If you are a SaaS (software-as-a-service) business, you know that growth, even if it is slow, is essential for scaling and expanding your business impact. Unlike many contract/service-based companies, SaaS companies can’t grow without good growth marketing efforts.
What is growth marketing?
Growth marketing differs from conventional marketing, focusing on many growth aspects, from customer acquisition and conversion to retention. Growth marketers constantly use data to find the most effective strategies for acquiring and retaining customers.
If you are a SaaS marketer or a startup founder researching growth marketing, here are ten tips from Blox that will help you stay ahead of the curve.
1. Focus on Website User Experience
Most SaaS teams spend countless hours building great products and take extra care regarding the UI and UX of their apps. If you are one of them, ensure you give the same importance to your business website.
Your website is the gateway to your business. It’s especially important if you are trying to convert prospects into customers and encourage sign-ups directly on the site.
If your website is hard to navigate, takes too long to load, or doesn’t offer the information your customers are looking for, you’re likely to lose their business. That’s why website user experience (UX) is so important. Great UX is about designing and developing a website that is easy to use, appeals to your target audience, and helps you achieve your business goals.
A good UX design will make your website visitors stay longer, which can lead to more sales and conversions. A well-designed website is also essential for search engine optimization (SEO).
Google and other search engines favor websites that provide a good user experience. For example, if your website has poor UX, you will likely be penalized in the search results. Instead, focus on the critical aspects of UI and UX, such as navigation, design, content, font type, font size, and presentation.
2. Driving Traffic to the Website Is a Top Priority
Is your sales motion Sales-led, Product-led, or Marketing-led?
‘Sales-led’ go-to-market strategy relies on direct outboard sales by a dedicated sales team (with lots of cold-calling/emails), often supplemented with partnerships, referrals, and events. If you are sales-led, you can make millions of dollars every month without driving substantial website traffic. Sales-led is most common for companies with a high average deal size, common in enterprise focussed SAAS companies and service-based companies (lawyers, consultants, technology implementers)
If you have a low/medium price offering and low lifetime value per customer, then it's likely that you will adopt a marketing or product-led go-to-market because you can’t justify a high customer-acquisition-cost (CAC) that comes with a Sales-led approach.
As a startup founder or a SaaS marketing leader, your primary focus should be building relevant website traffic to your website. From search optimization and content marketing to social media marketing, your team should focus on creating multiple channels to drive relevant and quality traffic.
3. Focus on Inbound Marketing Strategies
Inbound marketing strategy focuses on attracting customers to your business through various online channels. These channels can include search engines, social media, blogs, and email. The main goal of inbound marketing is to build relationships with potential customers and convert them into leads and customers.
Inbound marketing is especially important for SaaS startups because it is a cost-effective way to reach your target market. It is also a great way to build trust and credibility with potential customers. Inbound marketing can help you quickly grow your business and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
The above table gives you a perfect idea why SaaS startups often find it not feasible to drive thousands of customers using traditional outbound marketing and sales techniques such as cold calling, cold email outreach, and pay-per-click advertising.
Pay-per-click platforms like Google Ads offer more value to companies with high-ticket services or products. With each click costing anywhere between $10 to $30 and more, SaaS companies often find it tough to make meaningful returns on ad spend (ROAS).
Therefore, product companies should focus on building a solid inbound marketing ecosystem right from the very beginning. It may take some time to see results, but it will greatly benefit your company in the long run and drastically reduce customer acquisition costs.
Remember, inbound marketing is not just about search engine optimization. You must also focus on social media and content marketing.
4. Hire Product Marketers or Build a Product Marketing Team
When hiring marketing professionals, look for product marketing experts. Hiring digital marketers or marketing generalists during the early stages may not always yield good results.
Digital marketing and product marketing may appear similar, but the two have some significant differences. Digital marketers primarily promote products or services, generating sign-ups, leads, and sales.
Product marketing professionals, on the other hand, are experts in different aspects of growth, such as positioning the product, fine-tuning messaging, segmenting the target audience, building thought leadership, and even forging strategic partnerships.
While digital marketers are data-driven and analytical, product marketers are creative and strategic.
5. Offer a Free Trial
Most people prefer trying a product by themselves than joining in and listening to a sales demo. Free trials are a part of the SaaS ecosystem. If you are not allowing users to sign up and try the product for free, you are missing out on potential conversion and user behavior data that help improve the product.
A free trial is an important marketing tool for several reasons. First, it allows potential customers to sample your product or service before making a purchase, which can help build trust and confidence in your brand.
Free trials can also help to increase conversion rates by giving people a taste of what they can expect from your product. Besides, free sign-ups can be a valuable way to gather data about potential customers. Eventually, marketing teams can use the data to create lead-nurturing campaigns to increase the conversion rate.
If your SaaS product is complex and geared towards enterprises, then offering a free trial might not be a good idea for you. A sales demo may help increase conversions better compared to a free trial. However, if it is a simple web app that anyone with basic computer knowledge can use, offering a free trial is the right choice.
6. Create a Pricing Page
A pricing page is one of the most important pages on a SaaS business website. It is also among the most visited pages on a SaaS website. Some companies don’t display prices on a pricing page; instead, they want users to contact them or share their email for pricing.
Remember, most SaaS users are wired to locate a pricing page when they land on the website. Therefore, it is essential that you not only create a pricing page but also place it prominently on the website, preferably in your website’s primary navigation bar.
Building a great pricing page requires a lot of skill. First, the founding team and the key stakeholders need to finalize how they want to package and price their offering. Then, it’s the job of the design and marketing teams to present the pricing information nicely on the page.
Here are a few tips on creating a killer pricing page:
- Keep the number of plans to a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5
- Describe clearly what value each plan provides
- Use the logos of your current customers to create trust
- Use the testimonials provided by your existing customers
- Make sure the page renders equally good on both desktop and mobile browsers
- Don’t confuse users with multiple call-to-action buttons
Lastly, A/B test the pricing page regularly to refine it and improve conversions.
7. Leverage SaaS Review Platforms and Marketplaces
SaaS review platforms such as G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, GetApp, Software Advice, etc., have become very popular in recent years among technology buyers.
The review websites mentioned above are a great way for SaaS companies to get exposure and build trust with potential customers. These platforms provide an unbiased, third-party view of a company's products and services, which can be invaluable for building credibility and winning new business.
In addition, these websites offer a great way for companies to compare themselves to their competitors and learn what areas they need to improve. Overall, SaaS review platforms and marketplaces can be helpful tools for any SaaS company looking to grow its business.
The best part is they don’t charge any fee to list your SaaS business on their website. However, they do offer paid advertising programs for branding or lead generation.
8. Create Apps for Popular Technology Marketplaces
If your web app can be installed and used on a popular third-party software or platform, you must consider creating integrations. Let’s take the example of a cloud storage management app. Customers can use it not only as a standalone web application but also as an integrated app from their cloud storage accounts.
So, creating apps for marketplaces like Dropbox, Office 365, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Jira, etc., can help your product get better exposure and increase revenue. These technology marketplaces are worth billions of dollars. Interestingly, Jira alone crossed $2 billion in marketplace revenue last year.
The benefits of technology partnerships:
- Market your app to a ready-to-buy audience
- Your app’s dedicated listing page in Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, Jira, etc. marketplaces builds a strong brand trust
- Brings in additional revenue
- You can use the logos of leading technology companies on your website and promote yourself as their technology partner
- Backlinks from those marketplaces improve your website’s SEO rankings
9. Start Sending Monthly Newsletters to Subscribers
Newsletters are important for SaaS companies for several reasons. They are a great way to keep your customers in the loop about your product's new features, updates, and benefits. You can also promote the blogs on your website for increased engagement.
Sending a monthly newsletter is a great way to show your customers that you value their business and want to keep them informed. Newsletters also allow you to upsell customers on new features or products.
You can easily send newsletters to your customers or subscribers using applications like MailChimp.
Ensure you are not overpromoting your business in newsletters and keep it educational.
10 Build Strategic Partnerships
SaaS companies must always consider the importance of building strategic partnerships. These partnerships bring referral and co-marketing benefits and help increase the customer base. They positively impact your marketing efforts too. Partnerships also provide a way to tap into newer markets.
The key to success, however, is to find the right partners that complement your business and have a shared vision for success. When done correctly, partnerships can be a powerful growth marketing tool to take your business to the next level.