If your market doesn’t know about your product, they cannot buy from you. There are a number of ways to raise awareness of your business – some cost more than others, while some are more effective than others.
The first thing that probably comes to mind when one wants to create public and consumer awareness of their business or products and services is traditional advertising.
Companies advertise for a number of different reasons: to attract new customers, keep existing ones, and to confirm to recent customers they did the right thing. They advertise to create quick awareness of a new brand or a product change, and create, explain, and reinforce a brand’s positioning. They advertise to tell shareholders they are doing something active to keep the company growing. They advertise to tell government they are there. And sometimes they advertise to win awards. But most of all, they advertise because they’ve grown large enough to expect they need to.
The benefits of advertising are numerous if done correctly and via the right medium for the product/service. In order to determine the right medium, market research may need to be carried out. Advertising agencies can do this for you, as well as create advertising campaigns and monitor the effectiveness of the advertisements. Be warned – traditional advertising is not necessarily the most effective form of sales lead generation (people are well used to being bombarded with various advertising messages and are getting very good at “switching off” to it) and is certainly not the most cost effective method of building awareness.
Public relations is a word many businesses may have heard of but are not entirely certain what it is, or is involved, and are certainly not making the best use of this brilliant tool that they could be.
To put it very simply, public relations is the process of communicating with your market. This can be done through e-newsletters sent directly to your customers, or alternatively through the media. The media includes newspapers, magazines, TV and radio, in both the traditional and online format. It is objective, as opposed to subjective, independently researched, and not paid for.
If a news article ran in the major metropolitan newspaper, comparing a couple of identical or similar products or businesses, a consumer can be confident that the information is based upon research by an independent person (the journalist) who took all perspectives into account, and therefore this information is more reliable than an advertisement, where the advertisers (the businesses in question) simply said the best things about themselves they possibly could.