SaaS is simply the best type of business for digital marketing.
This is because:
- SaaS users are often businesses and/or professionals with budgets
- Research on SaaS products is primarily done online
- Users can usually test SaaS products with free-trials and downloads before they purchase
- Many if not most SaaS products can be easily purchased online (even while you sleep)
- SaaS product pricing is often subscription or licensed based (recurring revenue)
Of course, just because you build a great SaaS product doesn’t mean people will come – you need to market it.
Here’s how I’d do it…
Make an Exceptional Onboarding & User Experience
Don’t spend a dime on marketing until your app or software “converts”.
- Customers can start using your software easily. Any speed-bumps are smoothed over with step-by-step instructions, easy to follow tutorials, and a live chat feature for questions.
- Customers see the value in your software, regardless of their stage in the buying cycle. Just because someone signs up for a free trial doesn’t mean they intend to purchase your product, you need to communicate that they won’t be able to live without it right from the get-go.
- Customers who don’t convert are encouraged to “come back”. Again, not everyone who signs up for a free-trial will convert to a paid customer. For those who don’t, remind them to come back or that their trial is about to expire. Most importantly, whenever possible contact them and ask them why they didn’t sign up. Feedback is paramount.
There’s lots of tools like Intercom.io, Qualeroo, Tutorialize that can help with onboarding and conversion. What’s important to remember is that unless you’re converting at a rate of 100%, this process is never done. So test, measure, analyze, and seek constant input from customers.
Be Relentless with Reviews & Referrals
Don’t have a huge budget for lead gen for your SaaS?
Well, if it works, and customers like it, leverage that love.
First, ask for reviews.
There’s lots of sites to register your SaaS with for user reviews: TrustRadius, Trustpilot, G2Crowd and Capterra are just a few.
B2B SaaS buyers seek out and trust reviews more than any other source of marketing.
As well, you’re driving links to your site, which search engines seem to like.
As for referrals, don’t just ask for them – make it part of your SaaS strategy.
Again, there’s lots of tools out there to help you get referrals, the key is to operationalize the process – test offers and rewards, communicate your referral program in your app and marketing messaging, and test, measure, and adjust.
Attract, Convert & Keep
I’ve written about the importance of attracting, converting, and keeping customers engaged.
As much as every SaaS startup wants to focus on straight lead gen, finding a balance between driving traffic, converting prospects, and keeping customers engaged is extremely importance.
This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list, but here’s a few tips:
With something like Google AdWords, there’s probably a few competitors in your industry.
Don’t get too worked up about high cost per click rates and big budgets, you’ll just have to get creative to drive leads while keeping costs low.
Instead of bidding on keywords related to your product, bid on keywords that relate to the problems that your solution solves.
For example, if your SaaS helps businesses hire the right people, instead of bidding on “recruitment software” keywords, bid on terms like “how to hire the right people”, “how to assess job candidates”, or “what questions to ask in interviews”.
LinkedIn lets you target users by any piece of information in a profile: location, industry, job function, job title, seniority, etc. – so it can be valuable if you know your target audience well (which you should).
Forget about text or display ads though, just focus on Sponsored Updates, which I wrote about last week.
Marketing isn’t about your company, it’s about your customer.
Don’t focus on keywords with your content and SEO, focus on the problems that your SaaS solves.
And a lot of the problems it solves you might not even know about. So make sure to ask your customer service reps what some of the FAQs are, send out surveys and questionnaires, and get your customers to submit ideas for improvements and feature requests (these can spur content ideas too).
Social Media & Community
Don’t just create a social media account just to have a social media account.
Do social media with purpose: be social.
Take a genuine interest in prospects, share their content, comment on their posts.
Find and engage bloggers and influencers who share you audience.
Participate in Quora Q & As (you’ll also find great ideas for blog posts).
Build a community and you’ll build your brand, and your business.