The Software As A Service (SaaS) market has grown at a rapid pace in the past few years. This quick growth is expected to continue in the future, with some analysts suggesting the SaaS market size will be worth over USD $300 billion by 2026.
The growth of the sector has been accompanied by increased competition. There are thousands of new companies entering the market, releasing high-quality software services that often exceed consumer expectations.
The increased level of competition in the sector means SaaS startups need to be more proactive in terms of marketing their business. To help you stand out from the crowd, here are some of the best ways to promote your SaaS startup.
Develop A Strong Social Media Presence
Social media is one of the best ways to promote products and services online. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram make it simple to share the details of your SaaS products, interact with prospective customers, promote special offers, provide customer service, and much more. Here are a few tips for building a strong social media presence:
- Identify your target audience and create a presence on the platforms they use
- Apply SEO techniques to your social media profiles
- Communicate in a friendly and natural way (avoid jargon and sales pitches)
- Focus on building real relationships with social media users (instead of followers)
- Post updates regularly using an editorial calendar
- Focus on helping other people instead of promoting your product
- Publish high-quality content that offers value (more on content marketing shortly)
- Use engaging forms of media including images, infographics and videos
- Participate in trending topics that are relevant to your SaaS
- Cross-promote your social media profiles with real-world marketing materials and website
Try Email Marketing
Email marketing allows businesses to send targeted and personalized content directly to consumers. It is a great way to build credibility, improve brand recognition, create consumer excitement, increase website traffic, and boost sales.
Email marketing can also strengthen your relationship with existing customers. You can use email to share useful content, inform them of improvements to your products, and promote new product launches. It’s particularly useful for sharing referral codes with loyal customers, which can drive sales. Here are a few tips for creating an effective email marketing campaign:
- Continually build your subscriber list – Email marketing only works if you have an ever-growing list of email recipients. Grow this list by promoting it on your website and marketing materials. Offer special discounts or extended trial periods for people who subscribe.
- Personalize each email as much as possible – Create unique emails based on demographics including location, consumer type, budget, and so on. You can also send customized emails based upon where the prospect is within the sales pipeline, with unique emails for users who have just signed up, completed a trial period, or made a purchase.
- Focus on providing value and skip the pointless sales emails – Once again, your focus should be on providing value to your audience. It’s much better to send an article with useful tips that help the reader rather than a sales pitch full of marketing jargon.
- Segment your audience – You will need to segment your audience so you can send each group personalized content that prompts them to take action.
- A/B test – The best way to assess the effectiveness of your emails is to A/B test, which involves sending different emails to a single segment. A/B testing can be used to assess everything from the design of the email template through to email headings and content types. Use email marketing software to assess which version of an email gets the most opens, reads, and click-throughs.
- Make your emails attractive and easy to read – Use an attractive email template that looks modern and professional. Choose a font and text layout that is easy to read.
- Include links to useful resources and a call to action – Share links to additional content that your readers will find beneficial and include several calls to action throughout the email. Each call to action should redirect to a landing page that has been optimized for the specific type of prospect. For example, if the email is sent to a business owner, the landing page should show what your SaaS product can do for business owners.
- Don’t send too many emails – The effectiveness of email marketing prompts many SaaS providers to send several emails a week. However, this can backfire, as subscribers may feel inundated. One or two well-made emails per week is all you need.
Content marketing involves creating and distributing high-quality content to attract and retain an audience. It can be used to generate sales, promote your brand, boost your online presence, help customers learn how to use your software, and establish a reputation as an authority within your chosen market.
Content marketing works particularly well in conjunction with social media marketing and email marketing. You can use these channels to send valuable content directly to consumers, which they can share with others. Content marketing is also a wonderful way to improve the SEO of your website or blog.
Here are a few simple tips for using content marketing to promote your SaaS startup:
- Focus on creating content that provides value to the consumer. Answer their questions, provide them with useful tips, and teach them how to make the most of your software
- Use several types of content, including articles, white papers, infographics, images, videos, podcasts, slideshows, eBooks, case studies, customer interviews, and so on.
- Only publish the “best of the best” content
- Write compelling headlines
- Publish new content regularly
- Focus on authenticity and honesty
- Use analytics to track the success of your content
- Repurpose content when possible. For example, if you wrote a fantastic article, consider turning it into a slideshow, podcast topic, or video.
- Target the keywords associated with your software, however, do so in a natural, organic way (no keyword stuffing)
- Research your topics well and use data as much as possible to make your content more compelling
- Develop a brand voice and use it consistently
- Attach an action to each piece of content
- If you don’t have the time to write, outsource it to a professional
This excellent guide from Quicksprout has more content marketing tips.
Submit Your Software To Online Directories
There are several large online directories which showcase software products and services. Posting the details of your SaaS products to these directories can improve your website’s SEO, increase brand awareness, and attract thousands of new customers each year. Some free and paid software directories for SaaS projects include Capterra (paid), Software Shortlist (free & paid) Software For Projects (free) and Alternative To (free).
Use Free Trials To Attract New Customers
Offering free trials remains one of the best strategies to attract new customers for SaaS offerings. Free trials can increase brand awareness and give consumers a chance to test the capabilities of your product without any financial risk. They can also be an excellent opportunity to collect feedback on your product and offer purchase incentives.
If you do decide to use free user trials, it is best to keep each trial short as it encourages users to explore the capabilities of your software immediately. Once a user has completed their trial, contact them immediately with a phone call or email, asking for feedback and providing them with opportunities to complete the sale.
Another option is to use the “Freemium” pricing model. Under this model, customers can use the basic features of your software for free but must spend money to access more advanced options. Other limitations including limited user numbers, watermarks, or restricted file formats can also be used with this pricing model.
Use A Referral Program
No one will sell your product more effectively than a satisfied customer sharing it with their friends, colleagues, and family members. Take advantage of this fact by offering a referral program that provides discounts for both your current customer and any new customers they bring in.
These programs keep existing customers satisfied and ensure your SaaS business has a constant stream of new customers coming in. Promote your referral program online via social media and email newsletters.
Search Engine Optimisation
The goal of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is to bring more traffic to your website by improving its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO involves a wide range of techniques including backlink building, keyword research, website optimization, sitemap creation, navigational improvements and much more. To learn more about SEO, read this guide from Moz.
There are many online advertising options available. Most of these options are cost-effective and deliver results fast. The most popular online advertising techniques include:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) – Your advertisement will appear in website search engine results pages and/or on third party websites. Every time a user clicks your ad, you must pay a small amount of money to the PPC program provider. Most PPC programs allow the advertiser to specify which keywords, locations, and user demographics their advertisements are associated with. This makes it easy to target your advertising campaigns precisely.
- CPM campaigns (Cost per mille) – This form of advertising also displays ads on other people’s websites. However, instead of paying for each click, you will pay for every thousand ad views.
- Social media advertising – Social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, and Instagram have their advertising platforms. You can use these platforms to target consumers who often use a specific platform.
- Affiliate marketing – Third-party affiliates will promote your product independently. They will receive a small commission every time they successfully refer a new customer to your business. There are several affiliate companies that connect businesses with affiliates around the world, including ShareASale.
- Video ads – Platforms like YouTube and Dailymotion sell video advertisements slots.
- In-game ads – If your SaaS startup is targeting a younger demographic, you can even place ads in certain types of video games.
Hire An Influencer
Influencer marketing has really taken off over the past few years. Businesses will pay a well known social media personality or celebrity to mention or use their product in a public way.
Consumers who follow the content produced by the influencer will learn more about your business and may be ‘influenced’ into subscribing to your service.
Share Customer Stories
One of the best ways to promote a SaaS startup is by sharing customer success stories. Share detailed case studies and testimonials on your website, sales landing pages and social media profiles. They are often much more convincing to prospective customers than an advertisement or list of product features.
Networking Events, Trade Shows, and Workshops
Networking events, trade shows, and workshops are an inexpensive way to share details of your product and make new contacts within your chosen industry. Before attending these events, make sure plenty of promotional material available including posters, business cards, brochures, and freebies to give away.
There you have some great ways to promote your SaaS startup. Remember to experiment with different approaches to see what works best with your business and target audience.