Building brand awareness is a challenge for businesses both large and small.
And while most eCommerce brands use marketing channels like paid ads or social media to increase awareness, fewer brands leverage using email marketing for the same purpose.
Email consistently brings in an average of 122% in ROI, the highest of any marketing channel around.
And if you use your best marketing channel to also boost awareness around your brand, well… that just makes everything easier, doesn’t it?
In this post, we’ll cover some ways to use email marketing to build your brand awareness.
Trust us— it’s easier than you think.
And if you do it correctly, you can continually use it to go from brand awareness to loyal customers and brand advocates.
Like anything you do in marketing, a lot of time, testing and iteration needs to take place.
But here is how you could get started.
1. Start With Your Welcome Emails
Welcome emails are some of the most important emails you’ll ever send.
Yes, they’re some of the most opened emails sent. And, yes, these can improve your deliverability and help your email sender score (
But that’s not the reason I’m saying they’re important.
They’re the most important emails because they’re usually the first point of authentic contact you’ll make with someone.
It’s like them reaching out to say “hey, I’m so-and-so” then shaking your hand and asking, “who are you and what’s this brand of yours all about?”
That’s your in — your moment to extend a hand and start a conversation to make your subscribe aware of what your brand is all about.
A great example of this is TOM’s shoes.
Right off the bat, their first email introduces you to the heart of their brand and their famous “One for One” tagline.
In a few sentences, they make it clear how your purchases will positively impact the lives of someone who needs the help. That, in turn, makes you feel good about buying something from them.
Even if your eCommerce store isn’t structured as a get-one-give-one like TOM’s is, you can still use your welcome emails to introduce your brand and evoke an emotion.
The stronger connection you create between your brand and your audience, the more effective your brand awareness efforts from your email will be.
Here a few suggestions that you could try with your welcome emails:
Invite subscribers to share a welcome email with a friend
You could utilize a referral program to increase the chances of them spreading the word.
Use video to humanize your brand
People love video. And you can use email to get videos into the hands of people ready to learn more about you. You could share videos you post on social media or a video you have on YouTube that shows behind-the-scenes. Just make sure to provide captions or subtitles to your videos using a subtitle converter or a similar tool to enhance their accessibility.
Don’t make it all about you
The fastest way to get people to like you is to make the entire conversation about them. Did you read that? Go back and re-read it because that’s a very important thing I just said. Now, this may seem hard since you’re sending automated emails, but you can still personalize them to appeal to the person you’re talking to.
Use their name, say how you’re thankful for them, give them a chance to segment themselves based on their interests via a survey, and show them products you think may interest them. It’s all about them. And when you carry this approach and tone into your brand and emails, it’s like a magnet that draws people in.
Welcome emails are the perfect place to start showing off your brand. They’re your first point of contact (*usually), they almost always get opened, and they leave a great impression.
With these, you get to have a conversation. And if you’re using marketing automation software, you can use their own behavior to tailor the messaging to your subscriber for a real one-on-one feel.
2. Embrace and Show Your Authenticity
The world doesn’t need another Lululemon, Apple or Adidas.
People crave brands that stick to being who they are, who are authentic and unique. That’s not just me spitballing something that sounds good. There’s proof in that pudding.
So, yeah, being true to you is important.
Now, you may sell items similar to the brands listed above or perhaps there’s a brand that you admire and it inspires a lot of things in your brand.
However, your brand has its own unique story and personality so you should let it stand out.
I’m sure you know, that’s easier said than done. But when you’re using email and automated email campaigns, you can imbue your authenticity into your emails to impact your brand awareness.
You can do that with a few types of emails:
Share your values
Remember, your best audience are people who will share your values and stand for what you do too. The sooner they know this, the quicker they’ll be to like and relate to your brand. TOMs did this in a recent campaign around ending gun violence. And no matter where you stand on that topic, the lesson to take away from this is that they shared a value and it gained them a lot of loyal brand advocates — and probably sales too.
Share the behind-the-scenes of your company
I mentioned this before as it’s a great email to include in your welcome email series. But sharing what happens behind the digital pixels of your eCommerce website and all the faces and work that goes into bringing people their products only helps bring your audience that much closer to you.
Be creative here, but don’t be afraid to re-use past content you’ve created. If you share behind-the-scenes on a certain social media channel, invite them to follow you there. If there’s a specific video you want them to watch on the channel or a YouTube video, share that link for them to easily click and find it.
Oddly enough, sharing photos or videos of other people liking, using or wearing your products impresses on people that your brand is authentic.
Target uses UGC in their emails to show real people like you and I wearing Target brand apparel or other items. It stands out in the email. It looks natural, but real. That’s the point. If you need help getting UGC content, use email to tell people to use a branded hashtag so you can find it again later. This also helps you leverage email to assist your brand awareness efforts in other marketing channels.
To make this easier, just start with one of these. The one that seems like the easiest one you can do. That way, it lowers any resistance you or your team may feel around doing this.
Then, later, you can see it needs changing or adding something new.
3. Showcase What Makes You Unique
What makes your brand unique goes hand-in-hand with being authentic. However, there’s a slight but important difference here.
Authentic means to be genuine. Unique is about being unlike anything else. You can be authentic in your tone, and what you show you care about. But what makes your brand unique is another important cog to brand awareness that should be addressed.
We recently interviewed Ryan Beltran from eCommerce watch brand, Original Grain to talk about how authenticity and uniqueness in their brand story helped drive more sales.
The eCommerce wearable watch market is highly competitive. To give them a leg up against the competition, Original Grain leveraged what made them unique in their emails as part of their strategy.
Their Brewmaster collection are made from reclaimed beer barrels giving these watches a unique history that attracts people interested in beer or simply owning something that has a great story they can tell their friends.
Grocery delivery company, Good Eggs also used email to highlight what makes them different.
Their emails highlight how they’re the freshest produce around. It’s a bold claim. Which they back by offering a discount to get people to see for themselves.
Here are a few ideas to help you finding your angle and show it off:
Ask yourself, “What makes our brand or products one-of-a-kind?
This can take a bit of digging to get right. If you’re having trouble, you can try a fun experiment to help you uncover things you haven’t thought of. Take your products and your competitor’s and let your friends or family try them out in front of you. Ask them what they think about each one and what they think makes them different. Let them ask you questions about them too. You may find that what stands out to people who aren’t close to the brand like you will help you in discovering the perfect angle you need.
Use images and videos to show what makes you different
Images play an important part in getting across a point. Use high quality images to highlight unique parts of your brand story.
Consumers enjoy supporting brands that offer something unique. It may take a bit of thinking, but keep an eye on how showing what makes your products and brand unique affects your leads and sales.
It takes time to gain traction, but well worth the effort.
Brand Building and Email Marketing: A Match Made In Heaven
Time and time again, email marketing has proven to be the best sales, retention, and communication channel no matter what industry you’re in.
So using email to help in your brand awareness efforts really does just make sense.
Using email as part of your brand building has other benefits.
If your email marketing tools also utilizes marketing automation software, you can track what you’ve sent, how they’ve reacted to it based on their browser behavior and then further personalize your emails.
That way, you can go from being aware of your brand, to loving it.
And once you can do that, sales and repeat customers aren’t far off.
Are you interested in developing brand awareness? Check out these five steps and apply them to your email and SMS marketing plan.