How Do You Market a SaaS Platform?
So you’ve launched a new software as a service (SaaS) platform. Or, maybe you’ve developed an MVP (minimally viable product). Either way, you’re ready to dive headfirst into marketing. There’s just one lingering question: How do you promote a SaaS platform? At a high level, you have to effectively prove to businesses that your platform is worth their money and the time it’ll take to implement a new system and onboard their employees. A tall order, we know.
But, in a world where businesses are inundated with different kinds of software applications, developing the right SaaS marketing strategy will make or break your business… So it’s definitely worth putting in the time and effort to do it well. In this blog, we’re exploring three things that we think belong in every company’s SaaS marketing mix.
A Quick Look at the Software as a Service Market
Before diving into some strategies for creating the best SaaS marketing campaigns, let’s take a look at some context. The truth is, the SaaS market is tough for a lot of reasons. Chief among them? There’s just so much competition.
In 2018, there were 34,727 software platforms across 745 verticals on the peer-to-peer business software review site G2. With some quick math, the average number of SaaS applications would come out to almost 46 platforms per vertical. Although G2 was quick to note that some categories were much more populated than others, with medical software and school resource management tools each including hundreds of options. So take that math we did with a grain of salt, but know that there’s a lot of competition.
Another way to look at it? In the United States alone, the number of SaaS companies has reached approximately 15,000, not to mention the thousands of other SaaS companies globally. In dollars and cents, that equates to a SaaS market size of about 145.5 billion U.S. dollars. In other words, it’s a lot.
All this is not meant to scare you into thinking that the SaaS market is impossible to break into or that it’s not worth the effort. Quite the opposite, in fact. Knowing what you’re up against can drive your strategy to new heights.
How Do You Promote SaaS Software?
So how do you move forward in developing a killer strategy for marketing your SaaS platform? It’s complicated. And it requires a lot of data, trial and error, and getting comfortable with learning from failure. But at the risk of leaving it at that and sounding vague, we’ve compiled three steps we think are critical to marketing a SaaS platform.
Use Data to Narrow Your SaaS Target Market
First things first. You can’t create a stellar strategy without first understanding who your target market is. So developing a plan to market your SaaS platform should begin with research… And a lot of it. Examine your past leads and closed leads. What commonalities and patterns exist? What do their buyer journeys look like? How are your leads interacting with your organic content, paid content, and social media ads? And don’t forget about your sales and success teams. They know your target audience intimately—afterall, they work with them everyday.
In the right hands, this information is a gold mine waiting to be tapped. Just remember, in a competitive market like SaaS, you have to consistently review your research and data. SaaS industry trends move fast—you have to move faster.
Offer Demos or Trials
SaaS decision-makers need to know whether or not your platform is going to work for their use case. That’s where demos and trials come into play. There are a few different approaches to this, and your unique strategy will depend on factors like your product’s capabilities, how much onboarding is needed to use your platform, and what your price point is. Just remember, with any demo or trial you need to collect user information to actually capitalize on this strategy.
At the bottom of the ladder is a basic demo. Demos are great because, in the event of a live demo, they force leads to interact with a sales rep in real-time. This provides a great opportunity for a Q&A and for the seller to get to know the lead’s pain points and address them. However, a demo without a trial—or an opportunity to actually get into the platform and poke around—may not be all that successful if your platform is complex.
A free trial gives leads a set period of time to play around with your platform, typically anywhere from a week to a month. Free trials let leads really dive in and explore your platform, and it can be much easier to convert a current user into a paying customer. But, only if your marketing strategy is effective. Ensuring free trial users are experiencing some amount of onboarding and interactions with sellers and marketing content will boost the chances of a successful free trial.
Similar to a free trial, a freemium trial charges a fraction of the cost for users to try your platform for a few weeks to a few months. If you’ve already convinced a lead to pay some amount of money to use your platform, you’re halfway there! Personalized support and marketing can make all the difference in retaining this client long term.
Use a Multi-Pronged Approach
For SaaS, paid search and LinkedIn are king most of the time. But that’s not the whole story. Identifying the right mix of paid search, social media, and organic content marketing is key to making sure your efforts are as effective as possible. At Statwax, we employ the following services to help our customers acquire more customers of their own.
- Paid Digital Strategies (search, social, etc)
- Predictive Customer Acquisition Modeling
- Customer Journey Mapping and Analysis
- CRM and Platform Integration
- Data Visualization and Dashboarding
- Lead Scoring and Performance Projecting
- Search Engine Optimization
- Landing Page Development and Optimization
- Analytics Cleanup, Tagging, and Analysis
Grow your SaaS Platform with Statwax
What’s the easiest way to keep track of SaaS industry trends and marketing efforts? Let us help. At Statwax, we’ve developed a four-pillar approach to ensure that your marketing dollars go further. Our approach starts with persona-based targeting before moving into paid digital marketing, predictive modeling, and lead quality optimization to help you hit the right targets on the right channels at the right time.
Our team of data-driven experts loves working with tech companies just like you to help grow your market and your platform. Need more proof? 100% of our clients hit their acquisition goals in 2020. If you’re ready to see what Statwax can do for you, reach out to us today.