Marketing in the SaaS industry is much more complicated than marketing in any normal industry. This is because most of their source of revenue comes from repeat customers.
In other words, for a SaaS company to generate consistent revenue, they need to find a way to retain its new customers.
That is why you need a SaaS marketing strategy; one that has been proven to work!
Like any project, this saying holds true; “if you fail to plan, you’ll plan to fail”. Crafting a marketing strategy for your SaaS company would help you find where to concentrate your effort, time, and money. Most of all, it’ll ensure you’re reaching your business objectives.
As we said earlier, marketing in the SaaS space is very tricky and a whole different ballgame altogether.
It goes beyond circulating a few ads, writing a few blog posts, or posting on social media. It requires strategies that’ll make customers subscribe and continue to use their service. This is where the challenge is at.
What the SaaS industry is all about
Image by Visualmodo
Software as a Service (SaaS) companies offers cloud-based services, whereby instead of downloading an app or software, the customers access their services on their browser.
You can liken the function of SaaS companies to bank services. We all use the banks based on the services they provide, like savings, investment, money transfers, and other things. But we don’t own the bank.
In the same way, SaaS companies offer services that can be accessed on the internet. Think of web hosting services, email marketing services, CRM, CMS, or even chat platforms.
We use the services they provide, yet we don’t own those platforms. That’s what SaaS is about. Examples include Dropbox, Hubspot, and Mailchimp, just to name a few.
Let’s say you’re a marketer in a SaaS company, or you are affiliated with any of them. How do you go about marketing?
Even though implementing traditional digital marketing strategies might work to some extent, it is wise to find and implement the strategies that’ll help SaaS companies especially to attract more leads and retain customers for a long time.
We’ll discuss ten strategies that have worked time and again for several SaaS companies. We want to make this post very short and sweet, so let’s get started immediately. Let’s start with step zero.
Ensure that you have a top-notch product
Successful marketing starts with a quality product.
Before you even dream about marketing a SaaS product or service, you need to ensure that the product would be valuable to the user. The product should solve the problems of your customers.
You don’t have to target general problems, because general problems require general solutions; solutions that can be found without any hard effort. Those kinds of products won’t take your SaaS business anywhere.
To succeed, you need to focus on something that is unique and targets a problem that affects the customer’s revenue. If your customers become aware of the financial implications of not using your product, they’ll be more than willing to buy from you. That’s what you should be aiming for.
Before you can create that kind of stellar product, you need to have a deeper insight into the needs and aspirations of your audience. Knowing your customers well would help you provide them with what they want.
Okay! So you have a top-notch product. It’s time to market it. Let’s dive into the SaaS marketing strategies.
10 Proven SaaS Marketing Strategies that Work!
1. Know who your audience is
Every business, including SaaS companies, has audiences they want to market to. Researching and finding who your target audience is would help you know where they’re hanging out and then market to them.
For example, if you are selling accounting software for small businesses, then the people most likely interested in this product will be entrepreneurs, business owners, and small business managers.
So finding these groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook would be an excellent way to reach out to them as they are often there looking for information on their industry or what they need help with!
Some marketers have a vague idea of who their customers are. When asked, they say things like ‘everyone who can afford our services is our ideal customer’. No matter how groundbreaking your product or services are, you wouldn’t want everyone as your customer. Because some of the people you market to may be really bad customers and difficult to work with.
If you don’t have a clear image of who your customer is, you’ll end up marketing to the wrong people. Or worse yet, no one at all!
Creating a buyer persona for your target customers would give you insights into who they are, their pain points, aspirations, and whatever information you’d need to market to them.
When you take the time to investigate your customers, you’d end up providing tailor-fit solutions for them, and they’ll be happy to work with you. Because you’ve become their hero.
2. Set your marketing goals and KPIs
You’ve defined who your ideal customers are. It’s time to set goals for your marketing strategy. Marketing is like a journey. If you don’t have a destination, then your journey would be pointless.
Similarly, you need to have clear and attainable goals for your marketing efforts. You also need to find the key indicators of your goal attainments.
For instance, if brand awareness is your goal, then metrics such as the number of shares, likes, subscribers, and website traffic would help you know if you’re reaching your goals.
You can track metrics like;
- Bounce rate
- Page views
- Conversion rate
- Click through rate
- Recurring revenue
When you set reasonable goals and measure the metrics, you’d be armed with the knowledge you need to make informed marketing decisions in the future; decisions that would drive business growth.
3. Keyword research and SEO
Image by Shout Me Loud
After you’ve set your goals, making keyword research is the next smart thing to do for your marketing campaign.
Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people type into their browsers to find your products or services. SEO is the process of using those keywords strategically to boost your website traffic.
It is your job as a SaaS marketer to find the exact queries that your customers are typing into search boxes. This is crucial because it would help you put those keywords at key locations on your website.
When you use the exact search terms that your customers are using, it tells search engine robots that your page provides the best answer to your customer’s queries, hence your content would be shown to them.
It’s also important to make sure the keyword you choose is relevant to your product. If you choose keywords simply because they’re popular, and not relevant to your business, customers would click away from your site feeling disappointed and let down.
With search engine optimization (SEO), you can get more traffic to your site, more leads, and therefore more customers. SEO is a long-term strategy, but it’s worth the effort because the payoff can be huge.
SEO that it takes time—sometimes months or even years—before you see results. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try this strategy! If done correctly, investing in SEO will bring real value to your SaaS business and set you apart from competitors who aren’t putting any effort into marketing online in this way.
4. Content marketing
One of the best places to practice SEO is through your content. The marketing model that includes producing shareable online content in the form of blog posts, audio, video, infographics, and ebooks is known as Content Marketing.
Content marketing is a great way to build your brand and generate new leads. Content marketing has a long-term effect on your business, as well as the ability to drive traffic back to your website or landing page.
In this content-rich era, customers are searching for information to consume on a regular basis.
Content marketing is also an awesome way to build relationships with your customers. It’s important for you as a SaaS marketer to understand who the users of your products are so that you can create content that resonates and helps them solve common problems they face in their industry.
Blogging is one of the best SaaS marketing strategies that you can implement content marketing strategy.
Creating consistent content for your audience would build trust and position you as an authority in your industry. It’ll also make you a likable and the go-to expert. Hence, more revenue for your business.
5. Social media marketing
Social media marketing is another great strategy to build your brand and get your message to your target audience. It’s also effective because almost everyone is on either one platform or the other.
Therefore, marketing your services on social media would ensure your message is reaching a wider audience.
With regular conversations going on on social, it is important to have your business there because that way, your business would become part of the ongoing conversation.
If you use social media correctly, it’ll be a great tool to drive a lot of buzz around your brand and ensure you have a consistent flow of leads and revenue.
As much as marketing on social media is important, you also need to be mindful of which social media channel you use. This is because every kind of audience uses a different social channel. For instance, if you plan to market to Gen Z, then Instagram and Facebook would be the ideal channels.
However, if your focus is on a more mature audience or business owners, then it’ll be wise to leverage Linkedin or Twitter because that’s where they’re hanging out.
Another interesting thing social media offers is something called influencer marketing. This is when you get thought leaders in your industry to share your content with their audience.
These thought leaders, or influencers, have a large audience that follows them. Their audiences trust them as experts, therefore they are willing to take whatever they say as gospel truth.
Social media allows you to get in touch with these influencers. And as they share your content, your SaaS company would constantly reach new audiences and boost your sales eventually.
6. Email Marketing
Image from Forbes
One of the best ways to reach your customers is through email marketing. Email marketing is an inexpensive way to reach your customers, but it’s also one of the most effective methods for building a brand and nurturing customer relationships.
By sending out targeted emails, you can inform them about new products or services, increase their loyalty to your company, and even drive future sales.
SaaS companies can use email marketing in three different ways:
- To inform subscribers about new product launches or changes in service
- To keep subscribers updated on important news in their industry
- As part of the lead generation process offering discounts on trial periods
If you haven’t already, start putting measures in place to collect the email addresses of your site visitors or potential customers. That way, you’d be able to communicate with them directly and provide them with what they need to do business with you.
As you collect their email addresses, be sure to send them emails at least once a week. The more they hear from you, the more they keep you in mind. And when eventually they need your service, the easier it’ll be for them to contact you.
7. Create irresistible offers
Sometimes, customers feel the urge to try out your service. But often, they hold back because of fear of risk. They have this nagging doubt in their head about what would happen if they don’t like your product.
It is your job as the SaaS marketer to alleviate their fears by providing them with something less risky.
A typical example is a free trial. Everyone loves free items. Hence, when you give them the opportunity to try things out before they provide their card details, chances are that they’ll be more likely to try things out. And if your product delivers what you said it would, then boom… you have a customer!
Apart from free trials, you can offer a money-back guarantee, so that in case they didn’t like your service, they can get their money back.
Whichever method you use, simply ensure that you’re tempting them enough to make them try out your product or service.
8. Run paid ads
Paid advertising is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website and get your brand in front of new audiences. It involves paying search engines to show your ad at specific places on the internet to be seen by a wider audience.
There are many ways you can use paid ads—from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter; search engine marketing (SEM); mobile apps; video ads; display banners; native advertising (native ads are typically sponsored posts that populate other content on websites); and even banner advertising in emails!
For your paid ads to be successful, you need to ensure that the copy is as clear as possible and that you’re targeting the right keywords. In this case, the keyword research you did in step three would come in handy.
You can get an ad agency to help you write and run your paid ads. It’s their job, so they all the ins and outs of it, and they know how to drive your desired results.
9. Make it butter smooth for leads to take action
What is more confusing than reading a killer copy and at the end, you don’t know what to do next! It may sound obvious, but many marketers forget to tell their audience exactly what they need to do next.
Do you want them to sign up to your email list, download an ebook, request a demo, sign up for a free trial, or what?
Make sure you explicitly tell your audience what to do next.
You can use a hard-to-miss button that says “request a demo” or whatever your preferred action should be.
Another thing to consider is the number of calls to action in one copy. Ideally, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with many calls to action to choose from.
If possible, every copy should have only one main call to action. If for certain reasons, you need to add another one, then make the other one a link in a text or something subtle. However, ensure that you have only one action for your customers to take.
If you do, you’ll realize that your sign-up rate would increase, and you’ll have a higher click-through rate.
10. Reward customers for any referrals
Image from Invite Referrals
Human as we are, we tend to make decisions based on recommendations from others. It doesn’t have to be from someone we know. Even a stranger telling us that something is bad is enough reason for us to avoid it.
That is why word-of-mouth marketing is so effective in generating sales and bringing in new customers.
If your products are that good, then obviously your customers would start spreading the glad tidings of your services.
But what if there’s an incentive for referring a friend? Who doesn’t want to be rewarded for work done? Even though they may already be talking about your brand, offering a reward for the kind gesture would motivate them to refer more people to you.
Imagine ten of your customers referring two friends or family members each. How many new leads do you think you’ll have? That’s about 20 new leads in addition to your first 10. And if the new 20 decides to tell two friends each, you can do the math.
It is your responsibility as a SaaS marketer to encourage your customers to bring in new leads.
This is a very effective yet cost-effective marketing strategy you can start implementing now. You can start by offering them additional months of their plans, a special discount, or anything you think they’d enjoy.
Marketing without a strategy would ensure that your time, money, energy, and everything else is wasted on achieving nothing. However, with a small and simple strategy, you can be sure that your business is heading somewhere.
You don’t have to master all these strategies at once. You can start by focusing on providing a quality product and having a social media presence. With time, you’d find the means to implement the rest.
But if you want to progress faster, then it is wise to reach out to a trustworthy agency. They’ll help you with every strategy mentioned here.
No matter what you decide, never start marketing without a marketing strategy. Because remember, if you fail to plan, you’ll plan to fail.