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Brand awareness is one of the key factors to driving long term business growth – without it, businesses can suffer from lackluster leads and low customer engagement. In this article, we outline some of the best ecommerce marketing ideas to help you drive long term brand awareness and engagement.
Why is brand awareness important in ecommerce?
Brand awareness is the best way of driving market reach, build an online audience, increase website traffic and sales.
Brand awareness also helps brands build trust – having brand that resonates with with target customers really helps stand out and differentiate in the market.
Ecommerce marketing ideas to boost engagement
Brand awareness is the reason why industry giants like Coca-Cola and Adidas still run expensive advertisements on traditional media. But big budget TV advertising options are not your only option. Here are some alternative ideas:
Create referral programs
Users will readily recommend your product or service when they are incentivised to do so! Dropbox hacked its growth by applying a powerful referral program during its launch. Each time an existing user referred a friend, they will be given 500 MB of extra storage space (up to 16 GB).
During the launch, Dropbox grew exponentially through word of mouth marketing using this referral technique. The move delivered a huge number of new users for Dropbox.
Harness the power of hashtags
This is one of the simplest but often overlooked ecommerce marketing ideas. If done right, hashtags can drive exposure for brand awareness via social media. Hashtags are powerful because they can be used to target specific customers. There are two types of hashtags, branded or unbranded. Branded hashtags are the ones directly launched by your business. Some of the best examples are Coke’s #ShareACoke and Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt. Unbranded (industry-related) hashtags can help a brand gain visibility in conversations most relevant to them. For example, #fitness, #makeup, #food and #marketing.
Consider experiential marketing
The best examples of experiential marketing combine the wow factor of a PR stunt with a strong element of education allowing consumers to learn about your brand in a very immersive way. Creating a memorable experience is really high impact and creates deeper levels of consumer engagement. As far as ecommerce marketing ideas goes, this one is not obvious – but taking a digital brand into the real world really makes waves. Here are some examples:
- Comfort’s ‘Swap Shop’ – Comfort worked hard to raise awareness of the importance of up-cycling or buying second hand. They hosted a “swap shop” partnering with Elle, Cosmopolitan and Oxfam. Those who came to the event were invited to swap an item of their clothing for a donated item from the partners. The campaign put a spotlight on sustainability in fashion – a highly relevant topic for the detergent brand.
- WWF’s elephant hologram – This campaign aimed to raise awareness of animal trafficking with particular focus on elephants that are heavily targeted for the ivory trade. In 2018, WWF launched a hologram of a five-metre elephant that roamed the streets of London. The campaign also included holograms of other endangered species. The result was highly impactful with WWF securing 124,664 signatures to stop wildlife crime.
A great way to create a splash without breaking the bank is to invest in partnerships. Complementary partnerships (collaborations with other businesses) work because you can join forces in marketing to offer products that are relevant to your customers (and get promoted to the partner’s customer base as well). For example, hotels often partner with airlines to offer packaged travel solutions that incorporate hotel stay and flights for consumers who love to travel.
Partner with podcasters
According to the 2018 Podcast Statistics by Edison Research, “67 million Americans listen to podcasts every month”. Audio podcasts continue to rise in popularity. It’s one of the less obvious ecommerce marketing ideas but the ability to reach a targeted audience is a winning strategy. Just like partnering with a complementary business, podcasters who have already built an audience are a high impact and affordable way to raise brand awareness to your target customers.
Sponsoring an event is a great way to generate brand awareness and it helps to showcase what the brand is all about to a captive and relevant audience. Sponsorship creates a unique memory and an emotional connection for consumers which can help drive brand preference in the customer’s purchase decision making process.
- GRAMMY’s “Play the City” – For its 60th-anniversary, the GRAMMY’s return to New York City where some of the biggest musicians Frank Sinatra and Jay Z launched their careers. The Grammy’s drew inspiration from the city with people using the back of an Uber and augmented reality to play New York City like an instrument.
- Google: “Building a Better Bay Area” – Google harnessed its corporate philanthropy to increase awareness. The search engine giant donated $5.5 million to Bay Area nonprofits and let the public decide where the money was allocated. Google let consumers cast their votes online and also involved the Bay Area community by installing interactive posters in public areas. With this experiential marketing strategy, #GoogleImpactChallenge went viral and the campaign generated 400,000 votes in three weeks.
Create unique viral marketing
Sometimes an idea can catch the zeitgeist and can get everybody talking about a brand. Viral marketing campaigns are often based on a topic that captivates the public’s imagination, shines a light on an unknown fact of life or just plain and simple makes us chuckle…. it’s all about delivering a unique and memorable experience to consumers.
- Greenpeace with David Harbour – Stranger Things star David Harbour asked fans to help him get 200k retweets so that he can join the expedition to Antarctica. The challenge generated 376k RTs and he was allowed to join the expedition months later.
- Alexa by Amazon – The fun Alexa commercial debuted at the Super Bowl. The “Alexa Has Lost Her Voice” campaign featured some of the most popular influencers which created an entertaining piece and 47 million views. The campaign brought awareness to a technology that is not very relatable to every consumer.
- KFC’s Chicken Crisis – The viral apology ad by this fast-food giant helped turn an embarrassing crisis into a highly engaging social media campaign. KFC voiced their frustration on the chicken shortage which caused major problems for their London branches. Openly admitting their shortcomings resulted in the ad receiving positive responses from the consumers.
Influencer marketing campaigns
According to The State of Influencer Marketing report, “94% of consumers said that influencer marketing was an effective campaign strategy.” Influencer marketing helps brands to tap into an already existing community so when done right it is a quick shortcut to drive market reach to a relevant audience. This is one of the most obvious and heavily used of our ecommerce marketing ideas so it’s crucial that you look to get value for money from those influencers that you work with.
- Sprint: #LiveUnlimited – With the help of influencers like Gerard Adams, Lele Pons, Bradley Martyn and Rachel Cook they gained the attention of young audiences.
- Sperry: Boat Shoes on Instagram – Boat shoe brand, Sperry worked with more than 100 micro-influencers via Instagram to provide engaging content for their followers, helping them spread the word about their fantastic products.
Brand awareness builds trust which makes it a crucial part of any marketing effort. Additionally, the more consumers are aware of your brand, the more loyal they become. By improving brand awareness, it opens the gate to long term sustainable growth.
The ecommerce marketing ideas we have run through are just some examples of how brands can increase awareness and differentiate in the market – all of these are alternatives to the run-of-the-mill PPC or paid social media advertising which is becoming more expensive by the month. Try a few of them out… you might be surprised with the results.