As the work from home trend continues, Software as a Service (SaaS) is something that most of us have become far more accustomed to.
From Zoom to Dropbox, SaaS offer solutions that just seem to make life easier, with benefits including better efficiency, collaboration and transparency.
That being said, it’s no surprise that spending on SaaS is projected to grow by 21.7% in 2022 – a figure that suggests there’s plenty of opportunity out there for businesses offering SaaS products.
But things are rarely that simple, are they? Predictably, the recent SaaS growth spurt has also meant that competition to capture the attention of potential customers is growing in intensity.
And if you’re selling B2B, that can only complicate things further.
To get a foothold within your market as a SaaS business selling to other businesses, your digital marketing strategy needs to be on point.
This article covers what you can do to create the ultimate B2B SaaS marketing strategy. Some of the key things we’ll be touching on include:
- The SaaS sales funnel
- Lead generation
- Content and social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Free trials and demos
- Website essentials
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
The marketing funnel, SaaS style
If you’ve ever tried your hand at digital marketing, you’re probably already familiar with the marketing funnel.
If you don’t already know, it details the stages that every customer needs to go through in order to buy from you.
The stages include awareness, acquisition, engagement, and conversion.
These stages also correlate with the ‘know, like, trust, buy’ principle. Once aware of your brand, your target audience needs to see you as likeable, credible and trustworthy before they commit to buying anything from you.
This principle and the sales funnel work together within any business model, however, as an SaaS company, there are a few extra stages to think about.
Because SaaS products are usually subscription-based services, renewals and referrals will be particularly important so you’ll need to focus just as much on customer retention as you do on your conversion rate.
Lead generation is often one of the most challenging aspects of selling B2B SaaS.
However, LinkedIn is a great tool for B2B companies who need to source high quality qualified leads. It provides you with everything you need to raise awareness about your offering, acquire contact details and engage with your target market. Use it well, and you’ll be in with a good chance of finding your next SaaS customer through the platform.
The first thing we recommend doing is signing up to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. This is a subscription-based offering from LinkedIn which allows you to identify prospects that you can then connect to.
Sales Navigator includes filters that allow you to determine what industries, job titles, company size and other aspects you want to target.
As a B2B SaaS provider, this is particularly useful, as you can select the most relevant industries you serve, as well as find the decision-makers you want to reach within that industry.
Then, all you need to do is send a connection request and start engaging with your growing network.
We recommend using a mix of content marketing and conversational marketing to grow your connections’ awareness, build trust, and capture emails that you can then use as part of your email marketing strategy.
Content and social media marketing
Using LinkedIn for lead generation is all well and good, but you also need to think about what content you’re sharing on the platform.
When prospects connect to you, they need to see that you’re sharing relevant and engaging content, otherwise, they have little reason to connect and engage with you.
Of course, your social media strategy doesn’t have to be restricted to LinkedIn, but as a B2B SaaS business, it’s the one we’d recommend focusing your efforts on, as that’s where your target audience will be spending their time and where they’ll be most open to engaging with you.
So what kind of content do you need to be sharing? Some ideas to get you started on building a great content strategy include:
- Blog posts (educational articles will inform your audience about your offering)
- Case studies (this will show your audience what service and results they can expect)
- Video content (this could be an advert or you talking people through your SaaS offering)
- Testimonials (social proof is essential for building trust)
- Industry news (think stats that your target audience will find interesting)
- Lead magnets (such as free trials of demos of your software)
As well as educating your audience and keeping them engaged, most of the content you share on social media should also direct traffic to your website so that they can continue their customer journey there.
For lead magnets such as a free trial for your SaaS product, you should have a landing page where you can capture their details as they register. That way, you can retarget them using email marketing, which takes me onto the next technique your should be using as part of your SaaS marketing strategy.
An effective email marketing strategy can serve multiple purposes. You can use it to:
- Nurture cooler leads (using a welcome series)
- Encourage qualified leads to become paying customers
- Keep contacts up to date with relevant updates, news and educational material
- Customer retention
If you’re new to email marketing, then building up a high quality list of contacts can be a challenge. However, you can use the contact details of your existing customers as well as the data from your LinkedIn lead generation efforts.
For your SaaS email strategy, it’s a good idea to start with a monthly newsletter to existing customers. This will keep them engaged in your brand after they’ve converted and will help your customer retention efforts and reduce dropoff in your sales funnel.
A monthly newsletter can include information such as:
- SaaS updates and new features
- Webinar invites (running these will also help retention)
- Links to educational material such as:
- Latest blog post
- Case studies
- New product releases (upselling)
- How-to content
Typically, these kinds of newsletters will include your branding (logo and colours) and have an aesthetically pleasing design, which you can achieve on email marketing platforms such as MailChimp and ActiveCampaign.
Once you’ve built up your contacts and got a handle on how to create email newsletters, email automation is the next step to consider in your SaaS marketing strategy.
While newsletters are most effective at keeping your existing customers warm, automations are a brilliant way to convert more of your prospects by creating a welcome series.
But automations aren’t just for cool prospects. There are a variety of different automations you can create based on the action your prospects are taking. For example, if a prospect registers for a free trial of your SaaS offering, that could trigger an automation that has the aim of increasing the chances of them starting a paid subscription after the trial is over.
In this automation, you could create a sequence such as:
- Thanking them for beginning their free trial and directing them to a link where they can book a demo to learn how to use it.
- If they haven’t made use of the software after registering, send a reminder to get started and resources they can access if they need help.
- An email with a link to some how-to resources so that they can get the most out of their trial.
- A limited time special offer if they sign up and a case study on a client that got great results from using your software.
Each of these emails is sent over time and are dependant on whether the recipient opens the email or clicks on the link. Unlike a monthly newsletter, email series are usually better off left as plain text emails.
Customer value: demos and free trials
Whatever strategies you’re using for your marketing campaign, it’s important to offer something of value to your potential customers.
For a B2B SaaS company, you need to prove to your target audience that by investing in your offering, they can ultimately improve processes within their business.
Obviously, this is where social proof such as testimonials and case studies can come in handy – but every business is different and the proof is in the pudding. This is why providing value in the form of free trials and software demos are so important. It’s an opportunity for you to showcase just how great your product is.
Not only that, but it’s also a chance for you to capture emails and funnel them into your email marketing so that you can keep your leads warm, even if they’re not ready to commit – something that you can’t do by only sharing social proof.
Getting your website right
Whether you have an SaaS business or not, getting your website right is integral to any successful digital marketing strategy.
More or less every activity you do is interconnected and ultimately aims to direct traffic to your site.
So if the rest of your digital marketing strategy is seamless but your website doesn’t pack a punch, then visitors will simply drop off and your efforts will be wasted.
Overall, your website should be as quick, secure and user friendly as possible
In terms of content, an effective B2B SaaS site should include:
- Homepage with easy navigation and:
- Major attention-grabbing strapline (In one line, who do you help (most profitable buying persona) and what happens after they’ve used your services?)
- An Explainer video
- What is the outline of the main problem? What are the challenges that need to be overcome?
- What are the key features? (along with a description of each one)
- Key benefits
- First Call to Action (CTA)
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Second Call to Action (CTA)
- Product page(s)
- Include how-to videos
- Contact page
- Insights (blog) page
- Case studies page
- Automated chatbot or live chat
- Embedded with how-to videos
Creating the perfect site for your business isn’t always easy, even if you’re outsourcing the task. If you’re not sure where to start or think your website could be better, you can find out how to take the drama out of your website development process here.
It’s also important to remember that being in full control of your own site and keeping it secure is just as (if not more) important as its user experience. If you’re not sure who really holds the reigns to your site, see our article here.
And if you know who’s in control of your site and it’s not you, see here for some very crucial and urgent help.
Although the SaaS sector is thriving and rife with opportunities, it can still be tricky to create the perfect marketing strategy that will grow your sales in a sustainable way. However, if you follow the steps we’ve outlined in this article and keep it consistent, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong marketing campaign that will help you to spread the word amongst your target market and improve customer retention.
If you don’t have the time to do this yourself or need any level of help getting up and running, don’t hesitate to contact us here.