Growth marketing

4 Common SaaS Marketing Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

Written by Samantha Murillo / April 13, 2021

Samantha is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with brands to ignite their growth engine through conceptualizing, implementing, and optimizing growth marketing strategies.

SaaS Marketing can be… complicated. With many SaaS companies beginning as startups, there are more inherent factors that complicate your company’s marketing success.

Mistakes in SaaS marketing increase the cost of your marketing efforts without the growth and improvement that is supposed to follow. By avoiding these common mistakes and using these strategies, you will be able to not only stay ahead of your competition but ensure these mistakes won’t happen down the line in your company.

Let’s address the biggest mistakes in SaaS marketing to avoid, go over the solutions, and by the end of this article, you will have new data-driven ideas to bring back to your team.

SaaS Marketing Mistakes: 4 Issues to Avoid

The world of SaaS is a small one, where once-successful strategies are duplicated from company to company without the proper adjustment to different niches, software types, and diverse audiences.

Just because a strategy worked for another company doesn’t mean it will work for every company. Factors like different audiences, markets, teams, the year you’re in, budgets, and many other factors affect your strategy’s outcome. 

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By addressing the most common mistakes in SaaS marketing, you can prevent a lot of headaches down the road.

1. Unclear Messaging

A common problem with SaaS marketing is that companies often don’t understand their audience well enough and are too close to the product offered to see the benefits and features that consumers really want to focus on. 

By taking a step back or getting an outside perspective, you can see what essential highlights are missing along the way. Sometimes the cool features your UX designers and user testing team worked on are lost amongst the headlines.

Instead of marketing what your software is supposed to function as, work with your technical team and break down all the little details that make your product unique and how these details benefit the user. That, in combination with recording your sales calls, can give just enough of that perfect insight on what consumers really value in their buying process. Use those little details to tell a story about how your software solves a customer’s problem. The more clear and transparent your messaging is, the easier it will be for leads to become customers and also become an advocate for your software.

Transparency is a fantastic tool to grow your business and solve the problem of short attention spans and competing notifications. The more clear-cut your messaging is, the quicker your audience will catch on, and the more time they will spend on your website once intrigued.

Solution: Valuing transparency in these areas is an excellent place to begin:

You have 10 seconds (often less) before a customer decides if they are interested in your software; let’s make the most of that time with clear, simple, and transparent messaging. From that first impression on, it’s up to the rest of your marketing strategy to get that lead properly passing through your sales funnel.

2. Lack of Incentives

Your software is awesome. You spent thousands of hours and investment dollars making the software run smoothly. Now it’s time for your customers to be incentivized to purchase or download it.

Solving a customer’s problem is not the only thing your software needs for people to buy it. Customers have to be motivated to buy it, they have to choose your company over your competitors, customers not only have to need your software, but they have to also want your software. By enhancing your storytelling abilities and easily framing your product in a consumer’s life so consumers can easily see themselves using it, more people will be attracted to buying your product.

Solution: The quickest way to incentivize potential customers is through referral incentive programs and extended trials. Anything that either saves them money or makes them money is the fastest incentive to download the software.

Another alternative to monetary incentives for motivating customers and referrals is a social incentive. By setting up your marketing strategy to value the social aspect of having access to a limited edition software, you can give your software exclusively rather than the monetary aspect.

By creating mystery around your product, you tell your customer that they’re a part of an exclusive group with special access. An app that has done this recently is the invite-only community ClubHouse, an audio-only app where a user needs a referral to gain access. Sometimes the exclusivity of acquiring something that others do not have access to can be even more valuable than monetary rewards - now you’re dealing with social proof and social status.

3. Developing Trust

In a world ruled by big data, developing trust with your potential customers is valued now more than ever. Should someone risk their personal data and their payment information with your company?

Consumers might not realize it, but they ask themselves questions like that all the time. Does this website look legit? Do people like it? Are these real reviews? Have they been featured anywhere? By searching on a new website or social media account for the first time, consumers ask themselves if they can trust you.

Here’s a hint: the solution goes farther than having an updated SSL certificate on your website.

Solution: Even before your software launches, your team should collect user testing testimonials from focus groups, beta testers, and your vendors or affiliate companies. While establishing inside testimonials as social proof is a great start, acquiring external social proof is the next step.

External sources like news publications, software release ranking websites, investment websites - ending up on any of these platforms is a great way to prove to your potential customers that other people are excited about this software and show you are a trusted resource for them.

Bonus solution: By creating a comprehensive blogging strategy and answering the top questions your ideal customers are searching for, that can position you as a thought leader in your industry. So not only are you a trusted resource because other people say you are, but the actual customer themselves is valuing the information you put out. For a quick resource on how to start an excellent blogging strategy, check out this Ultimate Guide To Generating Leads Through Your Website.

4. Traditionally Outbound Thinking

Ah yes, the classic outbound versus inbound marketing scenario. This divide can happen when there are different leadership strategies in one company, who disagree which option is best to spend more time on. 

The problem with depending solely on outbound traffic is that outbound marketing typically uses paid ways of communication, where ads run the non-organic market. The problem with depending mainly on ad traffic is that keywords are getting more and more competitive. More businesses are bidding higher for ad keywords to rank higher, and not enough people are leaning towards organic growth.

Ads can be great for a business while you’re building up your organic traffic or testing out landing page design while organic traffic is low. Once your organic traffic is strong enough to get the numbers you’re looking for, it’s time to let go of your paid options. Once you let go of your paid traffic options, you will see your traffic from that source drop significantly. That’s because the only source of that traffic was coming directly from ads; once you stop funding them, your spot is replaced, and that traffic is going somewhere else.

The benefit of building up your inbound traffic sources is that all your website traffic is not dependent solely on your ad budget and keyword rankings. The key is to build organic traffic to your website that is timeless, dependable, and genuinely valuable to the consumer. This way, you’re not depending on competing for ad keywords that are coming out of pocket; you’re building a sustainable and consistently beneficial marketing strategy.

Solution: Think outside the box and brainstorm different ways to reach your audience by analyzing their behavior and buyer persona more deeply. Start by using a guide for inbound marketing strategy, getting creative with the sources for that inbound traffic, and releasing campaigns based on what your audience would enjoy and find value in.

Looking for ideas of where to find inbound traffic? Start with any of these ideas and remember to track URL campaigns and monitor the success of each option monthly:

  • Creating relatable memes and keeping up with the latest trends minute to minute, post those images to social media with helpful and related links
  • Lean into spaces where people are not typically advertising (Reddit, TikTok, and LinkedIn to start) and create valuable content or input on those feeds
  • Get involved with private Facebook groups that have a very targeted audience
  • Staying up to date with Google Trends and creating blogs answering questions that are about to be extra popular

Not sure how to truly understand your customers’ lives outside their buying habits? Try using HubSpot’s tool Make My Persona which prompts you specific questions to get inside the head of your ideal customer.

Avoiding SaaS Marketing Mistakes

From clearing up your messaging to developing social proof, your software deserves its fair chance to hit the market running. Along with avoiding the mistakes and using the solutions discussed in this article, a great way to track where you currently are, how you can improve, and how to move forward can help your company tremendously.

By downloading the Growth Marketing Strategy Kit, you gain access to resources to track your current KPIs, a playbook of strategies to improve your marketing and lead generation, a guide to repurposing content, and last but not least, a guide to building organic traffic (all for FREE)New call-to-action