There are so many methods to market online that it can be difficult for a business owner or marketing manager to decide which tactics need the most effort and budget. There isn’t one clear cut answer because you have to consider which phase of the buying process you can make the biggest impact on a potential customer.

We’ll cover what we view as three key phases of the buying process for consumers and discuss which digital marketing tactics work best for those phases.

Part I – Awareness Phase
Part II – Interest Phase
Part III – Decision Phase

Part I – Awareness

Every brand needs to pay attention to the awareness phase because let’s face it, there’s a strong likelihood that a large portion of your potential customers don’t know who you are. Whether you’re a new company or one with a long history of success, you need to continuously fill the top of your sales funnel with new prospects.

So how do you generate brand awareness through digital channels? Here are a few digital marketing tactics to get started if awareness is your focus:

Display Advertising – Fill the market with banner ads about your business or product. Display clicks can be fairly cheap, but be warned – the average click through rate for banner ads is 0.10%. You’re essentially buying the online version of a billboard. Google and other display network providers have improved their targeting capabilities to help businesses reach more relevant audiences but unless you commit to a large spend, driving traffic and encouraging action will be a challenge.

Content Marketing – Start producing regular content through your digital channels – blogs, videos, short-form content, infographics. Syndicating this through the right social channels with a bit of SEO (more on this in a bit) can help increase awareness of your brand in a “soft-sell” sort of way to build credibility for you.

Video Marketing – You spent the time to create a great video, now spend a little bit of money and make it do some work for you. YouTube and Facebook’s video ads are cheap with great targeting platforms. Build a relevant audience and take advantage of the power of video.

SEO – There is definitely value to building and maintaining a website optimized for search. Especially if you’re focusing on building pages with a focus on non-branded keywords. SEO is the long game of digital marketing. Don’t expect results from search engine optimization efforts for at least 90 days.

Paid Social – Facebook’s advertising platform is fantastic for finding new potential customers. If you’re producing quality content, you can reach new audiences easily. Paid social ads will help drive traffic to your site but conversions and actions might be tougher to come by. Consider that when someone is scrolling on Facebook, they aren’t actively looking for YOUR product. If your ad/content is enticing enough for them to click, then they are likely to browse your content before returning back to what they were doing. But you’ve succeeded in generating awareness for your brand.

The awareness phase of digital marketing is often the most difficult to convince businesses to invest their money into. Everyone wants an instant purchase or action for every dime or hour of time they spend on creating awareness. As noisy as today’s digital world is, it’s often not that simple.

My next post will focus on moving those prospective customers down to the Interest phase. You’ve succeeded in making them aware of you. Now how do you keep them interested?