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Where Marketers Go to Grow

May 30, 2014 // 4:00 AM

11 Ideas to Grow Brand Awareness at Lightning Speed

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brandawarenessHave you noticed how some of today's biggest brands seem to have popped up out of nowhere and become overnight successes? I always wondered how that was possible. Is it just a matter of having one genius idea that no one else has thought about, ever? Or is it that these hugely successful companies are started by billionaires who have the money and contacts to create something that we could only dream of?

As it turns out, no is the answer to both of those questions -- all we really need is a bit of creativity! 

In the SlideShare below, we take a look at some "overnight" success stories and see what they did to scale their growth in such a short amount of time, and what we can learn from them.

Download our free guide here for even more branding tips.

 

1) Uniqlo

(A Japanese company that ensures it provides casual clothes for all kinds of people.)

Growth:

uniqlo-1

Idea: Partner with Other Brands

Uniqlo sponsor free admission to the Museum of Modern Art every Friday from 4pm - 8pm. This gets their name in front of a brand new audience that they may never have reached before, and generates positive word of mouth from people who get to enjoy the museum compliments of the clothing company.

Lesson:

Partnering with another brand will help you inherit their image and reputation, as well as creating brand evangelists outside of your customer base.

2) Dropbox 

(A free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily with others.)

Growth:

dropbox-4

Idea: Refer a Friend

Dropbox made it really easy for users to refer Dropbox to their friends by having sharing options for email, social, as well as a link to share via any other method the user preferred. Users did this to get more space, which Dropbox offered for every referred sign up. This helped Dropbox increase their signups by 60%. (Source: Dropbox)

Lesson:

Consider how your product can help promote itself. The Dropbox product created a heap of referral signups because people wanted to get more space. What would your users want in return for referrals?

3) Evernote

(`A tool for note taking and collaboration.)

Growth:

evernote-3

Idea: Launch as a Closed Beta

Evernote initially launched as a closed beta. This lasted 4 months. During this time, people had to sign up and send invitations to their network in order to actually use the service. This created a lot of buzz around Evernote.

By the end of the 4 months of the closed beta, Evernote had attracted 125,000 sign ups.

Lesson:

Exclusivity creates buzz. Plus, mandatory sharing to access a really valuable product will spread the word without costing you a penny.

4) Buffer

(A social media publishing tool.)

Growth:

buffer

Idea: Guest Blogging

By writing 150 guest posts, Buffer grew from zero to 100,000+ users in nine months.

They had to start on smaller sites and work their way up to the most popular in their industry. They got their name everywhere by creating really valuable content -- even though it wasn’t on their own site. Content marketing accounted for over 70% of their daily signups.

Lesson:

Be everywhere in your niche. Providing valuable content on other sites outside of your own will build an engaged audience. Once they know, like, and trust you, you can then market your product or service to them.

5) KISSMetrics 

(A web analytics solution that helps you to increase customer acquisition and retention rates.)

Growth:

kissmetrics

Idea: Create Infographics

Creating 47 infographics has gotten KISSmetrics 2,512,596 visitors, 41,142 backlinks, and 3,741 unique referring domains. (Source: KISSmetrics) They consider infographics to be one of the main reasons they have grown their blog from zero to 350,000 readers a month in 24 months.

“If you can make complex data easy to understand in a visual format, you can get millions of visitors to your website.” – Neil Patel, KISSmetrics

Lesson:

Experiment with the right formats for your audience. Infographics worked awesome for KISSmetrics, but something else may work for your brand.

6) Qualaroo 

(A pop-up survey for your website to help with user experience on your site.)

Growth:

qualaroo

Idea: Conversion Optimization 

Qualaroo has ‘Powered by Qualaroo [?]’ featured on every customer website, unless the customer upgrades to a paid account. The question mark is clickable and leads to a signup page for a free trial of Qualaroo. 

Lesson:

Use your freemium product in clever ways to get your brand name in front of people. Leverage your customers for marketing real estate. 

7) Uber

(A mobile app that connects you with a driver within minutes.)

Growth:

uber-4

Idea: Freebies to Well-Connected Influencers

Uber provided free rides to well-connected attendees of local tech and venture capital events. They knew that these people would be very likely to share the experience with tech press and social media audiences, getting Uber’s name in front of their target audience.

Lesson:

Provide a wow experience to your ideal customers free of charge -- bonus points if they have a large network they can share the experience with.

8) Yelp 

(A user review and recommendations site for restaurants, shopping, nightlife, entertainment, etc.)

Growth:

yelp

Idea: Make it Social 

Yelp made each reviewer human by building a profile behind each one. This made reviews more trustworthy and reviewers felt like they were becoming part of a community and building their reputation by using the site. Members can interact with each other by becoming friends, chatting online, or meeting at offline events. Yelp has since accumulated over 47 million reviews.

Lesson:

Make your customers’ experience human and personal. Build communities that enable your customers to communicate with each other, allowing them to learn from their experiences and interact over a shared interest.

9) Upworthy

(A website with curated, viral content.)

Growth:

upworthy

Idea: Test Headlines

At Upworthy, the curators need to come up with 25 headlines for every piece of content. They then select their favorite four, and the managing editor selects two, which are rigorously tested. Upworthy saw nine million monthly unique visitors in just nine months.

Lesson:

Coming up with an attention-grabbing headline for your content can help maximize the reach of your content, and your brand.

10) Hotmail

(A free email service from Microsoft.)

Growth:

hotmail

Idea: Email Tagline 

Hotmail grew its subscriber base from zero to 12 million users in 18 months by adding "P.S. I love you – Get your free e-mail at Hotmail" at the bottom of all emails. The link directed people to a landing page where they could sign up for a free Hotmail account.

Lesson:

Optimize real estate like your email signature to make it easy for recipients to spread the word of your brand, or sign up for a free trial.

11) HubSpot

(An inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.)

Growth:

hubspotgrowth

Idea: Marketing Grader

A free tool that grew out of Website Grader, it allows visitors to input their website, URL, and receive automated suggestions on where they can improve their marketing. In the first week alone, it was used by more than 140,000 companies. To date, it has graded over 4 million websites.

Lesson:

Thinking outside the box to create a tool that offers immense value to the user will help grow your audience.

As you can see, there are various ways to grow brand awareness in a timely way. Remember that new trends are always emerging, which is why continuing education for you and your team is critical to success. There are various ways to train your team, including our free Inbound Course and Certification program.

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Topics: Branding

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