Getting noticed is a crucial step for new brands looking to penetrate a market. And the right communications strategy can help drive brand awareness for brands. But as the goal of any business is to profit and generate returns, brand awareness is not enough.
How can communications help marketers increase their chances of turning prospects into actual customers? We ask our PRecious experts to share one tip to move from brand awareness to conversion.
The Right Time and Place
While I’m a big fan of the simplified concept of the sales funnel, it is clear that it isn’t a linear process from brand awareness to conversion. Key to moving prospects from an early brand or even category awareness point to an eventual purchase is to identify their moments of truth, where they form or change an impression about that particular brand, product or service. Especially online research is crucial for any buyer journey. What do they find online when looking for your brand – from reviews to thought leadership – that is not paid or owned content alone. Buyers want reassurance that they are making the right choice. In enterprise IT often analysts like Forrestor with their ‘Wave’ or Gartner’s ‘Magic Quadrant’ have become pre-selection platforms where procurement departments would base their short lists on.
To catch your prospect at the right time and place, we have to step back from the simple sales pitch and be clear about the real problem your product or service is supposed to address. If the potential buyer is not aware of having a problem – they will certainly not be interested in a solution as they don’t see the need. So often in marketing and communications a core effort has to go into amplifying problem scenarios that then can be fixed. The bigger and more urgent that problem is perceived, the faster conversion might move.
A great example is life insurance sales. You hardly hear about blunt product marketing but rather about life stages where the solution of protection becomes more clear like e.g. your first job, marriage, first house, first child, etc.; be there when people develop an intent and make it easy for them to take the next step: from showing interest to a direct purchase.
Lars Voedisch, Founder & Managing Director, PRecious Communications
The Other Three R’s: Relevance, Relationships, Results
The stars are aligned – you have a great product and worked out all the bugs, media visibility is off the charts, the phones are ringing off the hook, your sales and marketing team is on fire and brand awareness has resulted in a fuller sales pipeline. Now what? Unless it’s a monopolistic market, chances are that your company is not the only one in your prospect’s consideration set (not to mention that oftentimes procurement teams might ask for a bunch of quotes and there’s always the risk of cheapest being seen as best.)
Relevance (the right content shared through the right platforms at the right time) and Relationships (built off an understanding of how you can help, mixed with the right amount of enthusiasm) – if done right can heighten engagement and create FOMO amongst your targets to significantly shorten the sales cycle. Each prospect will respond differently to the content & engagement mix: amplify good content and figure out the best engagement mechanism.
Another thing to note: We like to believe that conversion is often the beginning of the relationship, with the courtship and dating phase now over. Retention is what truly wins the day, particularly for subscription sales; it’s far easier to retain a loyal client than it is to constantly find new ones. The content-engagement formula still holds and makes for a happier, longer existence. In addition to Relevance, Relationships, a third “R” emerges – Results, and you’re good to go.
Prayaank Gupta, Vice President, Growth & Innovation
Be Intentional on Every Channel and Platform (Traditional PR to Social Media)
We hear about brands that succeed in clocking higher sales or conversion numbers often operate with the mantra of ‘give consumers what they want and nothing that they don’t’. However, the trick to working this right would be to deliver all formats of content by taking reference with the insights extracted from research, surveys, experiences and your own observations. Layering them to derive as a ‘hidden truth’ that you uncover would be the ‘lead in’ to the strategy that you are creating for the brand to speak closer to the consumer and hence, working towards the conversion funnel.
As a brand moves down the marketing funnel, we will need to look into several metrics for conversion. It is important to recognise the need to define what conversion means for your brand – would it be downloading a piece of content or piling onto followers or page likes growth. On social media, while you can set objectives at the backend of the social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin) that map back to conversion metrics, brands have to recognise that the numbers provided are at best informed estimations. Other factors such as creative content outputs from design to copies will have to speak to the direct audience whom you are promoting the content to. Working hand in hand with integrated agencies with storytelling (PR), design and copy capabilities will increase your chances in achieving higher engagement and conversion percentages, yielding a more fruitful relationship and tangible benefits that integrated communications can bring to a brand.
Robin Chang, Vice President, Brand Communication & Strategy
Credibility and Relevance
The conversion process for many of our clients at INC is usually not as simple as clicking on a purchase button on a mobile app: the high value, long term products and services that our clients sell usually need to go through a procurement process that takes time, multiple levels of approvals, and with multiple competitors.
Thus, two tips, seen through the lens of the communications work that we do, are credibility – that you can do what you say you can do – and relevance – that what you do can actually solve the unique problem of your customer. We do that by telling stories through the credibility of recognisable media, as well as leveraging on the voices of previous customers and case studies. This can also help support our client’s sales team in meeting potential clients – using these articles to kickstart a conversation or to convince them of capabilities. In today’s media environment, it’s also important to make sure that this information is easily searchable, or exists in a permanent form on websites or social media content.
Clarence Lim, Practice Head, INC
Data, Content and Channels
Consumer behaviour and preferences continue to evolve and it is important for technology companies to shift and reshape outreach and engagement programs as well. As simple it might sound, technology companies just need to focus on the basics. This could be in the form of tracking and analysing the right data, understanding channels of engagement that resonate with their audiences and business targets and driving relevant content and conversion campaign strategies.
Content strategies need to revolve around understanding the buyer’s journey and building full-funnel, data-driven, omni-channel content marketing that helps the prospect in that journey.
Rajiv Menon, Practice Head, Edge
Emotional Appeal, Down-to-earth Storytelling
We need to create content that combines the following: the “wow factor”, relevance, impactful storytelling, and emotional appeal. Thai people especially love comical, lighthearted stories that evoke joy and laughter.
Stories that evoke emotions sell – just take a look at how Phra Maha Sompong Talaputto and Phra Maha Praiwan Worawano went viral all over Facebook on 1 Sept.
Employing the same technique – incorporating stories that are human, relatable, and which have the power to draw an audience – can make all the difference between awareness and conversion. Ultimately, it is a numbers game – and getting more people aware and talking positively about your brand through powerful content can influence purchase decisions.
Busakorn Srisongkhroh, Thailand Market Lead
Word-of-Mouth and KOL Engagement: Conversations That Drive Conversions
Some factors that drive conversion in the Indonesian market involve word-of-mouth marketing and brand perception. As consumers get more critical about their preferences, peer recommendations and influencer reviews play an important role in shaping consumers’ purchase behaviour. Partnering with KOLs/influencers is actually one effective way for brands to break into a market. KOLs/influencers – who are already familiar with the characteristics and dynamics of a particular market – can become advocates of one’s brand. As people trust their opinions, these KOLs/influencers can help a brand gain the trust of a market.
Joyce Rodwina, Indonesia Market Lead
Inspired by this post? If you are a startup or a corporate and are looking to build trusted relationships with your key audiences, get in touch with us to expand your company’s PR and communications game. Let’s push creative boundaries together.
This post is also available in: Thai