10 Things to Consider Before Marketing Your SaaS Product
The Cloud is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is enabling more companies than ever to launch into the global marketplace.
On the other hand, that marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive and crowded – and it takes serious promotional effort to stand out.
For the SaaS industry in particular, selling a solution primarily online is a tall order without marketing investment. You can’t simply set up a website and hope the rest will take care of itself. Building a solid prospect pipeline involves strategic marketing of your cloud-based web application business. Here are 10 tips to help you achieve this:
1. Set a marketing budget – and be realistic!
No matter how good your SaaS solution is, you won’t grow your business if nobody knows about it! Therefore it’s very important to allocate some budget towards marketing your product. This should be aligned to your company objectives – so if you’re setting an aggressive expansion target, you need sufficient marketing resources to support that growth. Commit to a monthly spend for on-going promotional activities.
2. Start with a strategy
The easiest way to waste money in marketing is not having a blueprint in place. If you’re going to invest in promoting your product, create a strategy that ensures all your actions are integrated, to maximise the ROI of your marketing spend.
3. Put content at the heart of your strategy
In order to nurture new business leads, your marketing output needs to demonstrate strong SaaS knowledge and value. Create a strategy based around content, such as whitepapers on key industry topics or regular blogs, to establish your company as a thought leader within the SaaS community.
4. Spend time getting your branding right
The visual elements that make up your brand – logo, typography, design, choice of imagery, tone of voice – will define how prospects view your business. Make sure you pick a style that is relevant and modern, but that won’t ‘date’ easily.
Your branding choices should come together on your company website. As the virtual shop window for your organisation, it’s vitally important that the end product is slick and professional.
5. Be clear and convincing
It’s amazing how many companies in the SaaS industry get lost in a world of jargon. Ensure you have a clear and convincing explanation of what your product is, what it does, its features and its benefits.
6. Prepare an ‘elevator pitch’
Most of the people you’re trying to influence will be incredibly busy. Therefore, you need to convince them why to choose your solution and your business in a short space of time. Creating a 90-second ‘elevator pitch’ video is a great way to convey your message succinctly, plus you can use it on your social media channels and within your email marketing campaigns.
7. Optimise your digital marketing channels
Particularly for smaller SaaS business without a field sales team, digital activity is the main driver of new business conversions. Therefore you need to optimise all your online activities. This means keeping your website up to date, regularly posting social media content and sending out regular email campaigns. Frequent, consistent communication is key.
8. Give prospects a reason to sign up
Your marketing strategy should serve two objectives: firstly, to inform and add value – that’s where the thought leadership content comes into play; secondly, to drive conversions. In this second stage, offering a free trial or online product demonstration is a powerful way to generate sign ups.
9. Don’t forget about your offline presence
Even if it’s digital marketing driving your business growth, offline collateral and activities shouldn’t be neglected. Take the time to ensure your brochures, leaflets and direct mailing letters are consistent with your digital resources, both in terms of visual impact and tone of voice. You don’t want to disappoint online prospects with poor physical follow-up material.
10. Be smart about your use of resources
Marketing is the most effective way to build business pipeline, but it’s also a time consuming activity – and one that involves expertise and resources that many SaaS businesses simply don’t have in-house. Therefore, a smarter way to ensure ROI may be to outsource your marketing strategy to a specialist agency, which can focus on lead nurturing, freeing you to close the deals.
Alex Cohen is MD of Xander Marketing, a specialist SaaS marketing agency.