Marketing is a challenging task. But it becomes a behemoth undertaking when marketing something that isn’t tangible or is constantly changing. SaaS marketing varies greatly from virtually every type of marketing that we know of.
It could involve marketing a premium software product with a quirky name or a tech service that only a handful of B2B companies are interested in. In this article, we have discussed the basics of SaaS marketing, the current strategies used in this domain and provided a quick marketing plan to facilitate the process for beginners.
What is SaaS Marketing?
The new cloud-based economy is seeing a surge in software-as-a-service startups.
Currently, there are over 10,000 SaaS companies with a total of $225 billion market cap, which includes 50 publicly traded giants.
So, what exactly is SaaS marketing?
As is apparent by the name, software-as-a-service is a unique marketing type since there is no physical product that exchanges hands. It is an expanding subset since many of the software that were once purchased to install and operate have moved on to the cloud to be accessed via membership model only.
In simple words, SaaS is a software product that users don’t buy but subscribe to against recurring monthly, yearly or biennial charges. Examples: VPN products, cloud storage services like Dropbox, etc.
Considering the definition of SaaS products, the SaaS marketing strategies are only as capable as the service and support offered to users of its tools and technology. Superlative software and exceptional customer service form the basis of the SaaS marketing plan, both digital and otherwise.
Every SaaS marketing plan is case-sensitive, making it all the more elusive and mysterious. Examples and results differ, and the responsible marketing teams need to clarify how it works for each customer. An effective way is by offering a free trial of the product. The once widely used, tried and tested way that is happening right now is doling out a 30-day free trial or a free trial-to-paid membership being offered by almost all software.
The critical SaaS marketing essentials are email, website maintenance, social media, and SEM with PPC and SEO. The other more conventional options are brand, PR, and exhibitions, whose necessity cannot be ignored. Larger SaaS companies can further their cause through paid media such as TV, sponsorship, and print advertising.
7 Best SaaS Marketing Strategies for Software as a Service Products
The digital era has given birth to innovative marketing plans that are able to keep up with the latest technological advancements. Here are the topmost SaaS marketing strategies that can give you a fresh perspective about your own marketing campaign.
1. Utilize the Freemium model to market a SaaS Product
Dangle the carrot.
Any authentic SaaS is expected to offer a free trial or a Freemium product. The Freemium model offers users to experience their product with no time limit or charge. This gives people a chance to thoroughly vet the product, consider its benefits, and become used to it before committing to it for the long term for higher costs. Not only does your product create a list of loyal followers, but it also gives profound insight into user data.
While it’s possible that 95% of your users may not pay but when marketing to the masses, some addictive users will pay for enhanced benefits—such as increased storage, additional features, or support.
Some of the risks involved with running a freemium model are that it does cost capital to run, users cannot see the benefits of upgrading, and ROI requires a significant volume. However, revenues can be increased by offering to advertise or sell other compatible products instead of solely depending on free users to turn into payers.
2. Make use of Email Marketing to Grow SaaS product
Any SaaS marketer will tell you that building relationships with people who are using your product is cheaper than making strangers interested in the product. This is why email marketing can account for ROI as high as $42 per dollar spent. This is ridiculously unheard of for any kind of paid acquisition.
This makes B2B SaaS marketing make email its most effective medium. Its beauty lies in its evident simplicity since it is not that tough to get started. You can create a landing page or a sign-up option with a newsletter or an automated email drip. Once you have built a list, tap into automation tools that segment your audience and send personalized emails.
3. SaaS Content marketing strategy to drive traffic and conversions
Embrace content marketing.
Any potential customers that are likely to buy your product are already looking for a solution for their issues. This puts SaaS in a favorable position to use content marketing as a primary growth strategy.
In line with user behavior, SaaS marketing strategists are now using content to answer a precise question that prospective customers are asking. It isn’t as convenient as creating a few blogs. To thrive in the massive SaaS content marketing space, you need to produce consistently high-standard, personalized content that offers value to customers and is keyword optimized.
Your SaaS platform has the capacity to become a thought leader if the content is personalized and speaks to relevant pain points. For this, you should already know what question your ideal customers are asking and have a solution on hand that helps them solve it.
4. Execute a paid marketing plan for promoting your SaaS products
SaaS marketing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so some external help could be a welcome change. A SaaS marketing agency could be the answer to all your SaaS troubles. As you delegate this task to the experts, you can focus on other business areas that need your attention. By choosing a SaaS marketing agency, you have brought in some who have niche experience.
You can forgo the process of hiring an in-house team which can be an HR nightmare and push your marketing timeline back. You hire someone who already has the skill set, which means they’ll be up and running as soon as they arrive. SaaS marketing is what these companies do, which means that they will have a reputation that precedes them, proving their track record. So you can relax and let the gurus do their job.
You can always change them if they do not deliver according to your expectation which isn’t as easily done otherwise.
5. Harness the power of SEO to rank higher in Google for better visibility
While you focus on creating blog posts that are relevant and keyword optimized, don’t forget to do the same for your website. SaaS SEO is the key to getting leads into your sales funnel, and after that, it is up to you to nurture those leads.
The primary objective of SEO in your journey is to increase rankings that get you into the top results of Google search. This will save your company the need to buy ads for those search purposes.
The first step is gaining a deeper knowledge of your primary audience and researching keywords. Follow that with a revision of your content and meta-data to enhance rankings. During this process, the importance of backlinking (off-site content marketing technique) shouldn’t be overlooked since it is essential to your search engine ranking.
6. Conduct webinars for product education
People are bombarded with information on their social media feed which isn’t the way to attract their attention. A special bond needs to be developed if you want to attract prospective customers to your product. Webinars can help you achieve this by having a pleasant session about their problems and how they can be solved.
There is no risk involved with webinars as they are a tried and tested sales technique. This will help you put a human face behind your product/service that will increase people’s trust and make them choose your product over others.
7. Gather social proof with Reviews and customer success stories
Prospective customers want to hear from their peers about the experience they have with your product. This means setting up reviews and testimonials and linking on all your assets as a way of social proof. These can be done directly on your own channels or by listing it on third-part directories.
At this level, it’s important to incorporate decision-making stats along with testimonials and reviews. This step is estimated to increase the SaaS sales by 18%.
SaaS Marketing Plan - An Overview of The Blueprint
Behind every successful execution is a solid plan rooting from an average idea.
You have an idea, but how does that work without a concrete plan or a blueprint? A SaaS marketing plan is no different when it comes to ideas. With a detailed blueprint, you can understand the nitty-gritty and can glance at the big picture to figure out how it all works.
Follow these steps in your marketing plan so that all bases are covered.
1. Spell out your SaaS marketing goals
The only way to attain any dream is to set short and long-term goals. The same is true for your SaaS marketing plans. What do you desire to achieve with your plan? Do you want to enhance your product awareness? Is it to nurture leads and increase conversions? Any SaaS plan consists of a lot more elements which makes it an integral step for its success.
All your goals must be practical and realistic so that you don’t set yourself up for failure. Set SMART goals: specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time-based.
2. Layout a definitive budget for your SaaS marketing plan
How much do you propose to expend on achieving your goals? Most companies allocate 10% of their revenue to marketing which seems logical but is it? The number is a lot higher for SaaS companies, making it around 80-120% of its revenue on marketing, which is dramatically different from other conventional business models. It may seem staggeringly high, but considering the return, this is a worthy investment.
When developing a budget, every step of the plan should have its specific cost that is based on the expected returns. It should also be noteworthy that some financial aid is set aside in case of unforeseen costs so that you don’t end up going overboard and hence toppling the entire business plan.
3. Choosing SaaS marketing approach
The creative aspect of a SaaS marketing strategy is finding ways for your marketing approach. Before all that, it is imperative that you have a clear picture of who your target audience is, why they want your product, and how your content is relevant to them. It is all about building credibility, trust, and engagement.
It is here that inbound SaaS marketing comes into play. It helps you develop content that is on-point and caters to the requirements of your potential customers. All inbound tactics such as blogs, infographics, e-books, email marketing, and social media are potent and cost-effective, making their use indispensable for your marketing approach.
4. Unravel the SaaS marketing metrics
Now that you have implemented your SaaS marketing strategy, what is the result? How did the people react? Did they like it? Are they coming back? Making referrals? Will they invest in it in the future? This is the most critical part of your SaaS path since it will determine the course of all future actions. This is why monitoring and tracking metrics are of the essence.
The world of SaaS marketing is vast and complex. This is a starting point for marketing service-based products, subscription-based services and freemium software programs. By gaining a profound knowledge of its foundations, you can plan your marketing strategy and witness it transform your business into one that you dream of.
Irrespective of the scale, you don’t need a behemoth budget to kick start your SaaS marketing campaign. All you need is the right product, the right medium, the right strategy and the right message.