Marketing is often thought of as the way to generate a "buzz" about your brand or to help people discover who you are.
True, that is an important component of what we call "marketing" today. However, things are vastly different compared to what we once knew as the cold hard truth. In the past, we would consider marketing as a component of company branding.
We wanted people to learn to recognize our logo, so if we get it everywhere we have a higher likelihood of generating awareness. Companies would pay to sponsor events, buy ads in newspapers or trade magazines, and of course sponsoring the little league baseball teams who call for their annual plea.
The problem is, that kind of marketing (better known as outbound marketing), is simply blasting your message from a megaphone at anyone who will listen. Oftentimes, the people listening are not even your ideal customer, so you're paying a premium to share your message with those who won't buy from you. Seems silly, doesn't it?
SaaS Marketing Resource Guide
In a resource guide we put together for marketing professionals in the software world, we outline the definition of SaaS Marketing as the following:
SaaS is unique in that it’s physically elusive–there is no tangible product that exchanges hands. The SaaS model is largely sustained by its user experience and the service and support provided to users of its technology and tools. You need both superior software and exceptional customer service to make the SaaS model and SaaS marketing work. By having these the software will ultimately sell itself, but first, you need a method to entice as many users as possible to engage with your remarkable program. You’ll need to attract them with an irresistible offer to take your SaaS for spin, then make signing up and learning the tools as easy as possible.
One of the biggest challenges in the world of SaaS Marketing is that each company must deal with their own form of lead generation unique from each other. You can start with a formula to help lead the charge, but ultimate successful SaaS marketing is something that must be approached uniquely for each company.
Examples and results vary and the marketing needs to show exactly how it can work for each potential customer. What better way to give an individual demonstration than by offering a free trial of the SaaS at hand to each and every prospect? There are several ways to offer a free version such as a 30-day free trial, free trial-to-paid membership, or––perhaps the most popular for SaaS marketing––the freemium model. Each prospective customer can see first-hand how spectacular the interface and usability is and exactly how they benefit from being a subscriber.
Usually, companies that provide some kind of "freemium" model see the most success. This is a process in which a portion of the product is given to users completely free, while other features might be held back unless a full payment plan is in place.
Whatever the case, a free or freemium trial includes the basics of everything needed to get started with the goal of moving free-trial users up to any number of premium, paid membership tiers once they see how the scalability will help them soar in their own efforts. A benefit of SaaS marketing over other types of products is that you can give a away a fully functional version of the product rather than just one bite. Not only do prospects get a better sense of what being a member is like, once they have content loaded, a profile set up, files saved, and some training under their belts, they’ve essentially gone through the onboarding process.
The best way to build a SaaS funnel is to share your content on social media, build a following, and help start a relationship with those that will become your best advertisers: users, turned evangelists.
If you continue to market to these prospects after they sign up for the trial while they are in that onboarding process with email campaigns offering training support, project ideas, and incentives for going paid, you’re likely to get them at the right time to make a decision. From there it’s a matter of determining which tier of your incredible SaaS is best suited to their needs.
SaaS Marketing is about building relationships, solving problems, and getting in front of the right people with the right kind of content. Don't get stuck in the world of outbound!