Anton Lakes, Author at SaaS and mobile app marketing and lead generation agency - App Marketing Minds
SaaS content marketing strategy App Marketing Minds

How to Decide on Your SaaS Marketing Strategy

How to Decide on Your SaaS Marketing Strategy

Knowing where to start is always difficult. How will you structure your SaaS marketing strategy comes down to your pricing, market, expertise of your team and a myriad of other factors. Will you settle with an inbound, content driven strategy, try to make one of your content pieces go viral, go with a direct response marketing, of perhaps a combination of all?

 

While you may hope that your software would sell itself, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. You need to build a solid strategy, based on actions with measurable impact.

 

First, there are a few things you’ll have to take into consideration about your customers.

 

B2C vs B2B

Your approach to your SaaS marketing strategy will vary when dealing with B2C (business to customer) or B2B (business to business).

B2B customers are more likely to have a deep expertise in their activity and have more specific needs in terms of what problem they need to solve. You won’t have to use laymen’s terms with them, and your content should be professional yet informative. The B2B customer also seeks to have a very close relationship with your brand (and people in your business), so keep that in mind.

 

B2C customers, on the other hand, can be novices or have intermediate-level skills in your type of service. Why do these customers need your service, and why should they choose you over others?

 

That is a common issue for the B2C customer, so your content should inspire them to choose your brand and service with content that is a bit more personal. At times, a little humor would help as well. Above all, make sure you are always making an emotional connection as b2c, high emotion, utility and easy of adoption leads to viral growth.

 

Content Marketing Institute compared B2C vs B2B content marketing tactic usage, and found that ebooks are a valuable tool for B2B sales, while B2C is better focused on social media campaigns and blog posts.

B2B Marketing SaaS Marketing Strategy App Marketing Minds

B2C Marketing SaaS Marketing Strategy App Marketing Minds

 

Of course, social media campaigns are still a great tool for B2B as well – consider creating an ebook and then promoting it on your social media.

While considering your marketing strategy, it’s also helpful to keep in mind that the value you deliver to your audience needs to be consistent over time. Not only prior to the sale, but also after. Consistently helping your users with content will eventually increase your SaaS customer lifetime value.

 

Customer type

Before you can start selling SaaS, you have to tailor your SaaS marketing strategy to your customer type!

 

Very small businesses (VSB)

This is the very small business. VSBs can range anywhere from two to 50 employees, so approach them with this in mind:

  • Most VSBs have a small budget, so they won’t have several thousands of dollars to spend on your service. The way you structure your sales and marketing campaign, should reflect the ROI expectations
  • VSBs may tend to favor a freemium plan with a low-cost monthly or annual fee
  • Many VSBs will focus on instant ROI and want to see the immediate value they get for their money
  • There is likely to be only one key decision maker responsible for purchasing decision

 

SMBs

  • Small to medium businesses employer fewer than 250 employees
  • The SMB are likely to have a bigger budget than the VSB, but it must grow as a business in order to survive, so your service needs to facilitate and encourage that growth.
  • However, like VSBs, SMBs often opt for freemium or low-cost plans for an easily accessible service
  • Show your SMBs the value of your service – how will it benefit them and save their time?
  • The decision making process is likely to involve more than one person, and therefore your marketing needs to be tailored for numerous decision makers
  • Establish a relationship of trust, and make sure you follow up and use other best practices for SaaS customer success

 SaaS Content marketing tools

Enterprise

  • These are the big players, with thousands of employees. Oracle, for example, and have a much bigger budget than SMBs and VSBs.
  • Enterprises are not concerned with growing the way SMBs are, but with maintaining their position and value. Their survival is not at stake (in the short-time frame anyway)
  • Tackle enterprises using Account Based Marketing or ABM – strategic business marketing that treats each company as its own market, heavily focusing on that one account.
  • For effective ABM, as with all customers, you need to know your target audience. Do your research on numerous decision makers and tailor your content to all.
  • Look into the company structure and the core players, if possible. Really familiarize yourself with these details.
  • Choose the right social media platforms. Enterprises tend to favor LinkedIn for its focus on professional connections and business updates.

How price points determine SaaS marketing

Consider your target audience in tiers, as the great thing about SaaS is that you can target all customer segments depending on the depth of use of your solution, all different tiers will have its own pricing structure for your users. Let’s go back to the example of VSBs, SMBs, and Enterprises. Devote a certain budget for each one.

Average annual contract value (ACV) below $1000

For a customer with an annual contract value below $1000, your pricing will be approximately less than $100 a month.

  • Focus on web-based sales. You will generate less revenue from this kind of customer, so adopt a low-touch sales process that will save you time and money normally required for outbound sales development reps
  • Choose low-cost marketing methods, particularly content marketing. Create informative blog posts, and interesting social media posts that are relatable and shareable
  • While content marketing will help establish a relationship with your customers and build your brand awareness, keep in mind that there’s a lot of competition out there, so your content has to consistently make a connection with your audience
  • Another option is paid advertising, and ideally, it’s best to use a combination of content marketing with organic social media and paid advertising. Paid advertising via Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram ads, and more is designed to pinpoint your ideal customer, and it’s quite effective

 

ACV above $1000

On the other hand, for a customer with an annual contract value above $1000, you will have a bigger budget to work with.

  • Rather than a low-touch sales process, opt for more direct selling.
  • Stay in touch and follow up regularly, using a combination of email, phone calls, other web-based options (Skype and Google Hangout, for example) and face-to-face interaction,
  • Create a lasting connection with this kind of customer with a close, nurturing relationship.
  • Embrace ABM and adopt a high-touch sales process with exclusive content and tools.

SaaS inbound marketing

In a Nutshell

To decide on a SaaS marketing strategy, you need to know your target audience. Do your research, foster relationships, and choose your content and channels carefully, while delivering value before, and after the sale.

Consider your customers based on business size, their needs, budget and sales cycle duration. Then, tailor your SaaS marketing strategy and sales approach accordingly – preferably using a combination of inbound and outbound process.

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SaaS content marketing strategy App Marketing Minds

How to get started with SaaS content marketing

How to get started with SaaS content marketing

Content marketing is something you hear a lot about nowadays, but do actually know what it is and why you need it?

 

Don’t underestimate it as a new fad – as it turns out, this kind of marketing is pretty valuable, so if you haven’t already begun using it, read on for how to get started with SaaS content marketing.

 

What is content marketing and how can it help your SaaS marketing strategy?

Content marketing is simply a particular type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online content. This content can include videos, blogs, social media posts and more. In fact, Content Marketing Institute put together a helpful infographic on its history:

Content Marketing History Content Marketing Institute

Great. Now you know what content marketing is. But what’s the point? Well, the purpose of content marketing is to use content to spread awareness of and generate interest in a brand’s products or services.

 

But why do people turn to content marketing? The reasons are pretty simple, actually.

 

1. It’s effective, and it’s cheaper than other traditional marketing methods

The Content Marketing Institute found that content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but also generates three times as many leads!

 

With the technology that we now have access to, creating original content is easier than ever and relatively inexpensive. Click To Tweet

 

Considering all that, can you really afford not to create and share original content? Neil Patel quickly discovered that custom content is so effective, it influences a whopping 61% of consumers’ buying decisions!

content marketing consumer stats App Marketing Minds

2. Content marketing creates lasting connections with consumers

You know your content is effective when it is engaging to your followers. Are they commenting? Are they interested in the products and services?

 

Great content generates recall – the content has made an impression in the mind of the consumer, allowing them to remember that interesting post they saw earlier – and most importantly, to remember your brand and products.

 

That kind of recall fosters a lasting connection with consumers, and effective content prompts followers to visit websites, check out other products and services from your company, etc. In fact, if you want more customers, you need to have a content marketing strategy in place.

SaaS Content marketing tools

The Content Marketing Institute has found that those companies who use content marketing have much higher conversion rates than those who don’t – up to six times higher!

Creating this kind of content does take a good deal of skill and time, but the higher conversion rates make it a better choice for the modern brand than traditional marketing methods.

 

Content marketing for SaaS

Now that we’ve covered the basics of content marketing and why you need it, let’s talk specifically about content marketing for SaaS.

 

We can’t discuss how to get started with SaaS content marketing without discussing one important thing first: price points.

 

Your content marketing for SaaS will depend on your budget. Yes, content marketing is less expensive compared to traditional marketing and advertising methods, but there is still some money involved.

 

Generally, the LTV of SaaS companies allows for less than $1000 of their annual contract value to be spent on content marketing, so less than $1000 per user per year. It’s not a huge budget by any means, but can go a long way to creating great content, thanks to resources like Photoshop and Canva, that will help your sales and the bottom line.

Not only does contract value influence your marketing and sales goals, but it’s generally easier (and expected) to convert visitors via low-touch web sales (without human intervention) if the price is around $100 and less.

 

 

SMART Goals and Content Marketing

Now, what are your goals? Hootsuite are masters at creating and sharing great content, and have many excellent tools to help. According to Hootsuite, your goals need to be SMART. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

content marketing SMART goals App Marketing Minds

 

For example, gaining 100 followers on your brand’s Twitter account in 30 days is a SMART goal.

 

With your SMART goals in mind, create your content marketing strategy. Your strategy can be as simple as a list of bulleted points, or more detailed with custom charts and infographics. The most important thing is that your strategy needs to be very clear and well-thought out.

 

Creating your SaaS content marketing strategy

Customer personas – First, you need to identify your target audience. What kind of person uses your software? What is the average user’s age and technical background?

 

Channels – Next, choose which platforms or social media networks this audience is most likely to use. Does your audience use YouTube often? Make sure you have an active YouTube presence, with your own YouTube channel that you post to on a regular basis. Does your audience read blogs? If so, you definitely need a blog on your website.

 

Do you see the pattern? Think about your audience and the average user of your software as you consider Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms before you choose a few to make them a part of your greater marketing strategy.

 

Some companies choose to have accounts on every possible platform, but don’t spread yourself too thin! It’s best to maintain active accounts only on the top few.

SEO – do keyword research. What kind of keywords are your audience using to search for what they need? What kind of topics are they searching for? Discover what those keywords are, and incorporate them into your content marketing strategy with hashtags on social media and keywords on your blog and website.

Decide on content topics – now, identify the kind of content you’re going to be posting. Create and share blog posts – and don’t forget to promote them on social media, as well! Get creative and share videos, GIFs, and quotes.

Premium content – majority of SaaS companies offer a variety in pricing, ranging from offers related to very small businesses (VSB) all the way up to enterprise level clients. An important aspect of your strategy needs to be premium content, whether that is a demo, free trial (freemium model) or value-giving piece of information hidden behind an 0pt-in.

Keep a content marketing plan – finally, create a schedule. How often do you want to share content? At least three times a week is necessary to appear engaged, but be consistent – you need to be creating, posting and sharing content every week.

SaaS inbound marketing

If there is a certain piece of content that your audience responds well to, don’t shy away from recycling that content. Share it again, when it’s relevant.

 

Primarily, your content is supposed to help convert leads, so always keep that in mind. Keep your content interesting and useful, and always with the intention to drive more traffic to your website. Share blogs, product offers, and more. When it comes to creating content, there’s so much you can do!

Once you’ve created and shared your content, keep an eye on it. Track its performance using tools like Google Analytics and Kissmetrics, so you can easily identify the kinds of content that perform best. Your strategy needs to be ever-evolving, and the analytics will help with that.

 

Final thoughts

As you can see, content marketing is a great, cost effective way to promote your brand and generate interest.

This article showed you how to get started with SaaS content marketing. For more information, check out our 4 beginner tips for selling SaaS.

Do you have any tips we left out? Share your comment below!

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Selling SaaS

4 Beginner Tips on How to Start Selling SaaS

4 Beginner Tips on How to Start Selling SaaS

Using SaaS appears simple enough at first glance – and if only selling SaaS was simple as well. So how do you go about selling SaaS? That’s something that many companies and vendors tend to struggle with, and it’s not hard to see why.

 

Most of us have anywhere between 5-10 software subscriptions or more, and the average consumer shies away from getting more than they feel they need. When selling SaaS, you need to set yourself apart from the rest and build a good relationship with your customers and earn their loyalty.

 

Fortunately, we have some tips to help you get started on the right path to selling SaaS. We’re going to take a look at how to establish a real connection with users and turn them into devoted, loyal customers.

 

But before we go into the tips, there’s something to keep in mind.

 

Who are your customers?

 

What kind of person does your service benefit? Create a buyer persona for your customers, and keep that in mind throughout every step of your sales SaaS strategy. Once that’s done, move on to these tips to create your strategy for selling SaaS.

 

1. Show customers the benefits, not just the features!

 

Put yourself in the mind of a potential customer for a moment. You’ve seen ads for a particular software, and it looks interesting, but you have to do some research before you make a decision.

 

Of course, before you make a purchase, you need to know how that software is going to benefit you and suit your needs.

 

Purchasing a subscription is only worth it when it makes a positive impact in the buyer’s life, so showing that positive impact will help sway prospects to become customers.

Selling SaaS How to sell SaaS meeting customer

Show value, not just features!

 

Contrary to common practice, it is much more effective to tell customers what the product does for them, the customers, rather than focus on the many features of the product.

 

It seems like common sense, but if you’re well-versed in all the features of your product, you might forget that everyone else is not. Get to know your potential customers, what they want in a service, and then show them the unique benefits that only your software can offer.

 

Instead of using demos as a mini-training session, use them to show these benefits to the customer. Pinpoint those features that are particularly useful for the average user, and make sure to highlight them. Once a user signs up for a trial, make sure to restate these benefits throughout the trial.

 

To start selling SaaS, you need to really understand your customers and their needs. Click To Tweet

 

2. Sell SaaS through loyalty by establishing emotional connection

 

Loyalty and emotional connections are easier to build on a human level. That’s why most people prefer to speak to a person rather than a robot, so make sure your company has a personable approach to customers.

 

Always follow up!

 

Don’t just sign up prospects for a free trial and leave them alone. Follow up with them, as often as you can. As soon as you can, send them an email, or give them a phone call if you have access to a phone number.

 

When sending them an email, make sure there’s a human element to them, especially in the sender’s address.

 

Think about this one for a moment. Are you more likely to open and respond to an email from the sales or marketing department of a company, or an email from someone with an actual human name?

 

The human element here is vital. Customers are more likely to be interested in a company or service recommended by someone they know, so make sure you have an affiliate program in place.

 

The importance of an affiliate program can’t be understated. Offering bonus features or a temporary discount for users who refer friends and family can do wonders for your company, and make sure to promote these offers often. That’s how Dropbox gained thousands of customers!

 

Dropbox offered any user who invited a friend to join 500 MB of free storage. Users took advantage of the offer, of course, and Dropbox went from 100,000 to 4 million registered users in a mere 15 months.

Selling SaaS How to Sell SaaS Image Example Dropbox

 

Is your software in the form of an app, or does it have an app that supplements the website? Don’t forget to promote and maintain the app. Ideally, you would want the app to go viral, but don’t leave that to chance. Do all you can to create a viral app – it’ll be great for your SaaS sales, too!

 

The more a customer can emotionally connect with the software, the more likely they are to use it often and recommend it to friends and family. That’s how you make successful SaaS sales.

3. Revamp your email campaign

 

Don’t email your customers once and then forget about them, or email them every once in a while out of the blue. Customers need to know that you care, that they are important to you, and that needs to be apparent in your email campaign.

SaaS sales strategy

Be consistent!

 

After your initial follow-up, make sure you’re sending enough emails on a regular basis. One or two a week is effective. You don’t want the customer to forget about your company or service, so keep in touch with them.

 

Wondering how to increase customer lifetime value? Take steps to retain your customers. Make your emails interesting and create engaging subject lines that will compel your customers to open them.

 

Test your subject lines to see which ones perform better. Do your users like emojis in the subject lines, or are they put off by them? What kind of language makes customers more likely to open an email?

 

Within the content of the email, you also need to have a call to action in each one, so your customers don’t just skim the email and then forget about it, and your company.

 

Selling SaaS How to sell SaaS software trial

4. Make sign-up as easy and smooth a process as possible

 

Getting the interest of prospect users is only half the battle. Once they’re on your site or app, make sure your interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Free trials are a great option, but be careful.

 

Make sure signing up for a free trial is as easy and hassle-free as possible. A potential customer may be interested in your service, but off-put by needing a credit card just to sign up for the free trial.

 

To avoid that kind of situation, consider allowing sign-ups without the need for credit cards. Once the trial ends, simply prompt the user to purchase a subscription if they enjoy the service.

 

A user who is confident about the benefits of a subscription and has seen them first-hand will happily reach for their credit card, and that’s a lot better than making a prospect reluctantly submit their credit card information, or turn away altogether because they’re not sure it’s worth their time and effort!

 

How long are your trials? Some companies offer 30, 60, or even 90-day free trials, but is that really a smart move? Shorter trials tend to perform better than long ones.

 

14 days is long enough for a free trial. Making it any longer poses the risk that these users forget about the service entirely, or decide it’s not worth it, never actually becoming customers (hence you need a robust onboarding strategy for your SaaS).

 

Or worse – they sign up for a 60 or 90-day trial, use the service as much as they need, and cancel their account as soon as the trial is over, because they’ve already gotten all they need out of the service.

 

Make the sign-up process as easy and smooth as possible – users will appreciate it, and it will give them more time to focus more on the benefits of the service.

 

These 4 tips are what you need to get started as a beginner to selling SaaS, but they’re far from the only effective ways to increase your SaaS sales.

 

It may not be an easy process at first, but we have plenty of more information available to you on our blog, including the 4 best practices for SaaS customer success.

 

 

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