Say your sales reps have a booth at a conference they’ve never been to before. They prepare to spend plenty of time introducing people to your brand, explaining what your organization does, and discussing how your product or service helps people.
But before they even get started, everyone says, “Oh, yeah! I’ve heard of you!”
That may sound like a daydream, but that’s what good branding does. Brand awareness isn’t always tangible, and many advertisers don’t think to pay attention to it. But as people encounter your brand, your other marketing and sales efforts become more effective—because your audience has already heard of you.
We recently decided to try and measure some of those “intangible” benefits of branding. So we surveyed people who visited two of the most popular sites in our advertising network to find out how these audiences engage with the brands they discover there.
What we found helped clarify the connection between advertising, branding, and market penetration.
Here are three benefits of branding that many advertisers overlook.
1. Brand awareness creates follow-up sales opportunities
If someone has never heard of you, they aren’t going to search for you by name, visit your website, or call your organization. But your ad campaigns can help fix that problem. Even if brand awareness isn’t your primary goal, it can be a valuable side effect of your campaign.
When we surveyed people who visited ChurchLeaders.com and SermonCentral.com, 9 percent of visitors said they directly contacted an advertiser by email, phone, or chat after seeing an ad. More surprisingly, 29 percent of visitors on SermonCentral.com and 43 percent of visitors on ChurchLeaders.com said they visited an advertiser’s website to obtain more information.
So even when people don’t convert, they’re continuing to interact with your brand in other ways, giving you more opportunities to close sales or build a relationship.
Not to mention, when those people visit your website, you can try to convert them again later by retargeting them with ads.
2. Consumers recommend brands they have seen
Sometimes people encounter marketing that doesn’t really apply to them. But if they have a friend who’d benefit from that product or service, they’ll happily recommend it. On SermonCentral.com, 9 percent of visitors said they recommended a product or service to someone else. On ChurchLeaders.com, 16 percent of visitors did.
Brand awareness allows word-of-mouth marketing to do its magic. If people haven’t heard of you before, they can’t recommend you when their friends, family, or colleagues are looking into your industry.
3. Your audience will think of you when the time is right
When your sink, toilet, and water heater are working fine, an ad for a local plumber probably won’t catch your attention. But when your pipes burst and there’s water in places there shouldn’t be water, the first brand you’ll think of is going to be the one you’ve heard of before.
People naturally gravitate toward brands they’re familiar with. So even if you aren’t the first local plumber people find when they start their search, you could be the first one they recognize.
The point is that when people suddenly find themselves in a situation where your ad is more applicable to them, they remember your ad. So while the metrics we use for digital ads tell us that their lifespan is rather short, they can actually benefit you long after you stop running them, even if you can’t track these later sales.
On SermonCentral.com, 20 percent of visitors thought about an ad later, when a relevant need came up. On ChurchLeaders.com, the number was 29 percent.
Don’t underestimate the power of branding
Building a brand takes time and energy. But it’s a valuable way to boost the effectiveness of all your other marketing and sales efforts. And while it’s not as tangible as your conversion rate, it is part of the impact of every ad, email, or piece of content you publish.
Who knows—your next sale could come from an ad you stopped running weeks ago.