The rising popularity of cloud services has revolutionised what business offer, and how they operate, and market. Nowadays, an increasing number of businesses are offering what we know as SaaS products.
SaaS Marketing, an acronym for “software as a service” marketing, is for businesses that offer a service or intangible product over a traditional, physical product. It sounds tricky, but you might already be using SaaS products without even realising it. For instance, the software you use to send your manager your completed tasks, the platform you use to make a video or that online playlist that you created for your workout are all examples of SaaS products. In the world of marketing, HubSpot, IBM, SalesForce, LeadSquared are some examples of SaaS platforms that are being popularly used today.
SaaS businesses follow a unique structure which deviates from traditional B2B marketing tactics as most of these companies need to convince the customer of integrating their software into daily lives. It is quite different from convincing somebody to make a one-time purchase of a set of fancy pens. Therefore, SaaS products require alternate marketing techniques that can match their needs.
We know marketing is work. It is even harder to market when customers’ demands and, maybe, even your product, both are constantly changing. However, don’t panic! You don’t need to reinvent your marketing wheel from scratch. Keep on reading to discover 9 ways to set up a successful SaaS marketing strategy.
1. Offer a test drive
2. Clear, easy-to-find pricing
3. Offer fewer choices
4. Remove roadblocks for onboarding
5. Content marketing and promotion
7. Promote your customer service
8. Email conversion path for all personas
9. Retargeting (remarketing )
Just like we test drive a car, offering a free trial is a simple, yet effective SaaS marketing strategy that can help you attract potential customers and onboard them. Limited free trials, whether they are for a month or a week, are one of the best ways to let people experience the benefits of your product and convert them into purchasing customers. Optimising your trials also increases credibility and engagement. Bottomline - people who are interested in trying your product are more likely to buy them.
The thing to consider here is that the products on free trial need to be easy to use and comprehensive enough for your prospects to understand how and why they need to use your SaaS products. If the products are complex, then offer thorough support in free trial sessions so they don’t turn a blind eye just because you forgot to offer them help.
Contrary to traditional marketing strategies, SaaS marketing encourages clearly displaying the price. Openly displaying your pricing, in an aesthetic format, will allow customers to make an immediate decision on whether they can afford the product or not. Vimeo, an ad-free video streaming provider, clearly displays its pricing and allows potential customers to make a quick, informed decision. Be ready to test out a few pricing models before committing to make sure there is a correlation between value offered and price.
Ever seen a menu with way too many choices and found yourself all confused and flustered with what to order? The same can happen to customers when too many options and choices are provided to them. They have straight problems and they seek very straight solutions to them. If you are not able to provide that, and they are lost in the whirlpool of which product or service to adopt, you have potentially lost them.
SaaS marketing encourages providing limited, yet strategic choices. Keep your plans limited to 2-3 options, and explicitly highlight which features are bundled in each package. This strategy eliminates unnecessary confusion and allows prospective customers to make the best decision for their needs.
With SaaS, the product cycle is short but in order to quickly convert customers, remove as many roadblocks and obstacles from getting potential customers to sign up as possible. Think about it. If you were asked to fill in a long-form, you’ll probably go elsewhere as there is NO dearth of options.
And if you haven’t already established yourself as the best SaaS provider yet, then chances are, you have lost potential customers by putting a giant form against them. Requiring a customer to fill in 30 fields of information before they can register or try your product is a big NO! Hassle-free sign-ups are the way towards a successful SaaS marketing strategy.
If anything has aggregation power, it’s content marketing! The value of customer-focused and relevant content continues to rise. Unlike other marketing methods that paid efforts, content marketing is something that gets you as many organic results as you want and till you want. There’s no expiry date to content marketing results. Just as we are reiterating it, it sounds even better.
So, start creating blog posts, infographics, whitepapers, impactful videos, and more to engage prospects and generate leads. Post both forms of content - long and short. If you don’t have the time to create lengthy blog posts, don’t worry, as long as your content is unique and SEO optimised, you’ll get the results. However, Google does prefer long-form content over short, so make sure you are not completely ignoring it.
A great tip is to generate content that talks about the pain point your product resolves or highlights client success cases.HubSpot is a great example of publishing great content combined with brilliant SEO.
Now, once you have created powerful and relevant content, make sure it reaches the right audience by promoting it. Social media marketing (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), social media paid promotion, guest blogging or partnering with an influencer are ways, beyond organic search, to ensure your content reaches the right target group.
If you have reached out to an influencer for their quote on a topic you were writing about, you are probably aware of the great things it can do for you. Their followers see your content the minute you tag the influencer in your post. And you see a surge in traffic within minutes, depending upon where that particular influencer is in terms of web popularity.
Similarly, co-marketing lands you the same and even better results. Not only do you share each other’s followers/ambassadors, but you also split the cost. Now, isn’t that just fair? Collaborate and run a co-marketing campaign with companies that offer complementary products or have a similar strategy. You could create a blog or an ebook together, or co-host a webinar! Co-marketing, when done well, is a cost-effective approach to generate leads, and increase brand awareness.
“You can grow through massive customer acquisition, but the best companies out there are growing through Customer Success.” - Lincoln Murphy
Yes, with SaaS, your developers and programmers are almighty important but equally important are your front-facing sales, customer service, and marketers. Businesses by default take marketing and to an extent, even sales into consideration while developing strategies, while more often than not, forget about the team that’s working relentlessly towards obtaining these customers.
So, ensure that customer service experience is paramount in your strategy. Maintain a high touch frequency with previous customers or include a live chat feature on your website so your team can handle customer queries immediately!
Email Conversion Paths for all Personas
Understand and design your conversion workflow for all buyer personas. Now, create a chain of emails that align with the key touchpoints. Since every persona is different than the rest, is makes sense to pay close attention to their unique demands. These emails should convey value and be as helpful as possible. Think about what actions you want potential customers to take and how they can become active users.
Here is a suggestion, have your emails focus more on the benefits than features. Also, upbeat and positive language goes a long way!
Retargeting (also known as remarketing) is a powerful way to increase customers and re-engage prospects that have left your website. Ever left a website and then saw ads promoting the same products on all browsers? That is a classic case of retargeting. Retargeting gives you a second chance to build credibility and trust.
Earning website visitors is not easy and once you have done that, losing them would be more painful than earning them. The reason is simple - the probability of a user returning to you is quite low if they got pestered by something they didn’t want to see. But there’s a solution. If you strategically target those same visitors with better messaging and imagery, chances are they will forget about what happened. Thanks to the very short attention span, they probably won’t recall dissing your product in the past.
“Great products, with a strong team behind them, sell themselves.” - Garrett Moon
Just like digitisation, SEO, content, flying cars, bullet trains, the marketing process for SaaS is continuously evolving. One factor that separates SaaS from other forms of marketing is the tight-knit integration between sales, customer service, marketing, and product. If you are a SaaS brand, we recommend you incorporate these tried and tested strategies in order to generate maximum returns.
And if you are already using a SaaS tool, let us know in the comments below which one it is and how that’s performing for you.