Running a SaaS company comes with its fair share of challenges. After all, customers are much more demanding than they used to be.
You are competing with new software providers popping up every day. That’s why SaaS marketing is so important.
Without the right marketing plan, you risk customers jumping ship to other companies.
Or, if you are in the growth phase, you may not get the word out effectively enough to build a solid user base in the first place.
So in this article, we will cover what SaaS marketing is, how it’s different, and how to create a great strategy that grows your business.
Let’s get started!
What Is SaaS Marketing?
SaaS marketing is adapting traditional marketing methodologies to increase the sales of cloud and software services.
This means you need to effectively communicate all the products and features of your offering to your ideal users.
Of course, like any marketing, you should understand who your core users are. This will affect the messaging that you deliver.
If done right, SaaS marketing can become a funnel that draws prospects in and converts them to long-time users.
This can happen through the use of email, social media, paid advertisements, and other marketing channels.
What Makes SaaS Marketing Different?
At the end of the day, marketing principles translate across different industries.
This includes the following aspects:
● Knowing Your Market: Every great marketing strategy starts with understanding your ideal customers. Performing in-depth research is essential, no matter your industry.
● Analyzing the Competition: Knowing what your competitors are up to is worth its weight in gold. You can see what’s working and not working in order to change your own marketing.
● Integrating Channels: The modern user wants a seamless experience. No matter how they discover your company, it should be seamless to move from one platform to another.
● Educating Your Users: Not everyone will understand how to use your product at first. Making sure to take the responsibility of educating them will make their lives easier.
● Highlighting Benefits: Focus on the main benefits to your user. Don’t just blindly mention features without tying them to the real-world results they will deliver.
However, SaaS is different in a lot of ways. When marketing, you have unique challenges, including a lot of competition.
You need to focus on long-term customers who are dealing with a complex customer journey.
In addition, the SaaS business models work differently.
Specifically, they need to focus on recurring revenue (instead of one-time purchases).
As a result, customer retention is a priority, since acquiring a user in the first place is the hardest part.
Best SaaS Marketing Strategies
Now we know what SaaS marketing is and we’ve also seen how it’s different from traditional marketing, so it’s time to take a look at the best SaaS marketing strategies you can use to grow your company:
Content marketing is an excellent vehicle for growth in the SaaS space.
With content marketing and SEO, you are using organic content to generate growth.
Many successful SaaS companies grew with this method, including Zendesk, HubSpot, and Ahrefs.
When using content marketing, you are creating content that is useful to your audience.
By placing important keywords within your content, you ensure it will be found by searchers when using Google.
Your content can be videos, blog posts, and other on-page content that generates traffic.
This leads to a number of important results.
First of all, you are getting organic traffic. You don’t need to waste your budget by paying for ads.
Therefore, once the content is created, there is no ongoing expense, allowing you to reinvest in your company and scale faster.
Secondly, content marketing is targeting people who are coming to you, rather than going to them.
Consider the difference between someone receiving a phone call out of the blue versus choosing to click through to your website on their own.
When you attract customers to you through organic content, you have more highly qualified leads. This boosts conversions and saves your team’s time for people who are more interested in buying sooner.
Paid Social Media Ads
While organic traffic is great, there is certainly value in driving paid traffic through social media ads as well.
Many companies, such as Monday.com and ClickUp, have grown with the help of YouTube video promotions.
The great thing about paid ads is that you can target users who are already engaging with certain content.
For instance, if you sell productivity software, you can place your ads on YouTube videos about productivity by utilizing an online video editor. This ensures more qualified clicks and targeting, allowing you to create engaging and visually appealing advertisements.
There is also the fact that many people will not purchase something the first time they visit your website. They may need to see an ad a few times to remember your company before pulling the trigger.
You can use paid retargeting ads to show ads only to those who have visited your site before.
These retargeting ads can appear on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and many places around the web.
Of course, retargeting is not the only option at your disposal. You can also show ads to prospects at different stages of awareness.
For example, a social media ad for people who don’t know the types of software that exist for their problem can focus on their frustrations instead of the specific technology.
Other ads can focus on pricing or feature differences for prospects further down the funnel.
SaaS Review Websites
Many companies focus on their features and pricing but don’t forget about the power of reviews.
Social proof is an incredibly powerful mechanism.
When a prospect sees that others approve of your software, they are more likely to trust you. In turn, they are more likely to purchase or sign up for a free trial of your SaaS product.
The options for customer reviews and testimonials are endless.
You can ask users for video testimonials, to appear on YouTube, social media, and your SaaS website, or you can make the process more simple by asking for written reviews (lower friction from the customer’s perspective).
There are also many third-party sites that include reviews on your website.
For instance, G2 provides you with genuine reviews that need to be verified through LinkedIn. This makes it one of the better options.
Capterra is another great option that shows ads on PPC ads, improving their visibility.
At the end of the day, it is important to focus on the source of great reviews.
When you have a product that users love, they will naturally want to return the favor. You should browse SaaS review sites and plug-ins to see which one works best.
Still, always remember that if you offer an excellent customer experience, the rest of the process will be much easier.
Developing Your SaaS Marketing Plan
It’s difficult to hit a target if you don’t define it in the first place. That’s why you need to have a great SaaS marketing plan created.
A solid plan will guide your decision-making and allow you to focus on the KPIs that truly matter for growing your SaaS business.
Otherwise, you won’t have a reference point to compare your success too.
Here are the main elements of a Saas Marketing Plan:
Set Your Goals
A good rule of thumb is to set SMART goals.
This means they are:
If your goals fail to meet any of these criteria, you could start off on the right foot.
For instance, a specific goal (while great) may never be achieved if you don’t attach a timeline to it.
Define a Budget
What can your SaaS company afford to spend on marketing? A good marketing plan doesn’t just include paid advertisements or partnerships.
It also involves the time and money for a marketing team that generates your leads and sales.
Have a specific number in mind to maintain positive cash flow.
Now that you know your goals and your budget, you can refine your tactics. What specific strategies will you use to grow your business? Will you attend industry events?
You can hold webinars, create content marketing, or even use paid advertising. The key is to define a small set of tactics and commit to them so you can refine your marketing.
How to Determine the ROI of Your SaaS Marketing Strategy
No matter what channels or strategies you use, you need to define your ROI for each one.
This essentially boils down to how much you receive compared to how much you spent on that channel.
In order to measure these numbers, you need to define some key KPIs.
At a minimum, here are some metrics to track for ROI:
● CPC (Cost Per Click): Clicks don’t come free. If you can find one channel with lower costs for each click without giving up conversions further down the funnel, you should invest more into that channel.
● CTR (Click-Through-Rate): If your ads are not generating high click-through rates, there may be a problem. Your headings or subheadings might not be communicating enough value or curiosity.
● CPL (Cost Per Lead): Every lead comes with a cost. If you are able to reduce the cost per lead, your overall profit increases. This allows for faster growth.
● CPA (Cost Per Acquisition): How much does it cost to generate one paying user? This involves all the expenses from marketing to paid ads, to product upkeep.
When you know the metrics above, you can tie real dollar amounts to your marketing efforts.
By comparing how much you spent to how much a user brings to your company, you can tweak your funnel to achieve greater ROI.
SaaS marketing presents a set of specific challenges that differ from those in other industries.
Finally, it is important to use the right metrics to determine whether you’re getting the desired ROI.
You need to stay on top of all of these elements within your marketing plan if you want to attract customers — and make sure they stick around.
About the Author: Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.