The 3 Most Important Rules of SaaS Marketing
Looking to gain and retain your customers more effectively? Check out the 3 important rules of SaaS marketing here to boost your marketing efforts!
Published: 29 Jun 2015
5 minutes read
42% of IT decision makers plan to increase spending on cloud computing this year, while the industry is set to be worth $32.8 billion by 2016 - equating to a 142% increase since 2011.
Although the future of SaaS is positive, the industry still has its struggles and challenges. Some customers remain sceptical about the technology involved in SaaS and leaving behind traditional offline software. So how can you initiate a marketing strategy that brings in leads and converts resistant customers into SaaS advocates?
1. Identify your unique selling point
Even though it removes the need for a large upfront investment, SaaS is still a commitment. Your potential customers will be signing up for a continuous monthly or yearly licence payment, which is still a big decision for businesses who are unsure about the benefits of SaaS.
When prospects first visit your site, they will be in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey and so may not yet fully understand the problem they’re experiencing or may perceive their problem as unfixable. Your goal initially should be to use educational content to help prospects identify their problem and showcase how your product or service can offer a solution.
Once your prospects have identified a defined problem and are actively looking for a solution, they will be in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. This is when you should implement your unique selling point – that directly relates to your prospects’ pain points.
Let's take marketing software HubSpot as an example. Its goal was to completely revolutionise how people approach marketing by attracting people rather than interrupting them. Therefore, its unique selling point would be replacing the need for outbound tactics with more cost effective and beneficial inbound marketing.
By aligning your SaaS company’s unique selling point to your customers’ pain-points and problems, you can effectively highlight the need and value of your software, giving customers a reason to buy.
To help you identify your own unique selling point, try to answer these questions:
- What can you do that competitors can’t?
- How will your software improve the day to day lives of your customers?
- How will your software improve their revenue and ROI?
2. Offer a free trial
Remember, SaaS is still in its infancy and some of your target audience may struggle to use and understand your software. SaaS marketing therefore should be approached differently. You aren’t selling a physical product or human expertise – the software IS the service. Therefore, offering a free trial is essential. Customers aren’t going to invest unless they can ensure that they and their employees can easily use your software.
All marketing workflows should lead directly to a free trial sign-up. Kahootz, a cloud collaboration software tool, consistently diverts visitors to its free trial via calls to action on blog posts for maximum exposure. The bottom line here is, as a SaaS company you have to put your money where your mouth is – customers need real proof of the quality and usability of your software and a free trial is the only way to achieve this.
However, always keep in mind your personas’ stage in the buyer’s journey. Prospects who are more familiar with your product will be likely to sign up for a free trial immediately, as they will already be at the stage where they are comparing vendors.
On the other hand, prospects who are still unfamiliar with your product or have reservations about it will need nurturing before they sign up. Educational blog content should be implemented to firstly help solve their problems and to present your software as the solution; encouraging them to sign up for a free trial.
Therefore it’s vital that you always keep in mind the division within your target audience. Supply relevant content and offers which are suited to both novice and experienced SaaS users.
3. Don't sell, educate
Sticking to the principles of inbound marketing, content should be focused on educating prospects with information which helps to solve their problems, rather than transparent promotion.
With a large number of SaaS companies on the market, offering similar services and products to your business, your content needs to demonstrate how your specific software can solve prospective problems and how it rivals competitors, as well as traditional disk-based software. For example, you might want to use content to show how your software can increase team productivity, encourage collaboration and save money.
Video demonstrations and step-by-step guides are particularly useful for potential prospects in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, helping to simplify your SaaS functionality and any initial reservations.
Educational content should continue to be used once prospects have been converted to encourage retention of customers. HubSpot’s training academy is an excellent example of how you can encourage customers to continue using your software.
The training academy includes several step-by-step videos, covering technical aspects of how to use the software, as well as tips on how to get the most out of the tool and the fundamentals of inbound marketing. To reinforce learning, users can also take ‘exams’ which test their knowledge.
Not only does this ensure that customers are using HubSpot’s software properly and effectively, but it also highlights HubSpot’s commitment to its customers and excellent customer support.