The state of SaaS marketing in 2021
Software-as-a-solution products have evolved over the past few years, pushing SaaS marketers to re-evaulate their marketing strategies.
The world of ‘software as a service’ or ‘SaaS’ is perpetually evolving and growing. Rapid tech advancements, further expedited by COVID-19, has forced SaaS marketers to re-evaluate their marketing strategies. Earlier, the approach was to market SaaS as just another B2B (business-to-business) solution.
However, that approach is now redundant because of continual innovation in these services, aided by AI and big data. As a result, SaaS marketers now face multiple challenges, such as:
Identifying the target audience
One of the most significant hurdles for SaaS marketers is to zero in on their target audience. Generating revenue is a challenge if the company builds the product or service without granularly understanding the market.
Focus groups, interviews and surveys are traditional methods to recognise the target audience. Now we also have AI and data-driven tools, such as Google Analytics, demographics and interests reports. They can help analyse the target audiences’ composition, such as gender, age, interests and other factors.
Another way of identifying the target audience is to ascertain the customers that the competitors eye. It is possible to find a niche market by identifying buyers that your competition overlooks.
Marketing the right solution/brand messaging
SaaS offerings are constantly changing due to fast-evolving technologies, which, coupled with constant updates and versions, can render the product’s messaging obsolete. Therefore, creating a blanket narrative for the product becomes critical.
Any conversation with potential clients need to be centred on the problems your product solve or how its service makes their lives easier. As for creating a brand narrative, it should answer the following questions:
- Does your brand story connect with your target audience?
- Why ‘now’ is the right time for the product? What makes it relevant?
- How to differentiate the brand from the competition? How to position it?
- And, what problem does the product solve?
However, this isn’t enough. Once the narrative has been created, you must unambiguously communicate it through websites, marketing collaterals and, especially, blogs. Besides, the terminologies used should adhere to brand guidelines. Consistency and clarity are critical to marketing any product in the right manner.
Identifying suitable marketing channels
B2B marketing is a different ball game compared to B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing. Therefore, identifying the right marketing channels for any SaaS B2B product can be a challenge. In B2B, the potential buyer is another business. Hence, their psychology about content consumption or Google search is different compared to B2C.
Embrace content marketing! As per the data provided by Smart Insights, approximately 84 percent of consumers expect a brand to provide them with content in the form of stories, events, etc., highlighting the importance of content marketing. Precise and eloquent content allows companies to:
- Establish brand awareness and recall among their target audience
- Establish a brands position in the related industry
The focus needs to be on creating consistently high-quality, persona-driven content that isn’t just keyword optimised but offers value to customers. This is possible only with detailed research on users’ questions and pain points.
SaaS companies can present themselves as thought leaders by answering these questions. Another method is account-based marketing (ABM), whose purpose is to target specific customers or companies that are an ideal fit for the product. However, its success hinges on close alignment between product and sales teams.
Lead generation and conversion
This is the trickiest challenge for any SaaS marketer. There are no fixed answers to problem statements such as what should be the lead nurturing timeframe? Or, how often should one contact the leads? Hence, such a problem requires an innovative approach.
Offering a free trial of your product is an effective way to generate leads. Its importance is further demonstrated by a study done by Invesp — a firm that specialises in conversion rate optimisation. The study suggests that around 44 percent of SaaS companies offer free trials, out of which 41percent actually utilise them, indicating that the prospects who sign-up for free trials are high-quality leads.
Therefore, marketers need to track these users and analyse their user experience. Furthermore, after the trial, user feedback can provide valuable insights to your sales and marketing teams. Besides, it is an opportunity to demonstrate your product, customer service and support.
SEO optimisation is yet another option, which drives upwards of 65 percent of organic traffic for SaaS companies. If done right, SEO can channel leads into your sales funnel organically - without you having to rely on ads.
To achieve this, you must focus on finding the right keywords and creating relevant content. Thorough keyword research and keyword clustering can reveal what target users seek. And one can build an ideal structure for their websites by combining keyword data with CTR and user intent.
You must leverage SaaS review websites if you seek an out-of-the-box solution. Potential users now rely on such websites for an opinion about the product. Therefore, your product’s solution needs to be presented coherently on these websites, which you can achieve via testimonials and client reviews. This strategy can help you expand your user base much faster.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)