Fintech company Aspire offers an all-in-one business finance app for companies in Southeast Asia and beyond.
In the past 12 months, the company tripled its yearly revenues, hitting profitability in the second quarter of 2023 and US$15B of annualized total payment volume.
And they did it amidst an economic environment that saw other tech companies laying employees off and downsizing.
How did they do it?
Once our team heard about their massive year (how often do companies triple their revenue within 12 months?) our team had to know how they grew at such an impressive rate.
We learned that Aspire has a great product, but they’ve also put on a digital marketing masterclass for finance and tech companies alike.
So we waded through their website, blog content, social media posts, email strategy, design, LinkedIn Ads, messaging, positioning, and a whole lot more.
From our research, we put together 12 digital marketing strategies that paved the way to their recent 300% growth.
We’ve broken these strategies up into two categories:
- A Refined Target Audience
- An About Page that Builds Credibility
- Trust Building Copy and CTAs
- Clear, Focused Case Studies
- High-Quality and Highly Valuable Tools & Resources
Creative Marketing Plays
- A Commitment to Community Building
- Aggressive + Creative ABM Plays
- Marketing through Product Usage
- Playbooks, “Sneak Peek” Ads, and Comment-to-Receive Tactic
- Audience-Centered Promotions
- Prize Drawings for Demo Participants
- Highly Insightful Industry Reports
1. A Refined Target Audience
In the diverse fintech landscape, Aspire distinguishes itself by focusing on a specific niche: growing and scaling startups.
Targeting a specific audience and establishing a buyer persona is a no brainer in today’s marketplace. But Aspire does it with extreme precision and focus.
And here’s what makes their approach unique: they didn’t just create a product and then determine the audience they wanted to serve it to. They established an audience and then took their persona into account when crafting the products’ features.
Each of their features and tools is crafted with this audience in mind.
This tailored approach not only demonstrates understanding, but positions Aspire as a valuable partner for startups in their scaling journey.
How to Use Precision in Defining and Targeting Your Audience
- Deep Persona Analysis: Dive deep into market research to identify a specific segment that’s underserved or has unique challenges. Understand their pain points, aspirations, and business cycles intimately.
- Tailored Offerings: Design products, services, or solutions with this specific segment in mind.
- Precision Messaging: Craft communication that speaks directly to the segment’s concerns and aspirations. Avoid generic language; instead, use terminology, examples, and case studies that resonate deeply with them.
- Feedback Loops: Continuously gather feedback from this targeted audience to refine and evolve offerings, messaging, and marketing tactics.
2. An About Page That Truly Builds Credibility
An effective About page should serve as a company’s digital handshake, and Aspire’s page is the gold standard of building trust and credibility. It’s not just a timeline of their journey or one big humble brag, but a testament to their commitment to their audience. By detailing their mission and vision, they communicate a deeper purpose – one that resonates with their ideal customer.
The inclusion of their client roster goes beyond mere name-dropping—it’s a clear showcase of their extensive reach and proven track record.
Their News and Awards sections reinforce their industry authority, highlighting their recognition in broader media landscapes.
Such a thoughtfully curated About page not only establishes Aspire’s credibility but effectively communicates their value proposition, making them a trustworthy partner in the competitive fintech space.
This is everything you could want in an About page.
How to Design an About Page that Builds Credibility Like Aspire
- Purpose-driven Narrative: Begin with a clear articulation of your company’s mission and vision. This shouldn’t just be what your business does, but why it does it.
- Showcase Successes: Feature testimonials, client logos, or case studies that highlight your proven track record. This tangible proof of your work’s effectiveness can enhance your authority and trustworthiness in the industry.
- Highlight Media & Accolades: Create a section where you share any media mentions, awards, or industry recognitions. This not only positions you as a leader in your field but also reinforces your credibility by showcasing external validations.
3. Trust Building Copy and CTAs
In the rapidly evolving world of fintech, trust is paramount. Aspire has brilliantly harnessed the power of trust-building copy, strategically placing it adjacent to their calls-to-action (CTAs).
By stating “Funds safeguarded with Tier-1 banks in Singapore”, they address a potential user’s primary concern head-on: the safety of their funds. This not only allays fears but highlights Aspire’s commitment to financial security.
Then following this up with a list of their clients is a masterstroke in social proof.
This kind of trust-building copy – when combined with CTAs – don’t merely serve as decorative badges; they act as decision-making nudges. While many companies might relegate how funds are safeguarded to less prominent sections like the Terms of Service page, Aspire’s choice to foreground them amplifies their impact.
It’s a subtle yet compelling reminder that entering into a financial relationship with Aspire means stepping into a circle of trust already chosen by thousands.
How to Build Trust with Micro Copy
- Strategically Position Trust Signals: Place assurances and security markers next to key decision points on your site, such as sign-up buttons or purchase CTAs. This proximity reinforces a sense of safety just as the user is contemplating action.
- Highlight Quantifiable Achievements: Numbers speak volumes. Instead of vague statements, showcase specific figures like “Served 10,000+ clients” or “Protected $1B in transactions”.
- Leverage Industry Recognitions: If your business partners with reputable institutions or has received notable certifications, prominently display these endorsements within range of key CTAs. They act as third-party validations of your credibility in your field.
4. Clear, Focused Case Studies
In the vast digital landscape where attention spans are often fleeting, Aspire’s approach to case studies stands out as a masterstroke in clarity and focus. They’ve recognized the dual need of their audience: the desire for in-depth understanding and the urge to quickly skim for results.
By providing comprehensive details of their client successes, they cater to those seeking a deep dive into processes and outcomes. Simultaneously, their “at a glance” summaries cater to time-pressed professionals who want immediate insights.
These summaries, rich with quantifiable metrics, offer a snapshot of success without the need to delve deep. This dual-layered approach ensures they captivate both detailed-oriented readers and those on a swift informational quest, maximizing engagement and reinforcing Aspire’s efficacy as a fintech partner.
How to Write Clear and Focused Case Studies
- Call Out Key Metrics: Start by showcasing the most impactful results upfront. Whether it’s a percentage increase in sales, a notable boost in user engagement, or significant cost savings, make these numbers prominent. This gives readers an immediate grasp of the case study’s success.
- Use Visual Aids Wherever Possible: Incorporate charts, infographics, or even simple bolded or colored text to draw attention to the essential parts. Visual elements can quickly convey information and make skimming more effective.
- Keep Social Media In Mind: As you’re working on case studies, think, “Is this easily shareable on social media?” Whether or not you actually cross-post to social media or not, think in this mindset to make your case studies easily digestible.
Creative Marketing Plays:
5. Offering High-Quality and Highly Valuable Tools and Resources
In an age where audiences are bombarded with content, companies that offer genuine value stand out. Aspire’s high-quality, free resources is a strategic move that showcases this understanding.
They have to key tools/resources that really stand out:
- Investor Database
- Spend Calculator
These aren’t just clever marketing ploys; they are extensions of Aspire’s commitment to empowering startups and scaling businesses.
The investor database is genius – it’s a nod to the larger ecosystem startups operate in, extending beyond finances to address the real challenge of finding potential investors. By offering this tool for free, Aspire positions itself as a valuable ally in a startup’s growth journey.
On the other hand, the spend calculator is a transparent move to subtly promote the benefits of Aspire.
How to Generate Truly Valuable Resources and Tools
- Identify Audience Pain Points: Dive deep into understanding your target audience’s most pressing challenges. Conduct surveys, engage in community forums, or host feedback sessions to uncover issues they face that haven’t been addressed adequately by existing solutions.
- Leverage Internal Expertise: Utilize the strengths and knowledge within your organization. Whether it’s data analytics, design, or domain-specific insights, create tools that reflect your company’s expertise while offering tangible solutions to your audience.
- Prioritize Utility Over Promotion: Ensure the resources you develop prioritize user benefit over blatant self-promotion. While it’s natural to incorporate branding or subtle references to your services, the primary focus should be on delivering genuine value, fostering trust, and building long-term relationships.
6. A Commitment to Community Building
In today’s interconnected digital world, the power of community can’t be overstated. Aspire has tapped into this sentiment, venturing beyond traditional marketing by fostering spaces where their audience can connect, learn, and grow. Their approach transcends transactional relationships, building deeper connections with their users, and catapulting their brand among their audience.
The “CFO Connect” community is a brilliant example. By offering members exclusive access to events, networking opportunities, and valuable insights, Aspire positions itself as more than just a fintech solution; it becomes a hub for knowledge and collaboration. This platform not only provides CFOs and financial leaders with tools to enhance their roles but also weaves them into a supportive network of peers.
Similarly, their “Entrepreneurs of Southeast Asia” group shines a spotlight on the entrepreneurial spirit, celebrating the myriad journeys and stories within the region. By doing so, Aspire fosters a sense of belonging and acknowledgment, making entrepreneurs feel seen and valued.
In addition to these incredible communities, Aspire invests in community building through events, too. They regularly put on high quality and well-run events to get in front of new audiences, subtly promote their product, and establish themselves as thought leaders. Here’s a great example of an interview they conducted with Slack’s CFO on finance-led growth.
Through these communities, Aspire has created ecosystems that encourage continuous engagement. Rather than being a one-off touchpoint, these platforms foster recurring interactions, positioning Aspire as a central figure in the ongoing narratives of finance professionals and entrepreneurs.
How You Can Build Communities for Your Audience
- Understand What Your Audience is Looking For: Before creating a community, pinpoint the specific desires, challenges, and aspirations of your target audience. This will guide the type of content, events, and networking opportunities the community should offer.
- Promote Genuine Engagement: Prioritize platforms or tools that facilitate real conversations and interactions among members – whether it’s through webinars, forums, or regular meet-ups.
- Showcase Success Stories: Highlight members’ achievements, insights, or journeys within the community. This not only provides inspiration but also creates a sense of belonging, illustrating that the community values and celebrates its members’ successes.
7. Aggressive + Creative ABM Plays
Plenty of companies use some form of Account Based Marketing (ABM) campaigns, but they struggle to see results. Aspire seems to have cracked this with their innovative approach to Account-Based Marketing (ABM). While the fundamentals of ABM revolve around tailoring campaigns for specific, high-value targets, the true differentiation lies in the execution.
Most companies tread the beaten path, with tailored emails and occasional corporate gifts. Aspire, on the other hand, thinks outside this box. For example, they sent our agency a collection of craft beers on Valentine’s Day coupled with an invitation to chat about how their product could help.
Sending a collection of craft beers on Valentine’s Day isn’t just memorable; it’s emblematic of a brand willing to humanize their approach and make genuine connections. It’s less about making a sale and more about building a relationship, understanding the human at the other end of the business. Such gestures, though seemingly small, resonate at a deeper level, making the subsequent conversations more engaging and the brand more relatable.
Couple this with the pointed invitation to discuss how their product could specifically benefit one’s business, and you have a recipe for success. It’s not just about being different; it’s about being relevant, personal, and genuinely engaging.
The key takeaway? In ABM, creativity paired with genuine intent can elevate a campaign from being just another marketing play to an unforgettable interaction.
How You Can Run More Innovative ABM Campaigns
- Personalized Touches and Gifts: Beyond just tailoring emails, think of unique gifts or experiences that resonate with the specific interests or values of the target individual or company. This demonstrates a deeper level of understanding and appreciation, creating a memorable impression.
- Leverage Key Dates: Instead of just relying on traditional business occasions, utilize personal or unconventional dates like anniversaries, hobbies-related events, or even quirky holidays to surprise and engage your target audience.
- Combine Digital with Physical: In an age dominated by digital, a tangible gesture or package can stand out. Consider creative mailers, custom-made gifts, or even handwritten notes to add a personal touch to your digital campaigns.
8. Marketing Through Product Usage
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s really not.
For a lot of fintech companies, product and marketing are kept separate, but this marketing tactic of theirs shows a unified company with alignment between product and marketing. By including marketing copy within its payment notifications, Aspire achieves multiple objectives.
First, it transforms a routine, transactional communication into a marketing opportunity. Instead of relegating the marketing to separate emails or advertisements, it’s right there, integrated into the core user experience.
Second, the recipient of the payment – typically another business – is directly benefiting from Aspire’s product. They’re not just reading about Aspire; they’re experiencing its utility in real-time. This live demonstration of value is more persuasive than any sales pitch or advertisement could ever be.
By linking a call-to-action (CTA) within the payment notification, Aspire isn’t just saying, “Look at what we offer.” Instead, it’s showcasing, “Look at what you’re currently benefiting from, and imagine the further possibilities.”
It’s a masterclass in organic marketing: leveraging actual product usage to simultaneously serve and entice a broader audience. This strategy turns every transaction into a potential conversion moment, maximizing the company’s reach without any additional advertising cost.
How You Can Align Marketing + Product to Uncover Marketing Opportunities
- Integrate Marketing Touchpoints within User Journey: Instead of treating marketing as a separate entity, embed marketing messages or CTAs directly within the user experience. Whether it’s within software interfaces, transactional emails, or service delivery points, ensure that users encounter subtle marketing cues during their routine interactions.
- Leverage User Benefits for Referrals: When a customer benefits from a product or service, it’s an opportune moment to introduce a referral program or showcase complementary offerings. Encourage users to share their positive experiences or extend benefits to their network.
- Continual Feedback Loop: Foster close collaboration between product/service and marketing teams. Regular feedback and brainstorming sessions can uncover new marketing avenues, enhance user satisfaction, and identify aspects of the product that can be highlighted in marketing campaigns.
9. Playbooks, “Sneak Peek” Ads, and Comment-to-Receive Tactic
This is essentially three tactics-in-one, but each tactic is pulled together in this genius LinkedIn Ad strategy. Let’s break it down.
Content Role Playbook
This LinkedIn Ad is anchored on a brilliant piece of content: a “playbook” crated specifically for their target role persona, startup CFOs. It’s a guide to succeeding as a CFO at a startup.
This isn’t your typical “Complete Guide” whitepaper or eBook. It is chock full of invaluable insights, research, and helpful advice from a company who knows startup finances.
This is such a smart piece of content to create, and one we’d recommend every B2B company consider. Create a guide to help you target persona do their job better.
It’s more than just thought leadership content, it positions you as the guide to help your audience succeed at their job. The next logical step is to use your product/service to help them succeed even further.
Content Sneak Peeks in Ads
We’ve talked about this tactic before, but we have to reiterate it here. If you’re pushing a content download, demo, or product in an ad – show it off! Entice your audience and give them a sneak peek at what they’ll be getting.
Aspire does a great job of that here, showcasing some of the best and most valuable sections of their playbook.
Rather than having prospects fill out a form to get access to the piece of content, they invite them to comment on the post with their email.
This is a smart play, as it makes the transaction feel a lot more personal. It’s likely Aspire uses some kind of automation (perhaps with Zapier or something like this), but a lot of their audience probably doesn’t realize it’s automated. This creates a positive brand interaction AND is much easier than having to go through the process of filling out a form.
Between the incredible content, well-designed “sneak peek” ads, and comment-to-receive tactic – this is creative digital marketing at its best.
How You Can Create Incredible Content and Promote it with Creative Ads
- Dive Deep Into Your Target Personas: Go beyond surface-level understanding. Engage directly with your target personas through surveys, interviews, or forums to uncover their genuine pain points and unmet needs. Then, tailor content to address these specific issues, ensuring it provides actionable solutions or insights. Avoid generic content at all costs.
- Prioritize Quality Over Quantity: Rather than churning out content constantly, focus on producing fewer, high-quality pieces that offer in-depth knowledge, unique perspectives, or expert insights. Ensure that every content piece aligns closely with your personas’ interests and provides them with real value, making them come back for more.
- Get Creative with Promotion: Think outside the box when it comes to how you’ll distribute the content. “Sneak peek” ads and the comment-to-receive strategy will probably work great for you. But don’t leave it at that, get ahead of the curve and come up with the next great content promotion tactic!
10. Audience-Centered Promotions
In the ever-evolving digital landscape, promotional strategies can often feel overdone, making them less impactful and sometimes stale.
Yet, Aspire’s approach to promotions stands out as both shrewd and customer-centric.
One recent promotion of theirs was 5% cash back on all advertising and SaaS spend for their customers.
By offering a 5% cash back on Ad and SaaS spend, they didn’t merely roll out a typical discount scheme; they exhibited a deep understanding of their customer’s business model and expense pattern. This promotion hits the sweet spot for startups, which typically spend considerably in these areas, especially during the growth phase.
More than a mere discount, this move conveys two powerful messages: firstly, Aspire knows and understands the challenges startups face; and secondly, they’re not just a service provider but a partner invested in their clients’ growth.
A final note on their 5% cashback offer – it’s significantly higher than most of their top competitors. Airwallex offers 3% cashback and You Biz offers 1%. Creative and out-of-the-box marketing campaigns only work if the product is superior. Their cashback offer is just one of the many ways they’ve differentiated from their competitors, setting their marketing up for ultimate success.
How You Can Strategize More Audience-Focused Promotions
- Outline Your Customer’s Biggest Challenges: (Are you getting tired of this tip, yet?) Dive deep into customer data and feedback to identify their most pressing needs and challenges.
- Tailor to Pain Points: Instead of generic discounts, craft promotions that address these challenges or pain points your target audience faces. This not only captures attention but also builds trust by demonstrating your understanding of their unique needs.
- Don’t Devalue Your Product / Service: Discounts and promotions often serve to devalue the actual product, which is why some brands don’t offer them. But when done tactfully, they don’t have to. It just requires some creativity.
11. Prize Drawings for Demo Participants
Another brilliant marketing move from Aspire involved offering prize drawings in exchange for demo bookings.
This creative tactic blended the allure of tangible rewards with their product’s intrinsic value. The offer to enter into a drawing for a free iPad upon booking a demo was not just a random giveaway; it was a strategic move.
For companies like Aspire, who are confident in the caliber of their product, the primary challenge isn’t convincing a potential customer of its value during the demo—it’s getting them to take that first step and sign up for the demo in the first place.
Their message was clear: “We’re so certain of the value we offer, we’re willing to give you an added incentive just to look.”
Offering entry into a prize drawing for an iPad is a fantastic way to give hesitant prospects the nudge they needed to take the next step.
How You Can Generate Creative Campaign Ideas Like Aspire
- Narrow Your Focus: If you just sit around in brainstorming meetings trying to come up with brilliant marketing ideas, they will be few and far between. Instead, narrow your focus. Hone in on metrics and objectives you’re struggling with. Get specific on which product/service you need to market, who the audience is, and what resources you have at your disposal.
- Blend Intrinsic & Extrinsic Rewards: Ensure your campaign combines the inherent value of your product with added bonuses. While extrinsic rewards (like iPads) capture attention, the intrinsic benefits of your product or service will drive long-term loyalty and conversions.
- Launch a Pilot Campaign: Creative campaigns thrive on feedback. Soft-launch a pilot campaign, gather data on its effectiveness, and iterate based on feedback.
12. Highly Insightful Industry Reports
In an era where most thought leadership content is surface-level at best, Aspire’s commitment to in-depth industry reports stands out. Rather than skimming the topmost layers of industry trends, Aspire plunges deep, finding intricate details and offering expert perspectives.
Take a look at some of their recent industry reports: “The State of Startup Spend in Southeast Asia,” “State of Startup Ad Spend: 2023 Outlook and Forecasts,” and “Top Growth Sectors in Southeast Asia for 2023.” These aren’t mere overviews; they’re comprehensive dives into really important dynamics of the startup ecosystem, providing their audience with actionable intelligence and foresight.
By doing so, Aspire doesn’t just inform; it positions itself as an authoritative figure in the fintech realm. For startups, this means more than just a financial service provider; they gain a partner deeply immersed in their industry’s pulse. This commitment to substantive content showcases Aspire’s recognition of the age-old truth: knowledge is power.
And by sharing this power with their audience, they solidify their stance as not just leaders in finance, but thought leaders in the broader startup landscape.
How You Can Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader through Industry Content
- Invest in Research: Instead of producing generic content, invest in comprehensive research and studies that address pressing industry issues. Aim to answer the questions your audience didn’t even know they had, and provide insights that can’t easily be found elsewhere. Be okay spending on this – it’s worth it!
- Collaborate with Industry Experts: Partner with reputable figures and institutions in the field. Hosting webinars, podcasts, or co-authoring white papers with them can enhance credibility and provide a unique blend of perspectives.
- Consistency is Key: Thought leadership isn’t established overnight. Consistently produce and share valuable content over time, and stay updated with industry developments to ensure relevancy and continued authority.
AspireApp’s Marketing Isn’t Beyond Reach
While Aspire’s meteoric rise in the fintech space is impressive, remember that their marketing tactics are accessible and doable by even the smallest companies.
Their growth might be magnified by its scale and their funding, but the underlying principles are always the same. Aspire is a great example of the truth that success is often found in executing simple ideas with precision and authenticity – with some really innovative ideas tossed in every now and then.
Need help implementing some of these tactics for yourself? Reach out to our team, we’d love to chat.