Digitalisation is a trend that's changing our lives. It has changed the way people consume content and share information. They want content that's relevant and addresses their needs. Inbound Marketing provides answers and in the SaaS industry, this is very important.
In this article, we will explore the top Inbound Marketing strategies for SaaS companies. We'll explain why customer retention is crucial and how Inbound Marketing helps with that. And we'll make sure you understand the contrast between a traditional and new marketing approach. In SaaS, this can make all the difference in the world.
So let's get into it and start with the basics!
Why Do I Need Inbound Marketing For SaaS?
The possibilities in the digital world haven't been fully explored yet. New products and services are becoming available to consumers and businesses. And they are all fueled by technological innovation.
SaaS is defined as on-demand software or cloud-based software that’s licensed to customers on a subscription basis.
The Software as a Service (SaaS) industry is no stranger to this. During the past few years, it has developed and expanded. While innovation and technology were always very important for a SaaS company of any size, the competition is now stronger than ever. Therefore, achieving a steady flow of new customers and retaining them on a long-term basis will be key for SaaS firms. For this, you have to know the market. And you also have to be able to speak to your audience.
All of this requires a modern approach to your marketing strategy. No more cold calling. To generate leads and enable people to find you, you have to provide real value instead. The good news is, all of these things are the benefits of a good Inbound Marketing strategy. Continue reading to find out more!
What is SaaS?
SaaS is defined as on-demand software or cloud-based software that's licensed to customers on a subscription basis. Saas companies use many different subscription models from Freemium to Pay As You Go. And their main products are usually productivity improvement applications such as Slack or MailChimp.
Software as a Service is becoming increasingly popular not only for businesses but also for all their current and potential customers. The best example is Photoshop. This product is used by people working in graphic design. Before 2012, all you needed to do was to make a one-time purchase of any version of the application.
Now, customers pay monthly for access to the app. The biggest benefit? Their app is being continuously improved and therefore easier to use. This delivery model makes it a more affordable solution in the short term as well.
SaaS applications also include customer relationship management (CRM) tools, enterprise resource planning, or geographic information systems to name a few. And many more players including those from energy or hospitality are coming into the field.
The Biggest Challenge Is Customer Retention
While SaaS companies are trying to scale and retain newly acquired customers, it's predicted that the SaaS trend will continue. What does this mean? For SaaS firms, it's desirable to keep the customers happy for an extended period of time (customer lifetime). The longer this period, the more money they can make.
But if the customers leave quickly, the cost of acquiring them is higher than the overall profit. Therefore, customer retention is vital to the success of a SaaS company. For this, you need a strategy that targets the right people in the right way. In other words, you are looking for qualified leads. And you also need to attract customers that will keep buying your product or service. This is exactly where Inbound Marketing thrives.
Inbound Marketing for SaaS
Inbound Marketing describes the digital marketing strategy that brings all of your online channels together to one ambition. Online marketing channels are email, blogging, social media, your website, and search engine optimisation (SEO).
Over the years, it has proved to be the most effective way of doing business online. Inbound helps you to build trust and maintain long-term relationships with your customers. In SaaS, this should be your priority. So how do you do this? The creation of high-quality content is key. It should speak to people at each stage of their buyer’s journey. The aim is to provide relevant information and educate.
Tip: What is the buyer's journey? It's the buying process your customers go through. It starts with awareness and consideration. And after careful evaluation, it's decision time.
Okay, but how do you measure the results? With Inbound, that's easy. You can see how many people are viewing your content. And you also see how many leads you are acquiring and what are your sales conversions. Remember, Inbound Marketing is completely online. This makes it a very flexible strategy. You can look at the data at any time and adjust your approach if things don't work. Don't expect you'll get it right the first time!
This is the theory. But before we get practical, let's compare Inbound and Outbound Marketing.
Is Traditional Marketing No Longer Suitable?
So what does a traditional way of doing marketing really mean? We call it Outbound Marketing. This approach is interruptive. And it pushes itself without being considerate. Think about your typical TV or Radio spot. In SaaS, this could be continued advertising, cold calling, or email spam. It doesn't address the needs of your customers. And it's also more expensive with a very uncertain tracking of ROI.
Inbound Marketing stands directly against this. It pulls the customers in with engaging and relevant content. Also called Content Marketing, Inbound involves creating blog posts, social media, explainer videos and other content that people want to read. As a result, it improves your sales conversions and gives you much better results.
Tip: Content Marketing establishes your brand as a subject matter expert. It helps you to build trust and increase customer loyalty. Very important for creating long-form relationships in the SaaS industry!
Now that we explained why traditional marketing no longer works, we'll move on to the most important part - Inbound Marketing strategies for SaaS.
Top Inbound Marketing Strategies for SaaS
Analyze Data And Map Your Goals
First of all, you have to understand where you stand today. How much traffic does your website generate? How many of these people end up on your landing pages? What are the actual sales conversions?
Tip: Remember, your website isn't your final destination! Watch our CEO, Paul Sullivan, talking about the easy mistake so many businesses make.
Don't forget, Inbound is a very systematic approach. All of these questions will help you to set realistic goals. And they will also enable you to benchmark your capabilities. You want to understand the metrics such as website traffic, leads generated, or sales closed. After that, set measurable and specific goals.
Tip: Your goals should be SMART. This means they are specific and measurable. But they are also attainable and relevant. And lastly, they have a set time period in which you want to achieve them.
For example, increase the number of leads generated by 30%, from 300 to 390, between January and July this year. This gives you a basis for improvement.
Define A Buyer Persona
The success of any Inbound Marketing campaign is determined by this. First, you need to spend time gaining insights about your customers. Digital BIAS use the pillars analogy.
You want to understand the decision process of your ideal customers. Along with their needs and expectations, you also want to learn about their doubts and concerns. After that, the goal is to create content that's meaningful and resonating. Always think about your personas when creating a B2B content marketing strategy. They represent the people you want to connect with.
Tip: Not sure where to start? Check out our free eBook with templates.
Create A Content Plan
Your buyer persona is developed. Now plan and schedule your content by creating a marketing calendar. What type of content will you produce? And what channels to use? Keep in mind the buyer's journey of your customers!
- It's a good strategy to start with Blogging. First, decide on topics that you like to write about. Keep in mind the purpose of your SaaS company and stay relevant. You can talk about yourself or your industry. The goal is to build trust. You want to educate and inform your customers.
- Do Keyword Research. After you've decided on your topic, it's time to identify your main keywords. You want to use both head terms and long-tail keywords.
Head terms are short and popular. Therefore, they are harder to rank for. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are much more specific. The goal with keywords is to optimize your website for search.
- Analyze Your Competition. What topics do they write about? And what keywords they choose? This can serve as an inspiration. Or you could identify unexplored areas. This is your chance to become an expert and show your knowledge.
- Write Case Studies and show your experience. Your past success matters. Don't be afraid to show it to the world.
- Long-Form Content offers more value than a blog post on your website. It could be anything from ebook to explainer videos and product tutorials.
Combined with calls to action, this should drive your engagement up. Make sure it’s easy to download your content. Calls to action (CTAs) are an essential part of any Inbound Marketing campaign. You can place them anywhere from the website to a blog post. Their main role is to convert visitors to leads.
- Optimise The Content before publishing. Search Engine Optimization is a complex topic that deserves your attention. There is no point in writing content if it doesn't reach your target audience.
Think about a concise meta description. Your subheaders should include keywords. You also want to use internal and external links. And don't forget the Image Alt Text!
Related: Looking to learn more about content optimisation and what elements of SEO to look for? We've dedicated a whole blog post to SEO for SaaS.
A Few More Words On Content
With Inbound Marketing, it's all about testing. After some time, you'll be able to assess what type of content resonates the most with your audience. A/B testing is something you will perform quite often. Variety of content builds trust. And because different people prefer different formats, it will naturally increase your engagement. Content represents your brand. Make sure to respond to the customer's needs based on what they are searching for. This increases your chances of getting qualified leads.
Social Media Marketing
Your presence on social media sites has many benefits. It's a great way to share your content and be more visible. You also get the chance to connect with your customers directly. This is something customers expect from their brands more and more. Open communication will make you stand out. Last but not least, different social media platforms offer various opportunities.
So what are the main rules of social networks you should follow? Make sure you post consistently. You don't want to disappear for days and then wonder why customers who were ready to buy went to the competition. Be available and publish your content regularly. Ideally, this will create higher engagement rates. And you'll have a chance to provide quick answers.
Tip: Besides social media, your website is a great place to initiate dialogue! Chatbots create instant communication between a customer and a company.
Make sure you post different types of content. Don't just use images and articles. Infographics, videos and quotes could be very useful too. And don't be afraid to share industry content. Many times, that's where lies a lot of good value for your prospects. Be informational. Especially at the beginning. Attract new followers by providing content that will solve their problems. Don't worry, once you have a solid fanbase, you will have plenty of time to start with promotions.
The rule of thumb on social media is to be active. Your social networking sites represent you. Use it to your advantage and create a good and realistic picture of your brand.
Where To Go From Here?
We explained what is SaaS and why is this model becoming increasingly popular. Customer Retention is one of the biggest challenges for SaaS firms. And our goal was to show how to keep your customers with Inbound.
We compared two different ways of doing marketing. And to deliver on our promise, we covered some of the top Inbound Marketing strategies for SaaS. These include Data Analysis and Buyer Persona Development. After that, we moved to the creation of a Content Plan. And we finished it off with the main rules of Social Media Marketing.
In the next article on Inbound Marketing strategies for SaaS, we'll talk about which Social Media Channels to use. We'll also spend time with Lead Generation and Landing Pages. And the final part will be dedicated to Email Marketing.
Do you work in SaaS and want to learn more? Are you interested in Inbound Marketing and the options for your business? Talk to BIAS now and book a free consultation!