The Top 5 Best Ad Campaigns of All Time
Digital Branding

The Top 5 Best Ad Campaigns of All Time

What makes people buy? The best advertising campaigns are able to invoke an emotional response from consumers, connect, and engage with them at their core. A product rarely achieves advertising success based solely on merit. The best marketing and ad campaigns psychologically and emotionally create a response in all of us. With the growth of the internet and social media, brands are constantly fighting over the attention of consumers. To make your product or brand stand out you must get creative. Here are four brands that created insanely successful ad campaigns.

Dos Equis – The Most Interesting Man in the World

Dos-Equis---The-Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World

In 2006, Dos Equis took a drastically different approach to selling beer. Instead of positioning their product as a must-have for getting the attention of attractive women, Dos Equis turned their beer into something that promoted distinction and curiosity. Played by actor Jonathan Goldsmith, the character “The Most Interesting Man in the World” says the following tagline at the end of every commercial: “I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” The ad campaign was so successful because it didn’t feel like a commercial. It felt more like a comedy short. Viewers became enamored with the character’s experiences and the character has even been turned into an internet meme. This unique positioning by Dos Equis opened the company’s product to a wider, more youthful audience.

California Milk Processor Board – Got Milk?

California-Milk-Processor-Board---Got-Milk-

California milk sales rose 7% in one year thanks to this clever ad campaign. The interesting part of this campaign is that it wasn’t created to target non-milk drinkers, but those who were already drinking milk. This is important because it’s not always beneficial or cost-effective to try and reel in a new audience. Sometimes, it’s better to market to your current audience and get them to not only start buying your product more, but become fans that promote your product to others as well.

Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Old-Spice---The-Man-Your-Man-Could-Smell-Like

You usually don’t see a lot of overnight successes in online marketing but Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign is an exception. In February 2010, ad agency Weiden + Kennedy launched the first commercial in the campaign, featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa, and it was a viral sensation. Later that year, Wieden + Kennedy devised a social media video campaign in which Mustafa made 186 video responses to viewer comments online. Wieden + Kennedy creative director Jason Bagley described it by saying, “We were creating and sending miniature TV commercials back to individual consumers that were personalized, and we were doing it on a rapid-fire basis…No one expects to ask a question and then be responded to. I think that’s where we broke through”. The video responses made this campaign extremely successful. Weiden + Kennedy capitalized on the momentum of their initial TV spots and engaged with followers and fans. Through all of this, sustaining the brand’s new image and voice were always kept as a high priority.

Dove – Campaign for Real Beauty

Dove---Campaign-for-Real-Beauty

In 2004, Unilever discovered that only four percent of women thought of themselves as beautiful. So, with the help of Edelman Public Relations and Ogilvy & Mather, the company launched a campaign that challenged people to rethink how they perceived female beauty. The campaign gained a flood of attention from the media and discussions of female beauty started taking place on talk shows, in magazines, newspapers, and online. One ad features a sketch artist who first draws a woman’s face based on the woman’s description of herself. Next, he does a sketch of the same woman but based on someone else’s description. Once complete, the sketches are both posted side-by-side and the subjects look at them. In every case, the drawing based on a description from a 3rd party is more flattering than the woman’s own description of herself. This video went viral and contributed in a big way to the success of this ad campaign. This campaign was successful because it touched people emotionally and allowed people to realize that “normal” standard for female beauty isn’t always attainable and that just being yourself is enough.

Progressive – Flo

Progressive---Flo

It’s not easy to make insurance interesting. With the help of stand-up comic Stephanie Courtney, Progressive launched an ad campaign that featured an upbeat, perky sales agent named Flo. In these commercials, Flo talks to customers about Progressive’s features in a sitcom style setting. Viewers loved the ad campaign so much that Flo has appeared in over 100 commercials since 2008. Progressive was able to successfully break away from the negative public perception that people have of insurance companies by creating a fun and interesting character.

Conclusion

Creating amazing, viral marketing isn’t easy. For every incredible success, there are many more failures. However, if you focus on engaging with your customer and creating a psychological and emotional connection with them, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful campaign.

branding-main-image
Digital Branding

4 Ways to Create an Engaged Team Using Your Corporate Brand

As a leader in your industry, it is often difficult to connect your corporate brand with the rest of your team. Creating an environment of teambuilding and employee engagement is a fantastic way to achieve the brand objectives of your company.

Teambuilding Using Your Corporate Brand

This process doesn’t need to be any more difficult than it already is. Please use the four suggestions that we are about to share with you. Apply them from the very beginning when onboarding new members of the team and use it to help existing team members.

1. Create a Team Brand 

When you build a Team Brand, you will have dedicated members of your staff that are ready to perform special tasks and are eager to complete their assignments. Many of these tasks will be relegated to brand communication. As an example, some tasks will include creating and implementing a brand strategy, adding valuable insight and input in regards to corporate communication campaigns, getting involved in social media discussions for the company, and handling client feedback.

2. Make brand reinforcement a top priority

Take the time to refine your current system or put an entirely new system in place that guarantees that brand reinforcement is a main priority for your company and staff.

As an example, let’s say that your brand is about innovative product development. This message needs to come across in every way possible. You have to infuse your brand with innovation in all of its processes and systems. That’s how companies stay on point with brand reinforcement, because it becomes everything that your brand is all about. One way to reinforce your brand is to reach out to and engage brand ambassadors.

3. Build solid employer/employee relationships

A simple way to keep your team engaged is to build a solid relationship with them as a leader. These relationships should be founded on engaging conversations that you have with the members of your staff. When you stay connected with your employees, you should also have regular conversations about the brand strategy. Help them get a better grasp of the company’s values, vision, mission and more. And even help them better learn key brand initiatives, brand attributes, your brand’s promise, and a host of other things that will keep them on task.

Think about Google as a prime example. All Google employees know more than the basics about the company. There is a very popular story behind the color scheme of the Google logo, and every employee knows it.

Do your employees know why you chose the colors for your logo? Maybe it’s time they find out.

If you’d like to become a better leader for your team make sure to check out these infographics.

4. Make a commitment to your company’s brand identity

Whether your company has been around for many years or it’s a brand-new start up; committing to a brand identity is an absolute must in today’s business world. Come up with brand imagery, fonts, color schemes, and more, and stay consistent with them with all communications and marketing messages.

Here’s a useful resource for branding a startup: Illustration: Brand Your Startup Uniquely

 

Create a branded blog
Digital Branding

6 Tips to Brand Your Blog

It’s never easy to stand out amongst the crowd in the blogosphere. So many online content publishers slap together a website and immediately start posting content without ever thinking about their brand and the message that they hope to get across. If you ever intend to break through all of the noise on the Internet, creating a brand has to become a top priority.

Take some time now to think about your brand. And use the following six tips to develop the ideal brand message that will get your vision and mission across every time.

6 Blog Branding Tips to Live by

Domain name

    • Get a distinctive and memorable website address – most of the popular .com domains have all been taken at this point, but you still can find a good one from time to time. No matter what, the name of your brand has to be distinct and memorable. And it must match your website address. This way it will be easy for your readers to remember the address so that they have a simple time typing it into their web browser the next time they want to stop by for a quick read.
    • Choose the right name for your brand – we’ve already touched upon this, but choosing the right name for your brand will go a long way with brand recognition. And people will have an easy time remembering who you are and what you’re all about.
    • Choose a consistent photo presentation – your blog is a big part of your business and it should share a consistent message. Regularly use the same type and style photos to keep your blog’s brand on point while continuing to get your message across. There are many sources for free images online. Use them to your advantage and always stay consistent.

Coordinate your blog palate

  • Choose the best color palette for your brand – whether you realize it or not, color is a big part of your brand and it really is an important element. Take some time to come up with the right color scheme that helps to get your message across. Make sure the colors you choose fit with your brand. Contact a graphic artist and ask for help if you’re having trouble making the connection.
  • Choosing the ideal theme for your blog – choosing an appropriate site theme is a critical step when branding. Not only does it provide viewers with the right visual cues; it also creates structure that determines the way your content is presented. How many sidebars will you have? One? Two? None? You also need to consider your overall goals when making a decision. If you’re using your blog to promote an online store, for example, you should always use a responsive eCommerce theme, not a one-size-fits-all design. This way, you know you’re setup with all the bells and whistles recommended to funnel leads toward your products and eventually generate sales.

Wordpress blog

Enhancing WordPress Themes With Plug-Ins

Add WordPress plug-ins for additional features – if you’ve chosen your theme correctly, your blog most likely has many bells and whistles already. WordPress plug-ins is a great way to add additional valuable features without the need to change your blog’s entire theme. Find out more about WordPress plug-ins by reading this additional resource.

What CrossFit Can Teach Us About Creating a Successful Brand
Digital Branding

What CrossFit Can Teach Us About Creating a Successful Brand

You can’t get far in any large city without running into a CrossFit box (gym). This fitness phenomenon has created a cult following all over the U.S. This movement started from one small gym in California and has multiplied into 10,000 independently-owned CrossFit boxes. CrossFit even has it’s own annual international competition known as the CrossFit Games which features 200,000+ participants. CrossFit members pay $150 to $200 per month to climb ropes, flip tires, and do pull ups in old warehouses and manufacturing plants. You won’t find any frills such as a sauna, pool, or tennis court here (like a traditional gym). If you know anyone who’s a member you surely know that they absolutely love talking about CrossFit, and want you to join.

So, how has CrossFit become so successful?

If you’re looking to create a brand for your own business, you can learn a lot from CrossFit (sans the tire flipping). Below you’ll see how CrossFit has become so popular and learn how you can use the same principles in your own business.

Make Something Awesome

Make Something Awesome

People don’t join CrossFit just for the T-Shirts. In a study conducted by the Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory at Laval University, participants in one group exercised for 45 minutes on a stationary bike at moderate-intensity and another group exercised in 20-minute intervals at high intensity. The high-intensity group lost burned the same number of calories as the moderate-intensity group but lost nine times more fat. Your body responds to high-intensity exercises by releasing human growth hormone (HGH) into your blood. These hormones cause your body to build muscle and burn fat. Walking, a light jog or a moderate pace on the elliptical doesn’t trigger this fat-burning phenomenon.

CrossFit’s high-intensity workouts use this science to give its members awesome results. From this, we learn that step one to having an outstanding brand is having a product or service that just plain works. All the marketing and branding in the world can’t save your business if you’re selling a dud to your customers.

Tap Into Your Customer’s “Lizard Brain”

Tap Into Your Customer’s “Lizard Brain”

Athletic rituals have been around since the beginning of time. Once man was no longer required to hunt for all of his meals, athletic contests became a substitute. From the Ancient Greek Olympic Games to modern times, success through physical competition has always been seen as a symbol of superiority and has been encouraged throughout our culture. Great marketing always does a great job of tapping into our most basic and primal human instincts. CrossFit is no different. CrossFit’s daily rituals of intense exercise flip a primal switch in our brains. Instead of promising vain results such as washboard abs and a nice butt, CrossFit promotes mastering exercises for practical, functional results such as a strong core.

To truly make your brand irresistible you must tap into the “lizard brain” of your customer by offering a product that stirs emotion and guides him or her toward instinct-based decision making. Google’s “Dear Sophie” ad created media buzz because it profoundly evoked emotion through storytelling. The ad successfully made consumers feel a certain way. Your marketing must have an emotional context to make your brand more engaging.

Build a Community

Build-a-Community

In a study completed by Norwich Medical School, researchers discovered that participants who engaged in group exercise performed better and at a faster pace than they would have on their own. They also had a more positive attitude towards exercise and reported feeling less alone and isolated during their daily lives. CrossFit workouts revolve around a group exercise format. Each CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD) session is completed by anywhere from 5 to 20 people. Completing physically grueling exercise within a group bonds those people together and allows them to perform at a level they may have not achieved on their own (think: the military).

CrossFit has a rabid fan base due in large part to the community that they have created through their group workouts. If you want your customers to be loyal followers and disciples of your brand, you must create a community within your business. Reaching individual customers has never been easier throughout the history of the world than it is now. For example, Starbucks’ My Starbucks Idea platform is basically a new-school version of the tried-and-true suggestion box. This outlet has given a voice to Starbucks’ customers and partners and has led to over 300 innovations including digital tipping and free Wi-Fi. You may not have the same reach as Starbucks but you can still use tools like social media to listen to your customers and create a fun, interactive experience for your brand.

Conclusion

CrossFit has been so successful because it reaches its customers on an emotional level, creates a strong community, and sells an outstanding product. Creating a loyal following of customers is no easy task but implementing the marketing lessons above will put you on the right track.

5 Steps to Content Marketing Success for SaaS Companies
SaaS Branding

5 Steps to Content Marketing Success for SaaS Companies

Content marketing helps you cut through the noise on the internet by providing relevant and useful information to your clients and to the public at large. It’s a great way to build relationships with your customers. Done right, it will set your company up as an expert in the field, meaning customers will come to you when they need a software solution.

A successful content marketing campaign takes planning and effort, but the results can be well worth the investment. This simple five-step guide will put your SaaS business on the path to content marketing success.

Step 1: Research

step 1. research

Don’t just crank out content and throw it online. Before you write a single word, you should take some time to learn about your industry and identify your audience. The better you know what information is already out there and who might be looking for information in your subject area, the better able you will be to create relevant content.

The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch. If you’ve already developed your software and

are ready to market it, you probably have a lot of the information you need. You already know who your ideal customer is, what types of problems they are trying to solve, and what they struggle with in the day to day running of their lives and businesses.

If you don’t already have the answers to these questions, go out and find them before you try to write.

Step 2: Develop a Strategy

Step 2: Develop a Strategy

Now that you know who you’re talking to, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to reach them. First, define your goals. Do you want to raise brand awareness, build an email list, upsell customers?

Next, narrow down your target audience. Who specifically are you trying to educate and inform? Is it the customer who needs a little help with technology, the customer focused on dramatically growing her client list, or the potential customer who doesn’t yet realize they have a problem that you can solve?

You might identify more than one type of customer, and that’s okay. Just make sure that each piece of content or each series focuses on one of those types.

Step 3: Work Out the Details

Step 3: Work Out the Details

It’s time to decide how you will structure your content. Will you create written blogs or videos, white papers or eBooks? You can include any of these (plus a lot more) in your content marketing strategy. Which ones you choose depends on your audience, your goals, and the money and equipment you have available.

Finally, develop a publication schedule. Online users are more likely to trust you if you reliably post your content. Just like on social media, posting too often can overwhelm users, but if you post rarely or sporadically, users may just forget you exist. So make a schedule and stick to it.

Step 4: Create Content

Step 4: Create Content

Now that you have a plan, you can create your content. This may be harder than it sounds. The blank page is a great intimidator.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are writers and marketing specialists out there who can create content for you if writing is not your strong point. Hiring a professional videographer can make a big difference in the quality of your videos.

If you’d rather do it yourself, but these skills aren’t in your wheelhouse, think about taking a class to hone your skills.

Keep in mind that content should be relevant to the consumer but also advance your strategy. If it doesn’t do both of these things, you probably shouldn’t be spending time on it.

Step 5: Post and Share

Step 5: Post and Share

Once you’ve created your content, it’s time to put it online. Ideally, you’re publishing on your own turf –

that means publishing on a web domain you own, so you’re not at the mercy of the newsfeed algorithms on social media sites.

Even though you’re hosting your content on your website, you should use social media to direct users to your site. Put teasers to new blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Pin your Infographic on Pinterest. Share your latest video on your YouTube channel.

You may even create advertising for your content marketing collateral. Many companies market their eBooks and white papers on Facebook or other sites.

Bonus Step: Working through these four steps will get you started, but a truly robust content marketing strategy needs continuous adjustment. Monitor the performance of each post to find out what’s working and what isn’t. If you had planned a video series but your users are responding better to your blog posts, ditch the video and keep blogging.

increase your sponsors with branding
Local Branding

Attain Athletic Sponsorship through Branding

Attain Athletic Sponsorship through Branding

Gaining sponsorship as an athlete is never the easiest thing to accomplish. But it’s more than worth it when you have the funding that you need in order to continue to compete regularly without worrying about finances.

With the right athletic sponsorship, you’ll have the ability to participate in every event for your sport if that’s what you desire. You will not have to worry about fees because all will be handled by the endorsements made by your sponsors. Do you intend to compete athletically on a professional level? Are you running for charity? Follow the simple steps that we share with you today to make attaining sponsorship a breeze.

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Five-Step Branding Process to Attract Athletic Sponsorship

1. Learn why companies pay to sponsor athletes – it’s always best to start at the beginning. If you learn and understand why companies sponsor athletes, it will make it much easier for you to attain sponsorship and funding. In many cases, businesses will sponsor professional athletes with the intention of associating their products and services with them. By associating their products and services with you – the successful athlete – businesses can use this connection to attract more customers from their target market. When looking for companies as potential sponsors, consider your image, your personal brand, and the types of athletes that certain companies usually sponsor. If you fit their typical target, then by all means contact them to find out if sponsorship is possible.

2. Build a fan base – if you are a runner – as an example – and you show up for a race after race and even finish with decent times, there’s no guarantee that anyone would consider themselves your fans. You have to cultivate a fan base and build an audience. Media coverage is a great way to create fans. Social media is an excellent way to connect with people that are interested in what you do. Tap into all of these areas and build a rabid fan base of happy followers!

3. Evaluate potential sponsorships – as an athlete, you may pick and choose potential sponsorships. Choose sponsors in accordance with your values and remember that there is more to sponsorships than money. Plus, picking the right partners will help you gain more attention in the limelight. Make sure to choose sponsors that deliver additional exposure as well as sponsorship money.

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4. Find the right points of contact – as you research potential companies to sponsor you, keep everyone in mind. Do not dismiss small businesses or local organizations. Your local audience is definitely your target market and finding local sponsors will be a lot easier than finding them on the national level. Locating the correct points of contact at these organizations doesn’t need to be difficult. Find somebody currently sponsored by the company and ask for their help.

5. Initiating contact – now that you’ve developed an audience and found the ideal sponsors, it’s time to initiate contact. When reaching out to your initial contact, send this person a proposal. Make it short and sweet and shoot for 50 to 100 words. This should be long enough to get your point across without being too long and wordy.

Use this information to attain athletic sponsorship through branding.

5 Essential Elements of an Effective SaaS Website
SaaS Branding

How to Expand Your Company’s Brand to the Mobile Market

How to Expand Your Company’s Brand to the Mobile Market

Expanding your business’s brand is never easy. You have to do whatever it takes to get in front of potential customers. The hottest and most effective way to expand your brand is to tap into the mobile market. Why consider the mobile market?Well, we’ve all heard about online marketing success stories. We’ve heard about companies that took their business online, developed a website, started sharing valuable content, developed apps, and before long, they’ve experienced massive success.

Mobile Market Branding

The mobile market is similar, but truth be told, its better. More than ever, potential customers are accessing the internet via the mobile web. They are spending the majority of their time online on their tablets, smartphones, ipods and ipads. And they are using apps and playing games like there’s no tomorrow.

To reach this huge, untapped market, you need expand your brand to the mobile market. And we’re going to tell you how to make this happen today.

Are you ready to conquer the world of mobile brand development? Follow this brief guide and make it happen! Maximize Your Mobile Strategy with These 5 Suggestions

1. Make strategy alignment a top priority – stop jumping from one marketing trend to the next and get focused. When creating a mobile strategy, the best way to achieve success is to make sure it’s focused on one major goal. As an example, you can focus your mobile strategy on brand development. And do so in a way that will help you connect with your customers better.

2. Create a scalable campaign – tapping into the mobile market is only the first step. To achieve top level success, you need to begin thinking beyond the present. This form of online marketing is expected to grow and expand in the next 5 to 10 years. So put together a plan that will allow your company to grow along with the market. Keep your plan flexible and make sure there is room for serious growth.

3. Create phenomenal customer experiences via mobile – people love things that are new and exciting. They are sick and tired of the same old things vying for their attention. When developing your mobile plan, make it fresh and interactive. Design it in a way that will get people talking. This is the best way to effectively develop your brand via mobile.

4. Customer data security is a must – when doing business online via the mobile web, you’ll need to capture customer data in order to market effectively. Never, ever, keep your customer data insecure. This is a recipe for serious disaster. Be frank about customer privacy and what they can expect from you. And most important of all, have data encryption in place to prevent vulnerabilities. This is crucial for your success.

5. Have a solid development team – developing a strong mobile presence can be expensive and difficult to accomplish. With the right team in place, you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way. Please use this information to expand to the mobile market. And if you need further information, please visit this link for additional resources: Has Your Brand Tasted Mobile Marketing?

Content Marketing Explained: A Guide for SaaS Businesses
SaaS Branding

Content Marketing Explained: A Guide for SaaS Businesses

You’ve probably heard of content marketing. It’s one of the many buzz words that saturate the marketing world today. You may even know that content marketing involves creating and curating content to help your business attract and retain customers.

What you may not understand is how content marketing can work for your SaaS and how to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. This guide will give you a basic introduction to what content marketing is, why you need it, and how it works.

What is Content Marketing?

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing can include blogs, videos, white papers, eBooks, lists, infographics, presentations and a lot more. The form your marketing takes should be based on the type of content that is most likely to appeal to customers.

The key is to provide relevant, useful information. Your content should engage, inform, and inspire your customers and potential customers. Ultimately it’s about building a relationship with the user by convincing them that you understand your industry and have the expertise to help them succeed. If you do this right, customers should look to you as a subject matter expert.

Why Should I Use Content Marketing?

Why Should I Use Content Marketing?

Advertising is everywhere. It’s splashed across the pages of your favorite magazine, printed on billboards, and inserted into your Facebook or Instagram feed. Advertising has reached such a saturation point that it has become white noise. Consumers are adept at tuning it out.

This disengagement can be a real hurdle for SaaS companies who are trying to reach potential customers. Advertising that’s quirky, off-the-wall, or controversial can sometimes break through the noise. That type of advertising doesn’t work for all companies, however. If your SaaS provides payroll services or CRM software, being known as the company with the bizarre advertising might work against you. You need to be seen as professional, competent, and well-prepared to handle the sensitive data that your clients need to run their businesses.

So what’s an SaaS company to do? That’s where content marketing comes in.

Who Needs Content Marketing?

Who Needs Content Marketing?

Instead of pushing and shoving for attention on the sidebar of a blog, you can stand up in front of customers who actually seek you out to hear what you have to say. Instead of pitching a product or service, you’re educating potential customers. Do this well, and customers will place their trust in you. When they need something in your industry, they’ll come to you.

SaaS companies like HubSpot, DocuSign, and Salesforce are making content marketing work for them, and you can too.

Where Does Content Marketing Fit In?

Content marketing should be part of a wider marketing strategy. DocuSign doesn’t just have a resource center where they post whitepapers, webinars and case studies, they also have Google Ads, a FaceBook page, and even print advertising in the Wall Street Journal.

Your content should be fully integrated with your other marketing. It should use the same tone and carry similar messages. Ideally, it should be collected in one location and you should own that space. That means you should not be posting your content exclusively on Facebook, Google or some other branded site. You should have your own blog or website where your content can appear and where you control how people see it.

When Should I Start Content Marketing?

You can add content marketing to an established marketing strategy or you can integrate it from the very beginning of your marketing and branding efforts. Whenever you start, have a clear plan for what you want your content to accomplish and how you’ll go about achieving that.

Content marketing without an established strategy and goals is likely to be ineffective and may even hurt your marketing campaign. Customers may be confused by content that doesn’t align with the brand persona you’re trying to establish. They may even begin to feel like your company can’t be trusted.

How do I Implement Content Marketing

How do I Implement Content Marketing

The first step to a successful content marketing campaign is research. Learn who your customers are, what problems they are trying to solve, and what types of content are likely to engage them. Fortunately, much of this information can be found in your exiting marketing research.

Once you know your customers you’re ready to develop a strategy. What content is your company able to (or able to pay others to) create? Where will you post it? How does it fit into your existing marketing strategy.

Finally, you’re ready to create and post your content. Remember to share it on social media, on your website, and wherever else you can.

Getting to Know Your Customers – A Guide for Marketing SaaS
SaaS Branding

Getting to Know Your Customers – A Guide for Marketing SaaS

Before you create a marketing plan for your SaaS you need to develop a clear idea of who your customers are, what their goals are, and what they need to reach those goals. You may believe that the ideal audience for your product is basically everyone, but you’re doing your business a disservice if you don’t create targeted marketing aimed at the customers most likely to benefit from your software.

A strong marketing campaign enables potential clients to clearly envision how the product and service will help them reach their goals. The most successful marketing campaigns feel as though they are aimed not at a demographic but at each individual within that group.

Before you can create such effective marketing, you need to know who you are selling to. This guide will help you identify your ideal client.

1. Define the Problem

Define the Problem

The search for the ideal client starts close to home. You first have to look at your product and identify the problem that you are solving. Clients buy your product because they have a problem and your product is a solution. The problem may be: I need to make sure my company is compliant with the latest payroll tax regulations, or it may be: I need to communicate with 10,000 subscribers on my email list about the events in my gallery.

If this seems like a high level concept, try breaking it down by listing all the features your software has. What does the software actually do? Each of these features solves a problem by performing a task more efficiently or by automating parts of the process.

2. Identify Broad Categories

Identify Broad Categories

Make a list of the people or businesses who might have this problem. Think broadly. You’ll get to specifics in the next step. List industries or service areas. Think about business size. Are you targeting small businesses, enterprise clients, individuals?

Consider the revenue of your potential customers. If you’re offering a high end product with a high end price tag, you’re going to need a customer with a lot of revenue to be able to afford your software.

3. Narrow Your Focus

Narrow Your Focus

Now you can get specific. Look at those broad categories and think about individuals within those categories who might benefit from your product. Are you aiming at the sales representative or the CEO? How educated is your customer? What kind of technical skills does the customer have? How old is this person?

Does your customer employ people? How many? Are they working on a team? How big is the team? What is the geographic scope of the business?

What are the factors that potential client use to make decisions? Are they focused more on the bottom line or on efficiency? Do they need to get approval from another person or a board of directors to buy your product?

Once you’ve explored all of these questions you should have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is. This could be an individual or an organization as long as it is specific and focused.

4. Aim Your Marketing

Aim Your Marketing

Now that you have your ideal customer profile you can create marketing plans aimed at that specific customer. This will require a little more research from you. Figure out where customers like this congregate online. Are they on LinkedIn or Twitter? Are they spending most of their time on industry-specific sites? If you have existing customers that fit your profile, you can ask them these questions. If not, there’s a wealth of statistical information available online from companies like Kissmetrics.

Once you figure out where your ideal customer hangs out, you can look at how your customer communicates. What buzzwords does he use? What graphics appeal to her? Create your advertising with this in mind.

By maintaining this close focus on your ideal customer, you’ll increase the chances that your advertising reaches people who are ready and willing to buy your product. Of course, other people will see your ads as well, and that’s fine. Even customers who don’t fit your profile can be great customers.

5 Essential Elements of an Effective SaaS Website
SaaS Branding

5 Essential Elements of an Effective SaaS Website

Customers use your website to learn about your company, decide whether your SaaS can help them, interact with your support team, and buy your product. An effective website makes it easy, and maybe even fun, for customers to do these things.

There’s a lot of room for customization of your website, but there are also five essential elements you must have to ensure that your website is effective.

1. Clear Statement of Purpose

Visitors to your website should be able to tell at a glance who you are and what you’re selling. 17 hats, the organizational app for entrepreneurs, does a great job of this.

Clear Statement of Purpose

The first thing you see on their site is a tagline “say goodbye to chaos and hello to organization!” They describe themselves as “the all-in-one business system for entrepreneurs.” In less than 30 seconds you know who their product is for and broadly what it does. They even include a handy infographic, for people who would rather just look at the pictures.

For another great example, look at Salesforce.com. Their home page includes a straightforward headline asking the question “What is Salesforce?” followed by a two sentence answer. The menu to the left is headlined “Solutions For” with entries titled “Small Business” and “Industries.”

Again, a quick glance at the home page lets customers know what the product is and whether its designed for them.

2. Trust Building Elements

Trust Building Elements

People buy from companies they trust. Potential customers will use cues on your website to determine whether you’re trustworthy. These cues can include testimonials from happy customers, certifications from the Better Business Bureau, or security badges.

Let’s look again at SalesForce. The center of their homescreen namedrops a satisfied client who happens to also be a leader in their industry. The hope is that users will think: If this product works for that well known company, it will probably work for mine.

Intuit actually goes so far as to provide a “security” tab on their site, where they explain how their company protects your data. They also include security badges from Norton and Truste.

3. Compelling Call to Action

Compelling Call to Action

A call to action tells users what they should do next. Do you want them to sign up for a free trial? Subscribe to your software? Contact you for more information? Getting them to your site is only half the battle. You have to convince them to take action once they get there.

Salesforce, 17hats, and almost every other SaaS website out there, uses call to action buttons. The button is prominently placed on the home page. They tend to be in bright colors, like orange or lime green, that stand out from the rest of the page.

Your action button can say almost anything from “try it now” to “start for free,” as long as the customer understands that clicking the button will enable them to further explore the software.

4. Contact Information

Contact Information

Responsive customer service is a key factor in the SaaS model. In order for customers to feel confident that you will provide service and support to meet their needs, they have to know how to contact you.

At minimum, you should provide an email address. You might also include live chat options, a phone number, or an online forum where customers can post their questions.

Whatever contact information you provide, make sure that it is easy to find on your page. Don’t bury it three levels deep in a menu. Intuit includes a support tab as one of the four tabs on their home page. Salesforce lists an 800 number in the header of their home page, accompanied by a contact link that opens a email contact form.

5. Easy Payment Processing

Easy Payment Processing

Nothing is more annoying than wanting to buy a product and not being able to do so. Make sure that the process for purchasing your product is clear. Your action buttons can help here, by enticing customers to start your free trial or contact your sales team.

If you have a pricing page, you can include “sign up” or “buy now” buttons for each service level. MailChimp does a good job of this. Most of their site asks customers to sign up for their free version, but if you click through to the pricing page, you find “sign up now” buttons on the premium packages.