SaaS marketing is tough, and it is not for the faint of heart.
Traditional businesses can leverage traditional marketing tactics to sell their products or services. SaaS companies, on the other hand, have to deal with a completely different set of unique challenges.
For instance, SaaS companies cannot rely on one-time purchases for revenue. It is crucial for them to retain their customers as most SaaS products work on a recurring subscription model.
- What is SaaS Marketing?
- Why Do SaaS Companies Need a Marketing Strategy?
- 9 Steps to Create Your SaaS Marketing Strategy
- Develop a Great Product or Service
- Understand Your Target Audience
- Set Goals and KPIs
- Evaluate Your Competition
- Optimize Your Website for Conversions
- Leverage Content
- Maintain a Strong Presence on Social Media
- Offer Free Trials
- Encourage Clients to Leave Feedback
- Use Free Trials to Generate Leads for Email Marketing
- Keep a Close Eye on Your Competitors
However, while the study above shows the impact of customer retention, this does not mean that acquisition isn’t as important. A great SaaS marketing strategy must take both acquisition and retention into account.
Since SaaS products follow a different sales cycle, you must formulate a distinct marketing strategy for your SaaS business.
In this post, we will discuss the steps to creating a winning SaaS marketing strategy.
What is SaaS Marketing?
SaaS is an acronym for “Software as a Service.” SAAS (Software as a Service) marketing is the promotion of software that companies build and sell. Effective marketing efforts here will successfully convert leads into customers.
CoSchedule defines SaaS marketing as, “the process of promoting and selling a software product with license, or recurring revenue, cashflow.”
Why Do SaaS Companies Need a Marketing Strategy?
SaaS companies are now more common than ever. What was once a small industry in the 90s, has now become mainstream.
Cisco Global Cloud Index states that 75% of the total cloud workloads will be SaaS by 2021. This is 71% higher than it was in 2016.
Another study showed that the global cloud computing market is expected to cross $1 trillion mark by 2024.
With these numbers, it is clear that competition is going to get tougher in the years ahead. SaaS companies need to find a way to stand out from the rest, which makes it important for them to build a solid SaaS marketing strategy.
9 Steps to Create Your SaaS Marketing Strategy
#1: Develop a Great Product or Service
To build a successful SaaS marketing strategy, it is crucial to have a great product or service to promote. If you want people to use your product, your product should meet your customers’ needs and offer a great user experience.
The best way to ensure this, is to first identify problems that your consumers face. However, it is not enough for you to identify any problem. You should choose the problem that costs your consumers the most.
Consumers need to realize the financial implications of the problem. From there, it is your job to communicate how your product can help them solve it.
#2: Understand Your Target Audience
Let’s face it. your SaaS product will not necessarily suit the needs of every business or organization. You must identify, reach, and attract the right audience if you want to achieve your marketing goals.
You should ensure that everything is aligned to meet the needs of your target audience. This includes:
- Product design
- The look and feel of your website
- The content you produce for your website, social media posts, ad copies
- And more
Consumers looking for SaaS solutions are mostly experts in their fields. They spend a lot of time searching for suitable products and then comparing their features and cost.
Make sure that you provide them with all of the information they need to know.
#3: Set Goals and KPIs
The next building block of your SaaS marketing strategy is to have clear and relevant goals. You also need to associate each of your marketing goals with specific KPIs that can help you measure success.
Most SaaS businesses focus on improving their profitability, customer retention, efficiency, and growth.
You should also track and measure important SaaS metrics such as:
- Conversion rate
- Customer acquisition cost
- Customer lifetime value
- Monthly recurring revenue
- Annual recurring revenue
- Number of customers leaving your business
- Website traffic
Tracking these metrics can help you make better decisions for your SaaS business.
#4: Evaluate Your Competition
To build a successful SaaS marketing strategy for your business, you should research and study your competitors. In fact, you need to identify the most successful SaaS businesses in your domain and learn from them.
You should look for:
- The strategies they use
- Their search rankings and organic reach
- Their social media presence
- The keywords they target
- The backlinks they have
You can use tools such as SpyFu to get access to a variety of information about your competitors. This tool allows you to conduct a thorough competitor analysis and learn how authoritative they are.
You can discover your competitors’ most profitable keywords, identify their flaws, see what type of pages link to them, and more.
#5: Optimize Your Website for Conversions
Since SaaS companies do most of their business online, having a good website is very important.
You need to build a conversion-focused website that not only helps you engage and convert visitors but also helps you retain and upsell to your existing customers.
A minimalistic design is better as you don’t want to distract visitors. You should ensure that your landing page focuses on what can help you sell your product.
It is also important to use compelling call-to-action (CTA) buttons placed effectively around the pages.
For instance, Dropbox, a popular file hosting service, has a great landing page with minimal clutter and highly informative content.
They have strategically placed all of the information that visitors need to get started. Dropbox also makes it easy for visitors to take the next step after reading through the page. You can sign up by filling an easily accessible form on the homepage itself.
#6: Leverage Content
You can’t neglect the power of using authentic content as part of your SaaS marketing strategy.
You should come up with content that solves your consumers’ problems. A study showed that consumers are 131% more likely to buy from brands that create educational content.
Along with being informative, your content should be engaging and actionable. This includes the content you create for your website, blog, social media posts, and guest posts, etc.
Project management platform, Hive, engages their website visitors by inviting them to take up a quiz to identify their inner productivity personality.
Before disclosing the results of the quiz, the website encourages you to subscribe to get updates about the latest blog posts and quizzes. This is an effective way to generate leads.
It is also important to make sure that your content reaches the right people.
For this, you should optimize your content to rank well in the SERPs. 61% of B2B buyers begin their buying journey from a web search. You can get found by consumers right when they’re looking for your product.
#7: Maintain a Strong Presence on Social Media
If your SaaS company is not on social media, just think about what you’re missing out on.
You do not have to limit your brand to just Facebook and LinkedIn. Again, it all boils down to analyzing where your target audience is. You need to engage your potential customers on the platform they are active on.
Simply being present on social media is not enough. It is important to regularly post engaging and informative content as well. You can also leverage targeted ads to reach more people.
Mailchimp uses social media marketing to its advantage. Their #SmallBusinessSaturday campaign was a fitting tribute to small businesses, who make up a chunk of their users.
You can also repurpose social media brand mentions and reviews to win the trust of your site visitors. Personal task manager, Cultured Code, does a great job at this.
#8: Offer Free Trials
Offering free trial is an effective SaaS marketing strategy that can help you attract potential customers. 75% of SaaS companies offer free trials as part of their marketing strategy.
Limited free trials are the best way to let people experience the benefits of your product before purchasing. Once they get to experience your product, then they would be more likely to become paying customers. It is therefore important to think about how you can convince your free trial users to purchase your product afterward.
Squarespace, for example, sends free trial users an email reminder before their trial period expires. The email reminder contains a list of the features users can enjoy with a paid subscription coupled with a clear and actionable CTA.
#9: Encourage Clients to Leave Feedback
Client testimonials can help you empower your SaaS marketing strategy and campaigns.
According to a study by Statista, customer reviews help to influence a person’s decision to buy a product or service. Trust ratings for customer reviews have grown to 19% in 2018, up from just 8% in 2015.
Encourage your happy and loyal customers to review your SaaS product. You can then display customer testimonials on your website for visitors to see.
You can also get your product listed on review sites such as GetApp, TrustReviews, or G2 to get more customer reviews.
#10: Use Free Trials To Generate Leads For Email Marketing
SaaS Marketing efforts don’t just boil down to offering free trials to potential customers, of course, but you can capitalize on them to gain feedback and nurture interested users into a plan that fits their needs better.
While email marketing may sound like an outdated method, it remains an effective tool to date. You can also use email analytics to assess user behavior, and gain insights into whether or not they’re likely to convert into customers.
#11: Keep A Close Eye On Your Competitors
After defining the competitor landscape, you can differentiate your SaaS product from the herd by identifying its USP. Your Saas Marketing strategy should therefore build on an understanding of established companies in your domain, as well as your business’s position in the market.
Though social media can help you participate in online conversations around a brand, it’s also important to have an action plan around the competition. This involves analysing keywords and backlinks on your competitors’ blogs to identify what they rank high for. Additionally, by checking out their social media platforms, you will also see what kind of conversations engage customers.
Coming up with a solid SaaS marketing strategy for your product can be difficult. However, the steps we have discussed above can help you get going.
Depending on your product, niche, and audience, some SaaS marketing strategies might work better than others. As long as you understand your target audience well, you’re on the path to success.
Do you know any other elements that can help you build a great SaaS marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments section below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant for 15 years with an emphasis on Influencer Marketing in the last 5 years. He is specialized in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influence's with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.