This is a guest blog post from Podium, the leading SaaS company in communication for SMS text messaging, lead generation, and reviews for small businesses.
Creating a successful SaaS marketing strategy can be a real hurdle. However, when you’re trying to market an intangible item, it can make that hurdle feel like a mountain.
Enter the SaaS marketing strategy and its unique set of needs. When you are trying to sell software as a service, you encounter a whole different challenge. How can you create a dynamic campaign that clearly communicates the benefits of your program? What can you do to stand out from the stiff competition?
The solution is a perfect pairing of knowledgeable strategy and innovative creativity. How do you engage and inform potential customers and draw them to your software? The internet is rapidly growing, and as a SaaS company, you have limitless potential.
Here, we’ll go over some marketing strategies for growing your SaaS company and gaining new customers. You’ll learn everything you need to know for SaaS marketing success. You’re already aware of the mass potential of your product. Now, it’s time to let the world know.
SaaS Marketing: A Unique Marketing Challenge
Before we go over the best practices for SaaS marketing, it’s essential to address its challenges. By thinking about how marketing your Software as a Service is different from other strategies, you can start to move towards success.
First off, traditional product marketing focuses on sales and raw data. How can you get more customers to buy your goods? Growing your customer base and creating brand awareness is usually the cornerstone of your marketing campaign.
However, when you’re selling your Software as a Service, you’re asking for much more than a simple add to cart click. Your goal is to create an ongoing need for your program. Not only do you need your customers to commit, but you also want them to use your tool and stick around for the long haul.
This requires you to think about marketing differently. It’s smart to come at it with a cyclical approach. How do you get these customers to use your tool, spend money on it, and stick around? With SaaS marketing, you’re showing that you’re able to fulfill a set of needs for your customers continually.
With over four billion internet users worldwide, your business is already in the right place. Creating a tool to connect these users was a genius move on your part. Taking advantage of the emergence in cloud-based tools already puts you in a great position.
However, you’re not the only SaaS in the game. There are a seemingly limitless number of communication and connection tools out there. So how do you let customers know that your SaaS is the one for them?
Keeping these customers around is another key to success. It costs way more to acquire a new customer than to keep your existing ones. Plus, happy long-term customers are more likely to refer new customers your way.
So, when creating your SaaS marketing strategy for growth, you have three key questions to ask yourself:
- How can I acquire new users?
- In what ways can I monetize their usage?
- And how do we get them to stick around?
The trick is effective marketing. Using these strategies can make your SaaS products stand out amongst the sea of software as service programs out there. Keeping your well-oiled marketing strategy at the top of its game can help you keep customers on board.
Hook Them with a Free Trial
Customers want to try before they buy. Signing up for a year’s membership for an unfamiliar tool is a daunting prospect. Why not let customers know you a little and see why your SaaS product is so great? Plus, you can always collect their email with a free trial.
Check out Docusign, the online electronic signature platform. They allow you to try their service for a whole month, absolutely free.
Not only that, but they did another great thing here to appeal to customers. DocuSign made it clear that no credit card is required to sign up. This allows customers to try the service with no risk or obligation. They don’t even have to worry about getting billed if they forget to cancel. In the eyes of potential users, what’s there to lose?
Another excellent way to retain customers and lead to more monetization is by offering a free version of your software with limitations. Then, keep letting them know about the awesome features of the upgraded versions. Entice them to spring for the paid version for the additional benefits. Boom, there’s your monetization!
Here, the internal communication tool Slack allows users access to a free version with limited features.
However, as the teams’ needs increase, so can your Slack plan right along with them. With multiple scaled tiers, the tool allows you to select just the features your workplace needs. Customers love knowing that they are only paying for what they will use.
SaaS Marketers Should Use SEO For Success
When it comes to digital marketing, SEO is one of the main things you should focus on. When customers are looking for the next greatest software tool, they ask Google, of course. With billions of searches on the engine daily, it’s one of your best bets at getting discovered. A little strategy can make your placement on the search engine way more optimal.
You’re not going to get new customers if they can’t find your tool. Ranking high in search results is a simple must for your strategy. Potential customers aren’t likely to sift through several pages of search results until they get to your tool. They’re going to check out the first page of results and likely find what they are looking for.
Make sure your website is fully optimized to be discovered. What terms are your potential customers likely to be searching for? It will be well worth it to you to do a little keyword research. By adding these keywords to your headings and content, you’ll set your SaaS up for success.
Create an attention-grabbing title for your site that includes some of the top searched terms. Give browsers a quick snapshot of what your SaaS is all about. A strong description of your page is a perfect way to share the benefit of your product and what need it can fill.
Get to know Google algorithms and learn them well. They will be your best friend in creating onsite content that leads to visits on your webpage. Everything from how your site is formatted to the loading time can make or break your success.
And don’t just post content and forget it. The internet is continually changing. Stay up to date with what people are searching for so you can maintain your rankings. A lot of SEO strategy is trial and error. So mix things up every once in a while and see what works best for your brand.
Search engines like Google and Bing have gotten into the ad game. It may make sense to throw a few marketing dollars their way. Being at the top of the search page can increase your conversions, big time.
Here, Survey Monkey’s ad appears at the very top of the search results for “survey software.” Without that paid placement, the website doesn’t show up until over halfway down the page.
They also use the premium ad space wisely. A clear description touts the site’s straightforward interface and awesome customer service. It’s also immediately apparent that multiple plans are available. So no matter who is searching, they know that Survey Monkey can fit their needs.
Drive Traffic With Links To Your Saas Products
Getting links will significantly improve your organic digital marketing efforts. Getting your website out there can seem like an impossible feat. However, some planned strategies can help you see an increase in visitors.
Also known as off-site SEO, getting your link published on another site can be huge. You’ll get more traffic to your site, paying off big time. As a bonus, the more your site is backlinked from others, the higher it will rank in search results: the more high-quality placements, the better.
A good link building strategy can make all the difference for your site. Make sure to focus on getting your site linked from highly trafficked sites with credible information. These will make your results even more impactful.
You can also get the same results from having your link shared on social media, especially by popular pages. Reach out to the most popular pages that make sense for your type of software. Sometimes a discount is all you may need to offer to get your customer to share your links on their own social media pages.
Offer Flexible Pricing
Again, customers only want to pay for what they’ll use. They don’t want to pay a premium for a ton of fancy features they’ll never touch. Flexible pricing plans can make your service much more appealing. It may also earn you some long term users.
Check out the pricing and calls to action for Box plans, the collaboration tool that allows file sharing from anywhere.
They offer four levels of plans with drastically different price points and features. A small team working on a project? Box has a plan for you. Are you a large organization handling sensitive data? No worries, Box also has you covered. With flexible plans, you can reach a broader range of customers.
That’s not all though! Box made another genius move. A quick click and you can check out the annual pricing for the plans as well!
By signing up for a year, users save 25% off the monthly price. And you know that your new customer will be around for at least twelve months. It’s a win-win!
By offering a discount, customers may be more likely to commit to a full year. Though, that could very well lead to longer-term usage. After a year, they’ve gotten to know your service. Familiarity with your great service and high switching costs may just keep them around for years to come.
Create Stellar Content SaaS Marketing Strategies
Content is a great way to drive traffic for SaaS businesses. The trick is creating stellar content that people want to read. Adding more white noise to the internet can be a big turn off for potential customers.
The communication tool Podium creates and posts some pretty engaging and useful content that customers can use. Our blog features articles full of tips and tricks to help you grow and run your business. With new content being added continuously, users return to the site again and again.
There are also stories from our customers and the success they have seen with the software. But that’s not all. Podium goes above and beyond in providing great in-depth content.
We also offer a ton of free e-books on some great topics. These ebooks are pivotal for earning hundreds of new leads as visitors to our website need to enter their contact info to download.
Engage Customers with Social Media Marketing
You’re selling a digital product in a highly digitized marketplace. Social media is a can’t miss digital marketing must-have for promotion. It’s also an awesome way to interact with customers and get some super valuable feedback.
Your social media presence is a pretty dynamic way to gain awareness of your SaaS. Not only does it put you in front of the eyes of the 3.5 billion social media users, but it also gives you some effective ways to advertise.
Mailchimp has a pretty distinct brand identity that they have continued on to their social media page.
With bright colors and useful information, they publish engaging posts that are helpful to their followers. They also use a cohesive tone, giving their brand a voice. Smartly, they also use the comments as a way to engage with customers.
Whether responding to feedback or solving problems, social media can be a powerful tool. Not only that, but it also publicly shows potential customers that you’re ready and willing to solve any issues that pop up.
Social media also gives you another way to get your content out.
When you post quality, relevant information, it pays off in likes, comments, and shares. These quality posts earn your page some valuable exposure. Plus, it’s organic and best of all, free!
Social media advertising can be an effective addition to your strategy. There’s a reason that 72% of marketers use Facebook ads to boost their brand. They’re easy to post, cost-effective, and they work.
With social media, you can target your ads to a highly-specific audience. You know best who uses your software. Save some cash by only advertising to your target market to get the most bang for your buck.
The trick to a successful social media ad is grabbing the attention of the users. You may only have a moment when a scroller pauses to get your message across. It’s essential to be clear and concise.
Gusto.com masters the art of advertising with this paid Facebook post.
Within seconds you can see what the service does and who it’s for. By using strong visuals and straightforward verbatim, users can immediately see that Gusto can tackle all of these tasks and on budget.
Your social media ads can include everything from videoed demos of your service to testimonials. It’s important to be authentic and engaging to gain trust. And be cohesive to your brand to create a consistent and memorable identity.
Using Your Happy Customers for Growth
Knowing retention is key for SaaS company growth; a big effort should go into making and keeping your customers happy. Not only does this keep them hanging around, but it can earn you some valuable new customers. Plus, their reviews and ratings can play a significant role in your marketing efforts.
When shopping for a service, the experience of others is a key factor. In fact, 84 percent of people trust and lean on online reviews when making decisions. You’ve done a great job creating a great product and satisfied customers. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
The trick is to share honest and authentic reviews and testimonials. Bonus if your customer is well known or high profile. This shows potential customers that if your product can work for others, it will likely benefit them as well.
Here, human and financial management software company Workaday shares a glowing review from a happy customer.
A review doesn’t have to be extensive to be impressive. This short snippet is enough to explain a key benefit of the product clearly. It communicates a need that every business has and shares how Workday can solve it.
Another way your current customers can translate to new customers is through a referral program. It may take time and money to implement. However, it can prove to be very valuable.
Again, customers trust the word of others. Your target audience has similar wants and needs. Your current customers can be the best asset to reach them.
It could be as simple as a referral code that users can share with their friends and families. Maybe you offer a customer a free month if they pass your tool on to a coworker. A discount doesn’t have to be major to get your customer to recommend your product.
Provide Top-Notch Service To Be a Successful SaaS Company
There’s nothing more frustrating than subscribing to a service that fails. Make sure your customers are happy with your software. The way you handle any issues can say a lot about your brand.
When you make customer service a priority, your software service will thrive. A dynamic product combined with stellar service can lead to limitless success. Not only will you keep your customers around, but they will likely bring others on board.
Make it super easy for customers to reach you in multiple ways. Here, you can see that Netflix set up a pretty easy-to-use help page to address customers’ questions and needs.
These frequently asked questions and topic pages can cover any issue that arises. Plus, customers can call or start a live chat right from the page. This well-organized page is a simple way to turn customer problems into quick resolutions.
When trying to grow your SaaS, customer satisfaction is vital. Not caring for your customers can halt your growth and even reverse your trends. A whopping eighty percent of customers say they will switch brands after dealing with poor customer service. In the competitive SaaS industry, you simply can not afford a strategy with no customer-focused culture.
It’s vital to be proactive with your customer service strategy. You don’t want to be blissfully unaware of a molehill only to end up with a mountain of problems to climb. Checking in with your customers and getting their feedback is key.
Regular communication keeps everyone in the loop. Not only can it help you fix a potential glitch early, but it also gives you the knowledge you need to improve your service. Your customers will also feel more valued when you let them know you care about how things are going.
Make sure your communications are relevant and helpful to your users. Send regular emails with tips and tricks regarding your service as well as the industry you serve. Let them know when exciting new features are added.
Utilize the customer information you have at your advantage. A simple well-timed birthday email can go a long way in making a customer feel invested in your brand. Recommending a new feature or product based on their usage history gives your communications a personal touch.
Fostering Continued Growth as a SaaS
If you focus your continued efforts on your marketing, your SaaS will continue to grow. You’ll be able to capture new customers and find new ways to monetize their usage. By taking steps to retain your current customers, you’ll develop a loyal and profitable form of business.
Marketing your SaaS in this ever-evolving industry takes a little effort and a lot of creativity. As competition increases, you’ll rise to the challenge and find new paths to growth. With a solid marketing plan in your arsenal, your SaaS can see continued success well into the future.
Gaurav Belani is a Senior SEO and Content Marketing Analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.