SaaS stands for ‘software as a service’; it allows its users to use, connect to, and benefit from apps and services through the internet. These apps are cloud-based and used in almost every sector in modern economies today. Even if someone has never heard of the acronym SaaS, they will probably be familiar with some of the major names in the industry; these include Microsoft Office 365, Netflix (streaming services), MailChimp (email tool), and so on.
Why is SaaS Marketing Important?
SaaS marketing encompasses building awareness about the service, and how a company will sell its software, and also overlaps with product development and improvement. Marketing teams in the SaaS industry are essential for marketing, communication and ultimately business growth. With proper SaaS marketing, the service provider will be able to make their product recognizable in the market and build customer awareness. After all, they’re selling something that:
- Cannot be touched
- Doesn’t have a physical presence
- Will likely undergo a lot of changes
Any kind of promotion, strategy, or effort to brand or sell a SaaS product comes under the category of SaaS marketing. Plus, it’s not just about selling the software, but also the security, maintenance, and upgrades that come with it.
Before moving on, it’s a good idea to know the two basic categories of SaaS itself–namely, B2B and B2C. Here’s a detailed guide for understanding the difference between B2B and B2C SaaS.
B2B SaaS Marketing Techniques
B2B or business-to-business SaaS involves one company selling its services or solutions to another company. One of the best examples of this is project management software, where one company purchases the product to streamline processes such as payroll, team collaboration, and other aspects of effectively and efficiently managing a project. Let’s have a look at the marketing techniques for B2B SaaS products and services:
Identifying the Right Target Audience
No two businesses are the same; even within one company, there are different departments with different needs. To work properly, B2B marketing strategies need to know who their target audience is and think about targeting their specific needs.
Strong Value Proposition
Products and services in the B2B category can get quite expensive. This is why SaaS businesses need to make its customers aware of the value on offer. To do this, they might want to start by considering the 3 main components of an effective value proposition:
- Identify the specific problem/problems the target audience is facing
- Clarify how the SaaS offering can help solve their issues
- Communicate various benefits of the SaaS solution in question
Quality Content and Online Promotions
Content marketing is one of the most powerful B2B marketing strategies you can use to generate leads and make sales. With quality content, a SaaS company can establish its authority and build up trust with would-be buyers.
However, you also need to ensure that the engaging content reaches the right people. Along with making the content, it’s essential to put in effort towards promoting it on multiple channels, including social media . Several types of content might appeal to different audiences, so determine the type of customers you are dealing with and engage them using the appropriate method including:
- Blog posts
- Case Studies
- Customer testimonials and reviews
Social media can also be an important lever for lead generation. The key is to focus on engaging the audience, sharing relevant and informative content without making them feel like you are just in it to sell something.
Thought Leadership with Content Marketing
Content marketers can build up their credibility through thought leadership. The goal here is to become established as one of the experts in your specific field. At the end of the day, however, the services and products from your end will be the most effective way to establish thought leadership.
An Online Presence Using PPC and SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help optimize a B2B website and other types of content. When used correctly, SEO can help in attracting qualified leads, build up trust, and establish brand authority. Key SEO tactics include optimized landing pages, page clusters, and link building. It might be a good idea to hire a qualified SEO team or SEO services company for this purpose. These 9 effective online marketing and SEO tips for SaaS brands will come in handy too.
PPC, or pay-per-click, is a form of advertising that can be an effective B2B marketing strategy for many SaaS providers. This involves placing ads on search engines so that they come on the top of each relevant search query. The company placing the ad will have to pay the search engine company for every click their ad gets. To get the most traffic, it’s important to choose the right keywords to support your campaign.
Other marketing channels for B2B include:
- Email marketing: a pocket-friendly channel where you send out emails about your products and brand, making it a personalized communication with each customer
- Partnerships with affiliates and influencers
- Free trials or demos that let the product/service speak for itself
B2C SaaS Marketing Techniques
As discussed above, for B2B, the target market usually consists of decision-makers such as CTOs, CEOs, etc. B2C SaaS marketing on the other hand deals with the end users as the target market.
B2C marketing is geared more towards everyday software consumers and has a broader scope than B2B because a lot more people are potential customers. However, we can still narrow down the target audience according to different factors such as interests, values, gender, age, location, income, and so on. Let’s look at some of the main B2C marketing techniques.
Building Brand Identity
Brand identity is created through repetition and imagery of what represents your brand. This will shape the way potential consumers view your image as a company in the SaaS industry.
Consumers expect to be able to use software across devices, so it’s important to maintain a user-friendly experience on both the website and the mobile app (if available) The content should be short and to the point–the readability score needs to be high to avoid readers deflecting to the competition. Along with text, you can help the user out by adding videos, visuals, and other aids to boost information retention and understanding.
Leveraging Social Media
Social media allows B2C SaaS companies to engage potential customers and build connections with them. This requires a consistent effort in putting up attractive content and making your brand relevant to social media users today.
Email marketing efforts can increase customer retention and also drive conversions. However, email marketing is more effective for audiences who have either signed up for email updates themselves or have already bought the SaaS product at least once.
Providing proper customer support is especially important for B2C companies as they’re directly dealing with the end user. Here are some aspects that B2C need to consider when it comes to customer support:
- Self-service or knowledge management
- Mobile support
- Digital engagement channels
Other marketing channels for B2C include::
- Freemiums or low-cost pricing: This is where free users have limited feature access, while premium users get more variety. This allows the company to build up trust and showcase its product’s value instead of just advertising it
- Referral programs: these will incentive marketing by word-of-mouth; for instance, a company can offer certain perks in return for a user recommending their product to someone else
- Personalized user experiences through AI and machine learning: This will help predict consumer decisions more accurately
- Gamification: This can increase user engagement by creating more traffic and interest in the software. For instance, Vodafone offers a free spin on a fortune wheel that gives users different prizes each day
Best Practices for SaaS Marketing
Some general practices that can help out a company in both B2C and B2B SaaS marketing include:
- Measuring and analyzing metrics: this will help in tracking progress, breaking down goals, and handling a campaign
- Keep track of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as net sales, conversions, impressions, funnel velocity, churn rate, and clicks
- Using split testing, bucket testing, or A/B testing to compare the performance of two types of content and see how they attract visitors or viewers
- Developing a customer persona to better guide messaging
- Account-based marketing that chooses candidates who have relevant needs to the product
- Integrating sales and marketing teams to streamline the process
- Giving priority to customer loyalty and retention: this will encourage multiple and repeat purchases, lessen customer churn, and give the seller an edge over their competitors
While there might be differences in the definitions of B2B and B2C SaaS marketing techniques, there are quite a few similarities as well. Some brands might even have both kinds of initiatives going on at the same time. However, it’s unlikely that a company’s B2B and B2C marketing efforts will overlap in a single marketing campaign.
The ultimate goal of marketing to both B2B and B2C customers is engaging their target audience, generating leads, turning them into customers, and retaining existing users. For this, they have to ensure that the product delivers a high-quality experience and that their brand remains relevant.