The Ultimate Guide to Building Your SaaS Marketing Strategy

Daniel Bianchini // Co-founder

An effective SaaS marketing strategy needs to address every point in the customer journey.

Due to the unique relationship between SaaS products and its users, there’s a special emphasis on customer retention and a shift in the overall approach to marketing.

That’s why you need to know the tips and tricks for standing out in a competitive industry.

You need an expert that understands the differences between traditional and SaaS marketing, and how to appeal to a customer base without a physical product.

That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to marketing your

SaaS business and maximising your revenue and growth.

Understanding SaaS Marketing Strategy

SaaS marketing is about building relationships as much as it is selling.

Unlike traditional marketing, it’s usually based on products that have online subscriptions and annual purchasing, which means a lead needs to be nurtured long after the point of sale to maximise its value.

This means providing content to help them get the most out of their product, creating user communities to encourage mutual support, and upselling related resources.

Customer retention is so important in SaaS marketing, because of its price structure and modelling, that it’s essential you create a strategy that builds those relationships across the customer lifetime.

Like any long-term relationship, communication is key.

SaaS businesses rely on recurring customers to stabilise revenue and make accurate predictions on future income; so, building out those partnerships increases loyalty and customer trust.

Key Components of a Successful SaaS Marketing Strategy

SaaS marketing strategies should include identifying customer pain points, performing competitor analyses and constructing buyer personas. Let’s look at these in more detail:

Understanding your customers

When you are selling a service, knowing the pain points to address is a key factor in choosing what features to highlight during the marketing cycle. With SaaS products, you are promoting why your business answers customer needs better than its competitors.

The buyer persona is crucial here because it provides more information on what pain points should be addressed.

For example, the lead of a higher education institute might be looking for a software that overall ups conversions and retention while not breaking the bank, whereas a marketing manager will be concerned about delivering on KPIs such as new lead generation.

It’s not just the pain points or features that matter, but who you’re delivering that information to as part of your SaaS marketing strategy.

Identifying the market gap

Think of SaaS marketing as two sides of a coin. On one side you need to understand your customers and what drives them; on the other, you need to highlight what problem your SaaS product is answering.

Find your gap, your segment in your target audience and make yourself comfortable in that space.

No business can target everyone (unless you’re Amazon), so effective positioning is the secret key to success.

Understanding the overall market’s demographics and customer groups behaviour allows you to figure out where your unique features and selling points best fit.

This is achieved by conducting a competitor analysis, using keyword research, SEO (search engine optimisation) tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush.

These can give you an overview of keyword opportunities, competitor positioning, and potential places to “steal” rankings.

These are the building blocks to actually carving out your SaaS marketing strategy and designing tailored plans unique to your target audience.

Choosing the Right Channels and Tactics

During each stage of the marketing funnel, think about the audience segment you’re targeting with each marketing campaign and piece of messaging.

Choosing the right channels is key for customer engagement. Certain audience types may respond better to a Google ad than social media marketing, for instance.

If you’re targeting a small business, your messaging, KPIs and goals will overall be very different to an Enterprise sized client who has less of a budget constraint.

Make sure you’re looking at the different marketing channels available and making decisions on where to integrate those into your customer journey.

Don’t forget to leverage all the smart abilities campaign tools can offer nowadays too. Identify your high performing channels and take advantage of growth marketing tactics like A/B testing to see what messaging and imagery resonates best.

Harness Google’s machine learning to let it formulate the best version of your ad to deliver based on user intent, and drive better results.

By strategically selecting and integrating the most effective channels, SaaS companies can enhance their visibility, attract qualified leads, and accelerate business growth.

Leveraging Data and Analytics

Once you’ve done all that work, you want to know how successful it was. Tracking analytics that provide meaningful data-driven insights is how you do it.

Choose your most important KPIs and the metrics they relate to.

Did you want to increase conversion rates? Make sure to track cost-per-click, cost-per-conversion and the customer lifetime value.

Are you a HR SaaS company looking to improve its traffic quality? By implementing and tracking goal values on PPC campaigns, you could see an 859% increase in high-value conversion.

Tracking key metrics lets you identify potential missed opportunities and areas for improvement.

Make sure your system is as holistic as possible and use a third-party analytics tool like Agency Analytics to bring all your dashboards like Google Analytics, your CRM etc. into one place with standardised metrics, and actionable insights.

Set goals for different touchpoints in the user journey to assess what channels and messaging are driving traffic.

Just because a channel doesn’t necessarily look like its driving conversions, doesn’t mean it’s not an important step in the conversion journey. Using attribution modelling this way, you can make data-driven decisions on channel optimisations, leading to a better overall ROI.

Crafting Compelling Messaging and Content

Search engines, and customers, like content that follows the EEAT framework: Experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

Display these in your messaging and you’ll organically rank higher for user search queries and build a high-quality customer base.

One of the best ways to display EEAT is through storytelling and compelling messaging that resonates with your target audience.

Share webinars, provide interactive tools, and tell success stories in a way that humanises a brand and makes it relatable.

For example, a SaaS HR company might share emotive customer stories on how their software streamlined integration between payroll, learning and recruitment to make it a seamless process.

This works on multiple levels:

  • It shows the software works
  • It speaks to a common customer pain point
  • It evokes emotion (relief) at solving the problem

One of the biggest flaws in any marketing strategy is underestimating the power of content and its value across the whole funnel.

Often, we see businesses honing in on using it in one stage, while completely ignoring other pivotal points that content can make a big difference to retention.

Every step of the marketing funnel a SaaS company should be asking “what content can we make here that adds value?” A well-thought-out content calendar, that tracks the entire lifecycle will form the bedrock of your SaaS marketing strategy.

From an SEO perspective this also gives you tons of real estate for building out links and targeting long-tail keywords.

A good blog, with dedicated content clusters, for example, signifies both to search engines and customers that you are an expert on a particular topic.

Make your site the go-to for information and later you’ll become the go-to site for purchasing the product.

Optimising Conversion Funnels

As we’ve covered, a SaaS customer lifecycle is usually long. It includes a lot of continuous support and engagement after purchase to encourage retention and upsells.

Success in your marketing strategy means changing tactics and adjusting the conversion funnel accordingly depending where in the journey the customer is.

Awareness: Focus is on brand awareness and inbound marketing strategies. This usually means targeted SEO-driven content marketing for organic growth, awareness and to establish authority, and PPC campaigns that target general industry enquiries.

Engagement: Largely using SEO, SaaS content marketing and PPC you can give a potential customer gentle encouragement to download or sign-up for an eBook, webinar, newsletter etc.

Consideration: At this stage, you’re working on customer acquisition, nurturing your lead. They’re receiving information on what services your software provides; usually through their sign-up or, targeted remarketing via Google Ads and social media PPC campaigns.

This is where you would craft personalised messaging and email marketing campaigns that highlight key features, or create comparison guides to demonstrate why customers should pick your company.

Conversion: Yay, success! Now make sure it’s trackable. Segment your audience into purchasing types, and work out your CPC (cost-per-conversion) and customer acquisition cost to see how you can refine and tighten your funnel to improve ROI.

Retention: The final stage, but so important in SaaS. Due to the product’s nature many companies then offer community guidance and knowledge bases, and ongoing support.
SaaS’ bread and butter is customer retention, so take the opportunity to engage, ask what could be improved upon and offer other solutions that increases their overall lifetime value.

Retention Strategies for SaaS Businesses

Retention for SaaS is often the main bulk of yearly revenue, so building customer loyalty is an important part of any SaaS marketing strategy.

As well as developing a strong knowledge base and community support system, SaaS businesses need to be ready, willing and able to help users during their product lifecycle.

On-demand webinars are a great way to do this, as is keeping a support team available that can talk with the customer directly.

Keep adding value to the customer’s purchase. Ongoing engagement, regular updates, personalised communication are all necessary in addressing evolving needs and ensuring repeat orders.

Good customer service and support can go miles to smoothing out any little bumps in the road.

You could also offer additional incentives like loyalty or referral marketing programs that not only keep your existing customer happy, but do wonders for word-of-mouth marketing and communication.

Scaling and Iterating Your SaaS Marketing Strategy

If you’ve done everything above correctly then your SaaS business should start to grow, presenting both challenges and opportunities.

Both of which can be tackled head on by being agile and willing to adapt and adjust marketing, messaging and user journeys appropriately.

If, for example, you’re targeting a new local area such as Oxford, like Riverbank IT did, you’ll want to adjust messaging and SEO strategies accordingly for the local area.

Or say you’re targeting high-level enterprise clients as part of your scaling. This will usually result in a shift in strategies and acquisition dynamics that impact your overall marketing campaign.

To do all this effectively, SaaS businesses need to look at continual testing, marketing automation strategies and ongoing adaptations.

Try using agile methodology to break down processes and feedback into small, management chunks that allow for quicker feedback loops and testing.

Regularly review your marketing dashboards and insights (you should be doing this anyway) to help create meaningful, data-driven strategies.

And most importantly: allow creativity to flourish. Someone on the team has a wacky-but-just-might-work idea? Try it!

Driving new ideas and encouraging a culture of experimentation and innovation means there might be failures, but they teach and adapt future strategies for moments of great success, in new ways you never anticipated.

Concluding Thoughts on SaaS Marketing Strategy

The best and boldest SaaS marketing strategies evolve and adapt to their market.

Continuous monitoring and consideration of every marketing funnel stage is fundamental to a successful SaaS campaign that drives business growth and ROI while reducing your overall costs.

Don’t be afraid to leverage different aspects of marketing, including SEO, content, PPC and email to best address customer concerns and pain points for a holistic strategy that hits KPIs.

And if you’re not confident, ask the experts. Common Ground works with SaaS businesses every day to achieve results like a 59% increase in conversions year-on-year.

Daniel Bianchini // Co-founder

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