branding

TOP 3 WAYS TO MAKE THE FREEMIUM MODEL WORK FOR YOU

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Modern shoppers are bombarded with advertisements. In our highly connected, digital age, there is no end in sight to the range of products, services, and brands that a consumer can purchase from and support. But with so many ads and brands competing for consumer’s limited attention and discretionary income, how can a company find new consumers, and get them hooked on their products or services? Finding qualified leads isn’t enough. You need to find a way to compel those leads to make a purchase. What’s one of the quickest ways to do that? The freemium model, and we’ll cover the top three ways the freemium model can work for your business.

With profit margins getting tighter in many industries, the freemium model does have a few downsides. But for subscription-based service models, going freemium can be an excellent way to build your brand awareness, convert leads to sales, and increase your profits.

1. The freemium model cuts through the noise.

The average consumer sees 5,000 product ads a day. Offering a compelling freemium service for a trial period is a quick and easy way to cut through the noise and the competition online. But to make this work for your business, you need to offer an obvious value to the customer with your freemium versus paid subscription model.  

Spotify does a great job here. They offer a freemium, but users have to listen to commercials for one thing, and they can’t download songs to a multitude of devices with Spotify freemium. Upgrading to the paid option though gives them the ability to skip songs, skip commercials, and download their playlists to any mobile device.

What you need to do is offer the customer an obvious value when they upgrade to make freemium work for you. When the customer sees how valuable your service is with freemium, but how much better it can be with the upgrade, the chances of them converting to a paid customer are much higher.

2. Nurture the freemium leads.

In most cases, it takes consumers a while to decide to make a purchase, and most leads are not ready to buy straight away. That’s why nurturing your freemium leads is crucial to getting this model to work for your business. Think about your sales funnel, and creating lead nurturing email campaigns to expose the leads to your brand and compel them to make a purchase.

3. Hold back on core functions.

You don’t want to give away too much, too soon with the freemium model if you want it to lead to future sales. While the freemium model can work if you’re strategic about it, not every freemium subscriber is going to convert. Your freemium people still have value as potential brand advocates. The trick here is not to give away for free too many of your company’s core functions. Doing so will cause the freemium model to eat into your profit margins, and it won’t work.

The freemium model isn’t dead, and subscription-based companies can make it work for them if they keep these three tips in mind when creating a freemium model as part of their marketing campaigns.

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY SELLING?

Human beings have an attention span that is one second less than your average goldfish’s. In today’s interconnected and digital world, consumers are under a constant barrage of advertisements. Sometimes, they don’t even realize that what they are seeing is an ad, especially if it's carefully disguised as a narrative blog post. So, what can you do to increase your sales, and turn cold or warm leads into paying, loyal customers?
 
First off, you must know what you're selling, and it’s not the features you’re selling, but the benefits of your offering and why your brand exists to add value. For instance...

Starbucks does not sell coffee that comes in any flavor you could want. Starbucks sells a community. And what are the benefits of a community? It fosters connection, camaraderie, and the benefit of being seen and heard as part of a group of like-minded coffee-lovers.
 
Disney does not sell entertainment. They sell magic and unforgettable experiences. Sure, they sell movies and toys to entertain. But so do thousands of other companies. What is it that makes Disney’s toys and movies so special? The brand is positioned to sell magic and enable customers to create new, cherished memories with their loved ones.
 
So, what is it that you’re selling?
Factual statements don’t compel someone to buy. The benefits do. Why does your product exist, and what value does its existence add to the customer’s experience?
 
It’s the customer’s emotions that drive them to make a purchase. While listing factual information is important so the customer knows how the product or service operates, that’s not what gets them to convert.
 
What are some examples of features versus benefits?
You want to communicate to your audience what the more profound, emotional benefits are that you’re selling, and position your brand to connect with them through those benefits, for example:

  • Accessibility vs 24-hour limo service 

  • Convenience vs One-click buy 

  • Trustworthiness vs Doing business since 1950

Once you understand what the benefits are, you can begin to craft content around those benefits that utilize a narrative structure that hits those emotional notes for your target audience. The latest and the most fabulous features don’t mean much to your customer unless those features translate into benefits that bring them a specific value. What you’re selling needs to answer these vital questions for the customer:

  • What’s in it for me?

  • Will this improve my current situation?

  • Will the product or service make me happier, healthier, smarter, or richer?

Understanding your target audience’s demographics can certainly help you figure out what your offering’s most relevant features are that you want to list. However, knowing the psychographics of your customer, as in what motivates them or what gives them value, can help you position your brand’s benefits and the reason why it exists to serve the customer. Doing this will enable you to move whatever product or service it is that you’re selling.
 
For better conversions and increased customer loyalty, know exactly what you’re selling, and communicate how it benefits your target customer on an emotional level.

The end.

DOES YOUR BRAND NEED BOOT CAMP?

Online content and marketing strategies are continuously evolving and changing. In today’s competitive environment, remaining still can cause your brand to get swept away in the current. Just treading water isn’t a viable strategy, either. Stagnancy and complacency in business are productivity killers. Is your brand strategy feeling a bit stale lately? Then you may need a brand boot camp.


1. Positioning
Understanding and capitalizing on what makes your brand unique can breathe new life into your marketing strategies. Unless you have an incredibly, remarkably, earth-shatteringly different product or service never seen before, you have to position your brand.

What does this look like? Well, for starters, you want to differentiate your product or service from your main competitors. Why should a customer choose your offering over the other company’s offering?

On the flipside, you want to see what your competitors have that you don’t. Do they have something that you need? One of the easiest ways to gain new customers and increase your audience base is to target your main competitor’s following. But, your brand will need to be more appealing than the targeted competitor.

2. Reach
How are you currently reaching your ideal customers? If you’ve noticed that new follower acquisition has stagnated, it’s time to fish in deeper, different waters. To find new places to reach people, you want to fully understand the different mediums where your brand messaging is most effectively conveyed to viewers. Look around for a popular, new platform where you could start communicating your message. Where are your competitors finding new viewers?

3. Experience

One of the most effective ways to increase your customer base and conversions is through improved customer experience. It’s crucial that you ensure a positive experience throughout the buyer’s journey. Remember, you want it to be pleasant, efficient, and offer real, valuable utility to the user. Customer experience though is not something that can be quickly or easily manipulated.  Providing valuable, useful services and products will help increase and also maintain your brand’s positive reputation.

It’s not enough to send your brand to boot camp and develop improvements for your company if you aren’t sure of your goals. Make sure you have a plan and a strategy involved when you give your brand a makeover. What experience do you want to give your customers? What end goal are each of your new developments supporting? When you have a set of clear, concrete objectives, your plans will be much easier to implement, and it will keep your team focused on the end goal.

Don’t let stagnancy and complacency sink your brand. With better positioning, improvements to the customer experience, and increased reach, you’ll breathe new life into your company with brand boot camp.

3 REASONS WHY BEING REAL HAS NEVER BEEN MORE STYLISH

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In a world where the lines between reality are becoming increasingly blurred, consumers are demanding more authentic and genuine products and marketing strategies from businesses. Entrepreneurs and marketers are becoming savvier when it comes to positioning their products as real and honest, from the way they are manufactured to the ingredients or materials they are made out of, and finally, to the way those products and services are marketed.
 
Information in today’s world is democratized, and it’s now easier than ever before for consumers to thoroughly research a product before they hit the “buy” button. Before, it was all too easy for less ethical businesses to use questionable ingredients, materials, or manufacturing processes to bring their products to market. With consumers demanding more transparency, their tastes are drastically changing.
 
Brands that have tapped into consumers’ need for real and honest products and marketing have managed to position themselves as industry heavyweights, such as Honest Tea and RXBar. In today’s business climate, being real and honest has never been more stylish. And with the rise of social media and user-generated content, honesty in business is here to stay. Here are three compelling reasons why:
 

1. Authenticity Matters

Recent surveys have found that up to 86% of all consumers claim that brand authenticity is an important factor in which companies they choose to support. The findings were even more stark depending on the age of the survey participant.
 
90% of Millennial consumers say brand authenticity is essential. This generational cohort now commands more than 200 billion dollars in annual spending power. But, they're often cited as the demographic least likely to be engaged with brands.
 
As the consumer market ages and younger and younger people start participating in the economy, brands need to stay competitive with real and organic positioning, instead of coming off as polished and packaged.
 

2. Modern consumers consider user-generated content the most authentic.

Everyone with an internet connection has access to social media, where they can express their thoughts, feelings, and share their lives with friends and strangers alike. Surveys show that consumers find written and visual content created by average, everyday people on social networks the most genuine or authentic. 70% of millennials claim that social media content from their friends and family have the most impact on their purchasing decisions, versus only 23% of celebrity influencers.
 

3. Authenticity can’t be faked.

Not only do consumers want more authentic content from brands, but they are also savvier at discerning brand-generated content. 70% of consumers can distinguish between content that is user-generated and content that brands have cultivated strictly for marketing purposes. 20% of all consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they thought their content was inauthentic.
 
The drive for real, honest products and marketing in the consumer market is being driven by a need for things that are timeless, and long-lasting. Being real, genuine, and honest with your brand positioning and storytelling will help your business maintain a competitive edge in today’s climate.

So, did you like this blog? Honestly?