Do you know one thing that’ll suck your revenue in buckets? Marketing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup, unicorn, or old-gen company.
According to Insivia, SaaS startups invest 80 to 120 percent of their revenue in sales and marketing in the first five years of existence. Another report shows how internet sales-driven companies devoted 65 percent of Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to marketing. This only indicates more companies are dedicated to making the most of their niche markets through marketing.
Like paid advertising, B2B SaaS marketing has many competitors but declining opportunities. Many companies have millions of dollars in funding to fuel their marketing budget and experienced sales or marketing teams to champion their success.
So, you see, the SaaS market is fiercely saturated. How do you navigate industry challenges to promote your B2B SaaS company to the right people? This guide will help you create a successful B2B SaaS marketing strategy for your business.
What is a B2B SaaS Marketing Strategy?
A B2B SaaS marketing strategy is a business plan of action designed for SaaS products to generate more revenue. The strategy involves making the products reach their target audience. It also moves the target audience down the SaaS marketing funnel until they become a frequent subscriber of the product.
A typical B2B SaaS sales funnel involves; driving quality traffic, registering for a free trial, and closing sales.
Here’s an illustration of a B2B marketing funnel:
What makes a SaaS B2B marketing strategy different from other marketing strategies?
Their product and pricing approach. SaaS products are often subscription-based. Traditional digital marketing products are one-time purchases. However, you’ll see other differences in their key performance indicators.
Excellent marketing for SaaS strategy improves the SaaS key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs include; customer acquisition costs (CAC), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), net promoter score (NPS), churn rate and funnel conversion rate.
Top 7 B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies
Before discussing effective SaaS marketing strategies for your B2B company, remember that these strategies are not a one-size-fits-all thing.
You must first define your goal and develop your marketing plan to harness your core business strengths.
Here are ways to market your B2B SaaS products and services.
1. Know Your Target Audience
Your target audience refers to people willing to pay for your SaaS products. Creating a buyer persona is the best way to know your target audience.
A buyer persona is a data-based profile that allows you to learn about your ideal buyer’s problem and identify practical solutions for them.
Creating a buyer persona requires collecting your prospects’ data through interviews, surveys, and contact forms.
There are different structures of buyer personas. Yet, it must contain information relating to background, demographics, goals, challenges, and organization.
Having a buyer persona will help you access your ideal clients faster and enables you to identify specific customers’ needs.
2. Invest In and Grow Your Referrals
Referrals are a proven way to market your SaaS products. According to Philipp Schmitt’s report, people are four times more likely to buy when referred by friends. Your customers are ambassadors of your product.
When your business thrives on referrals, you save customer acquisition costs and get a better conversion rate.
Some popular SaaS companies that took advantage of SaaS referral marketing strategies are Trello, Paypal, and Evernote.
Paypal used referrals to grow its user base to 100 million members, and Trello used referrals as its primary marketing strategy. On the other hand, Evernote gathered 13 million users through its referral campaign.
With Evernote’s referral program, users earned points that they could convert to a three-month premium subscription.
A good referral marketing strategy starts with having a superb product. No customer will refer a friend to your product if it is terrible.
Choose the right incentives, too. The incentive may be money, access to an exclusive feature, or extended product usage. Just ensure that it is enticing and aligns with the product.
To grow your referrals, ensure an easy referral process. Also, use a good referral program for implementation.
3. Leverage SaaS Review Sites
SaaS review sites are platforms that allow customers to read and write reviews of each SaaS software. Most potential customers go on these sites to decide what product is best for their business.
When your product gets excellent reviews on SaaS, you may attract major decision-makers willing to spend 31 percent more on your business.
Increase your net promoter score (NPS) to promote your product on these sites. NPS is a survey that measures customer satisfaction and loyalty based on a 0-10 scale. For SaaS, a good NPS score is anything above 40.
Aside from being a valuable feedback tool, the NPS metric gives you an insight into the amount of “promoters” that may be willing to leave an online review for your business. It also helps you identify dissatisfied users and the specific problems that could make them churn.
Quality reviews from existing customers create a positive impression on potential clients, thereby growing your business. Here’s a Trello user review on G2:
Keep in mind that reviews on sites like these are unpaid. Hence users can give honest ratings about the product.
You can promote your SaaS products on G2, Capterra, GetApp, Software Advice, SaaSGenius, etc., to get more exposure, social proof, and authority.
4. Offer Eye-Catching Deals
Everyone likes a good deal — or at least, the idea of one. That’s why many businesses that run deals on popular event days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or festive periods, see a boost in sales.
Business decisions aside, your B2B clients are just like their B2C counterparts. They want to get value (and perhaps, save money) on deals. These deals don’t necessarily mean a discount but could be an upsell for increased sales.
For instance, LambdaTest, a cross-browser compatibility tool, offered a 20 percent discount on live testing annual plans on holidays.
You can include a time frame to make your deals more effective. Or offer discounts and promotions for your first-time buyers. Since the sales cycle is longer, you must be patient as other groundwork market strategies attract buyers to you.
5. Paid Digital Advertising
Some marketers confuse paid digital advertising as a more expensive form of customer acquisition. However, that’s not always the case.
Like paid digital advertising, generating organic traffic will take some money out of a company’s purse. But lots will also be invested in content marketing and on-page and off-page SEO activities. So, it all depends on playing your cards right.
A successful SaaS marketing strategy uses organic and paid digital advertising to reach your target audience. Organic search drives traffic to your website, while paid digital advertising attracts qualified leads. It’s also a faster approach to promoting your brand.
When investing in paid digital advertising, ensure that you focus on branded ads, monitor the proper conversion metrics, and utilize a few traffic channels.
6. Offer Free SaaS Trials
A free trial is one of the best ways to let potential customers learn about the benefits of your products. You can increase your prospects’ sign-up rates with free trials and convert them into paid users.
For instance, Moz’s free trial gives the user 30-day free access:
However, if your main aim is to collect names and emails, consider a free trial strategy without collecting credit card information. Conversely, if your company prioritizes conversions, requesting credit card information upon sign-ups is okay.
7. Formulate an Action Plan
A marketing plan makes execution easier and takes prospects on a journey to becoming paying customers.
The SaaS marketing funnel is complex and designed to accommodate long-term wins rather than quick wins. With this in mind, your action plan must be adaptable and built for long-term market fit, goals, and demand.
Consider these factors as you formulate an action plan for B2B SaaS marketing;
- Your long and short-term marketing goals. Do you want to increase annual revenue growth? Increase market share?
- Marketing budget. Using the assigned figures, do ballpark math for your campaign. A successful SaaS marketing initiative should have a higher ROI in relation to its input. You’ll want to set up automation systems.
- Buyer personas and their most preferred channels. Consider social channels. If your industry has an out-of-the-norm community, you’ll want to check that out too.
Using a survey, ask existing customers where they heard about your business. With the correct information, you can maximize your SaaS marketing efforts fully.
After considering the above factors, set a goal timeline, and define your resources. Then create and communicate a framework for your marketing team. The action plan must account for budget, human resources, and tools.
Ensure that this framework is accessible to everyone, including external stakeholders, so no department slacks. When your plan kicks off, test, tweak, and re-prioritize as necessary.
Now the stage is set with other groundwork SaaS marketing strategies, let’s take a deep dive into strategizing with inbound marketing for lead generation.
How Can You Strategize with Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing plays a vital role in the efficacy of your B2B SaaS marketing strategy. The whole point is to develop a system that brings prospects to you instead of you to them.
An inbound marketing strategy generates leads from sources and nurtures them into customers. When these leads trust your brand, you can then convert them. It helps you establish a relationship with prospects to create a brand preference.
Adopt the following inbound marketing strategies for your SaaS B2B business:
A podcast is an audio content marketing strategy focusing on specific topics or themes in every episode. Podcasts can serve as an effective inbound channel for your SaaS business as it builds relationships with your audience.
Before starting your SaaS podcast, define your podcast strategy, purpose, and value to share.
Also, identify your target audience and their motivations for keying in. That’ll give you ideas on relevant topics, increasing your chances of attracting an ideal audience.
To maximize podcasting for sustainable inbound marketing, your podcasts must;
Have a Podcast Identity
Your B2B SaaS podcast must be relatable to a group of people; else, it defeats the purpose. Show your podcast identity with cover images that communicate your business offerings.
Ensure the colors and cover designs are consistent with your B2B business identity on other marketing channels so it’s recognizable and leaves a lasting impression.
Focus on High-Value Content
As more B2B SaaS businesses leverage podcasts as a marketing strategy, you must stand out. Brainstorm engaging ideas that attract listeners and supplement your podcasting goals.
Your content has to take on a unique perspective from the norm. If you don’t have everything figured out, invite subject experts to the podcast and have your listeners ask them questions on a particular topic you’re discussing. That will improve engagement and provide value.
Optimize for Search Engines
Optimize your podcasts for Google and podcast delivery platforms like Apple and Spotify podcasts.
Use Google Analytics to identify keywords your audience uses to find your products. Then, include these relevant keywords in your podcast title, metadata, and transcript, so episodes are easily searchable by humans and search spiders.
Promote on Social Media
Promote your podcasts on social media by posting helpful tips for your prospects. It shows you understand their challenges and care enough to help solve them. This can also help establish a trust-based relationship and increase the chances of conversion.
See how Buffer promotes their new podcast episode on Twitter.
Like Buffer, you’ll want to identify key social media channels to see success. Plus, spreading yourself thin on multiple social platforms isn’t wise, either.
Do your research and promote your podcasts where your customers likely are to give feedback and boost brand awareness.
2. Value-Driven Written Content
SaaS marketers can generate inbound leads by creating great content that interests your target audience. The goal is to create content that business founders and critical decision-makers will find interesting.
How to do this?
- Be unique, and say what you need to say hard and fast. If it’s going to take 1000 words to convey your message, don’t make it a 2500-word blog post.
- Back up facts with data. Data-driven articles are valuable to SaaS audiences because they’re rich and offer a unique perspective to generic information. These posts are also likely to drive organic inbound links to your website. Win-win.
- Hold interviews with high-profile people in your industry. They’ll share invaluable information you can curate for your posts. Keep your questions interesting, brief and succinct. Why? There are probably a dozen other SaaS marketers asking similar questions. Yours must stand out.
- Share thought-leadership content. Usually, this kind of content is long, sometimes “boring,” and isn’t SEO-type content. But it’s effective for inbound marketing.
Thought leadership content refers to marketing materials (not necessarily blogs) that share earned secrets, experiences, or industry perspectives to influence an intended audience. It positions and aligns your SaaS businesses as the best in the field, lending credibility to your product or service.
For this reason, thought leadership content is shareable and valuable in your SaaS marketing funnel to attract new prospects.
Avontus Software, a scaffolding software company, educates its B2B audience through insightful digital reports.
Their State of Scaffolding Technologies report provides valuable insights into upcoming industry technologies, investment trends, and digital solutions.
All of these position Avontus Software as an industry leader to potential B2B prospects.
Ultimately, your content creation strategy must have various content assets to be effective for SaaS marketing. You’ll also want to distribute your written content to different funnel stages where they’ll have the most impact.
3. Scale Your Google Ad Campaign
Google Ads can be an intricate and valuable part of your customer acquisition strategy.
Though this strategy can burn through your marketing budget like a hot coal, Google Ads campaigns are intent-based. That means that leads that come to you are already pre-qualified by searching for relevant queries related to your B2B SaaS offerings.
That brings us to three main issues; Google Ads are insanely competitive, expensive, and hard to scale.
Why? Several businesses are competing in a hyper-competitive market with limited high-intent traffic supply. The result? Expensive cost-per-clicks and more challenging chances of scaling your Google Ad campaigns.
So, what to do?
Step 1: Refine Your PPC Campaign Budget
First, have your marketing team reallocate your pay-per-click budget.
You can do this by checking your Lost Impression Share (IS). This metric shows you how much you missed out on due to budget limitations. If you increase the daily budget of your PPC campaign, your Lost IS will reduce.
Step 2: Perform an Opportunity Analysis for Your Google Ads Campaign
Google Ads has several moving parts, with keyword research only being a part of it. An opportunity analysis will help you identify opportunities in your campaign that’ll help you scale.
Ultimately, a thorough opportunity analysis will reveal;
- Campaign-level opportunities by showing you the best and worst performing metrics
- Ad group-level opportunities by showing you the ad group costing the most or driving enough conversions.
- The monthly traffic available for the keywords you choose.
- The estimated costs per new customer,
- Potential monthly recurring revenue (MRR) if you know your backend conversion metrics.
- Ways to improve quality score
Holistically analyze the information gathered and consider your campaign goals as you make changes. Monitor these changes to see if they’ll yield positive results; if not, consider a different approach.
Step 3: Identify New Search Terms/Keywords and Gauge Their Performance
Identify and bid for relevant competitor keywords as well as branded keywords. Focus on a few keywords at first so you don’t run thin.
Next, study your search terms report. That will show you a list of search terms that trigger your ads on Google. The report also shows you the performance of specific ad campaigns or ad groups, making it a valuable resource that aligns your ads with customer interest.
Run a keyword performance analysis to filter out low-performing keywords and search terms. It’s best to pause or remove those keywords entirely.
You also want to create a negative keyword list to serve as a filter for irrelevant traffic. The negative keyword list will streamline your spending, only ensuring you get clicks from relevant leads.
Step 4: Adjust Campaign Targeting
Scale the location, language, and time your ads run. If you can provide SaaS products and services on a larger scale like states or countries, then do it.
Selecting many languages will tell Google Ads to target more users. That displays your ads to a larger target market and increases your lead generation. Select the best time your target customers will be online so your ads are effective.
Retarget previous site visitors with remarketing. The remarketing list for search ads (RLSA) is a Google Ads feature that allows you to target previous site visitors. With this, you can show ads to custom audiences likely to convert.
Regardless of how good your Google Ads account is, your campaign will flop without an optimized landing page. So, ensure your website or ad landing pages are optimized for the right keywords and match the campaign objective.
4. Run Effective Facebook Ads
Many SaaS marketers might write off Facebook as a non-viable marketing channel. But here’s the thing: targeted social media ads on Facebook can be a powerful lead generation tool for your SaaS company. For example, Touch Bistro generated 200% more leads through Facebook.
While key decision-makers will not subscribe to your service or product on Facebook, you can use the platform to drive traffic to your landing pages and generate leads.
First, fix your ad messaging and audience targeting issues to get inbound marketing results with Facebook ads for SaaS. Address your B2B SaaS copy to a specific buyer persona to grab their attention.
You also want to create and promote top-of-the-funnel content to help brand awareness and build a loyal audience. The lead magnet must be relevant and persuasive, whether it’s a guide, report, or ebook.
Then, depending on campaign objectives, target one or all of these four advanced audience options;
- Custom audience based on behaviors and interests
- Retargeted users with available pixel data
- Lookalike audiences based on data like email addresses and contacts you have for prospects and customers
- Specific people in target account lists. E.g., account-based marketing.
The comprehensive data in the audience profiles allow you to set up lead magnet campaigns that target pre-qualified prospects directly, increasing clickthrough rates.
Secondary Elements of B2B SaaS Marketing
Besides the marketing channels discussed above, you can track and promote your SaaS products through other non-conventional means.
1. Actionable Growth Hacking Strategy
Growth hacking strategies help you focus on creating and testing ideas to see what works in scaling revenue.
Unlike the other B2B SaaS marketing strategies discussed above, you may only employ growth hacking when there’s a product-market fit. In other words, when trying to scale your SaaS business and boost conversions.
The question is: does experimental growth hacking work for SaaS marketing? The answer is Yes. But, you’ll be prioritizing growth over all other marketing metrics.
Here are ways to hack your SaaS B2B business growth;
- Build your email list: Use subscription-based marketing newsletters to create a B2B email list. Then invite email subscribers to reply to your emails with questions. By opening up email communications, you improve email engagement and boost interaction.
- Hire an email marketing expert. They’ll help streamline your email marketing campaign efforts to qualified personas, thus increasing the chances of conversions and business growth.
- Boost reach with digital PR: Traditional press releases won’t give you the kind of ROI you need for SaaS. Instead, digitize your PR strategy to get organic backlinks, coverage, and more leads.
- Partner With Influencers: B2B SaaS brands can also use influencer marketing to promote their products. Go for micro-influencers. They make things happen with their “small but mighty followers” that are loyal and engage with posts. As a result, you could win their followers over.
Consider having your sales team offer free trials with a twist to attract customers.
Try the freemium model, where some product features are free, but customers must pay to access other functions. This technique will increase product-sign ups, but it’s left for you to turn these leads into customers.
Other growth hacking strategies you can try are product integration with other apps, listing on startup directories, driving targeted traffic by sharing unique tips on Reddit and Quora, referral marketing, etc.
2. Marketing Analytics
Simply watching your revenue increase or decrease won’t help you improve and adapt your landing pages, content, or paid marketing campaigns. Without a marketing analytics tool like Google Analytics, it’s impossible to monitor campaign performance.
Marketing analytics tracks KPIs and provides feedback on your SaaS marketing efforts. By doing this, you find the leading cause of changes in performance and make improvements.
Your company reaches the right customers faster and spends less time and money tracking results. That makes marketing analytics an essential channel for B2B SaaS marketing.
Effective SaaS marketing strategies depend on your target market, product/service offerings, and overall business goals.
Establish a solid online presence, and develop clear, compelling content to attract your ideal audience. Also, optimize your site for SEO to complement other B2B marketing strategies you’ve set in place and maximize returns.
Along with organic SaaS marketing, adopt paid marketing techniques too to boost lead and customer acquisition. Incorporate these tips into your B2B SaaS marketing strategy to be on your way to success.