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“If you build it, they will come” is a phrase that doesn’t exactly ring true in e-commerce. In order to get people visiting your online store, you first need to build brand awareness.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is when a brand is recognized by potential and existing customers. It also describes when a brand is recalled by a customer and correctly associated with the specific product or service it offers.
True brand awareness is when people are not only able to identify a company’s brand colors, logo or products, but also the experience the brand provides and the feelings it elicits.
For Apple, that might be the sense of awe someone feels when unboxing a new iPhone. For Amazon, it could be the sense of satisfaction someone feels using Prime delivery and knowing they’ll receive their goods that same day.
But brand awareness isn’t just limited to bigger businesses, either. If you’re starting up a Shopify store, brand awareness can give you a competitive advantage when you don’t have as much visibility online and offline as the Amazons and Apples of the world.
How to be memorable as a brand
When retail only existed in bricks-and-mortar form, brand awareness was as simple as opening a store front and people walking past and noticing it.
The online world is slightly more challenging due to its sheer size. You can’t rely on the right people accidentally stumbling across your website. In order to successfully launch an online store, you need to be planning ahead and boosting brand awareness early on.
Here are five marketing strategies you can use to increase brand recognition amongst customers and keep them coming back for more.
1. Grow your email list.
Email is one of the holy grails for brand awareness as it’s such an effective way to communicate regularly with potential and existing customers. By consistently sending emails, you can familiarize people with the ‘why’ of your brand, stay on top of their minds and encourage visitors who’ve dropped off to return.
When launching an online store, it’s a good idea to collect as many email addresses as possible from the time of opening. This could be through a pop-up box on your site prompting first-time visitors to enter an email when they’re browsing a site in exchange for a discount code.
From there, you can maintain contact with your customers by sharing new promotions, product launches, user-generated content or a blog post that might spark their interest. Just make sure you’re providing value each time, as people don’t want to feel spammed. Be sure to check out the statistics for best practices in email marketing.
2. Create unforgettable custom packaging.
When you open an online store, your packaging is your customer’s only opportunity to interact with your brand in a tangible way outside of your actual product. This makes it a key touchpoint to create strong brand awareness.
Personalizing your packaging to feature your brand’s identity – such as your brand colors, logo, and name – ensures they’re reminded of your business when they come face-to-face with it. It also helps with brand recall: using a signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%.
Custom packaging is far more affordable for small business owners in this day and age. While previously only bigger businesses could afford higher printing runs, companies like noissue offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) which means that complete branded packaging can be affordable to businesses of all sizes.
Custom mailers, tissue paper, stamps, tape, or stickers can all be designed to show off your brand identity. The alternative? Plain packaging, which runs the risk of your parcels looking like other brands and getting lost in the pile. With e-commerce sales predicted to hit US$6.54 trillion by next year, a unique branded packaging can make all the difference.
3. Come up with a custom hashtag for Instagram (and other platforms).
As someone operating in the online space, you’ll be aware that the world is digital. Social media platforms are where many shoppers are spending a lot of their time scrolling. Channels like Instagram let you reach a wider audience by using relevant hashtags on posts, but there’s a lot of competition for the highly valued hashtags.
To create stronger brand awareness, go one step further and create a custom hashtag that incorporates your business name. Encourage customers to use it by sharing the hashtag when sending order confirmations or include a custom card with every order. Then, sit back and watch as awareness about your brand spreads and engagement builds
Another bonus of this strategy? You’ll have access to lots of user-generated content, which you can reshare on your own channels.
4. Brush up on your SEO skills.
Think back to the last time you searched for a product online. Did you continue clicking through to the fourth or fifth page? Probably not.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of people don’t bother to look past the first page of results when using an online search engine like Google. This is why SEO is incredibly important when you launch an online store.
The words you choose to use on your website all have an effect on how well your business ranks on search engines, so make sure you’re associating your brand with the most relevant frequently searched keywords. For example, if you’re selling eco-friendly toothbrushes, you want to make sure you use keywords related to sustainability and talk about the bigger picture of what your brand is wanting to achieve, beyond just brushing teeth.
5. Use content to create value beyond just what you’re selling.
User-generated content is an incredibly useful tool to show a product’s authenticity and quality. According to Stackla, 79 percent of people say it highly impacts their purchasing decisions. This is because rather than just seeing a product being marketed for sale, shoppers can see other people engaging with it and enjoying it, which helps with overall brand awareness.
It’s understandable to be laser-focused on your products when you’re starting out. However, it’s important to remember that your website can be so much more than just a landing page to buy things. Create more reasons for customers to return to your website. Showcase your brand: be it a community page with user-generated photos and comments, video content they’ve shot or a blog with posts that showcase your products in action. You can also use this content over on your own social media channels to drive awareness for your brand, too – win, win!
To wrap up
We hope these ideas for building brand awareness for your Shopify store have helped you!
Selling online for the first time can be daunting, but once you have a detailed plan in place, you’ll be rewarded for your marketing efforts by growing a following that recognizes and supports your brand.
Elly Strang is digital editor at noissue, a sustainable packaging company that lets you design your own eco-friendly customized tissue paper, mailers, stickers, tape, and more. Find out more about noissue.