There’s no single tried-and-true way to grow a SaaS business.
If you put a bunch of SaaS founders in a room and ask them to list all the strategies they swear by — and all the ones that never worked for them — you’ll find an awful lot of overlap!
The same thing can be on someone’s no-no list and be someone else’s secret weapon at the same time. How do you know what will work for your SaaS marketing strategy?
That’s exactly what we’ll discuss in today’s article. For this one, we’ve collected 10 proven SaaS “best practices” that you can use to grow your brand. Read on!
Every SaaS brand has these hidden opportunities to stand out from the competition and delight their users. Things like:
- Micro-copy on your website (like form descriptions, search prompts, or calls to action)
- Transactional emails (subscription confirmations, notifications, receipts etc.)
- Placeholder text in your demos and example screenshots
Most SaaS companies never take advantage of these small but impactful opportunities. Which is a crying shame!
Next time, try injecting just a bit of personality into the smaller elements of your copy and messaging. It won’t dramatically improve your SaaS marketing strategy, but it will go a long way towards making you more memorable to potential users and differentiating your brand from everybody else’s.
2. Build word-of-mouth marketing into your product
Whether it’s B2C or B2B SaaS marketing strategy you’re interested in, it starts with having an amazing product. But that’s not enough, as we’ve discussed before.
Besides having a great product, you want to encourage existing users to spread the word about it. You probably won’t get them to run around with a giant printout of your company logo yelling, “This is amazing!” at every passerby — but you can make sure they tell their friends, or clients, or colleagues, or all of the above.
You can accomplish that in many ways, for example:
- Unlock more features for those users who send referrals your way, or share your product on social media.
- Award free months or free weeks for each new person your users refer.
- If your users make something with your product that they show to others, add your branding to it. Even a small “Powered by [Your Brand]” message goes a long way.
3. Measure more than just your leads
The number of leads and their conversion rates aren’t the only important KPIs in your SaaS marketing strategy. Other metrics might be less “sexy” (although let’s be real, there’s nothing sexier than a comprehensive marketing spreadsheet), but they convey critical information about your business.
So, alongside your leads, consider measuring:
- Your attrition rate (how many paying users cancel every month or year)
- Your sales pipeline contributions by different marketing channels
- Your customer lifetime value (how much they buy from you through the entire lifecycle)
- Revenue generated by different marketing channels or individual campaigns
- Common Conversion Actions (CCAs) that help you identify leads most likely to pay
4. Market to different stages of a user’s lifecycle
When most SaaS companies convert a lead into a paying user, they do a little victory dance and move on. It’s almost like they expect their newest users to stick around forever, perfectly loyal and ready to advocate for their brand!
That won’t happen (duh). To keep your users and to take advantage of their referrals, you will need to market to those stages of your customer’s lifecycle that happen after conversion.
That means you will want to:
- Invest in a highly effective onboarding process for new customers
- Use marketing to boost retention and reduce churn as much as possible
- Have strategies in place to encourage advocacy from your existing users
5. Create outstanding content for potential and current users
Educating and entertaining your target market, as well as your existing user base, is a great way to build a solid relationship with them. But of course, you already know that — because everybody and their mother won’t stop talking about content marketing!
But the thing is, content marketing doesn’t automatically make your SaaS marketing strategy good. Everyone is making content, and most brands are still struggling.
If you want to be the exception, make sure that:
- Your content is hyper-specific to what your target market wants to know. And if it’s for your paying users, then make it super-helpful and relevant to the problems they’re trying to solve.
- You’re producing the exact type of content your audience wants. For example, busy executives prefer video. Other customer personas might go for blog posts, slide decks, white papers, or podcasts. It’s up to you to know what your users like, and deliver.
6. If you can’t create content, sponsor it
Chances are, your target users are already fans of certain content creators. They could be YouTubers, podcasters, bloggers, social media personalities — you name it. The important thing is, these influencers already have a relationship with your target market.
And if you sponsor them, that trust between the creator and their audience will rub off on your brand. You don’t even have to think about the subject matter of the content! All that counts is that it’s relevant to your ideal users.
To get the biggest bang for your sponsorship buck, you want to:
- Offer exclusive deals to the creator’s audience (like an extended free trial).
- Measure the ROI from individual sponsorships and discard the “losers.”
- Create promotional scripts and tools for the creators if they need them.
7. Take advantage of sales enablement strategies
No doubt you’ve heard breathless stories about SaaS startups that scale to 7, 8, 9, or even 10 figures “without a dedicated sales team or a single sales rep”!
First of all, good for them! Second of all, please don’t take it as a green light to fire your entire sales team. Sensational stories aside, sales is (and always will be) one of the best marketing tools in your arsenal — especially in a B2B SaaS marketing strategy.
- Your salespeople can go after the highest-value leads, which creates disproportionately high ROI.
- Their sales cycle can be faster, and their conversion rate higher, than traditional inbound marketing.
- Your sales team can gather priceless intelligence about customer desires, goals, fears, and objections, improving your entire marketing machine.
- You can deploy them to convert important non-customers, like potential business partners.
So please-please-please support your sales team! Give them the training, the tools, and the content they need to go out there and land you high-paying customers — you’ll be glad you did.
8. Build and train a stellar customer service team
In the same vein as your sales team, customer support is one of your key marketing tools. Friction and poor customer experience are the biggest reasons you lose business — both from potential customers who never convert, and current ones who become frustrated and leave.
What’s the solution? Well-trained customer support, of course!
Note: this doesn’t mean that you should turn your support reps into salespeople instead of problem-solvers. It will backfire! No, their first and only responsibility should be helping people, whether random website visitors or long-time paying customers.
But you can — and should:
- Keep your support team in the loop about your marketing objectives.
- Educate them about the messaging that resonates with your target market.
- Teach them about retention and empower them to incentivize users to stay.
- Train them to process payments from prospects who have trouble signing up.
There’s a lot you can do to make your customer support… well, support your broader SaaS marketing strategy. Don’t neglect it!
9. Create tie-in products to market your SaaS
Creating a complementary product — such as an online course — is one of the most underrated SaaS marketing strategies. But when done right for the right reason, it can help you attract a lot more high-quality users than just a free trial.
What is the right reason? Excellent question!
If you run a SaaS company, you should never create a complementary product with the goal of creating a new revenue stream. That’s just a fortunate side-effect.
No, your main goal should be making something that helps your users succeed. Because if they succeed, they will have a powerful reason to keep using your software. They will know that it makes them money, or saves money — or time, or grief, or all of the above!
Here’s how you can use this strategy:
- Come up with an idea for a complementary product. For example, if you’re an email marketing SaaS brand, then a course on email marketing is a natural fit!
- Make the highest-quality product you can — something you could easily sell for hundreds of dollars as a standalone.
- Give away your product to everyone who buys an annual plan from you (or another high-tier plan). Use it as a selling point in your marketing, as a high-value bonus that will help your new users succeed!
10. When in doubt, ditch “best practices”
Like we said at the beginning: there are no hard-and-fast rules to developing a SaaS marketing strategy.
Sure, it can be helpful to look at what the most successful brands in your space are doing and follow their lead. But this kind of approach disappoints even more often than it pays off!
And the reason is simple: not all SaaS companies are created equal.
So when you have doubts about a “best practice” working for you, or you test one and it doesn’t perform, don’t keep trying. Ditch it, and figure out something else that will make sense for your brand, your offer, and your target market!
For example, just because everybody else is doing 30-day or 14-day free trials doesn’t mean you should. Maybe you’ll do better with a 7-day trial, or no trial at all — try a demo or a freemium model instead!
Assume nothing, test everything, listen to your target market, and trust your judgment — these are the only “best practices” that work for everyone (well, almost). Follow them and you’ll be juuust fine!
Does your SaaS marketing strategy use video? Let’s talk
If you use video marketing to grow your SaaS brand, then our experts at The Draw Shop would love the chance to audit your strategy — at no cost to you.
Give us half an hour of your time, and we’ll sit down with you, take your video marketing apart and find room for improvement. We promise you’ll walk away from us with at least one valuable takeaway that you’ll itch to implement immediately!
Interested? Then go here to book your free strategy audit