The just-do-this guide to SaaS marketing
There are almost 30,000 SaaS companies worldwide, 17,000 in the United States. With so many selections for customers to choose from, how can you optimize your SaaS marketing to stand out from the competition?
Since proper SaaS marketing techniques result in customer acquisition, loyalty and increased revenue, understanding these fundamentals are vital.
- SaaS stands for Software as a Service and is a subscription-based method for delivering a software application from the internet.
- SaaS offerings are beneficial since their deployments are speedy, and there’s little capital expense involved.
- Your marketing campaign should always target one niche or vertical. People will connect better with something specific to them.
- You can prove your quality to customers and secure their business by offering a free trial of your SaaS solution.
- Market your SaaS solution as a transformation, not an improvement.
What is SaaS?
Since SaaS marketing means promoting your SaaS company through any form of advertising (e.g., TV, social media, internet ads), we first focus on what is a SaaS company.
SaaS stands for Software as a Service and is a subscription-based method for delivering a software application from the internet.
Traditionally, companies would have their administrators install an application locally on a user’s workstation. Then, that software would connect to a company server to present the user with the needed interface. An example is Microsoft Outlook, an email application that connects to a company’s Microsoft Exchange server to give users their email. Software as a Service changes that model by providing the application from the internet, delivered either through a web interface or a mobile app, never installing it locally on the user’s workstation (e.g., Microsoft 365).
The value of a SaaS company
Why is an offering like this advantageous? Here are four reasons:
- Customers don’t have to invest much capital into their business. They don’t need to buy hardware such as servers and storage. And they don’t have to spend money creating a large data center. Finally, there’s no need to pay an upfront cost for the software and the license.
- SaaS is more tax efficient. You can write up the subscription as an operating expense.
- The speed of application deployment is considerably faster. Since getting started with a SaaS company can be as simple as clicking on a trial offer, a customer can run with their software in minutes versus possibly months with the traditional model.
- The SaaS application scales along with the customer’s business.
- The responsibility for a secure and seamless software experience falls on the SaaS company, not the customer. Customers who aren’t happy with the service can easily switch to another company.
This last point is why SaaS companies need an effective marketing campaign. Now, let’s see how you can create one.
4 contributing factors for the best SaaS marketing
These strategies will help create a winning marketing campaign and promote customer loyalty.
1. Connect with your audience
So many SaaS solutions are available today that the broad or overly-general ones don’t connect with people enough. Your marketing campaign should always target one niche or vertical. People will connect better with something specific to them.
So, find a problem and the solution for it. When creating a marketing campaign, set up the facts about the issue and speak to someone’s pain points so they understand the need for your solution. Ensure your target audience has the problem you resolve.
Finally, and for emphasis, talk about your audience’s needs instead of what you offer. If your marketing is self-focused, it won’t connect with your audience. The audience cares about their problems and wants to hear that what you have can change their lives.
2. Determine the best marketing approach
There are many marketing approaches, and each brings a measure of success. However, you want to optimize your strategy to use your company’s best digital channel or method. For example, should you lean into content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) or social media advertising? And, say you focus on social media, which platform should you use?
You can determine which digital platform is most suited for you through either experimentation or by looking at what your competitors use. If a competitor engages with an audience primarily through a particular channel, say LinkedIn, you can conclude that this method is effective and implement it.
3. Offer a free trial
Why should you offer a free trial? Because, before that trial, your SaaS business is an unproven commodity. There’s no trust between you and your customer. But if you let the subscriber take your solution for a test drive, you can prove your quality and secure their business.
SaaS free trials are ideal because there is no physical product to return at the end of a trial period. A customer will decide to either move forward with your software or not. Stir up interest by placing the free trial offer throughout your website (e.g., on your homepage, blog post, “Contact Us” page.)
What efforts will make people more likely to become paying customers at the end of a trial? Encourage the potential subscriber to use the free trial to get to know your service. For example, suppose you enable a user to test your solution for free for one month. You could send a welcome email at the start of the trial period. Then, a week later, send a follow-up asking if the user is enjoying the free trial. Perhaps you could highlight a feature for them to try.
4. Build a solid brand reputation
Market your SaaS solution as a transformation, not an improvement. If you mention that your product is an improvement, customers may think it could be a lot of work to switch to a brand related to what they already comfortably use. Pitch a mindset shift by incorporating some transformative phrases, such as:
- “Our product is a new way to….”
- “We are the fastest….”
- “We are the most cost-effective solution for….”
Finally, price honestly and deliver good customer service. It’s easier to keep a customer than to acquire a customer. And loyal customers can make for free promotions.
Promote your SaaS business with Optimizely
Optimizely can help you perform experimentation to find the right digital channel for your SaaS marketing. We offer AI/ML solutions so you can respond to changing audience behaviors and adapt your marketing strategy.
Contact us today to discover how we can help!