10 common SaaS marketing mistakes
12th September 2017
Apologies for the slightly sensationalist Buzzfeed title! However, it seems to frame what we want to say so well.
Based on more than over 8 years of experience marketing SaaS products, here we outline ten blunt reasons why businesses fail to maximise the value marketing returns to their SaaS businesses.
1. Neglecting to develop a marketing strategy
We tend to start engagements with a marketing strategy, and then generally update that strategy. If you don’t have that strategy, or at least a plan, and just make it up as you go along you’re not really setting your business up to succeed… If you don’t have a map, how are you going to find your way to marketing success? There’s no sat nav for it (yet!).
2. Entrusting marketing to juniors
All too frequently we see SaaS companies entrust juniors with running their marketing. Sometimes, they attempt to ‘insource’ and hire a junior to replace an experienced agency. Usually, such juniors are hard working, eager people, but often they just don’t have the experience to undertake marketing for a SaaS product.
3. Multi-tasking outside of a core skillset
We often see this where SaaS teams have in-house resource or work with a freelancer. Rather than engaging a copywriter to write content, a designer to deliver visualisation, or an SEO specialist to optimise for Google, some SaaS firms try to utilise people to do things in which they are inexperienced or have no skillset.
4. Not establishing whether there is a market for your product
Believe it or not, just because you have come up with a snazzy, beautifully designed online software product, it doesn’t mean that there is necessarily a market for it. If you don’t have the right product-market fit, the biggest marketing budget in the world is not going to convince people to invest in something for which they have no real use. The USP needs to be strong and clear-cut. Ideally, the product needs to be aimed at a gap in the market rather than trying to enter an area that may already be saturated and where competition is stiff from longer established and better capitalised competitors. You’ve got to be realistic about your prospects…
5. Inconsistent marketing activity
This is often the case when a SaaS business doesn’t work with an agency or doesn’t employ a dedicated in-house resource. It usually comes down to founders or sales people (who can be good marketers) to do the marketing. However, it’s always the thing bottom of the list. Half an hour here to write half a blog, a few minutes here to look at the Google Ads campaigns… Ultimately, an ad-hoc approach to marketing is inefficient and produces highly variable results.
6. Having a website with spelling and grammatical errors
You’d be surprised how many websites are poorly written. One reason this happens is when English is not the first language of the people writing for the business. If your website is full of spelling and grammar mistakes, what confidence does that give potential customers about your product? Quite simply, it demonstrates poor attention to detail. It’s easy to find copywriters, proof readers and translators to ensure content is properly written.
7. Not listening to experts
Clients engage with us because they either want us to a) execute SaaS marketing for their business, or b) for us to act in an advisory capacity, providing consultancy and making recommendations. We act faithfully and to the best of our ability, bringing experience together with best practice to deliver value for clients. Unfortunately, sometimes a client decides they know best. This isn’t to say we’re always right and that we don’t want to work in partnership; but, where is the logic of engaging with experts and then ignoring what they say? Contrary to the Twitter babblings of one prominent world leader, the experts are not terrible.
8. Setting unrealistic budgets out of step with marketing expectations
In a previous blog post we’ve advised of the budgets SaaS companies need to commit to if they want to successfully achieve their stated marketing objectives. Our view is if you want to do marketing properly through outsourcing it to an agency, then you need a realistic budget. The budget needs to be aligned with your expectations. Yes, you can make a success of bootstrapping your business and we’re all for that; but if you’re going to hire an agency to support you then a realistic budget sets you up for success.
9. Talking about your product in the wrong way
Technical people that build a product can talk about features all day. Most buyers though want benefits and seek solutions to business problems. Marketing a product to technical people can have technical content, but when selling to non-technical people (which is the case for most SaaS products) marketing shouldn’t be that technical and needs to focus on what’s in it for customers, not just what your product does. Our white paper ‘No one is clicking or reading my marketing content. So, what are you going to do about it?’ explores this in more detail.
10. Trying something new every week
Testing in marketing is good, trying new things is good. But it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of sitting down on a Monday morning and working out how you’re going to get 20 leads this week. And when it has not worked, doing the same the following week, only with different tactics. Test, yes, but have a strategy and plan, structure your activity, learn what works and what doesn’t and use marketing to power steady, controlled growth.
So there we have it. Are you making any of these mistakes?
Ready to outsource your marketing?
If any of the above resonates with you and you’re thinking of outsourcing your marketing get in touch.
Xander Marketing works in partnership with SaaS businesses around the world to support growth through new customer acquisition, increasing leads, generating more website traffic and raising industry awareness. If you lack the time, resource or know how to undertake marketing then get in touch and book your free 30 minute consultation.