The SaaS business model isn’t slowing down. In fact, SaaS solutions have become even more prominent since digital capabilities became even more critical since the Covid-19 pandemic forced companies to move to a remote working environment. In fact, SaaS spending increased by 50% compared to 2018.
To help scale, SaaS businesses look to marketing to develop fundamental marketing strategies. These strategies focus on increasing value, reaching target audiences, lead generation and market positioning. Given the importance of marketing, however, you want to be focusing on the right activities.
In this article, we’ll summarise the do’s, the don’ts and the best practices for SaaS businesses for growth in 2021.
Embrace content marketing: Content marketing remains one of the most powerful marketing activities in 2021, despite the overload of articles, videos, social posts, podcasts and images. The trick is in creating content that cuts through the noise, is highly relevant to your audiences buying stage and demographic, and nurtures leads to help them close. According to MarketingSherpa, lack of lead nurturing is the most common reason marketing leads never convert to sales. The returns of content marketing still take time, but the cost of doing it is relatively low.
Market the pains: Emotion drives decisions, so focus on the pains your solution solves, rather than the features. If you think about what problem your solution solves, that’s the topics you want to create content around. Nobody searches for a feature or a product, people search for solutions to their problems. If you can connect with prospects on an emotional level by focusing on the pains they are facing and how you can help them solve it, you’re on to a good start.
Make the most of the free trial: Your free trial is the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal, but many SaaS businesses don’t utilise it to its full potential. The more people you can get to sign up for a free trial of your SaaS solution, the more likely you are to convert them to a sale. Have a free trial acquisition plan in place, as well as the following steps to close them once the trial has begun. Make sure the free trial process is as easy as possible, you don’t want to cause any friction points at this stage.
Segment and understand your database: An unorganised and non-segmented database is pretty useless today. In order to get results, you need to make sure you understand your database - who’s in it, how to segment them, what messaging works best for each segment, and so on. The more you segment, the more you can use relevant content and messaging to tempt them. Companies who send the same blast email to everyone are basically just sending mass spam. At the very least, you should be able to break up your database by geography, company industry, grouped job titles or roles, and company size.
Don’t under-use social proof: Your happy customers, or brand evangelists, are your most powerful salespeople. Getting testimonials, referrals, case studies and customer videos are some of the most important marketing channels for subscription-based businesses. Social proof builds trust and goodwill, and can be highly persuasive when trying to convert leads. If you have positive messages about your product, shout about it. Use it for lead nurturing, on social channels, and on your website. And don’t be afraid to ask happy customers to provide some customer content advocating you.
Don’t overdo conversion pages: It’s tempting to cram everything good about your SaaS product on a webpage, but less is often more. Especially for conversion pages such as landing pages, free trial pages, features pages and pricing pages, don’t put too much on them. Focus on the action you want the prospect to take on each page and build the page around that. For example, landing pages that include a load of copy that isn’t relevant to the main action of the page - such as downloading a piece of content - only serves as a distraction. Draw attention to what you really want and don’t be tempted to over-complicate things.
Don’t forget to be ‘human’: It’s easy to automate everything in 2021, but the human touch is still needed to provide personality and real connections. Automation is brilliant and certainly has a time and place, but whether it is a chatbot or an automated email, eventually the prospect will want to speak to an actual person. And that process shouldn’t be hard. Automation and tech help scale activities and streamline communications, but it shouldn’t be difficult to speak to an actual person who can connect with someone on a more emotional and personal level.
We are in an era of highly personalised and customised marketing. Consumers expect marketers to use the wealth of data they have at their disposal to create unique and optimised experiences for them. For SaaS business that operates in the tech world, that expectation is even higher.
The do’s and don’ts above highlight some of the fundamentals of what’s expected from marketers today. However, just remember that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, so test what works for you and when you find something that does, put more effort into it.