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27 Jul 2015

How to Make your SaaS Marketing Stand Out to Prospects

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Let’s face it: marketing for SaaS in most instances is tricky. Fierce competition, a saturated market and difficulties in proving software value can make the job of a SaaS marketer tough. How can you make your software unique and stand out? Remember this – your software won’t sell itself.

Provide unique value

Imagine your SaaS business specialises in cloud collaboration software, aimed at increasing business productivity and collaborative working. 

A quick search for ‘cloud collaboration’ returns thousands of results, with each company offering almost identical software solutions - give or take a few unique features. Now place yourself in the positon of your prospects. What would make you interested in one of these individual companies? Niche industry experience.

During the buyer’s journey, a decision maker takes into consideration cost, usability and risk. Say, for example, your particular prospect works within the finance industry. They will be likely looking for a cloud collaboration provider that has a vast experience in this sector, understands industry regulations and has adapted its software to accommodate these safety and access features.

By providing proof of your niche industry experience in the form of blogs, case studies, guides and other content, you can help prospects minimise risk, while placing you above other generic cloud collaboration software providers during the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. 

It can be tempting to target everyone and anyone with your SaaS marketing strategy, but in such a crowded market, this approach simply doesn’t work. Stay relevant by offering unique value and industry specific insight.

Offer your audience targeted content  

The internet has become overloaded with information. A study by the Guardian has revealed that 41% of internet users are overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of content to absorb. Your prospects crave information that is catered to their needs and actively solves their problems – not a generic sales-pitch.

HubSpot, an online inbound marketing platform, uses educational blog content to attract and engage with its target audience, i.e. B2B businesses who are failing to see results from outbound marketing tactics. A common theme that runs through all of HubSpot’s blog content is information and advice. While this may seem quite simplistic, it is something that a large number of SaaS companies fail to provide.  

HubSpot’s “Quality vs. Quantity: A 6-Month Analysis of the Age-Old Blogging Debate” blog, is a perfect example of how SaaS companies can appeal to their audience. The blog begins by identifying a common problem facing many of HubSpot’s B2B audience – reaching a balance between a blog’s quality and quantity and the direct impact on marketing metrics.

They then present several different solutions, such as varying content types, guest blogging and planning topic points in advance. HubSpot adds weight to its research and suggestions by supplying hard evidence based on its own results.

This method of identifying a problem and offering a solution encourages prospects to progress down the sales funnel, ultimately leading them to invest in HubSpot’s marketing techniques and software.

Realise that the sales cycle is shorter

The sales cycle for SaaS businesses is significantly shorter than a typical B2B company. As software is continually adapting, SaaS buying is quick, transactional, and done.  Typically, a buyer will perform some initial research, read a few blogs, sign-up for free trials and buy. This is because, generally SaaS software is competitive on price and comes without any lengthy contracts or hefty financial commitments – making it easy for prospects to sign up there and then.

It’s therefore important to keep this mind when planning content. All content, whether it is blogs, guides, e-books or email marketing should eventually lead prospects to sign up for a free trial. Content needs to continually present your software as a solution to common prospect problems and pains, while clearing up any reservations regarding performance, usability or value. Prospects are looking to make a quick purchase and so it’s your mission to make this process as simply as possible.

Don’t underestimate the value of customer testimonials 

You can spend countless hours crafting content that talks about how good your software is, your exceptional customer service, your cost-effective solutions etc. But, let’s face it, of course you’re going to think your service is great – you work there! This is the thought process that your prospects will also be experiencing. Prospects care more about what real-life, unbiased customers say about your software and service. As Neil Patel of Kissmetrics explains: “Testimonials are like hiring the most successful salespeople, and getting them to close sales like gangbusters for free.” By including reviews and testimonials, SaaS businesses also have the potential to increase their sales by 18%. 

Kissmetrics recommends keeping testimonials detailed, specific and relevant to add legitimacy. A testimonial should come from a typical customer that resonates with your prospects and their industry. They should also include specific results achieved i.e. 5% increase in leads and a detailed analysis of exactly why your software is so good and essential.   

Offer a consistent service for existing customers

Every SaaS business, whether an established organisation or start-up, should take into consideration that 80% of all future revenue will come from just a fraction (20%) of their current customers. With this in mind, don’t push existing customers aside to make room for customer acquisitions. The main selling point of your service, should be exactly that – your customer service. Digital audiences have come to expect exceptional customer support, so ensure that you have a competent customer service operation in place. With SaaS software continually adapting and evolving, keep your customers informed of your latest updates to ensure that they’re getting the most out of your software and won’t stray to a competitor. 

Offering existing customers exclusive offers, engaging with them on social media and supplying them with software focused content all helps to increase your customer retention. When customers are happy they are also more likely to become advocates of your software, helping to further market your business and gain new prospects.

Step by step guide to an effective Inbound marketing strategy

 

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Topics: Marketing

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