Marketing for SaaS products is different than marketing for retail or consumer goods. Learn actionable insights and tips on how to effective create effective strategies for scaling your SaaS marketing funnel for new and existing users.
Marketing a SaaS product is slightly different than marketing a physical product. This is due to the unique pricing structures that SaaS companies require. Unlike retail or consumer goods, your profitability is tied to customer retention, not acquisition. When you consider the costs of marketing, education, onboarding, and support, you can see that selling 1000 3-month plans is not as healthy as selling 250 12-month plans.
This means that, for SaaS companies, success is dependent on how much or how little your customers use your product, not whether or not they make the purchase. This requires a little bit more effort on the marketing side to ensure you reaching existing customers as well as potential ones.
But if you can get customers to integrate your product into their daily routines, the chances of them leaving are miniscule. The trick is getting there in the first place. By breaking the SaaS marketing funnel into five main stages, you can develop a plan to reach users at specific points in their journey. These five stages include:
This article will explain what tactics are useful and how you can move your contacts through each of these different stages.
Funnel Stage: Awareness
Your goal at the awareness stage is to find people who have never interacted with your brand and get them to visit your website. There are several ways to spread brand awareness online and the most effective SaaS marketing strategies will involve all or most of the following tactics:
This is going to be your fastest lead generator and will produce results almost immediately. The catch is that – as the term implies – paid media costs money to run. But if you manage your spend correctly, you can see a massive ROI. Some of the most effective paid media channels for SaaS companies include:
- Paid search
- Display ads
- Paid social
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) allows you to target specific search terms and increase visibility in organic search results. Having an effective SEO strategy in place will help drive people who are actively researching different solutions and products to your website.
With social media, we can now reach an audience of thousands with just the push of a button. The more active you are on social media, the more people will engage with you and share your content, thus spreading awareness.
SaaS Content marketing is another great channel for spreading brand awareness. In addition to writing and publishing your own content, look for guest posting opportunities on relevant blogs or online publications. You can even barter with strategic partners to exchange backlinks and increase referral traffic. An effective SaaS content marketing strategy can not only transform your entire messaging and positioning for marketing content and sales enablement, but it will make sure your sales and marketing teams are having the right conversations, at the right time.
Funnel Stage: Consideration
As any good marketer knows, increased site traffic doesn’t equal increased business. You need to keep these visitors coming back and give them a reason to hand over their contact information and ultimately use your product. Here are a few tactics to employ at the consideration stage:
Retargeting ads are the ones that follow you around the internet after you have visited a company’s website. This is a very effective way to keep your brand top-of-mind and generate return website visits before and after the initial conversion.
Instead of relying on paid media budgets attracting brand new website visitors who are less likely to convert on their first visit, persona-driven retargeting ads can significantly improve the odds that repeat visitors can be drawn back to your website, increasing the probability to convert website visitors into marketing qualified leads.
Content marketing can be effective at all buying stages. The key is to find out what kind of information your audience is looking for and provide it to them in whatever format they prefer. This can include educational blog posts, downloadable ebooks, and explainer videos that demonstrate the value and benefits that your service provides.
Email is a great channel for communicating with contacts who have already opted in. You can use this channel to continue educating and nurturing these contacts until they become qualified leads. Just make sure you are segmenting your database so that people are only receiving emails that are relevant.
Funnel Stage: Decision
The decision stage is where your leads are deciding whether to go with you or one of your competitors. This means you need to focus less on the solution and more on your individual brand. What makes your product better? Why should they trust your brand over the others? Here are a few ideas for reaching people at the decision stage.
Email is one of the more intimate channels for communicating with leads. It allows us to speak directly to a specific person, rather than an entire group. You can use email marketing to convert leads to customers by sending them webinar invites, discount codes, customer reviews, and anything else that builds confidence or creates urgency.
It’s no secret that many of us prefer to “rent before we buy.” Offering free trials or basic plans that cost little to nothing can be a great way for people to get their feet wet and feel comfortable using your software before upgrading to a more expensive plan.
Experiment with pricing
Don’t over or underestimate the value of your service. If you price it too low, you might create the perception that your service is of lesser quality than your competitors. If you price it too high, you could deter prospects from moving forward with your company. Finding the sweet spot could take some trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your SaaS pricing model from time to time.
Funnel Stage: Retention
Getting new users is only half the battle. SaaS companies need to work just as hard to keep their customers as they do to acquire them. Marketing during the retention stage should focus on keeping existing users happy and helping them get the most value out of your software. Common tactics to employ at this stage will include the following:
You don’t need to be a genius to understand that happy customers will stick around longer and spend more. SaaS companies can keep their customers happy by providing different benefits such as:
- Early access to new features
- Discounts for longer subscriptions
- Discounts for early renewals
- “Community” access where they can interact with other users
These are just a few ideas. You’ll have to experiment a bit and find out what benefits resonate the most with your audience.
For customers to see the true value of your software, they need to use as many of its features as possible. Help your customers feel comfortable and confident with this new tool by continuing to provide education through informational webinars, tutorials, explainer videos, and even blog posts.
Excellent Customer Service
This is a big one that a lot of companies overlook. If you really want your customers to integrate your software into their daily routines, your customer service needs to be EXCELLENT. Here are a few tips to elevate your customer service department:
- Make sure your reps are friendly and well-trained
- look for ways to reduce hold time
- Utilize email, live chat, and phone so customers can communicate on their terms.
Funnel Stage: Advocacy
Finally, we come to the advocacy stage. This is where your customers are so enthused by your product and so impressed the way you operate that they start recommending you to their friends and colleagues.
The reason why this stage is so important to you is because referrals are often the highest quality leads, have the shortest sales cycle, and are the cheapest to acquire. If your company doesn’t have a referral program set up, you should start one ASAP. Consider offering price breaks or rebates to both the referral and referee for best results.
The biggest difference between marketing for SaaS products and marketing for consumer goods is that it makes a big difference how much and how often your customers use your software, not how many people you can convince to buy it. This requires a different type of marketing strategy.
SaaS marketers will need to place a bigger emphasis on customer retention than many other industries require. This means more education, better customer service, and plenty of benefits to keep users from defecting. For more tips on creating a SaaS marketing plan, consider reaching out to a SaaS marketing agency with a strong reputation.