Marketing of any kind is a mystery. You need to figure out how to get the right message in front of the right audience at the right time. This can involve a lot of trial and error, some educated guesswork, and hopefully a bit of luck.
But what about marketing a product without a physical presence? Or what if your marketing strategy has to attract new customers and retain existing customers at the same time? What if you had to maintain most of your current customer base for financial stability?
These are the unique challenges of SaaS Marketing. Since SaaS is relatively new to the marketing world, some of the old traditional methods just don’t work.
However, with the industry growing so fast (between 2019 and 2021, the global SaaS market is expected to be worth $ 60.36 billion!), SaaS marketers have learned to be creative, thoughtful, and innovative.
The fact that the book is still being written about this type of marketing may make marketers a little hesitant – but it also opens the door to a lot of opportunity.
In this blog we will discuss why standard marketing practices don’t always work in SaaS, what type of campaigns have been shown to work, and what 5 phases of developing a SaaS marketing strategy are critical.
There’s a lot to talk about so let’s jump in!
The difference between SaaS marketing challenges and traditional challenges
As mentioned above, SaaS marketing is just different. Here are some specific reasons for this:
You have three different target groups
In traditional marketing, you usually focus on one target audience – new customers. Sure, getting repeat customers is great, but it’s not always the main focus.
In SaaS marketing, however, your current “customers” are treated almost like a warm-hearted lead – especially if you have a free version of your service. Encouraging and finding ways to upsell to current users is not a secondary focus, it’s just as important in reaching new audiences.
Your three different goals are:
- And retention
Your product is constantly changing
When marketing a traditional product, you can be sure of the consistency of your product. The fact that your product stays the same allows you to really dig into your data and targeting in order to optimize your campaigns over time.
However, with SaaS marketing, you are trying to sell a product that is constantly evolving. They publish new features, new uses, and new features. This means you need to adapt your platforms, messages, and techniques faster to reach customers.
You will definitely never run out of materials to get to market, but keeping up can be a challenge!
Your product is extremely niche
Traditional marketing often focuses on reaching as many people as possible in an audience.
Conversely, most SaaS products are niche. Some products only appeal to a B2B audience of 20 Fortune 500; others are even designed for just a handful of brands.
This means that SaaS marketing often has to help disqualify some leads before they get into the pipeline.
You start by giving away your product for free
When it comes to traditional marketing, giving away free product samples is nothing new. However, it is unheard of to give away an entire product to every customer for free!
However, this is exactly what a large majority of SaaS companies do. The free version of their product is fully functional and they rely heavily on it to attract new paying customers.
So yeah, SaaS is a different beast. But it’s also a really fun and interesting challenge for marketers who are ready to do it.
Let’s take a look at what type of campaigns marketers can implement to overcome some of the hurdles mentioned above and develop a killer marketing strategy.
What types of campaigns can SaaS marketers create?
Email marketing is still huge with marketers across all industries today. In fact, 49% of businesses use some form of email marketing.
And email marketing is a great opportunity for SaaS marketers too, especially when it comes to promoting current users.
Take Basecamp, for example. It’s a huge SaaS project management software based on email to move customers from free trials to paid plans. Here is one of their actual emails that we broken down into the major marketing components.
Of course, this is just one example of using email for SaaS. There is a lot more.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are another popular type of campaign for SaaS marketers. Usually these campaigns are run on a search or social media platform such as Google or Facebook.
Here is an example of a Google PPC ad from Zendesk CRM management software:
These types of campaigns can be a little expensive. The average cost your business pays per click for SaaS keywords is $ 13-15. However, if you want to get a ranking quickly and attract new users, this is a great option. Just be sure to keep an eye on your ROI.
Did you know that 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine? This knowledge has led to an explosion in SEO marketing over the past 10 years. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a content marketing strategy that relies on the use of keywords and keyword phrases to get to the top of organic search engine rankings.
This method is very popular in SaaS marketing because it is inexpensive and educational for customers.
Referral marketing is another strategy for SaaS marketers. A whopping 83% of customers are more likely to refer to new customers after a positive user experience, and the lifetime value (LTV) of referred customers is 16% higher than that of non-referred customers. So it’s clear why this type of marketing would be attractive to SaaS companies.
You may find that all of these marketing campaigns are based on one overarching strategy: content marketing.
Developing your content marketing strategy is the first important step in SaaS marketing:
Content Marketing for SaaS
When done right, content marketing can be the pillar of your overall SaaS marketing strategy.
Content marketing is king in generating inbound leads as it provides information and information about your product to customers and prospects.
To get started with content marketing for SaaS, you need to outline each key milestone in your customer’s journey and then formulate content at that stage.
In SaaS it usually looks like this:
- Notoriety – PPC, SEO, also Cold Calling Services
- Lead Generation – Email Marketing, Referral Marketing
- Test registrations – email marketing, social ads, etc.
- Converting To Paid Customers – Email Marketing, Blogging
- Customer loyalty – email marketing, blogging, referral marketing
Once you’ve described your customer’s buying journey and the type of content marketing you’re using for each, it’s time to develop a buyer personality so you can write highly targeted content:
Development of a buyer personality
Buyer personalities are an incredibly effective way to understand how to communicate with prospects. A recent study found that 90% of businesses using personas were able to create a clearer understanding of their buyers.
For example, are you trying to reach millennials in NYC who feel disorganized at work? Knowing this information can help you create much more targeted and direct content than using something broad like “We want to attract Millennials”.
After you have a buyer personality and content marketing strategy, the next step is automation.
It’s almost impossible to keep up with all of the different aspects of your SaaS marketing strategy without using automation. Marketing automation not only ensures that nothing slips through the cracks, it also helps you address your target audience more directly.
For example, let’s say you have data that shows your users are more likely to convert to a paid plan on day 10 of their trial. It’s impossible to keep up with sending an email to every single user on Day 10. However, with email automation, it’s easy to do.
There are hundreds of tools out there that are solely designed to make your SaaS marketing team more efficient through automation. Try them out and choose the one that suits you best.
Your content can really shine when it comes to executive grooming. If you keep educating your customers about the value, ROI, and features of your product, you can turn them into paid customers from free trial users.
At this stage, you want to use your content marketing efforts to find out how much time, money, or resources your product is saving the user and convincing them that they can’t live without it!
Reporting and optimization
The final phase of your strategy is simply to analyze your results and optimize your campaigns.
What works and what doesn’t? Where can you optimize your content for higher conversions? Where can you do A / B testing?
After all, you have a well-oiled content marketing machine that can be used to drive leads and subscription renewals while you sleep!
SaaS marketing is different, challenging, unique – but it can also be incredibly rewarding.
It can help you generate hundreds of qualified leads through a variety of B2B lead generation and cold calling strategies. Also, help develop them into long-term customers.