What’s the difference between lead generation and brand awareness?
More importantly, how can you — the entrepreneur, marketer, or business owner — use those tactics to spread your message, sell more products, and grow your business?
That’s what we’re talking about in this guide.
What’s the difference between lead generation and brand awareness?
The difference between lead generation and brand awareness is that lead generation focuses on collecting contact information (usually email addresses) for people within the target market while brand awareness’ focus is more simple: creating awareness of the brand’s existence among the target market.
Both are valuable for growing a business.
To understand the difference more clearly between brand awareness and lead generation, it’s helpful to look at the most common version of the marketing funnel — AIDA, which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action…
Brand awareness would sit at the very top of this marketing funnel as a part of the “Awareness” stage (go figure).
Think of it like this.
Before people can buy from your business (action), they have to want what you offer (desire). But before they can want what you offer, they have to understand your offer (interest). And before they can understand your offer, they have to know your offer exists (awareness).
We could put it more succinctly…
Before people can buy from your business (action)… they have to know your business exists (awareness).
The value of brand awareness, then, lies in making your target market aware of your brand and what it offers.
Lead generation lies one step lower, in the “Interest” stage.
For a business, generating leads is all about collecting contact information from people in the target market… but for the prospect, it’s usually about getting access to something that they want.
In return for some sort of free gift (downloadable resource, free course, free trial, demo, etc), a person gives the business their email address (and maybe also their name and/or phone number). And so the business can now follow up, build a relationship, and make future offers.
Lead generation lies in the “Interest” stage because businesses can focus on capturing contact information exclusively from people who are likely to be interested in their products/services by offering a relevant lead magnet.
A business that sells glasses, for instance, might generate leads by offering a free frames quiz on their website…
Let’s finish by putting things a bit more simply…
Brand awareness tells people your business and its offers exist. And lead generation collects contact information from people in your target market.
Now we’ll look at some more specific strategies, stats, and examples.
Lead Generation Strategy & Examples
To prove just how powerful lead generation is, check out some of the following stats (which we pulled from Startup Bonsai)…
- 61% of marketers rank lead generation as their number one challenge.
- 53% of marketers spend at least half of their budget on lead generation.
- 66% of marketers generate leads from social media after spending only six hours per week on social marketing.
- 79% of B2B marketers think email is most effective for demand generation.
It makes sense that marketers would see lead generation as one of their most important (and sometimes most challenging) tasks.
Most businesses can draw a straight line between leads and revenue — more leads mean more sales.
And so bringing in a consistent flow of high-quality leads is critical.
Let’s look at some specific examples of how that’s done.
For pretty much every online business, webinars are a great lead-gen tool.
A webinar is a live or recorded online video session where you teach the audience something that they want to know.
At ClickFunnels, we’ve run Webinars about this…
Webinar funnels pull double duty — they generate leads during the registration phase and then at the end of the presentation, they make sales.
If you want to run your own webinar but don’t know where to start, click the link below…
2. Lead Magnets
Free downloads — eBooks, cheat sheets, how-to guides, etc — are another great way to generate leads.
These are often called lead magnets.
Here’s an example from SmartBlogger, a website that sells courses to freelance writers…
Of course, not everyone wants to write blog posts that go viral… and so this lead magnet won’t appeal to everyone.
But that’s the point.
The goal behind creating a lead magnet is to attract only people who will be interested in your products or services down the road.
By giving them a freebie, you accomplish two things — you prove that they’re a part of your target market and you build trust.
Check out our guide over here to learn more about creating an effective lead magnet for your business.
3. Free Trials
At ClickFunnels, we offer a 14 day free trial.
To generate leads for the SaaS portion of our business!
But it doesn’t just generate leads, it also makes it feel less risky for people to sign up and try our service — that’s an important part of the customer experience.
Free trials have become commonplace for SaaS companies…
And for good reason.
Brand Awareness Strategy & Examples
- 81% of consumers need to be able to trust the brand before they buy from them.
- Using a signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%.
- It takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand.
- 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values.
- Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%.
While it’s usually pretty easy to draw a straight line from leads generated to sales made in a given period of time, it’s not always as easy to do so with brand awareness.
Just consider the third stat…
“It takes 5-7 impressions for people to remember a brand.”
After a bit of time, your brand will occupy valuable bandwidth in your target market’s memory — but not without a bit of time…
And so brand awareness is a tactic that’s focused on the long game — on spreading your core values, creating easy-to-recognize icons, and laying the foundation for massive growth.
Here are some specific examples.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and it’s a brand awareness tactic that revolves around the fact that your target market is already searching in Google for things that you can help them with.
Why, for instance, did we write this article?
Many of the articles we write on the ClickFunnels blog, we’re trying to rank for a specific keyword phrase that some people within our target market are typing into Google.
By publishing this article, for instance, we’re hoping to rank for “lead generation vs brand awareness” — which online marketers and entrepreneurs (i.e. the very people we serve) are wanting to learn about.
This is a great way to drive traffic to your website and generate brand awareness from your target market — you can learn more over here.
Buying sponsorships in relevant newsletters, blogs, or podcasts is another great way to build brand awareness.
And it can be as high- or low-budget as you want — just find publications that fit your budget and that serve your target market.
3. Public Relations
Public relations is another way to build brand awareness.
Rather than paying to get into publications (like sponsorships), you try to work your way in through relationships or collaborations.
You might send your products to relevant influencers for free and ask for a public review, you might email the writers at a relevant blog and offer to contribute your expertise, or you might try to become a guest on a podcast that appeals to your target market.
To learn more about building brand awareness, get a free copy of Russell Brunson’s bestselling book, Traffic Secrets — in it, he’ll teach you how to buy your way in and how to work your way in.
The Balancing Act
After looking at the different examples of lead generation and brand awareness, you’re probably wondering where the balance lies.
Should you spend your budget on lead generation?
Well, that depends on what you’re trying to do.
Lead generation is great for creating demand. Brand awareness is great for increasing how aware people are of your business and its offers.
If you’re a small business with a small budget, then go with an 80/20 split — put 80% of your funds toward lead-generation (which gets results faster) and put 20% of your budget toward brand awareness (which is a long-term game).
If you’re a company with a large budget, then you might consider a 50/50 split to increase your market penetration and make more people aware of your brand.
But it also depends on the type of business you’re building.
If you’re a marketing agency, then focussing on lead generation is probably a better use of your budget… because you serve a very niche target market.
If you’re a restaurant chain, then lead generation is less useful… because you just need to get people through the door — so focussing on brand awareness is probably a better bet.
In the end, there’s value to both strategies. And only YOU can decide which route to take.
Clicking the link below is a great next step.