Three Tips for Building Brand without Spending a Fortune on Search - Gauthereau Group

In 2012, Google’s annual revenue eclipsed $50 billion for the first time in the company’s history. Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012 alone was $14.4 billion, a 36% increase from the fourth quarter of 2011. It’s no secret that search engines are important to retailers hoping to get discovered by new audiences. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that search is also driving direct sales. According to an Advertising Age article, Google’s Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora cited Google’s new product listing ads as one of its many high-performers, and roughly 10.7% of paid-search spend in retail last quarter came from Google Shopping. I would be foolish to downplay the importance of paid search for retailers. However, I think it’s important we continue to discuss additional opportunities for brand-building beyond pouring dollars into SEO, SEM and PPC. Not many companies have the resources to stand toe-to-toe with large companies like Apple or IBM and buy their way through search.

Because of the nature of private sales and our ever-changing product offerings, Totsy had to adopt alternative methods of brand-building in order to remain competitive. Marketing through search would mean we would have to update our search terms for every one of our 3-5 day sales, which would be unrealistic.

Instead, we’ve used the following tactics:

Earn consumer trust by engaging with them on their own terms: Very early in our company’s history we discovered that our audience of moms values blogs as a highly trusted resource for recommendations and community interaction. We realized we could provide the kind of content these moms wanted, and we could subsequently become an important source of information for their buying decisions (as well as a resource for general advice and entertainment). We launched the Totsy Mom Committee, a group of mompreneurs, bloggers and website divas that are hand-picked from across the country to provide expertise, advice, trends, and more. We invited the bloggers to be our brand ambassadors and to work with our social media and PR teams to extend our voice and to offer feedback on how best (and where best) to engage with moms. It was an excellent way for us to connect with our member moms without a hard sell in order to become a valued and trusted community resource.

Leverage social media and PR:  We use social media and PR to keep our brand top-of-mind with consumers and encourage delivery. We incentivize consumers with offers and prizes, but we also provide them with valuable information, such as recipes and advice like, “How to make an invoice for the tooth fairy.”  We use these engagements to entertain and educate our customers; however, they’re also an incredible driver of traffic and conversions.

Find the right direct affiliate partners: Most organizations realize the value of blogging, social media and PR, but very few champion the power of affiliate partnerships. Totsy maintains affiliate partnerships with sites that attract the same highly targeted demographic we serve. We work with sites like WhattoExpect.com and Mamapedia.com to funnel traffic back to our site.

With a powerful mix of consumer engagement, PR, social media, and affiliate partnerships, you’ll be able to build brand in an affordable and diverse way. In addition to these tactics, you may choose to leverage to search to drive discovery and sales, but remember…it isn’t the only way to get your business up and running.