If your software provides agility, scalability, and affordability, that’s great. The problem is, there are numerous other businesses that offer these same benefits, making the SaaS/tech industry pretty crowded.
So it begs the question—how do you convert leads after they’ve downloaded a demo or free trial? And how do you retain customers for the long-haul amid the rapid rise of new software and apps?
The key to breaking through the noise is by executing customized digital marketing strategies. Digital marketing is pivotal in keeping the customer experience front and center—a crucial factor that can boost your revenue by $1 billion. So bolster your online efforts this year with these six SaaS marketing strategies.
1. Amplify Your Online Visibility with SEO
As the industry becomes inundated with options, more businesses and customers are diving into online research to help them choose the right product. This means one thing—SEO. You gotta have it to be seen by your target audience.
Organic search accounts for up to 68% of leads and traffic for top-tier SaaS companies. In a survey of start-up founders, 90% of respondents expressed SEO is a key driver of brand awareness and leads for their business.
SEO takes time and consistent effort, but with the right team and resources to build a customized strategy, you can be on your way to success. A few good places to start?
What are the key phrases, terms, topics, and questions your prospective customers are typing into search engines? And how are they changing over time?
B2B software and SaaS buyers spend 27% of their time conducting independent online research during the buying process. To be seen by these prospects, you’ll need to find out:
- What keywords you should target
- How your keywords rank against your competitors
- How competitive your target keywords are
- Long-tail keywords you can weave into your content (they are not as competitive and easier to rank for)
Research tools like SpyFu, SEMRush, and Ahrefs can help you find this information.
Onsite SEO Optimization
Use your keywords to optimize your site pages. When your site is SEO optimized, search engines will better understand your site and its contents. More importantly, it can determine whether your content is relevant to a user’s query.
Aside from updating the body of your pages, don’t forget to update other critical areas like your:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags
- Titles and alt text of your images
When Pluralsight, an education software company, broadened their keyword portfolio and optimized their site, not only did they win 36 million impressions, their organic page views increased by 98.6%.
2. Target Each Customer Stage with Content Marketing
Once you’ve optimized your existing site pages, take your online strategy even further by organizing your content based on the different stages of the customer journey.
The customer journey in SaaS/tech is a pretty complex one. Closing a deal in B2B SaaS takes around six to 18 months. And there are usually eight people involved in the decision-making process.
Especially if you offer different types of platforms and tiers, you want to give your potential customers high-quality information that walks them through their options. Therefore, you need to offer full-funnel content, meaning you need to create content that targets three key areas: awareness, consideration, and conversion.
The awareness stage is about helping new visitors get to know your business and the value you provide.
Here are few good content ideas for the awareness stage:
- Glossary pages: If your business uses a lot of technical jargon, glossary pages are a great way to educate prospects. With their simplicity, ease, and organization, glossaries are easily digestible. Better yet, they can help you win answer box positions on Google.
- Infographics: Infographics are a great way to break down technical topics/processes. When SaaS company, Venngage conducted a study on visual content, 41.5% of marketers expressed infographics and other original graphics perform the best.
- Educational blog posts: Rich pillar, evergreen content can offer value to your audience for weeks, months, and years to come. You can even weave in your infographics to help supplement your content.
This is typically the stage where you’re trying to get people to sign up for a trial/demo. What are some good content ideas that can help these leads engage with your product and brand and win their trust?
Here are a few ideas:
- Video courses/tutorials: How-to videos can help them navigate through their tools and find better ways to leverage their business with your product/service.
- Case studies: Write about current clients and customers who have achieved great wins using your product/service. This is a great way to instill your brand with some social proof that can win trust.
In this final stage, leads are making their decision. Here are content pieces that can help them get the information they need to make a purchase and continuously keep them engaged after.
- Testimonials: Reach out to clients/customers who would be willing to provide a quote. Share these on your sites and through your email and social efforts (we’ll go more in-depth on this in a bit).
- Surveys: After they convert, send out a survey. It’s a good way to follow-up and find any areas that might need improvements. Remember, as the industry grows more crowded, it’s pivotal to prioritize the customer experience to boost retention.
- Videos, blog posts, etc. that continue to educate: The customer journey never ends. Even when they’ve made a purchase, keep reaching out. Continue to share educational content to help your customers feel confident and comfortable with their purchasing decision.
3. Host Webinars
Webinars serve as one of the best SaaS marketing strategies. They provide a great opportunity to educate prospects in a thought leadership position.
You can use your eBooks, tutorials, and other content marketing materials to initiate insightful discussions with prospects and partners and close any gaps in the customer journey.
Three-fourths of B2B and sales leads believe webinars are the best way to generate high-quality leads. And in 2020, as more businesses were transitioning their efforts online due to COVID-19, webinars were the biggest increase.
Tools like GoToWebinar, Webinar Ninja, Zoom, and Google Hangouts are affordable and user-friendly options that can host your webinar.
4. Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing is a top channel for tech companies in driving sales and improving relationships with current customers. If done right, it can bring in an ROI of 3,800%.
Use email as a way to check-in on your leads and more importantly, a way to encourage them to engage with your product. Half of paying SaaS customers log into their service less than once a month or not at all.
Create more customer touchpoints through:
- Welcome/onboarding emails: Welcome emails generate four times more opens and five times more clicks than other types of emails. Better yet, you can expedite this process with the help of marketing automation. Whenever you have a new user who signs up for a trial or service, you can send out automated emails that will help them get started.
- New feature announcements: Giving your customers the full scoop on upcoming new features can encourage them to sign up for additional services/platforms that may benefit them.
- New content: Your high-quality blog posts, eBooks, and infographics need to be shared and distributed somewhere. Email marketing is the perfect channel to do this. You can even curate unique sets of content to folks in specific stages of the sales funnel and use marketing automation to segment your contacts based on where they are in the sales funnel and curate unique sets of content for each group.
- Check-ins: Follow up with prospects who’ve registered for a free trial a week down the line to see how they’re doing. Active trial users who are contacted by sales representatives are 70% more likely to convert.
5. Use Social Channels to Raise Brand Awareness
You might think social media won’t do much for your SaaS/tech business, but it plays a crucial role in humanizing your brand. Customers don’t want to be fed a mouthful of technical jargon; they want authentic messages that foster connection. Social media marketing is also a great way to remind curr
Among the top 50 SaaS companies, the top four social media channels are as follows:
- YouTube: Contributes to 33% of social traffic
- Facebook: Contributes to 28% of social traffic
- LinkedIn: Contributes to 19% of social traffic
- Twitter: Contributes to 9% of social traffic
Webinars, case studies, videos, and checklists from your content marketing efforts are great options to share on your organic social campaigns. Eighty-six percent of consumers looking to purchase IT products use social media to help them make a decision.
Social Ad Campaigns
When SaaS company, BigCommerce, executed a Facebook ad campaign, they won a 3x increase in trial conversions and a 10% increase in qualified leads.
Social ads allow you to advertise directly to the right audience. Sixty-seven percent of online users purchased a product/service after seeing an ad on social media. Be sure to test out different formats such as static, video, and split-screen ads to see what makes the most profitable impact.
Also called retargeting, remarketing ads let you follow up with those who may have left your site or previously downloaded your service and give them a “second chance.” It’s a great way to encourage folks to get back on your customer journey.
6. Execute Link Acquisition Strategies
If another site links to your site, this is called a backlink (also referred to as an inbound link). Google sees backlinks as votes of confidence; the more votes you have, the more likely it will rank your site well for relevant search queries. Link acquisition is a great strategy that can boost your online visibility, promote your brand, and build profitable relationships.
There are a few ways you can approach your SaaS link acquisition strategy:
If you are a startup, you can use an aggregator of startup directories like Startuplister. For a fee, they will get your business listed on over 80 startup directories. When we’ve used this service, we noticed not every business fits each directory’s niche, so be sure to investigate how your company fits.
You can also go the old-fashioned way and do manual outreach and submission to the startup sites listed on directors. Twoodo’s blog post has a good list of startup directories to get you started.
Adweek said it best in their article on influencer marketing: “There are few things that drive a sale more effectively than a warm word-of-mouth recommendation.”
Each industry has those key individuals who have a strong voice or have sway with that industry segment. Influencer marketing involves marketing products via these influencers and the results can be powerful.
Reach out to influencers in your industry, schedule a conversation in person (perhaps lunch if proximity allows), and build a relationship with them. Consider interviewing them and use the contents of your conversation to build helpful blog articles. This can enhance your promotion of the content, which can lead to authoritative backlinks. Use industry influencers and resources like HARO to make your piece powerful.
This form of marketing helps similar brands piggyback off each other and their respective audiences. Often it is a collaboration to create a piece of content–eBook, webinar, an online event, etc. that will generate leads each company can share.
The main goal is the lead generation, but through the promotion of the co-branded content, you can end up with several solid links from your partner and their unique audience. Hubspot gives some great tips on how to find the right partner here.
SaaS companies frequent tradeshows and other similar events to peddle their wares. There are many links to be had in the promotion of these events. You can use services that have event networks like SpinGo or use popular event registration sites like Eventbrite or Eventful.
7. Prioritize the User Experience
Are there any areas of friction that might be causing your leads to not sign-up for a free trial or service? Conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools like heatmaps are a great way to study user behavior to see where exactly you’re missing the mark.
Here are areas that can help you enhance the user experience:
Implementing quick and reliable customer support tools can fill in gaps.
- Live chat: Using a new cloud-based app can get confusing. And in today’s digital age, people want resolutions quickly. A live chat service can serve as a beacon for your customers.
- Knowledge base center: Having an online hub with all of your product/service information can add value to your customer’s experience. Your FAQs, process guides, video demonstrations, and glossaries can be stored in one place.
- Online reviews: What are people saying about you? Continuously monitor reviews to find better ways to support your prospects and leads. Tools like Google Alerts, Hootsuite, and Reputology can help you manage your online reputation.
- Customer testimonials: Having customer testimonials and client logos on your site pages can help your brand build trust and credibility with potential customers. In addition, it may foster a more positive user experience that compels customers to convert faster.
Are visitors leaving during checkout? Users want a low-risk, high-value experience. So think about the types of options you offer during this process—must users create an account? Are they required to provide their payment information?
Removing friction areas can help people feel more comfortable in completing their checkout. For example, businesses that do not ask users for credit card info when they sign up for a free trial generate two times more paying customers than those that do.
A/B Testing & Continual Optimization
Once you’ve updated your pages using CRO techniques, be sure to do ongoing optimization and A/B testing. Even if you have built the best landing page that has ever been created while incorporating all of the best practices listed above, the results still may not go as planned. There’s nothing that compares to analyzing actual visitor data.
Here are a few tips to help with the ongoing battles:
- Keyword Evaluation: Pull search term reports. Analyze performance and relevancy of the terms searched that landed the visitor on your page. Look at bounce rates from Google Analytics. Also, be sure to always look for new keywords to test.
- Page Testing: Any time new code is pushed or a change is made to the site, there’s a chance something may have broken on your landing page. Pushing through test leads every week is a good practice to ensure proper data propagation.
- A/B testing: Start with testing something simple like the hero image or CTA button colors. Once you have a defined winner, begin testing the wording on the text ads and measure the impact the text has on page performance. Based on what you learn, begin testing different wording and ordering on the page itself. Remember, landing page performance has a big impact on quality scores so keep a close eye on CTRs and QSs.
Rise Above the Noise—Partner with Big Leap
What are some ways you plan to rise above the noise this year? We’d love to hear about them.
At Big Leap, we’re ready to help businesses like yours conquer your pain points and succeed. If you’d like a hand from a team of digital marketing experts, reach out to us. Be sure to also check out our SaaS case study to get a feel of what we can do for you.