In the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry, winning marketing strategies are often set apart from the rest by their capacity to attract and retain leads and customers. Developing a solid SaaS marketing strategy can improve your lead generation and customer lifetime values. Today, we’ll walk you through a few tried-and-tested strategies you can use to take your SaaS business to the next level.
Unlike other niches where you can get by with just a few completed sales per prospect, the SaaS business model is subscription-based. Therefore, you’re going to spend much of your marketing efforts retaining the paying customers you already have on top of converting new ones.
Drive Leads With SEO & Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most important customer acquisition channels. Companies use blogs, social media, videos, and recurring emails to engage an online audience. For many SaaS businesses, though, it is SEO that is the primary customer acquisition channel.
One of the best examples of a company that has cemented its position as an industry leader through SEO is Hubspot. According to Ahrefs, the site gets approximately 5.8 million visitors a month from Google to the various blogs and content hubs.
Hubspot was an early adopter of SEO, so they have an advantage. However, just because SEO is becoming increasingly competitive doesn’t mean it’s ceased becoming an effective channel for growth. To succeed in SEO or content marketing, you need to have an engaging story or a great strategy.
Groove is a nice example of a company that grew its online presence rapidly with a great story. Shortly after launching their product, Groove founder Alex Turnbull set a public goal for the company. He wanted Groove to hit $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue.
The campaign gave the Groove team a clear goal. It also invested the audience in their success. Every month, people would go to the blog to see how Groove was doing and what strategies they were applying to grow.
It was a great campaign. Eventually, after achieving the goal, Alex ended the series.
Yet, he wasn’t the last person to try this approach. A few years later, Neil Patel launched a 0 – $100k series where he shared his journey growing a new blog for a friend. Again, the hook worked and got a lot of people’s attention.
2. Invest in Video Marketing & Podcasting
While SEO is a great channel for customer acquisition, it’s far from the only option available. Both video marketing and podcasting offer a great opportunity to grow your business and acquire new customers. Let’s look at each of these channels quickly in turn.
Video marketing is one of the fastest-growing marketing channels. Everyone seems to be trying to set themselves up on YouTube at the moment. It kind of makes sense.
The barriers to entry to video production have never been lower. All you need to get started on a budget is your mobile phone. Even if you decide to invest in a professional video marketing kit, you only really need a good DSLR camera, a mike, and a computer.
Moreover, people are consuming more video content than ever before. Numerous SaaS companies have done a good job establishing themselves on YouTube. For example, Ahrefs have a channel with 242,000 subscribers.
All of the Ahrefs videos are about SEO. They cover complex topics and show how Ahrefs can help marketers achieve their content marketing goals. Moreover, most of the videos on its channel have tens of thousands of views.
Alongside video marketing, you could explore podcasting. A nice example of a SaaS company that recently took up this approach is CoSchedule.
The CoSchedule podcast features interviews with many great marketers. The episodes are interesting and insightful and provide the company a great opportunity to do some strategic networking.
3. Run Paid Advertising Campaigns
The final marketing channel you should consider exploring is paid ads. Paid advertising is one of the best customer acquisition channels available. If you can generate a Return on Investment from your ad spend, you can rapidly scale PPC.
Numerous companies rely on PPC to establish brand recognition and increase customer acquisition. For example, a quick look at the company RingCentral reveals that they are running ads targeting 7,803 keywords in the US.
Given that the company is running so many ads, you could assume they are getting a positive ROI from these campaigns. Those paid ads, therefore, are a key part of this company’s growth strategy.
You’ll need people on your team with experience running paid ads if you want to use PPC. Marketers with experience in PPC can help you define who to target, the keywords to bid on, and create custom landing pages that convert clicks into leads or paying customers.
Also Read: How to Use Facebook for Affiliate Marketing?
4. Offer Free Product Trials- SaaS Marketing Strategies
Have you ever told yourself, “I can increase my count of paid subscribers if only I could get them through the door?” If so, free trials will allow you to achieve that goal. While offering free trials might seem like you’re giving away the fruit of years of product development for free, it’s much more than that.
Yes, trial users end up enjoying your product without paying a dime. However, during the trial period, these users get to see your product up close and can make a credible assessment of its value to their business.
A free trial might be a gamble, but it’s a very effective one: SaaS businesses that offer free trials have an overall conversion rate of 59.9%, and that figure goes even higher for B2B clients. This is probably due to the customer’s familiarity with the product and a positive experience during the trial period.
By offering a free trial period for your SaaS product, you give potential clients more than just a month’s worth or more of your access to your service. You place your brand at the top of their mind when it’s time for them to finally pay for a service like the one you’re offering.
Also Read: 7 Conversion Driven Marketing Tips For SaaS Startup
5. Collaboration With Other Brands
Smart marketers understand that you can grow a business through strategic partnerships.
Co-marketing involves two or more brands banding together in a single promotion or a series of promotions. The single most important aspect to consider when planning co-marketing partnerships is finding a suitable brand partner.
Ideally, the choice should be a brand in your industry but not in your immediate product niche. For example, if your product is a photo editing software, you may partner with a video editing brand and successful YouTubers for comarketing purposes.
Brand collaboration makes it possible for companies to reach new audiences. Setting up strategic collaborations is quite straightforward. You’ll need to do the following:
- Define your campaign goals
- Come up with a good idea
- Identify suitable partners
- Convince people to get involved
- Execute the campaign
You can run co-marketing campaigns around a range of different topics. For example, you might run a co-marketing campaign to create and market an e-book or maybe do co-marketing videos or blog posts.
Also Read: Rocket your Business 2X with the Best SaaS CRM Software for Sales and Leads
6. Affiliate Marketing- SaaS Marketing Strategies
Affiliate marketing offers a logical way to grow your business by providing a financial incentive for people to support your business. While many SaaS businesses do have an affiliate program, few try to support affiliates. That’s where you could stand out.
There are various ways you can incentivize people to join your affiliate program and increase the likelihood of them making sales. Firstly, create a resource base for affiliates. At a minimum, you should share information like your average conversion rate so marketers can better understand things like expected Return on Ad Spend.
After all, experienced marketers send traffic to offers that provide the best conversion rate.
In addition to sharing vital metrics, create a resource base for your affiliates. You can share effective affiliate marketing strategies, for instance. In addition, you can create relevant resources affiliates can use to market your product.
For example, you could create email swipes, share examples of ad copy affiliates can use, and more. These types of resources make it easy for an affiliate to promote your product. You’ll see this approach all the time in the Internet Marketing niche, where product creators design sales pages for their affiliate offers.
Finally, make sure to promote your affiliate program. Share success stories and let people know there is money to be made by supporting your product.
Here’s a nice example of how Aurelian Amacker from Systeme.io, a landing page builder, promotes its affiliate program on LinkedIn. If you are into affiliate marketing and see those types of results, you might decide to support the program.
Conclusion of SaaS Marketing Strategies
The SaaS niche has grown exponentially in the past few years as users shift from premise-based to cloud-based solutions. As a result, the competition for both new and existing customers has never been tighter. Your marketing strategies must adapt to and stay ahead of the competition if your SaaS brand is to flourish.
These strategies include SEO, video marketing and podcasting, free trial periods, co-marketing, and affiliate marketing. While these strategies are more commonly seen in B2C contexts, they are also effective when used in a B2B setting.
The key to B2B success is to treat B2B leads as if they were humans, not companies. By identifying their niche and location on the customer journey, you will be able to utilize the proper strategy that will address their needs and maximize your revenue at the same time.
Nico is the founder of Crunch Marketing. The company works with enterprise SaaS clients, helping them scale lead generation globally across EMEA, APAC, and other regions.
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