Optimizing your SaaS marketing strategy is crucial as the market continues to grow. Gartner estimates that the SaaS market is now worth $195 billion. That’s a drastic jump from being valued at $31.4 billion more than seven years ago.
So if you’re a player in the SaaS market, the obvious priority is figuring out how you will stand out. First, you must remember that thousands of SaaS companies are out there. In the United States alone, there are already 17,000 SaaS providers.
A unique, data-driven SaaS marketing strategy is the key to a SaaS provider’s success. Along with the technical components of building the software, you also need to get creative in driving a strong influence on your target market.
How can you acquire and retain customers? Does your software come with a potential for future growth and improvements? You must answer these two questions when developing a dynamic SaaS marketing strategy.
What is SaaS Marketing Strategy?
Pouring hundreds of work hours into designing your software doesn’t automatically guarantee success. Yes, your product may offer unique features your competitors don’t have. First, however, it would be best to answer this question: how will your target consumers notice your software?
This is where an effective SaaS marketing strategy enters the picture. Crafting a marketing strategy for SaaS products is your means to enter your software into a target market. You promote your product, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales or subscriptions.
Developing a SaaS marketing strategy that will be a big hit immediately is challenging. To put together an engaging strategy, consistency is vital.
Why is SaaS Marketing Strategy Important?
The SaaS market is still growing by the day, which can also result in stiffer competition. Thousands of SaaS companies are already marketing their products, and you should expect that the number of providers will double or even triple in the next several years.
Yet, you should know that the demand for SaaS products is very high, so there’s a lot of room for your product to grow. Therefore, as soon as you identify the niche for your software, you should put a lot of creative effort into developing your SaaS marketing strategy.
Your product has potential — let your SaaS marketing strategy unlock a myriad of possibilities.
SaaS Marketing Strategies: Things to Keep in Mind
As previously mentioned, creating a home-run SaaS product marketing strategy is challenging and rare in most cases. However, maintaining an effortful approach to staying in touch with your target audience is one feature of an effective marketing campaign.
Consistency is key, but it’s also vital to plan your course. After all, your efforts will only go to waste if you’re consistently going at it the wrong way.
Don’t worry too much, though, as you can follow a framework to develop an effective marketing strategy for SaaS. This framework will simplify things, so continue reading below for more information.
1. Identifying Your Target Audience
Developing an ideal customer profile is very underrated in value, especially with how aligned it is with a brand’s identity and voice. Unfortunately, most sellers overlook this, so don’t make that same mistake.
How will a buyer persona or ideal customer profile help you craft a dynamic SaaS marketing strategy? A buyer persona presents you with valuable sets of information about your target customers, including the following:
- pain points
- buying motivation
- desired solutions
- demographic challenges
Why and how will a potential customer avail of your software? Do your target customers tend to see advertisements more through digital media rather than word of mouth? You should be able to adapt your marketing strategies to the current trends, and you can achieve that by developing a buyer persona.
Now that you have various ideal customer profiles in mind, the next step is to conduct market research. Through market research, you can answer these important questions:
- Does your product address one of the underserved needs in your target market?
- What insights do people have about your product features?
- Can your product adapt to the current trends in the market?
Remember that market research is an ongoing process, so don’t stop gathering information and continue testing out your advertising strategies.
2. Mapping Out SaaS Sales Funnel
As you already know, the success of SaaS heavily relies on customer conversion and retention. Therefore, getting customers to subscribe long-term is the heart of your SaaS marketing strategy.
After conducting market research and developing buyer personas for your target customer base, you can map out your SaaS sales funnel. From a broader perspective, the sales funnel is your customer’s journey from noticing your product for the first time to renewing their subscription or membership.
Terms may vary, but an effective SaaS sales funnel should include these stages (in order):
- Brand discovery – This is your customers’ first impression of your product. How are you promoting your software on sales calls or social media ads?
- Gaining interest – It’s your potential customer’s first engagement with your product. Did they sign up for your newsletter or did they book a free consultation with one of your sales agents?
- Individualized insights – This is when a customer tests your software for the first time. Are you offering a free trial or demo of your product?
- First purchase – Well, you’ve officially got something tangible for your efforts. A prospective client finally earned the “official customer” tag for purchasing your services.
- Customer retention – This stage lets you know how effective your software was to your client or customer. Did they renew their monthly subscription or annual membership?
In a nutshell, your SaaS sales funnel gives you an idea of how you convert leads to sales.
3. Creating a Value Proposition
Grammarly’s recurring headline of “Great Writing, Simplified” is as simple and effective as you want a first impression to be. In just three words, Grammarly lets people know about the customers they’re targeting, the customer problems they can solve, and the actual solution that they’re offering.
This slogan-like headline from Grammarly is the starting point of what you call a SaaS value proposition. Creating a value proposition for your software should involve the following:
- A simple yet engaging headline
- Two to three sentences that support the headline
- Multiple bullet points to provide specific details about your brand
- Your brand’s image or logo
How do you then create a unique value proposition? The important thing to remember is that everything should be geared toward the customers’ needs. The first impression is key here, so your words should immediately resonate with your target customer base.
With your customers’ needs in mind, the next thing to include is your unique advantages over the competition. Even if it’s just one specific detail, use it to your advantage. To gain their attention, customers just need to see one feature that they haven’t seen before.
Finally, everything should be simple and clear. You can always get creative and witty but be mindful of using only simple wordings to make your SaaS value proposition more relatable.
4. Understanding the Competition
As is the case in every industry or business, the SaaS market is brimming with competition. If approached in the right way, competition becomes a healthy factor among competitors. SaaS providers begin to up their game, and this drives a mutual benefit between service sellers and buyers.
You have to remember that there is a high demand for SaaS, especially with the digitalization of almost every platform. According to Statista, SaaS providers based in the United States already have more than 59 billion customers as of 2022. SaaS providers headquartered in the United Kingdom trail at second place with 3 billion customers worldwide.
Still, you can’t get too complacent in the SaaS market. One distinct product feature can separate an upward-trending company from a spiraling one. For your company to avoid this, it’s recommended that you understand your competition.
Your direct and indirect competitors don’t just pose a threat to your growth; they can unwittingly provide you with helpful information and data. By researching how your competitors are doing business, you will also discover your company’s weaknesses and build up on the things you’re already doing right.
Understanding your competitors is a vital part of your SaaS marketing strategy, so make sure that this is part of your game plan.
5. Customer Acquisition Strategies
While it is true that there is a high demand in the SaaS market, it doesn’t mean that getting customers will be easy. It’s fairly easier to get your product noticed in the market, but can you secure customers on a long-term basis?
That’s the thing with SaaS — your relationship with a client or customer could dictate how sustainable your success is. This is not like in a jewelry store where you’re happy to sell one item to a customer and count that as a win. In SaaS, you have to convince people to buy your product in the long run.
One of the tips for getting long-term clients in SaaS is knowing where the right channels are. Depending on where your niche lies, here are the best customer acquisition channels in the SaaS industry:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Content marketing in social media
- Cold calls
- Paid advertising (Google Ads, Facebook Advertising, Guest Posts, Affiliate Marketing)
All these acquisition channels are effective in their own way, but you have to know which one works best for your product. Some tips include knowing where your competitors are getting customers, pre-testing your marketing strategy, and analyzing the platforms where your customers are more active.
6. Customer Retention Strategies
As you have read more than one time in this article, getting long-term clients or customers is the key to success in the SaaS marketplace. It’s one thing to get a potential customer piqued with interest; it’s another to convince them to renew their subscriptions.
The benchmark for customer retention rate in SaaS is around 90%. You may be intimidated by how high this standard customer retention rate is, but bear in mind that SaaS providers get their revenue via long-term subscriptions, not one-off memberships or free trials.
So how do you optimize your SaaS marketing strategy with the aim of acquiring “repeat customers”? Here are some tips to get started:
- Design a user-friendly interface with clear-cut instructions
- Conduct customer satisfaction surveys from time to time
- Regularly interact with your customers
- Work on upgrades and additional features
- Prioritize customer support and help center
Another customer retention strategy that you can utilize is implementing a customer loyalty program. It’s always an attractive way to engage both current and potential customers while encouraging them to get into the “spend more to earn more” scheme. Your customer loyalty program could include perks like getting cash back, unlocking higher-tier memberships, earning redeemable points, or getting discounts via referrals.
7. Pricing Strategy
You can your SaaS product as your passion or pet project, but let’s be perfectly honest: money is the driving force for SaaS operations. Your revenue is not just about the cold pile of cash you’re getting your hands on; the revenue you’re generating also tells you how your product is meeting the needs of your customers.
One of the factors affecting revenue generation in SaaS is pricing strategy. Getting your pricing strategy right could unlock another avenue for your product’s sustainable growth. Your pricing strategies should take into account your expenses, your competitors’ current pricing, and the value that your customers get from your product.
As for SaaS pricing models, here are a couple of examples that you can use:
- Fixed-rate: Often used for single-product subscriptions, fixed-rate pricing allows customers to pay a flat rate, whether they choose a monthly or annual subscription. The downside of this pricing model is there’s no room for price adjustments if customers want to include (or exclude) a certain feature.
- Usage-based: The usage-based pricing model allows customers to pay only for what they want to consume. This is more flexible pricing, although your company’s revenue might dip or increase depending on the current trends in the market.
Optimizing your pricing strategy could pose a short-term risk, but it’s important to think about the bigger picture in this facet of your SaaS market strategy.
8. Definition of Success
SaaS is a subscription-model business, so if you want to have a growing revenue, you need to encourage clients or customers to renew their accounts. To be able to do that, you need to invest a chunk of your resources in your customer success strategies.
According to the 2022 Customer Success Index by Gainsight, they found that SaaS providers spend at least 6% of their revenue on customer success. This number is just on the average line, so there’s a chance that the more successful SaaS companies invest more in customer success.
Having said that, customer success in SaaS is more than just responding to your clients’ queries. You need to establish a good working relationship with your customers, and this process involves providing them with the following:
- Intentional onboarding
- Training and seminars
- Workflow outlining
- Business reviews
- Feedback and evaluation
In a nutshell, you need to ensure that your customers are getting the most out of your product. When they discover all the perks that come with your software, they won’t just renew their subscriptions, but they could refer you to potential customers.
Measuring your success as a SaaS provider should be dependent on your long-term relationships with customers.
SaaS Marketing Channels
For your SaaS digital marketing strategy to work, you need to find the right channels to put your ads and content on. A brilliant marketing strategy won’t matter if you’re not able to reach your target customer base.
It goes without saying that your SaaS company must invest resources in your marketing strategies. So to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your budget, you need to find the most suitable market channels for your brand.
From a broader perspective, there are three main categories of marketing channels. These are the following:
- Paid Channels – This is a general type of marketing channel that requires payment for advertising your brand. Examples of paid channels include web display ads, paid campaigns on social media, guest posts, and email newsletters.
- Owned Channels – Basically, owned marketing channels refer to the media channels that your company owns. These may be your company’s website or social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
- Earned Channels – These are channels that you don’t pay for. You get access to earned channels organically, via word-of-mouth recommendations, referrals, and comments.
For you to know about the more specific marketing channels that your SaaS brand can use, continue reading below.
Saas SEO Strategy
As you might have figured out by now, most of your SaaS marketing strategies will use the Internet as means of communication. Digital media is the way of the world now, so you need to know how you can increase your brand awareness on the Internet.
If done properly, a great way to promote your SaaS brand is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SaaS SEO refers to the process of directing organic traffic to your brand, which increases reach, engagement, and awareness among your target customer base. A good SaaS SEO strategy typically involves relevant keywords and links from high-ranking, authoritative websites.
SEO is important because 68% of online experiences start with people typing in keywords on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex, and Naver among many others. So how will you incorporate SEO into your SaaS marketing strategy? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Research relevant, high-ranking keywords
- Analyze content and keywords coming from your direct and indirect competitors
- Invest in technical and on-page SEO
- Create engaging content
Content is still king in SEO, and that is the same case for your SaaS brand. To have the ability to craft engaging and relatable content, you must also identify the current challenges and trends in your target market.
SaaS PPC Campaigns
Along with the returns that you can get from investing in organic SEO, your SaaS brand can also benefit from a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign. If you want to get relatively quicker information on your ROI (return on investment), a PPC campaign could be your go-to marketing strategy.
A PPC campaign refers to the process of paying for paid advertisements on search engines and social media platforms. It’s a great way to see if a certain marketing channel fits your brand’s target customer base, as PPC campaigns will provide you with data on your ROI quicker than an SEO strategy.
PPC campaigns may require you to invest a lot of money, so you need to be intelligent as to where you put your resources into. An effective PPC campaign should see you doing the following:
- Personalize your ads based on the marketing channel and your target customer base
- Leverage your ads in relation to market movement and seasonal trends
- Opt for retargeting to re-engage with target customers
- Maximize opportunities on PPC landing pages
- Consider other marketing channels outside of Google Ads
While it’s true that data is quicker to get in a SaaS PPC campaign, you still have to exercise patience in testing different strategies and channels.
SaaS Email Marketing Strategies
Email marketing is another channel that SaaS companies are putting resources into. Email marketing is different from SEO and PPC strategies because you can have one-on-one interaction with each of your potential clients.
Getting your email marketing right is such a crucial element in SaaS customer success. As previously mentioned in this article, success in SaaS relies on bringing in long-term customers. Through email marketing, you can personally get in touch with customers and address their specific needs.
Moreover, email marketing involves one of the most important aspects of SaaS: encouraging your customers to renew their accounts. A typical email marketing strategy involves the following points:
- Map out your customer journey
- Nurture relationships, including Freemium subscriptions
- Offer training and workflows to encourage Freemium users to upgrade their subscriptions
- Provide regular reports and data charts for your users
Crafting engaging emails is a great way to attract new customers, but the main priority in SaaS email marketing is nurturing relationships. You should take advantage of the personal touch that comes with email marketing and be consistent with your efforts.
SaaS Video Marketing Strategies
You’ve read in this article that content is king when it comes to marketing. Well-written content can engage your customer base and combining that with an effective video marketing strategy could pay dividends for your SaaS brand.
According to Business Insider, the number of digital video viewers in the United States will eclipse 244.4 million by 2020. Videos are easier to consume, as there are more avenues to get creative and interactive with your target audience. In fact, more and more users say that short-form videos are the most engaging content on social media channels.
So, it’s not surprising at all that most SaaS companies leverage their video marketing abilities to gain more leads and conversions. Once you successfully discover a suitable marketing channel to broadcast your video content, you can get creative as much as you want. There are tons of SaaS videos that you can create, including:
- Product demo videos
- Instructional videos
- Promo videos
- Customer testimonial videos
- Company background videos
- Free webinars
- Interviews with industry experts
A visual explanation of how you can help your customers should gain more attention to your SaaS brand. You can do out-of-the-box content with your videos, but make sure that everything is clear-cut and easy to understand.
SaaS Marketing Strategy Takeaways
From the first impression down to customer retention, a B2B SaaS marketing strategy involves a lot of brainstorming and content planning sessions. There are vital things to keep in mind, including determining a suitable customer base, mapping out your customer journey, finding the right marketing channels, analyzing your competitors, and optimizing your pricing plans.
The process may seem complex at first glance, but if you stay true to your brand’s value proposition, the ideas and strategies will flow right through. There are many components to remember, but the most important factor in all these is how your SaaS can cover the needs of your customers.
Click here to get a free SEO audit for your SaaS business.