If you look around carefully enough, there is literally a product for everything. I mean, I just came across a milk-as-a-service product and if you call that a boring idea, you’re probably missing out on something already. That’s when it got me thinking that even in the SaaS scenario, there is a product out there that addresses practically service need you may have. But what makes them all not work? SaaS product marketing.
If you ask me, it is just too boring and no one loves something which is boring. So how do you even expect it to work or sell, to be precise?
What SaaS product marketing looks like
Most startups follow the traditional methods to promote their business growth, but with a different business model to cater to altogether, SaaS brands need product marketing that differentiates them from the rest.
I’ll give you an example here.
The startup offering milk-as-a-service focuses on getting people to subscribe to their monthly packages. But if they choose to purchase from them on a week to week or daily basis, that services their business model too. To get the same, all they need to do is run a few ads on social media – but of course, with interesting graphics that highlight the proposition such as delivering the products at 7 in the morning!
But when I use the same approach to sell a marketing automation product, it doesn’t work. The simple reason being that while my ad graphics and copy are really compelling, people need a bigger reason to convince themselves into subscribing to my product. At the same time, while I might get a few free trial sign-ups, there won’t be many that subscribe beyond a month for my product.
When such a thing happens, most companies (even their investors), tend to blame the product for it. They either point fingers at it not working too well or it being too common a solution in the market. Either way, they are wrong.
It is just that what works for one service industry startup, doesn’t necessarily work for a SaaS product. Writing a few blogs on how to choose the milk that suits my diet, might get me sales for one. But I might end up having to write plenty of content to sell the automation product.
If you relate to that, don’t fret. I have been there, done that and learned just one thing – while the product owners might want to position their product as something specific in the market, SaaS product marketing by itself, does not need to be boring.
SaaS product marketing strategies that aren’t boring
1. Create interesting content
By now, most SaaS products already know how important content marketing is. In fact, it is an A+ investment that any B2B startup can make towards growing their business in a sustainable manner. After all, the tactic focuses on building consumer trust and establishing authority – that definitely works way better than driving sign-ups by running endless advertisements on social media.
In fact, the biggest of brands in the SaaS domain are focusing on creating useful and interesting content. Here’s an example of the search result I get when I seek information on ‘how to create a landing page’:
Now both MailChimp and Unbounce (and the countless others that showed up on my search results), enable a user to create a landing page in minutes. Now as you see, the two have clearly created content that serves as my go-to source of information when I start looking for a solution. They’re not asking me to buy their SaaS product right away. All they want to do is guide me in the right direction.
So I click on Unbounce’s content and I am taken to a page where they do not just share pro-tips and a step by step to create a high converting landing page, but also let me ‘review the builder’ before I start building the landing page with their product.
So once I am done consuming their content and realize that their tool enables me to create a landing page in minutes, I automatically click on reviewing their builder. It gives me a comprehensive sneak peek into their editing dashboard with a fully interactive interface. So I already know how easy or difficult it is going to be for me to use their product, and not just trust them because they’re trying to sell the product!
Now that’s just one way of using the content.
My other favorite example here is from Hive.
Now for those of you who don’t know, Hive is a smart product that helps you remain productive through the week.
When they started off, they chose to write extensively around day to day productivity hacks. But let’s be honest, there were already thousands of others – products and individuals, writing productivity related content. So what would drive someone like me to their site?
Pivoting from the usual, Hive incorporated interesting content ideas like quizzes. Instead of just pushing productivity hacks in my face, they let me begin with a quiz that tells me my personality type. That automatically makes me feel they are going to offer me personalized hacks that would work for me – and are not just written by pulling off content from the web.
Definitely, a better way to convince me into signing up for trying their product or even subscribing to their blog. Right?
2. Offer social proof
Most SaaS products tend to believe that offering a personalized product demo, a free trial, a comprehensive features list, and a few blog posts are all that they need to convince a prospect to subscribe to their product.
But let me ask this if I told you that a product helps me get 30% more work done every week, would you believe me? No.
Now if I showed you how it helps me do so, and my week on week progress, you’re more likely to believe me and give that tool a shot too. That’s called making use of social proof. That’s why content like case studies and reports have proven to increase B2B willingness to pay!
For instance, even though Shopify already has a trusted name in the eCommerce industry, they focus on creating in-depth case studies. While doing so, they create separate ones for small stores and those that are generating thousands or even millions in revenue on a monthly basis.
3. Personalize the journey
The one thing that is the biggest differentiator between traditional marketing and SaaS product marketing, is the importance of personalization. Personalization when it comes to the first interaction that a user makes with your brand, the time he signs up for a free trial or a demo, the first screen he is exposed to, to his further progress with your product.
Now a typical internet user is always looking for solutions for one thing or the other. I come across various productivity tools. But in the end, I swear by just a handful of them.
Because the SaaS product marketing strategy of these tools focused on personalizing my journey with them, and I was hooked before I knew. If you see my Trello account, you’ll know that ‘hooked’ doesn’t cut it – it’s more like being obsessed with making boards and lists!
But with the other products I signed up on, I just lost interest. They didn’t help me accomplish what I wanted to when I started discovering their product – especially not at the right time. If they did track my activity post sign up closely, they could implement SaaS product marketing strategies that guided me towards achieving my goals and kept me hooked to using them.
This could include a smart email drip marketing campaign, social retargeting or simply in-app conversations suggesting personalized content.
4. Experiment with your offers
Now the obvious move to make is to offer a great pricing. Like, subscribe or purchase a product for $10 per month or $99 for a year. But with practically every other product out there offering similar pricing and extended free trials, just how do you convince a consumer to choose you?
It’s pretty much similar to how you end up purchasing a t-shirt from the online store that offers it at the cheapest price!
That’s why you need to experiment with your offers.
In fact, Chargebee studied 6,452 SaaS companies and concluded that pricing is directly correlated with business growth. You can read the entire study, here.
For example, offering dynamic pricing based on how a user is interacting with the product and what their indications suggest they would convert on. Or taking a smarter and strategic approach, like Intercom.
While Intercom started out by offering their product as a comprehensive suite, they understood that not all their users were looking for all the tools they offered. Having to pay for all of them, seemed like a turn off to most. That’s why they broke the product into multiple mini-products. The users were given the choice of what they wanted to pay for.
If it is their chat app that they wanted to purchase, it would be exactly that. If they wanted to make use of anything on top of that, they could pick and choose, and add to their package.
Pretty smart. Right?
5. Leverage referrals
One of the most effective SaaS product marketing strategy there could be, is referral marketing.
Now, don’t you trust my recommendations more than an ad? If I told you that WordPress is a great platform to start your blog on, you’d consider signing up on it. But despite having seen so many of its ads on different blogs, you did not.
That’s the power of referrals and according to a study by Nielsen, 92% of consumers out there tend to behave the same way. The only thing you need to ensure is to make your referral marketing campaign interesting and valuable enough – if it is a simple boring ‘get your friend to sign up and win’, you’re probably not going to get too many participants.
I’ll give you an example to reinstate how effective this SaaS product marketing strategy is – Dropbox grew 3900% with a simple referral program. You can read their entire case study by Viral Loops, here.
Similarly, you can also set up an affiliate marketing campaign. Simply because some of your users are motivated when they know they gain some monetary benefit out of recommending your product in their network.
Making your product work
If you want your product to work, you need to make your SaaS product marketing strategies smart and compelling enough.
Even if that means going the extra mile to understand your users better and personalizing their journey right from the top of the funnel to the conversion. A successful and non-boring SaaS product marketing strategy isn’t one that just focuses on user acquisition. It extends itself to keep these users engaged and prevent them from churning no matter how competitive a product gets launched into the same space.
But at the same time, it is equally important to keep things interesting. Now if I bugged you with the same content around how to use social media to generate more leads, you’re going to stop following my blog. Simply because you are going notice me repeat certain tips and tricks by the fourth piece of content I share – after all, there’s only as much that you could write around one topic. Correct?
It might take you a tad bit longer to create a strategy that works for your product. But investing in your consumers is never a bad idea.
Ready to create content that performs?
Then let’s work together and make it reach your consumers.