The SaaS market is rapidly expanding as new start-ups pop up almost every day. In this digital age, customers turn to search engines to find and compare companies before they commit to investing in a product. As competition grows, SaaS businesses have to up their marketing efforts and ensure that their solutions reach as many potential customers as possible.
What is SaaS?
The SaaS acronym stands for Software as a Service and it delivers applications over the Internet as a service. The software is web-based and customers can access it through the internet. SaaS spares customers from the expensive and time-consuming process of managing and maintaining complex software and hardware.
How can SaaS companies grow?
SaaS companies must focus on sales methodologies built specifically for SaaS and increasing their online visibility to grow and gain a competitive advantage. SaaS marketing is extremely cost-effective because it entails selling software online to worldwide customers from the comfort of your office. SaaS products are easy to use, fast to implement, scalable, and flexible. All of these advantages can be easily communicated through the right digital marketing campaigns.
To help you get started, here are six SaaS growth strategies you can implement now!
Build an email list
One of your biggest assets as a SaaS company is your email list. As a marketing tool, an email list allows you to segment and engage with potential customers directly. It is also an effective way to nurture leads, learn about your customers, and build brand awareness.
The first step in building your subscriber email list is to create a lead generation campaign that incentivizes users to opt-in by offering them access to useful content. To collect emails from your site visitors, you can use a form or an email popup on your landing pages. To maximize signups, ensure that you are only asking for basic information such as name and email address.
The emails that your subscribers receive should be engaging and enticing, which is why AMP emails are great to increase your click-through and response rates. AMP (accelerated mobile pages) are dynamic and interactive emails that allow two-way communication between you and your leads within the email itself. Once a potential subscriber is redirected to your website, make sure you maintain the same level of customer engagement. You can do this by adding interactive SVG animations to your website that will secure user retention outside the email zone. (SVG stands for scalable vector graphics.)
SEO, SEO, and more SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a cornerstone growth strategy for any SaaS company. As the SaaS marketing landscape becomes more competitive, and people get bombarded with new options every day, SEO is the guaranteed way to reach customers who are looking for your product. Those customers already need the solution your company offers and with smart SEO, their search engine results can lead them to your business.
SEO is an ongoing process and it requires consistent keyword research, title tags optimization, and high-quality content creation. If you are just starting with SaaS growth strategies and are not sure what steps to take first, take time to learn about content marketing fundamentals before diving into the intricacies of SEO optimization.
Produce meaningful content
There are a lot of myths about growth marketing, with one of them being that you should churn out content every day. Producing content for the sake of content will not help you grow. You need to position your company as an expert in the SaaS field - an entity that people can trust their money and business with. Always create content with the customer in mind and ask yourself: what type of problems do they face and how can you solve them?
Offer solutions and tips in the form of informative blog and social media posts, visually-pleasing infographics, e-books, how-to guides, etc. Tie your content marketing strategy with your email strategy, and use every opportunity to secure a lead. For example, when visitors click on your product page, a popup can advertise a helpful ebook that they can get for free if they input their email.
You can always turn to a content writing marketplace and pay for good content, but consider this step after you have explored the resources within your company. Your employees and developers are the ones who know your products the best. There is no writer out there more capable of writing a promotional piece about your product than those who work with it every day. Involving your employees and featuring reviews or content created by your current customers is a good user-generated content strategy.
Offer free trials
The free trial is a key component of the SaaS business model and has several benefits. Free trials are cost-effective and let you leverage customer data. A free trial is an opportunity for you to convert potential customers into paying customers. Here are three common free trial models:
- Limited-time offer model. The free trial offers full use of your product for a limited time (7-, 14-, or 30-day period), allowing users to experience the product in its entirety.
- Freemium model. Potential customers can use some of your products’ features for free but have to pay for access to advanced features. This allows users to become familiar with basic offerings before making any financial commitment. You can lead them through their user journey while gathering valuable data on the way!
- Free trial with a credit card. The trial offer requires some payment information before the trial starts, but it does not charge the customer until after the free-trial period expires. At the end of the trial period, the user is automatically led towards paid plans unless they decide to opt-out.
When you’re promoting free trials to potential SaaS customers, especially if yours is a new business, you want to show potential customers what using your solution looks and feels like. After all, visuals are very helpful at driving sales. But how can you do this without arranging expensive photo shoots? A great solution is to use a mock-up generator that includes models “demonstrating” blank computer screens and phone apps. Add your free trial scenario to one of those screens and — voila! — you have a professional promotional image to attract new users.
Develop a referral or loyalty program (or both!)
Keeping existing customers and persuading them to purchase from you again can help you grow more than constantly being on the hunt for new SaaS subscribers. A loyalty program can help you boost sales at a much lower cost than investing in paid advertising or other marketing strategies. People who have bought from you once are more likely to buy from you again. Offer valuable loyalty program rewards such as milestone discounts, special deals for customers who purchased a particular type of package offers, sponsorship for an annual event, etc.
Existing customers are also more likely to recommend your SaaS services to their friends, relatives, partners, followers, etc. Having a referral program can significantly decrease the marketing costs for acquiring new customers. Word of mouth is powerful, and people are more likely to trust someone they know rather than an online marketer. Make sure that you are offering powerful incentives to your existing customers and employees so they feel motivated to recommend your product.
Foster a growth culture within your company
Obtaining customers and selling is very important, yes, but do you know what is even more important? Your employees. You should treat your team as a long-term investment. To succeed, you have to foster a growth culture on the inside. This strategy is not a digital marketing strategy per se, but it is an important aspect that should not be neglected. Your employees need to feel appreciated and safe to be able to take risks and help your company grow. Treat failure as a learning opportunity and, as a leader, always speak openly to your employees and ask for their opinions and help whenever you need it.
Also, do not underestimate the power of keeping things organized. Having good project management software in place will help you streamline your work and manage your development teams, making it easier to focus on marketing strategies for growing your SaaS company. There are a lot of good tools out there such as Jira, or Jira alternatives such as Redmine. Also, make your employees’ lives easier by investing in a good documentation tool to eliminate confusion and misunderstanding (almost always resulting in errors or delay) so they can focus on more important tasks, like achieving your growth goals for this quarter.
Of course, any SaaS company's growth culture has to include fostering great relationships with customers. In an ever-more-automated world, that relationship starts with data that is used to personalize the service and support you use to connect with them. That begins with the customer data you can harvest from your phone system and goes all the way through years of renewals.
When you treat both your customers and your employees like important, long-term relationships, you’ll find that healthy growth comes more reliably than it does for companies that put other values ahead of these important relationships.
If you want your SaaS business to grow, you must put in the legwork. Focus on increasing your online visibility while positioning yourself as a knowledgeable problem solver. Develop customer-centric digital marketing campaigns and reward your existing customers and employees. Remember, growth is a slow run, not a sprint.