Where should you start with marketing your SaaS product?
7th March 2019
Congratulations! You had your eureka moment and have successfully managed to follow through and grow the seed into a SaaS product. For every SaaS product that is actually created, there must be dozens of ideas that fall by the wayside; it’s not easy, so well done.
Now comes the really hard bit! Marketing… So, where do you start?
Every day we talk to people that own or control SaaS businesses and this is is one of the questions most asked by our prospective clients.
Before we can get going, there are a couple of things. Firstly, we have to establish exactly what you are marketing:
- An MVP (minimal viable product) to test a concept
- A developed product for which you’re seeking beta users
- A proven product for which you want to drive growth
And secondly, how much budget do you have?
- Are you marketing on a shoestring?
- Do you have a decent budget?
- Is there a budget that can help drive world domination?
Essentially, wherever your product is in terms of the maturity lifecycle, or however much money is available, marketing is all about channels.
For starters, whatever your ambitions or short-term goals, you need a website. For an MVP this may just be a landing page. Or you may have your full website developed with typical pages:
- CTA – book demo/free trial
The first website you have should be a ’starting point’ – this is a platform to test different messaging, call to actions, imagery and price points.
Regardless of the scope of the website, a key purpose of testing the website performance is to optimise the user experience. The ultimate objective is in achieving a compelling user journey that translates into a high conversion performance rate.
Google Ads is well suited to attacking well-defined marketplaces. If your product is aimed at an existing industry or it solves an industry problem, Google is a primary channel with which to get going.
If you’re in a very competitive marketplace (say CRM for example) you will quickly blow your budget bidding on primary keywords like ‘CRM software’. In such a case, the most effective use of your Google Ads budget is to look for long tail keywords. Things like ‘CRM software for real estate’, ‘CRM software for use case x’, and so on.
If you’re in a less competitive industry, i.e. one where bidding on primary keywords is not going to blow the monthly budget in short time, you can bid on the primary keywords from day one.
Depending on where in the world you are marketing your SaaS product, data protection regulations impose limitations by defining the scope of legitimate email marketing activity and practice. The most obvious example is GDPR which governs email marketing for targets within EU member states.
If you’re targeting companies in EU member states, you’ll have to decide where you stand in the ‘legitimate interest’ debate. It’s a bit of a grey area, however claiming legitimate interest is being used as grounds for targeting individuals that are not opted-in to receive marketing emails. If that’s not a risk you are prepared to take, of, course, you can still send one to one emails, and could consider techniques like personalised video software to help you really stand out.
There is no such problem if you want to target the US market. You can license a data list of individuals in your target market and start sending focused emails to that list.
See our guide on lead generation email marketing for more info on this.
Should you be unable or unwilling to do email marketing…
Currently, LinkedIn is a great channel for reaching out and generating leads. A high-level overview of a process is to do this is to connect with the target market and then send a series of messages to people that do connect (until they reply). Once they are contacts you can also start to market to them in other ways.
Here’s a more detailed description of how this works:
- Choose a person’s profile to do this from (they don’t actually have to manage it)
- Sign up to a tool like LinkedIn Prospect – this can automate connecting with people
- Once people connect send auto-reply messages (up to 5) until someone replies
In addition to this you can:
- Post a lot more updates on your profile (given the bigger network you’ll have)
- Download the email addresses of your contacts (a LinkedIn feature) and email those contacts
- Load that email list into Facebook to do campaigns just to them
If you have strong, natural writers on your team, content marketing can be a key part of the digital marketing mix. Startups with a story to tell, or for more mature SaaS businesses, creating effective content is a good way to start getting into the minds of the target market. Good quality content gets your messages across while informing, educating and influencing your targets . Typically content is on your website or you might consider trying to reach further afield by posting your content on sites with an established readership like Medium.
Also, longer content, such as a white paper or ‘A guide to topic X’ can be used to explain a model, discuss how to overcome an industry issue or push a product. It’s worth considering creating a white paper/eBook so that it acts as a lead generator.
Wherever you are on your journey, Xander Marketing can help
We’ve been helping SaaS businesses globally since 2009 to grow. We work to support growth through new acquisition, increasing leads, generating more website traffic and raising industry awareness. If you lack the time, resource or know how to understand branding your SaaS product, then get in touch and book your free 30 minute consultation.