What makes marketing SaaS products different to marketing anything else?
30th August 2017
We’re often asked what makes us different as an agency the fact that we work specifically with SaaS businesses. The primary reason is ‘experience’ – given that we’ve worked with over 60 SaaS products and counting means we have experienced most scenarios (some many times over). We also understand best practice – what works and what doesn’t work.
At a marketing level whilst a lot of businesses may use Google Google Ads or write content it’s understanding the nuances of how these channels work from a SaaS perspective which makes things different for SaaS.
With a lot of SaaS businesses, in particular those with a free trial it’s very easy to measure the results and see marketing ROI. How much traffic do you get? How many people convert into free trials? How many become customers? What’s the average customer spend and how long does someone stay a customer?
There are typical metrics around what a SaaS budget should be with 3:1 CAC:LTV (customer acquisition cost: lifetime value) often muted. In other words, if it takes you £1 or less to get a customer for £3 you’re doing well.
With these numbers in mind metrics and funnels can be set up to track the numbers and key conversions.
Onboarding is the process of turning free triallists into paid customers. Not many other industries need to focus on this and tools like Intercom have been built specifically for software companies that have free trials. We’ve written a lot about this before including publishing a white paper on it.
You need to think about elements like the free trial sign up process, what happens within the app, emails that are sent, messages that are sent in the app and what happens after the trial.
Software directories like Capterra
Software has some very specific directories which are well used. Capterra is the most well known. Search for most software categories on Google and you’ll likely to see a listing from Capterra on it. For many of our clients this is a great source of leads. So knowing how to write a great Capterra profile and how the bidding system works is an advantage.
Turning technical speak into business speak
Ultimately software is technical and features are technical. However, with the majority of SaaS products people buy benefits – automation, saving time, saving money. The skill in copywriting is therefore to grasp the technical features of a product and create content that solves a customer’s problems and talks to benefits. It’s ‘simplifying complexity’.
Whilst there is a case for CRO in most industries most SaaS product’s primary source of leads is through their website so it is ultra-important. Websites need to be cutting edge and geared for conversions. But what works best? Demo or a free trial? Free trial or try it now? An orange or green button? Benefit driven vs technical messaging? All of these tests can add up over time to significantly increase website conversion rates.
Outbound email marketing
Many software businesses use outbound email marketing to generate leads. What makes a great intro email? How do you quickly get your product across in a few lines? There are tried and tested email techniques and sequences that if done right can give your business a constant flow of leads.
SaaS in itself is about recurring revenue, most commonly monthly or annual recurring revenue. With a customer potentially always being one month away from ending their contract you need to ensure you continue to market to customers and keep them in the loop (in other words reduce the churn rate). This could be through update emails, keeping them up to date with new features (or advanced hints and tips), social media plus marketing within the app.
Whilst growth hacking done right involves a cross department team including marketing this is fairly unique to SaaS businesses. Running tests, analysing data, making changes and repeat. If your marketing team is part of your growth team they can no longer work in a silo.
Pricing is marketing
For a product business the price is generally the price. For a service business pricing can be bespoke. For SaaS there are set prices but how you work out pricing and portray that is an art in itself – how you price is a marketing question as much as a business question. Marketing can support pricing with split testing pricing pages – both actual prices, pricing structures and how pricing is displayed.
Need some SaaS marketing expertise?
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.