How PR Impacts the First Stage in the Customer Journey: Awareness

By October 17, 2018Client Successes
Awareness SaaS Customer Journey

The first step in the SaaS customer journey is awareness, and it’s a top priority in the overall sales funnel. Without awareness, you’re unlikely to experience any of the other steps in the sales funnel, such as consideration, purchase, and retention.

One of the most effective tools to increase awareness involves making outreach members of the media — people who are already speaking to your customers — and securing media coverage. Because it’s often the first touchpoint with prospects, media coverage can elevate your brand, product, or executives to the right audience for the first time. This is impactful for your company because it puts your target prospects into the sales funnel.

Why Awareness Matters in the Customer Journey

Awareness matters, because customers will likely hear of a company before they make any other actions. However, generating awareness that really puts starts prospects down the customer journey is about more than having a presence on social media or an email marketing campaign. Awareness involves getting your brand in front of the right people — and in a way the reflects your brand in a positive light.

One of the best ways to do that is through media coverage. And, there are lots of different kinds of media coverage that can help with awareness. Think about your target customers: where do they get their news? What are they listening to, watching, and reading? What specific trade publications do they find valuable? This is where you want your messages. That is what creates maximum awareness.

Securing Media Coverage that Generates Awareness

Because nearly any mention your company or executive can help to generate awareness, there are several options when it comes to the types of media coverage that can help to fill the top of the sales funnel. Here are a few worth considering. 

  1. Company stories – Company profile stories are a great opportunity to get your brand in front of a target audience, but it can also be one of the most challenging. These stories may discuss culture, history, funding or a company’s position in the marketplace. Depending on what stage a company is at in their growth will determine the type of story that reporters are likely to cover. The challenge in company stories is finding a unique angle that sets your business apart. Outlets and the stage of a company in the overall business lifecycle also influence what type of story a report is likely to cover. For example, an outlet like Entrepreneur is more likely to do a company feature story on a household name or as part of a larger narrative focused on things like culture or success.
  2. Product reviews – Product reviews are one way to bring awareness to a company’s product. Reporters often do demos of software to better understand the product and ask questions before writing an article or product review. Trade outlets, such as CNET and Digital Trends, are more likely to do product reviews. If the decision-maker at the companies you’re looking to target is reading these publications to figure out the pros and cons of products they are considering buying, this might be a good way to generate awareness.

  3. Thought leadership – Thought leadership allows you to bring awareness to your brand and position executives or key spokespeople as experts in the industry while educating your target customer. This type of media coverage can be achieved in a number of ways, including securing a piece of contributed content written by the thought leader, securing an interview for an executive with a target outlet, or having a spokesperson quoted in a larger story about a topic or trend.

Awareness is important, but it’s just the first step in the customer journey. Strategic media relations and other PR efforts can help move SaaS customers through the sales funnel towards purchase.

Curious how meaningful press coverage influences consideration and purchase? Get more information about how PR influences the SaaS customer journey.

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About Allyson Johnson

Allyson is a senior account executive with a background in PR and broadcast news. She has a passion for planning television segments and loves writing content for a variety of verticals. She has secured coverage for her clients in Forbes, Inc., HuffPost, Business Insider, and TV stations across the country. When she's not working, you'll likely find Allyson at a racetrack (she's been drag racing since she was 7-years-old!), or playing with her black Labrador Retriever rescue, Max.

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