What’s the Difference between Branding Marketing and Conversion Marketing?

by Catie Holoubek

Do you know the difference between branding marketing and conversion marketing? If you don’t understand how these two techniques differ, you could waste a lot of time and money on marketing methods that might not get you the results you’re after.

Branding marketing and conversion marketing are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they work quite well together as long as the purpose of each method is well understood. Below, we’re offering insight into their definitions, as well as what types of tactics will work best for each strategy.

Branding Marketing: It’s All About Awareness

When you think about soft drinks, which companies immediately come to mind? How about athletic shoes – do any particular brands pop into your head right away? More than likely, Coca-Cola and Nike were on your short list, even if they weren’t your very first responses.

This simple example demonstrates just how good these companies are at marketing their brand; they’ve reached a point in their brand evolution where their names have essentially become synonymous with the products they offer. This doesn’t happen automatically – it’s the result of years and years of carefully crafting a message that builds a connection in people’s minds between a given product or service and the company that offers those things.

That’s what branding marketing is all about; it’s the art of creating awareness about your business, so you can become the “go-to” brand when your target customer is looking for a particular product or service to meet their needs.

So what are some of the most effective digital strategies you can use for branding marketing? Consider adding these techniques to your list:

  • Referral Programs – Spread the word about your brand by offering some type of incentive to your customers for doing just that. Dropbox is an excellent example of how an effective referral program can ignite growth – they offer their existing users an extra 500MB of storage space for each new user that they refer (up to 16GB). The fact that the reward is the same thing that the company wants to be known for – i.e., storage space – simply reinforces the idea that Dropbox is the place to go for digital file storage.
  • Infographics – Share your expertise in an engaging visual format that’s easy to digest and offers new insight, and it’s bound to be shared. A well-designed and informative infographic can do wonders for furthering brand awareness in your given niche.
  • Social Media Contests – The word-of-mouth nature of social media spreads awareness of your brand almost by default – boost your chances by running a simple contest with a great prize.
  • Multimedia Content – Establishing a strong presence on YouTube or regularly conducting Facebook Live video events are great ways to establish brand awareness using some of today’s most popular visual mediums.

Conversion Marketing: It’s All About Action

While branding marketing is primarily designed to build awareness, conversion marketing involves encouraging your target customer to take some type of desired action (e.g., signing up for an email list, purchasing a product, etc.).

When developing a conversion marketing strategy, it’s important for you to carefully consider each step in the path to purchase, as they should build upon one another to convince the prospect to take the intended action. Here are some of the best digital strategies for conversion marketing:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This works exceptionally well because your target customer is arriving at your website by way of a keyword search they initiated. In other words, they’re already actively looking for the types of products or services you have to offer; all you need to do is make sure that you have enough visibility in the search engine results to get the click.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing – PPC operates by the same basic premise as SEO; you’re reaching your target customer at the height of their interest, and as long as your website has been fine-tuned to efficiently lead people through your sales funnel, you should be able to garner conversions.
  • Display Advertising – A display ad campaign grabs your target customer’s attention by establishing a presence on sites that already appeal to their interests.
  • Social Media Advertising – Dozens of companies have boosted sales and conversions through running highly targeted campaigns on Facebook Ads, Pinterest Promoted Pins, or Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. Focus on narrowing down your audience via careful targeting parameters in order to reach only those who are most likely to take action on the type of offer you’re promoting.

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