Trying to drum up brand awareness without the right partners is like trying to build a house with only a hammer and nails. Though it might be possible, the process will be complicated, take longer than necessary, and may not turn out the way you originally planned.
Similarly, the landscape of brand awareness tools on the market is arguably more complicated than the world of power tools (and less likely to cause an ER visit for the novice user). There are brand awareness tools claiming to help you with everything from surveys to social media management, sentiment, public relations, and even more. In this article, I’ll break down the brand awareness tools available to help you boost your brand awareness while saving time and getting the right data — no hard hat or protective gloves required.
We also include a bonus downloadable MarTech platform evaluation template to help you make the best decision for your brand.
Brand Perception Surveys
A brand perception survey helps you get honest, unbiased information about how a target audience perceives your brand. With a survey, you might try to answer questions about how you size up against competitors, what words are associated with your brand, how customers feel about your brand and past customer experiences. These types of thorough surveys provide you with invaluable information that will help guide your future brand awareness campaigns and inform all facets of your business — from customer support to new products and beyond.
Whether you want to collect feedback from your current customers or feel out the market with responses from a global panel, SurveyMonkey can help. SurveyMonkey consistently gets good online reviews, and the only downside mentioned is the steep cost increase as you require more features. Some of the upsides are easy-to-use templates and logic settings, easily viewable data, display and download, and suggested questions that help you minimize survey bias.
No matter what stage of building a brand you’re currently in, Qualtrics can help. They present themselves as an “experience management platform,” which includes tools for managing customer, product, brand, and employee feedback. The platform itself gets glowing reviews for its ability to help brands and organizations conduct thorough surveys that follow data collection and analysis best practices.
If you want to start doing surveys without the potential investment of a survey tool, Google Forms might be the tool for you. While the forms won’t be anything fancy, you can customize the colors and background to match your brand, include custom logic and basic question formats, and gather the data you need in a Google Sheet for later analysis.
No matter which tool you end up using, make sure you answer the following questions:
- What kind of feedback do I need from my customers?
- How often do I want to ask for feedback?
- How am I going to analyze and present this feedback?
Campaign Analysis Tools
If you’ve been anywhere near a marketing professional in the last decade, you probably know that campaign analysis is critical in our quick-moving, data-focused business landscape. And if you’re new to digital marketing, let us welcome you by giving you the first and most important rule of digital marketing — if you don’t have data, it didn’t happen. Uncovering insights about your website traffic, your target audience, and how your campaigns resonate with the people you’re trying to reach will never be simple, but it’s definitely easier with a tool like the ones mentioned below.
When you’re building your marketing toolbox, Google Analytics is like the actual box that contains everything else. Sure, you can go out and create an impressive martech stack without it, but without basic website analytics, it will all be disorganized. Get basic information about your website behavior like visitors, how long people stay on your site, which pages they’re interested in, and more. Basically, Google Analytics allows you to go as deep or as shallow as you want, where data about your website, users, and marketing campaigns are concerned.
If you’re mystified as to why website visitors aren’t converting, or if you want to see how people move through your website to your conversion pages, a tool like HotJar is perfect. Your product management team, UX designers, and marketing teams will all benefit from easy insights that lead you to critical feedback for your campaigns and website experience. Helpful features include session recording, heatmap tools for behavior visualization, exit polls, surveys, and form analysis.
As a fresh-faced marketer, I’ve had the opportunity to educate clients about all things online marketing, including SEO. I often had to explain that yes, SEO can be highly confusing and technical, but no, it’s not actually magic. If you find yourself having the same conversation (even if that conversation is with yourself), you might need a tool like Moz.
A key piece of assessing the state of your brand awareness efforts is analyzing and troubleshooting your performance in search engines. This is no easy task and requires cooperation between marketing, UX design, and development teams. The suite of brand awareness tools included in the Moz platform helps you audit your site for technical fixes, gives you data points to help you track your overall rank, helps you research potential keywords for content creation, and more.
Our rundown of analytical tools wouldn’t be complete without including the obvious — whichever platforms you’re using to distribute your social media, display, or search campaigns will undoubtedly deliver some analysis on your campaign success. To see how your campaigns are performing, look for key performance indicators (KPIs) like reach, impressions, CPM, new site visitors, engaged visitors, and others that indicate how many people were made aware of your brand through the campaigns you’re running.
One word of caution, relying solely on individual platforms to surface the right analytics can create extra work and another layer of confusion to your campaign analysis, particularly where brand awareness is concerned. It’s incredibly helpful to be able to see your campaigns side by side and see which campaigns are helping at all phases of the customer journey, even if they’re not driving immediate conversions.
When you’re choosing the brand awareness tools that are best for you, make sure to answer the following questions:
- What kind of information about my audience do I need?
- How will I use this information to improve my strategies?
- Which KPIs do I care most about?
Social Media Management
Customers are practically begging brands to be more social, but it goes without saying that there is a right and a wrong way to go about this. For example, posting without figuring out who your target audience is and what they want from you goes directly in the “wrong” category. But, using social to listen, engage users, and entice them to move down the funnel is definitely right. Thankfully, you’re not on your own when it comes to pulling together all of the moving pieces involved in posting, social listening, and analyzing your campaigns.
This option is for the experienced social media marketer or team of marketers. You can distribute, analyze, and optimize your social campaigns, both paid and unpaid, from one platform. The main criticism that Sprout Social draws is the price tag. The “Standard” package comes in at $99 per user per month — no small investment if you’re exploring the world of social media marketing.
One of the first tools in the social media management space, HootSuite is still a leader when it comes to tools that give you the ability to find, distribute, manage, analyze and optimize your social content. HootSuite originally arrived on the scene as a way to schedule posts in advance to multiple social presences. Though they’ve clearly evolved their offering as social media management has evolved, posting and managing organic social media is still the tool’s strongest suit.
The biggest selling point for Socialbakers is the ability to sort out your social media audience using their AI-driven persona mapping tool. Not only can you see your top audiences, but you can find influencers, content inspiration, and craft posts just for those groups.
When you’re looking at partners to help you improve your social media strategies, keep the following questions in mind:
- What am I currently doing for social media?
- What would I like to do more of?
- What data do I need to be successful on an ongoing basis?
At the heart of brand awareness is finding ways to tell a brand story that resonates with the people you’re trying to reach. Earning the attention of relevant publications is a natural fit, but reporters won’t be wooed by just any company update. It takes a coordinated, strategic effort to find a wide variety of stories and communicate them to your target publications in a helpful (read: non-spammy) way. The brand awareness tools below are built to help you reach the right reporters, track your efforts, and find opportunities to lend your expertise.
To do PR well, you really have to jump in with both feet – something Cision is well aware of. Their suite of solutions helps you target, engage, measure and analyze your PR campaigns. Some reviews online agree that the reporter search database could be improved, but overall the tool does reduce the time involved with distributing and measuring your story.
Once you start generating some buzz, you’re definitely going to need some way to track and measure your coverage. This is where Critical Mention shines. You can track online as well as broadcast TV mentions with easily accessible visuals. This is definitely a tool for brands that are well-established with their PR strategies and may not be helpful or accessible to brands who are just starting out.
A key piece of assessing your PR results is determining the tone and sentiment of your online mentions. Meltwater is one of the leaders in this area, with tools to help you sift through online mentions and determine their sentiment, solutions that connect your PR efforts to ROI and options to help you continue telling your story by connecting with the right influencers.
Have you ever seen an article and thought that you would have been the perfect brand to give some input or industry context if only you had known? HARO (Help a Reporter Out) gives you the advance notice you need to do just that. Join the email list for your chosen verticals and watch for emails asking for comments and insight on topics that fit the narrative you’re trying to build for your brand.
Finding the right public relations tool can give you the edge you need to start building brand awareness and telling your story to the people who are interested in what you have. Just keep in mind the following as you’re choosing partners:
- Who is going to conduct my PR campaigns?
- What kind of time do we have designated for follow up, engagement and analysis?
- What are my KPIs and how will I measure them?
Every brand has a story to tell, and the best way to tell it is through creating content that is helpful to your target customers. Whether you’re blogging, producing a podcast, making graphics for social media or some combination of all of them, these tools will point you in the right direction and enable you to create connections with the people who matter to your brand.
Even the best content marketers come up against writer’s block, at least every now and then. BuzzSumo is the perfect tool to help you get re-inspired to create content that performs by reading trending content under various keywords or on specific domains.
One of the biggest reasons to create content is to boost your site’s SEO value, and SEMRush helps you quantify your impact, identify areas for improvement for both paid and unpaid online marketing efforts. It’s friendly to both the hardcore SEO or SEM expert as well as the jack-of-all-trades marketer trying to manage everything all at once.
Keep an eye on trending Google Search results for your chosen keywords, whether it’s your brand name, your competitors or industry keywords. Even better? It’s free! Use it to spark ideas for content, find topics that you should chime in on and influencers who are making noise in your industry.
We know that visual content performs, but what if you don’t have the resources to produce infographics or images? Canva is an easy-to-use tool that will help you put together simple images for your social media posts and ads for free or a small charge.
Creating content can seem daunting, but it’s an impactful way to reach your long-term brand awareness goals. Choosing the right partners and tools to help you create content that performs is one of the best things you can do to lighten your load. Here are some questions to keep in mind when you’re choosing content marketing platforms, tools, and partners:
- What kind of content do we want to create?
- Who will manage the content marketing efforts?
- What are the key things we need from our content marketing partners?
You can tell people how great your brand and products are all day (and you probably do) but hearing how great you are from an influencer on social media tends to cut through the noise in a way that brands can’t often achieve. Finding and coordinating with the right influencers can be a bit daunting. That’s where these brand awareness tools come in.
If you want one place to go to identify and analyze your influencer campaigns, you might consider investing in a tool like Klear. Use the influencer database to search for the right influencers on your chosen social channels and see how they rank according to Klear’s algorithm. Then, you can analyze, manage and monitor your campaigns all in one place.
If you’re trying to create a large-scale influencer program, Upfluence is worth a look. They can help you identify influencers using your own criteria optimized with their AI recommendations. Once you’ve chosen some influencers, your entire campaign can be managed directly from the platform. Everything from influencer outreach, payments, analysis, and team coordination has a place in the Upfluence platform.
Not only is it important to partner with professional influencers, but it’s also important to identify your loyal customers who are talking about you on social media to find opportunities for user-generated content (UGC). Pixlee wants to help you do this by using AI to help you show the best UGC across all channels.
If done well, influencer marketing can be an impactful way to introduce new customers to your brand. It can be difficult to identify the right influencers, reach out and measure your campaigns if you go it alone. When you’re looking for the right partners, think about the following questions:
- On which social media channels would I like to connect with influencers?
- How will I know if my influencer campaigns are successful?
- What is my budget for influencer campaigns?
Whether you’re digging into your next DIY project or a big product launch, finding the right brand awareness tools is crucial to your success. Investing in brand awareness is easily accessible to any brand – whether you’re just starting out or well established, and the right partnerships make it even more likely to launch your brand to the next level and cement your place in the hearts and minds of your target audience.
Megan is AdRoll’s Principal Product Marketing Manager who helps uncover and tell important stories to audiences inside and outside of the company. She pulls inspiration and expertise from her experience in marketing for a variety of different organizations, including agencies, technology, education and more. In her free time, she enjoys running (preferably in the beautiful Utah mountains), chasing her two kids and reading anything and everything.