What is SaaS?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a steadily growing industry that gives clients the ability to access and use cloud-based apps online. It’s one area of cloud computing that utilizes software resources to address online service and storage issues.
SaaS apps that are fundamental to businesses may help with sales management, customer relationship management, finance, and many more. Basically, SaaS removes the need for businesses to install and run applications on their own hardware and data centers.
Business owners don’t have to invest in hardware, software licensing, installation, maintenance, and support. SaaS companies take care of all kinds of digital operations.
Tech advancements, open access, and the cost-effective subscription model many SaaS service providers adopt have enabled businesses to prioritize software over hardware. And with 4 billion people using the Internet as of 2018, SaaS companies will only grow more influential on the economy.
Marketing for SaaS companies can be more daunting than what’s usually done for other businesses. Think about it. How can you market something that has no physical presence? Or something that’s unfamiliar and hard to understand?
For your SaaS company to get through to customers, you’d have to take a more targeted approach to marketing. Traditional marketing principles still apply, only executed in different ways. Here are some SaaS marketing techniques that you can consider:
1. Content Is Your Asset
Similar to marketing for other products and services, SaaS companies also need high-quality content to promote their brand to audiences. Research on content marketing suggests that as many as 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company through relevant content rather than ads.
It’s really astounding how fundamental content is, and if you want users to establish trust with your brand, you would have to produce a lot of high-quality and useful content. Establish your blog as an authority source, and audiences will start to notice.
One great example is Help Scout. They provide help desk software services through a web-based platform. Their blog not only focuses on their products but is also a popular resource that tackles customer service solutions for businesses, like dealing with difficult customers, learning the art of negotiation, and other relevant topics.
Blog posts, tweets, and published content should always involve spreading information. The main goal of SaaS marketers is to provide information that guides users to the SaaS product or service.
2. Offer Free Trial Periods
Free tastes, product testers, retail samples—selling physical merchandise entails giving away free stuff once in a while. And in SaaS, you’d have to do the same, but with a software app.
Free trials are a great way to let customers experience your product. It’s also self-service, so you don’t have to invest in a whole lot of marketing to get the word out.
Just by making the app trial available via your website, you can engage qualified leads. When users take the time to sign up, download, and use your product, it means they are primed to complete the buying journey.
When users download your app, make sure that you provide support strategies as well. Automated emails, group chats or webinars, and in-app notifications are just a few touch points to assist users.
3. Optimize Your Website
As with other businesses, SaaS companies need to focus on conversion measures for their website. Use CTA buttons to ease a visitor’s navigation process.
For instance, CTA buttons like “Start your trial now,” “Become a subscriber to this blog,” “Download this report,” and “Follow us” can be placed in blog posts—one in the middle and one at the end – to encourage conversion whether users scroll all the way to the end or not.
Concerning free trials, make your “freemium” process smooth and easy for users. Things like landing pages, CTA buttons embedded in blog posts, and sign-up forms should always be accessible and clearly laid out.
FreshBooks, a company that offers invoicing and billing services whatever currency and payment terms are needed, has a user-friendly website with bright CTA buttons on the homepage as well as on each blog article.
4. Invest in Customer Service
Customer service is a huge factor in earning a customer’s trust. In fact, more than half of customers attribute excellent customer service to additional or repeat purchases.
For SaaS companies, developers and programmers are often the ones who get the attention. After all, they create the product to be offered in the market.
But customer service should be prioritized if you want to keep customer satisfaction high. Help desk, sales, and other front-line staff are the ones who communicate directly with customers.
Hence, spend more time and resources building a strong customer service component. On your website, help and contact pages should clearly provide all avenues for inquiries and troubleshooting.
Moreover, you can use social media channels for complaints and concerns. This way, you create many contact opportunities between you and customers.
Evernote, a mobile app for note taking, organizing, and archiving, does this quite well. Their comprehensive customer support setup includes Twitter and Facebook Messenger bots for common questions, even setting a daily schedule for Q&As.
5. Engage in Remarketing
Okay, so you have a great product. You have a streamlined website that highlights your call to action. But you still get few conversions. You ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?”
Fact is, most online users just won’t convert right away. What you can do is remarket your brand by tracking your site visitors and displaying online ads as they visit other pages on the web.
Remarketing is useful for SaaS companies, because you get to show your product beyond the confines of your website and social media accounts. With remarketing, you become familiar to users, which can push visitors to turn into customers.
One way to customize remarketing efforts is to place offers in your emails, webinars, or social media posts to lure back visitors. You can also target web users with similar characteristics as your visitors.
6. Partner with Other Companies
SaaS companies can opt for a co-marketing campaign with other companies. While there’s no exact rule in co-marketing, you generally want partner companies that complement yours and share a similar approach to business.
You can create shared content like a free app, e-book, webinar, research, or infographic material. With a co-marketing strategy, you can share both costs incurred and the generated leads, leveraging the partnership for your own brand reach.
For instance, if you sell HR management software, you can partner with an HR consultancy company to promote an analytics grading tool that can be used in hiring processes.
When executed effectively, co-marketing is a cost-effective approach to increasing brand engagement and demonstrating thought leadership in your industry. As long as both companies have a unified understanding of all the arrangements and expectations, both will enjoy gains.
These are only a few SaaS marketing strategies that help startups grow and thrive. But as always, results happen on a case-by-case basis, and it’s important to test and analyze strategies to determine what impacts your company.