2017 SaaS Marketing Strategies: Expert Tips for Attracting, Closing, and Delighting Customers

January 5, 2017 Rachel Riley

SaaS Marketing Strategies

SaaS companies face a challenge unlike many other businesses. Not only do they have to attract customers and close sales, but they have to make sure their customers stick with them for the long haul. For SaaS marketers, this means you have to keep customers and leads consistently engaged and happy—but where do you start?

We’re here to help you figure it out. In this post, we break down expert strategies for attracting, closing, and delighting even more SaaS customers this year.

SaaS Marketing Strategies for Attracting and Closing Customers

Know Your Ideal Customer

Attracting and converting potential customers requires the creation of content that humanizes your brand and helps consumers better understand your value as a business (something we’ll delve into even further later in this guide). But the reality is that your customers likely spread across a variety of industries and job titles, and have unique challenges and areas of expertise. How do you know which topics and formats will be most valuable and interesting to each?

The first strategy SaaS businesses need to follow is to create buyer personas, or generalized representations of your ideal customers that include details from what they do to where they go to find new information. It’s much easier to market your software and services effectively when you understand the pain points, needs, and behaviors of the consumers you’re marketing to. And the good news is that buyer personas are beneficial to parts of your business beyond marketing, including product development and sales.

SaaS Marketing Strategies - Know Your Ideal Customer An example buyer persona, pulled from HubSpot.

 

Target Them on Social Media

It’s important to be where your potential customers are, and today, the majority of them are on social media. For businesses, social media usage is no longer a “nice-to-have”—consumers expect brands to have active and engaging presences on their favorite networks. And while this will require more time and resources on your part, social media can also be an important lead generation channel for SaaS companies—in fact, studies show that one in three consumers are influenced by social media in their purchases.

But social media marketing is no longer a “set it and forget it” activity, and it’s important to prioritize where you’re focusing your efforts. So how do you decide which social networks to target? Here, we break down the benefits of a few of the most popular:

  • LinkedIn: If your SaaS company isn’t already on LinkedIn, you need to be. LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for B2B and SaaS lead generation, as it is a network solely for business professionals. Check out our previous blog posts for more in-depth tips on successful LinkedIn marketing.
  • Twitter: If your software solves a trending or mainstream problem, Twitter might be your best bet for social media marketing and lead generation. The real-time platform is a great channel to use to promote thought leadership on current issues or content on popular topics. To maximize your use of Twitter, we recommend performing hashtag research to help you determine what conversations are already happening around your industry or services.
  • Facebook: With over 1.5 billion users on the site, Facebook remains the undisputed social media champion. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg stated that the average U.S. consumer spends 40 minutes on Facebook each day, making it an excellent channel for promoting brand awareness and publishing long-form content.
  • YouTube: Though some might argue against YouTube being described as a social media network, consider this: one in three visitors share a YouTube video after watching, meaning if you have video content to promote, this site is a great channel through which to do it. Consider creating compelling videos featuring behind-the-scenes product footage or customers across a variety of industries using your software.

Create Killer Content

Content marketing is hugely important to SaaS success, to the extent that the CMO of Zendesk listed content as one of the nine marketing disciples of great SaaS companies.

For most consumers, the buying cycle isn’t as simple as seeing a software offer and purchasing. Many potential customers don’t yet realize they have a problem that your software can solve, or just don’t yet know enough about what it can do. To move these consumers down the marketing funnel and convert them, SaaS businesses need to develop killer content that touches on all aspects of the buyer’s journey: the awareness, consideration, and decision stages.

SaaS Marketing Strategies - Create Killer Content

Below we dive into the most effective and converting content types for each stage:

Awareness: A consumer in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey is aware of an opportunity and is looking for more information. Leads in this stage want a greater understanding of what they are facing, and are most interested in content that takes the form of:

  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Educational/editorial content

Consideration: Leads in the consideration stage have a clear understanding of the problem or opportunity they’re facing and now want a better sense of their solution options. For content in this stage, we recommend that you present readers with their options but without yet mentioning your brand’s specific solution or services, as these consumers aren’t yet ready to move forward with that level of specification. Effective consideration stage content could take the form of:

  • Webcasts
  • Videos
  • Expert/comparison guides

Decision: In this stage, leads have chosen to pursue a solution and are in the right headspace to hear why the service your brand can provide is the right choice for them. We recommend that this type of content take the form of:

  • Product literature/comparisons
  • Case studies
  • Live demos

SaaS Marketing Strategies for Delighting Your Customers

For SaaS companies, as much focus and energy should be spent on retaining your current customers as on generating new ones. It’s great if you can get a constant flow of new customers coming in the door, but if they’re immediately leaving out the back door then that won’t do you much good in the long run. The next section of this post will walk you through strategies you can use to delight your customers and keep them happy and loyal to your business.

Humanize Your Brand

Consumers respond better to humans rather than faceless businesses, so make an effort to humanize your company as much as possible. Software isn't as warm, fuzzy, and fun a product as, say, clothing or makeup, which is why we recommend that SaaS businesses focus their efforts on marketing themselves as a service, not just a software.

SaaS Marketing Strategies - Humanize Your Brand Wouldn't you rather work with the business on the right?

 

It’s also important to remember that your customers are human too, and that they appreciate being treated as such. Add a human touch to your marketing with elements of personalization, such as sending marketing emails from an employee address rather than a generic customer service one.

Build out Your Onboarding Process

A customer accessing your software for the first time can be fairly compared to a tourist looking at a city map written in a different language. That is why your customer onboarding process can be make or break for your SaaS company in terms of customer retention—it is an opportunity to either guide your customer to success or leave them drowning in a sea of software confusion, eager to get out and never use your service again.

Build out an onboarding process that serves as a sort of virtual tour guide for your software users. An example of a great onboarding experience to replicate is Twitter’s. They guide users from creating an account through using it successfully, including making adding followers a part of the process. Twitter knows that an account that doesn’t follow other accounts minimizes user engagement and enjoyment, so they make sure that their users’ accounts are optimized from the get-go. Develop your onboarding process with the success of your customers in mind and they’ll reward you with their continued business.

Create Loyalty Programs for Customers

Finally, remind customers that you value their business by rewarding those who have stayed with you. Create a loyalty program that is easy to understand and easy to join—and make sure not to go overboard on the perks. Periodic discounts and exclusive promotions are great ways to show your appreciation to loyal customers, and could even entice them into purchasing an upgrade or additional software.

SaaS companies—to kick your marketing into high gear this year and start attracting, closing, and delighting more customers than ever, all you have to do is follow a few simple strategies. First, understand exactly who you’re marketing your software to by developing buyer personas. It’s important to be where your customers are, so strengthen your social media presence and make sure you’re constantly promoting the killer content that you’re creating to convert them. Keep your customers delighted by making an effort to humanize your business, and build out an awesome onboarding process to set your them up for success from the start. Finally, show long-time customers appreciation by creating a loyalty program.

Are you looking for assistance developing SaaS marketing strategies for your business? We can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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