Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is a form of marketing used to grow the number of people who engage with a product or offer. Marketing for SaaS companies has shifted drastically as CRO has become a stronger focus.
If you're a SaaS business, you likely have different business processes, key metrics, and purchasing decisions than other business types.
This means you're looking at moving your users from one product to the next, up-selling into different features, or re-engaging the accounts that are not active. If you haven’t done your job effectively, you can lose a significant number of subscribers each month.
Why Marketing For SaaS Companies Is More Forgiving Than Other Industries
People who engage with SaaS models are typically already familiar with them before they even engage. It's a common model of business today, which is a good thing.
This means your customers already know that they are getting themselves involved with a subscription model, and they are usually well aware of what to expect.
1. Move Your SaaS Marketing to a Freemium Model
You have likely heard of the freemium pricing model in the past. This is a pricing strategy where you offer a deliverable, or a portion of your product, at no cost.
It's a play on the free trial model, where you allow users the opportunity to use this product completely free, indefinitely.
However, the idea is that some of the best or truly desired features of your product are not completely accessible unless they buy the paid package. This is a great solution for moving people through the buyer's journey.
Why try to have salespeople chase them down and try to (unsuccessfully) woo them into becoming a paying customer when you can allow them to use your product for free and experience the awesomeness for themselves?
Many companies don’t want to utilize this model because they believe their software is too robust or that it requires excessive hand-holding, making it not worth it if it's offered for free.
The reality of the situation is that when you give a potential customer a free taste of what you offer, it will inevitably create a need for your product, build complete trust between you and the customer, and allow them to realize the necessity of using some of the paid features down the road.
After all, it is much easier to sell to someone who is currently using your product or service and who can see how great it is, rather than trying to sell cold.
Slack has been successfully using this model for the last several years. Organizations are spinning up free slack accounts to manage their communications. It has become a go-to resource for so many companies as they continue to grow and expand.
But what happens when you need to start inviting guests and creating shared channels? Well, it just so happens that Slack has a paid version of their platform that allows you to do just that. Funny how that works, isn't it?
2. Offer Top-of-Funnel Content
Top-of-funnel content is extremely different from middle or bottom-of-funnel content. It requires a different content marketing strategy altogether. The goal of a blog post or other type of content at this level is to attract a tailored audience to your website who are likely interested in what you have to offer.
Since the content is designed to attract a larger audience, you need content that is easy to consume, provides value, and grabs the attention of your audience. Generally, top-of-funnel content will be visual, snackable, buyer-centric, and engaging.
Why is TOFU (Top Of FUnnel) important? Well, that's actually quite easy. Do you frequently purchase or sign up on websites the first time you visit? There's the occasional "gut-feeling" purchase you have from time to time, but generally speaking, most people need to have some time to think through the purchase, consider their options, and talk it over with a few key players. Sometimes they just aren't ready to buy, but they think it's interesting. How do you keep your company top of mind so they don't forget about you in 6 months when they're ready to buy? TOFU content.
If you can offer free whitepapers, checklists, guides and other resources, you will be able to capture new leads and begin to nurture them into opportunities. Keep the target customer in mind when creating a piece of content to ensure it addresses the proper position in the funnel. If you try to jump in too fast and automatically hit a new lead with bottom-of-funnel content, you are likely going to lose them forever.
3. Trigger the Follow Up
Once you have captured someone’s attention and interest, the next step is to stay top of mind by following up and ensuring they engage with more of what you have to offer.
Typically, you would not come right out and push people in these nurturing followup sequences to convert, buy, or sign up for something right away. You can, however, add your conversion points at creatively placed locations in your emails and website pages that offer people the opportunity to opt-in or engage - also known as CTAs (calls-to-action).
There are five online marketing strategies you can use in your CTAs to convert someone who has signed up for a SaaS product. These include:
- Creating a sense of urgency: Use phrases such as “limited time” and “try it for 14 days.” These will grab your customer’s attention and provide something free. Also, they offer an exclusive and urgent tone. If you do this in a subtle way and not being overly pushy, you'll encourage people to take action because they don't have the ability to put this decision off.
- Offering a promotion: For a more open "ask" in getting people to engage, try offering a discount, promotion, or special deal to encourage people to act now. Typically when you sweeten the deal, you'll get those that are on the fence to engage.
- Using an email drip campaign: Living and breathing by the model of just being helpful will get you further in business, just like your personal life. Be a trusted resource by offering free content tailored to your target audience because you know that's what they will want to read or watch. Of course you're in business to make money, so mixed in with these resource emails you should offer your CTAs and encourage more engagement.
- Optimizing your message: To make sure everyone is clear about what you are offering, be sure you have a clear and direct value proposition geared towards your buyer personas. Make sure your pricing and messaging is quite clear. If there are pricing “surprises,” it may discourage your customers or fuel their arguments about having to pay for your service or product.
- Making the transition simple: You should make sure that moving from a free to a paid subscription is seamless and easy for your customers. If it is too difficult, then you aren’t going to have many takers and your customer retention may fall.
When you continue following up, use the tips here to give your sales team all the opportunities necessary to connect with your customers and turn them into paying users. Make sure your team also has access to the CRM to make their marketing efforts, including social media posting, even more effective.
4. Match the UI/UX of Your Product
You need a cohesive presence across your product, website and more. Surprisingly enough, many companies hire one service provider or a group of developers to build their product, and another one to create their site.
The issue with this is that these won’t match in style, messaging, or intent. If this happens, it can leave your users feeling somewhat disconnected because the experience isn’t cohesive, seamless, or comfortable.
Additionally, when you have consistent messaging and visuals across your brand, you will create more credibility (which leads to more trust) and the likelihood of more conversions.
If you want to improve your conversion rate, you need a strategy in place that will help you do so. In the long run, implementing these tips and techniques will help you achieve more loyal users and keep them paying for your subscription-based model. This will lead to higher brand awareness and more profits, which is always the ultimate goal.