Your team has put a lot of hard work into developing the best SaaS platform possible.
However, gaining subscribers and users involves a lot more than just sprinkling a few social media posts out there and hoping for the best.
Having a clear and efficient Digital Marketing strategy is crucial to your overall success.
Why is this such a big deal? The software as a service (SaaS) industry is booming. As more verticals start to become dependent on virtual technologies that keep them in touch with their clientele or members, the need for companies like yours is only slated to increase.
The only problem is they can’t choose you over a competitor if they don’t know you exist.And that’s where having a really strong marketing plan is crucial to your growth.
If you don’t, other companies out there will, and they’ll happily take away your target market in favor of their solution.
In this guide, we’re going to cover what makes this type of marketing different and why every SaaS firm needs to have an organized plan for digital advertising.
In addition, we’re also detailing seven excellent strategies to help increase awareness of your SaaS platform.
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!
Why is it important for SaaS companies to invest in online presence?
The very success of the SaaS model is a consequence of digital transformation. The constant development of new technologies and the growing demand for digital products have created a niche of customers that seek to use quality software to perform different tasks in their daily routines.
As you know, Software as a Service refers to a distribution model where a company develops an app and makes it available for customers on the internet. In other words, users can access and operate it at any time, from anywhere.
Therefore, it is just natural that SaaS companies need to invest in online presence. After all, this is the only way to connect with the right audience. Here, it is essential to note that this presence is not, in any way, restricted to promoting a product.
More than that, companies must develop a strategy capable of putting them on the top of the mind of their ideal consumer. This kind of authority plays a key role in the short and long-term success of any business that operates in the digital environment.
With a solid online presence, your company will be able not only to generate new leads at a satisfactory rate but will also create long-lasting relationships that make all the difference when it comes to business stability.
One of the big reasons for that is the very nature of consumers in this market, who put a lot of importance on the experience provided to them. If they feel satisfied, they will likely stick with you for a long time, creating a base of loyal clients that may even open room for new opportunities.
Part of the investment-related to online presence involves SEO strategies. The idea is to create content capable of ranking high on the most popular search engines, such as Google and Bing.
This way, every time someone searches for a solution similar to yours, the algorithm will suggest your website as one of the most relevant options, which is absolutely fantastic for attracting new users.
Even though we are talking about SaaS, it is true that all those factors also apply to other industries. Nowadays, Digital Marketing is imperative for any business that seeks to reach a specific audience and turn prospects into consumers.
However, it is wrong to assume that marketing in SaaS functions in the same way as in other fields. Why? You will learn more on the following topic!
What Makes SaaS Marketing Different?
Before we can get into the finer details of SaaS marketing strategies, it is important to understand why this type of digital advertising is different than any other product or service offering.
To start, you’re offering an item that is based on something intangible, meaning the purchaser cannot touch, feel, or set it on the table in front of them.
It also isn’t a service that they can see the difference in using right away, as most people would if they hired a contractor to mow their lawn or paint a wall in their office.
In order to make your customers see the value in your SaaS platform, you have to be innately in touch with their various pain points and why your service gives them what they need to thrive.
Once you can nail down this concept and come up with concrete reasons as to why your target subscribed would use your platform, then you’re ready to start tailoring your marketing around that message.
Makes sense right? It’s this switch of understanding that you have to consistently push a value perspective that is the top reason why SaaS marketing is different than other approaches.
Besides, there are two factors that directly influence the way a marketing strategy must be carried out in the SaaS scenario. Check it out!
Complex buyer journey
Every strategy to generate and convert leads revolves around the buyer journey, usually divided into three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. In most markets, this journey happens linearly. First, the prospect becomes aware of their own problem; then it becomes to seek information and consider different solutions.
Finally, the person takes the buying decision and becomes an actual client. However, in the context of SaaS, this process is considerably more complex.
Firstly, unlike what happens in other business models, a SaaS company can’t afford to stop paying attention to a lead after the conversion is concluded.
We are talking about digital products usually based on subscription plans, which creates the need to maintain long-term relationships. Suppose your SaaS is not successful in maintaining a positive connection with its users. In that case, they will probably drop out of the funnel and increase your churn rate, bringing serious businesses losses.
Apart from that, the buyer journey in SaaS is far from straightforward. You may have to deal with leads that go up and down on the funnel, which forces the marketing team to create a huge variety of content for all the stages.
It is important to keep in mind that a lead in the decision stage may need more educational materials than others that occupy the same space, so diversifying content is a must.
Lots of competition
We can’t stress this enough. There is a lot of competition in the SaaS market, mainly because of the low barriers to entry, the constant development of new technologies, and the continuous rise of new needs and demands.
That said, there is no reason to be worried. This level of competition is actually a good motivator to keep your business improving itself over time. It means, however, that it is imperative to perform benchmark analysis and prepare yourself to avoid threats, besides making good use of opportunities.
What Are the Key Points of a SaaS Marketing Strategy?
Now that you know the angle of value is what makes a SaaS marketing strategy important, you’ll also want to consider a few key points your campaigns should always cover.
This is true if you’re using paid ads on social media, focusing on organic traffic, or using a team of salespeople to directly reach out to potential customers.
How What You’re Offering Solves Their Problem
Anytime you’re marketing your SaaS product, you need to directly address your customer’s pain points and how your software solves this issue.
What Makes You Better Than the Competition
If your niche is incredibly competitive, your advertising campaigns need to highlight the features that make you better than the alternative choice.
The Next Steps to Take
Many companies forget to mention the next steps they want the customer to take to sign up for their SaaS product. Whether this is a freemium version, trial offer, or other special, make sure you provide a clear path to moving forward.
As you flesh out these key points, try to keep them as consistent as possible across all sales channels. This gives your potential customers the ability to resonate with your message, no matter if it is the first or fifteenth advertisement they encounter.
What are the best channels for SaaS marketing?
When a marketer designs a strategy, regardless of the goal, one of the major points to define is which channels are the most appropriate for the company to use. This decision takes place in the planning phase, usually right after the buyer persona has been elaborated.
By using the persona as a reference, it is possible to identify the cost-effective channels for promoting products and performing branding campaigns. So, it is clear that the best means to communicate with the public will vary from business to business, but some options are always relevant for SaaS. Check them out below!
One of the most traditional marketing channels, email is still compelling in generating and educating leads. Once you structure a solid base of contacts, you can work on segmentation and produce messages that genuinely impact the leads receiving it.
This way, you will be able to guide your prospects through the whole marketing funnel, offering content that is adequate to each one of the buyer’s journey stages. As the customer lifecycle is longer in SaaS, this becomes especially important.
You can use email marketing to announce big news, educate leads about a product, offer special deals, or approach customers who have canceled their subscription.
Thanks to tools that allow you to segment the audience and automate the messages, this strategy presents a really high cost-effectiveness. After a solid time of email campaigns, your customers will be used to hear from you by email regarding your company as a true and reliable source of information.
It is nearly impossible to talk about Digital Marketing strategies without mentioning social media. Networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have evolved from merely casual platforms to places full of business opportunities.
Besides feeding your social profiles with content related to your solutions, you can use it to bring your persona a little closer.
Modern consumers are used to interacting with brands on social media and may even perform sales while using such tools.
To make good use of social media, it is essential to understand which ones are more relevant to your audience. This is the kind of information you can find by conducting quick research or interviewing your client. However, you can have an idea just by considering the different characteristics of these channels.
Let’s take Instagram and LinkedIn, for example. While the first one is a network focused on pictures and videos, the latter is used only for professional purposes. So, if your persona is B2B, it makes much more sense to invest in LinkedIn, don’t you agree.
Remember: even though some social media may fit better than others in your strategy, that does not mean you shouldn’t work on more than one. In fact, as long as you follow good practices and keep a consistent identity, it is beneficial to extend your digital presence in different networks.
Webinars are great for educational purposes, which makes them fit perfectly in SaaS marketing strategies. Put simply, they are seminars held on the internet, allowing the speakers to interact with a vast number of viewers.
For the audience, it is the perfect opportunity to clarify specific questions and to check if the company is really an authority on the subject. In a marketing approach, you may also use webinars to generate leads. It is simple: just create a landing page for the event and ask for contact information in exchange for a link to participate in the seminar.
Many marketers that work with SaaS spend a massive part of their budget on paid ads, such as the campaigns created in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc. This is an effective way to spread your message to an extremely segmented audience, but it is not a good idea to rely solely on that approach.
First, because it is an expense that not every business can sustain, it can eventually harm its financial health. Second, there is a whole lot of people you can reach without spending a penny. For that, you must explore organic marketing.
The idea behind this concept is to attract your customers to your brand instead of reaching out to them. To do so, there is nothing better than Content Marketing. By creating quality materials that speak to your audience and are optimized for SEO, you enable your pages to rank on the first positions of Google’s SERPs.
As a result, more people will organically find you, either by searching for a related keyword or by consuming the content you post on blogs, social media, etc.
What SaaS Marketing Metrics Should You Follow?
Once you’ve determined your marketing message and you’re starting to use digital advertising to promote your SaaS product, you’ll need to start tracking metrics.
This is incredibly important, as it gives you an idea of what your company should scale up and likewise what you need to reduce or eliminate from your strategy.
However, not all stats are considered equal. The four most important ones to pay attention to are:
1. Unique Visitors
You should be tracking how many people are viewing your landing page, seeing your ads, or visiting your website. Be sure to take note of traffic source elements, such as organic, paid advertising, social media, etc.
2. Lead-to-Customer Rate
This is the number of people who take action and sign up for more information and ultimately become an actual customer or subscriber.
3. Churn Rate
With SaaS marketing, the churn rate is the number of subscribers lost at the end of the month. You always want your new subscriber rate to be steadily higher than your churn rate and climbing.
4. Customer Lifetime Value
This is the average value of what your business earns from one customer over the entire time they’re a subscriber to your SaaS platform.
Of course, there are many other metrics you should pay attention to when tracking your SaaS marketing campaigns. Which ones make the most sense to you will often depend on your price point, niche, and target customer.
Top 12 SaaS Growth Strategies
Finally, we have a few super effective SaaS marketing strategies to help you skyrocket your growth.
These types of campaigns work exceptionally well and are a different spin on traditional B2B sales.
The good news is that most of them are incredibly easy to launch and really only take a small amount of effort to continue to promote. Even better, they really show how working with your platform can improve specific pain points for your target customers.
Here are our seven favorites for your SaaS platform to try out!
1. Offer a Free Demo or Trial Period
SaaS customers want to know that their investment into your product is something that is worth the value.
However, most decision-makers aren’t totally sure your features are what they need until they try them out.
This creates an interesting balance between giving in and offering platform access for free, but still offering enough features to convert them to paying subscribers in the future.
This is where offering a free demo or trial period becomes a really great SaaS marketing strategy. Not only do you get the opportunity to collect their information and turn a visitor into a lead, but they have the ability to see the value in your product for a set period of time.
The best part about this type of marketing strategy? There’s relatively no barrier to entry for most customers.
If they feel your SaaS is a valuable asset to their organization, then there’s no reason not to sign up for the paid version at the end of the trial period.
Compared to other industries, this method really works in your favor.
2. Offer Referral Bonuses
Consider offering referral bonuses when existing subscribers get another organization to join as a paid member.
This is another great SaaS marketing strategy that is super simple to implement and doesn’t cost your business too much of your budget.
We really like this idea for the simple fact that it works in nearly any SaaS vertical. Whether your product is a platform for churches or helps boutique hotels rent more rooms, there’s a good chance your subscriber is going to talk to someone else in their industry.
A small referral bonus is nothing compared to the value of word-of-mouth marketing that you get, plus it ensures happy customers are going out of their way to tell others about our service.
You can also take this one step further by creating an affiliate marketing program. This is where an influencer or blogger is paid a small stipend for every paying customer they send to you via a coded referral link.
In certain niches, this can be a super powerful way to grow brand recognition and stretch your marketing power with minimal effort.
3. Content Marketing
Knowledge is power. When it comes to SaaS marketing, spreading information that is important to your niche or industry is an excellent way to position your company as an expert.
Which is why a consistent Content Marketing strategy is so important to your business.
How do you do this?
Well, think about all the topics your target customer might research online. Then write keyword optimized articles and blogs surrounding these topics.
Be as descriptive as you possibly can to really drive home that your firm understands their needs in a meaningful and honest manner. After all, you want to position your brand and SaaS as the industry expert.
Finally, post the blogs and articles online. Realize that this can be as part of a guest post opportunity or on your own website. If you wish, you can drive paid social media and Google Ads to the article to help improve traction.
Our team really loves this strategy because it suits numerous purposes. Not only are you improving your search ranking by creating engaging content, but doing this regularly can really give your SaaS a steady stream of organic traffic over the long term.
4. Consider Outbound Marketing
One of the big issues of Digital Marketing is that sometimes companies forget that they can also do Outbound Marketing, too.
This is especially true if your SaaS has a particularly high cost or is geared toward enterprise-level clientele.
In that instance, your decision-makers are going to be much further up in the organizational ladder at your target customer company. This is where having a dedicated sales team ready to reach out and get in touch is a whole lot more fruitful.
However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect your website or other brand recognition marketing.
A good landing page with tons of information can be a good sales tool for your team to point leads in the right direction. And general brand recognition makes the path of resistance a lot easier for those cold calls and emails that are necessary to get in touch with those at the top.
The real secret to this one is knowing whether or not your product is something geared towards a small or midsize business that doesn’t have a large chain of command or if it is a large corporation with multiple decision-makers and a lengthy approval process.
Tailor your approach to your particular industry and the price point of the service you’re offering.
5. User Education & Support
When it all comes down to it, this SaaS marketing strategy is more about good customer service than it is trying to sell.
However, ensuring your users have access to the right training and help during their trial period is an ideal strategy for ultimately converting them into paying customers.
For example, let’s say you have a great knowledge base with tons of professional videos on how to use your platform.
Make sure you’re sending out reminder emails to your trial or demo users during their free period to try to get them to go ahead and sign up. While you’re at it, include this great information to help them use the product more comprehensively and cut down on the overall learning curve.
Product support is long known to be one of the key factors in why a company or individual invests in SaaS.
Thus, you want to use this to your advantage as much as possible by really putting it all out there during the trial period.
Don’t feel like you’re bombarding the customer with information, as they would much rather be over-informed about a product than kept in the dark.
6. Customer Testimonials
If your SaaS platform is a little more established and you have a good base of customers already, you can certainly use customer testimonials as a marketing strategy.
Not only does it help address your target lead’s pain points, but it lends credibility by showing that others have found a solution by choosing your company.
Obtaining these testimonials is often simple. Send a mass email out to your paying subscribers and ask them to reply back with their comments.
In exchange for agreeing to use their honest feedback to promote your SaaS platform, they can receive a coupon for a percentage off their next billing cycle or even a free month. Of course, rules on this vary from one jurisdiction to another, so make sure you’re following all fair practice guidelines in your region.
Once you’ve gotten a fair amount of testimonials, add them to your sales pages on your website.
Create a marketing email that goes out to your free or trial subscribers and explains why others who opted to upgrade are so happy. And include them in your paid ads on social media.
By showing that you have happy customers who have successfully used your product, you’re showing that others have found value and the solution necessary to their same problems.
7. Go Offline to Market Online
Finally, don’t be afraid to try offline methods to target customers online. It might sound counterproductive for a digital company to try old-school marketing, but sometimes it works.
Depending on your SaaS vertical or niche, it might be a good idea to attend a trade show or network with those in that industry. You can also opt to take out print ads in specific journals or magazines related to your target market.
In some circumstances, direct mail can even be incredibly effective. For example, consider a SaaS platform designed just for landscaping companies. A good way to get in touch with this type of business is to send them a letter or brochure with information on how to access a free trial.
However, no matter which offline avenue you take, make sure the path to getting your customer to your website is simple.
Use a QR code they can scan with a smartphone or have a dedicated landing page that is simple for them to type in when they get the chance.
From there, you can coordinate other marketing approaches like whitepapers and email list sign-ups with what happens when someone takes action.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the pillars of Content Marketing. It refers to a series of practices and techniques applied on blogposts and other content in order to boost their rankings on SERPs. This way, the odds of your persona finding your materials on the internet increases greatly.
If successful, an SEO strategy is capable of driving huge organic traffic to your website, expanding your digital reach and generating more leads.
It is also important to build authority for your brand, as companies that manage to rank in Google’s first positions tend to convey much more credibility.
9. Google Ads
Organic traffic is great, but it is not always enough to generate all the opportunities you need. This is why Google Ads is an essential piece in any marketing strategy.
The platform is as robust as you would expect a Google product to be, enabling you to create persona-oriented campaigns and display them exactly to the people you want to reach, impacting them during the buying journey.
Comarketing is the ideal approach to develop cost-effective campaigns based on strategic partnerships. It usually involves two companies that share the same target audience but sell different solutions. The products/ services may be complementary or even unrelated. It is a widespread practice in Content Marketing, primarily through what we call link building.
So, suppose your SaaS targets small companies that seek to improve their lead generation. To educate your persona, you have developed several blog posts addressing the most relevant pain points but lack the right content to make your readers understand how much more they would earn if they generated more opportunities.
Finding the right partners may take time and effort, but it is certainly worth it in the long run.
11. Product tours
Before subscribing to your product, clients will want to know if the software you are offering is really functional and can help them solve their problems.
It is up to you to provide them with enough resources to come to this conclusion, and, in that case, there is nothing better them setting up product tours. Create meaningful experiences that highlight the main advantages your product can offer to the users.
12. CTA optimization
Calls to Action play a significant role in the conversions that take place during the buyer’s journey. Sometimes, the way you write a CTA may ultimately influence how many people click on it, so it is important to adopt a strategic approach. Make use of UX Writing and UX design to create buttons that truly impact the persona and takes them further in your content.
To optimize your CTAs, it is essential to measure and analyze their performance. Conduct A/B tests to find out more about user’s preferences and constantly increase the conversion rates.
There’s no doubt that SaaS marketing is far different from any other type of business-to-business (B2B) advertising.
However, the truth is that it becomes incredibly easy once you position your product or platform as the solution to your target client’s needs. Which, of course, means really understanding your buyer persona and customer avatar.
By using the seven effective SaaS marketing strategies we’ve outlined above, you can position your company as an industry leader while giving your ideal customers the ability to recognize your brand.
In the end, this offers multiple opportunities to grow your subscriber list and scale your overall marketing approach.