[TechSparks 2020] 7 key takeaways for SaaS marketers to increase brand visibility

At TechSparks 2020, Yulia Aslamova, CEO and Co-founder of MakeSuccess, touched upon simple concepts of brand marketing, identifying the right target audience and workflow to build the right strategy and the tools to use.

According to a Nasscom 2020 report, by 2025, the Indian Software as a Service (SaaS) industry has the potential to grow to $13-15 billion, reporting a 6X growth. It is also estimated that by 2025, the global addressable market for SaaS will be around $400 billion. With such an opportunity at hand, it is crucial for brands to create a unique brand value proposition for themselves to take a step ahead from their competitors.

However, it is a common perception that brand marketing is expensive. It is also observed that most businesses lack a basic understanding of workflows and tools to improve their brand visibility.

At TechSparks 2020, Yulia Aslamova, CEO and Co-founder of MakeSuccess, a go-to-market boutique agency and a marketer with 12 years of experience, put these in focus.

The presentation touched upon simple concepts around what is brand marketing, why it is important for the SaaS industry, how to identify the right target audience, the workflow to build the right strategy, and the tools to use.

According to Yulia, “Brand marketing is the bridge between your product and your customer. The goal of brand marketing is to link your identity, values, and personality with communication to your audience. It’s a long term strategy that yields long term results.”

A business needs a well set up PR and a brand management workflow to ensure fulfilment of top of the sales pipeline, receive backlinks (SEO), referral and direct traffic growth, build brand advocates, manage brand reputation, and customer retention. Yulia believes all this can be achieved by championing the tactics of brand marketing.

Here are some key takeaways from the session.

Start building your brand from day one

According to Yulia, if a marketer does not know how to target the right target audience, any ad strategy can really go berserk. Also, no marketing can help if the product is really not working and doesn't have the right product-market-fit. Once these two are in place, the business can start building its brand from day 1.

She said, one must not wait to become a unicorn to start building brand visibility. “Whether at an alpha stage or beta stage, the companies must start building their brand from day one,” she added.

Identify the right target audience

Building audience is a big circle, particularly in SaaS. It can take up to one year to make the conversion. Yulia advised businesses to look for opinion leaders - folks who can become brand advocates.

In order to find the right target audience, one criterion can be to validate their existing database with the daily consumer footfall or traffic on the website. This can be done with the help of social media channels like Facebook business page insights, Twitter, YouTube Analytics, and Instagram, among others.

Some of the tools that can be used are SEMrush MarketExplorer, SimilarWeb, Traffic analytics, among others to ascertain audience overlap and relevancy.

Build the right set of influencers

Yulia says, community builders, LinkedIn followers, top corporates, niche bloggers -- influencers for a brand can be anyone. “However, what matters most is quality and not quantity. These people may have a limited number of followers, but they can actually influence them to become potential customers for a business,” she added.

Also, the most important element here is they must have a belief in a business’ value proposition as they can be the most loyal audience in future. Some of the tools for businesses to identify right influencers are HootSuite, BuzzSumo, Alexa Audience, India block hop, and influencer.ie among others.

Finding the right affiliate

Usually, affiliates of a competitor will most probably become another business affiliate. With tools like SEMrush, a business can identify potential affiliates, which can promote the brand without creating audience overlap.

Identify content distribution channels

Distributing content as important as creating the content. While a good, well-optimised content can drive traffic through search, if you do not have an exciting audience, creating visibility can be a difficult task initially.

“You need to put a lot of thought to it while creating limited content. You need to prove your expertise in a small way in any manner and then distribute the content through an open channel like Medium, or podcast channels, vlogs, and more. Either you can do this on your own or reach out to journalists,” she said.

Understand the source of traffic

Traffic is a key right now because all marketing costs are slowly shifting towards the digital world.

Yulia highlighted the traffic sources of companies such as Zoho, Zoom, Razorpay, and Shopify to highlight how these companies are generating traffic through a combination of either ‘direct and referral’ or ‘direct and search’ channels.

Understand where you stand now

SaaS marketing primarily promotes organic marketing. However, it doesn’t mean there are no marketing budgets at all, but less dependence on CPC channels to reach the customers. This is a long term strategy that provides long term results. Startup founders must understand where they stand right now. The easiest way to check is with Google Analytics, which is a free tool.

“Not only for brand-related keywords, but the analysis should also be done for non-branded search in the same way. Because keywords not related to your brand will give you a percentage in your traffic about how well your product fits,” said Yulia.

TechSparks - YourStory’s annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we’ve received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.

Edited by Megha Reddy


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