Concur was the world’s first software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider. The travel and expense company started out selling expense software to computer software stores, but soon moved on from floppy disks and CD-Roms to licensing directly to major brands. The company went public in 1998, survived the crash of 2001 and went full SaaS soon after to become the largest SaaS acquisition in history.
Concur’s underdog story should give new SaaS marketers hope. With the right digital marketing strategy, you too can make a splash in this deep and populous pool.
Here is a checklist that SaaS marketers should refer to for a successful launch.
The best lesson you can learn in digital marketing for SaaS startups is to take yourself through your Goliath’s sales funnel. Every startup is a David and has a Goliath to contend with. Identify yours – if you haven’t already done so – and start digging for information online as a prospect.
Search Google for your industry’s keyword terms and fill out an interest form and speak to a salesperson if possible. Get a feel for where the prospect is taken when showing interest, and how they’re moved through the marketing funnel as they become more informed and enticed to the SaaS offering.
Most of all, be mindful of where your competitors are falling short. Then, go above and beyond with a comprehensive digital marketing campaign that offers more value than the competitors in the market.
Your website should be easy to navigate with soothing colors and upbeat language that seeks to solve target-specific problems. There should be no fluff, and your text should be formatted so that it’s easily read on any sized device.
Your navigation should be intuitive with clear menus and near-instant load times for all pages. Your photography and imagery should be crisp and spaced well in-line with the text, and your links should be clearly labeled – and they should definitely work.
One challenge that new SaaS companies experience is taking technical content and making it interesting and engaging for their target audience. Video is a perfect way to do this. It enables you to take abstract content and make it easier for your audience to understand.
Your website is an excellent place to host videos, such as a two-minute demonstration that shows and doesn’t tell. Video testimonials can also work, as social proof can drive an immense amount of interest.
Used correctly and often enough, blogging can help you get a boost in SEO while positioning you as an authority in your field. Your blogs should be educational, informative, and filled with useful tips. Anything you can give your readers to take away is a win. Just don’t forget the call-to-action, which should lead to a landing page or offer, like richer content or a free trial.
B2B companies increasingly use social to search for industry-specific products and information. Social media is low-cost, ubiquitous, and filled with qualified leads. LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, and other social tactics can help you spread the word far and wide about your new offer.
You can gather significantly more qualified leads with some well-intentioned and personalized missives in your subscribers’ inboxes. In fact, email is one of the top methods SaaS’s use to generate demand. When sending emails advertising your SaaS, focus on pain points to get your recipients’ attention.
And again, link to a landing page or offer. If your pain points are accurate, you’ll evoke strong emotions in your audience that will translate into higher open rates and more click-throughs. Be sure not to bombard your prospects with sales pitches, instead tell them a story. Explore how your SaaS can solve this problem.
Use Giveaways to Equip, Educate, and Empower Prospects & Clients
You can fortify your digital marketing campaign with some well-placed content pieces. Experiment with whitepapers and tip sheets, checklists and other educational materials like webinars and podcasts. These resources are excellent for helping your prospects and clients get a leg up in business.
But you can take your offers even further by offering videos that showcase what’s possible with your software, or tutorials for current customers, success stories, checklists, and special announcements. These elements, offered at random so you’re not causing brand fatigue, can set your software apart while building loyalty that is sure to boost your subscriber count.
Analyze Your Results
You should be using Google Analytics and Search Console for your website to ensure that there are no site errors and to ensure your digital marketing efforts are working. Only by studying the numbers and their variations over time can you hope to improve your trial-to-close rates and overall bottom line.
You now have several areas where you can pinpoint your audience and deliver a message that helps, informs and entices the subscription. Just remember that the means to more SaaS sales is to care about your customers better than anyone else. With enough effort and attention, your brand can become another Concur, blazing a trail amid all the other software services competing against you.
Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services for Elevation Marketing. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.