No matter how good your SAAS product is, you will need a performing digital marketing plan to market your product in this saturated market. While it’s true that your product should be the core of your marketing strategy, there are other aspects of marketing that are necessary to support it.
In this guide, we will discuss five key checklists to focus on when planning a digital marketing strategy for SAAS business.
Without further ado, let us begin with the first one.
1.Understanding Your Audience
This one is obvious, after all, isn’t our SAAS product already designed for a specific audience? Yet, a lot of marketers made the mistake of overestimating their knowledge of their audience, and that mistake can be extremely costly.
There is a lot more to actually understanding your audience than targeting them, and one of the most basic approach here is to develop a buyer persona. Buyer persona, in essence, is a model portrait of your ideal customer, including their goals, the things that influence their decisions, and their behavior.
If you already have a customer base, you can analyze your gathered data to develop a more detailed buyer persona. If not you can do a competitive analysis and look at the target audience of your closest competitors. Chances are, their audience will match yours. Capture both demographic (age, gender, income level, etc.) and psychographic (interests, values, behavior, lifestyle, etc.) factors of your audience using these approaches.
Since SAAS businesses are, in general, B2B in nature, keep in mind that there can be several different decision maker roles in your target company, and each role might have different influences. In general, if you are targeting smaller companies, most likely your audience will be top executives. On the other hand, you will generally need to target mid-level managers with big, multinational companies.
2. Choosing The Right Marketing Channels
Nowadays, there are so many different marketing channels to choose from, and it can be quite difficult to choose the proper ones for your business. Since (at least the most of us) don’t have the unlimited budget to use all of them, we should make our choices.
There are several key factors to consider when choosing our marketing channels:
Price: the cost of said channel compared with its values
Scale: how large and how scalable is the channel
Targeting: how specific and flexible can be target our audience
Control: how much control and flexibility within the channel
Impact: ROI expectancy
Time: how long do we need to set up this marketing channel, and how long should we wait for results on average
Also, we should see the marketing channels from our customers’ point of view, so it will be tied to the first step above in understanding our customers:
Interview your customers, especially about the specific sites they often visit and the social media platforms they frequently use
Launch several campaigns based on that data, and wait for results
Measure conversion, and if your conversion rate is low, you are either targeting the wrong audience, or you are not providing valuable solutions for their issues
3. Building Inbound Infrastructure
Inbound marketing is now a very important aspect of SAAS marketing. Instead of pushing disruptive ads and promotional campaigns to our customers, we provide them with valuable, relevant contents to attract them to our site (and our product). Many big players of the SAAS industry are practicing inbound marketing (really well), with HubSpot and KissMetrics being just a couple of examples.
There are several key benefits of applying inbound marketing to your SAAS business:
Most of SAAS buyers are not specifically looking for a software, but rather a solution for a problem. By providing them with the solutions, you are making yourself discoverable.
Trust is a very expensive asset, and regularly publishing valuable contents will establish credibility.
Inbound marketing (and content marketing) is generally more affordable compared to traditional marketing,
So, if you haven’t, it’s time to start developing your inbound strategy. This guide by HubSpot might help you further.
4. Analyze and Measure
Now that we’ve chosen the right marketing channels to work with, it is also important to define the right KPIs for each channel, according to your marketing goals.
By measuring and analyzing the right metrics, we can figure out whether our tactics are performing as desired, and we can make the necessary adjustments when necessary.
Here are some of the most important metrics in a SAAS marketing environment;
The term “churn” refers to the number of customers who stopped subscribing or using your software every month.
Churn Rate (in percent)=(the number of cancelling customers this month)/ All customers at the beginning of the month x 100
Cost Per Lead and Cost Per Acquisition
Cost Per Lead (CPL) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) are pretty obvious: the cost to get one new lead (CPL) or new customer (CPA).
CPL= Total Marketing Cost/ Total New Leads
CPA= Total Marketing Cost/Total Acquisition
Customer Lifetime Value
The projected total revenue of a single customer during their relationship with your brand.There are many different approaches to calculate LTV, but the most basic one is:
LTV= Average revenue per customer per month x expected customer lifetime (months)
5. Planning Your Budget
In the end, marketing strategy is always about optimizing cost-efficiency to increase ROI.
There are two key factors to consider when determining the SAAS digital marketing budget: the customer lifetime value (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). Keep in mind that CAC might differ from CPA, which we have discussed above, depending on your business model.
On an ideal marketing budget, your LTV should be at least 3 times higher than your CAC. Or, you should be able to recover CAC in less than a year.
Let’s say we are going to invest on inbound marketing to generate leads. Then, we should consider the target CAC, which should be at least one third of your LTV, the lead generation rate, and conversion rate. By considering these three factors, we can determine the maximum budget we can assign for the inbound marketing.
The most important principle in planning a SAAS digital marketing strategy is that your marketing should always be aligned with your product. The five checklists we have discussed above will ensure that, and by using them, you can plan a more effective digital marketing strategy to align with your software product.
If you are going to go it alone and not work with a digital marketing agency then the above checklist will help you on your way. Further to digital marketing there are things such as search engine optimisation or more commonly known as SEO that you can action to get your product more exposure within the search engines.
If you work with an SEO digital marketing agency then be sure to run their strategy by the above checklist to ensure that you are getting the most out of your digital marketing activities.
There are now also other ways to help boost your digital marketing such as Voice Search SEO – As voice search is growing year on year, if you are unsure and looking for further reading then be sure to check out what the SEO experts think will be the big digital marketing trends in 2019.
This SAAS checklist is perfect for you if you run a SAAS digital marketing agency and are looking to grow your digital marketing activities.
Marketing a SAAS businesses can be tricky at times and there are so many different ways to turn and look at such as SEO, PPC, Video marketing and much more, but whilst these activities will generate you some sort of a return it’s important that you understand your numbers and metrics so that you understand your CPA, CPL and conversion rate so that you can more accurately guesstimate that if it costs you for example £100 to drive 100 visitors to your website and 4 of them convert to paying customers then its cost you £25 per conversion.
When you know these numbers, you are in a much powerful place and you can now look at:
Bringing that conversion cost down from £25 by increasing your conversion rate, so if you tweak your offer and suddenly of those 100 people 5 now convert, your cost per conversion comes down to £20 per person and you are getting 5 conversions instead of 4 for your £100.
You can scale up slightly and see if the maths and conversions follow, with a well-tested funnel you will get to the stage where by the numbers scale up the more money you put in, so by doubling that £100 to £200, you should see the conversions follow from your original 4 to 8 – It’s not always the case exactly but it won’t be far off.
One way to improve your SAAS digital marketing is through SEO, there may be a specialist SEO SAAS agency out on the market who specialises in this area that you could start with, but with SEO the thing to remember is that again it all comes down to testing and ROI.
There are a number of ways to generate SEO backlinks, some easy and some difficult, however SEO can often be your cheapest marketing channel, especially if you are ranking organically at the top of Google.
Your content marketing will help strengthen your saas marketing seo and if you focus on creating incredible, evergreen content, then your content will always rank well and be useful in Google.
Name: Mike Khorev
Title: Growth Lead
Company: Nine Peaks Media
Bio: Mike Khorev is a Growth Lead at Nine Peaks, a digital marketing company that helps tech, software and SaaS companies generate leads and grow revenue online. They offer expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based SEO, digital marketing, web design, social media, search engine marketing and many other online practices.