What is SaaS Marketing? A Guide to Success in 2024 (And Beyond)

  ●   November 29, 2023 | Blog
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November 29, 2023 | Blog

It’s time to start planning your SaaS marketing strategy for the coming months! But where do you start? How do you know what channels to use? Audiences to target? Metrics to measure? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

In the dynamic world of SaaS, marketers face a myriad of unique challenges that set them apart from traditional product or service marketers and can make developing a successful strategy that little bit more difficult. With the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and ever-increasing competition, SaaS companies must constantly adapt and innovate their marketing strategies to stand out in a crowded market. 

The very nature of SaaS, with its subscription-based model and online delivery, requires a tailored approach that combines the art of persuasion with the science of data-driven decision-making. You are tasked with not only acquiring new customers but also retaining and expanding your  existing user base, making it a multifaceted challenge!

We’ve compiled a list of 10 SaaS marketing strategies that will supercharge your digital efforts and reap significant results for years to come. Let’s get stuck in…

What’s in this article?

What is SaaS marketing?

SaaS marketing, also known as Software as a Service marketing, refers to the strategies and tactics employed to promote and sell cloud-based software applications. SaaS is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted and accessed over the internet on a subscription basis, rather than being installed on individual computers or servers.

If you’re reading this, you likely already know what SaaS marketing is, but what makes it different from marketing other products or services?

What makes SaaS marketing different?

SaaS marketing is distinct from marketing traditional software or physical products in several ways due to the unique characteristics of the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model. Here are some key differences that set SaaS marketing apart and how it will affect your strategies:

Subscription-based model

SaaS products are typically sold on a subscription basis, where customers pay a recurring fee (monthly or annually) for access to the software. This subscription model requires SaaS marketers to focus on customer retention and ensuring long-term value, in addition to customer acquisition – as opposed to prioritising one-time sales.

Continuous customer engagement

With SaaS, the customer relationship doesn’t end after the initial purchase. SaaS companies need to engage customers continuously throughout their subscription lifecycle, providing ongoing support, updates, and value to retain them.

Product updates and iterations

SaaS products are continually updated and improved. Marketing teams need to communicate these updates to existing customers to maintain their interest and showcase the ongoing value of the product.

User education

SaaS marketing often involves educating users about the product’s features, benefits, and best practices. Content marketing and tutorials play a significant role in this aspect.

Competitive landscape

SaaS markets are highly competitive, with many products offering similar functionalities. SaaS marketers need to differentiate their product and communicate its unique value proposition effectively.

Global reach

SaaS products can be accessed globally, so SaaS marketing often involves reaching a diverse and potentially international customer base.

Aspect SaaS MarketingTypical product/service marketing
Nature of offeringSoftware delivered via the internet, often on a subscription basis.Physical products or non-SaaS services.
Delivery modelDigital, accessible online.Physical or in-person.
Pricing modelsSubscription-based, often with tiered pricing.One-time purchase or various pricing models (e.g., hourly rates, project-based).
Customer engagementFocus on ongoing engagement, retention, and upselling.Emphasis on the initial sale and potentially follow-up sales or services.
Sales cycleTypically longer, with nurturing leads through a free trial or freemium model.Shorter for single product or service sales, but can be longer for B2B products or services.
Customer onboardingCrucial to ensure users understand and benefit from the software.May involve initial training or setup but less critical for simple products.
Customer successDedicated teams focus on customer satisfaction, support, and expansion.Customer service teams may handle post-sale issues but with less focus on expansion.
Feedback loopsRegular user feedback incorporated into product development.Feedback is valuable but may not directly affect the core product.
Upgrades and updatesFrequent updates and upgrades are common.Products may have less frequent updates or new versions.
User communityBuilding and nurturing a user community is important for feedback and support.User communities can be beneficial, but are not always essential.
Retention focusHigh focus on customer retention due to the subscription model.Customer retention is important but may vary by product/service.

10 SaaS marketing strategies that will drive ROI in 2024 (and beyond)

  1. Understand your customer and build comprehensive buyer personas
  2. Develop a SaaS content marketing plan that attracts, engages, and delights
  3. Kickstart a successful email marketing strategy
  4. Turning free trials into a conversion catalyst
  5. Boost organic traffic with an effective SEO strategy
  6. Using link-building to increase domain authority
  7. Invest in paid media channels
  8. Encourage reviews and incentivise referrals 
  9. Streamline the user experience for easy sign-ups and make your calls-to-action clear as day
  10. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) for SaaS

SaaS Strategy #1 Understand your customer and build comprehensive buyer personas

Understanding your customer and building comprehensive B2B buyer personas is a fundamental and critical step in SaaS marketing. Data shows that developing persona driven websites are two to five times more effective and easier to use by their targeted audiences, and customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable – the numbers speak for themselves!

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on research and data about your existing customers, as well as first-hand insights from your sales teams or customer surveys directly. By doing so, you can better align your SaaS marketing efforts with the specific needs and preferences of your target audience, rather than guessing what your customers want and need. This enables you to create more effective and targeted marketing campaigns, which can lead to higher conversion rates, increased customer satisfaction, and ultimately, business growth.

SaaS Strategy #2 Develop a SaaS content marketing plan that attracts, engages, and delights

Did you know that 70% of SaaS companies have a content marketing strategy? And an incredible 97% have found success in these content marketing efforts?

In the B2B world, where complex purchasing decisions are made, informative and valuable content serves as a bridge of trust between the company and its potential clients. Through well-crafted content such as blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, and webinars, SaaS companies can demonstrate their industry knowledge, showcase the value of their solutions, and address the specific pain points of their target audience. This not only attracts and engages potential customers but also reassures them that the SaaS provider understands their needs and is committed to helping them succeed, ultimately fostering trust and confidence in the business relationship. Yet. it doesn’t stop there. With the SaaS business model being heavily reliant on repeat customers due to its subscription nature, content also plays a critical role in keeping the conversation going with existing customers and maintaining this trust, so that they not only stay with you, but even refer you to friends and family.

SaaS Strategy #3 Kickstart a successful email marketing strategy

Email marketing is another key SaaS digital strategy. In fact, 81% of B2B businesses say email is their most-used form of content marketing, with 64% stating they have seen success from it. While email marketing is a well-known tool, the way SaaS businesses employ it has evolved into a nuanced and highly effective art. It can be used for multiple purposes, making it more than just a promotional tool but a multifaceted strategy that spans the entire customer journey. But how?

An essential facet of leveraging email marketing in SaaS is crafting personalised onboarding and welcome emails. These emails go beyond a mere handshake; they serve as a guided tour in your offering, showcasing key features and functionalities. Just remember – personalisation is the key, as it establishes an instant connection between the product and the user! However, these types of emails are just the beginning.

SaaS companies have an advantage in the data-rich environment they operate in, and smart email marketing for SaaS relies on data-driven insights. Through segmentation, companies can deliver tailored content and offers to specific customer segments. Automated workflows can be triggered by user behaviour, ensuring that the right message reaches the right user at the right time. This is pivotal in Saas, where marketing efforts must be spread across the entire customer lifecycle. Email marketing is used to nurture leads through a well-thought-out drip campaign, guiding them from awareness to conversion. Yet, it doesn’t end there; it continues with post-conversion engagement to ensure customer retention.

And as mentioned above, educational content is at the core of this strategy. Emails are not just about updates and promotions; they are a platform for continuous education. Sharing tips, best practices, and use-case scenarios demonstrates the value of your SaaS product. Education fosters engagement, making your customers more likely to stick around.

SaaS strategy #4 Turning free trials into a conversion catalyst

SaaS competition is fierce, and user acquisition can be an uphill battle. In this landscape, free trials have emerged as the secret weapon of SaaS marketers. Let’s explore how…

Firstly, free trials are an excellent method to use user experience as a showcase. Essentially, free trials offer users a hands-on experience, allowing them to explore the features and functionalities of a SaaS product. This interactive approach can convey the value and utility of the software more effectively than any marketing pitch or advertisement. It provides a ‘try before you buy’ experience for potential customers. Within this trial period, you can provide personalised content that demonstrates how to get the most out of the product, a proactive approach that ensures that users are well-prepared to utilise the software effectively. If you’re confident in your product, then it’s a fail-proof strategy for customer acquisition!

In turn, this acts as a conversion catalyst. Users who have experienced the value of a SaaS product during a trial are more likely to convert to paying customers. Taking what we discussed in SaaS strategy #3, you can employ targeted nurturing and reminder emails to encourage these conversions.

Also the data generated during free trials is a goldmine. It provides insights into user behaviour, preferences, and pain points. These insights can inform product development, customer engagement strategies, and additional tactics as part of your wider marketing strategy.

SaaS strategy #5 Boost organic traffic with an effective SEO strategy

SEO is pivotal to any digital marketing strategy. It is imperative for enhancing a brand’s online visibility by optimising its website for search engines. This results in higher organic rankings in search results, leading to increased website traffic. When potential customers search for solutions related to your SaaS product, they are more likely to find your website.

By targeting specific keywords that are relevant to your products and services, you are able to generate more qualified traffic as it consists of users actively seeking solutions similar to what the SaaS product offers. With SEO closely intertwined with content marketing, creating high-quality, relevant content not only improves SEO but also provides value to your audience. Likewise, by optimising for keywords with broader appeal, you can attract users from different regions and expand your customer base internationally.

Best of all, while paid advertising can be more expensive, SEO is a cost-effective long-term strategy. Once you achieve high organic rankings, the traffic generated does not require ongoing payments for each click, making it a sustainable and budget-friendly option.

Link-building, or Digital PR, is a vital strategy for increasing domain authority for SaaS brands. A higher domain authority not only boosts your website’s search engine rankings but also enhances credibility and trust with your target audience.

One way to go about link-building is to start by producing informative, valuable, and engaging content that your target audience will find useful. This can include formats such as blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, and case studies. Remember – quality content is more likely to attract backlinks! Consider creating valuable resource pages on your website that can serve as linkable assets. Resource pages can include industry reports, how-to guides, templates, or toolkits. Other websites may link to these pages as references, helping you rake in the links.

As you acquire backlinks from reputable websites, your brand’s presence also expands across the web. This extended reach allows more people to discover and become aware of your SaaS products or services. In particular, backlinks from authoritative sources serve as an endorsement of your brand. When your brand is associated with well-respected industry websites, it gains credibility and trust in the eyes of potential customers.

Reaching prospective customers organically is a fantastic strategy, yet, investing in paid channels can expand your reach further and make sure your brand gets seen. Paid media, encompassing strategies such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media ads provides immediate visibility to a target audience. It allows SaaS companies to strategically position their products in front of potential customers, precisely targeting demographics and user behaviours.

Paid media campaigns deliver measurable results, enabling companies to track their return on investment and make data-driven adjustments for optimisation. In the competitive SaaS landscape, paid media empowers businesses to stand out, drive traffic, and convert leads efficiently. It’s a key component in a comprehensive marketing strategy that can elevate brand awareness and boost revenue, making it a wise investment.

SaaS strategy #8 Encourage reviews and incentivise referrals

Encouraging reviews and incentivising referrals are two essential components of a successful SaaS marketing strategy. These practices not only help in building trust and credibility but also play a significant role in driving user acquisition and retention.

Firstly, reviews from satisfied customers act as social proof for prospective customers. When potential users see positive feedback from their peers, it builds trust in the product. People tend to trust recommendations from other users more than traditional advertising. In fact, 84% of people are likely to trust product reviews from other customers. So, genuine reviews help establish the credibility of your SaaS product. Similarly, positive reviews and testimonials on your website or third-party review platforms can lead to higher conversion rates. They can influence potential customers to take the plunge and try your software. Honest feedback can also help you address concerns and update your products or services, making the software more appealing to prospects – it’s essentially a free feedback loop!

Compared to traditional marketing strategies, encouraging reviews and referrals can be cost-effective. You’re leveraging your existing user base to bring in new customers. This word-of-mouth approach often results in a lower customer acquisition cost.

Happy customers are more likely to stick around. When you encourage and reward users for referring others, you create a network effect that not only brings in new customers but also strengthens your relationship with existing ones. Incentivised referrals are effective at reducing churn and contributing to long-term success.

SaaS strategy #9 Streamline the user experience for easy sign-ups and make your calls-to-action clear as day

SaaS companies are in a constant battle for user attention and loyalty. One crucial strategy to succeed in this competitive environment is to streamline the user experience for easy sign-ups and make your calls-to-action crystal clear.

In our fast-paced world, user patience has dwindled. If signing up for your SaaS product is cumbersome and confusing, potential users are likely to abandon ship and turn to a competitor with a more straightforward onboarding process. Streamlining the user experience minimises friction and ensures a smooth, hassle-free journey. Ambiguity can lead to hesitation and, ultimately, lost conversions. By making your CTAs evident and persuasive, you increase the likelihood of users taking the desired action, effectively growing your customer base.

Streamlined sign-up processes and clear CTAs also provide an opportunity for data collection. By tracking user behaviour during the sign-up journey, you gain valuable insights into where users might drop off or hesitate. This data empowers data-driven decision-making, enabling continuous improvement and optimisation of your user experience.

SaaS strategy #10 Account-Based Marketing (ABM) for SaaS 

ABM, or Account-Based Marketing, is a strategic approach that has gained significant traction in the B2B marketing world, and it holds several benefits for SaaS companies. The key benefit of ABM is it allows brands to target specific high-value accounts or customers with personalised and highly relevant content. By identifying and focusing on key accounts, you can allocate your resources more efficiently and increase the chances of engagement.

What makes ABM different? ABM fosters closer collaboration between marketing and sales teams. Since both are focused on a select group of target accounts, they can work in tandem to create a more cohesive and effective strategy, which is particularly valuable in complex B2B sales cycles. Also, the high level of personalisation is a hallmark of ABM. You can tailor your messaging and content to the unique needs and pain points of each target account, significantly increasing the chances of resonating with decision-makers. And while it may seem resource-intensive upfront, the increased conversion rates and customer retention can lead to a more favourable return on investment in the long run.

Ultimately, by concentrating efforts on a smaller number of high-potential accounts, ABM often results in higher conversion rates. Your messaging is laser-focused on the specific needs of these accounts, making them more likely to convert into customers.

However, ABM doesn’t end once a deal is closed! It can be used to nurture and retain key accounts. Using ABM, you can continually provide value and keep these clients engaged, potentially leading to upsells, cross-sells, and long-term customer relationships.

Download our ABM on-demand webinar!

How to measure SaaS marketing success

Measuring the success of SaaS marketing efforts is crucial for optimising strategies and demonstrating the impact of your activities on your company’s bottom line. There are many different metrics you can track and measure, however, the ones you choose will depend on your unique business requirements and brand goals. 

Some of the most important SaaS marketing metrics include the following:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Calculate how much it costs to acquire a new customer. This includes all marketing and sales expenses. A lower CAC indicates more cost-effective marketing.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Determine the long-term value of a customer. This metric helps assess the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts. A higher CLV means you’re gaining more from each customer over time.
  • Conversion rates: Track conversion rates at various stages of the marketing funnel, such as website visits to sign-ups, free trials to paid customers, or leads to closed deals. Improving these rates is a sign of successful marketing.
  • Churn rate: Measure the rate at which customers cancel their subscriptions. A lower churn rate indicates better customer retention and the effectiveness of post-acquisition efforts.
  • Customer retention: Assess how well you retain existing customers. High retention rates are a sign that your marketing and product deliver ongoing value.
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): Track the monthly revenue generated from subscription fees. Increasing MRR indicates growth and customer expansion.
  • Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): Similar to MRR, but measured on an annual basis. Both MRR and ARR demonstrate the stability and predictability of your revenue streams.
  • Customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score (NPS): Conduct customer surveys to gauge their satisfaction and willingness to recommend your product. High NPS scores indicate customer advocacy and future growth potential.
  • Traffic and engagement metrics: Monitor website traffic, time on site, bounce rates, and click-through rates. An increase in traffic and engagement may suggest effective content marketing and SEO efforts.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Calculate the cost of acquiring a new customer through various marketing channels. This helps identify the most cost-effective channels.
  • Marketing-generated pipeline and revenue: Track the number of leads generated by marketing efforts and the revenue generated from marketing-sourced leads.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Measure the overall ROI of your marketing campaigns by comparing the revenue generated to the cost of the marketing activities. A positive ROI indicates successful marketing.
  • Social media and content metrics: Analyse social media engagement, shares, likes, and content downloads. These metrics reflect the effectiveness of your content marketing and social media strategies.
  • Email marketing metrics: Monitor open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates for email campaigns. Effective email marketing can significantly impact customer acquisition and retention.
  • Customer feedback and reviews: Pay attention to customer reviews, testimonials, and feedback. Positive reviews and high ratings can be indicators of customer satisfaction and successful marketing.
  • Market share and competitive analysis: Monitor your market share and compare it to competitors. Gaining a larger share of the market can be a sign of marketing success.

It’s important to remember that the metrics you are able to measure will depend highly on the data you have available. In order to get the most out of your data, it is important to have the appropriate web analytics and reporting in place, such as an appropriate GA4 setup.

5 Things to consider ahead of digital marketing planning for 2024

Before diving head-first into strategy implementation, there must be a thorough planning stage. Here are five things to consider:

  1. Market research and trends: Begin by conducting thorough market research to understand the current trends, industry dynamics, and your target audience’s evolving needs. Stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and anticipate future developments that could impact your SaaS offering.
  2. Competitor analysis: Evaluate your competitors’ strategies and market positioning. Identify gaps in the market and areas where you can differentiate your SaaS product to gain a competitive advantage. Understand their strengths and weaknesses to refine your marketing approach.
  3. Customer insights: Leverage customer feedback, surveys, and data analytics to gain insights into your user base. Understand their pain points, preferences, and behaviours to tailor your marketing messages and initiatives to meet their needs effectively.
  4. Technology stack and tools: Assess your current technology stack and marketing tools. Ensure you have the right software and analytics platforms in place to measure and optimise your marketing efforts. Consider the integration of AI, automation, and other emerging technologies for more efficient campaigns. In some cases, it can be highly beneficial to partner with an analytics agency in order to make the most of industry-leading tools and make full use of the data available to you.
  5. Budget and resource allocation: Define a clear budget for your marketing strategy and allocate resources appropriately. Determine the channels and tactics that will provide the best ROI and align your budget accordingly. Make sure your team has the necessary skills and training to execute the strategy effectively. Be frank and ask yourself: Are your goals realistic? Do you have enough resources to carry out your plans? Would your internal teams benefit from additional training? Or do you require outsourcing skills or services to make your objectives a reality?

Could Semetrical be the strategic partner you’ve been searching for?

Are you looking for a strategic partner to help you become a market leader in your SaaS niche? As a full-service digital marketing agency, we have the expertise and resources to drive your marketing results. Leveraging the power of data-led insights and cutting-edge technology, our strategies and team efforts have seen tremendous success over the years – with numerous case studies and awards to show for it.

Learn more about our digital marketing services or get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you realise your digital ambitions this year, and for years to come.

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