10 Tips for Building a Standout SaaS Marketing Strategy
For marketing success, a solid marketing strategy is a must. Coschedule, for instance, found that:
“Marketers with a documented strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t.”
Your marketing strategy is the blueprint to help your SaaS business attract leads, convert them to customers, and retain those customers for the long haul.
Here are some tips to help you build a better SaaS marketing strategy in 2019:
Tips for attracting leads
1. Polish up your SEO
To make sure your target audience finds your business in the first place, you’ll need to start by focusing on search engine optimization. This doesn’t have to be a long and complex process - the foundation of strong SEO is to build your website on relevant, well-targeted keywords.
If you’re not sure which keywords work best for your business, you may want to spend some time on keyword research. Identify what actual search terms your target customers would be likely to enter into a search bar. Don’t forget to consider which terms your website is already being found for - use a web analytics tool like Google Analytics to find out which search terms your existing visitors used to find you.
Once you’ve identified which terms work best for your SaaS product, make sure that you have used them appropriately on your website. You’ll also want to consider other factors that will make your website perform well on search engines - page load time, internal links, and the use of titles and descriptions.
To learn more about best practices for using inbound marketing on your website, watch our on-demand webinar for everything you should know.
2. Grow your authority with great content
Of course, SEO isn’t just something you do to your own website. To perform well on Google, you’ll also need other trusted websites to link to you. And how do you get links back to your site? Create valuable, informative content that other people want to share, and then plan a regular schedule to distribute it. In other words, you need a content marketing strategy.
In his article, “How SaaS Marketing is Different,” Neil Patel flags how fundamental content is to SaaS success:
“SaaS marketing depends on information. It’s amazing how foundational this is, yet how often overlooked...If you are a B2B SaaS marketer, think of yourself in different terms from mere “marketer.” Think of yourself as an industry savant — the one who possesses and dispenses information.”
What’s more, SaaS marketers have a unique advantage in content marketing. By the very nature of your product, you have access to a wealth of data that you can convert into fascinating content - think white papers, infographics, helpful blog posts on user behavior...the list goes on. Great content not only attracts leads to your site; it also helps build your company’s reputation as an authority in your industry.
3. Harness the power of referrals
Referrals are marketing gold dust. HubSpot calls referrals - where existing users recommend your software to their contacts - “one of the most effective types of leads”. No wonder really - nothing builds trust in a product more than knowing it is already being used by someone we know personally. So how can you generate more referrals for your SaaS business?
Firstly, make it extremely easy for your users to refer you. Simply asking can be enough to drive referral numbers up. At the minimum, add a landing page on your website where people can make referrals. You could also consider adding a referral CTA in the software itself.
Secondly, make sure that all customer-facing personnel know that they should be asking for referrals, and provide templates for them to use.
Finally, consider incentivizing referrals. This is a delicate balancing act. If you incentivize too heavily, you may find that the quality of referrals goes down - people recommend your software to everyone they know, regardless of its suitability, in order to claim the incentive. To reduce the risk of poor quality referrals, make sure that you are clear on what counts as a referral, what kinds of leads are useful to you, and explain that incentives will only be paid out for real referrals.
Tips for converting leads
1. Use retargeting to get leads back to your website
No matter how effectively you have designed and optimized your site, no matter how clear your calls to action or how compelling your content, most web visitors will simply take a look around - and leave again. To get the most out of your hard-won web traffic, consider using retargeting to lure them back to your site again. Retargeting means that you track who visits your website, and then show them online ads on other sites they interact with. You can do this via Facebook Business Manager, Google AdWords, or via a platform like HubSpot. To get the most out of retargeting, consider customizing your ads based on which URL the lead has visited on your site.
2. Optimize your product trials.
Another aspect that gives you a major advantage when you’re marketing SaaS is that you can give away your product for free. Most SaaS companies offer a free trial - a highly effective conversion tool, as your lead can start using your software and see the value it offers for themselves. However, product trials are a subtle art. Overwhelm your prospect with information and features, and you can risk sending them running for the hills - but too much hand-holding can come off as irritatingly intrusive.
To maximize your product trial conversion rate, make sure that people have a frictionless experience using your product. This might mean following up a trial sign-up with a phone call, webinar, or email series. You might want to consider restricting features to simplify the experience. Leads who are demo-ing your software are showing a clear indication of purchase interest, so it’s well worth investing time and effort polishing up your onboarding process.
3. Make it easy to buy
SaaS has a short sales cycle. Unlike traditional B2B or enterprise software sales, a lead can become a customer on the same day, or within a few days of starting a trial. However, this only works to your advantage if you make it incredibly easy for leads to buy. For instance, make sure that anyone using the demo finds it effortless to click the Buy button at any stage during the trial. Be transparent about the sales process and what the customer gets when they buy. Spend time optimizing your buy page - consider adding a chatbot to make sure that any questions can be dealt with instantly.
Tips for retaining customers
1. Keep marketing even after they buy
SaaS companies are constantly at risk of customer churn. Users sign up, try the product out, decide that it doesn’t provide them with the value they expected, and leave. To prevent churn, you’ll need to do two things:
- Figure out why people are leaving. The most serious cause is poor product performance - people sign up, try your product, discover it doesn’t do what they expected, and give up. However, often churn can be a marketing issue, rather than a development one. If people leave within the first 3 months, you may need to spend more time on your onboarding strategy, offering helpful educational content to new users to make sure they start seeing value from your product as soon as possible. Or you may need to improve your targeting, to make sure that you are marketing the software to the people who will really get a benefit from using it - or your churn rate will stay very high.
- Keep marketing your software even after you’ve closed the sale. In the words of Ellen Perelman at GoodHire:
A SaaS business model is dependent on recurring revenue and customer retention. That’s where marketing comes in. Marketing needs to continue to reinforce product value over time. One tip is for marketing to reinforce value by communicating new and different ways other customers are realizing value.”
This might mean by sharing use cases, case studies or testimonials via email, or by organizing meet-ups for users to engage with your company (and each other) in person.
2. Offer outstanding support
SaaS business success relies on delighting your users. This, of course, means creating an exceptional product, but it also means backing that product up with fantastic customer service.
Firstly, make your support incredibly easy to find. As Isha Edwards of EPiC Measures puts it,
“Don’t make customers click on two or three links to get help. Each additional step required to get to a solution exasperates busy people. If it’s a complex problem, allow customers to call to talk through it. There is nothing like having two hours or several days worth of email responses for a problem that can be solved with a 10- to 15-minute call.”
Secondly, provide multiple options for accessing support. Sprout Social advises using social media for customer service - for instance, offering customer service hours on Twitter, or sharing answers to common user questions in your social media posts.
And, of course, last but not least:
3. Make a great product.
Your marketing strategy can only take you so far. Your top priority has to be creating a product that people love to use, that they rave about and recommend to others. This means taking into consideration every interaction users have with your product. As Aran Davies of DevTeam.Space writes,
“The product must sell itself. Every aspect of usability including the ease of registration, setting up customer data, reporting and analytics etc. should convey excellence.”
We hope these tips help you build an outstanding SaaS marketing strategy in 2019. If you’d like the help of our digital marketing experts in taking your marketing plan to the next level, click here to set up a free consultation call.