SaaS Marketing Guide [How to Market SAAS Product]
Creating an efficient Saas marketing strategy is not easy.
While traditional companies can follow more traditional methods to achieve steady growth, SaaS companies follow a completely different business model. They need other digital marketing strategies to succeed.
Fortunately, many successful SaaS companies have already developed methods to reach and convert ideal customers. Marketing SaaS products involves a lot of challenges, but also great opportunities if you learn and implement great marketing strategies.
Continue reading to learn all about SaaS marketing and how you can succeed with marketing as a SaaS company.
Is Saas marketing really different?
The most obvious difference between SaaS companies and traditional product-based companies is that software is not a physical or concrete object in the same way.
For example, convincing a user that your tool really deserves to be an integral part of their daily routines tends to be a slightly harder task than persuading someone to buy a pair of shoes.
Is there a difference between a digital product compared to selling a physical one? The short answer is yes.
While many companies and retailers generate revenue from one-time purchases, the SaaS model is much more dependent on subscriptions and recurring benefits. This is one of the greatest benefits of SaaS as it means that you have a lifetime value of a customer that greatly surpasses that of one-time buyers of physical products.
At the same time, it can be more difficult to acquire customers in the first place. This is why a solid SaaS marketing strategy is so important.
An important factor in how difficult the marketing and customer acquisition will be is the complexity of your product. The more complex your product is, the more important it is for you to convince and explain.
The sales cycle of SaaS product follow a distinct, three-step process:
- Acquisitions: Get new users
- Revenue generation: Convert these users to paying customers
- Retention: convince the paying customer to stay
And while marketers in more traditional companies tend to focus primarily on the acquisition, it would be a big mistake for all SaaS companies.
So even if customer acquisitions can have a great impact on growth, it is actually more important to retain them. All SaaS marketing strategies must take into account all three to be effective.
1. Create valuable content that your target audience wants to consume
Most SaaS companies now know that Content marketing is one of the best ways to acquire new users. As a matter of fact, content is the foundation for many online marketing tactics. Search engine optimization and Social media marketing are just two examples. In addition, content is important both for paid and organic marketing.
Whilst marketing for SaaS includes many different parts, SEO can be extremely valuable because when potential customers search for something on Google, they search with intent. They are looking for a tool that can help them do something, and that something could be exactly what you are looking for. In other words, these people are ready to buy. But to reach them via SEO, you need content (and a solid SEO strategy).
The fact that many companies are investing more and more into their content strategy, leads to an improvement in the overall quality.
But it also means that if you want this strategy to work for your business, it will be required more than just publishing a blog post every two weeks.
Now that almost all SaaS companies are present and work actively online to promote their brand and services, “Good” Content is no longer good enough; To get the results you want, you must be willing to put down the time it takes to find unique angles for your business and provide amazing value for your audience.
When it comes to marketing, something that has proven to be extremely effective and valuable for attracting customers is case studies.
One study showed that compared to other types of customer stories and testimonies, respondents were much more likely and willing to pay for a product after reading a case study.
So if you want to improve your results in the revenue generation phase, the answer to the type of content you should create is quite clear.
Take a look at your users, identify customers who have experienced positive results from using the product, and ask if they are willing to be presented in a case study.
Then combine data illustrating their success with some background information about their company and goals. This content could prove to be really valuable for your SaaS company.
Finally, it is important to note that Content can also be used to improve customer retention.
2. Generate Leads with free trials
The ability to offer free test periods is an advantage that SaaS company has in front of them, unlike a more traditional business model.
An electronics store can, for example, not only give all the potential buyers a free TV to try for 30 days – at least not without encountering a logistic nightmare at the end of the trial period.
For SaaS companies, this process is much easier and this can, of course, be leveraged to your advantage.
There is nothing to return at the end of a test period, whether a user decides to proceed with a paid plan or not.
This means that there is a relatively low entry barrier and a virtually non-existent cost for you.
3. Look for ways to encourage activation
During the customer acquisition process, getting a customer to register for a free trial is only half the battle. The other half is to make them actually use your software.
But it does not mean you should send them an e-mail every few days to remind users about how much time they have left.
Instead, you can take a strategic approach by determining what measures get test users to become paying customers.
And while the exact actions are different for each product, you must identify what they are for your product – then create a strategy to encourage users to take these measures.
Then create a call to action that instruct test users to complete the steps you identified as the strongest correlation with conversions to paid subscriptions.
Automated e-mail campaigns are a great way to deliver relevant content to test users, tailor-made after where they are in the activation process.
Each message is based on the measures a user has done (or hasn’t done) to maximize the use of a product during the test period.
The goal here is that each user becomes as familiar with your product as possible while it is free.
At the end of the test period, they know exactly what they can get by becoming a paid customer and subscriber. And more importantly, what they will miss out on if they don’t.
4. Give users a reason to recommend the product
Most marketers are well aware of the value of recommendations and word of mouth – both offline and online.
Considering that about 80% seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase, it is safe to say that a positive review from a reliable source can affect a potential buyer’s view of your brand.
But it is not always easy to get even the most satisfied customers to tell others about your business.
So to make this a sustainable marketing strategy you need to offer your users something in return.
For example, users can receive a free month of using the product by writing a recommendation.
And even if it makes sense to give away some features for free for your particular product, it is still a strategy that you can use for your brand.
In addition to this, many companies have also developed their own affiliate programs to get new users. Or more correctly, to get other people to generate customers for them.
Affiliate marketing means collaboration between a website or blog and an advertiser of a product. Simply explained, affiliate marketing is based on marketers generating traffic for your website and promoting your products with their own traceable links. If a lead, in turn, becomes a new subscriber, the SaaS company pays out a commission to its affiliate.
Of course, the best strategy is governed for your company by both your product and marketing budget.
But as long as you can build a user base of satisfied customers and you offer something of clear value in exchange for their recommendations and reviews, this can be an extremely powerful addition to your marketing strategy.
5. Experiment with pricing
If you are used to a more traditional sales model, pricing may not seem to be a marketing strategy. This is because, in more traditional business contexts, they have very little to do with each other. But within the SaaS business model, they go hand in hand.
Converting to paying customers is a large part of SaaS marketing campaigns, and pricing plays an important role in this process.
A study showed that companies that consistently optimize their pricing have a six times LTV / CAC ratio than those who do not (lifetime value, customer acquisition cost).
Pricing models can also play a role in creating a steady flow of revenue for your business.
Expansion revenues make up less than 10% of monthly revenues for subscription-based companies – which means that your success ultimately depends on your ability to generate ongoing subscriptions.
And from a cash flow point of view, the best case is to make customers register with an annual subscription.
But you want to run some experiments to find out the best way to offer these subscriptions to your customers. The most effective approach is not always the most obvious.
For example, customers are more likely to benefit from an offer that gives them something for free, instead of giving something with an X percent discount.
So if you try to get users to switch from a monthly plan to an annual one, it can be more effective to offer a “free month” than a 10% discount – even if the other is technically a better deal.
Although this may seem like a smaller semantic difference, even a slight increase in the conversion rate can have a great impact on your chances of getting valuable subscriptions. Remember that a lot of SaaS companies stay for a long time.
And considering that each of these subscriptions can be translated directly to revenue, it should obviously be said that the time it takes to run some experiments is more than worth the dividend.
6. Advertise through Google Ads
Google Ads is still a very effective marketing strategy that allows you to show your business when people are looking for something that matches what your company offers.
In this way, you can, for example, create text ads that appear when people are looking for specific words and sentences related to your business.
This is similar to SEO, but the big difference is that since you pay for the ads, you get instant results and start reaching people immediately. You can also scale it much quicker by simply increasing your budget.
7. Text ads brokers
You can also use a variety of other ad formats such as banner ads.
The opportunities with Google Ads are the least many. A great advantage is that it fits all types of budgets, no matter how large or small they may be. You choose how much money you want to spend!
8. Search engine optimization
We have already discussed SEO above, which should be a part of all SaaS companies’ marketing strategies. But SEO should be complemented by other marketing efforts and you should not only rely on SEO.
The benefits of search engine optimization are many. Firstly, it costs nothing, unless you take the help of an SEO agency or consultant while building something more long-term. Furthermore, results can be generated from your SEO efforts many years after they were performed.
The challenge, on the other hand, is that search engine optimization is a complex area in constant change. It takes time and expertise in order to succeed.
9 Advertising on social media
Search engines are not the only marketing channel where you can reach out to potential customers. It’s no news that also social media can be a very effective marketing strategy for generating new customers. The world of social media is really huge and we can spend hours and hours discussing each and every social media platform and different strategies.
Just know that for many SaaS companies, social media plays a central role in their marketing strategy.
Commonly asked questions
What is SaaS marketing?
SaaS (Software as a Service) marketing refers to the strategies, tactics, and techniques used to promote and sell software products that are delivered and accessed via the internet, rather than through traditional methods such as on-premises installations. Some of the key elements of SaaS marketing include:
- Lead generation: Identifying and targeting potential customers who are interested in your software and have a need for it. This can be done through a variety of methods such as content marketing, social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.
- Product demos: Showing potential customers how your software works and how it can benefit them. This can be done through webinars, video tutorials, or live product demonstrations.
- Landing pages: Creating web pages that are specifically designed to convert visitors into leads or customers. These pages should be optimized for conversions, and include a call-to-action (CTA) button that encourages visitors to sign up for a free trial, schedule a demo, or make a purchase.
- Search engine optimization: Optimizing your website and its content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. This helps to increase visibility and drive more traffic to your website.
- Retention and upselling: Keeping existing customers engaged and satisfied with your software, and encouraging them to upgrade to more advanced versions or purchase additional products.
- Referral marketing: Encouraging existing customers to refer others to your software.
- Partner marketing: Partnering with other companies that can help you promote your software to new audiences.
- Influencer marketing: Leveraging the reach and credibility of influencers in your industry to promote your software.
In summary, SaaS marketing involves a combination of various strategies and tactics that are used to promote and sell software products that are delivered and accessed through the internet. Some key elements of SaaS marketing include lead generation, product demos, landing pages, search engine optimization, retention and upselling, referral marketing, partner marketing, and influencer marketing.
How do you develop a SaaS marketing strategy?
Developing a SaaS marketing strategy involves several steps:
- Define your target audience: Understand who your ideal customers are and what their needs and pain points are. This will help you create messaging and content that resonates with them and addresses their concerns.
- Conduct market research: Research your competition and the market trends to understand what is working in your industry and what is not. This will help you identify opportunities and differentiate your offering from others.
- Define your value proposition: Clearly communicate the unique value that your software provides to customers. This will help you attract and retain customers who are looking for a specific solution.
- Set marketing goals and objectives: Identify what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts, whether it be lead generation, customer acquisition, or revenue growth. Setting specific, measurable goals will help you track your progress and make adjustments as needed.
- Identify your key performance indicators (KPIs): Determine which metrics will be most important to track to measure the success of your marketing efforts. Examples include website traffic, lead generation, customer acquisition, and revenue growth.
- Develop a content marketing strategy: Create valuable and informative content that addresses the pain points of your target audience and positions your software as a solution. This can include blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and case studies.
- Optimize your website: Make sure your website is technically sound, easy to navigate, and optimized for conversions. This includes ensuring that the website is mobile-friendly, fast, secure, and accessible to users with disabilities.
- Build your online presence: Build your online presence through social media, email marketing, and paid advertising to attract and engage potential customers.
- Create a lead nurturing program: Once you’ve generated leads, use email marketing and automated workflows to nurture them and guide them through the sales funnel.
- Measure and optimize: Continuously measure the results of your marketing efforts and use data to optimize your strategy and improve results over time.
How do SaaS attract customers?
SaaS companies can attract customers through a variety of channels, including:
- Content marketing: Creating valuable and informative content that addresses the pain points of your target audience and positions your software as a solution can attract potential customers to your website. This can include blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and case studies.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website for search engines can help increase your visibility in search results and attract more visitors to your website.
- Social media: Building a presence on social media platforms can help you connect with potential customers, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website.
- Paid advertising: Using paid advertising, such as Google Ads or social media advertising, can help you reach a larger audience and generate leads more quickly.
- Referral marketing: Encouraging existing customers to refer others to your software can help you acquire new customers at a lower cost.
- PR: Securing media coverage can help you establish credibility and reach new audiences.
- Influencer marketing: Partnering with influencers in your industry can help you reach a larger audience and establish credibility.
- Events: Hosting or participating in events and trade shows can help you connect with potential customers and establish relationships with industry leaders.
- Free trial or freemium model: Offering a free trial or freemium version of your software can help potential customers test the software before committing to a purchase, which can increase the likelihood of them becoming paying customers.
- Guided tours or demos: Organizing guided tours or demos of your software can help potential customers understand the value of your software and increase the likelihood of them becoming paying customers.
Is selling SaaS difficult?
Selling SaaS (Software as a Service) can be challenging, but it also offers many benefits and opportunities. Some of the challenges of selling SaaS include:
- High competition: There are many SaaS companies in the market, and competition is fierce. This means that you need to be able to effectively communicate the value of your software and differentiate it from your competitors.
- Long sales cycles: The sales process for SaaS can be longer than for other types of products. This is because potential customers need to evaluate the software and its capabilities before making a decision.
- High customer acquisition costs: Acquiring customers for SaaS products can be expensive, as it often requires a significant investment in marketing and sales efforts.
- Difficulty in demonstrating value: It can be difficult to demonstrate the value of SaaS products to potential customers, especially when the software is complex or difficult to understand.
- Difficulty in forecasting revenue: SaaS companies often have difficulty forecasting revenue, as the sales process is often longer and more complex than for other types of products.
Despite these challenges, selling SaaS also offers many benefits, such as:
- Recurring revenue: SaaS products generate recurring revenue, which can provide a steady stream of income for the business.
- Low overhead: SaaS products do not require significant investment in inventory or physical goods, which can help keep overhead costs low.
- High scalability: SaaS products can be easily scaled to meet the needs of a growing customer base.
- Low customer churn: SaaS products can help companies retain customers by providing ongoing value and support.
- Access to customer data: SaaS companies can collect data on how their software is being used, which can help them improve their products and services.
What are the KPIs for SaaS sales?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for SaaS sales include:
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) – measures the predictable revenue generated from the sales of subscriptions.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – measures the cost of acquiring a new customer.
- Lifetime Value (LTV) – measures the total revenue generated by a customer over the course of their lifetime.
- Churn Rate – measures the percentage of customers who cancel or do not renew their subscriptions.
- Sales Cycle Length – measures the length of time it takes to close a sale.
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) – measures the number of leads that have been identified as having the potential to become customers.
- Sales Productivity – measures the number of deals closed by a sales rep or team over a given period of time.
- Sales Funnel Metrics – These are the conversion rates at different stages of the sales funnel like leads to opportunity, opportunity to demo, demo to close, and so on.
- Sales Quota Attainment – measures the percentage of sales reps who meet or exceed their quotas.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) – measures the likelihood of customers recommending a product or service to others.