The SaaS industry is highly volatile. Some say its anything but static.
Those of you who are in the SaaS space would think this sounds like an understatement, right?
Moreover, recent data from Blissfully found that an average business should expect almost 50% of their software to change in the next two years.
In simpler words, users are driving through SaaS products at a crazy pace.
Also, the cloud market is predicted to grow an astonishing 17% in 2020. This highlights an enormous opportunity for SaaS companies looking to establish their claim.
To do that, you will have to nail your SaaS marketing strategy. In this article, I have broken down 7 tried and tested SaaS marketing tips and strategies that drive demos, subscriptions and generate leads.
Why do you need a SaaS marketing strategy?
Food for thought – The journey to close an enterprise deal through a SaaS marketing funnel is nowhere near to straightforward.
For starters, the most important part of SaaS B2B marketing is to create and promote content for different levels of awareness.
Let’s say you are marketing an infographic making tool. Many of your target audience may not know what an infographic is. Meanwhile, you also cater to customers in the later stage of the funnel. They are comparing your product to other infographic tools and are ready for a trial.
In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. SaaS marketers will need to create a range of content based on what your users know.
Especially in the B2B marketing space, Gartner observed that an average buyer is more overwhelmed with information. Your SaaS marketing strategy must be a balance of educating the readers and not drowning them with information.
What are the essentials of an effective SaaS marketing plan?
Creating an effective SaaS marketing strategy involves finding effective ways to attract the audience and reach customers. And, there is no single way to make this happen. Instead, successful SaaS brands use a combination of channels and strategies.
#1. SEO – As a SaaS marketer you already know the importance of SEO and organic reach. In his research on the best marketing channels for SaaS traffic in 2020, SEO consultant Mike Sonders found that organic search is the biggest source of traffic and leads for top SaaS businesses (up to 77% of traffic).
Undoubtedly, search engines (Google) are the most significant source of traffic from new visitors. This also implies to existing customers. How often do you return to a SaaS website by Googling (brand name) or (brand login)?
You can break down SEO into two parts: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO for SaaS companies – The benefit of on-page SEO is that it is entirely in your control. This involves the kind of content you create, share, link. Other factors to consider are keyword strategy, internal linking, descriptions and titles, page loading time, indexing and UI.
Off-page SEO for SaaS businesses – As opposed to the common myth that off-page SEO refers solely to link building, there is so much more to it. Although backlinks remain one of the top three ranking factors for SEO, what matters is those links’ quality. High-quality, relevant links from trusted and authoritative websites out win quantity every time. Social media is equally essential as shares and likes to help your brand get more eyeballs, links and mentions.
Have a link building and promotion strategy in place that is powered by SEO content types.
#2. Blogging and content marketing – Did you know that people usually engage with at least 11 pieces of content before making a purchase?
That, coupled with a need to have diverse SaaS customer journeys, underlines the need to have a content calendar. Content marketing for SaaS serves multiple purposes, including building your brand, attracting visitors to your website and generating leads.
Think of blogging as a smart investment that has a compounding power of return. It’s value only increases over time. Diverse content formats regularly drive leads even long after they are created. In contrast, other marketing forms, such as PPC advertising work only as long as you continue spending.
This year, brands have notably stepped up their investment in video content. Particularly, bite-sized content that shows product features is great for YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. Short videos are easy to understand and educate the customer without requiring them to read a blog post.
Ahrefs has gone a step ahead and embedded videos on their blog posts; to gain direct traffic from Google’s video search results.
With webinars being in rage right now, they are worth a mention as a content marketing strategy.
As per GoToWebinar, 75% of all webinars are created by SaaS brands. The same data cites that three-fourths of B2B and sales leaders say that webinars are the best method to generate high-quality leads.
JotForm PDF editor uses a webinar that is hosted on their website for their product demo.
Investing in content creation and promotion is an asset that a business owns. Online marketing, on the other hand, is rented.
#3. Email marketing – The seemingly old-school email marketing is one of the most effective and integral channels of SaaS marketing for B2B and B2C brands.
Email acts as a one-to-one touchpoint with customers, to be used as frequently as you want. At every stage of the customer lifecycle, starting from a lead signing up for a free trial to frequent one-to-one touchpoints with customers and post-sale support, email marketing is an unmissable channel.
A few typical SaaS marketing emails that you can send regularly are:
An important point to note is that only half of SaaS customers log in or use a product more than once a month.
So, email is the perfect way to give customers a nudge by providing valuable information. Email marketing supplements your lead generation. Likewise, make sure that your emails are not spammy.
This email from LearnWorlds, a website that helps create and sell online courses, shared an invitation for their virtual summit. This is to make sure that the customers don’t miss out on the platform’s best features.
#4. Organic social media marketing – Social media is a vital part of most marketing strategies. SaaS is no different.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media for your software company. There are enough and more examples of SaaS brands taking advantage of Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Social media allows you to do all of the following:
For example, HippoVideo, a video engagement platform for sales and marketing teams, shares a wide range of audio and video content on their LinkedIn page.
#5. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads – Unlike SEO, where getting results is waiting game, PPC campaigns can be run immediately. Using Google’s pay-per-click ads, a SaaS business can increase its visibility for specific keywords and outrank competitors.
Also, the journey of a new lead starts with PPC. When they search for something, either through a problem or by asking a question, it gives SaaS marketers a chance to engage with them. This can then drive them to the path of a demo, or trial to ultimately becoming a paid customer. PPC is critical for exposing your brand to new customers.
SaaS marketers, listen up. Here are 4 examples of PPC campaign ideas that can help you generate profitable leads and loyal customers.
To encourage them to return, keep the remarketing ads visually engaging.
#6. Reviews and customer success stories – Data from Groove shows that customer testimonials and social proof increase conversions.
Get featured and reviewed on websites that aggregate customer feedback. They include:
Additionally, these third-party review sites have excellent SEO. You can piggyback on them, list your SaaS product, gather reviews and get a backlink to your website.
Also, promote testimonials on-site. These testimonials are a form of social proof that can help you win different segments of customers.
In their testimonials, you can include performance data. As seen in this testimonial on MailShake, actual numbers is more compelling than simple positive feedback.
Don’t forget to take out time to respond and republish shout-outs from customers on social media.
Use social media listening tools to ensure that you don’t miss out on gathering and responding to social proof and customer reviews.
#7. Website design and customer support – Your SaaS website is the getaway to customer acquisition and retention. While writing engaging, SEO-friendly content that speaks to the target audience is essential; its design matters too.
Implement website essentials such as an attractive hero banner with a powerful CTA that conveys each page’s message. Every element on the homepage or landing page should compel the visitors to the desired action.
A navigation bar should direct visitors to the main pages so they can learn about your SaaS products quickly. Besides, the footer must display essential page links, social media buttons, and contact info so that they can connect promptly.
Deploy an exit-intent pop up to build a subscriber base for your newsletter, give away a free guide, or nudge them to sign up for a 30-min discovery call. The key is to implement various methods to generate leads through your SaaS website.
Apart from inbound, leverage LinkedIn automation to connect with prospects. Check out the “People Also Viewed” sidebar to clone your best customers to several potential ones.
You can have a “Book A Discovery Call” tab on the website, which takes the user to a short form, asking for details like the preferred date and time for the meeting, proposed budget, website URL, and more.
Also, many people prefer to file their complaints and ask questions via phone. Consider deploying VoIP business phone systems such as RingCentral alternatives to make managing calls easier for the whole team.
Are you ready to fine-tune your SaaS marketing plan?
Heck, you must be feeling that there are too many moving pieces in SaaS marketing.
Listen, it is still possible to come up with a strategy that leads to demos.
The channels and strategies discussed above serve as a foundation for every SaaS marketing plan, regardless of what industry you are targeting. Figure out what works best for you, based on analytics and experimentation.