Humanize Your Tech Brand

The System For Giving Your Brand A VIVID Personality

Today I want to introduce to you the framework I use to help tech brands humanize their marketing and outreach. It’s called the VIVID system for finding your brand personality. This approach will help you stand out from your competition and relate to your prospects human to human, bringing in more leads, and reducing your churn.

The Problem With Most Voice Guides

Most brands have what they call a “voice guide” which suffices (so they think) to describe how their brand comes across to the outside world. The problem with most voice guides is they all sound about the same from company to company. Everyone tech brand wants to appear “friendly” but “professional,” only using “industry jargon when necessary” and of course they want to be “unique” and “provide value.” 

What are all these $100, not so helpful, words lacking? Personality. The VIVID system helps your brand figure out who you are as a company specifically, as if your brand is a person. Then you can achieve that friendly and professional forward facing image, but in a way that is truly unique to your company and relatable to your audience.  

Introduction to the VIVID System

VIVID stands for Voice, Identity, Values, Individuality, and Dreams. Voice is how your brand talks (or writes), Identity defines the descriptive qualities of your brand, Values are the unshakable beliefs your brand uses to make decisions, Individuality are the quirks and idiosyncrasies that make your brand less than perfect, and Dreams are the ideas and visions your company has for the future. When you give definition to these five parts of your brand, you discover what makes your brand unique. The system helps you develop a blueprint that’s easy to share with team members, giving you a unifying, human feeling brand persona.

How This Works: A Brief Example

You can go through the VIVID system in an afternoon, or spend weeks with an expert going much deeper. A brand I worked with recently had these initial answers: 

Voice = Casual and informative, like an instagram post.

Identity = Cute, multicultural, trendy, young and fresh faced.

Vision = Fast growing startup. Industry leader. We foster authentic relationships.

Individuality = We highlight experts who know more than we do. We’re nerdy about problem solving. We feature customers whenever possible.

Dreams = To lead a shift from transactional to relationship based agreements in our industry. We aim to follow industry trends to the very top as a go-to resource.


See how you relate to that company in the example, even though I didn’t tell you their name, or even what industry they are in? The VIVID system gives you a much clearer idea of who your brand is, inside and out. When your marketing and outreach flows from that understanding, your brand will have a humanizing feel that is cohesive and relatable for your audience.

To find out more about humanizing tech, building a brand personality and the VIVID system, reach out to me at

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion copy and strategy that’s tailored for tech and SaaS brands, visit my website,, or shoot me an email at

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Temperance Rally This Evening: All Are Welcome

A Guide On The Essence Of Effective Direct Response Copywriting 

While visiting my niece at her workplace, the Cincinnati Museum Center, an art deco spectacle housed in the city’s former giant train station, I snapped this pic (above) of some early 20th century rally posters. The simplicity of the messages on these posters struck me. They are clear, concise and designed to motivate people to attend their various meetings. I sent off a text to my niece, who’d been asking me to try and explain what I do. I texted her, “This is the type of copywriting I do, using words to get people to take action.”

Then I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to break down the six key parts of these three posters and create a simple guide on the essence of effective direct response copywriting. If you follow the basics, understood by these hundred year old copywriters of the past, you’ll have everything you need to craft a basic direct response sales message and likely see some results.

The essential six parts are one the headline, two the lead, three the problem, four the solution, five social proof, and six the call-to-action.

Here’s the photo again for you to reference while reading my breakdown.

The Headline

The three headlines in these posters read (counter clockwise from the top): 


It just so happens that all three of these headlines also introduce the main topic of the poster, but that is not what makes them a good headline. What makes them a headline is that they grab the attention of the ideal audience and peak their curiosity. What’s interesting to me is that the third poster, the one on Immigration, actually buries the headline in the center of the lead. In all other cases a headline comes first, as it is what grabs the reader’s attention first and entices them to keep reading. The immigration poster uses the type size to make the headline standout, even though it is not placed first. 

The Lead

The lead is the part that comes after a headline. It’s what introduces the message and transitions the reader from the attention grabbing headline, into the rest of the piece. If you’re writing an email, your headline is your subject line, and your lead is the opening of the email. If you’re writing a sales page, the lead comes after your headline and subheadline and possibly a preliminary call to action. In these examples, the lead is used to introduce the reader to the subject of the poster. 

The leads from our three posters are as follows (counter clockwise from the top):

  2. REV. JOSHUA LEAVITT speaks on the topic tonight

These are certainly not the strongest or the most compelling or clever leads ever written, but they all do one thing, which is start an open loop, leaving the reader wanting to find out more. This is all a lead needs to do, which is to get the reader invested after their attention has been snagged by the headline, and it needs to entice them to keep reading on.

The Problem

This section is where you begin to make the argument for whatever you are offering by digging into the problem that your audience has. The point here is to make the reader feel that pain (that they already have) in the present moment, while reading your copy.  In the copywriting world we call this “aggravating the pain.” When addressing the problem you want to make sure you understand not only the surface of the problem, but more importantly the deeper emotions that your audience feels as a result of the problem. 

The problem section in these posters read (counter clockwise from the top):

  1. DRUNKARDS ARE A PUBLIC ENEMY! Their base habits and brutal conduct rob families of the necessary means of support. Drunkenness destroys the decency of home, neighborhood and community 
  2. THREE MILLION of your fellow beings are in chains! CHURCH AND GOVERNMENT sustain the horrible system of oppression.
  3. Repel foreign influence by repelling the influx of IMMIGRANTS FROM EUROPE!

You can feel the appeal to the emotion in each of these by the use of very strong words, the negative tone, and the specificity of the claims. I find the third immigration example interesting because it doesn’t stop at the problem, but also hints at the solution. I don’t think this approach is as effective because the immigration focused poster comes off as more “preachy.” This is common for a lot of poorly written copy, which focuses on the perspective of the writer rather than staying present in the perspective (aka the problem) of the reader. 

The Solution

This part of the message holds the most meaning for the person crafting the copy, and for that reason many people make the mistake of putting this first, or leaving this part alone to do all the heavy lifting. In truth, the solution section of copy only works when all the other parts are done well. The headline, lead, problem and social proof are all about getting the reader ready (desperate even) to hear the solution, making sure they are primed, curious and invested. Only after you’ve achieved those things with your copy will the reader care about the solution part of the message and resonate with the meaning. 

The solution sections of the posters are (counter clockwise from the top):

  2. Learn your duty to yourselves, the slave and God.
  3. Opportunity for private audiences with the Reverend after the lecture

I love how different these solutions are from each other. The first is a bold statement of opinion, the second is an appeal to the inner life and personal transformation, and the third is very practical and doesn’t say anything about how the grand problem will actually be solved. If the immigration poster did a better job of building the first part of the message, I actually think this last approach for the solution would work very well because it leaves room for personal curiosity. The reader is left wondering, “What would I say in my private audience with the Reverend?” While the reader may not be sufficiently motivated to act by this poster, perhaps the next time they read a similar message they will be much closer to action than if they had never read this first poster at all.

In most sales copy the solution section will come in the form of the product or service you are trying to sell. Many solutions also include the features of the offer as well as their benefits. As I mentioned, most bad copy focuses on this portion of the sales message and in that effort fails to convince anyone. Rather than thinking of your product as a sum of it’s features and benefits, you will wildly improve your copy simply by reframing this section as a solution, as I have shown here.

Social Proof 

Social proof comes in many forms, like statistics, testimonials, or, like in these three examples, good old name dropping. Social proof is a chance to make your reader feel like they aren’t alone in making the decision you are trying to get them to make. Social proof offers validation to your claims by referencing others who are already involved. Social proof is incredibly effective at making your argument more convincing provided that it is one thing, believable. 

The social proof elements in these three posters are (counter clockwise from the top):

  1. Address by Mr. Herman Humphrey
  2. REV. JOSHUA LEAVITT speaks on the topic tonight (Note: same line as the lead)
  3. The honorable REVEREND LYMAN BEECHER will address the people on

All three of these examples use the name of someone important as their social proof. I’m going to guess that the reader wouldn’t even need to necessarily have heard of these specific people to be convinced they are important by their title and the way they are prominently announced at the top of each poster. These posters could have said something like, “Join dozens of your fellow countrymen” or “hundreds are gathering” as a statistical form of social proof, but I think these would have been weaker choices. A testimonial would have likely taken up too much space on a succinct poster. But even though brevity was important in the days of manual typesetting, the inclusion of these lines is evidence that social proof works.


The final necessary part of any good direct response copy is the call-to-action. The call-to-action tells the reader exactly what you want them to do, i.e. what action to take after reading and being convinced by your copy. If you don’t include this part, you won’t ever see results or benefit from the effectiveness of your copy. And yet, you’d be amazed how often this element is left off of most copy. Take a look at your emails and social media posts. Is the call-to-action there? If not, nows the time to add it!

The call-to-actions in these posters are as follows (counter clockwise from the top):


I learned from Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers that a good call-to-action should provide the end to either one of the following two sentences, “I want to..” or “I want you to…” In our examples only the first one fits that formula, and I think it is the most effective of the three. The second uses the dreaded “should” word which may have worked better a hundred years ago, but today it may cause an allergic reaction in your reader. The immigration poster, following its precedent of being the deviant to all of these tried and true copywriting rules, is actually interesting to me. While it doesn’t follow the winning formula described above, it does build curiosity with the “ladies are especially” phrase. All are welcome, so why ladies especially? Even more impactful if I am a lady, I feel personally invited by the phrase and almost compelled to oblige. That is a very advanced persuasion tool for sure! It’s interesting to me, in light of the sentiments of these rally posters, that in the marketing world we call a positive response to a call-to-action none other than a “conversion.”


Now that I’ve taken you through the six essential parts of direct response copywriting messages, and you understand clearly each of their functions, you can use this knowledge to evaluate your own copy as well as having some fun critiquing copy you find out in the “wild.” 

While not every piece of effective direct response copy has all of these six parts, I guarantee that effective direct response copywriting will share some if not most of these six parts. Being able to identify the parts of a sales message and why they work, or why the writer chose to do something different, will help make you a stronger copywriter and a more persuasive marketer. 

Did you find something already? Post your findings in the comments with a link, or copy and paste a portion of the message with your thoughts. I promise  the exercise will teach you a lot about copywriting… as we all learn best from each other. Good luck!

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion copy and strategy that’s tailored for tech and SaaS brands, visit my website,, or shoot me an email at

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Clarify Your Audience

Make Your B2B Prospects Feel Seen In Your Content Marketing

I’ve recently been working on a project for a prolific millionaire client with a fast expanding personal brand. He runs two weekly podcasts, a 365-day-a-year conference call for entrepreneurs, is the president of his company, chairman of two separate investment firms, and a sought after key-note speaker. He’s grown and exited 5 different fortune 500 companies and loves to share with others his tips and strategies for success. 

I spent about 4 hours researching him, listening to his podcasts and reading what he’s written. I learned a ton about his outlook, his work ethic, his out-of-the box strategies for making money and a lot of his life story. But what I didn’t learn in all those hours, was who his clients are. I had no idea who he was speaking to, or who he intended to benefit from all this incredible advice. Which was fine for me as a listener, because I could find gems of wisdom and actionable advice to infuse into my own life and business. But for him, a B2B personal brand looking to gather a customer/client following, this approach isn’t giving him the traction he needs. 

Before he was passed on to me as a client by my boss, I’d been given an overview of his account and read about his ICP and general details about his current clients. Now my task was to create marketing copy by taking his existing content and repurposing the words to target his intended audience. It turned out his ICP very closely matched his own background, and so I was able to pull out stories from his past that both demonstrated his strategic principles and creative ideas, while also relating directly to the concerns and day-to-day life of his preferred audience. 

But a fraction of his audience will see the content I created for him. Whereas the audience for his other efforts online and his impact on the daily lives of his listeners, is much larger. He is making the mistake of focusing his own content on himself, what he’d done well, what he’d learned, and how he had succeeded, and is failing to bridge the gap between his success, and the particular experience of those he is hoping to reach and inspire. That’s a mistake B2B marketers can’t afford to make.

Instead of casting a wide net with his wealth (pun intended) of experience and expertise, he would be better suited to cast a narrow net, directly calling out his ideal audience and speaking directly to their lives, and their struggles. Then, once he’s gotten those people to self identify and connect with his message, he can afford to zoom out and share broadly about his own views and ideas. 


Whether you are a personal brand, a SaaS company, or anyone in the b2b space, it’s important to target your intended vertical in your content marketing by relating stories, advice, and calling out pain points that your ideal customers can relate to. Be explicit in who you are speaking to so that your intended audience can identify you as their go to person or brand. Rather than limiting your market, you are simply refining your market and making sure your message gets delivered to the right people. 

And the best part is, if someone else comes into contact with your content, your specificity won’t alienate them, it will give your brand context which in turn allows anyone who is interested, a clear path to enter into your world.

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion copy and strategy that’s tailored for tech and SaaS brands, visit my website,, or shoot me an email at

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How To Post On LinkedIn as a SaaS Company

If you run a SaaS company and are not posting regularly on LinkedIn, you are missing out. That’s why I’ve put together a little how-to guide for posting as a SaaS founder and or CEO or even the head of marketing.

Step 1: Determine your main theme

The advantage of posting on LinkedIn as a personality within a brand, is that you can establish yourself as the go-to person in your area of specialty. But in order to get yourself to that level, you need to keep your message focused and clear. 

Start with one topic that you are passionate about and that relates to the service your company provides and focus your content around that topic. I will get into these specifically further down, but you want to also use hashtags and opening hooks around this same theme.

Step 2: Consider your audience

There are different objectives people use LinkedIn to accomplish, and these may change for you over time. But it’s best if you are clear on your objectives so that you can focus your strategy towards the intended audience. 

If your goal is brand awareness, you are going to cast your audience net more widely. But if your goal is lead generation, then you need to consider your audience’s awareness and readiness to interact with you. Your posts will need to address objections prospects have to following up with your brand, questions they need answered, and their readiness to expand their network. And if your objective is hiring, then you have an entirely different intended audience, and your content needs to reflect it.

Step 3: Post consistently

Once you’ve focused your message for your LinkedIn posting strategy, you need to come up with a posting schedule that you can stick to consistently. If that’s only once a week, start there. But your goal should be to eventually start posting 5-7 days a week if you really want to use LinkedIn to its fullest potential.

In addition to creating a consistent schedule, you will want to think about the types of posts you’ll be writing and if you are posting multiple posts a week, it may help to create a calendar so that certain types of posts go out on the same day of the week, every week. This will just make your life easier when you sit down to create content, and ensure variety and consistency in your posting schedule.

Step 4: Craft your posts

The most important part of a post on all social media, and LinkedIn is no exception, are the first few lines. Think of these lines like a headline in a newspaper. They are intended to grab your reader’s attention and get them to “show more” and read the length of your post and ultimately engage with you.

The first line of your post should be punchy and curiosity driven. Questions do well here, as well as statistical references and bold or slightly controversial statements. I also find starting with a story works well, as stories naturally grab curiosity from readers. But you need to make sure to start your story with a bang so that readers will be inspired to keep reading.

The next  couple lines are also important, because the first 3 lines will show on desktop, and the first 2 lines on mobile. Make sure to include plenty of white space, and pay attention to the shape of the post. Using ascending or descending sentence length looks attractive and pulls a reader in. Don’t over-use emojis if you are trying to build authority. While they are catchy, they actually discredit your words. Instead, lean on strong wording, rather than emojis, to grab attention.

The rest of the post is a little more free, but you want to still keep your language tight, use plenty of white space, and keep your message clear and focused. There are lots styles to choose from but here are a few that work well: Listicles, How-to posts, company back story posts, case study break downs, lessons you’ve learned, stories from your personal life and how they relate to your core message, and myth busting.

Don’t add links to your post as this turns an informational post into a sales message. There are times when a post naturally leads to a landing page or your website, but add these links as a comment to your own post for those those who want to follow up for more info.

Lastly, you want to leverage the power of hashtags for all of your posts. But don’t overdo it. Experts suggest no more than 3 – 5 hashtags per post. I suggest choosing at least these three: A unique hashtag that you use on almost every one of your posts, a hashtag that relates to your core message or theme and third, a popular hashtag that relates directly to the content of your specific post. 

You can check on LinkedIn in the search bar to see how many people are following different hashtags in order to determine which ones are the most popular, which ones have so large a following that yours will get lost in the ocean of posts, and which ones are not being used hardly at all.

Step 5: Get Personal

I’ve written a lot about the importance of personality, especially for SaaS companies. LinkedIn posting is an excellent place to establish the human side of your tech brand by posting with a personal angle. Don’t shy away from using the first person when sharing ideas, lessons and stories. Be as honest about who you are and what excites you as you can be. If you are sharing your human side honestly, it will come through in your posts and people will be drawn to you as a person, which will in turn reflect well on your brand. 

Step 6: Engage

The last part of any LinkedIn strategy needs to be engaging regularly in the community on LinkedIn. You won’t achieve your goals on LinkedIn if all you are ever doing there is posting amazing content, even if you start posting every single day. LinkedIn is a community, and you must treat it as such by engaging with others posts in your network, offering valuable feedback, and getting the conversation going outside your own profile. Most experts suggest commenting 3-5 times a day on LinkedIn. So if you’re serious about building a following on LinkedIn, I suggest you start now by building time into your schedule when you can check-in throughout your work day.

You also need to monitor your LinkedIn inbox and respond to messages, as well as comments on your posts, in a timely manner. As your following increases and your strategy starts to give you results, you certainly don’t want to ignore leads or leave them hanging for too long!


Building a presence and establishing authority on LinkedIn is an excellent way for SaaS companies to build a VIVID personality for your brand. But you need focus and strategy in order to succeed on LinkedIn. I encourage you to leverage this community of like-minded individuals, ideal prospects, and helpful professionals to grow your personal brand as well as engagement and trust in your SaaS company.

If you have specific questions on crafting a LinkedIn strategy for your SaaS company, reach out to me on the links below, (or on LinkedIn)  I’d love to start a conversation with you!

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion copy and strategy that’s tailored for tech and SaaS brands, visit my website,, or shoot me an email at

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