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What Is SaaS Marketing and How Does It Work? A Beginner’s Guide

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SaaS, or software as a service, is a type of business model that delivers software over the internet.

It’s a newer model that many businesses now use to get their product ideas to market.

As SaaS marketing continues to evolve, you’ll need to take into account unique considerations when planning your SaaS marketing strategy.

In this article, we will discuss what SaaS marketing is and how it differs from other types of marketing.

We’ll also give you tips on how to put a SaaS marketing plan into place for your business.

What Are SaaS Products?

SaaS products are software applications delivered over the Internet.

They’re often cloud-based and hosted on remote serves for users to access all over the globe.

SaaS products are typically subscription-based, and customers pay a recurring fee to use the software.

Customers can access these products through a web browser or a mobile app.

There are many different types of SaaS products on the market that range from CRM software to project management tools to social media management tools.

What Is SaaS Marketing?

SaaS marketing is the process of promoting and selling SaaS products, using a variety of tactics including freemium models, buzz marketing, or incentive promotions.

Generally speaking, SaaS marketers focus on customer acquisition by converting leads into free trial users.

From there, the goal is to turn free trial users into paying customers.

SaaS marketing efforts are largely digital.

SaaS owners will use a mix of inbound and outbound marketing tactics to reach their target audience.

Inbound marketing tactics include content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and lead generation.

Outbound marketing tactics include email marketing, paid ads, and lead nurturing.

What Does SaaS Stand For?

SaaS stands for software as a service.

SaaS is a type of subscription software that allows users to access and use the software from a remote location.

How SaaS Marketing Differs From Other Marketing

SaaS marketing differs from other types of marketing in a few key ways.

You’re selling a product where customers must pay a recurring fee.

You need to help users understand the value of paying you month after month for the benefit of your product.

When SaaS products get delivered over the Internet, you must focus on digital marketing strategies.

You’ll need to have a strong online presence and use inbound marketing tactics to reach your target audience.

You’re typically selling an intangible idea.

Unlike selling a vehicle, shoes, or a refrigerator, your marketing must relate to the benefits of an idea your potential customer can’t touch.

Let’s now discuss the ways you need to market a SaaS offering in ways that differ from other types of products.

Giving Away Free Product Trials

A key SaaS marketing tactic is to offer free trials of your product.

Giving users a free trial allows them to experience the value of your product first-hand.

When done correctly, free trials can generate leads and convert them into paying customers.

However, you need to make sure to structure your free trial in a way that doesn’t lose you money.

For example, you’ll need to set up billing and payment information upfront so that users can start using your product right away.

You should also have a plan for following up with free trial users to convert them into paying customers.

Example of Free Trial Saas Marketing

A great example of this is the Jasper free trial that the team at Jasper AI is running to encourage users to try the platform.

screenshot showing the jasper ai free trial landing page screen

As you can see, the landing page puts front and center a 10,000 free word incentive, backed by elements of social credibility.

The CTA button makes this trial easy to claim, on top of being easy to understand.

Rapid Sales

Unlike traditional B2B marketing, the SaaS model includes a short sales cycle.

Many B2B companies court prospects for six months to a year before closing the sale.

In contrast, you will discover that software customers don’t need much time to make their buying decisions.

Typically, a customer sees that they need a software solution, goes online to research, reads a few reviews, and then decides to buy.

The SaaS model accelerates the sales cycle because customers can try before they buy with free trials.

This fact means that you need to follow up quickly when a lead shows interest in your product.

You should put systems and processes in place so that you can quickly identify and qualify leads.

Then, move them through your sales funnel.

The SaaS sales cycle is also shorter because customers are typically buying for themselves, rather than for their company.

They don’t need to go through a lengthy approval process.

Need Information

Another key SaaS marketing tactic is to create content that educates potential customers about your product.

Your goal is to create helpful and informative content that speaks to the needs of your target audience.

SaaS marketing content can come in many forms, including blog posts, ebooks, infographics, and video marketing tactics.

When creating SaaS marketing content, it’s important to focus on the benefits of your product.

Remember, you’re selling an idea.

Make sure your content helps potential customers understand how your product can solve their specific problems.

Long-term Customers

Retention is a key factor to successfully SaaS products.

Churn becomes an issue.

The churn rate is when people cancel their subscription to your product.

To combat churn, SaaS companies need to focus on customer retention.

There are a few key ways to keep your customers happy and reduce churn.

Make sure you’re delivering on your promises.

Your product should meet the needs of your target audience.

If it doesn’t, customers will quickly become frustrated and cancel their subscriptions.

Focus on providing excellent customer service.

SaaS customers need to know that you’re there to help them if they have any problems.

Keep your prices competitive.

SaaS products are typically priced on a monthly or annual basis.

If your prices increase too much, customers might switch to a competitor’s product.

Selling a Service

Never forget that while you’re selling a software product, you need to focus on the service aspect of the business.

Use a strong customer service team and help desk to provide an excellent customer experience.

Your SaaS company should have a process for quickly resolving customer issues.

In addition, you need to focus on building long-term relationships with your customers.

One way to do this is by sending regular communications, such as a monthly newsletter.

These communications should include helpful tips, product updates, and company news.

Another way to build long-term relationships with your customers is by offering them additional service.

Training and consulting, for example, can help customers get the most out of your product.

Who Should Use SaaS Marketing?

Any business owner with a software product can benefit from SaaS marketing.

However, SaaS marketing is particularly well-suited for small businesses and startups.

Small businesses often don’t have the resources to invest in a large marketing team.

You can perform SaaS marketing with a smaller team, making it a more affordable option.

Startups also tend to benefit from SaaS marketing.

All startups need to establish a loyal customer base to grow their business.

SaaS marketing provides a way to keep in touch with your customers and offer them additional services.

How To Implement SaaS Marketing

Let’s now shift gears and talk about how to implement SaaS marketing in your business.

There are a few key techniques to take to get started with SaaS marketing.

vector graphic showing a computer screen with people around it doing saas marketing

1. Content Hubs

One of the most important SaaS marketing tactics is to create a central content hub.

A content hub is a website or blog where you post all your SaaS marketing content.

Design your content hub in a way that educates potential customers about your product.

Make it easy to navigate and use calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage visitors to sign up for your trial.

To get started, create a list of topics you want to write about.

Then, start creating high-quality SaaS marketing content to educate your target audience.

Once you have a few pieces of content, you can then start promoting your content hub on social media and through other SaaS marketing channels.

2. Product Videos

Another helpful SaaS marketing tactic is to create product videos.

Keep your videos to less than two minutes.

Focus on explaining what your product does.

Help users see how it can help solve their problems.

Product videos are a great way to quickly explain the value of your product.

Embed them on your content hub.

Use them in social media and email marketing campaigns.

To get started, create a script for your product video.

Then, find a SaaS marketing agency or freelancer who can help you produce the video.

Once the video is complete, start promoting it through your SaaS marketing channels.

3. Build a Community

A SaaS marketing strategy isn’t complete without a focus on community building.

Creating a strong community around your product can help you in several ways.

It can help you generate word-of-mouth marketing.

When your customers are happy with your product, they’ll tell their friends and colleagues about it.

A community can provide valuable feedback about your product.

Use this feedback to improve your product and make it more user-friendly.

You can generate leads through your community.

People respond well when they see a strong community tied to your product.

It’s more likely that they’ll sign up for your free trial or purchase your product.

There are a few different ways to build a community around your product.

One way is to create an online forum where people can ask questions and give feedback.

Another way is to host meetups or webinars.

You can also create social media groups or start a blog.

4. Focus On SEO

Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engines.

When people are looking for a SaaS product, they’ll often start with a Google search.

That’s why it’s so important to invest in SEO.

Start by doing keyword research.

It will help you identify the keywords people are using to search for SaaS products like yours.

Once you’ve identified some target keywords, start optimizing your content for those keywords.

5. Limit Customer Choice

When marketing to potential customers, it’s important to limit their choice.

Too many choices become overwhelming.

They make it difficult for people to decide which product to buy.

One way to limit customer choice is to offer a free trial or money-back guarantee.

Let people try your product before they commit to buying it.

Another way to limit customer choice is to focus on a specific niche.

When you’re marketing to a specific group of people, you can tailor your message and product to meet their needs.

6. Offer a Free Trial

A free trial is a great way to let people experience the value of your product.

It also helps you generate leads and build customer relationships.

To get started, create a landing page for your free trial.

The page should explain what the free trial is and how to sign up.

7. Personalize

Personalization can help you improve your SaaS product marketing results in several ways.

First, it can help you generate more leads.

When personalizing your SaaS marketing, you will target certain groups.

Each group needs to hear about your offer in a different way.

If you learn the phrases each group needs to hear, you can increase your lead conversion rates.  

You can also improve your sales conversion rate through personalization.

When you send targeted messages to different segments of your list, you’re more likely to get people to take action.

Personalization can help you build better customer relationships.

Your customers will feel like you understand their needs if you personalize the messaging you send out to them.

Using this strategy will keep them loyal to your SaaS brand.

8. Focus On User Experience

It’s important to focus on user experience as you market your SaaS company and product.

Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to use your product.

There are a few ways you can improve the user experience of your SaaS product.

Pay close attention to user feedback.

If a customer reports a software bug, get it fixed immediately.

Figure out how to make the product better after hearing any complaints about confusion.

Reach out to users and ask for their feedback.

Let them know you want to hear about challenges because you’re focused on perfecting their experience.

Building a better relationship with every existing customer must remain a top priority.

By focusing on user experience, you’ll accomplish that goal and improve the product.

Additionally, you’ll gain more business through referral marketing.

9. Use Deals and Discounts

Another SaaS marketing tactic you can use to generate leads and sales is to offer deals and discounts.

It’s a great way to create a sense of urgency and get people to take action.

When offering deals and discounts, keep the offer relevant to your target audience.

For example, if you’re targeting small businesses, you might offer a discount on your SaaS product if they sign up for a year.

If your avatar is moms, give them a gift certificate to a children’s clothing store after becoming a customer.

You can promote your deals and discounts through your SaaS marketing channels.

For instance, you can send an email to your list or run a paid social media marketing campaign.

Improve Your Skills With SaaS Marketing Certifications

There are a number of SaaS marketing certifications you can get to improve your skills.

vector graphic showing a header image for blogger jobs page

What Is a SaaS Marketing Certification?

SaaS marketing certifications will teach you the latest marketing techniques and how to put them into practice.

How Do SaaS Marketing Certifications Work?  

Most SaaS marketing certifications work as online courses.

You log in and complete the course at your own pace.

Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll take a final exam to earn your certification.

The Best SaaS Marketing Certifications

Five of the most popular SaaS marketing certifications include the following.

  1. Reliablesoft Digital Marketing
  2. CXL Institute’s Link Building Course
  3. UX Institute’s SaaS UX Design
  4. Inbound Marketing Course (HubSpot)
  5. HubSpot Content Marketing Course

The Reliablesoft Digital Marketing bundle certifies you in SaaS marketing best practices.

The course covers topics like email marketing, content marketing, keyword research. and Google ads.

You need to pass 10 courses and two multiple-choice exams to achieve certification.

The cost of the Reliablesoft Digital Marketing certification is $119.

The CXL Institute’s Link Building Course certifies you in SEO link building skills.

The course covers topics like using advanced backlinking strategies, planning content strategies, and setting campaign goals.

After completing the course, you’ll know how to get your SaaS website ranked above competitors.

To earn the certification, you must complete 14 modules over four hours.

You can begin for a $1 trial before committing to the $1,299 annual fee.

Paying the fee allows you to access up to 90 additional certification courses.

The UX Institute’s SaaS UX Design certification course covers topics like web app frameworks, automation UX, UX writing, and SaaS design systems.

The course is self-paced and takes eight weeks to complete.

To earn the certification, you must pass a multiple-choice exam.

The cost of the certification is €749.

Check their website often for each new starting date.

HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Course shows you how to create educational content, optimize via marketing automation, and offer lead nurturing experiences for users.

The course is self-paced.

It takes three hours to complete as you move through seven lessons and 24 videos.

HubSpot offers this certification free of charge.

The Content Marketing Course is another free certification offered by HubSpot.

You can complete it in six hours.

You’ll go through 12 lessons and 54 videos while getting certified.

The course teaches how to improve as a SaaS marketer, create content for search engines, and use a specific content creation framework.

Wrapping Up

SaaS marketing is a unique type of marketing.

It requires a different approach than traditional marketing techniques.

If you use the right SaaS marketing tactics, you can generate leads, build a community, and grow your SaaS business.

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