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The main marketing challenge for a startup SaaS company

SaaS companies face a number of challenges when it comes to marketing. Nowadays, there are a lot of Saas brands around and their number keeps growing. One of the main challenges these companies are facing is how to get noticed. This is usually the first hurdle you’ll face when launching a company.

Granted, with SaaS there’s a chance you will be making your first steps into a novel market. Standing out could be not that big of a challenge, but even so, eventually you’ll face the rise of competition and you will have to start to defend your turf. That’s a given.

And once you’ve accomplished to build a brand that stands out, how do you convince a potential customer that your service is worth the price? After all, as you’re selling a service, how personal and approachable can you be as a company?

Stand out


Don’t blend in by relying on the same clichés and stories your competitors are using. A lot of SaaS brands are defining themselves as innovators, committed to customer service. Don’t just repeat that. Be more creative and look beyond that. It’s more than just developing your logo and your UI. What is your brand’s personality and what characteristics do you want to exhibit? What emotions do you want your customers to experience? Taking a look at your target demographics first is a good start.

Especially when you’re still a startup, one of your main challenges is to get noticed. Live events are a real opportunity to showcase your product and its USPs. Focus on the “wow factors” of your solution, but also make sure to tell the history behind your company and its people. Simply get the word out there, so when potential customers pick up on your solutions and consider them, you’ll be in the running at least.

It might seem counterintuitive — especially for SaaS brands — but with the ubiquity of digital marketing nowadays, face-to-face interactions are really important and can play a key role in the deciding process of prospects. Many tech buyers still want to get to know their partners in person to separate contenders from pretenders. Of course, depending on where you stand in the market, you’ll have different focus when attending live events. Anyway, as more than 90% of B2B marketers invest in event marketing today, you won’t be the only one there. So the problem once again arises: how do you stand out?

Be approachable

One of the most important things when it comes to being approachable as a brand is the tone of voice you use to communicate with your (potential) customers. This can really set you apart from the competition as it can make the difference between reaching customers that want to engage with you and prospects that quickly forget you or never even notice you.

Achieving a convincing and approachable brand voice requires some distinct qualities and communication skills, however:
The first step to a personal experience for your customers? Make sure that your brand and your brand’s messages reflect your own personality. Show that there are real people working for your company, no robots. This makes your brand familiar and instantly more approachable.
People want to relate to you, so don’t take yourself too seriously. This can be alienating.
Don’t be afraid to use humor, as it’s a powerful human emotion that is capable to forge strong relationships. Just don’t overdo it.
Avoid using buzzwords and corporate speak. Try to keep your message as informal and casual as possible and turn your brand voice into something conversational. Nothing more approachable than that, is there?

Being approachable also makes you stand out. And it gets you positive reviews. People will talk about you and recommend you.

Word of mouth

Word of mouth is a very, very effective way to grow your business. Why? Not only is it extremely scalable, it’s also dirt cheap. But in order to benefit from word of mouth, you first need to build a brand that people love and relate to. A brand is not just your slogan. It’s also not just your logo. It’s the sum of every single touchpoint your (potential) customer has with you and your company. The greatest influence on your brand experience are your go-to-market “teams”: marketing, sales and yes, happy customers!

There are different ways to stand out and to be relatable and approachable. And of course to achieve word of mouth. But let’s focus on one that more and more SaaS companies are adding to their marketing mix: custom merchandise.

It’s not just a T-shirt with a logo printed on

Actually, events and merchandise have always been rather inseparable. How’s that?

  • Custom merchandise (apparel) extends your event’s brand value. It’s a great way to drive brand awareness beyond the day of the event. Customers / attendees wearing your merchandise is a very powerful endorsement of your brand. Invest in quality merchandise that goes beyond just a logo on a t-shirt. Make it memorable, make it “cool”, make it stand out. That way there’s a big chance those same attendees will wear your — in this case — t-shirt beyond the event and your brand gets continued exposure.
  • Custom merchandise is a way to engage with your audience. Your attendees want to show their support, approval and attendance. Or just something to commemorate the event. Make sure they are able to. Merch strengthens the connection between your brand and your customers / audience.
  • Custom merchandise can be a source of extra revenue: Integrate merchandise in your event strategy and you’ll be creating clothing people actually want to wear and keep wearing. And you’ll be earning some extra money in the process.

When it comes to brand awareness, nothing is as easy or practical as customised apparel. There are a lot of benefits:

  • Everybody wears clothes and knows how to put them on. They are familiar and need no introduction.
    They can outlast any other type of marketing or advertisement. Just think about it. How long have you owned the oldest t-shirt in your closet? Exactly.
  • A shirt or sweater with your logo / design on turns the people wearing them into walking billboards. And they can go places no other advertisement can go.
  • A nice, high-quality product tends to increase brand loyalty. Especially when it’s given away for free — but not necessarily.
  • A print on a garment can always spark an interesting conversation. And if that print includes your logo, all of a sudden people are talking about your brand, turning into brand evangelists.

Meet our merchandise hero: the T-shirt


It’s actually a no-brainer: Everybody owns t-shirts, they are easy to wear and their marketing possibilities are endless. Logo T-shirts have even been named one of the hottest fashion trends of 2017 (https://www.thefashionspot.com/style-trends/731843-logo-fashion-trend/#/slide/1). Ever since the T-shirt became part of the everyday wardrobe in the sixties, it has never been out of style. In 50 years, it will still be cool.

It’s pretty easy to illustrate the power of branded apparel. Next time you’re at your local shopping center, out in town, at an event, … take a look around at what everybody is wearing. Just count how many clothes you see with brands on it. You’ve just been marketed to, many times over.
So, at the end of the day, you and your employees have got to wear clothes. Why not put them to work marketing your product or service? And at events corporate clothing will help you stand out in a sea of suits.

So … get out there, get noticed and get personal. And Merchandise Essentials can help you do just that.

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