Year after year, industrial marketers report their top marketing priorities are to generate qualified leads for sales and to increase brand awareness.
This post is about marketing visibility. High visibility leads to high brand awareness, and together they produce a host of benefits, including:
- Instilling in customers a sense of trust in your company, brand, and products.
- Discoverability early in the engineer’s buying cycle, which is essential because engineers and technical buyers prefer to search and research independently before contacting a potential vendor.
- Engagement with potential customers. Without visibility, there is no opportunity for engagement and qualified leads.
- A potentially shorter sales cycle because customers want to buy from companies they recognize and that are known in the market.
What Helps Increase Visibility
There are two primary factors that help increase marketing visibility: reach and regularity.
Reach is how far and wide your marketing presence extends. Depending on your strategy, you may be using marketing programs to:
- Penetrate deeply into your current markets and core customers
- Get your message out to new markets and new potential customers
- Some weighted combination of these two strategies
Regularity is how often your brand and message are visible to your target audience. Are you maintaining a consistent and highly visible presence, or only periodically appearing in the market to support specific initiatives?
Ideally, you want to maintain some level of visibility at all times in the market, and bump up your presence to a higher level to support product launches, important company milestones or news, or in response to a unique market opportunity.
Effective programs and channels that help to maintain regular visibility and also can generate immediate interest or engagement opportunities:
- Company website—Your number one brand ambassador, and always on so that your audience can always find you.
- Email—allows you to stay in touch with your house list and keep your brand top of mind with customers and prospects.
- Social media—Regular updates on social media channels help keep you front and center with engineers. Relevant posts can be easily shared by users, helping to increase your reach.
- Display advertising—Used on a network of targeted industrial sites, display ads offer high visibility and brand awareness.
- Industry-specific websites—Directly listings, content hubs, and online catalogs offer you an opportunity to be as visible as larger companies and reach potential customers during their search process.
- Media relations—Public relations efforts such as pitching stories, writing by-lined articles, providing expert opinions on newsworthy topics, and sending press releases can increase the number of mentions your company receives.
- Webinars/online events—Whether hosted by your company or with an industry partner, online events are powerful, subject-specific branding opportunities that deliver a captive audience.
- Video—One of the fastest growing marketing tactics for manufacturers, watching video is popular among engineering and technical professionals.
How to Measure Visibility
Every marketing initiative you undertake should be measurable, including efforts to increase marketing visibility.
Unlike a call-to-action lead generation program that produces short-term results, increasing visibility takes time and therefore should be measured over time. The key is for trends to point in your favor. If your results increase month over month and quarter over quarter, you’ll know that your visibility is increasing as well.
Individual programs have their own related metrics that allow you to measure visibility.
- Email metrics include number of emails sent, number opened, and number of clicks or other desired actions such as forwards.
- For display ads, visibility can be measured by impressions, which is the number of times your ads are seen. Clicks on display ads measure engagement with your content. These metrics hold true for e-newsletter advertisements as well.
- On industry-specific websites, the number of visitors to your directory listing or content hub measures visibility; additionally, the number of click-throughs to your website measures how interested your audience is in what you have to say.
- Social media metrics such as the number of followers, shares and retweets all measure visibility.
- The most important website metric for visibility is the number of visitors. New vs. returning visitors gives a sense of visibility with a new audience. If the percentage of new visitors rises in relation to returning visitors, your visibility is increasing because new audiences are discovering you.
You should also track other metrics that are not tied to any specific channels or programs, yet offer deep insight into how visible your brand and message are in the marketplace.
For example, how often users type your company name into search engines is a good measurement of brand awareness. In addition, to measure the impact of media relation efforts, use the free service Google Alerts, which will notify you of specific keywords mentions such as your company name, product names or other relevant keywords that appear in news articles, blog posts web pages.
If these metrics are increasing over time, you will know that your marketing visibility is increasing as well.