Finding leads and turning them into customers has been (and always will be) the number one challenge businesses face. SaaS companies face the additional challenge of marketing a service rather than a physical product. Competition is fierce and the program provided is generally quite complex, adding to the challenge of effective marketing.
But acquiring customers doesn’t need to be an entirely painful process. Here are 8 ways to make the job a little bit easier for your SaaS company.
1. Determine Cost for Acquisitions
Before you begin implementing an expensive marketing campaign to attract new customers, you need to compare the cost of acquiring a new customer and retaining previous ones. The calculation is rather simple: divide the cost spent by the number of new customers produced. If you spend $100 for an advertisement that results in ten new customers, then each customer cost you $10. So, is that a good CAC (customer acquisition cost) for your business? It depends. You need to look at the big picture in order to decide if your customer acquisition strategy is sustainable in the long run.
It’s significantly cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one. Determining these costs will help you gauge your future acquisition strategies, and show you which type of customers to focus on. However, you don’t want to get too caught up in just keeping old customers, or only trying to get new ones. Find a balance, but be sure that your strategies are priced accordingly.
2. Write for the Intended Audience
The absolute worst thing you can do as a SaaS content marketer is write for the wrong customer. Chances are, your program is not a fit for everyone; it likely is made for more of a niche market. Therefore, you need to market to this niche. The key is to create content centered around your target audience’s pressing issues and concerns.
Kissmetrics is a perfect example of an SaaS company that understands their audience to a T and generates content to prove it. They offer a CRM program for analytics and marketing data, so they know their audience is interested in the latest information regarding these areas. They consistently put out high-quality content with relevant topics to teach their audience. As a result, securing their site as a reliable resource center.
Take time to create a description of the kinds of businesses and customers that need your product the most and determine why they need it. Your content should explain exactly how your system can solve their problem or improve their business. Use your content as a way to build up your brand by providing insightful information that interests your audience.
3. Intuitive Website Design
Nothing kills an online sale faster than a website that doesn’t work. If your site constantly crashes, or is confusing to customers, then you are going to lose out on a lot of sales. Even if your website works, but takes longer than just a few seconds to load, you could lose nearly half of your customers.
Poor navigation is one of the biggest issues online businesses face with their website. Customers can get turned off right away if your site doesn’t have proper navigation that provide more information and call-to-actions. These issues don’t only drive away customers; it can actually hurt your search engine rankings. Now, you are not only losing customers on your site, but also lowering the chances of attracting any new ones.
Additionally, your website should be user-friendly with navigation buttons to assist. As a SaaS business, your website creates a physical representation of your business to customers. An outdated, poorly designed website is more than just unattractive, it makes your site appear untrustworthy. It is absolutely essential that your site works correctly, clearly explains your services, and provides clear calls-to-action.
4. Precise Keyword Planning
Choosing the right keywords is influential in how people discover your SaaS business. This concept applies to both Paid and Organic search.
Organic traffic comprises customers who found you because they were looking for your service, not because of any advertisement or shared link. Unless they searched your company name, they were most likely drawn by the pertaining keywords on your website.
Use Google Keyword Planner to formulate a list of words that will connect your site to common search queries. You can take a look at current trends, and also check out which words are popular among your competitors. Aim for a mix of popular keywords as well as more focused words for specific results. Doing this will help you get a hold of as many impressions as possible.
The next step is to track your organic searches and see which keywords are driving the best qualified customers. Analyze the statistics to see which keywords have the highest amount of click rates. Organic Search data gives insights as to what your customers are looking for, so use your compilation to your advantage. While these keywords should absolutely be included in your content marketing strategy, you can also use them in a pay per click campaign.
5. Give a Little, Take a Little
Everyone loves free stuff, even when it comes to SaaS programs. Offering free trials not only helps to attract people, it is also one of the best ways to give your customers a taste of what you have to offer. If you do it right, free trials can convert up to 60% of users into buyers. But free trials are not just about giving; use it to your advantage by requesting data from the users, such as an email address or a satisfaction survey after the trial period ends. Be sure that a free trial will not give away your entire service. Consider offering a limited or controlled free version, or offer a free demo instead.
Giving away a free trial is futile unless it converts into sales. The best way for this to be successful is if you show customers why they need to purchase the system. The faster they use the trial, the more likely they are to purchase it. A free trial can be tricky, but it can also be a highly effective way to attract customers and get some useful information in return.
6. Retargeting with Emails and Ads
Chances are, most of the first-time visitors to your site are not ready to buy quite yet. According to one study, 92% of consumers are not looking to purchase on their initial visit. Though this study is for commerce websites, the same is true for SaaS businesses at a great extent. Using a re-targeting strategy will grab those customers again, and remind them to go back and take a second look.
In order to keep track of who needs to be retargeted, your site needs to collect cookies from the users through pixels on your website. Essentially, these pixels track your visitors based off of their unique code, allowing you to target them with your advertisements all over the web.
One effective strategy is to use social media advertising to retarget your audience. This does require you to have visitors’ email addresses, so be sure to ask for it on your website. Once you have that information, use it to your advantage by creating a Facebook ad targeted directly to that email list. Intercom, a communication SaaS service, does a wonderful job of this.
7. Offer Incentives for Referrals
Satisfied customers should share their positive experiences with others, right? Incentivize them to share even more by offering a referral program that rewards them, too. Getting a personal referral from a friend or colleague can increase the likelihood of a purchase by 67%, so the more referrals your customers send out, the more paying customers you will get in return.
Don’t feel pressured to offer a crazy discount for referrals. It can be something small, but still incentivizing. For example, Dropbox offers extra cloud storage space if your referral purchases the program.
8. Use Influencers
Don’t get stuck in a rut of churning out the same sort of content every week. Shake things up and get creative by collaborating with popular figures to distribute your content. Influencer marketing is a great way to gain credibility and promote your services to a larger audience. It’s quite profitable too; studies show that businesses average a $6.50 return for every $1.00 spent.
One of the best examples of influencer marketing from a SaaS business was done by Microsoft last year. On International Women’s Day, they partnered up with National Geographic to create the campaign “Make What’s Next” – which focused on the cause of encouraging females to get more involved with STEM and pursue jobs in those fields.
The campaign posted a number of photos on five of Nat Geo’s Instagram channels. The campaign resulted on over 3.5 million likes with a potential reach of over 91 million. Using National Geographic enormous following, Microsoft did wonders to increase their brand awareness.
Influencer marketing can be instrumental in a content strategy. Regardless of your service, there are plenty of ways to strategically partner up and reach whole new audiences.
Customer acquisition can truly be a painful process for SaaS businesses. With such stiff competition and complex services, marketing your brand can be quite a challenge. But by using some simple, yet effective strategies, combined with staying on top of your analytics, you will quickly find the most profitable customer acquisition approach for your company.
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Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of Preceptist, a content marketing agency for SaaS businesses.