How to approach digital marketing as you grow your brand awareness

We flew a blimp over San Francisco in November and caught the attention of thousands of enterprise software buyers to the fact that legacy software companies are selling bloatware and invited them to try a fresh approach to customer experience with Freshworks.

That was one of the many ambitious attempts we’ve made at making the Freshworks brand more visible. Today, over 220,000 customers use Freshworks products and they trust us to deliver on our brand promise that we help them acquire and retain customers for life.

Until recently, many of our prospective customers would have first come across Freshworks while searching on Google for solutions to run their business. As a startup, we continue to invest consistently in showing up top on search results, a major part of digital marketing.

When I joined the company in 2015 to lead digital marketing, we had just two products– Freshdesk and Freshservice. This meant we could focus our digital marketing efforts on individual products. Two years later, in 2017, as we charted an ambitious multi-product roadmap aimed at helping customers throughout their business lifecycle, we created and launched our umbrella brand, Freshworks.

Over the last two years, we’ve been investing heavily in creating awareness about the Freshworks brand. The now-famous blimp, our annual user conference, and roadshows across geographies are just some of the efforts in that direction. This had become necessary because we now have close to a dozen products—all geared to help our customers run their businesses more efficiently and sustainably. (If you are a marketer reading this piece, don’t forget to give our marketing automation platform Freshmarketer a spin.)

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Since we re-launched ourselves in our new avatar in June of 2017, the number of people searching for “Freshworks” has grown over 190% globally. This means that our efforts to grow the brand have started paying off.

But this also means that we have to look at digital marketing differently. Traditionally, digital marketing has been about keywords and not so much about brands. But in fact, growing the brand should mean a great deal of digital marketing. The cost of acquiring a customer who already knows about your brand is nearly one-tenth of acquiring a customer who doesn’t know of your brand.

Bigger the brand, lesser the spend on a lead. Moreover, leads that come through brands grow faster than leads that come to you otherwise. Over a period of time, investments made into building the brand adds up and your cost of acquiring a lead goes down. Whereas the investment made to acquire leads through activities such as search advertising remains more or less constant or even goes up as competition heats up.

Once the number of leads that are already aware of your brand becomes more than the number of leads that come from online advertising, you start saving money. If all goes well in our case, it could lead to savings in double-digit percentages in advertising spend.

Say, for instance, if you are generating nearly 40% of your leads from brand-related activities and about 60% from digital marketing, as the brand grows stronger and, say, you manage to invert the ratio, you’re talking about 20% savings in digital marketing costs.

Freshworks is now a house of brands. With the Customer for Life cloud—Freshworks’ unified support, sales, marketing, and success platform—every interaction becomes easy and seamless. Now with more products under the hood, each product brand will gain from the larger brand-building effort on our parent brand Freshworks. I believe this will open new doors and help drive lead generation for multiple products at a lower cost.

Over the coming weeks in this series on digital marketing, I’ll share more on how we scaled digital marketing, how we streamlined our spends, the metrics we track, and also how we tailor marketing to account for different geographies.