In the current technology landscape, we’re witnessing the rapid growth of software as a service (SaaS); don’t bet your chips on SaaS slowing down anytime soon.
SaaS has become an integral part of how modern businesses operate with a study by Kahootz finding 73% of organisations state that almost all of their apps will be SaaS-powered by 2020. Just like any thriving industry, competition among SaaS companies is at an all time high.
So how do you stand out from the crowd, keep ahead of the competition, and ensure your business is the go-to software solution for customers? Your solution: increasing brand awareness. Creating a reliable brand is critical to your ability to scale and grow your SaaS business.
In this guide, we’ll help you better understand brand awareness and how you can win your audience over with five effective brand awareness wins. Let’s get started with talking SAAS marketing!
Rock a Referral Program
kicking off our effective wins list, businesses from startups to global enterprises are winning big with referral programs. Why are so many leading businesses using them you ask? It’s a proven tactic that works, so here’s why they rock.
A referral program is a great opportunity for your business to reward existing customers who introduce new customers to you. When managed efficiently and optimised to attract the right customer, referral programs is one of the most effective tactics to increase your brand’s awareness. However, building an attractive referral program does come with its challenges.
According to HubSpot, there’s a lot of debate on whether companies should incentivise referral programs. Offering higher incentives can lead to low value referrals, people that are less likely to champion your brand in the future. Best advice is to test your incentives, see what works well for your SaaS business, track and collect data to optimise its performance.
A good example features software service Dropbox who nailed their referral program by offering users up to 16Gb of free space for inviting a friend. They were able to tap into their audience and offer a reward that their customers value. In return, Dropbox generated a staggering 4 million users in 15 months.
Not to be underestimated, referral programs (when done right) can deliver substantial contributions toward the awareness of your brand while driving new customers to your business. A double win.
Next Level Marketing
Standing out from the crowd can take more than just your average marketing strategy. Winning an audience’s attention is proving increasingly harder which means you need to start thinking outside the box.
That said, cue the creative juices and feel inspired as you watch below how social media management system Hootsuite broke personal records with their pop culture-inspired video campaign.
Nailed it! As ‘Game of Thrones’ fans, the Hootsuite team took their own spin on the opening sequence from the medieval fantasy epic. Do you think fans sunk their teeth into this one? Absolutely. The video has clocked up more than 1.2 million views and reached a whole new market for Hootsuite. Although targeted at predominantly ‘Game of Thrones’ fans, the video certainly left lasting impressions.
In the music realm, Swedish media-services provider Spotify captivated its audience with their signature ‘Discover Weekly. The playlist made just for you, every Monday’. Spotify created personalised playlists each week with new music recommendations for their customers.
The idea to create a personalised playlist based off the music users listen to has earned Spotify a highly engaged audience where users feel like a valued customer. The feature is now one of the most popular among the platform’s growing 87 million paid subscribers and 109 million ad-supported free users.
The takeaway: Creativity is key. If you want to stand out you need unique ideas. Building awareness around your brand can increase tenfold when you bring something new to the table that’s not been done before.
Profit on Word of Mouth
Building brand awareness doesn’t require big budgets nor award-winning strategies. SaaS businesses can leverage the power of word of mouth marketing and win big with its friendly approach. Word of mouth is an organic way of spreading information that is actively influenced or encouraged by organisations. Check out these word of mouth statistics:
- 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
- Beyond friends and family, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
- 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
Many marketers will tell you, and agree, that utilising word of mouth marketing to build brand awareness is one of, if not, the most effective techniques and the most cost-effective. Can’t wait to get started? Below are four strategies you can try now.
- Social media buzz: Dialogue on social media will help you build brand awareness, particularly on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. These platforms provide opportunities to join groups, connect with prospects, share user generated content and publish your own to start conversations.
- Ask for reviews: As previously mentioned, 88% of people trust online reviews, so this one’s a no brainer. Grow your brand by building up your palette of online reviews. In a quick fire email or a five-second phone call you can reach out to your existing customer database and get them to champion your brand with a winning 5-star review. You’d be a fool not to!
- Contest craze: Returning back to the power of social media, building brand awareness is as easy as hosting a social media contest. How about a free demo, 3-month free subscription or one product from the store? Giving your audience and incentive for the price of their comment, like, share, or even email can do your brand wonders.
- Engage influencers: In short, your can partner with influencers who can help spread the word about you brand to their audience. Don’t worry, we have a whole point coming up about influencers… stay tuned.
Obtaining the brand recognition you desire starts by creating a word of mouth campaign. Of course, turning your customers into promoters isn’t an easy task, however, applying your new found knowledge will certainly assist you in the beginning and continue through as you grow. One thing’s for certain, the benefits are endless.
Rebrand for Better Identity
As a small business, you may be competing against big brands and big budgets. But make no mistake, one of the most valuable assets a company owns is a recognisable and loved brand identity.
Take a moment to think about SaaS companies with a strong brand image. Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Spotify, and Amazon all spring to mind. They all have instantaneous logos that are recognisable to the eye, catchy slogans and a database of devoted customers. So where do you start and can a rebrand help you build a successful brand identity?
‘It’s who you are and what you value - as a company’
You’re probably thinking, “A rebrand, that wasn’t the first idea that springs to mind when thinking about building brand awareness”, and we hear you… but her us out on this one.
Case study in question: Airbnb. The American online marketplace and hospitality service brokerage has built brand value by creating authentic connections with its users through a consistent rebrand. Recognising that Airbnb was evolving and with a highly engaged community at its core, the company reworked its brand identity from the original Airbnb brand to one that focuses on the sense of belonging in a community.
Alas, the identity ‘Belong Anywhere’ was born and Airbnb secured its best chance of defining its brand on its own terms. Take a look at the video below...
So what did Airbnb do right and how did their rebrand help build brand awareness?
The Airbnb team positioned their community front and centre of the company. They wasted no time in educating their customers on what the new brand stands for and how their customers could use the platform to create their own interpretation of the band's symbol.
Airbnb encapsulated the ‘Belong Anywhere’ identify further by utilising featured guest stories and travel experiences across almost every digital communication channel available.
“Are you looking to rebrand your business, develop your services and build brand awareness? Get in touch today to find out how we can help you move into the future as a more successful brand than before.”
Double Down with an Influencer
There’s no doubt that influencers are one of the biggest marketing trends right now. We can safely reveal that this trend won’t be dying anytime soon. In fact, research shows that last year, $1.6 billion was funnelled into sponsored posts on Instagram alone while a study by Linqia shows that 39% of brands plan to increase their influencer marketing budget going forward.
To round of our brand awareness effect wins list, we detail below some top level insights to remember if you plan on taking your SaaS company down the influencer route.
- Partnering with relevant influencers in your industry can help establish trust between your brand and your influencers followers. It’s important to work with influential individuals who have a voice over your target audience, otherwise your brand risks targeting an unengaged audience that will yield no results for your efforts.
- Influencers can form a key part of your brand awareness strategy but it’s important to build up your strategy first. Relying solely on the investment of an influencer can be damaging to your brand if things don’t go to plan,
- They scratch your back, you scratch theirs. Your influencer(s) is helping your business build brand awareness by sharing your content. Don’t hesitate in repaying the favour and sharing some of their content. This will help build lasting relationships.
The next question is, are you ready to bring an influencer on board?
Building brand awareness is not as hard as you first might think and we’ve highlighted five effective wins that take little to no time at all to implement within your business.
When you follow the techniques outlined in this article, you’re setting up yourself and your SaaS company for guaranteed wins among your audience. Not to mention getting a foot in front of your competitors.
Of course, building brand awareness stretches beyond just word of mouth or rebranding your business. If you want to learn more, get in touch today.