you’ll create a killer article with minimal shares and traffic.
A recent study by BuzzSumo and Moz analyzed 1 million posts. The results were alarming. “In a randomly selected sample of 100,000 posts over 50% had 2 or less Facebook interactions (shares, likes or comments) and over 75% had zero external links.”
So, rather, create a social media strategy with goals and a plan to achieve these aims. Buffer provides a detailed post on how to craft a social media strategy in five easy steps. Let’s discuss these steps with examples.
Step 1: Set and Align Company and Social Media Goals
Your business goal may be to build brand awareness for your product in new markets. You can achieve this goal through different social media goals.
But, let’s focus on one: building relationships with influencers. It’s a tactic that works; top digital marketers like Neil Patel use it.
Step 2: Set Specific Tactics For Each Goal
Define different tactics for the goal. For the above example, a few tactics may include:
- Creating a list of 50 influencers who are sharing content like yours.
- Reaching out to those influencers to get them to share it or link back to your article.
- Partnering with influencers to create a sponsored post.
Step 3: Rank Tasks
With limited resources and time, you need to rank tactics in order of importance. To help, use the value vs. complexity model. The idea is to tackles those tasks that are the least complex but offer the highest value. With that in mind, let’s first focus on creating the list, followed by reaching out and finally, creating a sponsored post.
Step 4: Delegate Tasks and Set ETA’s
Assign the different tasks to different people. For example, assign the job of finding 50 influencers to Nick, with an ETA of 20 August. If you’re a one-person show and doing it yourself, that’s also okay.
Now it’s time to get to work. Let’s examine the first two tactics: building a list of 50 influencers and reaching out to them.
Another useful tool is BuzzSumo. It helps you analyze the most shared content and who’s sharing that content.
Here’s how it works.
Let’s assume that you created an article, titled, “10 Strategies to Improve E-Commerce SEO.”
Type in the keyword, “Improve E-Commerce SEO,” to see which articles have the most shares and hit “search.”
You’ll receive the following results:
For each post, select “view sharers.”
You can see who’s shared the article and metrics such as page authority and number of Twitter followers.
Chances are if they’ve shared those articles, they’re likely to share -and even link back to – yours. Once you have your list of 50 influencers, reach out.
Reaching Out to Influencers
Reach out via social media (e.g. Twitter DM) or email. If you’re reaching out via email use email findings apps like FindThat to get their emails.
Neil Patel provides the following template in his post, “What Should You Do If You Have a ‘Great’ Article That’s Getting 0 Traffic.”
The success of the strategy depends on the content being the same or better than the content the influencers shared. Also, remember it’s a number game, but you only need a few shares and/or links to start building your brand awareness online.
Step 5: Track Progress and Make Changes
Regardless what tactics you use, you’ll quickly see what’s working and what isn’t. You may need to re-prioritize tasks you thought weren’t complex and offered high value, with others.
These three powerful strategies are proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to build brand awareness.
Will implementing these strategies take time? Sure. But I guarantee that if you take the time to apply these strategies, your brand exposure will skyrocket – and with it – your online success.
What strategies do you use to build brand awareness on a budget?