There was a time when SaaS was not a popular term. It’s been around since the 1960s, but it’s not until the 90’s when its popularity surged. Thanks to the term ‘bloatware’.
How did it link to SaaS?
Well, that bloatware meant that users had tons of apps, but they ate up a lot of hard drive space. And the only solution was to store them without physical hard drives―SaaS-ing it.
Half a century and a decade later, SaaS is booming:
- The SaaS market is predicted to hit 157 billion dollars in 2020.
- As of December 2021, Adobe ranked first among SaaS companies listed on the U.S. stock market, with 320 billion dollars.
- In Europe, SaaS in Germany is expected to see the largest increase from 6.85 billion euros to 16.3 billion euros by 2025.
SaaS is an emerging market that almost every entrepreneur wants to dip their hands into (mainly because of the recurring revenue 🤑).
Do you know what it means?
Penetrating the SaaS market is now quite challenging than before. But should you be intimidated?
No. You only need to know how to market your SaaS first and foremost.
So in this blog post, we'll answer ‘what is SaaS marketing?’, why is it different, and what are the key tactics you can start with.
Ready? Let’s get it on.
What is SaaS marketing?
Software as a service (SaaS) marketing is the promotion of subscription-based software to people. It’s the act of attracting people to use your app.
By definition, this kind of marketing refers to the distinct strategies used to sell software services to customers. Most businesses use the freemium model to attract new leads.
Others use the free trial model to give users complete access to the best parts of their app, but only for a limited period only.
And if you notice that SaaS marketing is quite different. It’s not the same as marketing a physical product, an online service like copywriting, or any other traditional business
What makes it different from other forms of marketing?
Again, SaaS involves software.
Selling software means selling something that someone cannot physically touch or use.
This, for one, makes marketing a whole lot different.
Plus, it’s subscription-based. Meaning, users will have to pay you over and over again to continue using your tool. Marketing in this kind of business model is continuous and long-term.
You’ll have to continually please your customers so they stay.
Here are the other reasons that we’ve listed down:
1. The customer journey involves many touch-points
Traditional marketing may look like this:
- A female customer sees a product in a TV commercial. Let’s say 💄.
- She’s interested in the product and willing to give it a try.
- She found out that it’s available in the mall nearby.
- She bought one.
But in SaaS, it may look like this:
- A male customer found your ad on one of his social platforms. Your product is a fitness app.
- He reads reviews about your product.
- He watches your live demo to know more about it.
- Forgot about it the next day because he was rushing to go to work.
- He saw your retargeting ad on Facebook. That got him checking your price vs. its usability in his life.
- Try it for free since you offer a 7-day free trial.
- But he finds it hard to sign up. So he ignored your app again.
- A few days later, the email reminded him to sign up (and showed him a tutorial).
- He finally decided to figure out the sign-up process and try your app.
After 9 days, he finally got into the dashboard for the first time. Congrats.
In SaaS, customers may find your product through different methods, and their decision-making process varies a WHOLE LOT.
From our example above, the touchpoints could be on the social ad, live demo, and trial period. And at each of these stages, you have to interact strategically with your customer―all with the goal of turning them into paying customer.
What you need to remember is that there are 2 marketing approaches to consider: B2B or B2C marketing.
- A B2B (business-to-business) company sells to other businesses, which are referred to as its customers.
- On the other hand, business-to-consumer (B2C) deals with direct sales of goods and services to consumers.
Yes, the example calls for B2C marketing. We’ll explain B2B later, it’s way more complicated.
2. Fierce competition since the space is crowded
Over the last few years, SaaS has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. 99% of organizations use at least one SaaS solution making the market grow by 18% every year.
Can you imagine how congested the space probably is?
SaaS marketers constantly need to look for ways to stand out from the crowd.
Imagine competing with the other 40 apps a single person uses daily.
3. The product you are marketing is intangible
SaaS involves tools you can use in the cloud. You only need an internet connection to start using the service. So yes, you can neither smell nor touch the actual product, which challenges many marketers.
That’s why marketing something you can’t hold is tricky, and you only use words and visuals to move the needle. In this case, reviews and testimonials from successful users are your advertisements. The copy, content, and support services make all the difference.
Yes, SaaS marketing is different. The least you can do as a marketer is have a good marketing plan, a strategy.
What are SaaS marketing plans must-haves?
Like entering the battlefield, you’d better join the SaaS space prepared. Here are some important elements of your marketing plan:
- Define the ideal customer persona
It's not easy to know who you should be targeting with your marketing efforts if you don't have a good idea of who your ideal customer is. You could end up wasting time and money trying to market to the wrong people.
“Targeting everyone” is a surefire way of burning your money.
Your marketing plan should start with one of your best customers. Whether your ideal customer is a business stakeholder or an individual, be specific with his/her traits and create an avatar. You must design content that targets that customer with your ideal buyer in mind.
Start by defining your perfect customer's experiences and finding out what problems are relevant to them. You want your audience to understand what your product or service can do for them.
If you show how your offer can solve their problems in a really vivid way, they'll surely use your app.
- Collect reviews and success stories
Most companies spend way too much time and resources on lead generation, only to find out that they’re losing money because: a) the leads have gone cold, b) the sales team are flooded with demo calls, or c) they lack the social proof to gain trust from new users.
So keep a collection of reviews and success stories. They’re testimonials from real people who have already found the value of your product. Sprinkle them on your sign up page, homepage, emails… everywhere!
Additionally, they’re great mines to guide your marketing efforts… and your website copy!
- Pricing structure
Figuring out your pricing structure can be really tough. You want to make sure you're making a profit, but you also don't want to price yourself out of the market.
“Price positioning is a strategic choice that frames your relevant competitive set and the price-value relationship you intend to provide.” - Product Tranquility
The most common practice is to offer a free trial. This way, customers will get to experience your product first-hand. Users who already saw the value of your offering justify the amount they need for purchase.
There’s so many metrics you can track to measure your marketing success, but which ones are the most important? It's critical that you know what OKRs, KPIs (key performance indicators) matter for your company.
You need to be able to identify and maintain high-quality KPIs in order to make data-driven decisions about how best to spend time and money on your marketing efforts.
Some of them are:
- The number of unique visitors to your website over a period of time
- Customer acquisition costs are used to calculate how much it costs to acquire a new customer.
- Customer Churn is the percentage of customers that quit using your service or product
- Lead-To-Customer Rate is the percentage of leads that convert to customers
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is the recurring revenue expressed as a monthly average.
Once you have that, it’s time to sit down with your Marketing Partner and think about your SaaS Marketing Strategy. (You can also consult with us.)
Your SaaS Marketing Strategy is what you’ll need to acquire customers so you can reach revenue targets and grow your business. Dave Gerhardt wrote this:
For the meantime, we’ll share some marketing tactics that worked for our clients.
Here are some of our favorite SaaS marketing tactics:
#1 Email marketing
Despite being the oldest form of marketing, all industries find profit in email marketing. Global marketers reported in 2017, that email generated an ROI of 124%. You also have to leverage billions of email active users.
A survey among marketers found that 65% said email marketing is the most used automated channel. But still, email marketing is not easy.
Here’s what Statista found to be the most challenging part of optimizing email marketing.
Experiencing the same? Or new to email marketing?
CaaSocio can help.
Email marketing is one of the strongest points of the team. We’ve helped add $10k, $100k to our clients’ MRR with out framework. Whether you need SaaS onboarding emails, nurture emails, or outreach emails. Convert free trials into paying users with relevant emails.
#2 Chatbots or In-apps
Make your web visitors interact with you by asking them questions you already know they are thinking about. If you do this, you'd get way more names and emails.
It looks something like this…
When we optimized the copy of RedTrack’s chat messages, they instantly saw 3x engagement after just a week. Plus, all of them gave their email addresses and engaged in meaningful conversations with them.
#3 Search Engine Optimization
It's 2022. So I bet you know that it's important to write for the satisfaction of both humans and machines. In short, the strategy behind SEO.
For one, it’ll help your post rank and so increase the organic traffic you get from website visitors.
Our partner, Jenn is killing it in this space.
She increased website traffic over 400,000 monthly visitors in just 4 months.
#4 Live webinars
Do you know that a webinar is also a form of content marketing?
You’re just delivering it live. But the purpose to attract and engage the audience is the same. You need to detail and plan out your topic and content.
When we guested Abdul of OutreachBin in our Facebook Group of 4.4k freelancers, we got more people aware of his cold email tool.
339 comments! And he also got a few sales after that live. It’s not much, but we were proud of our first LIVE webinar.
LIVE webinars could directly impact the outcomes you want. Say your goal is to educate your community and increase your activation. It's a good way to be in touch with your users.
#5 PPC and social ads
Almost every SaaS company needs to consider pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Paid search is now an important component of discovering potential customers.
But be careful of Ad fatigue. Your SaaS PPC ads will get less effective if you show them to the same audience every so often. Customers who experience this get annoyed rather than engaged.
In the end, they’re unlikely to buy from you. This can also negatively impact your click-through rates, ad quality, and ad costs.
#6 Community Building
Why create a community?
Because it’s easier to close deals with friends. Sales prospects who are already engaged with your team are more likely to become paying users..
A community builds a loyal following that is invaluable. Also, co-members of a community share stuff with each other so finding success stories is not difficult. A good example is the official community for users of Jasper.ai (Formerly Jarvis).
Our very own, Gisela Mirandilla found success in community management. She started in 2018 when she built a 'collaborative' environment where moms could openly share, have access to reputable sources of info, and get support.
#7 Content Marketing
Your content marketing helps generate organic traffic for your business. It's where people discover your content through search engines like Google, YouTube, and then visit your website.
However, some SaaS businesses fail to optimize their content marketing. They didn’t realize yet that the more valuable content you make, the more valuable your brand gets. And readers will perceive you as an industry leader.
Founders who have too much on their plate may find it challenging to come up with high-quality SaaS blogs like these though:
- How to Automate the Customer Lifecycle Journey to Get More Conversions
- How to Use Trello as a Free Growth Tool
- The Incredibly Simple Guide to Inbound Marketing
But this is where SaaS content writers like us can help.
#8 YouTube Marketing
The YouTube marketing strategy involves making videos, uploading them to YouTube, and promoting a business or product. You can attract more viewers, get more customers, and expand your audience.
With over 2.3 billion people worldwide using YouTube at least once a month, brands have a lot to gain. There's more to the platform than entertainment. Brands can start their own YouTube channels and start advertising.
Start SaaS marketing now
SaaS Marketing is a complex topic. Most people know it by definition but have no idea on how to start. And so its difference from other forms of marketing gets intimidating.
Hopefully, this article gave you an overview of what it really is. Even if you’re a marketer at an early-stage startup or a professional, this post gave you a clearer idea of which tactics you can use.
But if you’re looking for help with your marketing strategy (which is a whole different ball game), we offer a quick diagnosis for free.
If you found traction with your paying users… And you’re already ready to invest in SaaS marketing, but just don’t know where to focus your efforts, get in touch. Book a call with us today.