SaaS or Software as a Service is a type of cloud-based product that many businesses use worldwide.
This is because it brings a unified way of collaborating on projects no matter where you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection.
Usually, the software is delivered via web-based platforms, i.e., you can access the products on your browser instead of going through a series of tedious processes to install the product.
Every activity you carry out on a SaaS product is stored in the cloud, allowing you to pick up from where you left off.
SaaS products are highly on-demand, with over 73% of companies already using mostly SaaS software rather than On-premise software (the type you have to install onto a computer).
If you’re a startup just venturing into the world of SaaS products, you need an effective marketing strategy to help you top the crowds of already existing products. This way, your product will always be the preferred choice among the maze of others.
To begin, let’s take a look at what exactly a SaaS marketing strategy entails.
What is a SaaS marketing strategy?
Every business needs a marketing strategy. To effectively promote your new business, you need to first carve out the steps, strategies, and tactics to help you achieve your goals.
There are typically three stages of growth for a SaaS startup.
- Transition, and
In each of these stages, you should have a general overview of how you plan to boost your business. That is your marketing strategy. Let’s examine the main components of each of these stages and what you should focus on for your SaaS startup.
In this stage of your business, you should build a credible brand name in your industry. Establish yourself as a credible authority while working to retain the customer base you have acquired.
You should focus on brand awareness and campaigns to get word of your business out there and help you gain traction. You should also focus on confirming that your product fits the market you intend to sell to using certain user-feedback techniques and platforms.
42% of startups don’t succeed because they offer products the market doesn’t need. Product-market fit simply means that your product should solve the needs or problems of your customers; this is often a beacon of light for potential investors.
When you have created a steady buzz through your traction marketing strategies, it’s time for the transition stage.
In this stage, you should focus your strategy on expanding your proven marketing channels quickly.
By aligning your target customer persona with the message your strategy seeks to pass, you will be able to reach more potential clients where you got your first few.
You also need to employ lead analytical tools and conversion techniques to reduce the costs of acquiring customers.
With the above tactics in place, there is assured growth. However, the work does not stop there as there is still room for market expansion and brand amplification.
You can begin to explore and maximize new marketing channels to reach other categories of clients who fit into your target market.
With the aid of a good PR strategy or marketing agency specialized in SaaS, you can remain at the fore of the mind of your customers and even reel in more.
Why do you need a unique marketing plan?
One of the most important reasons for a marketing plan is to ensure that everyone involved in the marketing process is on the same page. Organization in a startup increases efficiency and productivity greatly; poor team organization causes up to 23% of startup failure.
Also, when you have facts and figures carefully mapped out and properly strategized, there is less room for errors. You make decisions based on facts and true market analysis. It also ensures that you are strategizing for the right set of customers and not just randomly.
Your marketing plan helps you truly know your target customers and ensures that your team is employing the most effective marketing combos that work and can convert.
How do you create a SaaS marketing plan?
Now that you know the importance of your marketing plan, here’s a 5-step process to help you get started on building one.
Identify your target audience
This step comes first because failure to identify your target audience will waste your time, effort, and resources trying to market to the wrong people. It’s like trying to sell the latest Playstation video game console to a group of 80-year-olds.
You can almost be sure that no one will indicate interest to buy. The product is useless to them and offers no value. Now, try selling a neck massaging device to these same people and see how much more of their attention you get.
A good marketing plan must first and foremost identify who you want to sell to so that you can strategize on the most efficient method of reaching them.
Without identifying your target market, the rest of your marketing strategy will yield little to no result. To begin, you can first create your ideal customer persona. Think about the problem your SaaS product is going to solve and the categories of people who may have this problem.
Once you have gathered enough information about this demographic, you may proceed to the next step.
Align your content with your audience
This step works hand in hand with step one above. The type of content you present to your audience is a great determinant of how well you can convert them to customers.
Who makes up the bulk of your audience? Millenials? You may want to try short explainer videos that give an overview of the benefits of your SaaS product for them. A techy audience will like numbers and statistics of how your product works presented through infographics or fact sheets.
Another audience category may prefer podcasts to listen to on the go. When you understand your audience, you can provide them with content that they can relate to, which will help you pass across your message better.
Use the preferred social media channel that matches your target audience
Like different categories of content suit different classes of your target audience, the platform through which you present this content also matters.
To effectively get your message across, you need to use a medium they relate with, constantly engage on, and understand how it works.
A one-size-fits-all approach will not be effective and not produce the results you are looking for. For example, if you’re looking to post how-to videos, Facebook may not be a veritable tool for this purpose.
YouTube is a better fit and works for those categories of your audience that enjoy surfing this social media. If you’re looking to spark a discussion about a topic related to your SaaS startup and the services you offer, Facebook might be a better fit.
Short and catchy infographics on Instagram would suit a younger audience, while busy business professionals may prefer a direct, and impactful post on LinkedIn.
Leverage personalized email marketing
Many startups forget to leverage the power of email marketing in their strategy and planning and lose the benefits derived from the technique.
Almost everyone has an email address; your customers and clients do too. One effective way to build your mailing list is by offering potential users a free product or service which they have to sign up to accept. This product has to be juicy and relevant enough for them to not want to miss out on it.
Once they sign up to receive your content, they join your mailing list. Now, you can send appealing personalized offers to every member of your list. This will prove more effective in converting leads because they believe your product provides a solution to their problem.
Create a referral program
Word of mouth has always been a very effective means of advertisement for startups. If your product works excellently for a client, the chances are that they know one or two more people who need your service.
Some effective referral incentives include discounts off a purchase, a couple of months or weeks subscription-free, and in some cases, cashback rewards.
Recommendation: Expert tip for promoting a SaaS product after launch
The SaaS Carrot is one sure-fire way to get potential customers to sign-up for your products. It enables users to get a first-hand glimpse of your product to help them decide faster to use it.
There are many SaaS Carrot techniques you can try to convert potential customers to full-time brand ambassadors. Offering them a free trial or freemium experience is one. You can also create a full-experience demo to help them see your product at work and how it can help them.
Your SaaS marketing strategy is what you need to keep your business alive in the long run; the SaaS Carrot, however, will help customers take the first step and give your product a try. Make sure you wow them enough to make them stay!
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