In a sea of SaaS products and companies, it’s no small task to try and stand out with your SaaS marketing strategy. How do you get it in front of the people who matter most without a tangible product that you can touch and use straight out of the box?
Often, product marketing focuses on getting customers to buy or download your product. Think Photoshop. Once you’ve downloaded it, it’s yours, and the only support you’ll need going forward is if something goes wrong.
SaaS differs because service is ongoing. Customers usually pay monthly and expect a high level of continued service in return.
A SaaS marketing strategy and lead generation should focus on building trust from the outset. You want your customers to stay and grow with you for a long time, so you need to show them who you are, what you can do for them (and that you’ve done it before), and how you provide a high level of service.
This post will outline five common problems with SaaS marketing strategies and how you can overcome them to attract more leads and start your business relationships off on the right foot.
Your SaaS Marketing Strategy: 5 Problems You’re Having and How to Fix Them
SaaS marketing focuses on acquiring leads for subscription-based SaaS products and services.
It might sound the same as marketing anything, but SaaS products aren’t like other products. You can’t hold SaaS products in your hands. They’re not tangible. Also, they are often stacked with features, making them complex by nature.
You need a clear and concise strategy that encompasses your buyer’s journey rather than throwing mediocre marketing at a wall and seeing what sticks. The SaaS buyer journey starts with your customers’ realization of their problem to their consideration of the solutions available to them, and finally, their decision to implement a solution.
With over $100 million in client revenue growth, Lean Labs is an experienced partner and extension of your sales and marketing teams and works to fill the gaps in your strategy. Let’s dive into the problems you’re facing and how to overcome them.
Problem #1: You Haven’t Defined Your Buyer Persona
The first step in creating a clear, concise, and successful strategy is defining your buyer persona through a target audience analysis. Without knowing exactly who you help, you can’t determine a clear marketing plan.
Without a buyer persona, you won’t know:
Where your customers hang out, online and off
Where they go to get help
The challenges they’re facing
How they phrase their challenge in Google
What channels of communication they prefer, and
Where they are in their buyer journey
Trying to attract and reach your customers without this information leads to a lot of wasted time and resources. Should you post on social media sites if they consume content through blog articles? Will you keep writing articles if they prefer podcasts? Think through your answers to inform your strategy.
It’s good to map out your buyer persona(s). Three to five is ideal. You'll drain resources and dilute your message if you’re producing content and tools for more than three to five target customers.
You have to know your customers. If you understand their needs and pain points and how your product or service solves their problems, you can personalize your messaging and start to build trust.
The buyer’s journey consists of three stages:
Your potential customer is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem. They’re aware that something isn’t right. You want to speak to their concerns and help them understand their experiences at this stage.
Meet them where they are. If they search Google for their symptoms, they’ll find a blog post that you’ve written that empathizes with their situation. eBooks, social content, and how-to webinars work well here.
After defining and understanding their problem, your prospect looks for solutions. Where they look will determine the kind of lead nurturing content they consume. At this stage, they’ll find possible solutions and start to weigh up the pros and cons.
Using the blog post as an example, you might offer solutions to their problems and direct them to more content, other resources, or even a call to action to engage with you. You’re still trying to educate and help them in a human way here.
Demo videos, case studies, and FAQ articles can help build relationships and trust.
In the decision stage, your prospect will compile a list of solutions and want to narrow it down. They’re looking for reassurance that you can solve their problems.
This stage requires you to highlight the unique value of your solution and convince prospects to choose you. By now, you know enough about them that you can personalize every interaction and start them on their customer journey.
Free trials, consultations, and articles about your service or product work well here.
Pro Tip: Go Above and Beyond
Although buyer personas are crucial, they aren’t the be-all and end-all. Your customers are human. They might be looking to solve one problem, but it’s more than likely they will face more significant issues in their business.
You can solve one problem with your service, but ask questions to delight them. What else are they struggling with? Is there a bigger picture? Could you provide support and other services to build a lasting relationship with your customer?
Focus on your vision and values to go above and beyond.
Problem #2: You Haven’t Determined Your Goals and KPIs
Before thinking about the type of content, how much content, strategy, and tactics, you must define goals, objectives, and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
If you don’t know where you're crushing marketing or where your efforts aren’t bearing fruit, you can’t determine where you should spend more time or the areas you need to improve.
Do you know where your customers spend their time? If so, develop a strategy to reach them. But set goals and understand how you’re going to track and analyze the metrics. What’s working? How do you know?
Another related problem is you might have goals that are too broad or vague when you need solid objectives and measurable goals.
Ask yourself which metrics will determine whether an effort has been successful. To set a goal, think SMART.
For click-through rate, a SMART goal might be “I want to increase click-through rate from 2.8% to 3.5% in the next 90 days by optimizing the design and placement of CTAs.’
Base KPIs on your team's ability to influence your customers. Decide which metrics you want to measure and start implementing analysis straight away.
In addition to metrics surrounding your email marketing efforts, you’ll want metrics for social media campaigns (both paid and unpaid), content offers, SEO metrics, and landing page conversion rates.
Whether you have previous metrics or not, establish benchmarks that make sense for your company and use data to set realistic targets.
Problem #3: You’re Not Focusing on Creating Content for Your Consumers
Consumers want education and information. It doesn’t hurt to entertain them either!
When they search Google for someone who empathizes with their problems—and has a solution—you want to be the friend they need. But without a strong presence, they won’t find you. Content is essential because it positions you to empower and inspire your audience.
Why would a prospect work with you if they can’t find anything about you or your product, who it helps, and how you provide a great customer experience?
Are you an expert in your field? Customers don’t know unless you show them.
You can’t have too much relevant and valuable content. Content comes in many forms and depends on your customer's journey. You have many chances to attract, engage, and delight your audience over different touchpoints.
Once you have your reader’s attention, put subtle calls to action in your content to keep the conversation going. For example, at the end of a blog post, offer a practical eBook in exchange for an email address.
The more a prospect engages with your brand, the more helpful you can be.
Once you have contact details, you can establish your authority and build trust by segmenting your audience, allowing you to personalize your content and interactions.
Content isn’t all articles and educational material. Your current customers are your best marketers. Turn a testimonial into a video or article and post it as social proof. Nothing is more powerful than proof that you’ve already solved the same problem your potential customers have.
Problem #4: Your Free Trial Isn’t Accessible
Because your products and services aren’t tangible, offering a free trial is a great way to let your customers ‘see’ them. But too often, the barrier to entry is too high.
The CTA isn’t prominently displayed, and instead of using clear and concise language to direct your customer, you have a button that says Learn More. Do your customers know where they can access their free trial or demo?
If they do find your CTA, what’s the form like? Do you ask for credit card details? Do you want to know their dog's name and every other detail about them? Lastly, is there a cancellation policy in the small print?
This is not the way to build trust. Consumers want to try your service to make sure it solves their problems and that the product is the right fit for them. Including arbitrary barriers that stop them from achieving that goal won’t help you build trust—it might just help you break it.
Make it easy for customers to sign up for a free trial or demo. A clear CTA, designed and placed well, is crucial. You can personalize the language you use on the button–something like “Try My Free Demo” in exchange for an email address (which is all you need to start a relationship with a prospect).
Once into your free trial or demo, highlight what they have and don’t have access to.
Allow them to try it solo or with your support, and provide excellent customer service during their trial.
Use content such as walkthrough videos, helpful articles, and check-ins to delight them. Consider setup, configuration, and usability. If customers have questions, go above and beyond to answer them and ensure they’re satisfied.
Finally, open clear lines of communication to help your customers sign up at the end of their trial.
Problem #5: You Only Market to New Buyers
It’s a common mistake to think that once customers are in, they’re in.
What’s your churn rate? If it’s higher than 3-5%, you might be losing customers because you’re not delighting them with your service.
It’s no secret that SaaS products are often purchased and then forgotten. Without consistent touchpoints and excellent customer service, you won’t know if your customers are happy with your product.
Another question to ponder is what’s your customer lifetime value (CLV)? Knowing this gives you the revenue from each customer as an average and helps your marketing team determine how much they spend on acquiring new customers.
It’s significantly less expensive to keep customers than get them.
Happy customers are your best marketers. If you provide excellent service, you can ask for reviews and video testimonials and create a buzz around your brand.
You might have a customer loyalty program with incentives that you offer to return customers. Or a new product that might complement what your customers are already using.
Keep their journey personal. By segmenting your customers, you can talk to them at different stages in their journey with your product. A long-term customer shouldn’t be getting generic emails. They should be getting regular check-ins and exclusive incentives.
You want your customers to feel like they’re part of your success as a company as much as you’re a part of theirs.
Your Next Steps for Creating a SaaS Marketing Strategy That Works
Growth marketing teams work with sales and customer teams to delight your customers at every stage of their buyer journey. Marketing doesn’t stop when someone buys your product or uses your service.
Look back through this article. Do you see how every problem centers around your customers and how to go the extra mile for them? That’s not a coincidence.
If you still feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start, you might want to think about partnering with Lean Labs to outsource your marketing efforts. Lean Labs don’t do it for you; we do it with you.
Check out our free resource, the Growth Playbook, to see how we get reliable results for our SaaS marketing clients time and time again.
Shaun is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with deserving brands to create, implement, and optimize proven growth strategies.