The Software as a Service (SaaS) industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years. Now more than ever, SaaS companies are looking to leverage effective marketing channels to reach their ideal customer personas. With so many channels and strategies on the table, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to direct time or internal resources, especially for start-ups. That’s why at Estes Media we’ve outlined some of the biggest channels SaaS companies should be maximizing – content, email, social media, webinars, and advertising – and how software companies in this space have already blazed a trail with effective campaigns.
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is an absolutely vital path for SaaS companies (or anyone, for that matter) looking to engage, inform, and retain their target audience. By producing informative and relevant content that addresses audience pain points and answers their questions, SaaS companies build trust by establishing themselves as industry thought leaders, which organically drives more traffic to their website. A key component of content marketing is the creation of long-form content that provides in-depth information on industry topics. This can include comprehensive blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, and research reports. According to a study by Backlinko, long-form content generates 77.2% more backlinks than short-form content, which can significantly improve a website’s search engine ranking and visibility. Engaging content focusses on addressing common problems faced by your target audience as well as providing actionable solutions. For startups in the tech industry, content that offers tips on increasing productivity, optimizing workflows, or improving team collaboration is likely to resonate. HubSpot, a leading provider of inbound marketing and sales software, is a golden example of how an extensive library of educational content that covers every marketing topic from search engine optimization (SEO) to email marketing and social media can attract millions of visitors to its blog, every month. Another example is Buffer, a social media management platform that has leveraged content marketing to drive user growth. By publishing insightful blog posts, in-depth guides for social media strategy and management, and a wide breadth of insightful case studies, Buffer has attracted a loyal following and built a strong brand presence in the industry. According to the company, these efforts have resulted in over 1.5 million monthly blog visits and a 70% increase in sign-ups for its free trial. User-generated content (UGC) is another effective content marketing strategy for SaaS companies. Encouraging customers to share their experiences, successes, and insights is the cornerstone of authentic content that organically builds trust and credibility. Slack, does an excellent job of this by featuring customer stories on its website, showcasing how various organizations use the tool to improve communication and productivity.
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is an indispensable tool for any company trying to reach and engage their target audience. According to Zippia, 88% of millennials use social media to research and evaluate products and services, highlighting the importance of SaaS organizations needing to have a strong presence on these platforms. These are the elements at Estes Media we consider crucial to leveraging our client’s social media channels:
Identifying the most relevant platforms for your business: While LinkedIn is particularly useful for targeting professionals in the startup and tech sectors, other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can also help create brand awareness and facilitate customer interaction (Terminus).
Creation of engaging content: By posting informative and shareable content (rather than infrequent and/or ad hoc posts without forethought), businesses can generate more interest in their products or services while fostering brand loyalty. This can be anything from blog posts, industry news, case studies, success stories, product updates, and more.
Audience’s interaction: We encourage our clients to respond to comments, messages, and mentions in a consistent and authentic way is the secret sauce for building trust and maintaining strong customer relationships. Take every opportunity to participate in discussions, answer questions, and provide support to showcase your commitment to your audience.
Monitoring and analyzing performance: Without tracking in place, there’s no way to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) like engagement, reach, and conversions can help SaaS companies refine their strategies and optimize their content for better results.
For a prime example of successful social media marketing in the SaaS industry, look no further than Hootsuite, master of their own domain. They constantly share topic, relevant, and educational content like industry news and updates across all of their social channels, albeit each targeted to different ideal customer personas based on platform (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn). Better yet, their #HootsuiteLife campaign on Instagram brilliantly showcases company culture and behind-the-scenes moments, helping humanize the brand and engage with their audience on a personal level. Influencer partnerships, including collaboration with industry thought leaders, tech bloggers, or podcast hosts, can also play a vital role in SaaS social media marketing. This often helps expose brands to a pre-engaged, hyper-relevant audience within their market. A case in point is Mailchimp, an email marketing and marketing automation platform, who partnered with renowned podcast Serial to sponsor its episodes, helping Mailchimp greatly increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience of potential customers.
3. Email Marketing
Don’t sleep on emails! Email marketing remains (and always has been) a highly effective channel for businesses of any kind to nurture leads, drive conversions, and retain customers, particularly in the SaaS space. The average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing, per a study by Litmus, is a whopping $42 for every $1 spent, further evidence that time and money dedicated to this channel is regularly rewarded. Here are some Estes Media best practices we recommend for SaaS companies looking to scale up their email marketing efforts:
Build a targeted and segmented email list: Only by segmenting subscribers by user behavior, preferences, job roles, industry, etc. can you tailor email content to resonate with subcategories of your audience. Time consuming but effective: segmented campaigns have a 14.31% higher open rate and a 100.95% higher click-through rate than non-segmented campaigns, according to Mailchimp.
Personalized content is key (in moderation): Personalized email content, such as addressing subscribers by name or referencing their recent activity, can significantly improve open and click-through rates. Just be careful not to overuse this tool or get to personal. When done well, mails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened according to a study by Campaign Monitor.
Focus on customer lifecycle marketing: By sending targeted emails at different stages of the customer journey, SaaS companies can more effectively guide prospects towards conversion and foster longer-term customer relationships. Some common examples here include welcome emails, product education, case studies, special offers, and re-engagement campaigns.
Test and optimize email campaigns: Regularly monitoring email performance metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions can help SaaS companies identify areas for improvement and optimize their email marketing strategies for better results.
One notable success story in email marketing is Dropbox, who created a referral program that incentivized users to invite their friends and colleagues to the platform in exchange for additional storage space. By incorporating personalized referral links in email invitations, Dropbox saw a 60% increase in sign-ups and a 15% conversion rate, contributing to the platform’s rapid growth to over 500 million users. Another example is Groove, who managed to build a strong community of engaged subscribers through effective email campaigns. By regularly sharing valuable content such as blog posts, success stories, and relevant tips, Groove cultivated an email list of over 50,000 subscribers and reported that 30% of its trial users came directly from email marketing efforts. Automation can also play a significant role in SaaS email marketing. Intercom, for example, implemented automated onboarding email sequences to educate new users about product features and benefits, leading to a 70% increase in customer engagement and a 2x increase in product adoption.
4. Webinars And Virtual Events
Accelerated by the Covid pandemic, webinars and virtual events have become increasingly popular in recent years, proving to be powerful tools for engaging with prospects, showcasing expertise, and generating leads for SaaS companies. So much so that 73% of marketing and sales leaders named webinars as one of the best ways to generate high-quality leads, according to a study by ON24. To maximize the potential of virtual events, at Estes Media we strongly recommended to all of our clients to take the following steps:
Choose relevant and engaging topics: Don’t waste people’s time with a sales pitch. Tackle relevant topics head-on by addressing common challenges and providing in-depth insights into industry trends. Your webinars need to resonate with your audience, give them new information or perspectives, and get them more engaged with your brand.
Promote yourself: Utilize all of the critical channels we’ve mentioned so far, including email, social media, and blog posts, to promote your webinars and virtual events. This will help you reach the widest possible audience, continue to establish you as a thought-leader, and ultimately increase registration rates.
Encourage audience interaction: Offering live Q&A sessions, polls, or chat features during webinars helps foster audience engagement and allows more granular insight into their needs or preferences.
Record and repurpose content: Always record! Only then can repurpose the recording into blog posts, social media updates, podcast episodes, gated content, or more to extend your reach and maximize the lifespan of your efforts.
Salesforce is a perfect example of a company that regularly hosts webinars on a variety of topics, from product demos to best practices and industry insights. These webinars alone have helped Salesforce attract and engage thousands of attendees, leading to an increase in product adoption and customer loyalty. Virtual events have also played a pivotal role in the growth of SaaS companies. Drift, a conversational marketing platform, organized its annual HYPERGROWTH conference as a virtual event which attracted over 10,000 attendees from around the world. This not only showcased Drift’s industry expertise but also provided a platform for networking and learning, further incentivizing registrants and helping foster further growth.
By implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy that leverages these channels, SaaS companies can drive growth, increase brand awareness, and foster strong customer relationships. Our team of experts can help you develop and execute a tailored marketing plan that drives results for your business. If you’re looking to learn more about these efforts or how Estes Media can help propel your SaaS business to new heights, reach out to us today!
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