Software as a Service has been around since the 1960s. SaaS model saw a sudden boom in the 1990s with the shrinking cost of computers. Today, the SaaS marketplace is much larger than it has ever been and is, interestingly, continuing to grow. With applications ranging from uses in CRM, business intelligence, e-commerce, financing, and HR (to name a few), the SaaS domain is highly competitive. Maintaining a steady stream of high-quality leads is very critical in such an environment.
SaaS businesses are quite unique when compared to other B2B companies. They have a shorter sales cycle with a fluid customer base since customers can easily opt-in or out of subscriptions. What SaaS companies need are not just new customers, but also loyal ones who will keep renewing their monthly plans. They also want customers who have already opted-in for using a product to upgrade to premium plans. So unlike traditional B2B sales cycles, where a customer deal signals the end of their buying process, in a SaaS sales cycle, a customer is fed again into the next round of lead generation where the company must cross-sell, offer a premium or a renewal.
Lead generation is one of the primary goals of content marketing, and for SaaS businesses, a specific marketing strategy tailored to their unique needs is required to run a successful lead generation campaign. You need to set up a marketing ecosystem that makes use of a diverse range of tactics spanning SEO, SEM, content marketing, advertising, and sales development, to keep your prospects engaged.
Here are 9 SaaS marketing strategies to improve your lead generation process.
1. Create a combination of gated and freely available content
When the market space is crowded with competitors, distinguishing yourself can be challenging. Content marketing can give you a leg-up. It allows you to convey your value proposition to your target audience while providing value to them. When trying to establish your authority in a field, you want to be generous, which is why a combination of free and gated content works best for generating leads. Top-of-the-funnel content, which can involve blog posts, social media posts, videos, online ads, and influencer outreach, can be provided free of cost. Once you have impressed your audience and got them hooked on to the free content, give them content that’s 10X more valuable with an opt-in form.
2. Pull the attention towards the opt-in
The call-to-action (CTA) is where visitors provide you with their details, usually an email id, in exchange for access to exclusive material. You need to attract a visitor’s attention to that part of the page which contains the CTA and minimize any chance of their getting distracted by other competing links or having them exit the page altogether. One way to do this is by eliminating the navigation options on the landing page. The fewer options they have, the less likely confused or distracted your audience will be. It also makes it easier for them to make a decision which is to download or get access to the gated material by quickly filling in the form with their details.
3. Provide a free or freemium product trial
Getting prospects to try your product for free is a great way of generating Product Qualified Leads (PQL). These leads will already have experienced your product, or at least some parts of it, and know what to expect if they pay for a premium plan. Such trials are usually bound by some time limit like, ‘free trial for 30 days, no credit card information required’. The idea behind offering such trials is that once these leads use your product they will realize its benefits. They don’t have to take your word for it, they will know the difference between the 'before' and ‘after’. As an alternative, you can offer a freemium trial, which allows limited access to the entire suite of features, and the prime functionalities are reserved for paid subscribers. It thus becomes necessary for the general population to upgrade in order to maximize the business value they derive from your product.
4. Pay attention to SEO
Search engines can be one of the biggest drivers of leads for a SaaS business. To do this you need to keep an eye out for your website’s rankings especially for high volume and long tail keywords. You also want to pay attention to those parts of your website which can help differentiate you from your competitors. For instance, the ‘About Us’ page is an ideal section for the placement of your company and product’s value proposition, for showcasing who you are and what you can help your clients achieve.
5. Conduct drip email campaigns
Emails campaigns are considered to be one of the most effective channels for B2B marketing. Once a lead has signed up for your offer you have the opportunity to nurture them and prompt them towards conversion. Providing a compelling lead magnet like industry reports or an exclusive offer can drive eyeballs from their inboxes to your landing page. Drip email campaigns conducted over several months are an excellent way to resell your proposition, reeducate potential customers and offer incentives to those who abandon their shopping carts to come back.
6. Leverage LinkedIn
Many SaaS companies operate in the B2B space and what better social media platform to gain some visibility than LinkedIn? It is the number one channel for B2B lead generation. To leverage LinkedIn to its fullest, don’t just post an update or share links to your latest blog post. Instead, use the LinkedIn Publishing feature with a compelling CTA to drive the audience to sign up for trials. You can even reach out to professionals who match your target buyer persona by sponsoring content on LinkedIn and advertising to them.
7. Generate inbound sales from social media
Other social media channels can also offer an effective way to showcase how you add value to your customers. Besides maintaining a regular posting schedule from your own social media handles, you can use Twitter, Quora, and even Reddit to engage with people directly, answer their questions related to your niche and provide actionable solutions. This also gives you a chance to pull people towards your gated content or specific landing pages.
8. Build the network effect into your product
People are likely to believe recommendations coming from those they know more heartily. A great way to achieve this is through existing users who have already experienced your product. Ask them to share or recommend the product to their network right after their ‘aha’ moment, that is after they have signed up to use your product or purchased it. This is when the user is on an emotional high and more likely to tell the world about it.
9. Don’t forget to use guest blogging for extra eyeballs
Link building builds your brand’s authenticity, makes it more visible and boosts SEO rankings. Through guest blogging, you have the added advantage of using a publication’s readership to get to know you. Give as much value as you can in each piece. Provide actionable insights and add a link back to a landing page to attract visitors and convert them into potential leads.
A combination of all the above tactics can go a long way in increasing the volume of leads you generate. Marketers in B2B businesses have tried, tested and refined these tactics to not just get details from their visitors but also provide them with value, and increase the likelihood of them turning into paid customers in the long-term.
Have you tried these tactics? What other SaaS marketing strategies does your business use for lead generation?
Schedule a consultation session with us to understand the marketing concepts of SaaS Marketing strategies.