The rapidly growing SaaS segment is a software-as-a-service professional services industry focused on active customer acquisition and intangible products. As a result, businesses increasingly have to look for non-trivial solutions based on SaaS marketing methods and tools unique to this industry. This will be discussed in today’s publication, which will be useful to SaaS specialists and digital marketers working on creating and promoting SaaS projects. In addition, the article discusses the features of SaaS marketing in B2B and B2C markets and provides a list of TOP-5 SaaS solutions in marketing.
What is SaaS Marketing?
- 1 What is SaaS Marketing?
- 2 Digital Marketing for SaaS Companies
- 3 Saas Marketing. Market Features
- 4 Basic Types of Saas Marketing
- 5 TOP-5 SaaS Solutions in Marketing
- 5.1 #1 Marketing Tactics: Customer Testimonials
- 5.2 #2 Marketing Tactics: Personalized Tips and Ideas in a Pretty Wrap
- 5.3 #3 Marketing Tactic: Omnichannel Marketing Automation
- 5.4 #4 Marketing tactic: global support for any channel to scale your business
- 5.5 #5 Marketing tactic: respect for the partner
The interpretation of Saas marketing is not as straightforward as it initially seems. On the one hand, we are accustomed to considering it from the point of view of the very concept of SaaS as “software-as-a-service”. And here, one cannot agree with those innovative marketing specialists who use SaaS models in their practical activities. On the other hand, suppose you look deep into the root of the idea of its creation. In that case, the question arises: “How not to lose the relevance of the SaaS service provided and maintain a competitive position in the market?”. At the same time, it is necessary to think about building a sound and effective strategy that would be based on the philosophy of doing such a business as a whole. Based on the strategic concept of SaaS, we can finally define what SaaS marketing is.
This art contains a unique combination of tools, techniques, ways, and methods to attract, retain, and build consumer loyalty for SaaS. Thus, this type of marketing is designed to prove to the client the necessity and usefulness of the purchased product and motivate him to renew his subscription for future periods. The main differences between SaaS marketing and traditional marketing are the intangibility of its service, a differentiated sales cycle in B2B and B2C models, customer-friendly advance payments, high consumer value, and customer involvement in the business process. Separate nuances of SaaS marketing are distinguished as part of its marketing strategy behind the elements of SEO, content marketing, remarketing, and promotional mailings.
Digital Marketing for SaaS Companies
Companies can become more visible to the Saas customer by using the digital marketing arsenal and promoting a recognizable brand.
The concept of digital marketing itself is an integral component of the SaaS business model since the latter, in its essence, is a manifestation of the result of using digital technologies. At the same time, many users of the service confuse the concept of digital marketing with Internet marketing. In this context, they should be distinguished.
Internet marketing involves the use of online technologies only within the global network, and its active tools will be as follows:
- SEO of your site;
- search marketing (SEM);
- contextual and targeted advertising;
- email marketing;
- banner advertising;
- digital radio and TV, etc.
Unlike the Internet-, digital tools are much wider. We can add all channels related to digital technologies, not only on the Internet but also beyond. For example, professional audio advertising recorded on digital media for its playback in a shopping center will be a way to build digital marketing communications. Likewise, a QR code integrated into a children’s picture book and making its buyer come to your site is a digital element.
As for the practice of SaaS, here, digitalization has a lot of advantages since it allows you to position a SaaS company both directly in its natural (digital) environment and in an environment that is not standard for it. So, your participation in an offline conference with a presentation of a SaaS project can contribute to establishing new partnerships with the condition that future web partners receive their share of the profit or commission for attracting each additional client for SaaS. And here is another example… Targeted SMS-mailing from a commercial digital platform allows you to reach the maximum volume of the target audience and draw attention to the product offered on the site.
Strategically targeted digital settings for SaaS companies cover all processes and stages of building relationships with customers:
- collection of information about the market in which the SaaS company is present and its subsequent processing;
- marketing analysis of the external SaaS environment of the company based on the previous stage;
- development of a new or adjustment of an existing strategy for SaaS marketing in the digital plane, taking into account alternatives and digital channels;
- promotion of SaaS services based on prioritized;
- active participation in the SaaS advertising campaign with tracking of key metrics.
In operational terms, the algorithm of actions for implementing Saas marketing involves solving the problems of attracting traffic, lead generation, improving conversion, and maintaining the brand.
The choice of digital marketing resources for SaaS companies should be based on their typification according to the payment criterion and relation to ownership. Among the many paid, unpaid and own (available) resources, you should choose those that will fit your optimized budget and maximum return on capital. Perhaps your employees’ earned media or social media pages will become such a resource.
The result of the efforts made will be the growth of SaaS sales of the company and the steady positive dynamics of the leading indicators of its development over the planned period.
Saas Marketing. Market Features
Three pillars of marketing for SaaS companies are the formation, growth, and stabilization (holding) of market positions. Depending on your market, you should use the appropriate SaaS marketing strategies. Features of B2B and B2C markets differ in principles and work methods. Although both types of marketplaces involve customer subscription and operate in terms of churn rate, cost of customer acquisition and lifetime value, and use marketing automation to optimize workflows, the differences between SaaS models for B2B and B2C significantly affect the company’s approach to marketing. According to foreign marketing agencies, the efforts of targetologists in the SaaS B2B market are less intense due to the targeted segmentation of potential customers. Their indicator is about 25-30% targeting already known segments and potential customers of the company, while for the B2C market, this figure ranges from 20-21%. Let us dwell in more detail on the distinctive features of these models.
Saas Marketing in B2B Market
Business-to-Business SaaS offers services to other commercials, manufacturing, and knowledge business companies. The successful experience of Google Cloud Platform, Slack, Snowflake, ProofHub, Zoom, Salesforce, Envoy, and other similar companies shows the prospects for the growth of the B2B SaaS market shortly.
Key parameters for a SaaS company:
- Clients – more likely to be targeted in the target market, high level of awareness and awareness of clients about their needs;
- Marketing goals – growing the number of potential customers and converting leads into sales;
- Sales cycle – a relatively long transaction cycle due to the need for coordination at all levels of the management hierarchy allows you to collect a sufficiently large number of high-quality leads, and conversion optimization takes place by the duration of the cycle;
- Channels – The most common SaaS launch platforms are LinkedIn, AngelList, Google+, and Facebook;
- Budget and principle of payment – a delineated and allocated budget for subscription services advance payment is preferred.
Saas Marketing in the B2C Market
Unlike the previous model, Business-to-consumer is aimed at selling SaaS services to customers for personal use, and the scale of the business and the scope of their activities are not so significant. Thus, thousands of SaaS companies worldwide are now actively operating in the B2C market. SaaS marketing strategies from SurveyMonkey, Canva, Shopify, Adobe, Dropbox, Wix, and other market-leading companies are becoming the benchmark for business development in the B2C market.
Key parameters for a SaaS company:
- Clients – the service is purchased based on the subjective desires of the client; targeting the target market is vaguer because attention is focused on the needs of consumer groups, not a particular buyer;
- Marketing goals – a creation of universal trading SaaS offers, loyalty-building and increasing the number of repeat purchases, converting leads into sales;
- Sales cycle – the shortest possible cycle and a simplified SaaS acquisition procedure as a competitive advantage;
- Channels – B2C companies are more likely to seek out leads on more entertaining platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram;
- Budget and payment principles – diversification of the client’s budget, based on the operational and financial scale, micro-conversion of potential clients through a subscription to free services, and alternative price offers.
Basic Types of Saas Marketing
The differentiation of types of marketing occurs based on the segmentation of Saas service consumers according to their digital lifestyle and degree of activity. Plus, it allows you to access the software product online with the technical capabilities and the proper staff qualifications. His personalized communication builds on providing direct communication channels with customers. Also, it involves their long-term retention through SMM, digital marketing, SEO site optimization, content marketing, online communities, and virtual conferences.
Referral Marketing for SaaS
One of the main types is referral marketing – a special activity that involves efforts to motivate existing users to attract new customers for a SaaS company. Since the recommendations of subjects who have already used your service or are directly related to its functionality have a higher level of trust among such an audience, their activity will determine the choice of a SaaS product in the B2B and B2C markets.
Referral marketing is often confused with affiliate marketing. Unlike the latter, the referral provides on behalf of the SaaS company to its client (referrer) a certain reward for attracting new customers (referrals) in the form of bonuses and points. At the same time, the form of interaction according to the SaaS marketing strategy can be implemented in one of two options and involves different reward distribution schemes. In a one-way model, only the referrer will be rewarded. In the case of using the second model – two-way, both the referrer and the referral will receive the reward.
The goals and objectives of referral marketing can also be different. The main goal, of course, is to increase conversions and traffic. Also, the top priority is tasks such as:
- attracting new SaaS customers to the company based on the optimization of the existing budget and the rational allocation of resources;
- promoting the brand and increasing its awareness;
- reaching the target audience with the help of SMM;
- full integration of referrals into the SaaS user flow, etc.
OmniStar, Post Affiliate Pro, Ambassador, InviteReferrals, Referral Rock, Addshoppers, Expect Referrals, InviteBox – this is an incomplete TOP list of SaaS companies in the market of referral models and programs, differing in the degree of automation of business processes, the level of administration of your referrals, the efficiency of paying commissions, etc.
SEO Content for SaaS Companies
The intense dynamics and complexity of predicting the future state of SaaS underlie the formation of an SEO strategy. At the same time, high-quality SEO content, adequate to the perception of site users, should be helpful to all participants in the SaaS model. Its primary tasks include creating organic traffic due to high rankings in search engines.
Creating SEO content for SaaS companies is a relatively resource-intensive and costly process, including a site audit and external and internal optimization. Technically, the development of SEO content for SaaS companies has no fundamental differences from the SEO promotion of service sites. In most cases, SEO for SaaS uses tools and techniques similar to classic sites, but non-trivial approaches can also be used. In its creation, content should focus on the SaaS service. Its actualization should be carried out continuously by developing the most functional and semantic SaaS content, which will adjust the SEO strategy.
The main principles of building SEO content will be flexibility, adaptability, and entrepreneurship. Since software-as-a-service involves the provision of services on a subscription basis, SaaS itself must maintain a competitive position at the TOP of search results at the request of the consumer. At the same time, he will be able to retain an existing audience and attract a new one.
In general, for SEO in SaaS Marketing, the following parameters are taken into account: technical SEO (website architecture that allows you to measure its growth); internal SEO (website content that optimizes key search terms); off-page SEO (backlinks to your site providing higher search rankings). SEO analysis is based on assessing the main indicators of its effectiveness for SaaS. Google Analytics, Open Web Analytics, Matomo, GoingUp, Clicky, etc., can be taken as a basis. Among such metrics, SaaS marketing specialists usually distinguish: organic traffic, CTR, keyword ranking, site speed, domain authority, conversion, value in traffic, visibility in search, and site performance.
Promotion of SaaS Companies through Newsletters
SaaS marketing channels can also include promoting SaaS companies through internal and external mailing lists. Establishing such communications is to turn leads into buyers with specific transactions, increase the average income per active user, reduce customer churn, build and develop a referral program, increase the subscription period, etc. The prospects of mailing in SaaS marketing can be judged by the degree of involvement of potential customers at different stages of the sales funnel.
Internal mailing can provide the client with information about SaaS news, trigger mailings in response to user action or user inaction, training videos, and motivational chains. Also, here we can include all kinds of chatbots, push notifications, chats on the site, and other mailings for customers who have left a contact. External mailing is cold sales (Cold Email Sales), based on building a portrait of an ideal client. In this case, lead generation occurs with the help of special lead-forming forms. Finally, a separate form of mailing is cross-promo with SaaS partners, which includes exchanging databases of leads and buyers.
SendPulse, GetResponse, eSputnik, MailChimp, SendSay, and MailerLite services position themselves as multifunctional, multi-channel platforms for performing SaaS marketing tasks.
TOP-5 SaaS Solutions in Marketing
Oracle Netsuite is a leading international SaaS company in the US, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Australia, India, New Zealand, and many more countries. In its work, Netsuite covers such areas as advertising and digital agency, consulting, education, financial and IT services, transport and logistics, retail, and other areas. Netsuite’s marketing products are focused on providing customization solutions, sales automation based on NetSuite CRM, Ecommerce B2C and B2B, Internationalization on SuiteCloud, and more. On their pages, Oracle Netsuite describes in detail the success of their customers and how their SaaS product helped them in this. In turn, reputable brands leave their recommendations, allowing the company to promote such SaaS.
Pointerpro is SaaS marketing for generating your online scores and automatically creating personalized reports on them. It is focused on providing individual consultations of various scales. Three system SaaS products – Survey Maker, Interactive Quiz Maker, and Test Maker – are powerful assessment tools. In addition, Pointerpro contains the corresponding assessment software, which generates a report immediately upon completion. The benefits of this SaaS marketing solution include the ability to provide personalized recommendations at scale, the ease of creating all types of scores, and fast feedback with a fully branded customized report.
Flocktory business model is a platform aimed at conducting marketing campaigns based on customer behavior and Big Data analysis. The task of Flocktory as a SaaS company is to help its clients increase sales, conversion rate, and lead generation, build and grow loyalty, relying on personalization and solutions in communication channels. The target audience of Flocktory consists of representatives of retail, financial institutions, and other business categories. The basic modules of the platform are based on the integration code posted on the partner’s website, who independently chooses the combination he needs. The launch of each module allows you to implement and test various business strategies. At the same time, process management is simplified to a minimum of iterations from one account, and data visible to one module can be used to implement functions for others.
Twilio is a stereotype destroyer in the email marketing industry. The company proposes to go beyond universal messaging and basic automation to build personal relationships with billions of consumers worldwide. At the same time, according to the SaaS company, the quality of delivered messages promises to exceed your customers’ expectations. SaaS technologies can support any marketing channel on one platform simultaneously and anywhere in the world, based on customer preferences. Powerful APIs are integrated to create a solution for SMS and WhatsApp messaging, voice, video, and email. In addition, Twilio promotes a VIP approach to each SaaS client, providing him with convenience and activity. As a result, flexible processes and high-quality, high-speed cross-channel communications allow you to attract customers more effectively.
Post Affiliate Pro is the leader in providing affiliate networking software that works with vertical integration across all affiliate programs you have installed. As a result, a SaaS company makes it possible to manage several affiliate programs (or even affiliate networks), within which you can track their effectiveness, simultaneously assign a commission and pay it out on a single platform. It’s the perfect solution for every SaaS marketing partner who empowers their business with powerful automation, comprehensive analytics, and professional affiliate tracking. Also, the advantages of Post Affiliate Pro include flexibility and extensibility, a rich selection of banners, a convenient control panel, friendly search links, a DirectLink connection, site replication, commission sharing from affiliates, and much more. In addition, each affiliate can choose SaaS marketing and advertising tools to promote their business. They can also follow the directions of the created affiliate network, establish commissions, payments on them, etc.
The range of tactics and tools for implementing SaaS marketing strategies varies. Therefore, invent something new or choose from existing methods – the choice is yours. But, when starting to promote the company, you should consider all the nuances of your SaaS product and the market in which it will be launched.
Author Tetiana Dedilova, PhD (Economics) (KhNAHU)
Checked by marketer Victoria