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Digital Tactics Throughout the Buyer’s Journey: Awareness Stage

Boosting the results of your digital marketing takes using the right tactics at the right time. Digital pros know that the way people search and interact with brands online changes throughout the buyer’s journey – and that knowing what tactics work at each stage of their journey is the key to moving prospects through the marketing funnel.

In our three-part blog series, we’re breaking down each stage of the buyer’s journey and what tactics work best for reaching and engaging audiences online. To get all the details in one spot, watch our on-demand webinar recording:

At its most basic, the entire process looks something like this:  I have a need, and I want to address the need. I explore my options, I narrow them down, and I make a choice. The path in a B2B context is similar but looks slightly different. The need in this case is more complex, and an entire team might be involved in the decision-making process.

Digital Buyer's Journey

The Awareness Stage

Purchase funnel awareness is the point when a consumer first becomes aware of a need and a desire to address that need.

Using “awareness” as the label for the first stage creates an issue right off the bat, because marketers often confuse brand awareness with purchase funnel awareness. They’re very different, but they work together.

Marketing in the awareness stage means reaching potential clients or customers on their turf. Think of it like dating: You’ll never meet that special someone if you only hang out at home – you’ve got to go where the people are! And not just any people – your people – based on your target audience.

How to Reach Audiences in the Awareness Stage

Digital Tactics Awareness Stage of Buyer's Journey

The actual tactics and messaging you use will vary depending largely on the demographics of your audience and on how broadly defined that audience is. If your product or service is relevant to prospects who are limited by location but who may represent a wide range of interests and income levels, geography may be the single best defining factor at this early stage.

So how do you incorporate these factors into your digital tactics?

Display advertising

In the example of geography as the best defining factor, display ads can be set to only appear to consumers who are searching for or located in an area as small as a single zip code.

Social advertising

Facebook in particular allows you to combine geo-targeting, demographics, interests, brand preferences, life-stage indicators, job titles, education level and more to create a highly targeted campaign aimed at consumers who aren’t actively looking for you yet.

Blogger relations programs

Influencer collaborations provide platforms for getting your long-form content into the sites, blogs and publications your prospects are already reading and visiting.

Video advertising

Consumers use YouTube to educate themselves on a variety of topics, and the targeting options for displaying your message before or during relevant videos work much the same way as display advertising, allowing you to hone in on specific keywords, topics or interests when placing ads.

The more precisely you can define your audience, the more effectively you can get your message in front of them by placing ads on the sites they visit regularly. Interests, plus location, plus key words and phrases in the content they’re reading narrows the pool of prospects and the pool of potential ad placements.

Once a prospect moves from passive observation to active pursuit, they’ve entered the research stage. During this stage, the issue becomes so obvious, irritating or painful that your prospect begins to seek a solution.

Learn what tactics to use to engage your audiences during the research stage part 2 of our blog series.