SaaS Marketing in the ‘new normal’
30th April 2020
SaaS Marketing in the ‘new normal’ should all be about preparing for the operating environment to return to the ‘normal normal’!
Some of March and most of April has seen majority of the world go into lockdown. For May, there are some cautious signs of a re-opening in what many are describing as a ‘new normal’. How long this ‘new normal’ is going to last is down to scientists, governments and the virus itself.
Certainly, from the perspective of business and political leaders around the world there is a desire to get the economy fired up as soon as it is safe to do so. An unavoidable recession is coming. The sooner we get the wheels of industry and commerce turning again, the more we are able to limit the damage it does.
For some SaaS businesses, especially those with remote working tools, COVID-19 has held a silver lining. For others it’s been less of a rosy story. Across the board, in general there has been a drop in lead generation and the winning of new deals, however website traffic is largely steady, or in many cases rising. This data from HubSpot on its own lead numbers and website traffic is very interesting, although recent updates show there is now a bit of up uptake in leads and deals.
How have SaaS businesses responded so far?
Here are some of the tactics that SaaS companies have made greater use of recently:
- More offers – Providing extended free trials and extra features for free
- Price discounting – Time limited deals or better pricing for enterprise-level software where you’d expect to negotiate
- Creating new features – Support for new capabilities where there’s a natural fit
- Best use of downtime – SaaS products that have taken a particularly hard hit, (e.g. travel industry) are developing the product or working on more strategic initiatives like a new website
- Support for key workers – Special discounts for front line workers
What are your options?
There are a number of approaches. However, whatever you do, it has to be shaped by your expectations for what you want to achieve once the ‘new normal’ is past and the good old ‘normal normal’ is re-established, or we get as close to it as possible.
- Carry on with your marketing as-is – This way you know you’re doing everything possible and are going to be strong as we come out the other side.
- Stop everything – A great way to save money but what impact will this have on getting started again once this is over?
- Somewhere in between – Try to find a middle ground where you maintain your assets without spending out too much for what may be a poor return in terms of lead-gen – reduce outgoings as much as you can ready to pump in what you have saved when things come back.
- Shift the marketing you are doing – Re-focus on the things that need doing – Need a new website but haven’t had the time? Now’s a good time. Is there some content you’ve been meaning to write for ages? Do it now. Consider performing a root and branch review and see what you need to prioritise.
Remember, not all marketing is equal. Turning off or lowering PPC budgets is going to save your business money in the short term and if CPL is increasing or ROI decreasing, especially to a point where there no longer is an ROI, reducing PPC makes sense.
However, marketing like SEO is going to be impacted if you just stop. Worse, if your competitors carry on, expect a drop in rankings and organic traffic and it may be harder to catch up again in the future. Stopping writing content may lose you readers; however, an evergreen piece of content will be useful now and in the future.
What about the next few months?
In any crisis there are likely to be opportunities. As we look ahead to an uncertain few months consider marketing tactics such as:
- Review your pricing – Extended discounts or changed pricing
- Tweaking your positioning – Evolution, not complete change
- Use cases changing
- Making products to support getting back to work and the new world
- Sweat marketing harder – You may need to work harder at marketing
- Create some urgency – You may need to focus on converting a higher % of leads because lower lead numbers mean deals need to be struck
- Make greater use of recorded demos and videos – For those “I have some time to consider this, but we won’t make any decision until the crisis is over”
- Think about using PLG – Giving away some of your product for free (Product Led Growth)
- Be careful swinging the axe – If you cut good staff, agencies or freelancers there will be a cost to re-hire (onboarding, finding a good fit, getting up to speed) in the future. We’re not advising that you don’t make cuts that you need to make but think things through carefully for the longer term
What marketing should your SaaS be doing now?
In the case that your usual lead-gen channels are still working well, carry on. And consider investing more if you can, especially when competitors may be cutting back. It’s a good opportunity to get ahead.
If your lead-gen channels are not performing, think about:
- Boost marcomms output – Create more content
- Tweaking lead nurturing – Creating or updating your lead nurturing campaigns
- Improving retention – Review and update your onboarding
- Reviewing your website – Make some tweaks, add new content or consider a complete revamp
- High conversion landing pages – Create some new optimised landing pages
- Tweak the marketing SaaS stack – Research marketing software and support other SaaS ventures!
- Review SEO – Sharpen up your SEO so it is in top condition
- Leverage the blogosphere – Write some guest blogs
- Fostering partnerships – Look to establish strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships
Normality will return
The ‘new normal’ will revert to the normality of ‘normal normal’ in time. There are going to be some enduring changes; for instance, many businesses are likely to continue making extensive use of their newly discovered practice of remote working!
Bear in mind that if customers needed your product pre COVID-19, they’ll need it post COVID-19. The most important thing here is to stay in the game – you need to ensure you remain in business. Secondly, you need to ensure you can come out and play a strong hand once this ends.
We are lucky! Governments are not shutting down SaaS products, customers and people still need them. We’re not an airline, restaurant chain, hotel group or one of the numerous other businesses that are unable to operate today. Take comfort from that, stay safe and trust that normality will return.
About Xander Marketing
Xander Marketing has helped over 200 B2B SaaS businesses succeed in achieving their business objectives with high quality strategic and tactical marketing expertise.
If you need help with your marketing get started by arranging a free one-hour consultation today.