Over the past decade, software as a service (SaaS) has attained noteworthy success worldwide. Businesses from across the globe have started to recognize the advantages of SaaS when it comes to usability, cost, security, and innovation.
Hence, it is not surprising to see the augmenting interest in SaaS, a trend that we predict will continue in the forthcoming years. A Gartner study states that SaaS organizations generated around $ 72.2 billion in 2018 and the revenues are predicted to reach a staggering $ 113.1 billion by the end of 2021. 
SaaS marketing has become a hot property in the marketing world today. It has its own share of rules and they primarily aim at driving more people into buying free trials and demos.
The tide is gradually shifting toward SaaS for a range of reasons out of which security is at the top of the ladder. Currently, buyers have buried their initial objections related to security and control and are adapting to the evolving SaaS landscape. In the current scenario, the cost to develop and market software has plummeted which has more or less eliminated hurdles around the market entry.
SaaS marketing is a growing trend and its success will predominantly rely on robust SaaS marketing strategies. This blog will break down every tiny detail you should know about B2C or B2B SaaS marketing strategies.
SEE ALSO: 5 Best Automation Tools for Small Businesses in 2020
Topics covered in this blog:
- What is SaaS?
- What makes SaaS marketing so unique?
- Essential SaaS strategies
- Standing out from the crowd
- Wrap up
What is SaaS?
Software as a service is a relatively new software distribution model. In this specific model, applications are hosted and made available to the customers by a third-party provider via the internet.
SaaS is one of the three core categories of cloud computing, the other two being infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).
The list of established SaaS companies include:
- G Suite
What makes SaaS marketing so different?
There is not a shadow of a doubt that SaaS has revolutionized the global business landscape in recent years. The advent of cloud computing has enabled businesses to leverage automation in a cost-effective way.
So, what makes SaaS marketing so different? Well, to begin things, the marketing funnel and buyer’s journey in SaaS is different from traditional businesses. The difference is due to the niche target audience for which a SaaS product holds value. This makes it a challenge to reach out to them.
Explaining the advantages of a SaaS offering to a niche audience is not very straightforward. Besides, explaining its benefits especially when it does not contain an element of tangibility is another pain point for SaaS companies.
Conventional digital marketing for businesses includes different goals such as closing a sale, creating brand awareness, and earning a number of email addresses.
When it comes to SaaS companies, every single penny invested in digital marketing is to achieve one goal, and that is get more sign ups for a demo, free trial, or the paid version of the software.
We now have a fair idea about what SaaS is and how marketing a SaaS offering varies from conventional marketing.
Moving on, now let’s tap onto the essentials and staples of SaaS marketing strategies that will help businesses compete in the current market environment.
Essential SaaS marketing strategies
Formulating result-oriented SaaS marketing strategies refers to getting a grip on how to reach and attract more customers.
How can this be accomplished? There are many ways to make that happen wherein a combination of channels and tactics can be used.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective and essential SaaS marketing strategies deployed by successful SaaS brands.
1. Email marketing
Although email marketing may seem old-school, it is integral to SaaS. According to 99Firms, software organizations with an annual growth rate of around 20% have an 8% chance of surviving .
Besides, even though providing limited period access to the premium version is an excellent way to attract customers, a well-rounded SaaS email marketing strategy is likely to accelerate the growth rate of a company.
Email still remains one of the most efficient channels for one-on-one communication with customers.
Here is a list of some of the most common SaaS marketing emails that are sent by companies on a regular basis:
- Feature announcements
- Onboarding emails
- New content
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
The value and importance of organic reach and SEO are parallel to none. A marketing plan for SaaS companies should include a well-articulated SEO strategy.
According to the digital marketing consultant Mike Sonders, organic traffic accounts for a 68% share of the traffic and leads for leading SaaS companies.
Another trend that needs to be highlighted is that customers are diving deep while researching various SaaS products. On most occasions, it means that users are running a quick Google search. This is why SaaS companies are scrambling to get featured in Google’s search results by focusing on SEO.
Besides, top-tier companies are also turning to content creation for two major reasons. One, to educate their customers, and two, to target keywords and attract more leads through search engines.
3. Pay-per-click (PPC) and social ads
Pay-per-click advertising is turning out to be an effective SaaS marketing strategy.
At present, numerous companies use Google ads to improve visibility for particular keywords and outrank their competitors. One of the most glaring advantages of running a PPC campaign is that the results are instant, unlike with SEO.
Social ads are increasingly becoming more popular among SaaS marketers. Social ads allow companies to bypass social algorithms and advertise only to the relevant customers.
Webinars, case studies, and checklists are some of the most successful types of content for social ads.
SaaS companies have knocked at Facebook’s door due to its exceptional capability to pinpoint relevant customers based on demographics and interest data.
Besides, Facebook’s remarketing ads also enable SaaS companies to attract customers who may have bounced from a landing page or previously downloaded a demo.
4. Organic social media
Over time, social media has become vital to SaaS marketing.
It is fair to assume that software companies do not come across as ideal candidates to do well on social media. However, you may be surprised to know how SaaS companies are leveraging social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to market their offerings.
Social media platforms allow SaaS companies to:
- Have back-and-forth conversations with customers
- Announce new upgrades, products, and features
- Promote top-of-funnel content
- Share achievements, industry accolades, and earned media attention
- Showcase company culture and employees
5. Focus on improving customer experience
Focusing on improving customer experience should be a core component of the marketing plans for SaaS companies.
One of the most effective ways to provide a better customer experience is by customizing a product or service. For example, delivering a personalized welcome email upon completion of a sign-up process.
Brands can also reach out to their customers when active customers are slipping.
Brands should also consider providing an option for a live chat on their website to address customer queries immediately.
6. Offer attractive deals
This one has to be one of the most tried and tested SaaS marketing strategies. The idea behind it is to create and offer attractive deals to customers and convince them to opt for a longer plan.
A number of SaaS companies deploy this strategy and offer discounts on longer-term plans. The catch here is to ensure that you highlight the fact that customers will save costs by opting for a long-term deal.
7. Offer a free trial
Offering free trials is a long-standing SaaS marketing strategy used by companies around the world.
When companies use your software, they are getting to know more about your product. This means that even if they do not purchase the software when the free trial ends, you have a genuine lead for email and ad targeting in the future.
8. Set up product tours
Customer retention is a huge challenge every SaaS company has to deal with. While your customer acquisition strategies may attract new customers, retaining them is another area you should be focusing on.
One of the most effective ways to retain customers is by setting up a product tour. Although you might have created an exceptional SaaS application, it would be disappointing to learn that your customers do not know how to make the most out of it.
Let’s admit it! SaaS products are not very straightforward to use, and once a customer gets confused, the chances of them churning rise. However, when you set up product tours, you are helping customers to find value in your product.
How can SaaS companies stand out?
Let’s take a closer look at how a marketing plan for a SaaS company should incorporate to stand out from the competition.
Value proposition should be clear
At times, the best way to create a strong impression on SaaS customers is to be blunt and straightforward with them.
You could consider deploying other marketing strategies apart from bombarding customers with data related to your product. Start by thinking about your value proposition.
In simple terms, your company should have answers to questions like these from customers:
“What can you do for me?”
“What problem are you solving?”
Although the value proposition may be obvious to you, it is critical to ensure your customers understand it.
While most SaaS companies may focus on the points mentioned in this blog, creating a branding strategy is an imperative part of standing out from the competition.
SaaS companies should also focus on formulating a full-proof branding strategy to grab the attention of customers.
It is understandable when brands ignore working on their logo and brand voice while trying to develop a powerful product. However, customers are paying attention to such details more than ever, which is why brands should focus on things that will define them in the long run.
Company culture and values
We are currently living in an era of brands increasingly speaking to their customers. According to Sprout Social, nearly 70% of consumers are of the opinion that brands should take a stand on political and social issues .
Consumers are differentiating brands based on their values, culture, and philanthropy, and the story remains the same with SaaS brands.
The arrival of social media has played an important role in giving birth to this trend.
If you are a SaaS company looking to set yourself apart, apart from building a powerful SaaS marketing strategy, talk more about your company culture and values on social media.
Wrapping it up
It is critical to understand that SaaS marketing strategies are evolving rapidly. Moreover, the growing demand for SaaS is another factor that is expected to fuel innovation in SaaS marketing.
The strategies mentioned in this blog can lay a solid foundation for your brand’s growth and SaaS marketing plan.
Today, with analytics and trial & error, it is possible to evaluate which strategy will work the best for your audience.
You can use these SaaS marketing strategies listed in this blog and also monitor social media accounts to monitor the performance of each plan.
Keep in mind that every SaaS offering from different companies is different. Hence, formulate a strategy that is best suited for your target audience.
Whether your goal is to improve lead generation or enhancing customer retention, these SaaS marketing strategies will go a long way in helping you become one of the most successful SaaS brands around.
When it comes to building a marketing plan for a SaaS company, marketers should understand that marketing trends are evolving constantly. What might work today, may not provide the desired results down the line.
SEE ALSO: Prepare your Business for the Future with Augmented Analytics
Image Source: www.epictop10.com used under the license Attribution 2.0 Generic
Image 1 Source: rawpixel.com
Image 2 Source: Mockup photo created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com
 (2018) “Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue to Grow 17.3 Percent in 2019” Gartner [online] Available from:
https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-09-12-gartner-forecasts-worldwide-public-cloud-revenue-to-grow-17-percent-in-2019 [accessed April 2021]
 (2021) “SaaS Statistics” 99 Firms [online] Available from:
https://99firms.com/blog/saas-statistics/#gref [accessed April 2021]
 (2018) “BrandsGetReal: Brands Creating Change in the Conscious Consumer Era” Sprout Social [online] Available from:
https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/brands-creating-change/ [accessed April 2021]