We are living in an age of digital abundance. Information overload is making us indifferent to a lot of visual stimuli that we are exposed to in the form of modern digital media and ads. I mean, we have SaaS products for just about every imaginable need a human can have, doesn't matter how little or silly that need is.
And all these apps are constantly vying for our attention all through the day. The content in all its forms fed to us bombarded through those pesky notifications.
No wonder, the conventional means of marketing aren't going to be much effective. Especially when there's so much of digital noise supplemented with the fact that the user behaviors are constantly shifting we marketers need to keep in mind what kind of value we are adding through the products we are promoting.
But that doesn't mean, just because you created a nice product people will instantly jump at it and start using it right away. A good product's success story lies in the goodness of the product no two ways about it, but it's some smart product marketing tactics that make all the difference and that is what we are going to discuss in this post.
The pricing structure is at the heart of any SaaS product: it is the pillar that ensures repeatable sales processes and recurring profits. One of the most common and obvious ways to price a product is to add up all the costs of running and maintaining the app plus other sundry expenses like ads etc and then adding your markup. The problem with this method is, we are not looking through the glasses of a target user. We might come across expensive or just not worth it if we are unable to justify the cost when we are just adding a markup to our costs.
In the below image, there are 2 pricing strategies these guys are implementing. Can you guess?
The digits ending in 99 make it appear less than they actually are. $699 to the eyes creates a psychological illusion that it's closer to 600. Believe it or not, research clearly shows this kind of charm pricing(yes, that's what it's called) works.
The above picture also shows that one of the packages is super expensive, priced more than 10 times the second most expensive package. Well, the trick here is they are not even expecting you to buy the enterprise package. They want you to see the value of the $699 and $499 plan especially. In the same frame, the enterprise plan is kept on purpose to show a comparison of sorts where we inadvertently compare the plans and feel like the cheaper ones are total bang for your bucks.
Another pricing strategy is trial pricing. Keep in mind though you are offering the trial for a good enough period to make the user familiar with the product and please make it free for the duration.
Try to keep your packages to a max of 3. Too many plans and packages hinder the decision-making process of the prospect who might not be willing to spend a lot of his time trying to compare all the 5 or 7 different plans your SaaS product might be having. Make it easier for the user to pick. Stick to 3 plans, please.
The idea is to experiment with various pricing models and keep the one that is showing good results.
Email to existing free users
Sending well crafted consistent and persistent emails to an existing user that knows your brand gets an incredible conversion into a paying user.
Don’t stop with one email, and don’t ONLY use graphical emails or text emails. Use a combination of both. People who never read graphical emails will take the time to read a more personal looking email.
We recommend a series of emails, spaced out over a 6 week – 12 week period. You will still be getting a good signup rate on every send. Always remove your SIGNED UP users from your marketing database.
Subject lines are very important to get good open rates. If the person receiving your email knows your brand, then they are more likely to open the email if it offers them something free in the subject i.e. “Robert Smith – a free tool for you as a loyal XYZ customer”.
There are many mailing tools available to help you get good delivery rates and excellent conversion rates. We would recommend MailChimp.com
Email to prospects
You have to be very careful here that you are not seen as a spammer. We do not condone any form of spam. There are, however many people who have opt in email newsletter subscribers that would love to promote an interesting service such as yours.
Look around the market, you will find that you can cut a deal with most business newsletter owners as long as your product doesn’t interfere with what they sell. Most newsletter owners are desperate for something interesting to say. Write something interesting!
You might be able to get them to write a review of your platform. Especially if you show them and explain that they could get a free banner ad within your free user base for a month (etc.).
People like to buy from like-minded people from companies that share their values in some way. They also like to buy from specialists. If you offer a developer tool that is endorsed by the developer community, they are more likely to sign up.
Like any good form of marketing, your success with niche marketing depends heavily on how well you know the niche you want to target.
For instance, look at Whole Foods. They focused on organic foods before you could find organics everywhere. The buzz continues today, as stores host events to introduce new products and the brand maintains its image as a luxury shopping experience.
Blogging should be considered an essential part of your business. It will drive high quality, targeted visitors to your website. Initially, your only cost is your time. A major chunk of what you post needs to contain information that relates to your ICP's (Ideal Customer Persona) challenges and how your SaaS product benefits the user.
It should not be written in a “salesy” manner at all. If you write it like a person and relate to the reader, they will naturally take your service. Buffer signed up its first 100,000 users by a single person writing a blog.
You should aim to release at least 10 articles per month to get the maximum benefit from your blog.
The biggest B2B marketing platform in the world. You should have a personal account, linked to your platform and you should spend some time learning how to get the most out of LinkedIn marketing. It is literally a gold mine of free users.
Don’t forget to take a look at LinkedIn ads. They are relatively cheap, highly targetable and you’ll see a huge signup rate. You are giving something away for free that is extremely useful. What’s not to like?!
We touched on this in the “Email marketing to business prospects” section. You can partner with newsletter owners, but look much wider.
You can offer incentives to anyone who has the ear of your target audience. YouTubers, Business Forum Owners, Business Directory Owners, Bloggers etc. etc. You can offer them free ads on your network (each of them will want to grow their own forum, blog, directory etc.) and probably convince a large number of them to offer your platform to their users.
Don’t let go of the faith in your product, your product is AWESOME and it’s REALLY useful. Keep working on making it better.
A staggering 100m people a day use Twitter and they offer the ability to create highly targeted ads to their 500m+ active users.
Whilst predominantly a consumer tool, there are literally millions of SME/SMB businesses on Twitter trying to attract their own audience.
Since Twitter lets you work with only 280 characters for each tweet, you need to be really careful about how you're writing those messages. Start by filling out your Twitter profile entirely.
Consider following relevant industry influencers until you start tweeting so you can keep track of their tweets. Address them directly and retweet them in the future. Promoting your product via Twitter should also include frequent interaction with other companies, products, and organizations, even if you're just sharing their messages.
Doing so helps you grow your brand as part of a business ecosystem. As with any kind of social media marketing campaign, consistency is key. So tweet regular and tweet wise.
An even more staggering 500m people a day use Facebook. Again, they offer highly targeted ads to their 1 billion+ active users.
Again there are millions of businesses on Facebook and many would simply LOVE to be using your SaaS product. If they hear about it, they might want to use it. Get out there, do some Googling about Facebook Ads, and growing a targeted B2B campaign on Facebook and you’ll start seeing large numbers of user signups.
The king of video sites. With a picture painting a thousand words, a series of short videos about your SaaS will make for a great marketing idea.
Use a free tool like Screencast-O-Matic or a top-end tool like Camtasia to make awesome videos of your platform.
Ensure you sell the BENEFITS of the platform – not the features.
Make a video that solves a problem.
“How to solve problem X” – Title the clip something that people will be searching Google for – then SOLVE the problem X with your SaaS platform. People will see how easy it is to use and signup.
Search Engine Optimization.
SEO still works and drives huge targeted traffic to websites. Don’t try and get to the top for seemingly obvious keywords that’s just too hard and too competitive to rank. Start slow. Start with similar keywords with low competition but decent volume. By creating dozens of blog posts with the correct titles and keywords, you can generate loads of visitors and it’s easy to convert them once they arrive. Use the Google Keyword Volume tool to find niche phrases. Google “Google Keyword Volume tool” to find it!
Google Adwords is still king of PPC but don’t forget Bing. Bing now accounts for 20% of the US search market, a much larger percentage than it has in the UK. Test using both, as the cost per acquisition will be different.
Both Bing and Google have their own platforms for selling ads, but there are some important “rules” that are just as important for either.
The most important rule is that all successful advertising is based on experimentation. PPC is not (initially) a “set and forget” advertising system. Well, not for the people who make the most money from it! If you test various ads and various keywords you WILL find some low-cost acquisition routes that get you free users that (in turn) upgrade to Pro users – or buy your other services from your free account ads.
Never add too many keywords into a single ad group. The more closely your ad matches the keywords, the higher your CTR (click through ratio) will be, and the lower your CPA (cost per acquisition).
Be careful with broad matching your keywords. Google uses “broad match” by default. Adding your keywords in inverted commas will mean they are in “phrase match” which will lower the volume of people seeing your ad, but leave you
in more control. Experiment with Broad Match and Phrase Match.
Ensure the title of your ad is as closely matched to the keyword(s) as possible.
Don’t try and sell every feature of your platform in a single ad. Write multiple ads that target multiple features and match these to keyword searches.
Dump your ads that have a poor CTR and learn from the ads that have a high CTR. Why is it performing better? What makes it stand out? What benefit is it promoting? Learn from this and write more ads that are similar. They should perform well.
There are whole blogs on how to best use PPC – get Googling and you will find an incredibly fast way to build a profitable platform.
Retargeting or Remarketing
If you are not already using retargeting, be prepared for the most profitable few lines of text you have ever read.
Retargeting is the process by which those annoying ads follow you around the internet. You know, you looked at an item on Amazon, and now you keep seeing it everywhere else you go.
Retargeting is ridiculously easy to get started in and is one of the easiest ways to keep your brand in the eye of your potential users/clients.
There are various retargeting platforms. The two that we have found the easiest to use and highly profitable are Adroll. com and PerfectAudience.com, take a look at each and decide which you are going to use.
You’ll need a number of graphical banners designed. Get someone to design them who has an eye for design. If you don’t have a designer to hand visit Fiverr.com. You’ll find you can get a nice looking banner designed for you for just $5!
Again, there are lots of good blogs about getting the most out of retargeting, but it will be one of the best marketing investments you ever make.
We would highly recommend something called A/B split testing for ALL your advertising. If you take your mailing list (for instance), put it into random order (Google “randomizing a text file”) then split it in half and send two versions of your email out to each half, then track the clickthroughs (MailChimp can do this) you will see which email is the most successful. Next time use the most successful email against ANOTHER version and so on. Eventually, you get the very best email for converting users (HINT: we’ve already worked with some resellers to create the emails in the RESOURCES section, and they are the result of multiple A/B split tests).
Marketing is always about thinking outside the box, hard graft, and often patience. Always keep going. A marketing “failure” is never a failure. It’s a red cross in a box, on the way to finding a green TICK that is your success. All successful marketers have notched up dozens of “failed campaigns” on their way towards success.
Take some inspiration from this little guide, or think of something entirely new – then get stuck in. I am sure you have a world-class product that you can give away to a lot of users who need just that. You can sign up literally hundreds of thousands or even millions of users and gain a significant revenue stream.