The core ingredients of a successful SaaS marketing plan includes the following:
- Customers can start using your software easily. Any difficulties or questions can be addressed with a step-by-step tutorial, easy to follow instructions or a live chat to resolve immediate questions.
- Customers can see the value in your software at any stage in the buying cycle. Getting users to sign up for a free trial is not a long-term goal. Instead, focus on users signing up so that they never want to go away.
- Customers who don’t convert are encouraged to “come back”. There will always be users who take advantage of the free trial and don’t convert. Be sure to remind all users before their trial expires and continue to draw them back with communications, retargeting, and email strategies. Whenever possible, contact them and ask why they ended after the trial (feedback is critical).
Later in this article, you’ll find some tools you can use to improve your onboarding and customer retention. However, before we get there, let’s look at the fundamental steps to creating a SaaS Marketing Plan.
1-Page SaaS Marketing Plan
Ideally, if you can break down your SaaS marketing plan into 1-page, you’ll have a simplified plan of action to grow and scale your business.
Creating a 1-page business plan is ideal during the startup and early stages of your business. It allows you to brainstorm ideas and creating actionable plans to turn those thoughts into outcomes. Putting all this information onto a single page makes it easy to follow, change, and adjust as you implement your plan.
If you’d like to read something with more depth about developing a 1-page marketing plan for your SaaS business, check out Allan Dib’s book.
However, if you keep reading, you’ll find a simplified version you can apply to your business today.
Creating Your SaaS Marketing Plan
To achieve long-term, sustainable growth, you need to have clear goals and an operational framework. You should be able to quickly identify what is working versus what is not.
Your marketing goals should have a clear outline and understanding of:
- Target Audience
- Marketing Channels
- Key Performance Indicators
Your target audience is a specific group of people who will use your software. It is a general group and includes a wide range of people. For example, if you offer a tax calculation software, you might target small to medium-sized businesses.
Next, it’s important to create more details about your target market by creating buyer personas and a user journey map.
- Buyer Personas: A hypothetical description of the characteristics, interests, and behaviors of a potential buyer. Start by analyzing your customer base (or, if you’re a startup, your competitor’s customer base). Next, identify why they are attracted to you and why they stay. What are the pains and problems you are solving and the benefits they will specifically receive?
- User Journey Map: A diagram that illustrates a customer’s journey from the first point of contact to purchase to ongoing interactions. Having a comprehensive user journey map for each of your buyer personas helps to establish all the touch points, objections, and conversion process with your software.
There are a lot of marketing channels to use. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll want to include which ones to use in your SaaS marketing plan.
Here’s the flow that we use at VoyMedia:
- Interview your existing customers. Find the specific sites they visit, social networks they use, and places on the internet they spend most of their time. Get to know their daily problems, challenges, and interests. Then, use this to find 3 to 5 channels to test your marketing.
- Define your target audience and buyer persona. Focus on it, scale it, and optimize it as often as possible. Go back to step 1 to ensure you get this right.
- Launch a campaign using the 3 to 5 channels you chose. Give it time for results to come in so they can be measured.
- Consider whether the cost per lead is attainable/viable and how many of those leads convert into paying customers.
- If the conversion rate is low, think about why. Maybe you are targeting the wrong people, or your solution and messaging don’t address the market’s needs.
- If the conversion rate is high, keep scaling, growing, and experimenting with new channels.
Try this strategy when deciding which marketing channel your business will use.
Key Performance Indicators
Once you have established your target market, buyer personas, user journey map, and the marketing channels, decide how success will be measured.
What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) you can use to effectively measure the success of your efforts?
Some KPIs often used for SaaS companies include:
- Churn Rate: The number of customers lost per year.
(Note: Research by Bessemer Venture Partners suggests that the top performing SaaS companies typically have yearly renewal rates at above 90%. So, if you want to maintain revenue growth, you have to add new customers and keep the ones you already have.)
- Monthly Recurring Income: Tracks new sales, upsells, upgrades, renewals, and churn on a monthly basis.
- Customer Acquisition Costs: This measures the amount of money a company burns to acquire a new customer𑁋for a comprehensive guide on Customer Acquisition Costs, read this.
Implementing Your SaaS Marketing Plan
Once you have outlined the key details of your plan, you can begin to choose SaaS marketing strategies to execute them. Some tools to use to monitor, track, and improve customer retention include:
- Intercom – Customer messaging platform and CRM used to improve sales, upselling, and customer retention.
- Klaviyo – Marketing platform that drives sales by targeting users via email, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Optimizely – Experimentation platform that allows marketing teams to personalize and alter messages so that the right match find the intended audience.
These are just a few tools you can use with your SaaS business plan. Some include analytics on their platform, however, you’ll want to integrate an analytics system at the get-go to track, measure, and optimize your SaaS business’ performance.