SaaS marketing simply refers to promoting and advertising a SaaS platform to turn prospects into customers. However, given the competitive SaaS market, succeeding against the odds requires a firm grounding in the best techniques.
At Trumpet, we're experts in SaaS marketing. Promoting our platform to other businesses is a considerable part of our team's effort. We've developed a successful SaaS marketing strategy that ensures we attract some of the biggest clients.
This guide will run through top advice when developing a SaaS marketing strategy and explore how it differs from conventional digital marketing.
We'll also explore:
- Definition of SaaS marketing.
- A rundown of each stage in a successful strategy.
- The top metrics to monitor your marketing strategy.
What is SaaS Marketing?
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) marketing involves companies promoting and selling a SaaS product or platform. As SaaS platforms often involve an ongoing subscription model, companies usually market to their existing customers as much as they try to attract new ones.
The marketing strategy includes everything from identifying your target audience to addressing their needs, goals, and pain points. Like other forms of marketing, SaaS promotion can involve content creation, email campaigns, social media, and more.
That's not to say SaaS marketing is identical to other forms of marketing.
SaaS Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: What's the Difference?
Don't assume promoting your SaaS platforms is just like all other forms of online marketing. Yes, you can rely on many of the same tools – i.e., content, SEO, social media, email, and PPC – but your fundamental goals can differ substantially.
Why? Because the SaaS model is profoundly different from that of other companies. Let's explore:
- Subscription-Based Model: SaaS is all about subscriptions, not one-off sales. This model shifts marketing towards fostering lasting relationships. At Trumpet, we aim for enduring customer engagement.
- Software Delivery & Marketing: SaaS products are accessed online, not in physical stores. Our marketing at Trumpet highlights our platform's digital convenience and unique features.
- Acquisition vs. Retention: For SaaS, gaining new customers and keeping existing ones are equally vital. Our strategies at Trumpet prioritise both, emphasising long-term benefits and customer loyalty.
In a word, it all comes down to churn. Customer churn refers to the percentage of customers that stop using your product or service within a particular time frame. Calculate the churn rate by dividing the number of customers you lost during a period by the number of customers you had at the beginning.
For example, if you had 10,000 customers initially but lost 500, your churn rate would be 5% (because you lost 5% of your customers).
The subscription-based model favoured by SaaS companies means churn is a significant risk as there's little to no downside for customers jumping ship to another competing platform. Reducing churn even led to a new form of customer service: customer success. This proactive approach limits churn by ensuring users see tangible benefits from the platform.
How to Create a Successful SaaS Marketing Strategy
Step 1. Identify Your Target Audience
Never forget: the fundamental questions of a marketing strategy are:
- Who is your target audience?
- How do you reach them?
While you'd perform this same step in a normal digital marketing campaign, in SaaS, you want to heavily emphasise your existing user base. Conducting extensive surveys, tracking user data, and finding out how their companies function is critical to keeping them onboard and reducing churn.
You really want to know some demographic data: age, education level, job title/position within the company. Also, focus on your client company's goals and pain points. Creating a new feature that targets 50% of your customer's pain points is a surefire way to reduce your churn rate.
Simple ways to gather useful data include:
- Personal interviews
- Interactive Demos
- Focus groups
Step 2. Define Your Goals
Do you want to reduce your churn rate? Are you aiming to ramp up new subscriptions? Or, as a new SaaS platform, is brand awareness your principal goal?
Unless you've got a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you'll find yourself running around in circles.
Once you have some clear goals, decide what metrics you will monitor, i.e., your key performance indicators (KPIs). These are how you'll measure success. See below for further information.
Step 3. Choose Marketing Channels
Your choice of marketing channels will depend on your goal. Email or in-app marketing is brilliant for targeting your existing customers and reducing churn; it's not so good for building brand awareness.
Ask yourself which of these channels matches your objectives.
Directly engage customers by delivering messages within your product. This approach ensures a timely and contextually relevant connection with users.
Blogging stands out in the SaaS world. Insights from Google Analytics highlight that organic traffic, often driven by blogs, effectively attracts potential leads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
Complementing content marketing, SEO optimise your online presence to achieve higher rankings on search engine results pages.
Although considered an older strategy, email retains its efficiency in the SaaS domain, allowing businesses to reach prospects directly.
Social Media Marketing:
As with tangible goods, a strong social media presence influences purchase decisions in the SaaS sector. Thus, active engagement on these platforms is crucial.
Harness the reach of influencers to tap into larger audiences across social channels. This strategy can fast-track your brand's visibility.
Rewarding current users for referrals is twofold: it acknowledges their loyalty and encourages organic word-of-mouth promotion, a proven strategy in SaaS marketing.
Step 4. Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Almost all forms of digital marketing require content. Whether that's creating a catalogue of resources to train and retain users or launching a superb email onboarding campaign, try these ideas:
- Host sessions detailing product features, usage tips, or industry best practices to engage and educate potential users.
- Showcase successful client implementations, emphasising the challenges faced and how your software provided solutions.
- Design quizzes that identify user pain points and recommend specific software features or packages in response.
- Visualise industry data, software benefits, or complex processes to simplify and emphasise key points attractively.
- Encourage existing users to share stories, reviews, or how-to videos, building community and trust around your product.
Step 5. Launch Your Campaign
Ready, set, go! Once all the pieces are in place, it's time to launch your campaign. Remember, different marketing channels will yield results over different timeframes. Where an email campaign can generate instant results, SEO content marketing can take several months for the content to get ranked.
Don't expect everything to change overnight. Keep to your timelines and revise your action plan as you hit certain milestones.
Step 6. Monitor Progress and Refine Your Plan
Why bother with a campaign? Because you want results, right? You should continually monitor your campaigns to ensure your results meet your forecasts. If not, ask why not?
It's not just about monitoring metrics, though. You also need to evolve and revise your strategy. A/B testing is one reliable method for refining your current strategy.
Metrics to Monitor Your SaaS Marketing Strategy
You're only as good as your metrics. How can you know if your strategy succeeds if you don't continually monitor your metrics? However, there are dozens of metrics available to evaluate your success. We advise using a handful of metrics, depending on your initial target.
Use these standard metrics:
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR). Measures monthly predictable revenue from subscriptions—a key indicator of business stability and growth.
- Unique Visitors. Reflects the number of distinct individuals visiting your site. Useful for gauging content and SEO strategy success.
- Lead Generation. Monitors leads from different channels. Provides insights for future targeted marketing campaigns.
- Conversion Rate. The percentage of visitors taking desired actions. Higher rates equate to better marketing ROI.
- Activation. Represents the conversion of trial users to paying ones. Relies on effective onboarding and user education.
- Churn Rate. The rate at which customers cancel subscriptions. Lower rates signify better customer satisfaction.
- CLV: CAC Ratio. Compares customer lifetime value to acquisition cost. The more money you get back from a customer relative to the cost of acquiring them implies high profitability.
In addition to the well-known metrics, you can also use certain metrics for different marketing campaigns. These include:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS). A metric for customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend. Higher scores indicate greater customer satisfaction.
- Customer Support Tickets. Tracks user support requests. Useful for identifying product issues or areas needing improvement.
- Email Open and Click-Through Rates. Gauges email marketing effectiveness. High rates suggest engaging content and targeting.
- Traffic Sources. Pinpoints where site visitors originate. Helpful in refining marketing channel strategies.
- Engagement Metrics. Analyses user interactions within the software. Assists in tailoring features to user needs.
- Upsell and Cross-sell Rates. Measures success in selling additional products to existing customers. Enhances MRR and customer relationships.
Elevate your SaaS marketing strategy with our personalised microsites and real-time user analytics. As industry leaders in enhancing user acquisition journeys, we're here to guide you. Schedule a demo today to discover the difference.