Tag: customer service

Digital Branding

8 Steps to Building a Successful Brand

When a customer hands over their hard-earned money for your product or service they are making a commitment to your brand. Having a strong brand means that customers know, like, and trust your business. Strong brands are rewarded with high customer approval. Successful companies know this and invest heavily in building and improving their brands. Your brand doesn’t just exist in your marketing message. It lives in every interaction your business makes with customers. The five steps below will give you a head start on creating a successful brand.

Purpose

Purpose

With the advent of the internet, consumers have a lot of options when it comes to

selecting products and services. Just having a catchy slogan or a slick logo won’t get you very far. Your brand has to stand for something. You have to know why your business does what it does and you need to make sure that all of your customers are aware of this as well. Your purpose is the absolute, innermost core reason of why your business exists. When customers can align with your purpose they will buy into your brand at a cellular level

In Simon SInek’s “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” TED talk he shared that what separates great companies from good ones is the fact that great companies lead with their purpose in everything that they do. For example, Apple’s core message is to “Think Different” in everything that you do. They promote this message through selling products that are beautifully designed and exquisitely minimalistic. This is what allows them to stand out from the pack.

Emotion

emotion

Contrary to popular belief. We don’t buy based on logic. We buy based on emotion. Emotion is the reason why people spend thousands of dollars on designer handbags when a similar sized bag from Wal-Mart or Target could hold their personal items just fine. When someone chooses to spend this type of money on a handbag they aren’t buying a bag. They’re buying status. To make a successful brand you must create this type of emotion in your customers.

Community

Community

Humans aren’t meant to live alone. We thrive in communities. Powerful brands build communities that empower their customers and give them a direct line of communication to their audience. Now, any business can use social media to create a community with their customers. In a Business News Daily article, Manta CEO John Swanciger said that a brand’s top priority for social media should be community building.

Big brands know the importance of building a community. Take H&R Block for example. They created a section of their website, titled “Get Answers” that allowed users to ask tax questions and get quick answers from professionals. The community empowers user to share and learn all on the H&R block website. The company promoted this new feature with their “Get It Right” campaign on social media which gave them a 15% increase in business vs. the year before when no social media was involved in their marketing.

Consistency

Consistency

Many businesses make the mistake of branding themselves inconsistently across different platforms. They may take one marketing angle on their website, a different one on their Facebook page, and continue this pattern across several platforms. Usually, this is done to try and connect with several different audiences but this usually has an adverse effect. Inconsistent branding confuses customers and creates a disconnect. To create a strong brand, you must maintain a consistent image and message throughout your entire business, including your website, marketing, logo, social media channels, etc. Being consistent allows consumers to become familiar with you, and later trust you.

Value

Value

If you don’t provide value to your customers, they will quickly run to your competitors. Why should a customer choose you over anyone else? What can you offer that is head and shoulders above all others? You don’t have to be great at everything. Start with focusing on being great at one thing and do it better than your competitors. Offer outstanding customer service. Take a customized approach with your clients. Reward your customers for their loyalty.

You can’t mention customer service without bringing up Zappos. CEO Tony Hsieh has made it his goal to provide legendary customer service. In a Forbes.com article, it was revealed that to understand customer service, Hsieh gave each of his employees $100 and asked them to buy two pairs of shoes from Zappos.com – one to return and one to keep. He then asked the employees to share their experience with the team. Zappos invests heavily in customer service over marketing. They want to create more personal connections with customers by tracking and observing customer behavior. Although Zappos spends a lot of money on customer analytics they understand that there is a human touch that is essential in customer service that can’t be quantified.

Wrapping Up

Building a successful brand isn’t an easy task. Brands become extraordinary not by gaining customers, but by creating fans. Every brand mentioned above offers something unique that makes it stand out from all of it’s competitors. When you’re bold, honest, and transparent in your marketplace you’re rewarded with customer approval.

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.