Did you know that over 90% of SaaS startups fail within their first three years? The primary reason isn’t the product quality, but rather ineffective marketing strategies. If you’re a SaaS marketer, this statistic might sound daunting. But don’t fret.
In this article, we delve deep into 21 actionable marketing tactics tailored for SaaS businesses. These strategies are backed by extensive research and data, ensuring that you’re equipped with the best practices in the industry.
By the end of this read, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of how to elevate your SaaS marketing game, driving more leads and conversions. We’ll cover everything from content marketing, SEO strategies, to leveraging customer testimonials. 🚀
Expect insights on content optimization, user engagement, and conversion strategies that have been tried and tested by top SaaS companies worldwide.
#1 Add “Powered by” Badge
MailChimp and Typeform, both displays their logos on free mails sent from their free users.
Intercom and Crisp add a link on their chatbots (check image).
They do it with the knowledge bases too!.
This way they get a backlink from your SaaS for free, and you can do the same.
👉 Embeds, such as these badges, can be placed in various locations like widgets on websites, invoicing footers, emails, and surveys.
#2 Add/Invest in product-led growth
- Can you offer a self-service onboarding?
- Decrease the time-to-value (aha-moment)
- Measure product usage and offer product-enabled sales activities
- Optimize conversion from active users to paying customers (e.g. opt-in, checkout, pricing, etc.)
- Retention Strategy
- How do you decrease churn (Customer Success, Training, Customer touchpoints, etc)
- How do increase revenue over time (upsell/cross-selling strategy, Pricing)
- What viral features can you add to your product to create a growth flywheel?
#3 Create Referral Program
Consider offering an affiliate program (everyone can refer new customers, e.g. content creators, consultants, etc.)
👉 Check out tools like https://www.getreditus.com/?gr_pk=q2MZ&gr_uid=eXl2, https://growsurf.com/?via=alexander-estner, https://partners.grsm.io/best-tools, to run referral and affiliate programs.
#4 Get Interviewed On Podcasts
Getting interviewed is easier than starting your own podcast.
Being interviewed on relevant podcasts allows SaaS companies to directly communicate with potential users, sharing insights, stories, and the value proposition of their product.
👉 Research and identify podcasts that align with your industry or target audience. Craft a compelling pitch highlighting your expertise and the value you can bring to their listeners.
#5 Increase your ARPA
ARPA is the average revenue per account. 10 ways to increase your ARPA: 1. Price increases 2. Nudge to higher pricing plans 3. Scalable pricing model (with the right value metric) 4. Restructure your pricing packages 5. Expansion revenue with an upselling strategy 6. Invest in activation (in combination with scalable pricing) 7. Expansion revenue by cross-selling complimentary products/services 8. Reduce churn by implementing churn alerts 9. Always remind of value (e.g. on every invoice) to reduce churn 10. Establish Account Manager / Customer Success (for mid-market) P.S. Know the difference between ARPA and ARPU (average revenue per user).
#6 Know the ‘results’ of your product
Talking about the results delivered by your product is excellent.
Do not only talk about functional results, but also emotional and social results associated with using your product.
Here are three examples:
1. Functional results:
- Close more deals (e.g higher win rate)
- Keep customers engaged (e.g. lower churn rate)
- Build a positive employer brand (e.g. faster time to hire)
- Release more features faster (e.g. increase in NPS score)
- Create nice social media assets in minutes (e.g. higher social engagement)
2. Emotional results: How your customers feel
- Feeling proud
- Feeling confident and strong
- Feeling organized
- Feeling relaxed
- Feeling smart
3. Social results: How your customers are perceived (by others)
- Increase in standing and reputation
- Being ‘seen’
- Belonging to someone
- Being Relevant
- Being perceived as professional
#7 Lead Scoring in CRM
Lead scoring gives every lead a specific value.
The scores help you to focus on the most promising leads (and get a better understanding of your leads).
Typically lead scoring is based on:
- Firmographics (company size, industry, etc.)
- Behavior (content downloads, email opened, joined the webinar, etc.)
👉 Zendesk has a https://www.zendesk.de/blog/best-lead-scoring-models-7-factors/
#8 Leverage partnerships and integrations as a form of social proof to boost product credibility.
Showcasing collaborations with major industry players can enhance trust and highlight the value of your product.
- Highlight major integrations on your landing page.
- Consider a dedicated integrations page for detailed info.
- Share success stories or testimonials related to integrations.
- Regularly update your list of integrations.
- Engage in joint marketing efforts with partners.
#9 Revamp the top 3 jobs to be done
Customers don’t buy your product because of all your features.
Actually, they don’t care.
Customers “hire” your product. They care about what’s in for them.
Your product helps them to do their job better:
- e.g. create beautiful websites/convert lots of traffic in signups/close more deals/get customers’ insights (—> Jobs to be done)
They want to feel [emotional results using your product] – e.g. healthier/more productive/smarter
👉 Revamp the 3 main jobs to be done for your ideal customer (do research, customer interviews, read reviews, etc.).
Adapt them in your customer-facing communication.
#10 Revamp the ‘above-the-fold’ section of your Website
Use the above-the-fold section of your website (section visible before scrolling down) to answer two main questions:
- How does your product help your visitor? (Main Benefit, Main Job to be done)
- What is it that you are selling?
Have a strong CTA button (Free Trial or Talk to sales) and include the main benefit of your product.
Add notes like ‘no credit card required’ or ‘get started in 5 minutes’ to counteract common objections.
#11 Revamp your (2-sided) referral program
What’s important about a referral marketing program:
- Customer segmentation:
Track your customers’ NPS score and product usage and only target your happy customers
- Timing & frequency:
Ask your customers for referrals at the right time (not straight after the signup, give them some time to experience your product and become happy customers). Think about triggers in your customer journey where customers are happy with your product and willing to refer your product.
- Referral incentive:
What is the referral bonus (cash vs. free product usage vs. other perks) and who gets the bonus when? Make sure it’s transparent and use a two-sided referral program and incentivize both parties (the referrer and referred).
- Communication & messaging:
Figure out the right messaging and best channels (in-product, email, phone…) to ask for referrals; create rules on when (triggers) and how often you ask for referrals
- Technical Set-Up:
Check out tools like https://growsurf.com/?via=alexander-estner, https://partners.grsm.io/best-tools or https://www.getreditus.com/?gr_pk=akrp&gr_uid=J1qE to run referral and affiliate programs.
#12 Revamp your 1-sentence value proposition
Your 1-sentence value proposition is key for all your sales and marketing communication.
👉 We enable/empower/help [ICP] to [Main Result] by [Solution]
👉 We, [company XYZ], create software/platform for [ICP] that enables/empowers/helps them to [Main Result] by [How]
👉 My/our product/service helps [the target group] who want [jobs to be done] by [minimizing a pain] and [maximizing a gain] unlike [your competitors]
#13 Revamp your Sales Funnel
Product-led growth: Lead —> signup —> active user/PQL —> paying user —> successful user sales-led growth: Lead —> MQL —> SQL —> customer —> (active customer & succesful customer) 1. Measure conversions 2. Decide on activities and how to move them through the funnel (e.g. sales demo, email campaign, in-product messages…) 3. Don’t stop with ‘paying’ customers – invest to make them ‘successful paying customers’ – this means defining what a successful paying customer is for you and optimizing your activities to get them to this stage.
#14 Segment signups in the signup flow (custom questions)
You can try to segment new signups based on:
- Lead Sources
- Goals (e.g. ask them what their goal is)
- Company size
- Pricing plan
#15 Sell Benefits, Not Just Features
- Focus on What Matters to Users: Understand that users are more driven by the benefits they receive rather than the features you offer.
- Define Clear Value: Benefits provide a more tangible value. For instance, instead of saying “Advanced Encryption”, say “Secure and Worry-Free Data Protection”.
- Address Core Desires: Emphasize benefits that align with desires like more Love, Money, Acceptance, and Free Time, and reduce Stress, Conflict, Hassle, and Uncertainty.
- Tie Features to Benefits: While features can still be highlighted, always connect them back to the benefits they provide to ensure the user understands the value.
#16 Social proof/testimonials – Pricing Page
#17 Social proof/testimonials – Signup/ account page
Add social proof also on your signup/create account page.
#18 Social proof/testimonials – Welcome email sequence
Add social proof also in your welcome email sequence.
As long as signups haven’t converted to paying customers you still need to ‘sell’ – so the social proof is key. This could be sharing a case study or product reviews.
#19 Survey non-converting leads
An (early-stage) SaaS startup should ask every signup who is not converting to paying for feedback.
Here is how you can do it:
- Trigger an email sequence (e.g. founder is reaching out to learn what’s missing for them to convert)
- Create a super simple survey form (collect feedback in your CRM)
- Outreach via phone (if you are sales-led)
- Based on the reason you can proactively offer a solution for that, e.g.:
- Product was too complex —> offer a free training session
- Too expensive —> restate your value proposition and offer a discount
- Trial was too short —> Extend the free trial for 14 days
You will collect lots of valuable feedback that lets you optimize your product, your messaging, your pricing, etc.
P.S. Of course you should do the same for churns. Have a churn customer email automation (asking for churn reason) + reach out to them via phone.
In summary, effective marketing is the lifeblood of any SaaS business. By implementing the 21 actionable tactics discussed, you’re not just ensuring the survival of your business but setting it up for exponential growth.