It’s no secret that software as a service (SaaS) can be an incredibly useful — and therefore lucrative — tool in today’s day and age. Just take a look at the numbers:
- The SaaS industry has grown about 562% over the past eight years, from 31.4 billion in 2015 to an estimated 208 billion in 2023. (Gartner 2016 | Gartner 2022)
- In 2020, about 70% of business applications companies used were SaaS-based, a number projected to grow to 85% by 2025. (BetterCloud 2020)
- Companies rank SaaS as the most important technology for helping them reach business goals. (Harvey Nash 2020)
Given its important and profitable nature, it’s no surprise that SaaS is also one of the most competitive industries. That’s why a high-impact marketing strategy is crucial to succeed in this sphere.
If you’re looking for a leg up on the competition, look no further. Here are 21 must-try SaaS marketing ideas to help you scale your business.
- Understand Your Unique Offering
- Master the Art of Content Marketing
- Get Organic Traffic with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Nurture Leads with Email Marketing
- Offer Free Trials and Freemium Models
- Use Referral Programs to Get Leads
- Leverage Social Media for Free or Low-Cost Marketing
- Reacher a Wider Audience with Influencer Marketing
- Build Social Proof with User-Generated Content (UGC)
- Show Your Expertise With Webinars and Workshops
- Build Your Rapport by Attending Local Events
- Target Your Ideal Customer with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
- Gain Customer Trust with SaaS Review Sites
- See What’s Most Effective with A/B Testing
- Get More Conversions by Optimizing Landing Pages
- Boost Your Customer Service with Chatbots and Live Chat
- Offer More with Complementary Partnerships and Integrations
- Earn More with Upselling and Cross-Selling
- Run Seasonal Campaigns or Promotions
- Play the Long Game with Retargeting
- Maintain Customers with Loyalty Programs
1. Understand Your Unique Offering
No matter what SaaS marketing strategy you want to implement, it’s first important to get a handle on your unique offering. This is influenced by your target market and unique selling point. You can think of these as your marketing north star — without them, you may go in the wrong direction.
Understanding Your Target Market
The first SaaS marketing best practice you’ll want to commit to memory is knowing your target market. Your target market is who you’re speaking to in your marketing — the person or company you want to sell to.
By understanding your target market’s demographics, pain points, and preferences, you can tailor your marketing to best capture their interest and desire.
Ask yourself: Does your target market spend their time on social media, or are they more likely to interact with your company via an email campaign? This will help you pick the most effective marketing channels you can use.
Also, consider how you should craft your voice. Will your target market respond better to casual and fun language, or should you be more educational and professional?
If you don’t know who you’re speaking to, it doesn’t matter what marketing strategy you use — it’s likely to fall flat.
Finding Your Unique Selling Point
The next best practice to understand is your unique selling point (USP). Your USP is the reason customers should buy from you over someone else. Does your SaaS product provide superior integrations? Best in class customer support? Groundbreaking features?
Creating a potent USP starts with great market research. You need to understand your target audience’s pain points and preferences, what currently exists on the market, and how these offerings perform. What gap can your product fill?
Once you understand what makes your product different, you’ll better understand how to position yourself in the market and craft a compelling message — which you can share using the following powerful SaaS marketing strategies.
2. Master the Art of Content Marketing
Content marketing is all about creating helpful and engaging content to distribute to your target audience to build trust in and awareness of your brand. This can include creating blog posts, ebooks, infographics, designed images, and more.
Regarding content marketing for SaaS industries, a critical part of your strategy should be prioritizing bottom-funnel (BOFU) content. These pieces are “money” pages that focus on helping customers in the decision phase of their journey — for example, “Best X” Software.
These keywords are especially prominent in the SaaS space and are extremely valuable. Even keywords with a small search volume can lead to $100,000 type conversions.
So, how can you create successful BOFU content for your SaaS brand? Here’s what Siege Media CEO Ross Hudgens has to say:
“[In SaaS], generally you can’t rank for ‘Best X Software’ terms or even ‘X Software’ terms with your landing page… Unless you’re HubSpot or the most authoritative brand in your space by a significant lead, you typically cannot rank for those things.
So what do you do instead? What we’re seeing is you essentially fight fire with fire. You see ‘Best X’ roundups — even from first parties — ranking for a lot of those things.” — Ross Hudgens, Founder & CEO at Siege Media
These “Best X” roundup posts feature your product compared to other competitors, ideally showing yourself as the best in a particular niche. Take a look at this “Best Issue Tracking Software” article from Zendesk as an example, which is currently ranking #1 for the keyword “best issue tracking software.”
3. Get Organic Traffic With SEO
A good content marketing strategy goes hand in hand with a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. This will give you the best chance of claiming valuable rankings on Google’s search results. An effective SaaS SEO strategy can help you:
- Exponentially scale website growth.
- Reduce your cost per acquisition.
- Convert customers from other channels.
To create an SEO strategy, you can think of a pyramid similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At the bottom are principles that must be in place to rank — if they aren’t, any work at the top of the pyramid is essentially useless. At the top are principles of SEO that help improve your competitiveness.
If your blogs aren’t crawlable by Google, it won’t matter how well you optimize your title and meta description — your blog isn’t going to rank. On the other hand, if you address each part of the pyramid above, you can feel confident that you’re putting a great SaaS digital marketing strategy into play.
4. Nurture Leads with Email Marketing
Email marketing is often one of the most effective ways to invest your time and money. In fact, for every $1 spent on email marketing, companies see about a $36 ROI. Not only this, but email marketing can be a great way to build your thought leadership and authority, something essential in the world of SaaS.
Here are a few SaaS marketing tips to help you get the most out of your email marketing campaign:
- Segment your email list: Organize your email list according to their demographics, preferences, or pain points. This can allow you to send more relevant emails to your audience, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
- Personalize your emails: The last thing you want is for your emails to sound like they are coming from a bot. An easy way to make your emails more human is by using your prospect’s name in the email subject line and body.
- Automate your email process: An easy way to maintain consistency in your business is to automate emails at different parts of your customer’s journey. For example, create autoresponders that help customers through the onboarding process, when they submit a customer service ticket, or when it’s renewal time. You can also write email templates to follow up with warm leads.
- Share compelling information: You want your emails to be helpful for your audience. Try sharing industry news, company insights, or helpful tips your customers will appreciate. This is one way to start building your credibility as a thought leader in the industry.
- Optimize for mobile: A large part of your audience will likely view your emails from their mobile device, so make sure your emails work well on phones, tablets, and computers.
5. Offer Free Trials, Freemium Models
Did you know that about one of every four people that sign up for a free trial of a SaaS product end up converting to a paid version? SaaS companies are uniquely positioned to provide these free trials with minimal risk. Depending on the software you offer, you may have no or low overhead costs.
You can also try offering a freemium model for your product where customers can use a limited version of your application for free. Upgrading to a fully operational version would come with a premium price. This allows your customers to experience and fall in love with your product before purchasing, thereby removing a barrier to entry.
Remember to make signing up for your free trials or freemium models as easy as possible to further reduce friction at the point of conversion. This might look like not requiring a debit or credit card to sign up.
6. Use Referral Programs To Get Leads
Already have happy, satisfied customers? Creating a referral program might be a game-changer for marketing your SaaS business. These programs often have low or no overhead costs to run, plus they allow you to harness the trust and enthusiasm of your current customer base to find more leads.
Your referral program can be anything you like — just make sure to include an incentive your current audience will feel excited about. For example, you could offer your current user one month free for every referral they send you.
Similar to free trials and freemium plans, it’s important to make your referral program easy to use with as little friction as possible. One way to do this is by creating unique referral codes for all your current users that they can find in their account dashboard.
7. Leverage Social Media
Another cost-effective way to market your SaaS business is by leveraging social media. With billions of active users, social media offers a treasure trove of leads waiting for you to tap into. Below are a few ways companies can make the most of their social media accounts.
- Posting industry insights and news to establish your brand as a thought leader and build your E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness).
- Running polls or contests to generate buzz, build a following, and engage with your target audience.
- Checking the analytics tab to get more information on your target audience’s demographics and interests.
- Responding to messages or comments to build a sense of loyalty, community, and trust in your brand.
- Using targeted ads or shopping features to sell directly to your consumer.
Social media can be a powerful way to gather hard data on your target market and interact with them on a creative, human level. When done well, it can help you build a strong connection with your target market.
8. Target Your Ideal Customer With Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Speaking of social media marketing, one marketing strategy that deserves a direct callout is influencer marketing. The idea is to find and partner with influencers with an established audience that matches your target market. This strategy can help you get eyes on your product faster if you don’t already have an audience built up yourself.
Just how fast? Let’s take a look at NordVPN as a case study. This VPN has grown its reach and reputation as a trusted authority largely thanks to its influencer marketing on YouTube. It received about 11.8 million visitors to its website thanks to this marketing — in just six months.
If you want to quickly reach a wider audience, partnering with influencers in your sphere may be the marketing strategy you need. Make sure you choose a social media channel where your target market is present.
9. Build Social Proof with User-Generated Content (UGC)
Nowadays, consumers value authenticity in marketing. In fact, a survey by Stackla found that 90% of consumers say authenticity affects what brands they like and support. So what can your brand do to create a more genuine image? One easy and effective strategy is to share more content your users create.
This can look like sharing customer reviews, testimonials, or success stories on your social media page, website, or other marketing materials. Landing pages can be a vital place to include customer success stories.
Sharing what others say about your brand creates social proof that your product is valuable. It helps others know if your customers tend to have a positive experience.
So how much does UGC really affect your customers? The same survey by Stackla found that 79% of consumers are impacted by UGC when making purchasing decisions. With such a strong majority, including UGC in your marketing strategy is clearly a great call.
10. Show Your Expertise with Webinars and Workshops
In a competitive market like SaaS, standing out from the competition and building a brand as a trusted authority are especially important. Webinars and workshops can allow your SaaS company to do just that.
You can teach important principles that your target audience will love and showcase your product and how it will help them. Here are just a few ways you can take advantage of webinars and workshops in your marketing:
- Comment on trending topics or issues in your industry, establishing your credibility and authority in the space.
- Teach your consumers new skills or educate them on other valuable information to give them a positive impression of your brand.
- Delve into specific customer pain points and how your product can solve them.
- Provide insider tips on how customers can best take advantage of your product, including little-known features.
- Open the discussion to questions at the end of your presentations to cement your status as an industry expert and leader.
- Offer your audience a promotion or discount to incentivize conversions and sales.
A webinar or workshop should first show your consumers that your SaaS brand is knowledgeable and valuable. Then it can segue into a sales pitch.
11. Build Rapport, Attend Local Events
Along with hosting events, don’t forget to watch for local conferences or events you can attend. If you contact the event organizer, you may be able to do a presentation highlighting your product. If not, you could also offer to sponsor the event so attendees can get to know your brand name and product offering.
If nothing else, these events are also valuable ways to network and build important relationships. For example, you may be able to find partnership opportunities by connecting with other companies in your industry.
On a smaller scale, you may chat about your product to an interested party during a coffee break. You don’t know what opportunities could present themselves if you don’t go!
12. Target Customers With Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
Pay-per-click is another effective strategy if you’re looking to get in front of your ideal audience sooner rather than later. Using platforms like Google Ads, you can pay for ads that appear in Google searches, websites via display ads, social media, and more. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your PPC campaigns:
- Define your goals: Are you trying to increase trial sign-ups? Find new leads? Raise brand awareness? Your objectives will inform the rest of your PPC strategy.
- Create compelling ad copy: This is where knowing your target market and unique selling points are especially important. How does your product help your target audience, and what kind of message will resonate with them?
- Optimize your landing page: This goes along with creating compelling copy. However, a landing page should also give extra attention to conversion rate optimization practices. Is there a clear place for customers to convert on your landing page? Is conversion easy, or is there too much friction — for example, too many form fills? Is your call to action (CTA) above the fold?
- Audience targeting: Make sure your ad goes to the right person. You can target your ads to appear to certain demographics, locations, devices, and more.
- Tracking and adjusting: Keep track of how effective your ad is performing and adjust your campaign accordingly. This can be as simple as tracking your previous goals and seeing how small adjustments change your results.
- Improve your Quality Score: Google gives PPC marketers a quality score that reflects how relevant your ad and landing page are to your target consumers. Not only does a higher quality score mean you’re targeting the right people with the right message, but it can also lead to lower campaign costs.
13. Gain Trust with SaaS Review Sites
Just like you want to know your steak won’t be overcooked before paying that $200 bill on your date, consumers want to know they’re investing in the right software for their needs — and review sites give them an unbiased perspective.
These SaaS review sites allow you to build social proof for your product through consumer reviews and use them to highlight your product features, share case studies, and more.
So if you use reviews to make your purchasing decisions, give your customers that same option by signing up with SaaS review sites. Optimize your listing by providing as much product detail as possible!
14. See What Works With A/B Testing
If you want to increase your conversions or other goal metrics, you may want to start with A/B testing. With A/B testing, marketers show consumers identical campaigns, aside from one changed element. By measuring any change in performance, you can see how small changes can make your marketing more effective.
You can use A/B testing by changing:
- CTAs: Do more customers click your “Sign Up” button if it’s yellow or green?
- Website or landing page copy: This can include testing different headlines, subheadings, or making paragraphs shorter or longer. Remember to pick only one element at a time to test.
- Forms: Do more people enter their information in your form if it has fewer fields? Does a dropdown reduce friction rather than having leads manually type their state? Or vice versa?
- Images: Do customers interact with ads more with a different featured image?
The more data you can gather on what your customers respond to, the more effective you can make your marketing.
15. Optimize Your Landing Pages
Landing pages are a critical piece of any marketing strategy since they’re where companies have the chance to truly sell their product or service and warm leads. For this reason, it’s worth putting extra time and effort into optimizing your landing pages so they can drive the most conversions.
In general, a few best practices when creating landing pages include:
- Having a conversion point above the fold, which is what the visitor would see if they didn’t scroll.
- Making that conversion point easy to complete, like a short and simple form to capture email addresses.
- Making CTAs stand out, so instead of using a clear button or one with a similar color to your background, opt for bright, loud, or complementary colors.
- Putting the most important information at the top of the page — most users (55%) won’t scroll to the bottom of the page, so don’t put anything valuable too low.
- Using readable text — double check that your font size is big enough and the style isn’t distracting.
- Showing social proof or other trust indicators like reviews or testimonials.
- Optimizing for mobile since not everyone will click on your page via desktop.
16. Boost Your Customer Service with Chatbots and Live Chat
Customer expectations are higher than ever — just ask 90% of business leaders in the U.S. With such high demands, companies must make excellent customer service a part of their marketing strategy. A few tools that may help with this are chatbots and live chat integrations.
Both chatbots and live chat integrations can help customers receive care faster — sometimes even instantaneously. Live chats that connect customers with an actual person are probably the way to go if you can afford it. In fact, 60% of consumers would rather speak to a human than a bot, even if it means waiting.
Even so, 68% of customers enjoy the speed a chatbot can offer, so they aren’t necessarily a bad option.
The trick is knowing when to use a chatbot and when to avoid it. In general, chatbots can work great for straightforward or repetitive inquiries, like price, product features, or technical specifications.
Any questions involving empathy or complexity are best left to human representatives, like customizing product offerings, handling complaints, or sales.
17. Offer More With Complementary Partnerships and Integrations
To build a valuable product, you want to offer your target audience as many helpful tools and features as possible. One way you can accomplish this is by partnering with other SaaS providers offering complementary services.
Not only does this improve your product, but it can also help you reach a wider audience since you’ll be tapping into your partner’s audience as well.
One example of a successful SaaS partnership is the collaboration between Slack and Zoom.
Slack’s product allows members in a workspace to connect via instant messaging, and Zoom’s product allows coworkers to connect via video conferencing. These products complement each other but don’t necessarily compete with each other.
By offering a Zoom integration, Slack made it easier for coworkers to schedule meetings directly from Slack. Not only did this collaboration make Slack a more effective tool for users, but it also provided collaborative marketing opportunities for both Slack and Zoom.
18. Earn More with Helpful Upselling and Cross-Selling
One of the best times to sell to someone is, ironically, when you’re already selling to them. This is the same principle behind fast-food restaurants asking customers at the register whether they’d like to add fries or a drink to their order.
If you learn how to upsell and cross-sell in a way that’s helpful to your customers, you can increase your bottom line with very little extra effort.
Upselling is when you encourage customers to upgrade their offerings. This can be as simple as encouraging customers to sign up for a paid plan after a free trial period — something you might have originally sold using CTAs on your high-converting content.
Similarly, you can encourage customers to upgrade their plans to more premium versions by offering a small incentive at checkout — like a special discounted rate.
Cross-selling is offering customers complementary product offerings. Adobe cleverly offers grouped product plans after a user clicks Photoshop’s “Buy Now” CTA on their homepage.
Instead of simply adding Photoshop to a cart for the user, Adobe directs users to a page highlighting complementary offerings — including a featured offer that groups all their software together for $54.99 monthly. If users select this option, Adobe’s cross-selling strategy may effectively boost the initial ticket sale by more than double.
19. Run Seasonal Campaigns or Promotions
Sometimes consumers know they want your product offering but haven’t committed to hitting buy for one reason or another. Seasonal campaigns and promotions can often be the small incentive or boost that a long-time lead needs to convert to a customer.
Plus, some seasonal campaigns can align with peak buying seasons — like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Here are a few examples of seasonal campaigns you could run. Remember to consider your target audience, their preferences, buying habits, and demographics to pick a campaign that will attract them.
- New Year, New You: Offer special deals on fitness tracking, productivity, or other tools for self-improvement.
- Love the Way You Work: Showcase how your tools can help businesses improve their workflow during Valentine’s season.
- Back to Learning: Show children and parents how your software can help you learn a new language, skill, or other talent during the back-to-school season.
- Summer Getaway: Advertise your travel planning app, event software, or financial management tool to help consumers plan a summer they’ll love.
20. Play the Long Game With Retargeting
Some leads require more nurturing than others to convert. Retargeting, also known as remarketing, allows you to target your ads toward users who have engaged with your content in the past.
By placing a tracking pixel on your site, you can collect visitor data, including what pages they interacted with and other metrics. This can help you create a more targeted remarketing campaign.
When creating a remarketing campaign, you can choose from various channels, including Google display ads, social media ads, or even a custom email marketing sequence if you have the lead’s email address. You could also choose to combine a few strategies.
If you’re worried about over-marketing, you can set frequency caps and limit the campaign’s duration to prioritize a positive user experience.
You never know who might convert if you give them another chance!
21. Maintain Customers With Loyalty Programs
Once you’ve acquired a customer, it’s just as important to keep them a customer. One way to build a long-term relationship is by offering loyalty programs or rewards. These incentivize customers to continue using your product by providing them with ever-increasing value. For example, loyalty programs could offer customers:
- Points, which they can use for purchases within your application or site
- Discounts, which become available only after a certain time of paid membership
- Exclusive access to new features, which can give them a sense of importance
- VIP customer support, which shows long term customers that they are a priority
The happier your customers are, the more likely they are to continue using your product and leave you great reviews. Then you can use those reviews and success stories as social proof for future marketing efforts!
We hope the 20 strategies above have helped you know how to market your SaaS product more effectively. If you’re looking for a partner to help you grow your business, why not try one of the best SaaS content marketing agencies?
See how Siege as a Service can help take your business to the next level.