In this article, we will give you a step by step guide that will help you create and execute a great marketing plan for your SaaS. By the time you finish reading it, you will have a much better idea about what your next steps should be if you want to draw more people to your site and services. Let’s begin.
#1: Pick A Goal
Before starting anything, you need to know what you want to accomplish. Because we are speaking about (digital) marketing, you should have some metrics that will show if your campaign was a success.
This can be something like the number of made sales, website visitors, Facebook, or Instagram followers, anything that is easily measurable. Just keep in mind that the primary focus of marketing campaigns is to increase sales. Yes, the number of followers on Instagram will put you in front of more people, which will probably increase the number of sales, but that isn’t always the case. Focus on priorities, which should always be sales/money-related.
Make sure the goals you set are realistic and achievable. While it is always good to be ambitious, putting the bar too high might ruin your campaign. There are many factors you need to take into the equation, and goal setting is just the start. We will talk about key performance metrics in step #5.
#2 Pick A Target
The next step is to pick the target audience. This is very important, as it will let you focus your marketing campaign better, improving conversions but also saving resources.
While some SaaS are only applicable to narrower customer groups, some are more flexible. For example, if you are selling a fitness tracker, you can target different age groups with your marketing campaign. Another option is to optimize it focusing on the customer’s fitness level. It’s important not to have cookie-cutter solutions. In this particular case, beginners will require a different approach from advanced bodybuilders, and your campaign will have to adapt.
Do you have more than one focus group? You will need to run multiple campaigns and strategies. Never opt for one size fits all solutions. If you don’t have the budget now, don’t worry, you will focus on a different target group in the next quarter.
It’s also an excellent SaaS marketing strategy to create a buyer persona. Think about your ideal buyer, and give it a name. Think about their sex, age, how much they earn, where they live. Think about their hobbies, and how they spend their free time. Are they single or do they have families? Think about their music taste and their social circle.
Visualizing a concrete individual will help you laser down your marketing campaign. You can use the buyer persona filter to check every move you make in the campaign. Whenever you’re in doubt, think about this: “Will Bill/Jill like this, or not?”. Continue only if the answer is yes.
HubSpot offers a free online tool to build-out buyer personas and download them for free.
#3 Figure Out Your Budget
While figuring out your budget is usually something you first do when starting a project, we opted to put it third, simply because there are always different paths to reach the same goal.
Your marketing budget will determine the number of people you can include in your campaign, but also the approach you are going to take. If you have a big budget, you will be able to approach influencers with a great number of followers, but also pay for more expensive ads.
On the other hand, if your budget is thin, you will have to do much of the work yourself. That doesn’t mean you will have an ineffective campaign. It will just mean you will have to be more patient and opt for budget-friendly solutions.
Blog posts are a great example of that—make sure you write at least one blog post every week. Do it with quality, really trying to help people. Once you’re done, share it on social media, and with your email list. This is only a time investment if you do it yourself, but it can help your long term online presence.
It’s also a good idea to adjust your marketing budget accordingly, along the way. If you see that something isn’t working, ditch it. But, if you notice that one part of your strategy delivers exceptional results, double the effort next month. Always keep an eye on what’s working, and invest wisely, you don’t want to waste money.
#4 Narrow Down Marketing Channels
The chances are you don’t have an unlimited budget. Therefore, don’t try to be present on every possible marketing channel. Even if some are free to use, they will still require your time or the time of your employees. That could be spent elsewhere, making more impact.
For example, if your software helps people increase workspace productivity through time tracking, focusing on LinkedIn is probably a much better idea than Instagram. On the other hand, if you sell a beginner-friendly photo editing tool, Instagram is a better choice.
Your target audience and persona from step #2 will help you decide which channel to use. Of course, you don’t have to pick only one, three is the optimal number, five at most. Anything more than that is a severe waste of resources.
#5 Set Up Tracking Progress
If you have done right by picking a reachable goal mentioned in step #1, now it’s time to set up parameters that will help you track progress.
SaaS Key performance indicators (KPIs) will show how effective you are in reaching your goals. By analyzing them, you will determine what the next best step is for your campaign. Here are some common KPIs:
- Churn rate – you want to keep your churn rate low, as it represents the number of customers you lose every month. It is easy to calculate; you just divide the number of lost customers with the total number of customers.
- Cost Per Lead – this one is simple, and it tells you how much you spend to get a new lead. The calculation is easy, divide the cost of your campaign with the number of new leads. Leads are site visitors that perform an action, such as registering an account.
- Cost Per Acquisition – CPA is a very important metric that tells you how much money you spend in order to finalize a sale and get a paying customer. You calculate it by dividing the cost of your marketing campaign with the number of customers you got from it. This is a very important number, and it can determine the success of the whole SaaS marketing strategy to accurately predict, repeat and scale SaaS marketing efforts.
- Monthly Recurring Revenue – MRR is a crucial stat for SaaS, as they are all about monthly subscriptions. Calculating MRR will show you how much money you expect to get the next month. That will tell you how much you have for investments, but also if you need to make some cuts in order to save.
Conversion rates – these tell you how many visitors you are able to convert into paying customers. Divide the number of leads by the total number of visitors, and multiply that number x100, and you will get your conversion rate percentage.
If you are wondering how to track KPIs, there are different tools, free and paid you can use. One of the best ones is free, and it’s Google Analytics. It’s a great place to start for any site owner.
#6 Give Your Campaign Enough Time
The last tip we have for you is to be patient with your campaign. While it is true that you can increase your success chances by taking the right steps, in marketing nothing is guaranteed. Yes, we gave you five steps above you can follow, but marketing is not linear. After all, you are trying to sell to real people, who all have their own heads, and are carefully considering who to trust.
Therefore, when it comes to SaaS growth hacking, set goals and start executing. This will give you valuable data points as benchmarks for future reference when measuring performance. But don’t get discouraged if things don’t immediately go your way. You shouldn’t break your budget and go into debt of course, but don’t have second thoughts after five days of nothing happening. Be patient, and make small tweaks along the way, but always try to follow the main strategy, going towards the initial goal you set.
And even if your marketing campaign fails—big deal. It is not the last one you will run, and all the next ones are certainly going to be more successful. But, if you do things right, your strategy will work. After all, it is not that difficult to sell quality products.
That was our playbook that will help you create a working SaaS marketing plan. As you can see, the steps are quite obvious and rely on common sense, low-risk tactics every business person can easily follow.
Setting up goals, choosing an audience, and staying within the budget is not exactly reinventing the wheel. Still, many businesses fail on those necessary steps, and that’s why we created this list.
Let us know in the comments if you think we forgot something important, and how you execute your marketing strategy. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!