Successfully selling software as a service takes a specialized type of marketing strategy. You’re selling software, so your promotional strategy must have a technical appeal. But you’re also selling a service, so you must simultaneously emphasize benefits that appeal to the human needs of your market. You must combine this balance of technological and human appeal with an effective digital promotion strategy. All these elements must integrate with a sales strategy that offers free trials and encourages repeat business. Here’s a look at how to blend these ingredients together into a successful recipe for marketing software as a service.
As its name indicates, software as a service combines two main components: software and service. Both these components are part of your sales offer, and both must figure into your marketing strategy.
On the software side, your product must satisfy the technological needs of your target market. It should perform whatever consumer or business function your marketing promises. It should do so in a way that is as user-friendly and hassle-free as possible. It should be easy to install, use and upgrade. It should integrate easily with whatever operating system and apps form part of its digital environment.
On the service side, you must support your product with superior service if you want to stand out from competitors offering similar software. Good service starts with user-friendly design, which minimizes the need for support. It includes making self-service tools such as in-app help menus and online tutorials available to your customers. It also includes providing support for your customers through their preferred service channels, including chatbots, social media, email and phone calls.
While it may seem like the software side of this equation is more technological and the service side is more human-oriented, you will enjoy better marketing results if you design these components for mutual reinforcement. Well-designed software provides your customer with a solution to a problem. Delivering good service does the same thing. Both your software and your service should ultimately contribute towards providing your customer with a positive experience of your brand. This lays a foundation for effective SaaS marketing.
Software buyers today do most of their shopping online, using resources such as digital white papers, online reviews and app marketplaces. This makes search engine optimization absolutely critical for effective SaaS marketing.
To get results, SEO for SaaS must combine several essential components. Keyword research forms the foundation for SEO by helping you identify the search terms prospective customers are using to find you and your competitors. Armed with keyword research, you can pursue content marketing to attract prospects searching for the type of product you sell. Link building then leverages your content in order to steer prospective buyers towards strategic links on your website, blog and social media profiles. Finally, technical optimization of your website ensures that when prospective customers land on your site, they’ll enjoy a smooth user experience that disposes them to become buyers.
In addition to boosting your SEO results, content marketing plays a crucial sales role by educating your target market. When shoppers begin searching for software products, they typically start with little knowledge of the market, having many questions and few answers. The brand that answers their questions satisfactorily has the best chance of winning their business.
Content marketing enables you to do this by positioning your brand as a trusted advisor helping software shoppers answer their questions. Use blogs, white papers and video tutorials to educate your market about what they need in a software solution and why your brand meets their needs better than competitors.
With every company claiming to offer the best product, online shoppers want social proof for product claims. Most shoppers consult online review sites and social media reviews when evaluating whether or not to trust a brand. This makes cultivating positive reviews an important part of SaaS marketing.
Naturally, the biggest key to generating positive reviews is to deliver a great product and superior service. To further promote positive reviews, you can invite online review site webmasters and other thought leaders in your niche to review your software. You can also build a community through your blog and social media profiles in order to generate comments from satisfied customers.
Software customers are leery of purchasing expensive software that doesn’t meet their needs. They feel better about buying if you can offer them something to reduce their risk. Recognizing this, software marketers have found that free trials help boost conversions.
Two main types of free offers have proven especially successful. Many brands offer several tiers of pricing for buyers, including a freemium tier with limited functionality that customers can use to see how well they like your product. Another strategy that can be used independently of this one or in combination with it is to offer a free limited trial.
Most SaaS business is repeat business. The majority of a software company’s revenue will come from loyal customers who continue using your service because it meets their needs. These loyal customers also represent your best source of referrals. Maintaining repeat customers is a much more cost-efficient strategy than trying to acquire new customers to replace lost business.
Providing a great product and service forms an essential first step for generating repeat business. Delivering your SaaS product through a subscription payment model can also help cultivate ongoing business. You can also generate repeat customers by looking for ways to promote upsell or cross-sell products to your users.
These marketing strategies apply to any SaaS product, but for winning results, you need to customize them for your brand. This process begins by doing keyword research and developing a content marketing campaign specific to your target market. For best results, work with a company that specializes in SaaS marketing and SEO. To get started, schedule a discovery call with our team to discuss how we can help you with your SaaS marketing needs.