As technology advances, it becomes easier and cheaper to develop new software. The SaaS market is expected to surpass $112.8 billion by 2019, according to IDC research. With such large industry growth, the challenge of standing out becomes greater. When you know your company has a great product and you need to reach your ideal customer, inbound marketing is the solution.
Inbound marketing will bring customers to you by providing relevant and educational information to your target audience. It also costs less than traditional marketing methods, and strategies like content marketing even have compounding returns; their value increases over time, and continues to drive leads after you’ve made the initial investment. It’s all about solving your customer’s problem before they are even fully aware of what problem they have.
If your business can relate to these challenges, then it’s time to start inbound marketing for your SaaS company.
When your biggest marketing challenge is acquiring new customers inbound marketing can help, even in the earliest stages of your SaaS startup. Inbound marketing strategies will increase traffic to your website through blogging and social media once you begin creating relevant content. Social media advertising can give your content a boost to help you get started, but you don’t want to only rely on paid ads. The place to start is with your buyer personas. Who is the person that will love your awesome product? What are their needs and problems? Your marketing strategy needs to revolve around your buyer personas.
High Customer Acquisition Cost
Whether you’re a new startup or a more established SaaS business, having a high customer acquisition cost is a problem. One of the top reasons to adopt inbound marketing for your SaaS company, is that gaining a new customer with inbound costs much less than with traditional marketing methods. Businesses that mainly use inbound marketing save over $14 for every new customer. Inbound channels are less expensive than outbound methods, so you’ll save money on every newly acquired customer and trim overall costs.
You Don’t Have Money To Waste
This is especially true if your company is a startup. You don’t have the money or time to waste on methods that won’t produce results as you try to grow your business, and it’s a lot harder to measure the results of outbound marketing. 83% of online tech buyers found their vendor through a Google search, according to MarketingSherpa. If you want your company to be successful, then you need to pay attention to where your customers are and invest resources accordingly.
Your Product Is Complex
When you’re selling a complex SaaS product, it can be easy to get caught up in the jargon and technical details. However, you need to understand what will resonate with your buyer personas. Are they interested in having all of that technical knowledge, or are they more interested in solving a problem? Remember to market human to human. With inbound marketing, the content you create, along with your website, should show the value of your product in a way that anyone can understand. Use ebooks, blog posts, how-to videos and other content to demonstrate what you offer beyond the complicated specifics.
“Understand what will resonate with your buyer personas; market human to human,” says @RspnsvInbndMktg Click To Tweet
5. Customer Retention
Retaining customers is important in any industry, but with a SaaS company that depends on customers with a recurring charge each month, it’s essential for long-term success. The final stage of the inbound methodology is the delight stage. You need to keep your customers happy so that they remain loyal and become brand advocates. Ensure that your customers are getting the most out of your product by offering resources and great customer service. As Stewart Butterfield, the founder of Slack, said, "Every customer interaction is a marketing opportunity. If you go above and beyond on the customer service side, people are much more likely to recommend you."
Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
Just as customer retention is essential for your business, the overall lifetime value of a customer, and maximizing value, needs to be part of your strategy. Inbound marketing for SaaS can help to minimize churn and provide opportunities to upsell. Creating resources on additional features and tools that might not come with a customer’s current subscription is one way to show additional value. Try to personalize these offers and resources based on how a customer is using the software. If an add-on tool can help improve something they are currently doing, let them know about it through your newsletter.
You’ve Reached A Plateau
If your business is more established and has experienced strong growth, which now is starting to plateau, then inbound marketing can help you continue to break through and achieve long-term success. Especially if you’ve relied on more traditional marketing and advertising techniques in the past, inbound is a way to expand your reach to other people in your target audience. It might also be time to step up your game in areas like social media such as with Facebook Live or video marketing.
The Competition Is Tough
A Compass study reported that SaaS is growing nearly 3x as fast as software overall, and industry growth is a positive for SaaS companies and new startups. However, this also means more competition. There’s likely another company trying to solve the same problem with their product as you are. Having a great product isn’t enough. The need to differentiate your company is becoming even more important. Inbound marketing can help your brand stand out.
Shorten The Sales Cycle
A complex SaaS product can be a big investment for a company to make and there may be multiple stakeholders involved in the buying process. Inbound marketing for SaaS will provide the information and tools a lead needs to make a decision on their own and move along the path to purchase before they talk to your sales team. Make sure that your content delivers all of the information a lead could possibly want to know about the value of your product and how it will solve their problem.
Leads Aren’t Converting
If you’re generating traffic and getting visitors to download your content offers, then you also need to lead nurture by setting up workflows. Email is one effective channel for lead nurturing as you can provide additional content resources to answer other questions a lead may have about your product or what it can do for them. Marketing automation can be helpful at this stage and free up time for your marketing team. Base it off of engagement events, like when a lead downloads a case study. According to Pardot, 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies are already using marketing automation. Offer a free trial so that your leads experience for themselves how your product might work for them.
Marketing the right way might just be the difference between your SaaS business failing or thriving. Inbound marketing is an effective way to get the word out about your company, drive traffic to your website, convert leads and turn customers into brand advocates.