SaaS Marketing Strategy: First Steps
Work in marketing at a SaaS startup? We’re discussing SaaS marketing strategy, methods and tactics to help you drive growth and achieve stand out in a saturated market.
Software as a service, or SaaS, is a rapidly growing space. Many of us now use several SaaS products to perform our jobs efficiently. An average business made use of an outstanding 110 SaaS apps in 2021, a 38% increase on the previous year (BetterCloud).
Large and small organisations alike are using SaaS to enhance practically every business process imaginable, from accounting through to project management, file storage, video conferencing and more.
The possibilities of SaaS are vast - and so too is the competition. Right now, an estimated 15,000 SaaS companies are operating in the US alone, with a further 2,000 in the UK, and over 26,000 SaaS companies worldwide (Statista).
In such a saturated market, how can new SaaS startups hope to flourish? A strong marketing strategy for tech companies is all but essential. In this blog, we're discussing effective marketing tactics that SaaS startups can use to grab attention, deliver value and convert new audiences into loyal customers.
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Marketing Strategy for Tech Startups: Content Marketing
The marketing cycle for SaaS products can be a lengthy one. Innovation is commonplace in the SaaS space, meaning consumers need to be educated about the new solutions SaaS companies are taking to market.
Often, consumers aren't even aware of the challenges SaaS products are solving. Did the average consumer understand how limiting local file storage was to their company's performance before Dropbox came along? Were they aware of the inefficiencies of tracking invoices before Xero highlighted them?
To promote SaaS products effectively, education about both a challenge and its solution is required. Only then will consumers begin to consider interacting with a brand before eventually converting.
For that reason, content marketing is especially suited to SaaS products. Blog content, social media posts, case studies, video tutorials and more can all be used to educate and inform consumers.
Some SaaS companies use storytelling as part of their content marketing approach to great effect. Using relatable examples can help consumers to understand highlighted challenges and get to grips with a product's benefits, even if the solution is quite complex. And that's before we even think about Product Led Growth.
Tech Startup Marketing Strategy: Free Trials
With such a wealth of SaaS products available, consumers are spoilt for choice, meaning they can be very selective about the SaaS solutions they adopt.
Customers are unlikely to be willing to part with company cash without the option to try before they buy. Free trials tend to be a standard aspect of the SaaS experience, with consumers expecting to use at least some elements of the product without charge before deciding whether it's right for them.
Other companies use a tiered plan approach, offering a basic version of their product for free and paid options for further features or more associated user accounts.
A recent study found that an average of 65% of SaaS companies offer a free trial, with 12% offering a free plan and a further 12.5% offering both a free trial and a free plan option (invesp).
While free trials and plans are an opportunity to persuade consumers of a SaaS product's benefits, a negative experience will discourage its adoption. For that reason, extensive UX testing should go into this vital early-stage interaction.
SaaS Marketing Strategy: Social Advertising
Much like content marketing, advertising through social media is a savvy way to generate interest and reach potential customers.
Social channels like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram lend themselves to video, which, as we've discussed, can be an effective medium for educating audiences about complex matters in compelling ways.
One company doing this right is Monday.com. The company used much of its millions in startup investment to target and retarget customers with intensive social advertising.
This approach allowed the company to quickly expand its reach and create a unique purchase funnel.
Speaking to adbeat, a Monday.com spokesperson explained: "Unlike the traditional B2B approach, [where we] target conventional decision-makers like CEOs and senior managers, [Monday.com] did something different and created a direct response advertising funnel [...]
"Our target decision-maker [was] basically anyone [with] a computer [who] works with a team."
Social media platforms' powerful customer affinity tools can be leveraged to a SaaS company's advantage when first cementing its place in the market.
Not only can you achieve greater brand awareness with paid social reach, but you can also quickly gain insight into the types of people who would be interested in your product, who might not always be those you expect.
Tech Marketing Strategy: AARRR framework
To survive its early stages, a SaaS startup needs to secure investment, fast. The best way to attract investors? Demonstrate growth.
The AARRR framework, affectionately termed 'pirate metrics', is a good reference point for measuring growth at every stage of the customer cycle.
AARRR stands for:
Acquisition - How customers find you
Activation - When customers 'get' your product
Retention - What makes customers return
Referral - What makes customers recommend you
Revenue - What persuades customers to pay for your product
Considering a SaaS startup's performance at every stage of the AARRR framework can help to determine which areas of marketing activity require the greatest focus.
The AARRR framework is a valuable means of assessing a company's viability. If you haven't already, it's worth taking a look at the AARRR framework in depth.
For SaaS startups, strategic marketing is almost as important as the quality of the product itself.
To succeed, SaaS companies need both an innovative and user-friendly product and an exceptional marketing approach.
Just starting out? If you only do one thing today, make it this: get to grips with the AARRR framework and begin to grade your performance in each category.
From there, you can develop a strong content marketing or advertising strategy to help you reach prospective customers.
Need help with your SaaS marketing strategy? Get in touch with Stratagem.