Regardless of the sector, they are operating in, SaaS businesses face overwhelming competition. Overcoming this competition is only possible by achieving exponential growth.
This is just one reason SaaS marketing is different from marketing for other products and services.
The other reason is that most SaaS companies have to be completely digital. Their potential customers research their (and their competitor’s products) online, make the purchases online, use the SaaS product online, and seek support online.
This changes the way prospects evaluate products and shop for them.
Because of these two factors, marketing SaaS products can be confusing. With this guide, we hope to alleviate some of that confusion.
Without further delay, here are five SaaS marketing strategies that you can employ to grow your awesome SaaS business to new heights:
Free Trials Are Great, But They’re Not The Only Option
Offering free trials is a no-risk marketing strategy for most SaaS businesses. Once your SaaS product is up and running, your business will probably incur no additional cost in offering potential customers a taste of what it can do.
Free trials are great because they don’t just present an opportunity for you to show how your product can make life easy for your potential customers, it also gives you an opportunity to show how amazing your team is. Most serious prospects will make it a point to talk to your support team at least once during their free trial.
The bottom line, free trials are great, for most SaaS products. The problem is, that most SaaS businesses don’t look beyond free trials. Maybe your product will benefit more from a freemium offering.
To put it simply, a freemium product is one that you can use for free. The free version offers limited features and paying for the product gives users access to all the features.
When used with the right kind of products, and implemented with creativity, a freemium model can deliver amazing results. Corporate messaging platform Slack has used the freemium model beautifully.
They offer their intuitive tool absolutely free of cost. Unlike a time-bound free trial, a customer is prompted to upgrade to the premium version after they have sent a specific number of messages using Slack.
This strategy resulted in a 30% freemium conversion rate for Slack. It brought down their cost of acquisition and boosted their lifetime customer value. Not to forget, this strategy and the consequent widespread adoption of Slack helped the company go viral on social media.
Content Marketing Isn’t Optional
Remember how we discussed that the way SaaS customers make purchase decisions is different. With content marketing, SaaS businesses have the opportunity to hook potential customers that may already be looking for a solution online.
Moreover, by using content marketing to deliver useful information to targeted prospects, SaaS businesses can boost their brand recognition and recall, and position themselves as an industry authority.
Content marketing, when done right, will not just result in more sales at a lower acquisition cost, it will also contribute to organic SEO and social media growth for your brand.
However, getting such results will not be possible with a few simple blog posts. Remember, content marketing is not a new concept and at least one of your competitors may already be using it well.
Content marketing that helps you beat the competition is customer-centric. Such content marketing strategies are built on an in-depth understanding of the ideal customer, and the problems that plague them. Result-driven content marketing is personal and direct and targets the most pressing problems of the customers.
Finally, an in-depth understanding of your target audience will not just allow you to talk about the problems that they find relatable, it will also allow you to use the right content formats and distribution channels.
Experiment With Your Customer Journey
If you have a great product and even your marketing is on point but you aren’t able to generate enough sales, there may be something wrong with your customer journey. Chances are, that your potential customers may be missing a specific feature or maybe your current purchase process simply involves too many steps.
Most brands are so focused on the marketing efforts that they overlook whether or not their customer journey is optimized for maximum traction.
This is especially challenging because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing your customer journey. Here’s an example:
When Voxox rolled out its product, CloudPhone in the market, there was a lot of interest but the sales numbers did not reflect this interest. With the objective of understanding the average customer’s journey, the Voxox team conducted customer surveys and A/B testing. As a result, they found that most prospects that viewed their product overlooked one key feature of the product.
With this knowledge, Voxox experimented by slowing down their product walkthrough, which is the opposite of what most conversion optimization strategies would recommend. Yet, this allowed CloudPhone’s customers to understand all its amazing features and make the purchase decision.
The result of this experiment was a 20% increase in user activation and over 50% reduction in the churn rate.
It is also important for businesses to remember that conversion rate optimization is not a one-time task. Brands must understand that customer journey optimization or conversion rate optimization is an ongoing undertaking. Even when your sales and marketing results are peaking, it is a good practice to assume there is still room for improvement.
Organic Is Good, But Not Always
SaaS businesses that have a long-term vision should definitely focus on organic marketing efforts. SEO, content marketing, and organic social media marketing have the potential to deliver fantastic ROI in the long run.
However, many SaaS businesses make the mistake of depending on these strategies from the get-go. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, investing in organic marketing early on puts your business in a great position to reap its benefits relatively quickly.
However, initially, when there are no results coming in from your organic marketing efforts, you must find another way to generate revenue and stay afloat.
Paid ads are the answer here. Whether you should be advertising on social media platforms or search engines or both, depends entirely on your product and your audience.
Be that as it may, paid ads can make all the difference in the beginning.
Not only would the ads help you generate initial revenue that can be used to fuel organic marketing efforts, but they will also help create brand recognition that will enhance the results of your organic marketing efforts.
Word Of Mouth Is Still The King
While it is true that not all SaaS products need to depend on positive word of mouth, it is also true that the same will benefit all products, without exception.
Moreover, there are certain SaaS products, for instance, those in the Fintech industry that needs the trust associated with word-of-mouth marketing to attract new customers.
The great thing is, in the digital landscape, even word-of-mouth can be measured (to a large extent). SaaS businesses can boost positive word-of-mouth around their product by simply incentivizing existing customers. From offering small discounts on the next month’s bill to offering actual cash prizes or cash vouchers for referrals, SaaS businesses can employ a variety of time-tested strategies to turn customers into brand advocates.
The best part is, that customers that you gain through word-of-mouth recommendations will typically stay with your brand longer than the customers acquired through other channels.
By educating and informing your customers with targeted content marketing, using a combination of paid and organic strategies to get more free trial signups, and optimizing your customer journey, SaaS businesses can fuel their exponential growth.
Having said that, it is important to remember that for any strategy mentioned in this article to work, it has to be constructed and implemented in a customer-centric manner. Regardless of whether your product is in the B2B market or the B2C space, you are selling to humans and your marketing must connect with them.
Building buyer personas is one of the most dependable ways to ensure you have an in-depth understanding of your customers. However, just like with most strategies in this article, creating buyer personas is an ongoing exercise. As you collect more data about your customers, you can make your personas more accurate, which will, in turn, enable you to create and implement more effective marketing strategies.
About the Author
Piyush Shah is a 6 figure affiliate marketer and has helped grow multiple businesses from nothing to making insane business figures. He is currently working as Head of SEO at Dukaan.