SaaS (software as a service) is one of the most influential trends in business and marketing today. As technology advances, it’s often convenient for people (individual consumers as well as businesses) to use cloud-based software to solve many problems and make life more convenient. SaaS provides many efficient and cost-effective marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Let’s look at five of the leading SaaS digital marketing strategies to help you generate more leads and sales.
1. Free Trials and Demos
One of the benefits of selling software as a service is that it’s easy to give your product away. Giving away samples of physical products is expensive, as you must produce, package, and ship them. Once you’ve created software, however, it’s extremely cheap to give it away. Obviously, your motive in giving anything away is to motivate people to buy it or subscribe. Free trials are one of the best ways to do this.
A good example of a company using free trials is Flexbooker, software for online booking and scheduling. Visitors to the company’s website immediately see the option to try the service for free. For this to work, it helps to make it as simple as possible to sign up for the free trial. For example, research shows that asking for credit card information drastically reduces responses. Naturally, it’s also crucial to target customers who are a good match for your software.
2. Freemium Model
Another popular SaaS marketing tool is the freemium model. This is where you offer a free service with certain limitations that encourage users to upgrade to a paid version. Many companies offer several tiers of service, starting with free. There are several advantages to this model. For one thing, it lets you advertise that your service is “free,” without even mentioning that you offer upgrades. To sign up for your freemium service, users provide contact information, so it helps you build a list of subscribers. This way, even people who don’t immediately upgrade are on your list.
There are examples of this model in many industries. MailChimp, one of the leading email marketing companies, has successfully used the freemium strategy for many years. The free plan lets users add up to 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month. There are several paid plans, starting at $10/month. MailChimp entices many new marketers to sign up for free and, as their businesses grow and they acquire more subscribers, they need to upgrade.
Of course, the potential downside to a freemium model is that some people will never upgrade. That’s why it’s necessary to carefully plan the features and limits of your free option. If too many people are taking advantage of freemium and not upgrading, it suggests that your free plan is overly generous.
3. Give Away Information
Giving something away to get leads is a common business practice and one that’s especially relevant for SaaS marketing. In this case, we’re not talking about giving away free trials or demos (although that might be another strategy you’re using as well) but educational material related to the service. Ebooks, white papers, and case studies are all useful for building trust and educating your potential customers. But probably the biggest tool will be your blog. Make sure to keep it active and useful towards your target audience.
What really counts here is giving away something with real quality. If someone downloads a PDF advertised as a white paper and it’s actually a drawn-out sales letter, it’s not very convincing. Think in terms of educating the consumer rather than selling. Naturally, your goal is to demonstrate the benefits of your software. However, the focus here is on practical applications. Ideally, the reader benefits from your information whether he or she orders your software or not. This is another strategy that gets people on your subscriber list whether they immediately buy or not.
4. Videos and Webinars
There are other options besides written material for providing useful information about your product. Videos are a powerful to demonstrate the benefits of software applications. A video with screen shots or live demos allows you to point out the features and applications of your software. Upload videos to social media sites as well as to your own website. Live video, such as Facebook Live is an increasingly popular platform that’s especially good for promoting new releases and sales.
Interactive events such as Google Hangouts and webinars are another option. With today’s technology, it’s not difficult to set up webinars to educate potential customers. When you’re presenting the benefits of your software, use clear screen shots and live demos. The advantage of a webinar is that it’s an interactive event where you answer questions. Of course, both videos and webinars are useful for offering prospects free trials and written material such as white papers.
5. Email Marketing For SaaS
Email marketing fits nicely with many of the other tactics described above. We’ve already mentioned that free trials, freemium plans, and white papers all entail people signing up for your email list. With SaaS, you need a fairly sophisticated email marketing strategy, as your product is probably more complex than, say, diet pills, fashion accessories, or even electronic devices. To explain software, drip campaigns often work well. Send out a series of 5, 7, or 10 emails, each focusing on one application of your service.
Always link, not only to your sales page, but also to pages with more information. Keep in mind that you’re never sure subscribers are reading all of your emails. For example, if your 10th email is the first one your subscriber reads, make sure he or she can easily reference the info from earlier emails. It’s convenient if you provide links to detailed pages on your website covering features. This is one reason it’s good to have distinct pages highlighting different features rather than one long page that requires lots of scrolling.