Telling your story is at least a secondary goal for every organization's Web site, but lots of Web sites exist almost solely to enhance brand image. If your company sells children's cereal, the games you put on your site do not have any direct impact on sales, but they might create loyal little consumers tagging along with their parents in the grocery aisle. Many low-priced consumer goods companies have Web sites to raise awareness. Entertainment sites for current movies have a like purpose.
If you have a site designed mainly for market awareness, you might emphasize contests, quizzes, games, or other ways of generating interaction with your visitors. But some market awareness sites are changing in subtle ways. Movie sites, for example, frequently do some Web sales (for the soundtrack, for instance) or they link to Moviefone or Fandango to directly sell tickets at the proverbial theater near you. Cereal sites are starting to sell DVDs, action figures, and other toys on top of the free interactive games.
If your site exists mainly for awareness, do not overlook opportunities for Web sales of other products, but make sure that your site fulfills the awareness need first. Cereal sites that spend too much time amusing children with games might upset a mom who wants to learn more about the cereal's nutritional content.
Regardless of what your awareness site is trying to do, your search strategy focuses mostly on navigational searches. Cap'n Crunch cereal mostly gets searches (from kids or moms) for "capncrunch" or even "captain crunch," but not for the specific games or action figures on the site (unless they have an ad campaign for them). Searchers will be typing in the name of the cereal, the name of the movie, or other brand names.
Market awareness sites are also more likely to be "trendy" than sites with other purposes, because they are great places to start "buzz" about a product (movies are again a good example). Because it can take a while to get organic search engine results (you must design and optimize your pages and wait for search spiders to find them), market awareness sites often benefit from paid placement techniques, as discussed in Chapter 3, "How Search Marketing Works."