What can make people buy your SaaS product? Introducing email marketing, creating a shiny website, publishing loads of useful content, or maybe everything at once?
The answer to the question of how to market SaaS software has many points to discuss. Still, the main thing all your prospects want is to have their problem solved with your product. That’s why your SaaS marketing strategy should be aimed to help people quickly and easily see what value proposition your cloud software has and how end-users can benefit from purchasing it. Luckily, there are many ways to do it.
As a design agency for SaaS, we know that good marketing design will show the value of your SaaS product through a usable website, high-converting landing page, customer-centered ads, and so on. It can help to add credibility to your software and retain your customers. But of course, not only design can attract people to your software-as-a-service.
In this article, we are going to discuss 7 strategies that can help your cloud software grow and prosper.
Marketing tips for SaaS software products
The SaaS market is growing extremely rapidly and to stay successful you should constantly test, change, adapt and develop new solutions for your software. Therefore, SaaS-based marketing calls for some unique approaches.
You may have already heard of some of the tactics we are going to talk about in this article, or maybe you even use some of them. If not, they’re worth a try. Now, let’s check them out.
While traditional businesses try to attract audiences by providing special offers, making sales, and similar, SaaS companies try to win over customers by offering them a free trial version of the product.
Such a marketing tactic works well for cloud businesses, as the most efficient way for a customer to realize that your software is exactly what they were searching for, is by trying it out. Therefore, SaaS marketers are doing their best to make it as easy as possible to sign-up for trials to lure interested customers and increase the conversion rate.
There are two most popular ways a prospect can try out your SaaS:
- Freemium - the user gets free access to the basic version of the service, while additional functionality is included in the premium paid version.
- Free trial - user gets full-featured access to the service but is limited in time (week/month for free) or by the number of operations (for example, five requests or uploading two reports).
Some SaaS owners are still afraid that offering their service and not asking money for that will just ruin their revenue. So, how to understand if such SaaS marketing tactics will work for you? We’ve already discussed it in detail in our article about freemium pricing, but a short answer to this question will be “Test it!”. Determine which model brings your customer closer to the purchase and run a split test.
For example, Netflix offers a thirty-day free trial. You can get access to free films and TV series after registration, by specifying the data and bank card details, which you will no longer have to fill out if, after the trial period, you want to continue using the service. This tactic increases customer’s interest and moves them gradually down the sales funnel.
Besides, Netflix did a great job by making the sign-up form simple and short, and a CTA button noticeable.
Promote on multiple channels
Don't get hung up on search engine traffic alone. Attract customers through other channels as well:
Social networks and other external resources
Thematic platforms and popular social media where you can post an article, share your experience, or just talk about your SaaS company are an additional chance to get noticed, increase the level of trust, and expand an interested audience.
You can regularly remind customers about yourself, acquaint users with the product, its functions, or the release of updates.
It is important to correctly select resources: they should be fairly well-known, with a lot of traffic, and related to the topic of your business. For example, you may try Github, Behance, Stackoverflow.
Keep in mind that it is important to fully fill out the profile, use only relevant information, publish regularly and communicate with the audience. As a result, in addition to links, you will increase brand awareness, referral traffic, and leads.
One more recommendation: If you can create video content, don't miss the opportunity. Videos generate more feedback than text + images.
For example, PostPlanner, a social media marketing tool, is active on all popular social media. When you check their profiles it becomes clear that PostPlanner has a good social media strategy for their saas.
Here is PostPlanner’s page on Facebook:
When done correctly, remarketing is an opportunity to “catch up” with users who were on your site, but for some reason did not take the targeted action. That is, only those who were most interested in your service will see your ad.
To do this, you need to analyze data from Google Analytics and define your buyer personas - create a portrait of users who are likely to convert into a real customer:
- define the target audience
- find out what actions users tend to do on the website
- understand where visitors go most often before they convert
- find out how long the session lasts on the site
- see which devices potential leads use to visit your website
Next, create a list of those who fit the necessary criteria of a buyer persona. And only then set up advertisements that will remind these users about your software.
Here’s how Grammarly creates a targeted ad on Youtube where they present use-cases so that the viewer can find their pain points.
Or take a look at Grammarly’s great text advertising.
Don't trust those who say email marketing is dead, dying, or is about to die. It works and brings results for one simple reason: the subscriber base is the most loyal audience the business has since they voluntarily left you their contact information.
To generate a base of emails, create CTAs that offer your visitors:
- bonuses and discounts
- useful material
- free courses
- demo version
When you have your solid email base choose some great SaaS email templates according to your purpose and test which works best for your SaaS.
For example, here’s what I got in my inbox from cloud accounting software Freshbooks:
Such kind of onboarding email not only reminds users about the service but also teaches how to use it and presents its value.
SaaS products are complex and very often it’s difficult to omit using technical words or lengthy descriptions on your website or in SaaS ad campaigns. Still, always strive to simplify every aspect that concerns your cloud software.
Instead of broad product lines, SaaS companies offer their clients a couple of packages that cover the needs of most types of audiences. Instead of a cumbersome website, they tend to create a simple landing page. They write minimum text with technical terms and prefer speaking the client's language.
For example, FleetMatics doesn’t try to dip its customers into the entire universe of GPS tracking. You won’t find any mention of GIS, RFID, WLAN, PSAP, CTIA, ANI, or other terms on their website. Do you know why? Their audience has no idea what it is. Therefore, FleetMatics does not reveal all the secrets of GPS technology but sells a ready-made solution that does not require clients to get into any technical issues.
In a simple and visual form, FleetMatics reveals the essence of the technology to a potential buyer. After reading a couple of pages on their website, you can easily understand what the company's offer is, even if you don't understand anything about GPS tracking technologies.
Mind customer retention
Retention is paramount for the cloud business. According to Pareto analysis, 20% of your regular customers bring you more than half of the income, and this statistic is true for SaaS products.
Therefore, the advertising budgets of SaaS companies should be directed towards retaining old customers, rather than attracting new clients. Marketers actively use retargeting and premium options (upsells and cross-sells) to keep existing customers interested and engaged.
As well, remember that keeping your users is possible not only by providing them with large discounts. There is also the emotional attachment to the brand, which you can develop using a gamification approach with a customer-centered design, by unique communication style, or some interesting content.
Financial management software company Workday, as an example, has found a way to retain key customers. They release special videocasts with up-to-date information for HR leaders and vice presidents of client companies. And clients definitely like such brand focus. Moreover, Workday does it very well creating content of the highest quality for its target group.
Take care of customer success
You need to understand that even the highest quality software product will fail if you don’t pay enough attention to your customers. Selling a cloud service implies full support and providing regular updates. And as we already defined earlier, the core of the business strategy of a SaaS company is to satisfy the customer who has already bought your service, not the potential one.
If you wait until something breaks down to start fixing it, it will, of course, allow the company to save money and feel relatively safe, but in the long run, such companies lose out. The sooner you will respond to your customers the better.
Start communicating with your existing customers, offer them bonuses for candid feedback. Through communication and the analytics of conversations, you will understand what your service lacks, and what, on the contrary, needs to be abandoned in order to make it less cumbersome and complex.
For example, at Process.st, an online workflow management software, they analyze each customer’s feedback they receive from the support team (about bugs or some particular failures). It allows them to improve customer satisfaction rate and think about other decisions they can do to make their product better.
Optimize the website
The whole SaaS marketing strategy aims at directing your prospect to the website as it is the place where sales happen.
The biggest misconception of aspiring SaaS entrepreneurs is that they think of a website as something that has to be aesthetically pleasing. This is not the case. There is not a single proven case that a beautiful picture somehow affects the conversion or sale.
Instead, you should take care of presenting a clear value proposition and providing a coherent user experience to the website visitors.
Here are some tips for optimizing conversion:
- Define the most important target action that leads to conversion for each specific page on your website (signing up for a free trial, viewing pricing, watching a video, etc.)
- Then ask yourself a question "What elements of the design interface promote the client taking this action?"
- Get rid of everything that can distract the user from the target action and make their path to CTAs as short as possible. CTA must be visible, correctly positioned, and visually distinct from the rest of the web interface
- And the last tip: to make sure you’ve done everything correctly - run a split test
For example, let’s look at the home page of one of our clients Textmagic (you can read about the design process of this customer experience platform in Textmagic’s case study).
As the visitor opens the website they can read an informative headline that clearly explains the value of the product and of course it is impossible to miss that bright-orange “Start Free Trial” CTA that stands out on the blue background. As well, prospects can view a video that shows how the software looks and operates.
All these features help Textmagic acquire more customers.
Tell about your clients’ success
While traditional customer reviews just contain words of gratitude for in-time delivery or the good state of a product, the SaaS industry lets you play differently. Instead of putting small company logos, marketing gurus encourage cloud companies to show exact numbers to the potential buyers that serve as real proof of how your service helped well-known companies to achieve tremendous success.
Note that it won’t work if you try to come up with a successful case instead of a client or if you cannot explain to the buyer a real economic benefit from your software.
Netsuite, a business management software company, builds stories of customer challenges and solutions and shows how they helped the company grow. And they do it very ingeniously: there is a separate page on Netsuite’s website devoted to authoritative business owners. They are sincerely happy for the success of their clients, but at the same time, they do not forget about themselves. It is an effective promotion model if you have a true story to tell your prospects.
Simplicity remains central to cloud platform marketing. If your SaaS is intuitive and usable, you have good product quality and fine-tune the perfect support system, then even word of mouth can gradually lead your SaaS company to customers. Your main concern will remain to retain existing customers.
Still, working out additional marketing strategies won’t hurt.
- Don’t be afraid to offer your product for free, just test which model is suitable for your software
- When you promote the product do it on multiple channels. Be active in social networks, optimize your email marketing, and think of publishing useful content in your blog
- Do your best to keep the existing customers satisfied. Pay attention to their feedback and respond to it
- Finally, take care of the high-quality design that drives conversion. Here at Eleken, we know how to create a simple yet attractive and converting landing page or a growth-driven website.