SaaS Marketing 101: Lead Generation Strategies

Geri Mileva on SaaS Marketing

Lead GenGaining a steady stream of leads is important in keeping any digital business afloat. And with more and more SaaS startups joining industries, the competition is tougher than ever.

Indeed, businesses are continuously trying to come up with innovative ways to source new leads. For budget-constrained marketing teams, cost-effective means are the way to go.

And while there may be varying strategies depending on industry, product type, business model, and other factors, it’s still worth knowing which lead generating approaches are deemed useful by marketing experts

So how can SaaS generate leads?

Here are some key strategies that can give your marketing a much-needed boost.

1. Use Beta Testing Platforms

Beta testing platforms are a good place to start when your SaaS company is trying to find early adopters to test the software.

But you might think, “Why give outsiders a peek before it’s finished?” It’s like a writer releasing a draft of his novel.

Actually, it makes sense to release a product in beta stage. When users try out the software, they can report any errors or bugs that can still be addressed prior to releasing the final version. This eliminates any major and minor glitches in your app.

Plus, if you interact with just your team, then you don’t get to hear the potentially valuable ideas that customers could propose. Keep in mind, though, that you still have the final say on how to design the product. Take on board every opinion and you end up with a confused (and likely unfinished) product.

BetaList, Quora, and Reddit are just some platforms that can bring you signups for your software. You can also initiate a beta period that’s invite-only, so you can form a core group of customers. Further spread your reach by asking testers to recommend your product to other potential users.

2. Push Marketing on LinkedIn

Most SaaS tools provide solutions to business customers. Since LinkedIn is a business- and employment-oriented platform, it can be used to source leads.

A survey of thousands of small businesses found that LinkedIn significantly bested Facebook and Twitter in terms of lead generation. One factor could be that users on LinkedIn tend to be in a business-focused mindset, so there’s a stronger pull for B2B and B2C marketing.

You can capture potential leads by inviting them to fill out a survey or to sign up. However, keep in mind that there’s a limit for invitations per day. If you want no restrictions, opt for LinkedIn Premium.

The downside is that if your invitations get little response, you might get banned for spamming. Hence, it’s best to add a personalized note to each message to improve response rate. Be prepared to return the favor to your leads, whether it involves testing their product or linking them to your contacts.

Start sending invitations to your contacts. That way, you get a chance to gauge the response to your product, and you hear it from familiar audiences.

3. Invest in Content Marketing

While it’s one of the most difficult strategies to pull off, content marketing is worth the effort and investment.

Content marketing efforts can involve starting a blog or publishing content across all your social media channels. Blogging about topics that are relevant to your target market enables you to increase organic traffic and, ultimately, leads.

Remember that aside from writing about popular topics and keywords, you should focus on creating content that helps customers solve a certain problem they’re encountering.

Publish targeted content that people are after. Whatever type of content gets you clicks, likes, comments and shares, post more of it! Make sure to include a call to action that draws potential leads out of your blog or social media account and over to your landing page.

When it comes to gating content, you can open top-of-the-funnel content to everyone online. And once you’ve established a following, present them with better content that requires a signup form.

4. Engage Your Potential Leads

With SaaS, it’s important to keep users engaged and informed about the value of your product. Because most SaaS is subscription-based, it is critical to maintain quality content and customer service at all stages of the sales funnel.

You can create micro tools or white papers for informational content about your product. Utilize this content to collect shares and email signups.

One example is the company When I Work, which provided free Excel templates that drove a total of 2,500 signups.

It’s also important to re-engage leads through an email drip campaign. Think about opening opportunities to continually interact with leads. This can be in the form of trial renewals, CTAs for staying in touch, Q&A sessions, and other touchpoints.

Resell the value proposition and re-educate users about your software. It’s easier to capture those who are already familiar with your brand than engage entirely new customers.

5. Strengthen Your SEO Efforts

SaaS startups should adopt a multi-faceted mindset for lead generation, as there are many variables that impact sales. And one such variable to strengthen is SEO, since search engines are still one of the main drivers of leads for businesses.

Around 88% potential customers do research before committing to any product or service. Therefore, you need to make information accessible, concise but comprehensive. Users should be able to gather your selling points right away.

Keeping a close eye on rankings and focusing on user experience and good content will help you acquire the most qualified leads for your business.

6. Involve Industry Influencers

Influencers can increase engagement and generate leads, because they provide a powerful form of validation for audiences. And given the large margins of many SaaS companies, there’s an opportunity to engage influencers and increase market growth.

You can include quotes from influencers in your pages, or have them participate in webinars and other custom marketing activities. Influencers shouldn’t be limited to just talking about the software. Let them share about related topics or issues that can position your product as a great solution.

One challenge with influencers is finding the right one to represent your brand. In fact, 75% of B2B and B2C marketers have reported that this is the most difficult task to complete in the entire strategy.

Fortunately, there are automation tools that are focused on finding influencers. Customized filters like keywords, follower count, geolocation, and social platform can further specify which influencer can actually make the difference for your business.

7. Diversify Your Strategies

Generating leads cannot be fully executed without a diversified effort for SEO, content, advertising, and testing. All of these are crucial and make up a robust marketing system.

By taking on a broad approach to lead generation, you don’t risk being too reliant on any one area. You can adapt to whatever changes that may happen in your industry and in today’s market in general.

What’s more, diversifying gives you a complete picture of the business that could lead to novel and innovative ideas to pursue your goals.

Lead generation is just one part of your overall marketing strategy. There are many channels for SaaS companies, and many undiscovered avenues full of potential. As lead generation entails diversifying tactics and resources, experimentation is key towards an informed and customized marketing approach.