Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions account for nearly 75% of all enterprise-software revenues (more than $380 billion). So, it should be no surprise that SaaS has quickly taken over and disrupted large parts of the economy. The question is: what does it take to build a successful digital marketing strategy for a SaaS-based business?
It is a question we get asked regularly, and while the answer isn’t complicated, it does require industry-specific knowledge. It also requires an understanding of the SaaS business model, which needs to be treated like any other large, segmented market—by industry, offerings, solutions, target markets, and personas.
SaaS has become the predominant software-delivery model because it is easy to adopt and implement. The capital markets like SaaS because of the recurring revenue economic model it employs.
But while both companies and consumers enjoy subscription pricing and the cloud, that is certainly not enough to beat out competitors and win customers. In order to stand out in an oversaturated market, you have to carefully plan your SaaS digital marketing strategy from an industry segment, competitive and target persona perspective.
The New SaaS Digital Marketing Strategy Playbook
Why is a digital marketing strategy for SaaS so important?
- 38% of the sales pipeline for SaaS companies comes from inbound digital marketing.
- Digital and inbound marketing tactics generate 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing methods. (Source: Hubspot)
- Only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product, while 62% will consult a search engine.
- Nearly 85% of small companies have already invested in SaaS options.
- Every SaaS vendor faces competition from at least nine other firms in the same market segment.
You may have to convince your prospects to switch from a competitor. And that requires you to demonstrate why your company and your offerings are better. That’s where a well-thought-out digital marketing strategy for SaaS becomes invaluable. It’s one way to showcase your value by uniquely positioning your company’s offerings as digital and subscription innovations that offer specialized and tailored solutions to targeted verticals.
3 Tips to Build a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy for SaaS
There are seemingly endless digital marketing strategies that you can use to reach new prospects. We don’t have time to cover them all. Below are three top tips for building a winning SaaS digital marketing strategy.
Tip 1: Focus on Brand Awareness and Lead Generation
The SaaS sales cycle can be remarkably complex. The process is highly consultative, and for enterprise deals, it can take between six and eighteen months to close a sale. And that’s why any successful SaaS digital marketing strategy should focus on brand awareness, lead generation, and staying at the forefront of your prospect’s mind until they are ready to buy.
Brand awareness can take many forms in your SaaS digital marketing strategy from pay-per-click advertising to thought leadership blogs, search engine optimization, email marketing, social media, and more. Here are some statistics to keep in mind before choosing your tactics.
- Content marketing generates three times as many prospects as outbound marketing, but costs 62% less.
- SEO drives 1000% more traffic to your website than organic social media.
- 84% of video marketers say that video has helped them generate leads.
- 96% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for organic content distribution to more than 722 million users in more than 200 countries and territories.
- Lead-nurturing emails get as much as 10 times the response rate compared to standalone emails.
The key is to provide your buyers with as much relevant information as possible, as soon as possible, and as regularly as possible. Prospects need to be able to make well-informed decisions about your solution after just a few days, weeks, or months. And they have to do so without forgetting about your company or being overwhelmed with information.
That’s why your brand awareness and lead generation marketing campaigns should be highly targeted to your specific customer segment. Outshine the competition with communication that is unique, important, and meaningful. And use frequent touchpoints to consistently share your compelling and authentic message across channels and tactics.
Tip 2: Optimize Your Current Channels and Tactics
A successful SaaS digital marketing strategy must also focus on retaining your customers. After all, they are with you for the long haul—often years at a time. In fact, according to one study, the average voluntary SaaS churn rate is only about 5% annually. So, once a company or consumer becomes your customer, consistent digital marketing to prevent churn is important for continued engagement.
Optimize your channels and digital marketing tactics with better messaging and personas based on proven success. Focus on the idea that you are selling a solution more so than a product. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Keep the content flowing on every channel where you have invested your time and energy. For example, if you have a blog, email list, and LinkedIn page, set up a schedule of content marketing and try not to skip a day.
- Engage with your customers on social media by answering questions, asking for feedback, troubleshooting directly on the platform, and regularly sharing the latest features and products.
- Make your brand unmistakable with consistent messaging, voice, color schemes, images, videos, and logo. Customers should be able to recognize your branding at no more than a glance.
- Take advantage of chatbots to keep communication with your customers quick and open at all hours. 64% of internet users say 24-hour service is the best feature of chatbots and 37% of people use a customer service bot to get a quick answer in an emergency.
And don’t be afraid to expand your digital marketing strategy to new channels! Find out where your prospects and customers live online (TikTok, LinkedIn, mobile apps, email) and meet them where they are.
Tip 3: Dedicate Yourself to Conversion Optimization
Develop a conversion path for each persona in your pipeline and along every touchpoint in the sales journey. And recognize that effective lead nurturing must be a priority from the top of the funnel. Conversion is just as important at introduction as it is at the free trial and post-demo stage.
The good news is that there are many ways your digital marketing strategy for SaaS can optimize conversions. You can:
- Improve the on-site experience by simplifying the steps it takes to make a sale.
- Focus your efforts on the best digital channels for conversion. According to the State of Pipeline Marketing Report, the top channel for B2B conversion is email marketing.
- Use retargeting to re-engage people that have left your website after downloading an eBook, signing up for a free trial, or reading a blog.
- Optimize advertising spend and PPC to better appeal to prospects that have the best chance of becoming customers.
The idea is to make it as painless as possible for your prospects to become a customer. Don’t make them jump through a bunch of hoops to get a demo, chat with your sales team, or purchase your service. Give access everywhere you can with landing pages and clear calls-to-action that work.
Ready to Take your SaaS Digital Marketing Strategy to the Next Level?
There are a myriad of approaches and activities involved in a successful digital marketing strategy for SaaS. And you might feel overwhelmed with everything that you could and should do. That said: it’s more than possible to trim down a succinct strategy for your SaaS business that results in building awareness, increasing traffic, and generating leads for your sales team. And ultimately results in more trial downloads and conversions.
Use the digital marketing tactics outlined above to serve as the foundation of your strategy. And then don’t be afraid to outsource your efforts to a digital marketing consultancy with expertise in SaaS-based solutions. They’ll help you figure out what will work best for your customer base and then create a customized strategy just for your SaaS business.