Software and Software as a Service (SaaS) marketing is, not surprisingly, garnering more attention as spending on SaaS continues to rise across companies of all sizes. In fact, Blissfully notes in its 2019 Annual SaaS Trends Report that the average company spend on SaaS in 2018 rose 78% over the previous year. They also report that companies saw nearly 40% of their SaaS stack change last year.
Fueling this volatility in organizations’ SaaS stacks are a wider variety of SaaS options to choose from and the fact that decision making on which tools to use is increasingly becoming decentralized to individual departments. Given this dual environment of opportunity and volatility, software and SaaS companies that want to gain more customers and keep the ones they already have need to make sure their marketing machine is hitting on all cylinders.
In this post, we look at four factors and best practices in software and SaaS marketing that help companies and solutions rise above the rest.
1. Define and commit to your content strategy
As prospects evaluate SaaS alternatives, they seek out answers and information to guide to the right destination. An effective content strategy creates a framework where you can, and do, provide these answers at every step of their buyer journey, from awareness to consideration to decision. It’s easy for organizations to say “we can’t create all the content we need” or to not maintain a steady cadence of new content, but successful SaaS companies make content a priority. When you’re not there with answers and information as prospects seek them out, it’s likely that a competitor will be.
Although we note the buyer journey stages of awareness, consideration and decision above, it’s also important to recognize the post-purchase role that your content strategy plays in retaining customers. Use newsletters, blog posts, knowledge bases, webinars, videos and other content to share success stories, offer usage tips and tricks and to highlight new or forthcoming features of your SaaS offering that will benefit them. Your goal is to reinforce their trust in your solution and to build champions of your brand.
2. Do what’s needed to be found online
While having the right array of content is imperative, it won’t help you achieve your objectives if no one can find your content in the first place. Paid elements or tactics such as featured social media ads, paid search, retargeting, and display advertising are commonly used for SaaS offerings and can be effective in getting target audiences’ attention. However, efforts that don’t require the same level of additional media spend can be just as impactful. A consistent and cohesive social media strategy supports awareness, promotes your content and entices visits to your website. And even if you don’t can’t devote a full-time resource to search engine optimization, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice SEO best practices.
3. Get exposure to new audiences with co-marketing
Often there are common but not competing solutions that serve, in a different way, the same types of audiences that you wish to engage. Co-marketing brings you together to enable introduction of your solutions to the contact base of each respective organization. Co-marketing activities can take shape in any number of forms, including:
- A jointly-presented webinar featuring an expert from each company that speaks to a common challenge that individuals or organizations are facing
- Providing space in one’s trade show exhibit where one of the organization’s team members can answer relevant booth visitor questions and introduce their solution
- Collaborating on content such as an eBook or white paper where each organization addresses points that hold importance or relevance to their areas of knowledge.
4. Focus on removing friction at all points of engagement
In marketing terms, this about optimizing conversion – converting visitors to prospects, prospects to leads and leads to customers. For software and SaaS marketing, that means first getting interest in and engagement with your brand and solutions via the points/practices we’ve covered above and then asking and investigating key questions such as:
- How can we make it easier or more enticing for people to sign up for demos or free trials?
- Are we using approaches like progressive profiling to reduce the information asked for on website and landing page forms to mitigate abandonment/bounces?
- Have we mapped out each step of the customer experience and identified points that can be streamlined or strengthened?
- Are we using tools like Google Analytics, CRM and marketing automation to analyze each stage of the lead cycle?
Successful software and SaaS marketing leaders are disciplined in devoting attention to questions like those above. Naturally, you want to make it enjoyable and as simple as possible to engage and do business with your company. Removing even a seemingly small point of friction in the customer experience can pay huge dividends over the long haul.
Realize software and SaaS marketing success
The global SaaS market shows no signs of slowing down and is expected to reach more than $185 billion over the next five years. Many offerings will come and go, but it will increasingly be challenging for SaaS solutions to stay and grow. No matter what SaaS sales model or solution category your offering fits in, applying the practices and points outlined above will help you in your quest to attract and advance more leads and to cultivate more customers and brand ambassadors.