7 Reasons Why SaaS Marketing is Different from Other Types of Marketing
In this article, I’ll explain some of the key SaaS marketing tactics you should consider putting in place if you haven’t already. Not only will you be able to better market your SaaS offering but you’ll also be able to help customers understand your value above that of your competition.
So how do you get customers excited about something they can’t see or touch?
A free sample in a retail chain, an aftershave tester in your local pharmacy or a test drive in a new car. Are you seeing a trend yet? It’s all right there, the experience is instant & you often come away with a strong impression for that particular product or service.
Now change lane — overcoming marketing without a physical presence. ‘Marketing is hard. But what about marketing something that has no physical presence?’. It’s a tough gig.
While there are hundreds of SaaS companies creating stellar strategies, a handful stand above others as ones that have mastered what it takes to market their SaaS product. Powerhouses like HubSpot, Movable Ink, Shopify, Trello & Zendesk have led the way for the next generation of SaaS business to disrupt the SaaS ecosystem.
2. It often happens quickly
Generally when a consumer wants a SaaS solution, they often want it right away.
An example of the SaaS purchase process is can play out like the following. A potential customer will:
- Research online
- Compare features and pricing
- Word of mouth: ask peers & colleagues for any local knowledge.
- Educate: Reading up on reviews
- Learn: watch a demo (sometimes this requires a call to that SaaS companies sales manager)
- Give their details: Sign up for a free trial, an in dept training demo or pricing request form.
All of this might take place over a few days, but more likely over a few hours.
Why is it so quick? SaaS products lend themselves to quick purchase decisions. The lead is generally looking for a solution (SaaS: software as a solution) & wants said solution now.
This is why marketing in a SaaS company is so different from any I’ve experienced in any B2C projects I’ve worked on. Marketing must be act effectively to both inform and reassure the potential customer that the design they are making is the right one. Making people enter their credit card details is difficult
— Simplify it for a second:
Think of a huge funnel. Leads enter the top in higher quantity & are refined, qualified through each stage of the funnel (or pipeline) until the reach the bottom as a closed deal.
3. No second chances
SaaS companies that have high levels of brand awareness and simple trials hold large advantage over their competition. The reason is simple. That’s because many SaaS buyers won’t engage in more than one trial. That this is particularly true in the small and medium size business market where buyers tend to comparison shop less. It’s crucial that customers find your trial first. This means optimising website landing pages, reviewing onsite data & ensuring messaging is correct for the region & persona that your are targeting. Then the golden rule. Once you attract a lead, don’t squander it. Ensure relevant all touch points are consistent & all team members are in sync when it comes to lead engagement.
4. Lead Collection is everything
The life blood of any SaaS business is how effectively it attracts high quality leads. Quality leads feed the new business pipeline & establishing a healthy frequency of good marketing qualified leads is everything when looking at the bigger picture vis a vis; sales qualified leads & closed deals or simply sales.
So how do you collect a high standard of leads? Start with getting the basics right. Sign up forms and subscriber boxes are tried & tested methods to grow your email list of potential clients. However, proceed with vigilance. It’s important to recognise you can quickly loose would be subscribers by adding unnecessary steps in the signup process.
Look at how you are collecting leads onsite with a fresh perspective. Have some peers complete the process & ask for feedback. For example, do your sign up forms have unnecessary fields requiring site visitors to enter too many details. Evaluate what you are actually asking to user for, if it’s verging a little heavy handed on the detail; then you need to rethink your process. Remember, the less effort the form requires, the higher probability of the potential lead the end of the process.
5. Email sign ups mean more in SaaS
Email marketing should be high in your SaaS company’s priority list. Often SaaS businesses will be bootstrapping or investing budget in product iteration. Meaning using email marketing to attract and nurture leads is a simple & effective way to maximise your SaaS company’s chances of increasing subscription rates.
Presuming you are effectively bringing good traffic to your website. It’s important to strategically place email subscriber boxes in your sidebar, on your homepage, within your blog posts, and if not too invasive even as a pop-up. To encourage readers to subscribe there needs to be a value offering of sorts. I call this a lead magnet, but it can be identified simply as, a great periodic newsletter, a great eBook, white paper or case study. The crux is, give them a reason to sign up to your email list.
Why go to all this effort. While other industries may have quicker marketing wins. In the SaaS world, nurturing leads over a longer period through email marketing is much easier than trying to dash & grab a once-off sale.
6. Who are you? Why do should we care?
If you the only one thing away from this article, make it this. Figure out work your unique value proposition. It is regularly overlooked & rushed or forced at a later stage. Really ask yourself - What sets your SaaS service apart from others in your niche?
Everybody hurts. No I’m not quoting REM, every SaaS customer is looking to solve a pain point. A particular need they can’t remedy themselves. Instead, they turn to the features your business provides. It’s your responsibility emphasise the impact and benefits it can have for the user.
Is there an element of your service that is radically different from your competition? Can you show case industry expertise by speaking to at niche events respected in your industry. Have you won industry awards to galvanise your USP? A company that I work with describe themselves as a SaaS company with a heart — down to the fact they care about their customer & reflect this with stellar customer service which considerably reduces there churn rate.
Its a crowded field out there in SaaS. While in other industries a company can buy in bulk, spin up some paid search & sell to the anonymous masses SaaS companies sell in subscriptions so USP becomes a defining factor. Although there may be similarities between you and your competition in your offering, spend some time plotting what makes your SaaS stand out and make it the central focus of your marketing message.
7. Content Marketing 2.0
SaaS businesses are working harder than ever to demonstrate their thought leadership and build their credibility by offering free information — articles, podcasts, white papers, interviews, reviews, guides, ebooks, and detailed case studies.
Content marketing is a critical component of a SaaS businesses marketing roadmap. High quality content enables SaaS companies to actively demonstrate their value and area expertise. But, the key element is value based content allows potential customers get to know your brand.
Take them on a journey from first email sign up to demo completion. Show your leads that you’re providing quality, cutting-edge insights and solutions to their problems, it’s incredibly persuasive. Box clever & leave little doubt that you are the authority in your niche.
Take Hubspot, for example. Search for any marketing topic and you’re likely to find one of their posts on the first page of Google results. Through publishing high-quality articles, Hubspot is able to showcase its deep industry knowledge, which in turn reflects its brand and the quality of its marketing services.
Key Tip: Invest time in a robust multi channel content marketing plan. Tune up your SEO strategy. Work hard to nurture new leads but also become passionate about educating existing customers.
In marketing the goal is generally always the same — maximise revenue and minimise the cost of acquiring customers. However, unlike traditional marketing, SaaS marketing relies heavily the rhythm of is businesses teams & departments. It’s a fast pace environment with developers, support teams, and marketers working closely together to ensure the offering matches expectations & solves the necessary pain point .
The win in getting this right is listening to your customers, ensure all your messaging reflects their need & offers value. Doing this correctly will help generate word of mouth and there’s no better way to sell your SaaS.
Delight your customers, give them value based content & when they are in purchase stage get it right — you only get on bite at the chance.
Daniel is a Marketing specialist working currently in SaaS in Dublin City, Ireland.
A 3 time graduate of National University of Ireland, Galway. Daniel is passionate about marketing strategy, tech, SaaS & eCommerce & the Irish game of Hurling.