SaaS Marketing 101: Conversion Rate Optimization

Geri Mileva on SaaS Marketing

Conversion Rate OptimizationMuch of the principles and strategies in conversion optimization can be applied across industries. Conversion measures all have the same goal, which is to increase the profit and growth of any business.

Why SaaS Conversion Is Different

Still, there are a few differences in how marketers strategize for SaaS companies.

In SaaS, you can’t just focus on lead generation. You have to establish onboarding processes that guide customers throughout the whole sales journey. Unlike typical B2B products, there’s also an in-app experience that you have to provide to users.

Moreover, the SaaS business cycle is generally shorter than that of other types of businesses. Buying SaaS tools is swift and transactional in nature. There are no contract negotiations and networking events. In fact, it’s all about rapid sales.

This quick business cycle is influenced by the fast-paced product development itself. SaaS software evolves constantly, and if a sales process lasted a couple of months, there would be at least several iterations of the tool developed within that period of time.

SaaS is comparable to e-commerce, though, in that products and services are open to various pricing models and marketing strategies.

In general, knowing about the SaaS business cycle and marketing stages is important for conversion optimization.

Stages of SaaS Conversion

If you’re struggling to convert visitors into paying customers and keeping customers subscribed to your products, there are tried-and-tested tips on how to optimize your conversion.

Conversion can be segmented into two stages:

  • Conversion from site visitor to sign-up
  • Conversion from sign-up to a paying customer

From Site Visitor to Sign-Up

Converting website visitors to sign-ups entails designing your website in a way that encourages them to trust your brand and sign up on your offer. Hence, you can consider some techniques, such as:

1. Make your landing page appealing

One of the first things to make sure of is to make your sign-up page appealing. By doing so, you can draw potential leads to your venture.

With landing pages, there has to be a value proposition for visitors. And the overall design of the page has to be clean, attractive, and convincing.

Your landing pages could present free trial like OmniConvert, or a “freemium” offer where the product itself is free but its additional features are not, like the one Evernote provides.

And if you don’t offer any free trial, you can showcase a higher-touch sales call or demo, like what Marketo has on their landing page.

Different customers have different needs, which is why you should create various landing pages targeting different personas that your software accommodates.

Whatever marketing strategy you include, make your landing page appealing. Incorporate bright visuals, memorable images or illustrations, and use colors that suit your brand. As long as your landing page is accessible and stunning, you’re already one step in the right direction.

2. Include testimonials

In addition to offers, actual testimonials from real customers can add substantial credibility to your brand. It strengthens your social proof and validates your product’s usefulness.

On the Bill.com website, visitors see testimonials from accounting industry leaders on how an efficient workflow helped their operations. Target market players comprising banks, businesses, and accounting firms would immediately reconsider if they had prior reservations about the brand. 

3. Produce share-worthy content

This includes blog posts, articles, case studies, and the like, published on your website and social media channels. All of this content contributes to your branding and being seen as an authority in your industry.

With a positive perception of your brand, customers are more open to trying out your product.

4. Have a chat feature

Responsive support features on your website enable you to engage visitors and answer their questions in real time.

This is an important aspect of increasing conversion, because audiences want fast and reliable customer service support when they are navigating websites. If you are not able to meaningfully interact with site visitors, chances are they will go somewhere else to find what they’re looking for.

Tools such as Intercom and Zendesk help you automate engagement touchpoints.

From Sign-Up to Paying Customer

Now that you’ve gained hard-earned sign-ups, it’s time to complete the purchase journey by converting them into paying customers. Here are some ways to do so:

1. Set up an effective on-boarding scheme

Onboarding refers to the entire process that you provide users in helping them realize the value of your product. It’s not only about teaching them how to use the product. Rather, onboarding is about teaching your customers how your product solves their problem.

Design your onboarding scheme to answer questions like, “Why is your customer using your product?” or, “What role does your product play in reaching the customer’s goal?”

Depending on the type of product you have, you can maximize onboarding elements like:

  • Sign-up form (prerequisite for all SaaS)
  • Welcome email or call
  • Educational emails
  • Tutorials or webinars
  • Notifications to re-engage users
  • Customer support

When your leads are treated to such services, it’s easier for them to see that your product is worth it and make the subscription purchase. 

2. Provide multiple price plans

The great thing about SaaS products is that they can cater to different markets. And one way to emphasize that is to build different pricing plans that specifically target various personas.

For instance, if you have freelancers as one of your targets, then you can design a plan that suits the price range of these customers.

Adobe Creative Cloud does this well by offering different plans for individuals, teachers and students, businesses, and educational institutions.

Customizing your plans guarantees that you widen your market reach and persuade more people to support your product.

3. Tailor your marketing strategy to user behavior

In a given period, you can analyze the behavior of both types of users: those who only signed up and did not buy your product afterward, and those who completed the purchasing journey. This provides you with insight into how these two sets of users behaved.

Using monitoring results, you can decide on how to further encourage conversion.

At BrowserStack, for instance, they found that users who tried out the website testing tool on mobile browsers were more likely to convert than those who tried it on desktop browsers. This enabled their team to promote mobile browser use to their potential customers.

4. Strategize your freemium limit

If you have a “freemium” offer, it helps to design an expansion strategy suitable to the product. This way, users will want to upgrade right away once they hit the maximum of the free plan.

One great example is Dropbox, where the freemium plan is limited to 2GB. Since users tend to use up this amount of storage fairly quickly, they opt to purchase the premium plan after the trial stage.

Conclusion

Conversion optimization depends largely on your product and what techniques are applicable to your SaaS company. Of course, there’s no linear approach to conversion. Combine and test the suggestions shared here, and you’ll eventually find a formula that works for your business.