6 Tips for Creating a Top of Mind Marketing Strategy

Building Relationships / September 17, 2020 / Emily

Top of mind awareness (TOMA) means your business or brand is the first thing that comes to mind when people think about a particular product, niche, or service. Ultimately, your goal is to be remembered.

A person sitting on top of a pile of books while creating a top of mind business strategy on their MacBook.

When you’ve finished working with a client or talking to a lead, your relationship shouldn’t end there! You need to continue to nurture your relationship so you can leverage that into repeat business and referrals. Because you’re building up your relationships over time, top of mind awareness is a long game but the investment you put in will pay off. We’ll walk you through how to create your own top of mind marketing strategy so you can make sure you’re always the first business people think of!

What is a top of mind marketing strategy?

Let’s say you’re a real estate agent. Chances are every client or prospect you’ve had won’t be buying property every month or year, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have friends, family or other connections who will need you! When someone they know mentions buying a new house, they should immediately think of recommending you even if they themselves haven’t used your services recently. Even if they had a fantastic experience with you, as time passes, people will forget. Your job is to remind them!

But how can you do this? Depending on the nature of your business, your leads and clients may only need you once or every few years – you can’t simply check-in to see if you’re needed if you know it’s unlikely. So what can you do? This is where a top of mind marketing strategy comes in!

You’d imagine that almost every person on the planet has heard of Coca Cola. So why do they still spend millions on advertising? You guessed it – top of mind awareness! If I say cola, you probably think Coke. This is what you want to do for your own brand, albeit on a smaller scale – you may not have Coke’s marketing budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the same tactics. When you create your own top of mind marketing strategy, you are coming up with ways to remind your prospects and clients about your business while still adding value. Use the methods below to help create your own top of mind marketing strategy and increase your chances of repeat business and referrals.

Start an email marketing

Email marketing is one of the cornerstones of a top of mind marketing strategy. Email marketing generates $38 for every $1 spent, so it’s a worthy time and money investment. Using a tool like MailChimp, you can easily create professional and targeted email marketing campaigns or send out a monthly email newsletter. Every piece of content you send out to your mailing list should add value for the audience and position you as an expert. When you become a resource, you’re building trust and affinity with your leads and clients, helping them remember you and the value you provide.

Consider what your existing and potential clients need, from the kind of information they want to see to the format in which they want to see it. Check out 27 Creative Email Marketing Campaign Ideas to help you come up with ways you can reach out, and read 12 Newsletter Email Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign for some inspiration and guidance!

Use social media

Being active on social media is another way to make your top of mind marketing strategy work. When it comes to social media, be where your leads and clients are and follow and interact with as many of them as possible. Again, just like with email marketing, you want your social media presence to add value – share tips, advice, or news related to your business or industry. Start conversations with your followers and keep an eye on what your leads and clients are posting, talking about, and following themselves.

By appearing in the timeline or feed or your potential and existing clients with something useful, you’re creating another reminder about your brand and increasing your top of mind awareness! Keeping up with your contacts on social media also gives you the added benefit of picking up on small details you can use to make meaningful connections later when you do reach out. Notice someone posting about their favourite sports team? Someone going on vacation soon? You can use these little details for conversations, gifts, and adding a personal touch.

Create a follow-up system

An important step in building your own top of mind marketing strategy is to create a system for staying in touch with your leads and clients. This is different than email marketing – it’s a much more targeted, personal approach. A common mistake many of us make is waiting for our leads or clients to follow up with us “if anything changes” or “when they’re ready.” With follow-ups, the ball is always in your court no matter what! With a follow-up system, you can create a list of anyone you need to touch base with. Depending on your business, you can choose whatever timeframe is relevant in between follow-ups. Let’s say we want to follow up every month. You can set aside time with a reminder each month to go through your follow up list and touch base.

A spreadsheet, or more ideally, a CRM, is a great way to do this. With a CRM, you’ll be able to know the last time you reached out to one of your contacts, making it easier for you to know when you need to get in touch again. The follow-up list can be automatically updated so once you’ve reached out they’re removed from the list for you!

Additionally, you can further segment your contacts into different groups to reach out to them in different ways and make your marketing strategy even more targeted. Your contacts may be generally interested in similar things like your business or industry, but they are not all the same. You’re dealing with real people, not just a list of names. Segmenting your audience means breaking them down into small groups based on things like demographics, behaviours, interests, and more. For example, you may have a segment of your audience that’s interested in investing, meaning you can send them things that will resonate specifically with anyone who may be looking to invest. How you segment will depend on your business or industry, so be on the lookout for trends!

While you do want to create a schedule for these reach-outs, you can also add time into your calendar to reach out in an ad-hoc way as things are happening. Did a client post about a promotion on social media? Reach out to congratulate them. Is one of your prospects moving to your city? Give them some tips from a local. You can get creative with how you make these personal connections! Check out our YouTube video, How to Stay Top of Mind with Clients for ideas:

Create an experience

Even if you totally put top of mind awareness aside, if you want to run a successful business, your clients’ experience should be everything. In 2020, great customer experience is overtaking both pricing and products when it comes to who consumers are choosing to do business with. If you absolutely delight your clients, you’re making a memorable experience that they will be much more likely to remember and share. These experiences influence how strongly your brand will come to mind when they are thinking about your industry or niche!

The experience you create doesn’t just mean when you’re actually interacting with your clients either. It includes your website, your emails, the content you share, and your social media presence. Is it all set up to be enjoyable, digestible, helpful, and informative? Check out 5 Ways To Building Stronger Customer Relationships to help you nurture your clients, and read 8 Tactics to Earn Your Customers’ Trust and Improve Brand Loyalty so you can start building the perfect experience! Next, you can watch our YouTube video, How to Make Clients Feel Special for some great ways to make a memorable experience:

Try direct mail

Ah, snail mail. Remember getting real mail that wasn’t a bill or just junk? Getting a real, physical piece of mail is exciting! Adding on to creating an experience from above, direct mail is a great way to get in front of your leads and clients in a fun way that just isn’t seen as often anymore. It’ll likely be unexpected and a nice surprise. To give it a personal touch, you can send a card or note for milestones, birthdays, thank-yous, or just sharing general best wishes. If you want to communicate something new and exciting about your business, you can look into creating a brochure, newsletter, or pamphlet. You can even have a calendar made so you’re top of mind every month! You can get really creative with how or why you reach out, but just remember to keep it personal – include a hand-written note along with anything you do send to really go above and beyond. Your clients will absolutely remember this experience!

Reward loyalty

When you’ve created that amazing experience mentioned above, you get a loyal customer. A loyal customer gives you repeat business, referrals, and word-of-mouth marketing. Just because they’re already happy doesn’t mean you should stop striving to keep them that way! Depending on your business or industry, how you reward loyalty can vary. You could create a loyalty or referral program offering freebies or discounts, send personalized gifts, or partner with another business to offer special benefits. When the mention of your business means happy thoughts for your clients, you’re more likely to get top of mind and actually stay there in the longterm. You can be creative as you like with this based on what you know about your clients. This is a really worthy investment of your time and money – here’s some data to convince you:

  • Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.
  • Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
  • The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.

If you only go with one option to reward loyalty, make sure it’s a referral program of some sort. After getting a referral, you can then follow up with a small gift and thank-you note, as well as look at other options for discounts or special benefits. Ensure that you are always asking for referrals – you can’t just assume that your clients will automatically offer up your business or services because they worked with you once. Even if you were great, they need to be reminded. Even if they did think to mention you when the chance comes up, there’s also the possibility that they know someone who could use your services but they aren’t even looking. Their mention of you could turn that into a lead that wasn’t even going to exist in the first place! When asking for a referral, remember to let your clients know what kind of lead you’re looking for. Who is your ideal client? If a referral isn’t the right fit, politely let them know and re-educate them. Check out When and How to Ask For a Referral For Your Small Business [Templates Included] to leverage this truly untapped resource!

Top of mind awareness is possible for any business regardless of size or budget! Think about the brands and businesses that are top of mind for you – they didn’t get there by accident. You can get there too with a deliberate top of mind marketing strategy that keeps both your potential and existing clients thinking of you!

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