5 Digital Marketing Strategies for SaaS Companies

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The SaaS industry is growing fast — worth $145.5 billion in 2021, – and expected to reach $172 billion in 2022. As the industry grows, so do the number of SaaS products and businesses. So how can you set your business apart from the crowd, and how can you compete with industry leaders like Adobe, Salesforce and Dropbox?

It’s completely possible for you to make your mark in the SaaS industry by supporting your product with an excellent and strategic marketing strategy.

We’ll be covering the best tactics you can use to promote your SaaS company, including:

  1. Creating an in-depth content marketing strategy
  2. Harnessing the power of free trials
  3. Optimising your website for SEO
  4. Turning your website into a conversion machine
  5. Hitting your audience with a top-notch email marketing campaign.

Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot — you don’t have to start doing all five of these right away. Decide which are most important to you and work through them in priority order.

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Content Marketing Strategies for SaaS Companies

It’s important to remember that as a SaaS company, you’re servicing a certain industry. The people in this industry might not know they need your software just yet, but they will likely be asking questions related to your product and industry.

Getting them onto your website via these types of questions is a great way to expose them to your software.

Let’s take Monday, for example. They refer to their product as a “work OS“. That sounds really cool, but are people searching for the term “work OS“?

A screenshot of a google trends graph for the searches work OS, project management and CRM. Work os has nearly no searches, whereas project management and CRM have lots of searches

No, they’re not. But they are searching for terms related to the service Monday offers  project management tools and CRM systems.

So how do Monday get customers when they call their product a name that no-one is searching for?

They do this using content marketing.

Monday created a complete guide to project management, which they can use to bring in traffic from search terms such as “project management guide“.

Screenshot of Monday's project management guide

Not only is this guide useful, but it also gives Monday the chance to pitch the project management aspect of their “Work OS“.

Screenshot of a call to action Monday include in a blog post

They include calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout the guide, letting readers know that if they decide they want to use project management software, Monday offers this service.

They have blogs and guides focusing on different aspects of their business, bringing in people who might not know what they offer but are in the market for their products.

It’s important when creating your content marketing strategy to really consider whether your ideal customers will know what to search for when searching for the software you offer.

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If you want to call your product a different name, such as Monday’s “Work OS“, you need to remember that most people won’t be searching for that. Make sure you have enough blog content on your website so your customers can find you. Maybe in a few years, everyone will be searching for a “Work OS“, but right now, that’s not the case.

You can use a keyword tool like Semrush* or Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool to check the search volume of different keywords relating to your business.

Screenshot from Semrush showing the keyword volume for crm,165,000, project management software, 22,200 and work os, 590

SaaS companies also have the challenge of making customers aware they have a problem that needs solving, or that there’s an easier way of doing things. You know that your software will make their lives easier, but they might be clueless.

Let’s use Dropbox as an example.

Their main offering is file storage. In a world that is becoming more digital, many businesses have adopted flexible working or the work-from-home model, and people may not have access to a server when working from home.

At this stage, they want to move files around but don’t know that Dropbox exists. They search Google for “document sharer“, and Dropbox serves them with this page:

Screenshot of a page from the Dropbox website. The header text reads "stress-free file sharing"

They’re now aware they can get “stress-free file sharing” from Dropbox. With a well-optimised page, Dropbox now has a new customer.

(This Dropbox page isn’t particularly well optimised for sales, but we’ll cover how to ensure your website is optimised for conversions later in this guide.)

There are so many different types of SaaS companies out there that it would be impossible to list every topic you could cover for your own SaaS company.

We can, however, share a few examples of blog post topics to inspire your informational content.

  1. What is a CRM?
  2. What’s the best accounting software?
  3. How to manage a team
  4. Should I use a CMS for my small business?
  5. Which is the top HR software?

We can also teach you to do killer keyword research to ensure you know exactly what your customers are searching for, and how you can get them on your website.

The Power of Free Trials in SaaS Marketing

Free trials are your super-power as a SaaS company.

Your customers will likely want to spend a bit of time with your product before committing to purchase, and a no-obligation, no-credit-card-required free trial is the perfect way to go.

But isn’t half the point of a free trial to get customer details so you can follow up with them later?

Of course it is. But you can do that without requiring their card details, and follow up with them without their phone number.

You want to make your free trial process as low friction as possible. Limit the information you ask for when someone is signing up for your free trial.

Once they’ve registered, you can send a follow-up email asking if they’d like someone to talk them through it. This is a much better way to get your customer on the phone than calling randomly when they might not have time for you.

If they take you up on this call, you have the opportunity to show your software off to its full potential and give them a more tailored experience based on their job role and industry.

If they turn down the call, it could be they want to experience your software for themselves, and ask questions at a later date. Send follow-up emails throughout the free trial asking how they are getting on, and if they have any questions.

Bonus Tip

You can offer an additional incentive to free trial users by offering a discount once their trial ends. It’s worth putting a deadline on this offer so they are more willing to convert sooner. For example, “Get 25% off your first year” if they purchase within 30 days of their trial ending.

SEO-Led Strategies for SaaS Companies

To get potential customers to your website, you need to have a good SEO strategy in place. This will help you get free, organic traffic from search engines and, when done well, can result in a steady flow of traffic for years to come.

Search engine optimisation helps your website appear in Google’s search results. If you create high-quality content, whether that’s well-designed landing pages or detailed guides, you’ll have a better chance of reaching the top of Google.

Google’s algorithms are complex and change by the hour, but there are some tactics you can use to give yourself the best chance of ranking.

Keyword Research

As discussed in the content marketing section — keyword research is extremely important.

It’s vital to target keywords in the industry that your software is for, as well as to use common terms your ideal customers are searching for.

If you describe your project management software as a “productivity powerhouse“, that’s nice, but no one will be searching for that when looking for a project management software.

How to Do Keyword Research

Step 1. Make a list of topics related to your software. If you offer accounting software you already have a keyword to start with — “accounting software“.

You can then expand on this, depending on the more niche aspects of your business. For example, “accounting software for small businesses“.

You may also come up with some keywords with different intent.

Buy accounting software” shows purchase intent  they’re ready to buy.

Top 10 accounting software in 2022” shows commercial intent they’re comparing products similar to yours.

What is accounting software” shows informational intent they want to learn more about products similar to yours.

It’s tempting to only focus on purchase-intent keywords, but most of your traffic will come through informational searches. It’s how you handle those search queries that will improve your chances of converting that visitor.

Step 2. Find keywords your site is already ranking for. If you have a site set up already, you can use a tool such as Semrush* to see which terms you are ranking for. If you don’t have a site just yet, or you feel like your existing one needs an overhaul, why not request a free, no-obligation quote from our wonderful web development team?

This will give you an idea of the terms people search for when they land on your website.

Note: you can filter your organic keywords to see the types of questions searchers are asking when they land on your website. For this search, we filtered by informational keywords with a search volume of between 10,000 and 100,000, that include the term “what”.

Screenshot of informational intent keywords that Salesforce is ranking for

Step 3. Find keywords your competitors are ranking for. Again, you can do this easily using a tool like Semrush. Input your competitor’s website URL, and the tool will bring up a list of keywords your competitor is ranking for, as well as the pages that are ranking for those keywords.

Pay close attention to the type of content that is ranking if they are ranking for a guide, you’ll want to create a better, informative guide based on that keyword. If a product page is ranking, you’ll want to optimise a product page for that keyword.
This is a super simple way of doing keyword research. If you want to learn to do keyword research like a pro, check out this guide.

Content Marketing for SEO

As discussed earlier, your content marketing strategy is a key element of SEO. When it comes to SaaS digital marketing, you want to share lots of detailed guides on your product and the industry your product serves. We’ve previously taken a SaaS company from $0 to a $33 million exit using the power of content.

You can use your keyword research as a springboard for this. Often, longer keywords work well for long-form content, such as a blog or guide. It makes more sense to create a guide on “how to improve team productivity” than awkwardly fitting that keyword onto a product page.

As well as the keyword research techniques used above, you can also use tools such as Also Asked or Answer the Public to see the questions your customers are asking around a keyword.

Results from Also Asked for project management

You can then use these questions, or a variation of them, to form a basis for a blog or guide.

By searching the term “project management” on Also Asked, we already have a lot of blog titles to work with, including:

  • What is project management?
  • What are the five stages of project management?
  • What are the four types of project management?
  • What are the basics of project management?
  • Why is project management important?
  • Why do projects fail?

By targeting the questions your ideal customers are actually asking, there’s a higher chance of getting them onto your website and converting them into a loyal customer.

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Optimise Your SaaS Company’s Website for Sales

Your website is your most powerful sales-person. You don’t want potential customers to land on your site, get confused about what you offer, and then leave, never to be seen again.

Here are some common mistakes we see on SaaS websites and how to fix them.

Mistake 1. A vague header with something like “Simplify your life” or “Streamline your business“.

Don’t talk in riddles. Tell your customer exactly what it is you sell.

How do you fix this?

The world’s most powerful accounting software” or “Project management software for small businesses” works far better. Your visitor can gather from that one line what your software does and whether it’s the type of software they are looking for.

Here’s an example of a good header from Teamwork. Right away, you know they provide project management software.

Screenshot of a landing page on Teamwork. The header is "Project management software that works for you"

Mistake 2. Too much choice. It’s great that you offer multiple package options for businesses of all sizes, different industries, and budgets…but if you present them all at once, people will get confused.

It’s a known fact that humans find it harder to make a choice when there are too many choices in front of them.

How do you fix this?

Let’s say you offer six different packages for businesses. See if you can cut this down to three one for small businesses, one for medium and one for large. You can have a fourth option offering a tailored solution for larger businesses too.

Shopify offers three different plans Basic, Shopify and Advanced. They also cover their Shopify Plus and Starter plans, but they make these smaller on the page as fewer customers go for them.

Screenshot of Shopify's plans

Mistake 3. Website “innovation“. We totally get this you’re a tech company, and you want to show that off on your website. But don’t let this become a barrier to your customer converting. If they have to search for your contact details because you wanted to put them in a quirky place, or they don’t understand how to navigate your site, you’ll lose a customer.

How do you fix this?

Look at other SaaS websites and see how they have laid things out. You can also look at successful sites in other industries for inspiration. Across nearly all industries, certain elements will be in the same place, such as contact details often being in the top right corner of the site.

Testing your site with people is important too. Ask people to use your site and tell you how easy it was. If you notice a pattern of complaints beginning to emerge, it’s likely time to make adjustments to your site.

Email-Marketing-Led Strategies for SaaS Companies

As a SaaS company, you have a huge opportunity you can offer regular advice and insights on the industry that your software is for.
This means you can run regular email marketing campaigns to your email subscribers on topics in your industry. If your mailing list offers value, more people will want to join.

We covered earlier how you can get emails by offering a free trial of your software, but there are potential customers who won’t be ready for a free trial just yet.

You can encourage them to join your mailing list, but please, call it anything other than a mailing list.

Tell them what they will actually get. If your newsletter is a weekly five-minute read all about productivity hacks, make that clear from the start.

Screenshot of the email list CTA on Marketing Examples. The text reads "Get 6 new tips in your inbox every other Monday"

Example from marketingexamples.com

The purpose of this mailing list is to keep your company name in people’s inboxes, and their minds and to cultivate them into making a purchase. In your emails, you can include information about your software and how it can make their lives easier. Just don’t over do it remember, it’s a useful newsletter, not a sales pitch.

You can automate your email marketing to give your subscribers a more personal experience. You can use email automation to send subscribers information about the topics they’re interested in.

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Recap: Digital Marketing for SaaS Companies

This isn’t an exhaustive list of every tactic you can use in your SaaS marketing strategy, but these are the ones we know to get you the best results when done right. You don’t have to do them all at once. Pick the one you believe will have the biggest impact on your business and start there.

If conversions are low, you’ll want to start with conversion optimisation.

If you’re getting conversions but struggling to get visitors to your site, SEO may be the best place to start.

Let’s check in again with these five marketing strategies:

  1. Creating an in-depth content marketing strategy
  2. Harnessing the power of free trials
  3. Optimising your website for SEO
  4. Turning your website into a conversion machine
  5. Hitting your audience with a top-notch email marketing campaign.

What to Read Next

*Some links within this article are affiliate links which Exposure Ninja receives a fee for promoting (these links are not sponsored). Exposure Ninja only promotes services we already use within our marketing stack.

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About the Author
Jess Percival
Jess is a Digital Marketer here at Exposure Ninja. She splits her time between social, video and blogging with some live streaming and gaming on...

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