SaaS companies are taking off. With more than 4 billion people using the internet, there are many opportunities to invest in the development of software to become an up-and-coming SaaS star.
The pool of potential customers may be vast, however, reaching those people on the internet requires tactics to get noticed, subscribers, and buyers. So, let’s look at some of the best SaaS marketing strategies you can use to promote your business online.
- Content Marketing
Content marketing is a powerful tool to drive traffic to your website and attract users to your service. Consider the compounding power of return, which is simply a small, smart investment today will lead to a large, steady return tomorrow. You may not see returns on your content marketing in the first year, however, as your business produces more content, you’ve just boosted your opportunities down the road.
Content is going to be your greatest asset. Depending on the details of your SaaS business, your blog can be a hot spot for information that educates and introduces new users to your service. Instead of “renting” exposure to prospects, focus on developed content your business can own forever. That’s the power of content marketing.
Just look at Intercom’s content marketing strategy. They focus on product management, design, startups, and marketing. This customer communication platform is quickly becoming known for their quality and they deliver this information effective with their Intercom Blog, podcast, and books.
- Free Trials
Offering free trials is a fast and effective SaaS marketing strategy. Browse the web and look up some of the most popular SaaS services:
All these SaaS service offer access to their platform for free. Nothing is more effective than allowing new users to “test drive” your service. So, you should consider setting up a free trial if you haven’t created one already.
Not only are trials an effective way to convert visitors to your website, but also a great incentive for when you include paid advertising in your SaaS marketing strategy.
Free trials are typically self-serve, meaning, new users won’t spend any time speaking to a sales rep. Instead, they can go straight to the service and try it out for themselves.
However, depending on the complexity of your SaaS offer, you may need to include an onboarding experience to ensure questions can be answered and a general understanding is acquired. Try using a one-to-one call, group webinars, video training, or a combination of all three.
You’ll also want to limit your trial to see which duration leads to the best retention and conversion to your paid services. See if a 14-day trial serves better than a 30-day trial. Additionally, you could also offer a segment of your service free for life.
- Referral Marketing
Do you have a referral program?
Growing trends in online marketing are revealing that referrals are one of the most effective ways of converting leads. Referrals are a low cost with high-yield for closing sales.
In a survey by Matt Heinz in 2017, here’s what he found about referrals:
- 69% reported referral leads close faster than non-referral leads;
- 59% reported referrals leads have a higher lifetime value than other lead sources;
- 71% reported that referrals close at a higher rate than other lead sources;
- 22% reported using some type of tool or system to increase referral leads.
Read that last bullet point one more time.
Referral leads are clearly a winning strategy to increase users and customers for SaaS companies, yet, many companies don’t have a referral program in place.
PayPal created a customer referral program that paid people to refer their contacts to sign up for an account. PayPal offered $20 paid into each user’s account whenever they referred a contact. As referrals began streaming in, they dropped the incentive down to $10 and eventually to $5.
However, you don’t always have to incentivize users with money to share your service with their contacts or social following.
Let’s look at DropDox’s great success story which was able to turn 100,000 users in 2008 to over 4,000,000 in just 15 months (that’s 3900% in growth). DropBox didn’t have to spend much on marketing or advertising. Instead, they incentivized their users to refer their service to friends and colleagues in exchange for more space on their account. The messaging they used for this initiative was straight-forward and simple: for every person you tell about the usefulness of Dropbox, you get more storage space.
- Paid Advertisement
If you’re planning on promoting your SaaS business using paid ads, Facebook and Instagram ads are a sure way of generating leads.
With Facebook ads, you can tap into “look-a-like” audiences. What this means is that Facebook is going to target your ads to people who already converted to your services.
The best advice is to run a series of ads that test and see what activity generates the best ROI for your business. What images generate the most engagement? How can you change the headline to capture more interest? These are some of the questions you want to consider when creating your Facebook or Instagram ads.
- Email Marketing
A strategic way to convert users is to nurture your email list with promotions and discounts to paid services (for those using a “free-for-life” model) or upgrades. However, the trick to email marketing is to understand precisely where your leads and users are in the buying process.
If your new user is still feeling out the free trial and you send them an email asking them to upgrade, it may be too soon. So, you’ll want to analyze, track, and monitor your leads to fully understand where they are on their journey.
Once you know that, you can start sending the right messages using email marketing automation that send specialized messages to segmented lists (i.e. to those at a specific phase in the journey).
Some examples of emails you can use are:
- Free Trial Activation: If you offer a free-trial, use emails that remind your user that the trial is about to expire and it’s almost time for an upgrade.
- Freemium User Activation: When users sign up to your freemium service, send them a thank you email followed by some reminder emails of the value of your service. Try not to focus on upgrading to a paid service, instead, try to remember that these users are still familiarizing themselves with your service and need time, nurturing, and education to master the basic features they have access to.
- Freemium User Upgrade: This email is best sent after users have been on your service for a certain amount of time. You don’t want to promote actions too soon and they need time to experience your platform before seeing the value of upgrading to a new feature. You can trigger these emails based on time spent on the platform or after a certain amount of actions have been performed.
- Delight: Don’t forget to send emails to your already paying customers. Once they are onboard, send additional information and resources to keep them delighted and onboard with your platform. Do this to retain your customers longer and try including your referral program to increase new leads to your business.
These are just a few SaaS marketing strategies you can use at your business. As your company grows, you should always analyze, test, and optimize the process that attracts, nurtures, and converts leads into paying customers.