The Complete Guide to Understand SaaS Marketing

  • August 2, 2021
  • Entrepreneurs

    ,

    Marketing

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On this page:

  • Understanding SaaS Marketing
  • The SaaS Funnel
  • Effective Techniques for SaaS Marketing
  • Steps to Launch a New SaaS Product
  • Engagement Plan for Trial Users
  • The Suitable Social Media Platforms for SaaS Products
  • Social Media Strategy for SaaS Products
  • Hiring SaaS Resources
  • Conclusion

Understanding SaaS Marketing

If you’ve ever wondered about the question “What is SaaS marketing?” then I have the answer for you.

Let’s break the term “SaaS marketing” down. You probably already know what marketing is – the practice of promoting your products and services through various channels.

SaaS is short for software-as-a-service, which is a license for any cloud-based program accessible from any device. SaaS products are intangible, which makes them unique.

The success of SaaS products depends highly on the customer experience they offer. If you have the perfect combination of great software and outstanding customer experience – it’s an indication your SaaS marketing plan is working.

SaaS marketing is the strategy to push SaaS products towards the target audience. If you do it right, you can attract more users.

Some people might argue that great software sells itself – but before that happens, you need some techniques to increase user engagement.

When you start SaaS marketing, you might realize one of the biggest challenges is the difference in software.

It can be difficult to attract customers to new software; however, there are ways to work around that. You could offer a 30-day trial period, paid membership, or a freemium model. The trial allows your target audience to experience your software first-hand and understand why it’s better.

One of the biggest pros of SaaS marketing is that you can offer the complete product to the target market; give them a taste of what they need.

The SaaS Funnel

The SaaS funnel is the essence of the buyer’s journey – it is an insight into the prospect’s intentions with your product. If you track the SaaS funnel closely, you can identify the flaws in your SaaS marketing efforts and the buyer journey.

In order to get leads, you need to study your competitors and mimic what they’re doing with a unique spin. The end goal is to increase your conversions with the solutions you have to offer.

Traditionally, the SaaS sales funnel has four core steps that you need to follow.

  • Attracting your target audience
  • Converting customers into leads
  • Maturing leads into customers
  • Encouraging customers to buy further

saas marketing

Stage #1: Attract

Use purposeful and targeted content to attract users who are looking to try something new. Content with a target tends to attract more potential buyers and adds meaning to your SaaS marketing efforts. It also ensures only genuine customers contact you.

Stage #2: Convert

Once you have interested customers, the next phase is to confer the customers into possible leads. Invite them to sign up for your product via freemium or trial models and continue using content to keep them on board. Don’t stop marketing just because you have potential customers – continue to entice your target audience.

Stage #3: Close

Now your customers are engaged with your brand; the next phase is to nurture your relationship with them. Give them reasons to trust you, and build trustworthy relationships to motivate them to become premium members.

Stage #4: Delight

This is the stage where it all comes together – you either make it or you break it. Offer your customers excellent services combined with constant support to make them happy. If your clientele is happy, they’re likely to pay more for your services and recommend you to their peers. That’s a great marketing opportunity for your SaaS product, right there!

The attracting and conversion phases are about generating new leads through SaaS marketing content and addressing customer needs. The target should be to build a connection between your SaaS product and the customers that stems from their concerns.

The closing and delighting phases emphasize on making the buyer journey smooth and painless. If the customers have a great experience during these phases, they will willingly return or continue using your SaaS product.

Effective SaaS Marketing Strategies

These days, most SaaS platforms are obsessed with generating leads, which makes B2B marketing tactics a fail.

Your SaaS product needs to address customer issues that are ongoing and might happen in the future. This means your customers should have a clear idea of how your SaaS platform will benefit them in the long run. If you can do this successfully, it’ll help you stand out from the crowd.

To do so, you need SaaS marketing strategies relevant to today’s market. I’ve made a list of the latest SaaS marketing techniques stemming from the original tactics.

The methods will help you devise a better marketing strategy.

1.      Devise A Content Marketing Strategy

Potential customers look for the reason that explains why your SaaS product can help them. To convey this message, you need to adopt a SaaS content marketing strategy. People search for answers to their problems online, and your content can provide that.

Of course, building your presence with a SaaS company blog will require time. To compete in the market, consistency is key. You need persona-driven, informative, and attractive content that attracts users to your product.

The ideal strategy is to answer the queries your potential buyers are looking for; to offer them a relevant solution. The strategy is part of SaaS inbound marketing.

2.      Attract With Free SaaS Trials

SaaS companies have a unique advantage over regular companies – they can offer their product for free as a trial. The advantage allows them to attract more customers to their product and convert them into permanent users.

They have very little to lose because of the intangibility of their SaaS product. The companies can offer various features during the trial period like:

  • Social media logins
  • Referral bonus
  • Add friends
  • Unlimited customer support
  • Basic features

At the end of the trial period, you can offer your SaaS platform for a discounted price that encourages users to buy. You can also use the trial period to understand what your target audience likes and dislikes then use the information to make it better.

The better your SaaS platform, the more users will prefer it over others.

3.      Emphasize on SEO

While creating your onsite blogs, it’s necessary to optimize them using SEO techniques. If they don’t have essential keywords, the search engines won’t divert the right traffic to your website.

Much like blogs, your website also needs attention SEO-wise. Every piece of content on your website pages should be SEO-optimized to facilitate the sales funnel. Your SEO practices will help you get leads and keep the funnel going.

The ideal goal of an SEO strategy is to improve your search engine ranking so that your website is the first link users see when they search for keywords. If you can rank organically in the first three spots, you won’t need to buy any ads from Google.

With that said, you can only optimize your website and blogs with SEO if you do your research. Thorough research using SEO tools will help you identify keywords your target audience uses to find similar SaaS products.

4.      Start PPC Campaigns

If you notice your content and SEO strategies aren’t generating enough organic buzz, maybe it’s time for something stronger – PPC Campaigns.

Before you jump in with all your money, make sure to do your research on keywords. You need to find keywords that are ranking the highest on Google and then put your money there. There are variations of keywords, so choose the ones relevant to your SaaS product.

If you’re confused between SEO and PPC, let me tell you they’re both equally important! With SEO, you only need resources; however, with PPC, you need resources and money to run campaigns.

PPC is short for pay-per-click, meaning you’re charged every time someone from your target audience clicks your ad link. To do this, you need to put your money on the keyword that is a top performer.

Moreover, pay attention to the ad quality score – do your research on why Google ranks certain SaaS products, but yours is falling behind. The reason for this is usually a wrongly placed ad. To avoid this, match your ad with the buyer’s intent.

5.      Host Q/A Sessions

Do you know what kind of SaaS companies’ customers trust easily? The ones that are transparent about everything.

Customers hate it when companies hide things like additional charges or answers to basic questions. To remove the barrier between you and your target audience, you can hold a Q/A session on social media.

The Q/A session will be a gateway to connect with your customers and understand their needs. Then you can use the information to build trust between your SaaS product and target audience.

However, before you decide to host a Q/A session, make sure to market it on various social media platforms and your website. Get the word out that you’ll be coming live to answer every query so that your target customers understand your SaaS product better. Why do they need to understand your product? Because SaaS-based tools and software are more technical so they’ll need a rundown of what makes you better and how things work.

6.      Be Very Responsive Online

Imagine you’re in a store, and you need to get your screen protector replaced. You’ve been standing there for 20 minutes, but the store is overcrowded, and no one’s listening to you. How does that make you feel? Unheard. Annoyed. Irritated. To say the least.

Much like that, your customers feel all those things if you ignore them on social media platforms. In the fast-paced digital world, everyone is going digital. When people run into problems, the first thing they do is go online and leave a message on business pages.

After leaving a query, they expect to get an answer within 60 minutes, and it’s your job to address them. If you fail to be responsive, it just annoys them further, leading to the abandonment of your SaaS product.

Additionally, if you’re cautious about responding via social media platforms, it earns you a “responsive” badge. Facebook is a great example of this. The platform places the badge for very responsive business pages, which you can use in your SaaS marketing strategy.

7.      Leverage SaaS Review Sites

For SaaS companies, there are multiple review sites that customers trust completely. Since customers trust reviews, they never download or use any SaaS products without reading reviews due to the fear of getting hacked. These are the sites you need to build your reputation.

Your goal is to be represented well on these websites so that your business grows faster and better. Check out the websites to ensure you’re on their list.

8.      Incentive-Based Referrals

You’ll be surprised to know what SaaS customers would do to enjoy your SaaS platform for another month of free service. They would refer your SaaS program in their circle, like your social media page, share your content on their social media, etc. A referral system is one of the most common methods to reach a wider target audience.

Ideally, if you have a long-term customer who loves your SaaS platform, they’re ripe enough to ask for referrals. You can ask those customers to refer your SaaS platform for a reward.

The key is to study your customers’ behavior and then to find ways to encourage them. If you offer them something they’re interested in, you’re bound to attract new customers.

9.      Make Sign-Up Easy

When you develop a SaaS platform, make sure the signup process is as easy as ABC. Too many steps while signing up can irritate the customer, which can lead to abandonment.

Make sure to review your signup page and make it as concise as possible.

10.  Use Clear CTAs

One of the most important elements of a SaaS platform is the CTAs. The CTAs or Call-to-Action buttons should be in proper places where the customers can see them. Whether it’s existing customers or attracting new customers – the CTAs should be properly visible.

Have a look at the kind of CTAs your competitors are using, and try to integrate the same sort of design.

Steps to Launch a New SaaS Product

Chances are, the SaaS platform you’re about to offer your target audience already has variations in the market, and people love it.

It’ll be challenging to acquire a place in the saturated market; hence, there is a process you can use to make a dent.

Step #1: Build Your Audience

The first step is to create a user base before you jump into the market.

When you build a potential audience, it adds value to your product, and more people willingly engage with you.

Here, you have the chance to market your product using your customers’ pain points. For example, your new SaaS software allows businesses to calculate payrolls for the month at a given date automatically. To market the software, you’ll explain the problem to your audience and then show them how your SaaS software makes the tedious task a piece of cake. You can market it using animated videos, blog posts, or podcasts.

The customers will relate to the problem and understand your offerings. However, it’s important to keep in mind that authenticity is the driving force to attract pre-launch customers. If you use sincerity and honesty, the audience will engage with you.

The entire process creates a trustworthy relationship and earns you loyal subscribers who become long-term customers.

Step #2: Create Hype for The Product

When you start building an audience, you focus on using all the SaaS marketing essentials available at your disposal.

It starts from leaving small hints via email marketing and social media. If the efforts pay off and people choose to engage with you – then that means you have genuine subscribers interested in what you’re offering!

Now, you might have the temptation to start monetizing your new subscribers, and that’s okay, but trust me, if you go too hardcore on making money, you could lose customers. The trick is to ease into it.

You have your customers, so don’t go from a free model to a sales pitch – that’s just a turn-off. Yes, you can make a “sales pitch,” but do it discreetly. The efforts should make the customers want to spend instead of feeling like they have to spend.

As you continue creating and posting more content, you can slowly fuse it with your sales pitch. After some time, you’ll have a combination that will help your customers understand how your product serves as a solution.

Step #3: Partner Up with An Influencer

Everything You Need To Know

While you’re increasing your subscriber count, make sure to reach active followers – followers who bring value to your product.

In this regard, reaching out to influencers can prove very fruitful. Talk to famous influencers with a significant following and offer them a plan that benefits you and them.

For starters, ask them to test your SaaS product for free and share the tutorial with their followers. Once you have a list of influencers, maximize them to your advantage.

Here are a few things you can do with them:

  • Offer them to blog about your SaaS product.
  • Co-host a webinar with them showcasing your product.
  • Invite them as guest speakers for a podcast.
  • Ask them to promote your product on all their social media channels.
  • Provide them with a referral code to share with their followers.
  • Give them a referral amount every time they bring in a customer.

The influencers will also help you create hype for your product, and they’ll most likely become your first choice for SaaS marketing.

Step #4: Offer Early Access

The proven strategy for a SaaS product will always be launching it to the public directly. Harness the hype and reputation you created in the previous stages and invite potential users to your product for early signups.

To gain early subscribers, you can offer a discounted price or a special one-month trial offer. It’ll make your product launch exclusive.

You can also add extra benefits to entice your early signups into becoming long-term customers – ensuring they don’t abandon your SaaS product after availing the benefits.

Ideally, if you plan to attract 250 signups, try to work on your list until it reaches 350-400 signups.

The number might vary product-wise but always aim for the stars.

Step #5: Engage Early Sign-Ups Without Monetization

Don’t just stop after you’ve gained an early signup list; because that will lose value with time.

Once you have your signups, don’t wait too long to engage with them because customers lose interest fast; the key is nurturing them until the product release date.

What you can do is automate some follow-up messages that let your users know you’re present while you maintain the hype.

Here are some ideas for keeping up the hype:

  • Attractive product emails
  • Influencer marketing
  • Testimonials
  • Launch countdown
  • Behind the scenes
  • Webinar invitations
  • Product benefit video

If you keep your signup list engaged and excited, they’ll stick around to see the final reveal. Make sure to offer customers new information about your SaaS product to keep them at their toes – these early signups could become your loyal customers who get the word out.

Tips for Trial Users Engagement Plan

After you attract users for the free trial, the end goal is to convert them into regular, paying customers for your SaaS product.

To ensure that, you need to implement an engagement plan that starts from the trial period. However, when I say engagement plan, I don’t mean flooding the users’ smartphones with offers and discounts – that’s just annoying.

The trick is to engage with them enough to make your presence known – if you go overboard, the customers might end up abandoning your SaaS product.

What’s more important is you offer them helpful information that motivates them to make purchases. Let your customers find their own way while you create multiple touchpoints for them.

People prefer making their own decisions, and you need to offer them the answers they need without forcing your SaaS product on them.

Here are some tips you can use to create an engagement system and nurture your early signups.

1.      Understand Buyer Intention

If you plan to convert your free trial customers to paying customers, the first tip is to identify and understand their intentions.

Study your customers closely to understand their buyer intention. Find answers to the questions:

  • What do they like or dislike about the product?
  • What is common behavior?
  • Do they have any recommendations?

For example, 96% of your customers might have six common things you might notice during the trial period.

In addition to that, evaluate the common things of the other 4% who don’t become buyers.

Now, use the data to identify the triggers encouraging the purchase and apply the techniques to the non-buying and new users.

2.      Lead Your Buyer to Purchase

Sometimes a SaaS product can pose as too technical for some users, which makes them abandon it.

Study your trial period users closely to understand the difficulties they’re experiencing. The practice will highlight the areas you can make better to encourage purchases.

If you have a list of buyers who choose not to buy at a specific point, then you need to do everything you can to help them continue the purchase.

For example, here are some tricks websites use:

  • Send reminder emails like “your subscription is about to end.”
  • Push notifications to market discounts.

Use the information to understand why users didn’t proceed towards the paid version. Perhaps the CTA was unclickable, or the price was too high for them. In any case, the problem might be simple, but it needs an instant solution.

The key is to remove as many barriers as you can to mature sales.

3.      Integration A Trigger System

The last trick is to integrate a trigger system within your SaaS product. The system will track all steps the users take and help you see their behavior patterns. You can use behavior analysis to target the right content at the right step.

When the right content is targeted, it will allow you to create various touchpoints for your customers while boosting engagement.

Your job is to ensure users interact with your mobile app frequently, and the triggers will help you follow up on unfinished tasks to move users along in the sale cycles.

How do triggers work?

For example, a user gets distracted on Step C while singing up and forgets about it the first two days; the trigger system can send a reminder that says, “Hey Carla, we noticed you didn’t complete Step C. Can we help with it? Here’s a how-to video, or just contact us.”

The triggers need to be conversational and helpful, not pushy or salesy. Use the data you have on your user behaviors and set up the triggers according to your customers.

Additionally, you can also add emails with memes or limericks to keep things interesting.

Marketing Platforms to Promote SaaS Products

Marketing channels vary from SaaS product to SaaS product – what might benefit one may not benefit the other. However, the one constant fact is:

You need at least one primary social media channel to share product-related content.

Finding the right marketing channel for your SaaS product is a trial-and-error process. You need to test out different platforms before you can pick one that reaches the most audience.

Factors that can influence your choice are usually:

  • Type of content you want to share.
  • The audience you want to reach.
  • The nature of your SaaS product.

Remember, even your best content is useless if your audience can’t see it on the channel you publish.

Here’s a peek at the marketing channels proven to be the best for SaaS companies.

1.      Website Blog

A website blog comes highly recommended for various reasons, and here are some.

Firstly, you can use your blog to publish your original content, and you can use the blog to get more subscribers. The blog content belongs to you, and so does the subscriber data.

Secondly, your blog is the part of your website you can promote on all other marketing channels. You only need to understand what answers your audience is looking for and then present a blog related to that. This drives traffic to your website and earns you a contact list.

You can’t solely rely on a single platform to publish content because what if the platform suddenly shuts down? You lose your connection to the audience and all your data.

Thirdly, you can benefit from SEO marketing if you choose to run a blog. SEO optimized content drives traffic to your website through search engines. It boosts your page rankings and well page views.

2.      Facebook

Despite the fact that Facebook is deemed a platform for the older generation, the platform continues to grow. The channel might be a little behind, but it’s still a great channel to market products.

Facebook has one of the best metrics to target a specific audience using Facebook ads and live stories. It has detailed lists of audiences you can target and attract towards your SaaS product.

Facebook offers several ways for you to present your content. You can create campaigns, events, promote blogs, or attract signups for free trials.

Even Facebook groups have drastically changed and converted into a pool where you can promote your SaaS product. Businesses can use groups to reach a specific audience that can benefit from their SaaS product.

If you want to increase engagement, groups are the best way to do that!

3.      Instagram

Instagram’s popularity continues to grow at a rapid pace; if anything, the marketing channel has more influencers than any other platform. That’s because Instagram is one of the best mobile apps and people love spending their time on their smartphones.

Instagram stories and feeds are a very effective way to market your SaaS product and blog. You can also use the feed posts to share an attractive image with a mini blog under the caption – that’s a very common practice.

Aside from a website blog, Instagram is an excellent channel to reach your audience and highlight the best features of your SaaS product.

4.      Twitter

Twitter is supposedly a fast-paced social media channel. The channel is famous for its feed, and to be present there, you need to publish very regularly. Some professionals recommend posting on Twitter more than once a day so that you’re visible more often.

Of course, before you can start posting, you need to find the right time to post and the type of content your target market enjoys. The key is to be original; if you overthink too much, it could reflect in your tweets.

Tweets move rapidly, so you need to make an impact on your audience and follow some practices:

  • Keep your posting frequent and consistent.
  • Add industry-wise hashtags to target your audience.
  • Use a hashtag unique to your SaaS product.
  • Use hashtags to partake in conversations you have input for.
  • Tweet your own content to see what your audience retweets.
  • Have a consistent tone.

Twitter works differently than other channels, and things move fast, so try to keep up.

5.      YouTube

YouTube is the second most-used channel after Google which means it can help exponentially with exposure and audience boost.

The platform allows users to create brand-wise channels and share branded videos, product demos, behind-the-scenes videos, ads, etc.

You can use YouTube to post videos that offer insights about your SaaS product. Here are some video ideas for you:

  • Product demo videos
  • How-to videos about your product.
  • Videos that highlighting the benefits of your product.
  • Animated videos.
  • Company videos.

The YouTube content can help resolve many of your customers’ queries, but you need to plan it out properly. Add your YouTube videos to the social media plans you create for other social media platforms.

Here’s a lit of ways you can use your YouTube videos with other platforms:

  • Embed YouTube videos from your channel in your website blog.
  • Publish them on Facebook and LinkedIn to attract customers.
  • Run campaigns using the videos for maximum reach.
  • Post video teasers on Instagram and Twitter and direct traffic to your YouTube.

6.      LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the number one channel to reach B2B customers in the list of marketing channels – you can’t find any B2B clients more than LinkedIn.

The platform is a social media channel, but in nature, it’s intended for professional use, and the content available is also the same.

Now, this means SaaS companies can leverage LinkedIn to reach professional and high-end clients in the business sector. If you go premium, you can reach numerous clients and attract them to your SaaS product.

If you’re successful in your industry, LinkedIn can even invite you to become an influencer, improving your credibility.

LinkedIn offers a promising possibility to start building your enterprise network – you just have to work for it.

The Social Media Strategy for SaaS Products

Generally, every new product goes through three phases: Traction, Transition, & Growth.

Everything a SaaS company does for its new product should be tailored around these phases for smooth sailing.

Everything You Need To Know

Here are the five steps to use that will ensure the success of your SaaS marketing efforts.

Step #1: Define Your Marketing Goals

Of course, before you commence your marketing strategy, you need to define your goals. You should have achievable qualitative and quantitative goals.

Look at how to identify your goals:

  • Identify your SMART Marketing goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time-bound). For example, you could hope to achieve 560 free trial users in one week.
  • Break your long-term goals into multiple small ones. For example, divide your 560 users by the number of days; let’s say try to onboard 80 new users per day. It makes the major goal more achievable.

Step #2: Identify Your Audience

The next step is recognizing your target audience. You can define your users by understanding who they are, where they’re reachable, and who can benefit from your SaaS product.

There are some attributes you need on paper to identify your audience, and they are:

  • Demographics
  • Pain points
  • Challenges
  • Influencers
  • Psychographics
  • The social media platform they prefer
  • Solutions to their problems

Step #3: Choose Effective Channels & Tactics

Now, remember when I said you need to identify the channels that will work for you? This is where you do that – define the channels based on your goals. Your social media channel of choice will make or break your SaaS marketing strategy.

Your goal is to acquire as many users as possible. Choose social media channels based on these metrics:

  • The channels that can help you increase your profit margins.
  • Identify the channel with the largest market size based on the target audience you identified in the last step.
  • The control a social media channel offers you over your marketing spend.
  • The scalability of the channel.

Don’t forget that social media channel algorithms change over time; working today might not work later. To avoid this, make sure to change up your strategy accordingly.

Step #4: Track Your Progress & Find New Opportunities

  • To ensure the growth and progress of your SaaS marketing strategy, you need to monitor your current efforts.
  • How can you do that? Find out below:
  • Use a metrics system like Google Analytics and Facebook Business Manager.
  • Document everything you find that works and doesn’t work.
  • Run experiments to identify effective strategies.

Step #5: Scale Your SaaS Marketing Plan

Once your SaaS marketing plan is in place, don’t forget to scale it accordingly to a larger audience or other social media channels. Another key for growth is exploring new opportunities in the market.

If you’re thinking about scaling your current strategy, then go back to step 3 and follow the criteria:

  • Profit margins
  • Control
  • Scalability
  • Market size

Make sure to identify your new market before you jump into scaling.

In Conclusion

The rule of thumb is – make smart decisions. Don’t let anything cloud your judgment when it comes to your SaaS marketing strategy.

Your efforts should lead you towards profitability and make you revenue-centric. However, when you do this, don’t forget that everything you do needs to be about your users.

SaaS marketing differs from company to company – what works for one might not work for the other, and it’s all about trial and error.

Shameen

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I'm an enthusiastic content writer who loves facing challenges and knocking them out of the park.