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SaaS Marketing

SaaS Marketing: The Ultimate Founder's Guide

MADX Team
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October 6, 2022
SaaS Marketing: The Ultimate Founder's Guide

Do you want to scale your SaaS business but are not sure how? You’re not alone.

As a full-service SaaS SEO and link-building agency, we have worked with SaaS businesses and helped them succeed by focusing on the real growth factors in ever-changing markets.

What we'll cover:

The SaaS Markets are Changing

The SaaS industry soared by a whopping 500% over the past 7 years.

The demand for SaaS has increased, obviously. However, so has the competition of available SaaS solutions on the market.

How can your business succeed despite the such fierce competition?

The answer is simple — build an effective SaaS marketing strategy.

What is SaaS Marketing?

Let’s kick things off by explaining what SaaS marketing is and what makes it so different. 

SaaS marketing is a kind of marketing that focuses on increasing traffic, building awareness, generating leads, and acquiring and retaining customers for your SaaS product/service.

It helps bring a product to market, position it, and then create awareness about it.

The various types of SaaS marketing that brands capitalize on are content marketing, SEO, email marketing, PPC and social ads, social media marketing, and so on.

Why is SaaS Marketing different?

Though SaaS marketing overlaps with a lot of other industries, here are the factors that make it unique:

Unique product lines

SaaS products aren’t like other products. They don’t have a physical presence or shelf life. For example, you wouldn’t market a project management tool like you would market any physical product. You might focus on the features of the PM tool, but for the physical product, you might focus on how the product feels and looks.

Lengthy & complex customer journey

It takes anywhere between 6 and 18 months to close an enterprise deal in SaaS. A reason behind this is that the SaaS sales cycle is complex. 

Let’s say you’re selling a financial management tool. You need to first create awareness of what financial management is. But you also might have customers that know what financial management is. They are in the later stages, where they compare different financial management tools.

This means creating a lot of different content and marketing strategies.

Here’s what it would look like:

Unique pricing structure

While pricing may not seem directly related to marketing, it’s an important part of SaaS marketing.

SaaS companies generally have a tiered pricing structure instead of a single price like traditional companies. Making your pricing structure clear and providing clear information on what the customer gets in each tier can lead to more conversions.

The focus is on long-term customers

In SaaS, churn happens. There’s no denying it. A business following a traditional model may stop marketing once the customer is hooked. It’s not the same for SaaS. You have to continue and even maximize your marketing efforts to focus on long-term retention once someone has subscribed to your tool or watched your demo. 

How do I start marketing my SaaS?

We can break down SaaS marketing into two main parts: (a) get as much traffic to your site as possible and (b) talk about your product/service effectively. 

Before you go on to create a detailed strategy, you must first get answers to the following questions:

- Who is my target audience? Do we have well-defined buyer personas so as to create targeted content?

- Should we conduct a competitor audit to find out what SaaS marketing strategies are proving to be successful for them?

- Which kind of content should we focus on more? Or should we aim to have an equal mix of TOFU (Top of the funnel), MOFU (Middle of the funnel), and BOFU (Bottom of the funnel)

- Do we want to try different SaaS marketing strategies all at once? Or should we aim to stick with 2-3 and then see how it’s adding to our goals?

Once you’re clear on these parameters, you can create a laser-focused SaaS marketing strategy.

Top SaaS Marketing Strategies in 2022

Now that you’re done with the basic preparation, here’s a list of top SaaS marketing strategies you can inculcate in your SaaS marketing plan. We’ll also share the hacks we leverage for our clients, along with some real-life examples to get you inspired.

SaaS Pricing Strategies

Some SaaS businesses focus on not revealing their prices. The thought process behind this is, “We want the visitors to first get interested in our product before showcasing the price.”

But that’s not a great approach to have. Many visitors would instead hop on to your competitors, resulting in churn.

Look at how Postalytics shows a detailed pricing plan where the users know exactly what they are getting in each plan:

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That’s not it! They also show a breakdown of each plan below, offering different volume discounts.

Remember, whichever pricing structure you choose, simplify it as much as possible.

When Groove HQ did that and added a pricing comparison page, they managed to increase conversions by 358%.

Here are three pricing strategies you can make use of:

Free Trials

Many SaaS buyers prefer doing their own research on products and services they want to buy.

A reason why free trials are so popular in SaaS.

They allow users to experience your product first-hand and then upgrade to the paid version. Free trials can thus be a great product-led acquisition strategy for your business.

As a general rule of thumb, the trial period should be anywhere between 7-30 days.

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At the end of the trial period, you can make use of reminder emails like Basecamp to encourage paid conversions from free trials.

Freemium 

A freemium model combines “free” and “premium” and has become a dominant pricing strategy among SaaS businesses. It aims to give users basic features at no cost with an option to access richer functionality for a premium subscription fee.

Many users find indefinite free access to some features compelling resulting in more conversions through this strategy.

But which features should you give away for free? As the purpose of freemium is to attract new users, the free features should be compelling enough to drive them in. At the same time, if you’re seeing lots of freemium traffic but minimal upgrades, your free offerings are probably too rich, and you need to cut back.

New York Times experienced this when they set a limit of 20 free articles in 2011. If someone wanted to read more, they had to subscribe. Over subsequent months, they realized that they were getting few subscribers, and as a result, they cut back this number to 10. The result was increased subscribers.

Demos 

A demo video can be a powerful marketing tool that helps prospects see your product in action. When the visitors can visualize how your product works, you’re equipping them with the information they need to hit on that “Subscribe” button.

In order to hook the prospect’s attention and not bore them, an ideal demo video should be of less than 5 minutes. 

That said, if you have a complex product that has a lengthy pre-made demo, make sure you break the video into different phases so that visitors can jump to the section they want.

If you’re opting for a live demo, here are some tips you can follow:

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SaaS Inbound Marketing Strategies

Inbound marketing is an approach that attracts customers through the creation of valuable content and experiences. It is one of the most popular SaaS marketing strategies as it brings customers to you instead of the other way around. Here are 4 strategies that you can adopt in your SaaS inbound marketing plan.

SEO

The better your SEO strategy, the higher your business ranks on search engines. The higher your rankings, the more traffic you get. The more traffic you get, the higher the probability of conversions. This is a loop your business should capitalize on.

Here’s what the SaaS SEO framework looks like:

One search on Google, and you’ll find hundreds of SEO success stories. And rightly so! Some SaaS businesses have achieved tremendous growth with a focus on SEO.

Here’s a case study of how HubSpot has capitalized on SEO techniques like keyword research, metadata, and on-site SEO to become one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the world.

Content Marketing

If there’s one SaaS business that has made it big with content marketing, it’s Zapier. Zapier is an “automation platform.” This category and phrase don’t have that much demand. Specifically, it gets about 200 monthly searches in the U.S. and 1100 globally.

Yet Zapier’s blog alone gets 1.6 million organic visits every month. That makes 67.5% of its overall organic traffic, and that traffic is worth about $3.7 million.

They do this with the help of a single SaaS marketing strategy - content marketing backed by SEO. 

It’s important to create content for every stage in your sales funnel. You should also back every piece of content you publish with a strategic goal and search intent.

Here are 6 simple steps to create a content marketing strategy:

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Email Marketing

Email has become one of the most preferred communication channels between brands and customers. 

A SaaS business needs to focus on building strong relationships with its customers even after the acquisition. That’s where strategically made email marketing campaigns come into the picture.

You can opt for various email campaigns such as welcome, reengagement, onboarding, promotional, and newsletter.

Here’s how Litmus, an email marketing tool, sends an eye-catching promotional email with separate sections so the reader can quickly glance through the most important bits.

They have also used well-crafted CTAs to lead visitors towards taking action.

 

Source: Litmus

Social Media Marketing

While social media marketing is used majorly by D2C brands and non-tech brands, many SaaS companies have proved that it can be a great SaaS marketing strategy as well.

Take Canva, for example.

It has leveraged influencer marketing on social media to get great results. At one point, they discovered that Guy Kawasaki’s (former chief evangelist at Apple) social media graphics were designed with Canva’s tools. 

So, they contacted and partnered with him. This partnership helped Canva triple its users in just a few months.

Canva also capitalizes on recent trends and important events to bring unique social media content for their audience that makes them want to subscribe to Canva and start designing.

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SaaS Outbound Marketing Strategies

While inbound marketing strategies are great, you must strive to find a balance between inbound and outbound. Outbound marketing strategies allow you to target only the audience you select, making it quite an effective way of marketing. Here are three strategies you can adopt.

Search Engine PPC

Pay Per Click advertising can be a great way to reach buyers who are looking for your product or similar products.

Many SaaS companies also use these ads to increase visibility for specific keywords and beat the competition. The main advantage of PPC is that you don’t have to play the waiting game. You can start getting results right away.

Here’s how the PPC adverts look for the keyword “project management tool”

Google ads

The best way to get success with these ads is to test them repeatedly. You can research different keywords, create various options for ad copies, and analyze the metrics to get the best ROI.

Print Advertising

While almost everything happens on the cloud when it comes to SaaS, there’s no denying that print advertising can give you an edge if you’re looking to create some awareness or reach those that are looking for a solution offline.

These print ads can be showcased in newspapers, magazines, and even journals.

Here’s how Mailchimp grabbed attention with an advertisement in a well-known magazine:

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They created curiosity with that first headline and also added to the list of prominent companies making use of Mailchimp at the end so as to create trust in their brand.

Social Media Ads

With the average time spent on social media by adults rising exponentially, you can boost your social media content or create brand awareness by running social media ads on platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Unlike organic, social media ads let you target specific locations or even demographics so you can devise ads that look personalized and hit the nail right on target.

Here’s how Slack came up with a social ad that grabbed users’ attention with its eye-catching visual and simple yet effective copy.

Source: Facebook Ads

With 67% of users purchasing after seeing an ad on social media, you can get great success with this strategy.

SaaS Marketing Metrics to Track

Just because you spent a lot of time creating marketing strategies doesn’t mean they will always work. A reason why it’s so important to keep track of important metrics or KPIs. These metrics help you determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, calculate ROI, and make changes if needed.

Below are some important marketing metrics you should track regularly.

Traffic 

In today’s digital world, the more traffic you can drive to your website and other channels, the more leads you can generate and clients you can close.

You should measure not only the overall traffic but also the different sources of traffic. For example, if you see that most of the traffic is coming from your blog, but you’re spending a lot of time on social media, you need to rethink your strategy.

You can also check to see how much traffic is coming organically and how you can improvise on that number. 

Also, make sure to check the traffic on your various landing pages across a time period of several months.

Conversions 

The conversion rate signifies the percentage of website visitors that click on your CTAs (Calls To Action) and convert.

This conversion rate isn’t necessarily about the percentage of people signing up for your product or free trial. It could be different actions like signing up for your blog or newsletter, scheduling a meeting with you, downloading a piece of content, or availing of a new feature that is to be released.

When you track conversions along with other metrics, you can get many insights. For example, if a landing page is getting good traffic and engagement but fewer conversions, this could be because your CTA isn’t proper. Changing the position, copy, and style of your CTA could bring in good results.

Cost per Acquisition

Cost per Acquisition measures all the different types of costs it takes to acquire one customer. It is one of the most popular SaaS marketing and demand generation metrics.

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The cost should contain everything from marketing, sales, HR, and other costs to figure out if you’re actually on the right track or not.

For example, if you’re spending $100 to get one customer and those customers are paying you just $40, you need to find out where you can afford to spend a little less money and get the same results.

Customer Churn Rate

If you’re not keeping track of the churn in your business, you don’t really have an idea if your SaaS company is swimming or sinking. This metric also gives you an idea of how good your customer retention is and if you need to improvise on the same.

A good annual churn rate for a SaaS business is anywhere between 5-7%, whereas the monthly average churn rate is less than 1%.

If your numbers are far above that, don’t just stop at calculating the rate. Delve deep into the reasons and how different teams from sales, marketing, product can help to improve this rate.

Activation Rate

Are you just tracking the number of signups on your tools? While signups show a strong interest in your tool, measuring activations is far better. It refers to the first time someone uses your product in a way that shows they are getting value from it.

If your activation rate is low, it shows that while people are getting attracted to your tool, they’re probably not finding the experience meaningful or they are not understanding how to move forward.

In such a case, it helps to improve the onboarding experience or provide content in the form of real case studies and how-to articles for getting started with your product.

Lifetime Value

The lifetime value shows how much an average paying customer provides your business throughout their user lifespan. This metric shows you three main aspects of your business: (a) what a customer is worth on average, (ii) how often a customer purchases and (iii) the amount an average customer spends

Measuring customer lifetime value along with customer acquisition cost can get you a better idea on how your business is growing.

Useful SaaS Marketing Tools

It’s a lot of work brainstorming SaaS marketing strategies and keeping a track of all the different metrics and KPIs. That’s where SaaS marketing tools can make the job easy for you. From analytics to creating campaigns that your users fall in love with, there are a lot of advantages to adopting them.

Read on to find out top 4 SaaS marketing tools that we have tried and tested ourselves.

1. Google Analytics

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It’s hard to imagine a SaaS business that hasn’t heard or made use of this tool. It’s not only free but since it’s a Google tool, you can see how it specifically evaluates your site. It analyzes performance factors like mobile responsiveness and load time, measures all kinds of traffic metrics, and gives you valuable audience insights. This helps you determine the kind of content you should be creating, the pages you need to revise, and which channels you should focus on.

2. HotJar

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HotJar lets you delve deep into understanding user behavior. It shows you how users are experiencing your website without overwhelming you with too many numbers. You can see minute details like where users click, move, and scroll through your website. You can also get recordings of this to map the full user journey. With these insights, you’re better equipped to test different on-site marketing strategies to see what gets the results.

3. Google Tag Manager

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With Google Tag Manager, you can know which marketing initiatives are successful and which are not by tracking and measuring them. You can add small snippets of code to your site that helps connect with various channels and platforms. You can then quickly deploy analytics and measurement tag configurations.

4. MixPanel

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MixPanel helps you convert, engage, and retain users. This is one of the best tools to uncover hidden insights and use them to shape your marketing strategies. You can find out how conversion rates vary by segment, surface conversion trends, measure active usage, identify opportunities to drive retention, and a lot more.

Ready to Start Marketing Your SaaS?

Now you know all you need to start marketing your SaaS product.

 With research and some experimentation, you’re all set to build a great SaaS marketing strategy for your business. 

You also have a lot of examples to take inspiration from here, be it to conduct your next email marketing campaign or devise a social media marketing strategy. 

If you’re just starting out or you’re still not clear on how to take things forward, MADX is here for you. With years of experience and some feel-good client success stories, we’d love to hear you out and provide exclusive insights into marketing possibilities.

Get in touch with us today

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