You must have already heard a million times that marketing software as a service (SaaS) is different than marketing any other products or services.
But how and why is it different?
The reason is SaaS is a concept and does not have a physical presence. It also doesn’t help that SaaS is ever-changing. How do you market such a thing?
This takes us back to where we started, you cannot market SaaS the same way you market other B2B products or services.
So, how do you effectively market SaaS? OneIMS offers 8 of the best SaaS marketing strategies for your B2B company.
Best SaaS Marketing Strategies
1. Embrace the Power of Content Marketing
Content is proving to be one of the most crucial marketing strategies for all kinds of businesses, and this is no different for SaaS companies. After all, how do you convince someone about the efficacy of a tool if not by explaining how it works and how it can solve their problems?
Look at HubSpot and the kind of content they post. The content is highly relevant to the pain points they address while being crisp and to-the-point. There are other examples too, such as Dropbox and Moz. These companies are beacons of how content marketing can work for SaaS.
The idea is, as a SaaS company you are already aware of the pain point of your clients that you are trying to address. Utilize this information to create content that showcases the solutions your SaaS tool can provide.
Having said that, the market is overflowing with SaaS tools and solutions, and these companies are already drowning the clients with information. So how do you stand out?
The trick is to find a balance between educating your target audience without overburdening them with unnecessary information. Create a marketing strategy by ensuring content for prospective buyers at every point of their journey, from pointing out the problem to offering the solution.
2. Free is the Way to Win Over New Clients
How do you know if a software or a solution would be compatible with your business needs without trying it first? The answer is you don’t. And, this is exactly what your customers feel about your SaaS tool as well.
Questions like, ‘will this software solve my business problem?’ ‘will my team find this tool easy to use?’ will surely plague your customers’ minds when you are trying to market your SaaS. The easiest way to answer these questions? By offering them a free trial of your software.
There are numerous ways to offer a free SaaS trial including a 60-day free trial or a limited free version and paid up-gradation thereafter. Whichever version you choose, the focus point is offering a test drive to help your clients to trust you and your SaaS product.
The good thing about people showing interest in your trial version is the opportunity to turn them into paying customers. Interest in a free trial indicates buyer intent. A prospect is spending time getting to know your product and trying it out, so this means there is a greater chance of conversion for your business. Take this opportunity to follow-up with the prospect through emails, newsletters, and such marketing collaterals to help them cross the boundary from trying out the product to subscribing for it. However, don’t be pushy or overly sales-oriented. Utilize content to educate them further and assist them in taking the leap.
3. Don’t Ignore the Tried-and-tested Email Marketing Campaigns
Seems pretty old-school, right? But emails are an integral part of SaaS marketing. What better way to gently nudge a client than to send them periodic emails? According to research, email for SaaS companies contribute to only about 5% of traffic generation. However, the ROI is a whopping 3800%! Amazing, isn’t it?
The most common types of emails that you can send out are:
- Onboarding emails for starting a free trial or a demo of a SaaS tool.
- Company newsletters
- New features that have been added to the existing tool
- Informational and educational content related to the SaaS product they might be interested in
- Surveys and feedback forms to understand what they think of the free trial version of the tool
One of the greatest examples of email marketing by a SaaS company is Grammarly. They send out weekly emails to their customers telling them about their performance tracked by the tool and then urging them to subscribe to further improve their writing.`
4. Pay Attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Did you know that organic search is the biggest traffic driver for SaaS businesses? Up to 77% of traffic consisting of new visitors and potential leads comes from organic searches.
Furthermore, SEO and content marketing go hand-in-hand. You can keep creating great content, but it wouldn’t matter unless people find them. Hence, distribution is as important as creating good quality content as part of SaaS marketing. One of the ways to ensure that people find your content is SEO.
People are now more informed and use search engines to look for SaaS to solve their problems. With the help of search engine optimized content, you will become more visible to these people who might be searching for what you are offering.
The two kinds of SEO you need to consider for your SaaS business are on-page as well as off-page.
- On-page SEO – it is not just about using the right keywords and taking care of user experience, but ensuring the content is informative. People must find your content interesting enough to read as well as to share.
- Off-page SEO – Although most think that off-page SEO is all about getting backlinks, what matters more is the quality of the backlink. Link building with the help of trusted and authentic websites can contribute to off-page SEO.
It is all about being visible to the right people and SEO can help you get there.
5. Co-marketing Can Work Wonders
Partnering up with a company that complements your business offering is a great way to leverage each other’s already existing client base. You can work together to create an e-book, host a webinar, or publish a research paper to attract leads to your companies.
It not only creates brand awareness among a different set of audiences but also can also help you generate leads in a cost-effective way. How, you ask? By being in agreement about sharing the costs, both the companies can share the leads generated from the co-marketing efforts.
If you are aligned with your partner company’s expectations, co-marketing can be a very effective marketing tool for SaaS companies. Take, for example, HubSpot partnering up with LinkedIn to create informative content that can profit both the companies.
Proper execution of a co-marketing effort can prove to be a versatile and cost-effective way to create brand awareness about both the businesses and generate leads, while also demonstrating thought leadership within the industry in the process.
6. PPC Campaigns and Google AdWords are Your All-time Friends
Have you noticed that Google has been placing more ads in its search results? So, not taking advantage of PPC campaigns would be a big mistake. Especially since millions of people still click on Google ads every day.
You can, of course, reduce your expenditure on PPC campaigns through successful inbound marketing efforts. But such campaigns have their own advantages which cannot and should not be ignored.
For one thing, you can easily gauge how well or how poorly a PPC campaign is working and make changes to your campaigns accordingly. To put it simply, it is a vastly scalable marketing effort. You can increase or reduce your PPC campaign budgets as per your requirements.
Furthermore, Google AdWords can help you receive highly targeted traffic to your website. After all, the people who click on the ads are already looking for exactly what you are providing, so the chances of conversion are more through such campaigns.
Our only advice would be to ensure you use properly targeted as well as long-tail keywords that can guarantee the visibility of your link to the relevant traffic.
7. It’s Time You Have a Referral Program in Place
References are still one of the most effective ways of getting leads for any business, and your SaaS company is no exception. Studies show that leads garnered through referrals make for faster sales and higher conversion. Not to mention, they are highly cost-effective too. So, why not take advantage of it?
Having a good referral program in place is a marketing strategy for SaaS businesses that you just cannot ignore. But when creating such a program you need to think about this one important factor. Why would people refer your company to others? Yes, good products and services are important, but even more important are incentives. You would be amazed at how many people will readily agree to refer others against a month of extension of the free trial.
Having said that, it is also true that if you incentivize too much you can end up getting low-quality referrals. The trick is to find a balance on what works best for your business.
One way to go about creating a referral program that brings in good quality referrals is to clearly state the kind of referrals that would be incentivized. For example, you can say that a person providing the reference will get a week of free trial every time someone from their reference signs up for your SaaS products.
We would also advise you to have a dedicated landing page on your website for seeking referrals. This way it would be easy for people to find it and enter their list of references. Make sure the page contains all the information such as the clear conditions for receiving the incentives for providing referrals.
8. Make Things as Easy as Possible for Your target Customers
Last on this list but not in any way the least important, is simplicity. Make signing up for your free trials, or downloading your e-book as easy as you can. It is important to reduce the number of steps needed to get to the end otherwise you can bore your intended customers into leaving your website mid-way to never come back again.
Also, you need to make sure your landing pages have straight and direct calls-to-action (CTA). Vague CTA can derail your customers from where you intend them to head after dropping by on your landing pages. Just be clear on what you are asking your website visitors to do and more often than not, they will respond by doing exactly what you have asked them to do.
Crank your SaaS Marketing up a Notch
The above five strategies are some of the tried and tested successful SaaS marketing techniques. However, the world is continuously changing and business must evolve too to stay afloat. There is no substitute for experimentation. So, make these strategies your base and build your own SaaS marketing techniques that work best for your company. Need help? The experts at OneIMS are always happy to help.