So you've got a SaaS product that's kind of kicking butt, but you want it to do even better. Your marketing is doing alright, but you know you're leaving money on the table.
What's the solution? Well, there are about 12 of them.
In this post, I will share a list of the 12 best strategies for marketing your SaaS product and building your company. We'll go over everything from telling your story in the most compelling way possible to develop an effective growth strategy, and we'll talk about what each of these things can do for your business.
12 SaaS Marketing Best Practices: A Simple Roadmap For Growth
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #1: Start with a solid product
You can't market an inferior product. Even if you have the largest marketing budget in the world, a subpar product simply won't fly. It's not enough to just deliver a good product. You'll need to deliver something that people actually want and need, is easy to use, is supported by a solid business model, and is differentiated from your competitors.
Before you even start thinking about building a marketing plan or analyzing your competition or creating buyer personas, it's crucial that you first have a solid SaaS product—especially if you're in the early stages of launching your company or developing your new SaaS offering.
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #2: Find your niche with an ideal customer profile
The first step in building a successful SaaS marketing plan is identifying your ideal customer profile (ICP). Your ICP describes the ideal type of customer for your business and gives you the power to hyper-target your marketing to attract customers that are more likely to buy from you.
You should create an ICP for each segment of your market. The best approach is usually to start with one or two niches that you think will be most profitable and then expand over time.
Your ICP should include detailed information about:
- Company size (for example: “5 employees” vs. “100 employees”)
- Product usage (for example: “software developers” vs. “small business owners”)
- Industry (for example: “technology” vs. “sporting goods”)
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #3: Consider inside sales
- Inside sale is an excellent method of selling. Clients typically have to go through a product demo and often consider pricing or other factors before purchasing. You can turn this process into an inside sales campaign to make this process more efficient. In essence, the marketing team would be responsible for creating the leads and putting them in touch with the inside sales team (who will eventually close the sale). And because most of your communications with these clients are being conducted remotely via phone or email, your company saves money on travel expenses that would otherwise be incurred if meetings were held in person.
- Inside sales make sense if you have a high price point product. Many companies that have high price point products utilize inside sales as their primary selling method because they realize that they can save money by not having to send account executives out on expensive trips around the world just to close one deal; instead, they can use people within their organization who are skilled at managing relationships over email or phone conversations without having to meet face-to-face with potential clients first!
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #4: Optimize your marketing funnels for the entire buyer journey
Developing a clear and accurate understanding of the buyer journey is essential for optimizing your marketing funnel. The buyer's journey describes the stages that prospective customers go through as they interact with your brand. There are three stages in the buyer's journey: awareness, consideration, and decision.
- Awareness: Prospective customers become aware of their problems or need (e.g., "I have a sudden need to buy new running shoes").
- Consideration: Prospective customers evaluate available options (e.g., "These shoes look good, but are they comfortable?").
- Decision: Prospective customers decide which option to purchase (e.g., "Yes! These shoes look great and feel amazing!").
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #5: Use strategic content to broaden your reach and educate prospects
Content marketing is one of the best ways to reach prospects in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive. It helps you build your brand visibility and develop a relationship with your target market without coming on too strong. The key is to create content that hands information out for free, builds trust, and educates the reader on the problems they face and how your company can help them solve their problems.
Content marketing isn’t just helpful in building trust with prospects; it’s also helping your potential customers learn more about what you do, who you are as an organization, and what makes you unique from every other competitor in your industry.
Arming yourself with a comprehensive understanding of SaaS content marketing strategies will help ensure that each piece of content you produce for your business has a strategic purpose: educating prospects or broadening your reach by attracting new leads.
You may have noticed that education was mentioned here twice. That was intentional! Inbound marketing revolves around providing value to customers before making any overt attempt to sell something to them. The first step toward doing this successfully is education—and the best way to educate people about how you can help them is through content marketing.
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #6: Analyze your data and make continuous improvements
Once you start attracting customers and getting your marketing cycles running, you should be looking at how well your messaging resonates. You can't just set it and forget it—you need to be able to pivot and adapt as the market changes. The way the market works now isn't how it will work in a year, five years, or ten years from now. To succeed, you must be able to make decisions quickly based on data, not assumptions.
How do you know if your campaign is successful? While there are a lot of different metrics that are important for different types of campaigns (e.g., increased impressions for display ads). How much does it cost you to acquire each customer? If this number is too high, then there's clearly something wrong with either the quality of traffic or your conversion rate (the percentage at which visitors convert into leads).
And this isn't just for new products; continuous improvement means that even mature products need constant reevaluation. It doesn't matter what stage you're in—if your business relies on online marketing or advertising, then having a deep understanding of how those channels are performing will help ensure that they continue performing.
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #7: Engage and deliver value on digital channels
A solid social media presence can help you build relationships with your audience, even before they’re ready to buy. It’s a place to educate and inform them, share content, engage in conversations and direct traffic back to your website.
The key is to have a plan. Create a weekly schedule for posting content on each channel (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and ensure that the content is relevant for each platform.
When you post something new (or consistently use it), track how many views/shares/likes that piece gets to see which types of content are most successful on each channel. This will allow you to adjust your social strategy over time to create the best results possible.
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #8: Test, test, and test some more
This might seem obvious, but there's a lot of testing in every aspect of SaaS marketing.
For example, in your all-important email marketing campaigns, you want to test your subject lines (at least initially) to see which ones will get the most opens. Once you send out the content itself, you'll want to A/B test each component (e.g., call-to-action text and button color) to see what works best. Then you can do some more email testing by changing when or how often you send emails throughout the day and week, or even how many emails are in your sequence overall.
Since landing pages are one of your most crucial conversion points, you'll also need to A/B test every element on them—not just the copy but also images and layout as well as your website's navigation and header. Your forms should be tested too: ask people for less information upfront if possible instead of cluttering up their screen with a million form fields they don't care about yet.
You should also be testing your ads, messaging across multiple channels like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, content marketing pieces (headline variations?), product copy (including pricing), social media posts...the list goes on forever!
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #9: Support scale through automation
To support scale, you can and should automate. This frees up your time to focus on the critical and creative thinking required to build a successful business. Plus, automating some of your processes leads to a more efficient operation—for example, by automating email surveys, you can collect data from your customers in a way that’s more likely to produce higher quality leads (since customers are already engaged).
You can use many tools for automation to help get you started: marketing automation platforms like Autopilot, Drip and Hubspot; social media scheduling tools like Buffer or Hootsuite; keyword research tools like WordStream or Wordstream; and much more. And you can always use Zapper to connect and automate tasks between two or more disparate systems.
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #10: Create a true partnership with sales
While the sales team and marketing team often share a common goal of reaching new audiences and driving growth, these two teams can sometimes operate in silos. Your business must establish a true partnership between these two teams.
In its simplest form, a true partnership is one where both the marketing and sales departments are aligned on your target buyer persona. They have established an effective handoff process to pass leads back and forth, and they regularly communicate with one another.
If you haven’t achieved this level of alignment between your sales and marketing teams yet, then it’s time to start working towards that goal.
The benefits of establishing a true partnership with your sales team will be immediately evident in how your teams function together moving forward to drive growth for the business as a whole. But you should also measure whether or not there is any actual lift in key metrics like lead conversion rates or pipeline velocity.
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #11: Set measurable goals that drive success
Now that you know the importance of setting measurable goals let’s look at how to do it.
It’s a good idea to identify which metrics are most important for your business. What you identify will depend on your company, but the process is usually the same. For example, if you are selling marketing software to software engineers, there is no point in tracking metrics like time on page or bounce rate—the most crucial metric would be whether or not they sign up for a demo.
Talk to your sales and product teams and understand what they think is important when measuring success. Then, set goals with those metrics in mind. You can use tools like Google Analytics or ChartMogul (which was built explicitly for SaaS companies). Review these metrics regularly and adjust your strategy accordingly!
SaaS Marketing Best Practice #12: Be personal and be agile in response to trends and changes in buyer behavior
- Be personal: Personalization goes beyond segmenting your buyers and tailoring offers to their needs. It’s about showing them that you understand where they are on their journey with your brand before you engage.
- Be agile in response to trends and changes in buyer behavior: SaaS vendors have an advantage over traditional companies when it comes to the speed at which they can respond to trends and changes in buyer behavior. For example, the trend toward “bring your own device” policies in many enterprises allowed employees to access work email on their personal mobile devices. Instead of fearing this trend, leading SaaS vendors embraced it as a new opportunity to engage prospective buyers where they live—on mobile devices.
We hope you've found this list of 12 SaaS marketing best practices to be a helpful roadmap for growth. You'll notice that some of these points are related to other aspects of your business, but we encourage you to take the time to consider each one individually and make sure they're being implemented. If you focus on these 12 things and don't let up, you'll notice an immediate boost in your SaaS marketing efforts—and it will only get better from there!