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The just-do-this guide to SaaS marketing

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The just-do-this guide to SaaS marketing



There are almost 30,000 SaaS companies worldwide, 17,000 in the United States. With so many selections for customers to choose from, how can you optimize your SaaS marketing to stand out from the competition?

Since proper SaaS marketing techniques result in customer acquisition, loyalty and increased revenue, understanding these fundamentals are vital.

Key takeaways:

  • SaaS stands for Software as a Service and is a subscription-based method for delivering a software application from the internet.
  • SaaS offerings are beneficial since their deployments are speedy, and there’s little capital expense involved.
  • Your marketing campaign should always target one niche or vertical. People will connect better with something specific to them.
  • You can prove your quality to customers and secure their business by offering a free trial of your SaaS solution.
  • Market your SaaS solution as a transformation, not an improvement.

What is SaaS?

Since SaaS marketing means promoting your SaaS company through any form of advertising (e.g., TV, social media, internet ads), we first focus on what is a SaaS company.

SaaS stands for Software as a Service and is a subscription-based method for delivering a software application from the internet. 

Traditionally, companies would have their administrators install an application locally on a user’s workstation. Then, that software would connect to a company server to present the user with the needed interface. An example is Microsoft Outlook, an email application that connects to a company’s Microsoft Exchange server to give users their email. Software as a Service changes that model by providing the application from the internet, delivered either through a web interface or a mobile app, never installing it locally on the user’s workstation (e.g., Microsoft 365).

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The value of a SaaS company

Why is an offering like this advantageous? Here are four reasons:

  • Customers don’t have to invest much capital into their business. They don’t need to buy hardware such as servers and storage. And they don’t have to spend money creating a large data center. Finally, there’s no need to pay an upfront cost for the software and the license.
  • SaaS is more tax efficient. You can write up the subscription as an operating expense.
  • The speed of application deployment is considerably faster. Since getting started with a SaaS company can be as simple as clicking on a trial offer, a customer can run with their software in minutes versus possibly months with the traditional model.
  • The SaaS application scales along with the customer’s business. 
  • The responsibility for a secure and seamless software experience falls on the SaaS company, not the customer. Customers who aren’t happy with the service can easily switch to another company. 

This last point is why SaaS companies need an effective marketing campaign. Now, let’s see how you can create one.

 

4 contributing factors for the best SaaS marketing

These strategies will help create a winning marketing campaign and promote customer loyalty.

1. Connect with your audience

So many SaaS solutions are available today that the broad or overly-general ones don’t connect with people enough. Your marketing campaign should always target one niche or vertical. People will connect better with something specific to them.

So, find a problem and the solution for it. When creating a marketing campaign, set up the facts about the issue and speak to someone’s pain points so they understand the need for your solution. Ensure your target audience has the problem you resolve.

Finally, and for emphasis, talk about your audience’s needs instead of what you offer. If your marketing is self-focused, it won’t connect with your audience. The audience cares about their problems and wants to hear that what you have can change their lives. 

2. Determine the best marketing approach

There are many marketing approaches, and each brings a measure of success. However, you want to optimize your strategy to use your company’s best digital channel or method. For example, should you lean into content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) or social media advertising? And, say you focus on social media, which platform should you use? 

You can determine which digital platform is most suited for you through either experimentation or by looking at what your competitors use. If a competitor engages with an audience primarily through a particular channel, say LinkedIn, you can conclude that this method is effective and implement it.

3. Offer a free trial

Why should you offer a free trial? Because, before that trial, your SaaS business is an unproven commodity. There’s no trust between you and your customer. But if you let the subscriber take your solution for a test drive, you can prove your quality and secure their business.

SaaS free trials are ideal because there is no physical product to return at the end of a trial period. A customer will decide to either move forward with your software or not. Stir up interest by placing the free trial offer throughout your website (e.g., on your homepage, blog post, “Contact Us” page.) 

What efforts will make people more likely to become paying customers at the end of a trial? Encourage the potential subscriber to use the free trial to get to know your service. For example, suppose you enable a user to test your solution for free for one month. You could send a welcome email at the start of the trial period. Then, a week later, send a follow-up asking if the user is enjoying the free trial. Perhaps you could highlight a feature for them to try.

4. Build a solid brand reputation

Market your SaaS solution as a transformation, not an improvement. If you mention that your product is an improvement, customers may think it could be a lot of work to switch to a brand related to what they already comfortably use. Pitch a mindset shift by incorporating some transformative phrases, such as:

  • “Our product is a new way to….”
  • “We are the fastest….”
  • “We are the most cost-effective solution for….”

Finally, price honestly and deliver good customer service. It’s easier to keep a customer than to acquire a customer. And loyal customers can make for free promotions. 

1674550656 744 The just do this guide to SaaS marketing

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Promote your SaaS business with Optimizely

Optimizely can help you perform experimentation to find the right digital channel for your SaaS marketing. We offer AI/ML solutions so you can respond to changing audience behaviors and adapt your marketing strategy. 

Contact us today to discover how we can help!


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MARKETING

Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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