The SaaS Marketing Strategy You Need: 13 Ways to Market Your SaaS
Table of content
The SaaS Marketing Strategy You Need: 13 Ways to Market Your SaaS
What is SaaS Marketing?
Welcome to your guide to SaaS marketing - the best and most complete resource for learning how to navigate the ever-so popular and trending world of SaaS (software as a service). We'll learn what SaaS marketing is, the effectiveness of having a SaaS strategy, top SaaS marketing strategies to implement today, and a few helpful examples of SaaS marketing in action.
But before we dive in, did you know that the SaaS market is worth more than 76 billion dollars as of 2021? That's a lot of companies using helpful software tools to change their customers lives!
It is no question that there is a benefit to SaaS tools; we practically see them everywhere. From Canva (design) to Zoom (video calls), Slack (project management) to Typeform (form building), SaaS companies are revolutionizing business management and customer convenience one software tool at a time. While reading this, you're liking utilizing a few SaaS tools yourself.
So despite taking the world by a storm in recent years, what is SaaS marketing and what does it mean exactly?
Since SaaS businesses provide a service, there is no physical, tangible product to share. In the past, most software companies delivered their product via CD or disk drive, but now, the majority of the SaaS industry provides their service via a web platform or instant download. Talk about convenient, right?
The digital component to the SaaS industry is what ultimately provides the most customer success. Prospective customers have a need, they learn of or research solutions to that need, and are met with a digital option that is often instantly downloadable or runnable, and they are on their marry way.
From a marketing perspective, SaaS businesses see the most success in reaching their customers (and maintaining customer retention) when focusing on digital channels and content marketing to promote their service. In other words, when appealing to search engines and properly implementing search engine optimization strategies, SaaS businesses successfully reach their target audience and provide a solution to their customers through related, helpful content. This situation is a win-win all around!
SaaS marketing, in short, is the effort of promoting a solution to a need through creative and innovative digital measures on the web while also standing out from competitor services.
It is without question that competition exists in the SaaS industry, so having a SaaS marketing strategy that stands out from your competitors is absolutely necessary.
How to Effectively Prepare to Market Your SaaS Company
Before you start running with your SaaS marketing strategy, it's important to understand the uniqueness of your service and who it will be used by and seen by. Let's look at 4 ways to prepare to market your SaaS company.
- Know Your Buyer - Your customers will likely vary is age, race, and average income, but should generally fall into the same group. Perhaps they are all business owners looking for an organization solution. Perhaps they are all specialists in a certain field or industry needing a protected communication channel. Perhaps they are all creatives with a knowledge of what they want to create, but not the tools to do so. Knowing your buyers pain points, skills and abilities, and general day-to-day needs is important before starting your SaaS marketing strategy.
- Know Your Buyers Journey - The journey a buyer takes to get to your product or service is likely unique to them in some way, but similar to many others (hence your confidence in creating your SaaS). By studying your buyers journey, you will ultimately be able to improve your product to maximum potential and end your buyer's journey all together. With your service, they now have the solution to their problem and can execute their needs more efficiently and practically. Study out the challenges or problems your buyers have faced prior to finding your service. Was there no other option out there for what they were looking for? Did other competitors not have sufficient capabilities? Did your buyer not know there was a solution to their problem? Answers to these questions can prove helpful in implementing the ideal SaaS marketing strategy.
- Know Your Competitors - A SaaS marketing plan is not complete without a heavy analysis of your competition. Study their websites, be well-versed in their target demographic, look at their successes and track their numbers. Knowing how they succeed will help you succeed. It's worth noting that you're not out to steal their ideas, but instead, looking out for ways that you can ensure you don't make any of the same mistakes they make.
- Know the Ideal Solution - Lastly, your service has to be the ideal solution to your customers problem. It has to be unique and affordable and stand out from the crowd. Ultimately, your marketing approach has to be catchy and simple, but with a powerful punch to draw in the right buyer that won't hesitate one second to purchase your product. When you understand the ideal solution, the rest of your SaaS marketing strategy will fall into place.
Top 13 SaaS Marketing Strategy Techniques to Implement Today
Now to learn the ultimate techniques for marketing your SaaS product. By following the suggestions below, you could see a difference in revenue, customer acquisition, customer retention, and more.
- Drive Traffic to Your Website Through Content Marketing - Remember how we talked about the digital component to SaaS marketing above? That's where we begin here with driving traffic to your website through relatable and helpful content marketing. By creating high-quality, optimized content that aligns with the interest of your buyers and publishing it on your site (via a blog post or landing page), you're exponentially increasing the chances of your buyers finding your website and converting them to your product.
When potential customers stumble across your page, your solution to their problem is now imbedded in the content they clicked on. By publishing relevant content with helpful tools and suggestions, you are effectively answering their original query and providing a helpful solution. This is one of the most effective SaaS marketing strategies out there.
- Consider SaaS PPC Campaigns - Everyone hopes that their content will be organically found and rank the highest for the desired key term or phrase without having to pay for precious space in the top positions on Google. Unfortunately, it's not always that simple and a little PPC (pay-per-click) can go a long way in getting brand exposure.
Don't be afraid to invest in paid media advertising to your customers. This can often lead to gained exposure and an increase in potential customers. If your marketing budget allows, consider running 3-6 months of PPC campaigns to see what the marketing ROI is. Evaluate from there to determine a long-term plan of PPC ads OR a different approach.
Even though this strategy might cost you some of your budget, the results can be well worth it.
- Buckle down on your site's SEO - Don't sleep on your site's SEO! Part of an effective SaaS marketing strategy must include a heavy emphasis on optimizing your website in full to improve rankings and drive even more traffic to your website. What does this include exactly?
Focus on improving your domain authority, building backlinks, and of course, don't forget your technical SEO (page speed, broken links, redirects, etc.) There are countless resources that exist for educating you on each of these steps, but one thing is for certain: an SaaS SEO strategy is required to see the results you're looking for. Traditional marketing of simply making a good product and hoping people find it will not get you far. Work WITH search engines and optimize your site in full. Then will you reach your SaaS marketing goals.
- Generate Exposure of Your Brand - Outside of SEO and PPC, another SaaS marketing method is to utilize SaaS review sites to further put your name in the ring with other competitors. Sites such as Trustpilot, PC Mag Reviews, and SourceForge are a great place to start.
Because as high as 90% of customers read reviews before considering a purchase, don't miss out on a chance to inspire customers through a thorough SaaS review on these popular SaaS review sites.
- Consider the Most Ideal Offer to Sign Up - Your service could be the best in the business, have the most features and customization, or be built on the best platform. But if your competitors are running a deal for sign up's and you are not, this could be the difference maker in conversion.
Consider an ideal offer for your customers when they sign up. This could include a free trial, a steep discount for first-timers, or seasonal advantages help incentivize buyers to sign up. Just like you would likely admit, when someone is running a good sale, it's hard to say no!
Similarly, consider making it effortless for your buyers to test out your SaaS. A free trial or small teaser of your service will prove it's worth when your customer gets hooked on the convenience, functionality, or unique customization features.
- Make Your Sign-Up Process Effortless - Similarly, having a smooth-as-butter sign up process is absolutely critical for conversion. No one wants to enter 20 minutes worth of information, verify their email 7 different ways, or have to get up and find their wallet to prove their identity.
A smooth and convenient sign up process is the difference maker for your buyers and will ultimately lead to more conversions. Check out the best practices for creating powerful sign-up forms.
- Offer Referral Incentives - Referral marketing is a powerful SaaS marketing strategy you should consider from the get-go. Even the best services don't get talked about AS much unless there's an incentive to name drop or share. Consider what you could offer as a referral incentive to big names or companies. Factor this into your marketing budget and access the ROI.
If offering monetary referral incentives (such as commissions) is something you don't see doable, consider a non-monetary referral incentive, such as free service or product, advanced customizations, or more storage.
- Define the Buyer's Action and Implement it Everywhere - What do you want you buyer to do? Request a quote? Pick a plan? Sign up today? A perfectly designed "Call to Action" is imperative within your SaaS marketing language. This will lead to better sign-ups and better conversion overall.
Most importantly, make it clear, relevant, and motivating to your buyer so no questions are left in their minds. They know what to do, how to get it, or where to find more information.
Consider peer review or focus groups prior to marketing to ensure your CTA is clear and helpful. By having someone from an outside perspective review your information and determine if the action step is clear, you could avoid potentially losing conversions.
- Use Social Media & Influencer Marketing to Get Ahead - It's no secret that social media can have a powerful impact on a businesses growth and exposure. Thanks to influencer marketing and the world-wide reach that some social media influencers have, your SaaS company could touch a whole new network of individuals with an influencer shout out.
While not all businesses utilize the social media marketing strategy, it's important to note the relationship to your target demographic. Are they on social media often? Would they respond well to an influencer's mention of a service? These questions are ones you can consider in your research. The right social media campaign could make a giant difference in the success of your SaaS business.
Additionally, the platforms with the most views should be a focus for your marketing efforts. If your target demographic is primarily on Facebook, start there. If your buyers most commonly utilize Instagram or Tik Tok, consider first those platforms for initiating a campaign.
- Use Personal, Visual Emails to Reach Your Buyers - Ah, email marketing. A powerful, and effective SaaS marketing strategy you should definitely implement today. The beauty of your email list is that you own it! It can't be taken down, shut off, or deleted due to algorithm updates or policy changes.
Email marketing for SaaS companies can lead to higher conversions due to the long-standing email relationships that typically exist (frequent newsletters and updates that are sent once someone subscribes). Not to mention, you can stay at the forefront of your customers mind with strategic email messaging and powerful subject line attraction.
You likely personally receive an abundance of emails every day. What makes you click to open them? Consider this question when you set up your email marketing campaigns. Avoid spammy, click-bait type messages and look for opportunities to relate to your potential customers through powerful and personal visuals (aka story-telling and relationship building.) Remember: by knowing your buyer, you can relate to them better.
- Sell Your Service and Sell it Well - This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's actually easier said than done. You created your service to be the best service possible. How will you communicate that and how will your target audience respond to your strategy? What language can you use to portray the uniqueness of your product AND how it will benefit their business, life, or situation?
By having a few, limited options that perfectly provide the solutions your customers need, your clarity will attract more buyers. Avoid providing numerous options that distract from the primary service or opportunity. Instead of a dropdown menu of options, stick to no more than 3 clear choices. To identify those 3 clear choices, don't hesitate to do some market and industry research or ask for focus group feedback.
On top of that, no one wants to search high and low for the price of your service. While it might depend on a few factors, make identifying said price easy and clear. If customization exists for your service and that varies the price, provide a calculator that delivers a set price. If additional customization can't be included in the calculator, outline a base price and include additional fees in the description. Whatever you do, avoid making a customer have to pick up the phone to learn your price. In 2022, no one enjoys doing that.
- Stand Out With the Ultimate User Experience - So your marketing efforts are on point, you've tapped into your target demographic and your site is optimized to perfection. Now for ultimate success in SaaS marketing, your product needs to be dynamite.
A successful SaaS will provide an unbeatable user experience from top to bottom. You'll know it does because of customer retention, customer reviews, or customer support feedback. Make sure your finger is on the pulse for each of these so that you know when a change or update is necessary for your service. Appeal to your customers as much as possible.
Additionally, consider focus groups or testers to ensure you get feedback before launching. You want to get all of the bugs out before hundreds to thousands of people start using your service.
- Accept Your Fait: SaaS Marketing is Necessary - This made the list for a very important reason. Unless you're inheriting a multi-million dollar SaaS company that's already globally recognized, you will NEED to know how to successfully market your SaaS and market it well.
Despite the giant effort it may take, SaaS companies who put in the time and effort to market their service are successful in more ways than one. From increased traffic to better conversions, from high customer retention to positive buyer/seller relationships, your marketing efforts will be worth it!
SaaS Companies Who've Risen to the Top
The average person tends to glaze over the fact that some SaaS companies are absolutely killing it these days. Perhaps it's because most people don't know the lengths it took to get these companies where they are. Let's review those very lengths for comparison sake.
- Zoom - The Best Web-Conferencing Product in the World
- Without question, Zoom took over the world in recent years (and especially in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic.) But Zoom wasn't always a mastermind at video conferencing. When founder Eric Yuan first began developing his idea for Zoom, he could hardly get any engineers on board to join him because his idea was so radical. He eventually created enough buzz to develop the software and released version 1.0 in 2012. Zoom immediately had an edge on its competition due to its mobile functionality and high audio and video quality. While successful, Zoom had no marketing team and was only gaining traction from word of mouth. This changed over time and eventually led to a marketing campaign with the Golden State Warriors NBA team. Today, over half a million businesses and academic organizations use Zoom. What we can learn from Eric Yuan's journey comes down to these three tips:
1. Understand your market intimately.
2. Identify a core market and target that market tightly.
3. Innovate by aligning your product with what customers really want.
- Slack - The Most User-Friendly Project Management Tool
- "Millions of companies struggle to be among the best, but the primacy belongs to Slack. With over 3+ million paid users, 30% conversion rate and value from $0 to $5 billion in just 4 years, Slack is the fastest growing SaaS company."
The first version of Slack was released in May of 2013. From that very beginning, word of mouth was their friend and led to their ultimate success, even when the creators first "begged" their friends and family to try it for free.
The strategy of using personal recommendations bode well for Slack as the majority of marketers confirmed that consumers trust a personal recommendation over a paid advertisement twice over. Not only that, but the strategy to use the "invite" feature helped generate more users for Slack.
Outside of the initial efforts, Slack eventually got into the podcast sponsorship arena and sponsored 10 popular podcasts with very loyal audiences (maybe you've heard a sponsorship campaign a time or two.) This continued their rise and success, putting them where they are today as one of the top, and fastest growing, SaaS companies.
- Canva - The Amateur Designer Tool
- Canva has recently been referred to as a "unicorn" SaaS company due to its surprisingly rapid growth and success. This incredibly easy-to-use design platform rose to fame and fortune (40M+ users, 4M+ Pro customers, 4M+ backlinks, and a $6B+ valuation) in large part because of their genius SEO strategy, as well as their free trial opportunity for new users.
Uniquely, Canva provides a deep set of design options for free, but when said free content is shared online and through content marketing, the backlinks explode. Canva's over 4 million backlinks contribute greatly to their high rankings, both on a general level and a specific template level. This helps yield greater page traffic and increased conversion to the affordable paid plans.
On top of that, their free trial opportunity has helped set them apart in the design world as more and more customers find their easy and resourceful platform perfect for their need before needing to expand to a paid plan. They are sold on the free trial and ultimately need more after it expires.
How to be Successful at Saas Marketing: Summary
While this guide provided 13 actionable marketing strategies for your SaaS business, there is more to be gained here. Not only will these techniques work for your SaaS company, they also work for a variety of other business models. Pretty great, right?
From designing and creating the ultimate software solution, to making your offer unquestionably easy for your buyer, from social media and influencer marketing, to practicing the best SEO strategies and more, these tips are proven to work. Are you willing to put in the effort to make them happen? Our advice: you won't be sad you do.