Vital to accurately assessing the effectiveness of your marketing content, whether individual pieces of content or an overall strategy or campaign, is having a clearly defined goal. 

Two major “buckets” that your marketing team can think in terms of are brand awareness and lead generation. While equally important, the tactics and metrics for these goals are vastly different from one another. 

Here’s a breakdown of each and why your marketing team should be focusing on both. 

Brand Awareness Is All About Getting People to Know and Trust You.

Brand awareness is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: its goal is to get more people to hear about, recognize, and begin to trust your organization as a leader in your space. 

Whenever people are looking for an organization to engage with or help them solve a problem, they will almost always gravitate toward a brand that they know, even one that they don’t love, over and above a brand that they don’t recognize. As the saying goes, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” 

Nevertheless, brand awareness is about more than simply becoming a devil that more people know. Rather, it is about establishing yourself as a trusted resource that people actually love. 

The way to accomplish this is to provide high quality, expert-level content that helps people solve their problems and to distribute it at no cost to your audience. This could take the form of short form videos, blogs, or social media posts that add value to the lives of your target audience. It could also take the form of paid advertisements that don’t necessarily have a specific call-to-action but rather introduce people to your brand, whether in print or online. 

When you’re assessing a marketing campaign or content piece that has its goal as brand awareness, some of the metrics you want to track are engagement and reach. How many people, whether new audience members or current ones, is your marketing content reaching? And once it is reaching them, are they finding it compelling enough to engage with it, whether through a social media reaction, comment, or share? 

Healthy reach and engagement are key indicators that your content is providing value to current and potential customers. You should also see numeric growth in your audience, which can be tracked by social media follows and email subscriptions. If your audience is steadily growing, it is likely also growing in its trust for your authority and expertise.

Lead Generation Is All About Turning Audiences Into Customers and Clients.

Lead generation is different from brand awareness in that its main goal is to affect the bottom line. To turn audience members into leads and customers by identifying those who may be interested in the product or service you offer and putting them into a sales funnel. 

Key to generating leads is getting contact information, so that your team can follow up and assess the needs and desires of your potential customers and clients. Organizations can capture this information through a landing page form, and the key is providing an enticing enough offer for anonymous audience members to surrender their email addresses and phone numbers. 

In order to do this, your organization will need to develop high-value resources that are gated through the landing page. This could include webinars or online workshops, downloadable PDF resources, or special coupons and exclusive offers. 

These are what’s known as lead magnets, and they should associate with the paid products or services that your organization provides. You can promote them through your social media channels and existing email lists, or you can pay for Google and social media ads to reach those who are not in your current audience. 

Depending on how large your marketing and sales teams, your organization may choose to break down leads into marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL). MQLs are leads that are interested enough in your product that they want to learn more about it, but may not be ready to make a purchase just yet. SQLs are leads that have made it clear that they are in a buying mood. 

Marketing and sales teams will argue over how to qualify leads as MQLs or SQLs, but the point is that as your leads begin to express interest in the products and services that your organization offers, they should be funneled into a sales sequence, whether that entails an email series, personal calls from a salesperson, or a combination thereof. 

If at any point in the sequence they decide that your organization’s products or services aren’t for them at the moment, you can place them back into your general marketing audience, keeping the relationship warm with brand awareness materials until such a time as they might again express interest in making a purchase in the future. 

Don’t Neglect Brand Awareness for Lead Gen or Vice Versa. 

Depending on your personality and the makeup of your team, you may be tempted to focus on one of these goals to the detriment of the other. For example, those who are more creatively oriented and who love casting vision may be more drawn to marketing activities that lend themselves to brand awareness. However, if your team spends all its time waxing eloquent about your organization’s philosophy for approaching specific challenges, it may grow a big audience without ever making a sale. 

On the other hand, those who are more sales oriented and relational may tend to focus on activities for lead generation. They don’t want to put any effort toward anything that isn’t going to result in a next step with specific customers or potential customers. However, if your team spends all its time selling, it may lack the infrastructure of credibility that is required to make those lead generation activities most effective. 

Brand awareness and lead generation feed into one another, and each is vital to a successful marketing strategy.