Casper is no longer just a friendly ghost. It’s now a mattress company that — despite only launching in 2014 — is already worth $750 million and eying an IPO.
Casper successfully disrupted the $15 billion mattress industry by making the experience of buying a mattress something it never was before: convenient.
But Casper was able to disrupt the market so quickly — going from an unknown startup to a household name in just 4 years — because of its branding and marketing strategies.
Here, we’re going to break down Casper’s successful approach to branding and content creation and pull out some key tactics that businesses and startups can try for themselves.
What content does Casper produce?
From the start, Casper did a great job of not wasting a chance to create interesting, engaging content, content-izing its site whenever possible.
Take, for example, the company’s guide explaining different mattress sizes:
This information crosses the mind of almost everyone buying a mattress. Casper recognized this and provided a straightforward answer while also creating branded and memorable content.
Casper the Blog
Casper’s first and longest-lasting approach to content is the blog housed on its own site.
This blog consists of highly brand-centric articles:
As well as funny, lighthearted reads related to sleep and sloth-ing around in bed:
Started in November, 2017, Casper’s online and print magazine, Woolly, takes a much broader approach to content creation.
Some of its articles aren’t far form topics covered on Casper’s first blog:
Some articles address relatable life issues outside of sleep:
And other posts are curveballs centered around ideas of lifestyle, happiness and wellbeing:
Despite the wide range of article topics, the posts clearly target a young, professional user (the type of person who might, let’s say, be comfortable buying a mattress online).
But there are two things largely missing from the Woolly site:
- The Casper brand
With Woolly, Casper is trying to create a publication that its appears to sponsor rather than own (taking the same steps Glossier did, but in the reverse order).
While clever, this tactic isn’t a viable-able option for a company without a lot of money to spend on marketing and advertising, as any promotion of Woolly’s content or any efforts to improve Wolly’s SEO won’t directly benefit Casper’s website.
Casper also used to run a third blog, Pillow Talk, which was phased out last year, to make room for Woolly.
3 Takeaways From Casper’s Success
1. Be distinct
Users love Casper’s product because it’s different — more convenient and accessible than any mattress company has ever been before.
So, their messaging needed to be different too.
Casper created an instantly recognizable and accessible visual identity along with a clearly-defined, friendly brand voice for their written content.
While smaller businesses and startups may not have the financial resources to hire a major design firm to define their brand, they can learn from and replicate Casper’s success in creating a friendly, approachable voice that sets them apart from their competitors.
If you want to clearly define your own brand’s voice, check this out.
2. Be helpful
With its site and much of its blog content, Casper is clearly trying to help users — help them relax, help them fall asleep, and, ultimately, help them buy the right mattress.
Mimicking this helpfulness is one of the best ways to improve your site’s SEO and attract the right users for your product.
If you’d like to learn more about SEO, check out this article on exactly that.
For example, let’s return to that useful diagram Casper made to explain the different mattress sizes.
When you Google “Mattress Size Guide,” this guide is consistently in the top results.
They achieved this by, first, answering an obvious question about their field. And, second, by answering this question in a straightforward and engaging way, that keeps users coming back to this page and keeps them scrolling once they’ve arrived.
Casper also got more eyes on its content by promoting it with Google Adwords, which is always a helpful tactic at whatever scale you can afford. But hey, we don’t all have an annual marketing budget of $80 million. And providing helpful answers to obvious questions only costs time.
3. Be broad
With Woolly, Casper also proves why you should never stress about not having topics to write about for your blog — you can always go bigger.
If you feel like you’re running out of ideas directly related to your product or service — i.e. mattresses — you can start writing about other, similar topics your potential users may be interested in— i.e. relaxing sounds or epsom salt baths.
Casper bet that users searching for relaxation and wellness tips may also take their sleep seriously, and want a mattress that does so as well.
Plus, this is a smart way to start gaining customer attention before you have to pay high costs to compete.
For example, if Casper wants to rank highly in a Google search for “mattresses,” they’re going to compete against other major producers in the $15 billion mattress market — and that costs a lot of money.
If you want more help on coming up with the right content topics, check out these quick tips.