As the name implies, software as a service (SaaS) is a business model that relies on the licensing and subscription of a piece of an online program. Good examples of SaaS are online grammar checking software, productivity office suite, and file storage.
Achieving a successful SaaS business model and digital marketing strategy depends primarily on having a great app and outstanding customer service. Once your software provides high-quality performance and service, it will eventually sell itself. However, even before that happens, you need to have people try and use it. And for you to find those people, you need to put together a killer SaaS marketing strategy.
Companies looking to sell SaaS can’t settle for short-term customers. Instead, they need clients who can share a long-term business relationship with them. Once a customer is on board, SaaS companies must maintain constant communication and marketing to prevent churn and convert them into long-term customers. Know that if a customer churns, it can easily have a significant impact on the company’s stream of income.
Most traditional companies are transactional in nature. They consider a deal completed after one service call or once their product is delivered. Unlike them, firms offering SaaS concentrate on holding on to people once they become paying customers. To accomplish this, most SaaS companies take advantage of a freemium business model.
However, the freemium model isn’t enough. You still need to, again, market your business and your product. Below are some of the effective ways to create a marketing strategy that will work for you.
Almost all growing SaaS companies use content marketing as a growth strategy. To achieve this, you should create many blog posts, videos, and so on, on the topics that your company is an expert with and related to your industry. And you must make sure you apply search engine optimization (SEO) to your content to boost traffic to your site.
Assume you have a SaaS app for SEO. Write articles covering all aspects of online marketing, encompassing SEO, PPC, email marketing, and social network marketing. These articles can attract leads who are looking for answers and solutions your application can provide them. And the more people you draw in, the more chances you have to convert people into users and customers.
However, getting traffic doesn’t instantly ensure you that you can convert people. You still have to create a well-planned sales funnel. Make a system that will track and lure in website visitors. Get their email address and make them signup for your newsletters. Or any outbound marketing methods that can let you connect and convince them to use your service or application.
Another effective strategy is to partner with a reliable third party like BCC Interactive to grow your business using effective SEO strategies.
Products that are highly functional and user-centric lead to solid growth in the market. Rather than using traditional promotion tactics, a product-led growth strategy relies more on human referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. In product-driven SaaS companies, a freemium model is used to generate leads and convert more customers.
The freemium model is simple. Your app will have two versions: a free one and a premium one. The free version can be accessed and used by anyone. If your product is a simple grammar checker, your app’s free version can provide users with a fully functional proofreading feature.
To profit from users and convert them to paying customers, the premium version of your applications will have added functionalities that they would want. In the case of a grammar checking program, the premium version of the app may contain style, tone, and readability checks.
Basically, the freemium strategy means limited product access is provided to prospects for a lifetime. However, if they want to use your product to its full potential, customers should pay for it.
A freemium model consists of three primary types:
SaaS marketing has become increasingly dependent on improving social media presence. After all, social media offers lots of opportunities for companies to achieve the following:
Whatever industry your SaaS business is in, you can use the strategies and tactics mentioned above as the foundation for your marketing strategy. No matter how long the process will be for your marketing strategy, remember to keep your eyes on the goal and finally earn your long-term clients for your SaaS software business.
Most of the information you will find online about digital marketing is designed for companies selling physical products. If you want to run a bakery, you’ll find plenty of tips, and if you want to run an ecommerce-based business, there’s certainly no shortage of statistics. If you’re selling a product, though – especially if that product is software – the information out there to help you is few and far between. Here, you’ll discover some of the best ways to sell your software successfully in today’s digital age.
Your brand is more than just a reflection of your company. The global Havas study has shown that brands must accomplish three things to succeed: they must play a role in society, deliver what they promise, and improve people’s lives. According to some of the experts behind the study, brands simply aren’t trying hard enough to make a positive impact on people’s lives, and that’s where they continue to fall short.
When you take the time to create your ideal brand, think about how the software you’re selling was designed to improve lives. Does it save them precious time so they can spend more time with their families on the beach than at work behind a desk? Make that clear. Does it save them money that they can then reinvest back into other parts of the company or use to go on that vacation to the beach? Make that clear, too.
Think about your target audience. Is it mostly comprised of small businesses? Large corporations? Companies that are large, small, and every size in between? Once you have the answer to that question, you can start to pinpoint places where your audience is likely to spend its time online. Good options include online magazines written especially for small business, websites that cater to large business, and SMB portals.
Once you’ve found sites that seem willing to partner with you, consider offering them some sort of commission to help sell your product. If a partnership is out of reach, perhaps you could offer to trade services. Ask the website to put up your advertisement and offer to provide that site a free sample of your software if it could benefit from it. The possibilities here are truly endless, so be sure to consider them before choosing just one.
Another proven strategy for getting the most out of your software marketing campaign involves making sure you have it listed on several of the leading download and review sites. Some great options include CNET’s download site, Tucows, and others. This puts the software out into the public eye where people can pick it up, read about it, share it with friends, and perhaps even download it and try it themselves.
Be sure that you offer some sort of free preview, demo, or trial when you list your software on these sites. In today’s day and age, with so many companies offering week- or even month-long trials, failing to do the same with your software will likely have a negative effect.
Search engine optimization is vital to your overall success, and several case studies have proven it time and again. Once you have your software out there, you need to make sure your website is perfectly optimized so people can find it when they search software. There are several steps to optimizing your SEO. These include:
Here are some results you can see when things are done correctly.
Social media marketing is incredibly sophisticated these days, but it can only work for you if you use it. You can buy as many Facebook ads as you’d like, but if you don’t actually interact with the people who interact with your ads, then you haven’t really made much of a difference. Social media is all about the interaction, so take some time out of every day to check your comments, respond to them, and perhaps create a post with a link to your latest blog or article, a high-res photo, or even a video. These things expand your overall reach, and half of succeeding in selling software is letting people know it exists.
Even if your software is every bit as amazing as the ads claim it to be, there are other factors to consider in terms of delivery. For example, if you promise quick-response customer service (for example, emails will be answered in one business day or less), but it’s taking you far longer than you would like to respond, this will have a negative impact on the public’s perception of your brand. Make a list of everything your brand promises to deliver, then sit down and analyze whether your company is doing a good job of delivering those things. If not, create a plan to do better.
These are the things that matter the most to software consumers. Like any physical product, they want software that solves their problems, and they want it from a company that is active in their community and delivers what they promise.
SaaS marketing is challenging. While a majority of the industries can use multiple channels with ease to advertise their offer, but the scope is limited for SaaS businesses. A SaaS product is intangible and it is constantly evolving. Most importantly, Software as a Service is something that most customers perceive as too technology-oriented, and hence have little interest and patience to get familiar with.
That’s why the information in a knowledge base you possess is your strongest marketing asset. Your marketing mantra should be “educate, convert and retain” instead of “build it, and they will come”. In order to convince the potential customers that your solution is what they need, a knowledge base is of critical importance.
For a beauty or fashion industry player, the marketing strategy is usually straightforward and simple as it encompasses makeup tutorials, a red carpet coverage, and etc. In fact, it can guarantee the blog brimming with visitors. But, SaaS isn’t exactly something an average person wants to read about.
It goes without saying that your business relies on narrower audience segmentation, but that still doesn’t mean that your potential customer base longs for uninspiring content. Educational resources are the core tenant of SaaS marketing, but only if they provide value and practical information in a convenient and easy to read format.
That’s where knowledge base articles enter the scene. Rather than technical guides, they are an ideal juncture of engaging blog posts and customer support. Creating a perfect knowledge base article means looking at the bigger picture – instead of writing about functions and features of your SaaS, show some real examples of how it can be used for your customer’s benefit. Once they know what’s in it for them, they’ll be interested to know about it.
Apart from allowing you to grow your audience organically, knowledge base articles have a great potential for smart and effective SEO investments. If properly written, such articles, eBooks and user guides can include plenty of product-related keywords, thus ranking your website higher on search engines.
The best thing is that you don’t have to use an SEO expert for this part of your marketing strategy. Use Google Analytics instead, and find out what inquiries are suitable for your SaaS goals. You can then use them to create SEO-friendly FAQs and keyword-empowered articles that will answer all your customers’ demands.
To be specific, SaaS businesses need to adjust marketing tactics to their unique customer lifecycles. Your revenue relies on the monthly fees, which means that customer retention plays a more significant role than customer acquisition. Instead of selling a product, therefore, you should focus on selling experiences and satisfying the clients.
In marketing terms, using your customer support as a unique selling point is suggested. Customer-oriented service helps SaaS products to stand out from the crowd. A knowledge base that is informational and interesting at the same time is excellent, but helpdesk solutions can make your marketing even easier.
It equips your reps with everything they need to know about customer preferences and pain points, while simultaneously automating their day-to-day operations. All of this leads to reduced tickets, inquiries and frustration on both sides, thus increasing customer satisfaction and compelling your clients to stay with you month after month.
Until recently, knowledge bases were built exclusively for internal intelligence. Though customers now draw on them as well, their use in sales, customer service and employee onboarding is still unparalleled. Indirectly, your marketing strategists can leverage them for audience targeting.
Take Shopify, for instance. Their SaaS was developed in perfect compliance with their customers’ needs, thus becoming one of the biggest names in the industry. In other words, your marketing investment won’t be very successful if your product doesn’t resonate with your audience.
Luckily, online knowledge base software systems enable you to get familiar with those you’ll be marketing and selling your product to. By integrating Google Analytics, for example, it will allow you to gather and analyze actionable feedback from existing users. Moreover, it will also help you improve the future versions and develop a product your audience will love.
Marketing is only a secondary purpose of the comprehensive knowledge base software systems. If they weren’t designed to store, manage and share information in the first place, they wouldn’t be able to perform any other service, let alone acquaint and retain your customers. Though they can’t make you any more knowledgeable than you already are, they can serve as a powerful platform for displaying your SaaS prowess.
In addition to relying on a convenient customer self-service and delightful customer support, your marketing strategy benefits from your expertise as well. If you manage to establish yourself as an authority in your field, your company’s prospects won’t need any additional proof of your product’s quality.
Knowledge base articles and customer-oriented wikis will help in showcasing everything you excel in. Don’t limit yourself to user guides and FAQs, but take a chance to write about SaaS industry, market trends and future. Offer your expert advice, suggestions and practical tips as well. The larger and more versatile your knowledge base is, higher the chances are that you’ll get noticed.
Once you start driving traffic to your website, educating prospects, getting familiar with their needs and delighting existing customers, your marketing job is pretty much done. From there on, you can share your message with a wider audience, thus expanding your business further. Hence, stay knowledge-centered throughout, and your customers will be more than interested in learning more.
Robin is a Technical Support Executive with a combined experience of 6 years. He is well acquainted with various Knowledge base tools and is currently associated with ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.
SaaS businesses are lucky enough to have customers that are mostly consistent monthly subscribers. But how do you build that customer base and establish a strong MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) to drive your business? In order to grow and maintain profitability, you must provide high quality services and develop a bond of trust with customers. You can use MRR/ARR to plan your investment in additional features, hiring, and subscriptions such as CloudZero and ProfitWell.
In today’s time every niche has several businesses working under it, that’s why competition gets tougher by the minute. So if you really want to stand out, it’s important to prioritize trust and establish it as soon as you can.
I’m going to talk about growth hacks that businesses are using these days; they help increase sales and improve your chances of building a sustainable business. These hacks are based on customer satisfaction and user engagement.
You could be a hard-worker regarding your product/service with lots of in-depth research about the industry, but none of it matters unless you pay attention to your customers. This helps make effective business plans and strategies that bring more profit and sustainability.
It’s best to listen to your customers and ask for their advice so you’re able to understand whether their needs are fulfilled or not. This particular technique applies to all kinds of businesses and keeps existing customers loyal and closer to your brand. But the interesting part is that you can promote brand awareness and gain more customers through constructive criticism and product improvement. Before you know it, existing and new customers will turn into brand advocates with positive feedback about your product/service.
That’s why I love Click Desk, they continuously listen to customers through their chat app. Moreover they integrate improvements and additional features based on such feedback. Almost every customer communication tool out there has ClickDesk integration available. It has shown to be user-friendly with Google Analytics, Unbounce, Zendesk and MailChimp; these extensive integrations have been a huge factor in their consistent growth.
SaaS business owners should make sure that their blog is full of relevant content that is up to date. It should be high quality content within your niche and must answer questions that other entrepreneurs are trying to answer. If your blog has sufficient content then you’re sure to inspire others who will share such information within their circle. The more sharing your content generates the wider the potential reach to attract new customers.
Why is blogging important? This isn’t the 90’s where a team of sales reps call a list of phone numbers to pitch a product in order to get a few sales. In today’s time to sell a product, it’s necessary to inspire and encourage people to convert into paying customers. Blogging is the most convenient and viral way to inspire an audience!
The BuzzStream Blog is my personal favorite even though it’s not as popular as Moz.com. An intriguing thing about BuzzStream is that it addresses questions relevant to the industry; this particular attribute makes a targeted audience stick around and eventually become a paying customer. Have a look at the blog yourself!
Speaking from personal experience, UI and UX are very important, almost as important as SaaS tool’s functionality. Ask yourself this: Why would a user stick with your tool if the functionalities of it aren’t working or creating problems from time to time?
The same answer applies to design and user experience. If the functionalities of your tool are superb with a ‘not so good’ UI and UX, users will most likely go for their second choice to fulfill their needs, even if they signed up for a trial account with you.
A few years back I did some consultation for a rank tracking tool called Rank Watch. The tool was perfect at that time but they lacked good user experience on their website and hence were struggling. But today they are well-established and one of the main areas of the business they adjusted was their UI and UX. Once they made strategic tweaks their user base began to grow.
Remember, your customers are the most important people in your business’s life. You should always think of them first. No customer wants an interface to be clumsy or user experience to be painful so try spending the necessary time and energy on UI and UX. Once you provide customers with a seamless user experience, they will stick with you and may possibly promote you online with positive reviews. All the credit goes to an enjoyably smooth user experience you’ve built into your SaaS app.
We all know that it’s important to build a community around your product, but a remarkably small number of SaaS businesses manage to do this successfully. SaaS businesses should especially have an active community around their brand. This can include existing customers and new potential customers. This helps you spread the brand name to a new audience and also encourages potential customers to convert into paying customers. Last but not least; it gives current paid customers a good reason to upgrade. A community shows you care. Sometimes new and existing customers need that warm fuzzy feeling.
Moz.com is one of those few SaaS businesses that get it right when it comes to community! They’ve built a strong community of brand advocates around them and are now a number one marketing tool for almost every type of small business.
I cracked into Moz.com’s community a while ago, read this article to learn more about building and managing a community around your brand.
SaaS businesses aim to retain customers and increase customer base so they can build a profitable business with strong MRR. When talking about this, I think it’s vital to include the massive role that social media plays in customer engagement.
Nobody talks to logos and call centers these days!
Nowadays, people want real human communication with companies and businesses. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram encourages interactions, questions and updates between companies and customers. They provide a platform to approach customers and connect with them every day.
You will surely stay in their minds if your brand name constantly pops up in their news feed or timeline. Never forget to make a presence online! Consistency is the key to staying relevant online.
Here is another example. SEMRush.com runs their social media quite efficiently. Not only do they tweet, but they’re fast to respond and follow up on Twitter chats too. Follow them right now and get a good sense of how to make use of social media for a SaaS company.
Recently I’ve written about gamification and I strongly believe that it’s the secret ingredient to retain customers. If you add gamification within your system then your customers won’t get bored, and are more likely to visit again rather than turning to other alternatives.
Tree House is a great example of adding gamification within systems. It makes users come back again with full motivation where they can share awards and badges with the rest of the world. This helps promote your brand name and encourages potential customers to convert into paying ones!
Where do I add gamification within system? Before coming up with an answer for this, go out there and understand your customers and identify some reasons why they’d come back. Once you’ve concluded these points, you can make decisions.
There’s also gamification for sales teams. All-in-one sales and marketing automation apps like Agile CRM are making it easy and affordable for SaaS startups to gamify sales efforts with leaderboards and email reports. My clients who use CRM for sales gamification often report that they learn a lot about their customers by encouraging competition and collaboration among their sales reps. High-pressure environment demands that sales pros find the hottest leads and learn how to pitch their product to specific user personas.
One step closer? Yes, exactly! The competition is tough. If you are not the first name on your customers’ minds, you probably aren’t the first choice either. The idea is to get one step closer to customers and remind them about your brand name!
Many brands are doing this through multiple means such as conferences, training programs, webinars and more. Even businesses with tight marketing budgets can achieve it.
Get a reliable webinar software and invite the speaker. All you have to do is promote this on as many avenues possible. You don’t need thousands to attend, you can start small!
There are other ideas too, but the one mentioned above is easiest and fastest for small setups too. You can retain customers and spread brand awareness this way, plus in the long run you’ll see increased profitability. SaaS might be a struggle but it’s also immensely fulfilling (and financially rewarding). Connecting with your customers is the first step in building a successful brand!