20 Digital Marketing Tactics To Build Brand Awareness [Part 2]


Have you ever wondered why others haven’t heard about a product or service that you love?

In 2005, while backpacking through Southeast Asia, I used Skype to keep in touch with family and friends in the US. When I met other travelers and they told me how they needed to buy calling cards or had spent over $100 on late night calls, I’d ask why they didn't use Skype.

Skype had disrupted the dependency of international calling cards and outrageous hotel phone charges. Why hadn’t they heard of it?

Consumers progress through a buyer’s journey when making a purchase decision. The first stage of that journey is Awareness. Consumers need to become aware that your brand exists and they need to know what you’re offering.

In part 1 of this post, I shared 41 traditional marketing (i.e. offline) tactics to build brand awareness. Now, in part 2 I’m going to share 20 digital marketing tactics.

1. Affiliate Marketing

Cost: $$


Affiliate marketing pays a commission to individuals or businesses (i.e. affiliates) that promote a brand’s products or services. ShareASale (see screenshot) is one of the largest affiliate companies.

2. Blogging

Cost: $

An active blog is a promotional tool that solves a relevant problem or provides relevant information for a target market. Blog posts that rank high on search engine result pages can organically (i.e. freely) build brand awareness.

3. Blog Sponsorships

Cost: $$

Blog sponsorships typically include sponsored posts that are written by the site owner and detail their experiences with a brand’s products or services. They may also include an image and backlink in the sidebar and mentions on social media.

Readers like blog sponsorships because they provide relevant and topical products or services without typical ad-speak. Businesses like them because they engage targeted prospects in a conversational manner, build awareness and lead to higher sales.

4. Business Listings

Cost: Free


Business listings in the most authoritative directories legitimize businesses, increase local visibility and are a crucial ranking factor in competitive local search. They help companies appear where potential customers are searching and validate the business as part of a community.

Some of the most authoritative business directories include Google My Business, Apple Maps, Facebook, Bing Places and Yelp.

5. Cold Emailing (Outreach)

Cost: $

While cold calling is the solicitation of business via telemarketing, cold emailing, also called outreach, is the solicitation of business via email marketing. Unless you’re providing genuine value for the people you’re contacting, your emails may end up being deleted or marked spam. For help with outreach, use tools like Pitchbox or Hunter.

6. Display Advertising

Cost: $$

Display advertising consists of targeted banner ads (i.e. static images, gifs, audio, video, etc.) that appear on websites, social media and apps. Some of the most popular display ad networks are Google AdSense, Facebook Audience Network, Apple Search Ads and Taboola. Display ads combined with remarketing can have great success for building awareness and interest in your brand.

7. Endorsements

Cost: $$$

Endorsements from celebrities or influencers that publicly promote your brand can help to build awareness, credibility and recognition. When someone that people admire and trust recommends your products or services with a testimonial or demo — the chance of them listening — and being interested — greatly increases.

8. Guest Posting

Cost: $

Guest posting or guest blogging is a way to earn mentions and backlinks to your site and to generate awareness with new audiences that are within your industry or niche.

9. Link Building

Cost: $

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to yours. The more relevant sites that vouch for your credibility by linking to your content signals to search engines that your site is an authority. The number of relevant and high-quality backlinks you have will largely determine the position you’ll rank in search engines.

Link building is an on-going process that doesn’t end when you reach a specific number of backlinks. For help with outreach, use tools like Pitchbox or Hunter.

10. Mentions

Cost: Free

Mentions, brand mentions, media mentions or press mentions occur when a brand is referenced on blogs, social media, forums, answer sites, mass media publications, etc. Some mentions may include a backlink while others may just mention the business name or its products and services.

11. Native Advertising

Cost: $$

Native advertising is a type of non-disruptive ad that matches the look, feel and function of the platform where the ad appears. These ads usually appear in social media feeds or as recommended content on websites. Redirect.com and Outbrain are two of the most common native advertising platforms.

12. Podcast Advertising

Cost: $$

Podcast advertising often consists of personalized audio commercials by the host that includes their thoughts and experiences with a brand’s products or services. This form of advertising usually includes a discount that’s connected to a particular podcast or episode. AdvertiseCast and Midroll are two of the most popular podcast advertising networks.

13. Podcasting

Cost: $$

Podcasts are free audio and video programs that are streamed or downloaded from the internet with apps like Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

14. Press Release Marketing

Cost: Free / $

Press releases are for major announcements of new and updated products or services or new locations that are often picked up by journalists, reporters and bloggers. Press releases can be published freely on a website or with distribution services like eReleases, PR Web or PR Newswire.

15. Referral Marketing

Cost: Free / $

Traditional referral marketing usually occurs through word of mouth. In digital marketing, however, brand advocates can be provided with personalized links to share in exchange for a discount or prize.

16. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Cost: $$

Search engine marketing (SEM) consists of paid advertising on search engine result pages to increase a brand’s visibility. Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising account for nearly all SEM spend.

17. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Cost: Free

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the method of increasing your visibility in organic search engine result pages by improving on-site and off-site factors. Ideally, a combination of SEO and SEM is the best way to build awareness. Free tools like Google Search Console and paid tools like Ahrefs are great for improving SEO.

18. Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Cost: $$


Social media marketing (SMM) buys visits to a brand’s social channels or website with advertisements that users will want to share with their followers. As a result, brands can extend their reach and build awareness on the channels where their audience congregates. Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter Ads (see screenshot) and YouTube Ads are some of the most popular platforms for social media marketing.

19. Social Media Optimization (SMO)

Cost: Free

Social media optimization (SMO) consists of multiple tactics that improve the reach of posts to increase the awareness of a brand. Some tactics include using hashtags as well as liking, commenting and sharing relevant third-party posts.

20. Social Media Presence

Cost: Free

Having an active social media presence on the channels where your audience congregates online builds awareness. Posting consistently to those channels with high-quality and relevant content will help appear in search queries and generate likes and shares.

Wrap Up

You just learned 20 digital marketing tactics to build brand awareness. Generating awareness can involve traditional marketing, digital marketing or both. Ultimately, how you choose to build awareness will depend on your target market. Try implementing the tactics that are right for you and analyze the results.

20 Digital Marketing Tactics to Build Brand Awareness [Part 2] first appeared on the Bento Sites Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.