Software as a service, also known as SaaS, is a software licensing and distribution model. Here, software is hosted centrally via third-party and made accessible to consumers over the internet.
Usually, the availability is based on a subscription model. It’s one of the three main cloud computing categories in addition to PaaS and Iaas.
Ever since the idea “SaaS” was introduced, it has experienced rapid adoption by many businesses. This is mainly because SaaS provides important tools that a business needs at a highly effective cost.
Putting that in perspective, the industry is expected to reach over $80 billion by 2020. Now is the time to get involved in the SaaS market to benefit from the industry. This post will show you how you can accomplish that.
Create a Buyer Persona
Is your target audience anyone who’s interested in your product/service? If so, you’re risking failure with both your acquisition plan and pricing model.
For instance, before undertaking a search for a website acquisition, a smart entrepreneur would stop and think about what they want the website to do and how it can fit within their overall online business strategy.
Creating a buyer persona is one of the initial SaaS building steps. It helps you understand what type of product/service your market currently lacks so that you can specify your niche and deliver the best solution which a consumer is willing to pay for.
A buyer persona can also help tailor your content, promote a better understanding of your consumers, and discover which features could be of most value to them. If your SaaS business is still in the idea phase, consider interviewing your potential clients depending on the persona you’ve laid out.
However, if your SaaS product is already being used by a good amount of people and you still don’t have a buyer persona, these are questions to consider:
- Background: What are your consumer demographics (age, gender, location, etc.)?
- Relationship with your SaaS company: How did they find out about your business and why do they prefer your service or product above others?
- Making the choice: Do they search for reviews? If so, then where (Forums, YouTube, ask friends)?
Is your SaaS solution targeted towards business? Remember, people that you’re going to communicate with usually work at offices and have specific professional goals and needs. So, consider the following questions:
- Company: What’s the size of their company and what industry is it from?
- At work: What are the challenges they face throughout the workday?
- Work priorities: Which software functions and features are most useful to them, and which ones aren’t worth the effort to develop?
You can have as many personas as you want based on the business you’re running. Also, never be too afraid to start small with just a few personas.
Start with a Lean Plan
The concept “Lean Startup” was popularized by Eric Ries. Since then it has been widely adopted in many industries, especially in the technology field. It breaks away from the standard 40-page sales pitch by focusing on the one-page pitch – what truly works.
When you plan to start a SaaS development company, you first need to make sure that your business model and premise are accurate before executing your idea. This will help you to save time and resources that would otherwise have been focused on the irrelevant.
A proper lean plan for your SaaS company will contain your strategy that focuses on your sales tactics, unique value proposition, revenue model, and schedule for reaching goals.
Setup Competitive Pricing
Once you know your consumers, you can price your product/service accordingly. There are different types of pricing strategies.
This is the easiest pricing plan you can have. It consists of one product, one set of features, and only one price. Despite its simplicity and convenience, you’ll rarely see this pricing strategy among SaaS vendors. This is mainly because it doesn’t let them target multiple buyer personas, which also limits them to a narrow span of budgets, demographics, and company sizes.
This pricing model is suitable for infrastructure-based SaaS products which work with cloud computing, data, and payment services. Many small businesses with limited storage or data usage needs can use your service and pay only for what they get.
This pricing strategy is the most commonly used one, and for good reasons. It enables SaaS vendors to offer several packages, differing by features and price. The strategy not only appeals to different buyer personas but also gives the opportunity to consumers who’ve outgrown their current plans.
Adopt SaaS-specific Marketing Tricks
Email Drip Campaigns
Onboarding helps you retain your consumers and grow. You can achieve this by implementing an email drip campaign, which can be used from the first day the consumer signs up or begins their free trial.
The Email drip campaign is a marketing technique consisting of a set of automated emails that go out based on specific timelines or user actions. You may also use Gmail automation tool to send out email automatically based on a schedule. Using this email marketing strategy, you can stay in continuous contact with your customers and maintain steady engagement.
Once you set up a drip campaign, you can easily prevent the loss of consumers that fall off after the first couple of days of signing up. Most of them disappear because they don’t understand how to use the SaaS product. On top of that, some new users may not even take the product seriously due to the lack of direct engagement with you. This leads them to fall off eventually.
The key point here is to keep the new users engaged. Hence the implementations of drip campaigns. You can campaign more frequently in the beginning and then not so much but consistently after you’ve made the user known about your services.
This is becoming an essential source of lead generation for the SaaS industry. Consider making a product trial available through your website. If you’re selling to a tech-savvy audience who like experiencing the product rather than speaking with a sales rep, trials can be a great lead generation tool for you.
SaaS product trials are generally self-serve. Therefore, you can continue to generate leads with a bit of ongoing marketing investment.
Several SaaS businesses have used referrals to grow. Suppose, you have a business to sell websites. It is proven that if you use a referral program, you’ll get your website aka product sold so fast. In fact, 65% of all new business comes from referrals, according to the New York Times.
Referrals help your company grow really fast, but you need to offer incentives that trigger your existing users to refer you to other consumers for it to be more effective.
Dropbox started out offering consumers 2GB of free cloud space and an additional 650MB for each new friend you referred. People would refer to each other like crazy. And because of this hack, Dropbox is now a $4 billion company.
PayPal started out offering $10 for each signup referred to them. Consequently, it’s become synonymous with online transactions due to that hack.
The point is, you need to find a balance so that you don’t give too much away to the detriment of your service.
Focus on User Experience and Customer Service
When you start an online business, it’s extremely important for you to encourage users to share thoughts and experiences inside their circles. And your first impression should be good.
However, the first releases aren’t always flawless. The software will lag, have some bugs, and several UX decisions will expose their weaknesses after going public. Here’s what you can do:
- Eliminate critical bugs prior to launch.
- Roll out improvements in a timely manner.
- Make sure to notify users about the fixes.
- Send welcome emails and provide detailed tutorials.
- Consider assigning a personal assistant.
- Communicate with your consumers regularly.
- Asked-for advice and ongoing feedback will help improve the product and user experience.
Track Your Metrics
For many, tracking metrics may seem time-consuming. But the truth is, these numbers will only help you make informed decisions, which in turn will take plenty of the guesswork weight off your shoulders.
Knowing your key metrics will help you understand how and when is the right time to grow. Here are some benefits of tracking metrics:
- Improves your current performance.
- Ensures improvement in future performance.
- Catches things before they turn into issues.
- Gets real feedback related to your milestones.
- Helps you make decisions with confidence.
Retargeting tracks your site visitors and displays internet adverts as they visit other websites. A lot of e-commerce sites lead the way with retargeting by providing contextual offers to lure back visitors.
You can use retargeting to turn your hard-earned visitors into customers. Most retargeting software now allows marketers to target users beyond site visits. It’s a valuable tool as it gives your brand a second chance to establish trust and credibility with site visitors.
These were the best tried and tested SaaS marketing strategies to help SaaS companies plan, start, and grow.
However, as always, we recommend you test, analyze, and optimize each of the strategies explained above to see what drives the best results for your SaaS business.